Brad Wardell's site for talking about the customization of Windows.

Pacing in 4X strategy games is crucial.  So I decided to look at GalCiv II, GalCiv III and the GalCiv IV alpha to take a look at how fast things move along.

  Turn     

GalCiv II (Twilight of the Arnor)

GalCiv III (Retribution)

GalCiv IV [Alpha]

1

· Researched New Propulsion Techniques [7 turns]

· Planet Project: Innovation Complex [16 weeks]

· Music: Haunting

· Startport: Rush bought Colony ship with monthly payments.

· Unit: Colony ship sent out system

· Unit: Space Miner to Automated

· Unit: Survey Ship to automated

· Survey ship finds 500 credits

· Rush bought innovation project.

· Earth: 10 tiles, no adjacency

· Music: Hopeful

· Research: Artificial Gravity [4 turns]

· Computer Core [5 weeks]

· Planet Earth: Rushed Computer Core

· Survey Ship: Set to Survey

· [no other starting ships]

· Shipyard: Rush bought Colony Ship (no monthly payment option available)

· Planet Earth: Began work on Helix artifact. [can only rush once per turn. Boo].

· Earth: 10 tiles, adjacency bonuses.

· Music: Hopeful

· Research: Asteroid Mining [3 turns]

· Planet Earth: Rushed computer core

· Colony ship sent out system.

· Scout ship sent to explore.

· Survey ship sent to survey

· Shipyard: Rush bought colony ship (no monthly payment available

· Planet Earth: Began construction on Industrial Center

· Planet Earth: Queued hearthstone construction

· Planet Earth: Queued Snuggler artifact

· Earth: 27 tiles, adjacency bonuses.

2

· GNN Report comes up summarizing what happened at the start of the turn.

· Planet project: Rush bought a factory

· UI experience is pretty dated

· Rush bought a colony ship

· Rushed colony ship sent to next system.

· Shipyard: Rushed second colony ship.

· Earth: Rushed Helix project

· Earth: Began work on Colonization Center

· Executive Order: Draft Colonists (free colony ship for 20 control points)

· Executive Order: Telescope take over and viewed nearby system which shows a class 22 and 23 planet a class 19 (requires extreme colonization) and a class 13 (that requires extreme colonization)

· Colony ship sent to class 23 planet

· Colony ship 2: sent to class 22 planet

3

· Rush bought a colony ship

· Rush bought a research lab

· Anomaly: +4 to weapons

· Rushed colony ship sent to a different system.

· Leaders: Hired 3 leaders.

· Assigned leader to minister of tech

· Assigned leader to minister of exploration

· Assigned a leader to prototype ship: Curiosity (free ship if you have a leader)

· Curiosity ship sent to survey.

4

· Anomaly: Economy boosted by +1%

· New Propulsion actually researched

· Anomaly: 17 credits. Boo.

· Anomaly: Lost Genius, instantly finishes current tech.

· Research: Asteroid Mining researched

· Next project: Subspace Scanning

· Rush bought a colony ship

5

· Anomaly: Repair rate +1%

· Anomaly: Survey ship +4 HP

· Drengin are met but I don’t understand what they are saying.

· Anomaly: 247 credits. Yay.

· Research complete: Artificial Gravity (Moves +1)

· Rushed colonization center

· Began work on Industrial Center

· Asteroid miner spawned due to getting the tech. Sent to nearby asteroid field near earth.

· Colony ship sent to Mars. Mars colonized.

· Colonization event: Received a leader.

· Leader assigned minister of colonization.

6

· Report that the Thalen Empire has built a Wonder

· Minor Race met

· Event: Benevolent choice = Got a scout ship.

· Scout ship ordered to go out of system.

 

7

· Met Torians

· Raised tax rate from 33% to 48%

· Raised spending to 100% of our manufacturing capacity

· Research ratio is set to 55%.

· I can see lines on the map where my ships are auto piloting to without clicking on them.

Nothing

· Ideology: Unlocked Flexible (+2% income, spawns Ambassador ship)

· Event: Received resources!

· Used artifact power: Researched Subspace scanning.

· Researching Space Elevators

· New colony: Freehold (class 23)

8

· Anomaly: Trade +5%

· Anomaly: Research boost of 25 points

· Research: Artificial Gravity perfected

Nothing

· New colony: Galen (class 22)

· Increased tax rate to High.

9

· Anomaly: Research +1%

· Research: Xeno Communications Researched

· Colonized a class 15 planet!

· Event: Pragmatic choice for productivity

· New Tech: Space Elevators

· Queued up manufacturing districts around industrial center.

10

· Anomaly: Trade ability +5%

· Anomaly: Espionage +1%

· Colonization of Mars (I was trying to find a better planet and finally went back to Mars)

· Report: Thalan have built the Temporal Entertainment Matrix

· Galactic Report: Top 5 most popular Civs with flavor text describing our situation.

· Asteroid field near Earth is built up now by the Space Mining ship and it is now moving towards another asteroid field.

· Scottinglas Scout approaches Earth

· Government screen unlocked. Chose Colonial.

· Research: Space Elevators Researched

· New colony ship sent to Artemis

· Probe ordered

Here are some thoughts I have on how GalCiv IV could be further improved before Beta

  1. Have some early game galactic achievements (pretty much every early tech should have one)
  2. Announce to the universe when someone has gotten it
  3. I really want a way to give priority to research over manufacturing over ship production.  This was part of the GalCiv series going back to the OS/2 version but got lost in GalCiv III.  We don’t need sliders but I want to be able to focus on one at the cost of the other two even if it’s just a single selection with a big boost.
  4. I really miss the flavor text in GalCiv II.  Now, there’s a reason this went away – GalCiv II was English only and in the world of translations, being so wordy is hard.  But I miss it.
  5. How quickly you meet aliens is now a setting (alien home worlds) I still feel like they’re too far apart.  In GalCiv II, I met both a major and a minor race in the first 10 turns.  In GalCiv III and IV, I met none.
  6. We gotta get that Civ list back onto the main screen before Beta.
  7. I want more executive orders at the start of the game.
  8. Every ideology option should give you something tangible (not just a stat boost).
  9. Policies should start on turn 1, I think we should just have a default set for each civ that players can change but leaving this empty early on is a bad idea.  By turn 10, I should have unlocked 2 new policy options.

And now screenshots:

 

Galactic Civilizations II Galactic Civilizations III Galactic Civilizations IV
image image image 
image image image
image image image
image

image

image
image image image
image image image
image image image
image image

image

So what do you think? Let us know in the comments.

________________________________________________________

GalCiv IV Journals


Comments
on Dec 23, 2021

I disagree on #5 the distance of the home worlds of scum that infest the Galaxy which rightfully belongs to my race alone.

Joking aside I would be perfectly okay if in the biggest Galaxy I did not meet an opponent for 5201 turns.

One option could be a slider that goes from zero to ten which sets the number of streams between races, may need bigger maps, I still think your maps are too small, and a second slider that activates if zero is chosen that sets the number of races that can be located in the "Home Sector".

 Of course, I live to explore and expand, and I hate the AI pestering me every turn with deals that insult me.

This could be solved by an answer in diplo quoting the great W. C. Fields " Go away kid you bother me" or "If I want to talk to you, I'll pull your chain", results of which is it blocks communication with said race. At least for further trade talks, giving me the tribute that is my right as master of my empire could be an exception, but ignorantly trying to extort me should be blocked as well. this leaves only the fatally stupid decision to declare war which of course I would not want the suicidal AI from being denied. 

 

Of course, you have players that want war, war, and more war, did I mention you have players that want war?

Small maps should be recommended for this style of play. 

Other than #5 I have no problem with any of the others it seems they will kick-start your empires.

OT I wonder as motorcycles are built for whimps now days how many know where that term comes from. Just hope any who try's out a "74" doesn't forget the spark retarder.  

on Dec 23, 2021

I played very little of the original Gal Civ, played hundreds of hours of 2, and only a few dozen of 3.  Having played 4 I already like it way more than 3 and see the trajectory going beyond 2 - mostly for the changes and reasons noted in your post.  I think of it as having more regular interesting and meaningful decisions but not adding unnecessary micromanagement or drowning in the +2% etc. impacts.    I like the idea of options (meet civs in turn 2 or turn 200) based on game settings that would influence #5.  Otherwise I would agree with 1&2 would be good but I don't feel strongly, 3 I'm iffy on.  I see your point and I do feel like making a significant decision to trade off one for the others would be interesting but again not sure it's critical (and I wasn't a fan of the sliders in GC3).  I always worry about having more micro stuff and this feels like it could get very micro.  4 would be great, and this is in line with comments made by eXplorminate on his recent videos about more "banter" between civs.  I also agree with his other suggestions - the colonize quick button that he mentioned a dozen times, etc.   6, 7, 8, and 9 I think are all great ideas.  Thanks for the already fun game and asking for feedback.

on Dec 24, 2021

Regarding 1. Are you familiar with AOW:Planetfall?

They have something kind of like this. They're called empire quests I believe.You unlock stuff for completing them, and the first player to complete it gets the "pioneer" reward - some small bonus.

They are things like "Gain the favor of two NPC factions" , "Launch 5 covert operations", "Build and exploitation on a sector and get it to level 4"

The galciv equivalents would be something "Colonize two planets", "Make another planet a core world", "Customize 5 ships with vault items"

They also work as kind of "soft tutorial" in that the rewards nudge the player towards learning and exploring the game mechanics.

Its hard for me to do the sytem justice if you aren't familar with the game, so I'll leave it at that. Might want to look into it.

on Dec 24, 2021

I am wondering what benefit the sector system adds to the game.I prefer the normal one big map galaxies with the added space lanes GC3 added.

on Dec 24, 2021

charlando

Regarding 1. Are you familiar with AOW:Planetfall?

They have something kind of like this. They're called empire quests I believe.You unlock stuff for completing them, and the first player to complete it gets the "pioneer" reward - some small bonus.

They are things like "Gain the favor of two NPC factions" , "Launch 5 covert operations", "Build and exploitation on a sector and get it to level 4"

The galciv equivalents would be something "Colonize two planets", "Make another planet a core world", "Customize 5 ships with vault items"

They also work as kind of "soft tutorial" in that the rewards nudge the player towards learning and exploring the game mechanics.

Its hard for me to do the sytem justice if you aren't familar with the game, so I'll leave it at that. Might want to look into it.

gc4 has this in the current public alpha.  They’re called missions. When you complet them you get culture points you can spend to unlock a new ability.

on Dec 24, 2021

I like the free asteroid miner on researching asteroid mining. One would think that part of research would involve building a prototype to test technology, so getting one for free makes sense.

on Dec 25, 2021

Ashbery76

I am wondering what benefit the sector system adds to the game.I prefer the normal one big map galaxies with the added space lanes GC3 added.

Agree

on Dec 25, 2021

Ashbery76

I am wondering what benefit the sector system adds to the game.I prefer the normal one big map galaxies with the added space lanes GC3 added.

It adds an additional layer to distance.  Nothing stops a player from playing within a single big sector.  But having multiple sectors has a lot of benefits besides greater strategic depth.  It gives us more control over pacing, we can do various interesting tricks with perf (simultaneous turns based on sector, lots of saved memory).

The pacing benefits alone are pretty huge.

on Dec 27, 2021

You sure do like rush buying stuff. I prefer to hold on to the cash you start with and spend it slowly until I develop a sustainable economy.

Something I like is being able to do is select ideology perks with less worry about prerequisites. I like starbases with big AoE. To get a +2 range for my starbases in GalCiv 3, I typically have to select 4 pragmatic perks: 1 for the pragmatic improvement to gain pragmatic ideology points, and 3 to work my way to the perk I want. With the current version of GalCiv 4, I'm able to jump fairly early on to spend a culture point on the perk that grants a +2 AoE increase. With the Terrans at least. They start with 2 out of the 3 ideology points needed to make "mobility rights" perk available to select.

I didn't like admin points in GalCiv 3. I'm not going to go into details, but I didn't think it was a good mechanic. I think needing to supply your colony ships, constructors, and troop transports with citizens works better. Also, I don't like the circle AoE. I much prefer the hex that GalCiv 3 did as it was much more clear as to what fell under its control.

In 4's current state, I feel less rushed to build colony ships. In the previous version (v0.65), I often had nearly 100 planets in my home sector, and my population grew quickly, and my colony ships were quick to build. In practice, I spammed colony ships to the point I got sick of it. It gave little time for me to build much else. Now I think there is a few dozen colonizable planets in my home sector, and my population grows significantly slower than my colony ships. I feel I can do other things than just build colony ships.

If you are looking for executive orders, maybe add draft constructor to the list. They're important too.

When it comes to games to look back on, I would point to GalCiv 2. I think its the best in the series. A shame that updating is such a problem.

A little off-topic. If you would let me have access to the source code to GalCiv 2, I would work to make it compile on modern systems. I would love for it to get updates again.

on Dec 27, 2021

5. I think the distance seems good. The greater distance is just a result from larger map sizes. if u make smaller starting sector map sizes and have other races in your starting sector, you're going to be meeting those races very quickly. i actually like the current way it's set up, i like having the option to choose to play a game where i can either build up stuff before venturing out into the more dangerous areas of the universe, or choose to deal with one or more races early in my starting sector. it makes for very different game experiences. 

8. instead of ideology points giving you more per point, i think they need to be easier to get. the rate you get them seems very slow to me, and they do so much in customizing your empire.

9. I agree, i think starting off with a policy slot would be great. I like being able to customize what my empire focuses on as early as possible.

on Jan 01, 2022

4. I really miss the flavor text in GalCiv II.  Now, there’s a reason this went away – GalCiv II was English only and in the world of translations,  being so wordy is hard.  But I miss it.

 

This is what got me hooked on Gal Civ2... The AI... Was the only game I have every played (even out of GC3/4) that the AI was a challenge and would taunt and make fun of me. I set the dif level so high that I only won about half my games. The entire time the AI was just funny and mean to me while playing. 

With GC3/4 I do not think it is even possible for the AI to beat me. Save for the godlike setting and that is only cause I have to focus soo much it becomes not fun to play. 

on Jan 16, 2022

My comments don't really align to the 1-9 but I'll do my best.

  1. Clearly there are players who want to micromanage their empire and have games that last 100 hours. I'm the opposite. I'm here to play a strategy game and think anything that eliminates micromanagement is a good thing. +1 to things like the free asteroid miner and only having 5 available tax rates.
  2. There is a history of most of these 4X games being effectively decided in the land-grab phase of the game. In my limited experience so far, there is no real impediment to land-grabbing. If you want replay value, there can't be a dominant strategy.
  3. I feel like I have had a lot of small decisions and very few big ones so far. Then again, maybe there is something to be said for learning the mechanics so that I am in a position to handle some of the challenges that will undoubtedly surface when I play at higher difficulty levels.

Time to play some more.