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You wanted it. We’re giving it to you.  The Battle viewer.

Beta 2 of Galactic Civilizations IV brings back the Battle Viewer and a new After Action Report.  It’s pretty basic for Beta 2 and we plant to add a lot more to it.

Today, I’m going to talk about what is already in it and what we plan to add.

The viewer and the after action report

There are really two elements here that players tend to want to see:

Their ships in action to see how different designs are stacking up and an after action report to look at the data from the big picture.

For beta 2, we did some cosmetic work to make the battles look a lot better

image

image

We have a lot more data planned for Beta 3 but we wanted to get this out in time for Beta 2.

Additionally, we have some ideas for how these battles should work that we’d like your feedback in the comments such as:

Ship roles

More meaning to the ship roles.  Right now, ship roles mostly affect the placement of a ship in the battle arena but this is something that could be fleshed out to reward more thoughtful fleet creation.  Here are some ideas:

The type of ship determines the order in which the enemy can target them:

  1. Interceptor
  2. Guardian
  3. Escort
  4. Assault
  5. Capital
  6. Support

This way, players can assemble fleets with additional strategy behind them.

Tactical Combat

I know a lot of people want tactical combat but let me, for instance, show you my current game:

image

This isn’t even the largest map size. Not even close.  I have a dozen battles each turn and I can barely keep track of one fleet versus another in terms of what it’s good at or not let alone have any desire to micro manage a battle or even set up a battle at the start of the battle.  And I am not interested in having an AI choose (badly) for me.

But I am definitely open to the idea of the assembling of a fleet mattering more as well as the design of the ship.  I.e. rewarding the logistics of war versus the tactics of war.

What are your thoughts?

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GalCiv IV Journals


Comments (Page 1)
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on Mar 03, 2022

My strategy isn't very sophisticated. I build a lot of tiny hulled fighters so I attack with overwhelming firepower. Arm them with missile weapons so they can shoot first and kill the enemy before they can fire back. I win most battles with these fleets.

The only thing that seems to weaken them is now fleets can only make 1 attack per turn, so now it takes at least a few turns for a lone fleet to clear out a star system of defenders. To counter this, I've been splitting my fleets so I can make more attacks in a turn, but this has lead to my fleets to be weaker and thus I've been suffering more losses than normal.

I don't use ship roles that much. I have only 2 ship roles: combatants and non-combatants. I think splitting up my forces any other way leads to fewer ships fighting at once, which reduces dps, which increases surviving enemy ships, which increases the amount of damage my fleets suffer.

on Mar 04, 2022

The above is my GalCiv 3 strategy. It still seems to work for GalCiv 4.

In GalCiv 2, I had the opposite strategy. I would build big ships with strong defenses. I doubled down on this when I studied the game files and saw how much cheaper some techs were when compared to weapon techs: defense techs, hull sizes, miniaturization, etc. So it was more productive to design large ships with a lot of hit points with strong defenses, than to build small ships with powerful weapons. My ships were nearly unkillable. More so in Twilight which introduced modules that increased hit points. Most enemy attacks would bounce off my ship's hulls, and the rare few that made it through would do insignificant damage. In many instances, I even dared to use lone super ships to attack my enemy fleets.

The combat system was different in GalCiv 2 than in 3. In GalCiv 2, attacks would weaken defenses for a turn, after which they were restored to full power. It was possible to have ships that can deflect enemy attacks turn after turn. Another factor was the enemy always got a chance to fire back, so I could never take out my enemies before they could fire back. I always had to be prepared to suffer at least 1 volley, so I aimed to build ships that could survive all of them.

on Mar 04, 2022

I agree that full tactical combat would be terrible.

I suggest Stardock look at the Dominions series (by Illwinter) to get some really good ideas of how to give the player some very good agency in an otherwise automated combat. Setting formations, high level orders, and targeting priorities at a group level. Then these orders can be copied and pasted across different unit groups in the same or different armies. 

on Mar 04, 2022

Hello there,

I have only begun playing the beta, but here is my take on this:

Full tactical combat is out of question, i think, even in games built around that, e.g. Age of Wonders Planetfall, this can be tedious, let alone a game withe the scope of galciv.

I think building around ship roles is a good idea. I think there should be a default role for the ships, with default behaviour, which, i imagine, makes it also easier to implement with the AI, so battles definitely need to be able to be just rolled automatically.

However, for the battles we DO want to fight out ourselves, we should have something like a "war room/CnC" screen, where we can set this battle up manually and give general orders. group ships together, assign target ship roles. As far as i can see, there are no leader special abilities, but this would also be the place to use them. Maybe we can even think about different phases, wasnt this one of the early points, that battles dont necessarily end after a single turn?

When we are done with setting up the battle/turn, the battle/turn is rolled automatically.

Sorry for just spitballing here, but its been a LONG while since i have been this hyped about a game that seemsright up my alley.

 

on Mar 05, 2022

Beta 2 makes missile range equal to others.

on Mar 05, 2022

^ nice, i thought missiles were too op.

the main thing i would recommend for tactical combat is a button that says "retreat." push it and your remaining forces try to leave the battle. this would be perfect for both when you realize the battle is lost and you should get out with whatever ships are still in one piece, or when you have something like an interceptor force that is just trying to take out a support or capital ship and then get the hell out of there.

also, being able to target a specific ship before battle as your "main target" if you want.

both of these ideas would not add any extra time for anyone who doesnt want to use them but would make the game feel more involved for those that do.

on Mar 05, 2022

Basilisk83

^ nice, i thought missiles were too op.

the main thing i would recommend for tactical combat is a button that says "retreat." push it and your remaining forces try to leave the battle. this would be perfect for both when you realize the battle is lost and you should get out with whatever ships are still in one piece, or when you have something like an interceptor force that is just trying to take out a support or capital ship and then get the hell out of there.

also, being able to target a specific ship before battle as your "main target" if you want.

both of these ideas would not add any extra time for anyone who doesnt want to use them but would make the game feel more involved for those that do.

The funny thing about the missiles is if we did't have the battle viewer in there, we woudln't have noticed just how OP they were.

I had this huge fleet of tiny ships with disruptors be taken out by a single, much weaker ship with a bunch of missiles.

Even though GC4 isn't on Steam, I still managed to leave a negative Steam review for it just in principle.

on Mar 06, 2022

Like someone said look at Dominions tactical combat.It is fast but the planning could be used well for space battles.

I also think ships should have chance to retreat.I always felt it made experience ships far too throw away.You never got attached to any.

on Mar 06, 2022

Frogboy


Quoting Basilisk83,

^ nice, i thought missiles were too op.

the main thing i would recommend for tactical combat is a button that says "retreat." push it and your remaining forces try to leave the battle. this would be perfect for both when you realize the battle is lost and you should get out with whatever ships are still in one piece, or when you have something like an interceptor force that is just trying to take out a support or capital ship and then get the hell out of there.

also, being able to target a specific ship before battle as your "main target" if you want.

both of these ideas would not add any extra time for anyone who doesnt want to use them but would make the game feel more involved for those that do.



The funny thing about the missiles is if we did't have the battle viewer in there, we woudln't have noticed just how OP they were.

I had this huge fleet of tiny ships with disruptors be taken out by a single, much weaker ship with a bunch of missiles.

Even though GC4 isn't on Steam, I still managed to leave a negative Steam review for it just in principle.

I've always believed that Missiles should have a longer range, but with limited ammo per combat. Energy Weapons should be great at medium range, damage dissipation at longer ranges, and a longer recharge rate than Kinetic Weapons. Kinetic Weapons only having a short range, but with a much faster recharge rate and massive damage.

This would make the weapons more distinct from one another, not so much rock- paper- scissors. It also makes different ship roles more distinct. Assault Ships with faster tactical speed, get in close to pound the enemy. Capital Ships firing missiles and launching fighters from afar. Escorts keeping Assault Ships at bay with lasers, and providing missile defense. 

on Mar 07, 2022

Seconded. Yes, making the weapons more distinct is definitely the right way to go. If i interpret the Design philosophy for this game correctly, its more interesting choices, less micromanagement, right? Rethinking missiles ( i like the limited ammo but unique advantage idea ) CWIS and Carriers is gonna liven this up from "different flavour of ice cream" to " actual dessert choices". Maybe there should be different types: Big, anti-capital torpedoes and regular ship to ship missiles, and on the other side; regular kinetic cannons and Point Defense. As for special Beam Weapons, i honestly have no interesting idea what they could do other than maybe fry the targets electronics, which seems difficult to balance.

As for the battle battles in general - i think there is something inherently unsatisfying in winning a battle through having more stuff than the enemy than by making a meaningful choice. Even if it is the result of beforehand planning. People have shunned Galactic Civilization before for exactly this reason.

on Mar 07, 2022

Good suggestions. Torpedoes could be shorter range than missiles, and similar to energy weapons. Effected by ecm and shields could treat them like energy weapons. Whereas missiles have guidance systems, that can be disrupted by ecm. With point defense and shields (to a lesser effect), that would give 3 defenses against missiles.

on Mar 07, 2022
on Mar 07, 2022

I just want to through in some ideas.

- not too much micro-management

- you already got two mechanisms: missiles (at galaxy map) and markers (after action reports). Based on these two I could imagine an auto-anti-harassement-system (AAHS).

AAHS: buff damage and range at galaxy map. Turn on AAHS (for single fleets or empire wide). If enemy fleets enter the range of your missiles/squadrons(?) they will be attacked and maybe destroyed -> After-Action-Report (marker)

This would take all minor battles (i.e. one side is overwhelming the other) out of scope if we talk about any kind of tactical battle.

What tactical aspects could I imagine? We got ship roles. Maybe we could - depending upon logistic or another ressource (most experienced ship in fleet?) - change the roles of individual ships before battle?
Maybe: 1-10 logistic: you can change role of one ship. 11-20 logistic: you can change role of two ships. 21+ you can change role of three ships
Situation: one ship is assigned as assault ship and all others as escort/capital. You could switch this one ship to capital to have a well working force. This would be a motivator to work on the number of ships you can change (i.e. logistics/experience/...). Warmonger civs could get one switch extra. There could be a wonder too. But not too many sources. Choices could be saved for ships as long as they remain in their fleet.

on Mar 07, 2022

If you like tactical combat, it's not tedious to have more of it, because you find that to be fun. And how is letting the AI manage it for me, even badly, different than what is in the game now?

I mean, if you don't like it, then you don't like it. Apparently there is an upcoming XCOM style game without tactical combat. Me, I thought that was the appeal of the game, but some people prefer the management side. And that's okay.

But trying to convince fans of tactical combat they don't actually like tactical combat?

on Mar 07, 2022

Frogboy,  

Thanks for listening to our input on the Battle viewer!  I design most of my ships during play throughs and much of my story telling with Gal Civ focuses on how these ship lines are developed and why they exist.  Example:  I developed the Longbow Cruiser that had a longer ship range to fight a war on the other side of the galaxy.  It was so far away that I had to deploy two additional star bases to get there.

I really enjoy watching ships I've spent so much time designing flying around blasting away at enemy ships.  The cosmetic upgrades are looking good!  The ships look better than they did in GC3.

I agree with you that tactical combat is out of the question.  It would become way too tedious to constantly have to make decisions every battle.

I think improving the options for fleet planning is the most viable route when considering how to make combat more engaging.  

You may have already seen this, but I made a suggestion on I think combat could be improved here.

https://forums.galciv4.com/509104/page/1/#3830841

The tl;dr of it is that currently in GC3 I really only build medium combat ships.  Tiny and small hulls don't have enough hit points and large and huge ships quickly get overwhelmed by swarms from carriers.  I would really like to have a reason to build more than one hull size. It's any easy way to make battles more interesting to watch on the battle viewer and it makes logistical combat more interesting.  Example: A heavy hitting battle ship that is good against medium hulls surrounded by a swarm of tiny interceptors that are good at taking down small and tiny hulls vs a couple medium hull frigates that can rapidly remove tiny ships and are escorting a couple of bombers.

One way I can think of to try and get this variety would be to add individual ship roles to each hull type.  Tiny ships would have ship roles of "fighter" or "bomber" and each one would provide bonuses to it's combat capabilities vs other ships.  In the post I go into what could be done for each hull type.  

I would also bunch the ships closer together and keep them from straying to far.  In GC3 smaller ships would get ahead of the larger ships and bite the dust before the large and huge hulls could get anywhere near the combat zone.

 

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