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5 major changes coming to Galactic Civilizations in 2023
Published on December 22, 2022 By Frogboy In GalCiv IV Dev Journals

So this Spring will mark the one year anniversary of the release of Galactic Civilizations IV.  And we have some really big plans for it.  We've been working hard on a major revamp of the entire game.

Here are some of the areas we are making big changes:

  1. Totally new combat system. Beam vs. Kinetic vs. Missile as a rock paper scissors mechanic against shields, armor and point defense is going away.  Instead, various types of weapons will have their own pros and cons in areas like costs, sizes, effectiveness, and on map benefits.  This will give us a lot more nuance and open the door to having a lot of new types of weapons and defenses in the future.  
  2. New ship design system.  You won't be choosing Hulls anymore. You will choose a general class of ship which will determine how much mass you have available.  This will eventually let us have many types of classes (Frigates, Cruisers, Battleships, Dreadnoughts, and other types) rather than be limited to a number of types based on what words we can think of to describe sizes (uh, so um super gigantic mega hull?).
  3. New invasion system.  We are going to move a bit away from the binary "you need a transport" system of invading plants that I've had in GalCiv since I was in college.  Instead, the time it takes to invade a system will be affected based on the conquest rating of your fleet.  So having an invasion transport with you would greatly increase that obviously.  But you won't need one to conquer some piddly little world just because of "the rules".
  4. New ideology system.  Your choices will no longer give you points in a particular ideology.  They will simply make certain ideological choices less expensive to acquire.  So if you always play as an evil bastard, the evil bastard ideology choices will be cheaper to get but you can still go against the grain and live a life of self-deception.
  5. Updated research system.  So instead of only having N techs you can research, you instead will be able to research any tech you want.  HOWEVER, you will be presented with N techs that scientists are on the verge of breakthroughs of which will be 50% cheaper to research than other techs.  So while you can choose any tech, it'll be very tempting to go with the ones that are on the verge of breakthroughs.

This is only a small list of changes that we think players will really like.  We're also doing things like adding a tutorial, improving the graphics further, making performance improvements, new map setup changes, etc.  We'll have more news soon.

What changes would you like to see?

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GalCiv IV Journals


Comments (Page 1)
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on Dec 22, 2022

nice! and improve the custom race creator to support animated photos or gifs so you can create much better looking civz

on Dec 22, 2022

With respect to the "Totally new combat system" I have the following suggestions:

  1. Whatever you decide to do with weapons, defenses, etc. give clear and complete descriptions of:
    1. how each one works
    2. their relative strengths and weaknesses vs. each other.
  2. When you describe how the new combat system works, make sure combat actually works that way!  The fact that the current combat system does not work as advertised is very annoying.  Fixing this issue will go a long way to making the game more satisfying.
  3. Assuming you are going to continue to have fleet combat, I would really like to have the ability to specify which of my ships will attack each of the ships in the enemy fleet.  I hate reviewing the "after action" report and seeing that all of my ships attacked one ship in the enemy fleet which was killed with the first shot resulting in all of the shots from my other ships resulting in a "miss".  I am fine with having an automated combat choice since it will save a lot of time in obvious, one-sided combat, but I think having the option of being more involved in making choices during combat would be a valuable improvement.

The reason for #1 above is that, while I recognize that a certain amount of trial and error cannot be avoided when learning which weapons fit our preferred playing style, we should have the facts about each choice in hand as a starting point.

The reason for #2 and #3 above is that, when we review the "after action" reports on combat, we should be able to see that the results were "fair".

on Dec 22, 2022

With respect to the "New ship design system" I have the following suggestions:

  1. Larger ships should have weapons and/or defenses against smaller ships.  While I currently take advantage of the fact that a fleet of a large number of small ships that have "Predictive Targeting" (extends weapon range) can destroy a larger ship before the larger ship gets off a shot, I don't think this is "fair". For example:
    1. the range of weapons on a larger ship should be greater than the range of weapons on a smaller ship 
    2. if a larger ship has multiple weapons, players should have the option of targeting each weapon at a specific enemy ship.  Having all weapons on a large ship target a single small ship is not only wasteful, it is incredibly ignorant!
  2. Larger ships should have weapons and/or defenses available to them that are not available to smaller ships.  For example:
    1. I can put a "Carrier Module" on a tiny hull ship effectively giving me multiple tiny ships on a tiny ship!
    2. In real life,
      1. a 16 inch gun on a battleship would not fit on a PT boat
      2. a destroyer could not launch a fighter jet
on Dec 22, 2022

PaulLach

With respect to the "New ship design system" I have the following suggestions:

 

    1. Larger ships should have weapons and/or defenses against smaller ships.  While I currently take advantage of the fact that a fleet of a large number of small ships that have "Predictive Targeting" (extends weapon range) can destroy a larger ship before the larger ship gets off a shot, I don't think this is "fair". For example:

        1. the range of weapons on a larger ship should be greater than the range of weapons on a smaller ship 

        1. if a larger ship has multiple weapons, players should have the option of targeting each weapon at a specific enemy ship.  Having all weapons on a large ship target a single small ship is not only wasteful, it is incredibly ignorant!


 

    1. Larger ships should have weapons and/or defenses available to them that are not available to smaller ships.  For example:

        1. I can put a "Carrier Module" on a tiny hull ship effectively giving me multiple tiny ships on a tiny ship!

        1. In real life,

            1. a 16 inch gun on a battleship would not fit on a PT boat

            1. a destroyer could not launch a fighter jet




 


Yea, I think the fixed slot thing was an interesting, but failed, experiment.  A carrier module's mass should be too big for a tiny hull.

on Dec 22, 2022

With respect to the "New invasion system", I am very much in favor of having the new system determine whether or not a specific fleet can invade a specific planet by looking at the makeup of the fleet and the defenses of the planet.  However, I would like for you to consider the following:

  1. I believe that players should be able to invade a planet with multiple fleets at one time with their combined strength being used to calculate the time to complete the invasion.
  2. I believe that fleets should be able to reduce the time to complete the invasion by "bombarding" the planet either before the invasion or during the invasion.
  3. I hope you fix the issue where a planet that has "Guardian Drones" cannot be invaded successfully because, after you destroy the drones and start the invasion, the drones regenerate after 3 turns causing the game to terminate the invasion due to the planet now being defended.
on Dec 22, 2022

I also have suggestions related to a couple of really annoying quirks in the movement logic that I have posted about before and hope you are looking at.

  1. When you are zoomed-in to where the actual ship design is shown, you are able to right-click on neighboring cells to move your ship to that cell, but when you are zoomed-out to where the ship display changes to an icon you cannot.  You can only move your ship if you click at least 2 cells away.
  2. If you are zoomed-out and you right-click on a cell next to a cell that contains an object (like a planet) the game decides that you really wanted to go to that object.  Stop it!  I am quite capable of deciding where I want to go.

Both of these quirks require me to zoom in to move where I want, then zoom back out.  This is very annoying.

By the way, when I refer to the appearance of a ship when zoomed-in I mean something like this:

When I refer to the appearance of a ship when zoomed-out I mean something like this:

Both of those screen snapshots are of the same ship.

on Dec 22, 2022

I think we'll see some QoL updates before the big expansion.  We are hiring engineers and others as fast as we can this past year.  It's been a manpower deficit (which is ironic since most of the engineers on GC4 are women).

on Dec 22, 2022

I regret buying GalCiv4 at launch. I've barely played it because it's an Epic exclusive and the only reason I even have to have Epic installed on my hard drive. Now it's getting a "major revamp of the entire game." It just feels like a never ending beta test. GalCiv3 was much the same. GalCiv2 was amazing because it didn't fundamentally change any major aspects of the gameplay, but added incremental improvements and content through expansions. 4X games are complex and can require poring through the manual and develepor forums, reading online guides and watching let's play videos and tutorials just to understand basic concepts. Then a "major revamp" comes along and you have to re-learn everything. 

I'll probably check the game out once GalCiv5 is announced. That way I'll know it's pretty much a finished game. 

on Dec 22, 2022

NelsMonsterX2

I regret buying GalCiv4 at launch. I've barely played it because it's an Epic exclusive and the only reason I even have to have Epic installed on my hard drive. Now it's getting a "major revamp of the entire game." It just feels like a never ending beta test. GalCiv3 was much the same. GalCiv2 was amazing because it didn't fundamentally change any major aspects of the gameplay, but added incremental improvements and content through expansions. 4X games are complex and can require poring through the manual and develepor forums, reading online guides and watching let's play videos and tutorials just to understand basic concepts. Then a "major revamp" comes along and you have to re-learn everything. 

I'll probably check the game out once GalCiv5 is announced. That way I'll know it's pretty much a finished game. 

I think the issue is the nature of digital distribution.  People now expect big updates between expansions and consider the game "abandoned".   During GC2, it was basically just me doing the updates so the updates were obviously pretty small but that was for a game that was largely sold at retail.

I don't think many people will dislike the changes we're making to GC4.  For example, the way sieges work are just frustrating at times and tedious.  We're not getting rid of them but instead we'll be making it so that there's a minimum threshold between the colony (or capital world) ability of the attacker and the planet's defense before a siege is possible.  And some of that is likely to show up as part of a free update.

If it weren't for the people who bought GC4 at launch, we wouldn't have their feedback to go on in improving the game.  With GC2, we couldn't do much because you're talking about a retail game where people didn't expect any updates to the game after it is released. 

Now, we can listen to your ideas, criticisms, suggestions and do something about it.

 

on Dec 22, 2022

Frogboy

I think we'll see some QoL updates before the big expansion.  We are hiring engineers and others as fast as we can this past year.  It's been a manpower deficit (which is ironic since most of the engineers on GC4 are women).

It may be of value to you to brainstorm the changes you are thinking about here on this forum before you start spending coder time on them.  There have been a number of design flaws that made it into the game that I believe could have been avoided by letting some "fresh eyeballs" take a look at what you are thinking of doing.

I say this as a retired programmer who has made the humbling mistake of believing that I had thought of everything when I started coding only to have an end user point out an unintended side effect that I hadn't thought of.

on Dec 22, 2022

PaulLach


Quoting Frogboy,

I think we'll see some QoL updates before the big expansion.  We are hiring engineers and others as fast as we can this past year.  It's been a manpower deficit (which is ironic since most of the engineers on GC4 are women).



It may be of value to you to brainstorm the changes you are thinking about here on this forum before you start spending coder time on them.  There have been a number of design flaws that made it into the game that I believe could have been avoided by letting some "fresh eyeballs" take a look at what you are thinking of doing.

I say this as a retired programmer who has made the humbling mistake of believing that I had thought of everything when I started coding only to have an end user point out an unintended side effect that I hadn't thought of.

Story of my life, my friend.

In my experience, the biggest issue comes down to people assuming that the thing they don't like is "obvious" and not reporting it.

For instance, we just released GC3 4.5 and that was the result of a months long thread on "what would you like improved" and incorporating a giant chunk of things from that thread in.  Immediately following release we get a bunch of "why didn't you fix X,Y,Z" where none of those things were mentioned in that thread or any other discussion we could find.

GC4 itself was in beta for a long time and the things I find annoying (the sieges) didn't seem annoying until the AI got a lot better late in development.  

 

on Dec 22, 2022

Glad to hear we are moving away from the rock, papers, scissors combat. I really want to see this succeed.

I agree with PaulLach that the most important thing you can do is write detailed descriptions of how ship classes operate in combat, and make sure they act in that way as much as possible.  

My suggestions for combat based on what you've written are:

1. Run hundreds of battles between single ship classes and/or fleet types to gather statistical data how well they perform against each other.  Then share some of this data in developer logs, or in other places.  The average player can't run thousands of battles, but if they can veiw statistical data, it will help inform their choices in game when choosing ships.  You could even gather player data to see how players are using the combat system and make adjustments from there.

2. For me, Gal Civ is just as much about the customization tools, as it is the game.  In Gal Civ, I can create any civilization I want found in media or of my own design.  I really want ship classes to feel unique, whether that be through special abilities and\or how they function in combat.

An example of this is a class for high end fighters like the X-wing, Starfury, or Gunstar.  While these ships are small and costly, they had higher survivability and firepower than their counterparts.  This class would make building fighters late game viable, and help the faction feel more unique.  The class would unlock late game, and/or only be available to certain factions.

Another example is a class solely focused on destroying fighters/bombers on that can act as crowd control for larger ships.

My other non-combat suggestion is the use of the A.I. generated images.  I don't know if there's a way to give players access to a limited version of one to help us generate new alien races, but that would be an incredible addition for the race creator.

I noticed the A.I images you've been posting to Twitter.  It's awesome to see how far A.I has come

on Dec 22, 2022

NelsMonsterX2

I regret buying GalCiv4 at launch. I've barely played it because it's an Epic exclusive and the only reason I even have to have Epic installed on my hard drive. Now it's getting a "major revamp of the entire game." It just feels like a never ending beta test. GalCiv3 was much the same. GalCiv2 was amazing because it didn't fundamentally change any major aspects of the gameplay, but added incremental improvements and content through expansions. 4X games are complex and can require poring through the manual and develepor forums, reading online guides and watching let's play videos and tutorials just to understand basic concepts. Then a "major revamp" comes along and you have to re-learn everything. 

I'll probably check the game out once GalCiv5 is announced. That way I'll know it's pretty much a finished game. 

I have played this game a lot since it came out and I would like to give you a different point of view:

  1. GalCiv4 is not a game that you play for 4 hours, beat the final big monster, and then you go buy another game to play.  It is designed so that you have almost infinite control over how the game is setup each time you play, the characteristics of the civilization you choose to play what the criteria is for winning, and the strategy you choose to play.  This means that each game you play will be different which, for me at least, makes the game very interesting and addicting.
  2. The complexity of the game (i.e. all of the options) means that there is a steep learning curve before you can play at a high level, but the game is playable right at the beginning with the default options.
  3. As you may have seen from many of my posts, there are a number of significant bugs and design flaws in the current version of the game.  However, I think it is important to point out a couple of things:
    1. The things they have gotten right far outweigh the things they have gotten wrong.
    2. They have been making improvements to the game on an ongoing basis.
    3. I am in the camp that believes that continual improvement is better than infrequent releases that contain large batches of changes.

Yes, GalCiv4 requires a large investment of time but, if you are looking for a game that you can play for a long, long time without getting bored, I believe it is an excellent choice.

Just one person's opinion.

on Dec 22, 2022

Thanks and I agree.   This is the way we get the kind of fleet combat we want.  Getting away from ahem, "medium" hulls and instead into classes (Eventually, lots of classes) that have very specific behaviors (nothing fancy just very specific) will solve so many frustrations.

So let me use this opportunity to opine my thoughts on this: (and as a reminder you guys asked for this so if anything, I'm the victim here <g>)

Class / Tag

Hull Type to use under the covers

 

Rules

Unlocked by

Requirements

Colony

Cargo

 

Colony Module

 

1 Citizen

Survey

Medium

 

Survey Module

 

1 Citizen

Probe

Tiny

 

Ignored by pirates, monsters

 

 

Constructor

Cargo

 

Starbase Module

Starbases tech

1 Citizen

Fighter

Tiny

·        

·       Defense +300% when fighting Battleships, Dreadnoughts,

·       Weapon range is +25% in

·       Start with +1 defense.

·       Target larger ships first (larger the ship the higher the priority)

·       Tactical Move Speed N + 5

 

 

 

Destroyer

Small

·        

·       Attack + 200% when fighting fighter

·       Weapon range is +33% in normal combat.

·       Start with +1 defense.

·       Targets fighters first.

 

Space Doctrine

 

Cruiser

Medium

·        

·       Attack + 100% when fighting frigates

·       Weapon range is 50% when in normal combat.

·       Start with +1 defense.

Orbital Manufacturing

 

Siege

Medium

·        

·       Increases fleet siege effectiveness by 25% (stacks).

·       Weapon damage is 25% against other ships.

·       Provides +3 to siege ability.

·       Start with +1 defense.

Space Doctrine

 

Invader

Cargo

·        

·       Increases fleet siege effectiveness by 100%. Stacks.

·       Provides + 10 to siege rating.

Planetary Invasion

1 Citizen

Battleship

Large

 

Tactical  Move Speed: N - 5

Capital Ships

1 Citizen

Dreadnought

Huge

 

Tactical Move Speed: N - 10

Advanced Capital Ships

1 Citizen

 

Gigantic

 

Removed distribute these to the huge class]

 

 

Freighter

Cargo

 

Can create a trade route

Interstellar Trade

 

 

We'll be putting in additional types but you can look at the "rules" and as long as they are simple we can look at putting them in.  

 

 

on Dec 22, 2022

So excited for the changes Draginol ... 2023 can't come soon enough!

I've played through a couple of very long games, and love the experience so far ... I haven't got any good suggestions except for the fact that you could focus on trying to maintain the "fun factor" of the game by having more exciting and fun things to do, especially in the late game.   Loving the music (especially the Star Control flavour music) but after countless hours it can be a little repetitive.  

  • Random galactic events like a Dreadlord invasion? (make Dreadlords actually scary?)
  • More missions from non-human players (that can be completed by AI also?)
  • Fluctuations of the galactic economy?
  • Galactic phenonema e.g. black holes appearing and swallowing portions of space? 
  • New species appearing out of nowhere?
  • Make minor races more dynamic and fun? 
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