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Frogboy's Articles
January 10, 2022 by Frogboy
A million years ago in the 1990s when I was designing the OS/2 versions of Galactic Civilizations I gave the player sliders to adjust what they were spending their resources on.  This system lasted right on through Galactic Civilizations II for Windows. GalCiv I for Windows GalCiv II for WindowsGalCiv III v1.0 for WindowsWhile highly useful for min-maxing a relatively simple economic system, it suffered from being pretty opaque in how it worked and was pretty terrible for immersion....
December 23, 2021 by Frogboy
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 p...
December 20, 2021 by Frogboy
The Galactic Civilizations games are known for their ship design features. But ship design occurs before the ship is made.  What about after?  Galactic Civilizations IV will be introducing a new feature for upcoming Beta version (this Winter) called “The Vault”. The Vault is a set of special items the player either produces or, more commonly scavenges across the galaxy.  Destroying the monster ships, pirates, enemy fleets, etc. will result in scavenging thing...
December 13, 2021 by Frogboy
For many years,  I have put the Galactic Civilizations games through their paces to see how well a given game does at feeling like a story.  I do this to help nitpick things we need to change.  With the beta for GalCiv IV just around the corner, I thought I’d see how well the game stacks up so far. I also will be inserting comments that normally we would have at internal meetings, but for you aspiring game developers I wanted to show some of the feedback the team gets fro...
November 24, 2021 by Frogboy
In the previous entry, we discussed whether we needed a battle viewer.  That’s because combat in GalCiv IV works somewhat differently than previous entries. Specifically: Combat on the map can involve multiple (ranged) tiles which complicates things a bit.Combat can take multiple turns which complicates thingsAfter getting a lot of helpful feedback we think we’ve come up with a way to have our cake and eat it too: AAR (After Action Reports).  Whenever combat takes place,...
October 11, 2021 by Frogboy
Starting with Galactic Civilizations II, we allowed players to go and watch their ships fight it out in battle in a separate battle viewer screen.  But, what if we could show the battle on the main screen? That is, what if we could just zoom in on a fleet and rather than it being the leader ship with a number by it, it actually changed to show the entire fleet?  So if you wanted to watch a fleet fight it out, you would just watch it right on the map. Thoughts? ___________________...
October 4, 2021 by Frogboy
The process of getting a new player into your game and making that process an enjoyable experience can be the difference between success and failure for your game.  If you make a game for a publisher, you can assume there will be a milestone that involves the onboarding.  Let’s take a look at how GalCiv IV does it and what has changed since GalCiv III. Title Screen We went through many iterations for the title screen.  How many buttons should there be? Which buttons sh...
September 7, 2021 by Frogboy
We’re working on a new map pack called The Core Worlds.  They started out based on real world locations and have been subsequently balanced.  Unlike most of our map packs, this one is not really designed for multiplayer but rather designed to make for interesting single player experiences. Part of the appeal of this map pack is having them be asymmetrical.  This means that the map positions - both in terms of geography and resources - are different from player to player.&...
September 7, 2021 by Frogboy
We’re working on a new map pack called The Core Worlds.  They started out based on real world locations and have been subsequently balanced.  Unlike most of our map packs, this one is not really designed for multiplayer but rather designed to make for interesting single player experiences. Part of the appeal of this map pack is having them be asymmetrical.  This means that the map positions - both in terms of geography and resources - are different from player to player.&...
September 1, 2021 by Frogboy
“This is just GalCiv II but with better graphics,” was a comment some GalCiv fans made when GalCiv III was first released. That was no more true than saying Civilization V was just Civilization IV with better graphics, but we understood where they were coming from.  There weren’t a lot of big bullet item changes from the previous version. That was because most of our time and budget was spent building a brand new space 4X game engine. As good as GalCiv II was, it was bu...
August 25, 2021 by Frogboy
With more people coming back to the office work on the console version of Star Control: Origins has picked up.  The first part of this has been to do a pretty thorough revamp of the game’s underlying systems in order to optimize it for the XBOX One, PS4 and also next-generation consoles. During this process we greatly improved the quality of the texture maps throughout the game which includes aliens and ships. [click on thumbnail to enlarge]The team was also able to substantiall...
August 18, 2021 by Frogboy
It has been awhile since we’ve visited the world of Elemental.  The last update to the expansion to Fallen Enchantress (AKA: Legendary Heroes) was in 2019. Hardware has continued to evolve, and with that comes the opportunity to further improve the game. Our story so far… Elemental: Fallen Enchantress – Legendary Heroes is a fantasy strategy game in which the player builds a civilization in the world of Elemental.  This world was nearly destroyed by the War of ...
August 2, 2021 by Frogboy
Somewhere around here I have the original image of the Yor from 1992.  They don’t resemble the modern Yor very much.  When I wrote the Yor origin story back in 1987 (when I was in high school) the Yor followed the common trope of AI servants who rose up against their masters.  Their masters, in this case, were a race of beings known as the Iconians (who are also in the game). The Yor of 1995Yor of 2021As time has gone by, I’ve thought about making the Yor be less Cy...
July 26, 2021 by Frogboy
One of the challenges we have in setting up maps is the question of how quickly should players be meeting other civilizations in the game?  How quickly should things show up? How much should the game direct you? I decided to take a hard look at GalCiv II and GalCiv III to see how different those first 20 turns worked out. GalCiv II: First 20 turnsTurn 1: No on-screen direction but the UI is pretty clean and My ship is already selected to move.Selected ship has an automate butto...
June 14, 2021 by Frogboy
During the development of a game, many ideas will look good on paper only to be found to not work out in practice.  Normally, these ideas get killed off before implementation and even fewer ever get seen by the public. In the case of Galactic Civilizations IV, because we’re going out in ALPHA, you will get to see some ideas fully implemented that we have already decided didn’t work out. Today’s example for discussion: The Ideology compass. Here’s how it wor...