Galactic Civilizations Expanded Universe Finished

Published on Tuesday, September 16, 2003 By Brad Wardell In PC Gaming

Phew. It's done.  So after 4 months of work we've finished up the expansion pack for Galactic Civilizations. And we're giving it away for free.  I wonder, looking back in a year or two, what the verdict will be on having made this expansion pack for free.

I think it's safe to say we could have sold this expansion pack for $15 to $20. But my "ulterior" motive is that with GalCiv we have a real hit on our hands and it is better to sacrifice short term profit for a long term user base. As we know from Object Desktop, loyal customers make a big different over the long haul. And we're in this for the long haul.

But holy cow does this expansion pack have a lot of stuff.  Take a look at all this:

Galactic Civilizations: Expanded Universe - New Features, Tweaks, and Bug Fixes

New Features :

+ Explored Star List - You can now keep track of stars you've explored but haven't colonized.
+ Search star feature
+ Rally Points Creator. From the main screen, top right button, you can create a rally point on the map.
+ Rally Point Creator Hot Key: P (for point). Hit P and it will create a rally point on the screen. Double click on a Rally point to configure it.
+ Rally Point Planet Screen. On the planet screen you can then have ships go to the rally points you previously created.
+ Rally points can be renamed.
+ Rally Points can give orders to ships once they reach the rally point.
+ Rally Point Order: Create Fleet
+ Rally Point Order: Attack nearby ships
+ Rally Point Order: Hold position (default)
+ Can send individual ships to a rally point from the ship menu (double click on ship)
+ Hot key on selected ship will bring up Rally Point list (hit the X key when a ship is selected
+ Dotted Sector Lines
+ Locked Sliders On Domestic Economic screen
+ Obsolete Button on Governor Screen - you can now make units obsolete
+ Planet screen obeys obsolete list. I.e. old ships can be hidden away.
+ Tech Tree Navigator. You can navigate through the tech tree seeing what each one does and what they lead to.
+ Hyper-link integration throughout the UI. You can right-click on a hyperlinked item to open up the tech navigator.
+ Hyper-linking integrated into the Diplomacy screen.
+ Trade Routes button on Foreign Stats Screen
+ Wrapped text list boxes on trade screen
+ Star Destroyed Explosion
+ Completely re-rendered graphics for the stars
+ Several new anomalies complete with new graphics+
+ Diplomacy Screen now has hyperlink properties for ships (will bring up a map showing where they are and what they do).
+ Hyperlinking in diplomacy screen for star systems that will bring up a mini dialog showing info on that system and where it is located visually.
+ Trade Embargo. Can now prevent trade coming from a particular player.
+ Several new random events added complete with new graphics.
+ Tons of little tweaks, fixes, changes, performance tweaks, etc.
+ Added a "None" option for rally points
+ Added option to turn off tool tips
+ When AI researched final frontier it informs you that this has occurred and final frontier victory condition for human is removed.
+ Retire option added
+ Score system tweaked to reward higher difficulty levels more
+ Arceans do not use a set tech tree but instead randomly choose based on need
+ Updated Scoring System: Players who play at higher difficulty are rewarded with significantly more points than before since teh game is more difficult to win now.
+ new debugging code for Metaverse submission (needs latest sdnetlib.dll)
+ Sort by research production added to Planet List sort options
+ New Ship: Death Knight. A more expensive battle ship class.
+ Weapon Enhancement series of techs. A series of technologies that enhance your existing ships weapons. Requires Corvette Tech.
+ Can left click on techs on the research tree to get into tech navigator
+ You can now search for stars and view all stars in galaxy.
+ Several new technologies added in that can pump up your weapons tech.
+ New random event: Computer civilization's ethical philosophy can now change during the course of the game.
+ All star graphics replaced
+ About a dozen new anomalies added.
+ AI coordinates ships somewhat better
+ New Gigantic Galaxy Size Expanded: Now 28x28 sectors (Nearly 800 sectors now!!!)
+ CHEAT KEYS. On the Options screen on the left there is now a new option "enable cheat keys".

Cheat Keys.
CTRL A adds hit points, move points, attack and defense points
CTRL B battleship
CTRL C clone selected ship
CTRL E decreases morality
CTRL G increases morality
CTRL H heals ship, restores move points
CTRL J make all human colonies complete their social and military projects
CTRL L assign all the worlds and resources to major races
CTRL M money (adds $1000)
CTRL O add anomaly
CTRL P increase the class of the planets in the selected star system
CTRL S research current tech (if shift key is also held, all techs except final frontier are researched)
CTRL T teleport
CTRL U clear FOW
CTRL V create random ship
CTRL Y create colony ship

Note: Don't try to submit a score to the Metaverse once you enable cheat keys. It will report it as 0.

+ Trade greatly decreases odds of AI asking for tribute or lowering relations.
+ Morality much more taken into account on tribute / lowering relations (no more "Altarian bastards always want tribute no matter how much trade and how nice I am!")
+ Network of friends taken into account by AI. AI looks at who you're at war with and who you're at peace with when deciding whether it should raise or lower relations.
+ Technology pace is significantly increased -- techs cost less to research now so you will go through the tech tree faster.
+ Starbases now cost 10 to maintain.
+ Constructors cost 1 to maintain.

- hard coded text taken out and put into english.str for easier foreign trnslations
- fixed data for first turn graphcs
- fixed gorvernors resetting projects bugs
- fixed bug where events cleared by shift-clicking were coming back next turn
- I League description fixed
- fixed bug where traded starbaess were moving off stacked ships
- Change in philosphy event should work correctly.
- fixed senate election occuring after changed back to Imperial
- fixed date not refreshing with new turn (used to not refresh until clicking on something forced a refresh)
- fixed bug where minimap range lines were not refreshing if an alien ship was selected or no ship was selected
- fixed some typos
- fixed bug that was causing all mini-freighters (including alien ones) to be AutoPilot, thereby causing alien ships to be selected during the move autopilot ships phase of the end of the player turn.
- fixed bug where selected governor was reset every time governor screen was unhidden
-fixed crash if you destroyed a colony while going through news events
-refresh planet list while propaganda sliders going
-fixed crash in during end turn if no one was reasearching anything
-fixed crash on fp if you trade for all remaining planets from a minor civ
-starships found in anomalies now appear in the same spot as the survey vessel to avoid hit detection problems
-fixed info warfare bug
-fixed bug where turn button gets stuck after loading end game save
- Lots of other glitches and bugs fixed.

That's more stuff than most full priced expansions come with.  Sure, there aren't any new races or a bunch of new units but some of these features are pretty major. The built in encyclopedia, the rally points, the cheat keys, hyper linking, search features. And this is on top of having already added a ton of features in 1.01, 1.02, 1.03, 1.04 and 1.05.  We've been putting out tons of free stuff all along anyway. So it will definitely be interesting to see how this works out in the long term.

Hopefully, when we go to make Elemental, The Political Machine, Mobilization, and beyond we'll have a user base that knows what our Object Desktop users know -- we'll take care of them.

The cool thing for us is that we've gotten some great talent over here at Stardock in the past few months. Our new lead cut scene animator moved here from New Zealand having just completed working on Lord of the Rings (the movie). His job was to help animate Gollum. We also have one of the world's top skinners and icon designers now here in house who left Disney to come join us. Plus some of the new development talent is really making a big difference too.  Our Pear3D engine is coming along nicely. GalCiv will be our last 2D engine (sprite based) game. Sprites just can't compete with hardware accelerated 3D in terms of performance or visual appeal.  Still, I liked 2D. I understand how it works. 3D is mumbo jumbo to me programming wise. I guess the days of me programming a whole game are long gone. I'll stick to writing computer AI.

Before I get email, you can get Galactic Civilizations at