GalCiv III: Economics, Command Economies and Citizens

Published on Saturday, October 31, 2015 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv III Dev Journals

With GalCiv III v1.4, we’ve removed the per planet production wheel.   You can read more about that here.

This has sparked a lively debate on just how much control a player should have on their economy. 

Planet Specialization

Planets in Galactic Civilizations III can be specialized much more than in previous versions.  An industrial world, through adjacencies, can result in massive bonus manufacturing.  However, on top of that, players can direct their citizens to work more in those factories via the global production wheel (and previously the local production wheel).

So let’s talk about what that actually means.

Command Economies

By default, your citizens work at whatever jobs are available on your planets. 

If you live in the West (USA, Europe, Japan, etc.) you are free to choose the job you want.


By default, your citizens work the jobs they want.



Earth in 2251. M:23, R:15, W:9: Total of 47

So in this model, Earth is producing 23.7 quadrillion tons of manufactured goods, 15.1 units of research, and is generating taxable income of 8.7T credits (for GalCiv III we’ve gotten rid of the units of measurement).

However, new to GalCiv III is the concept of being able to FORCE people to work certain jobs.   That is, I can draft people to go work in the factories or in the labs or raise their taxes:


Through the production wheel, I can make people to  work in the factories, raise their taxes or help out in the labs.

In every previous GalCiv, if you raised taxes, there was a corresponding morale penalty.  We don’t have that here because it was decided it was too convoluted to have it just for taxes.  However, what we really should have considered is that it’s not that people hate taxes per se, they had COERCION.  They don’t like their government controlling their activity.  If my taxes are 50%, for instance, that means 50% of the time I’m working FOR the government.

When I move my wheel to 100% manufacturing I’m conscripting my citizens to work in the factory and I get a corresponding boost to manufacturing:


Now, I get 70.8, 0, –3.6.  You’ll note that this number if much MUCH higher. Total: 67.

Note that in this example, my morale is still 78%.  In GalCiv II, if you raised your taxes to 100%, your morale would plummet unless you invested heavily into things to keep them happy.  But in GalCiv III, there’s no penalty at all for setting manufacturing to 100%. 

I understand why people like the production wheel

Imagine if in GalCIv II we let people set their taxes to 100% and there was no downside to this.  Now, imagine if we put out GalCiv II v1.4 and we made it so you couldn’t change taxes.  People would have been ticked off.  Understandably.  But I hope also that people would understand that such a system is broken.  There’s no such thing a a free lunch.

Ending the Free Lunch

I’ve had a lot of time to think about the production wheel.  By reading the forums, at length, I’ve gotten a much better idea of what the issue really is.  It’s the free lunch aspect of the production wheel I don’t like.  In the real world, command economies don’t do well against free markets in the long-run.  But in GalCiv III, they’re absolutely the way to go.  The problem ISN’T the wheel on its own (I don’t like the micro management but I have no issue with people voluntarily choosing to play that way).  The problem is that you get to coerce people without any downside.

How I’d like to solve this

First, the Terran Alliance won’t support the command economy.  That is, you won’t be able to set tax policy on a per planet basis as the Terran Alliance.  However, a new racial trait called “Command Economy” can be added that will be part of the Yor.  The Yor aren’t mindless robots but unlike humans, they can be micro-managed in ways that humans can’t.

Second, we will introduce the concept of COERCION into the system.

How Coercion would work

Let’s say your planet is producing 11 units of goods and services (as seen in the screenshot below). 

What coercion would do is that for every point above 33 your maximum focus is, you’d diminish those goods by a percent. 

Example: Let’s say I set Manufacturing to 100%.  That’s 67% above the 33% natural rate.  Your goods and services would then be multiplied by (1 – 0.67).  Thus, I would suddenly only get 4 goods and services and I would thus take an overall production penalty.  In this example, instead of getting 70.8 manufacturing I’d only get around 50 and my planet’s population would grow slower.  But it’s still massively above  the 23 that is the default.


Right now, your approval is based on the goods you provide per citizen.



Random example explaining coercion.


How the UI would communicate this

Similarly, civilizations with a command economy could set it on a per planet basis but it would work the same, you could just micro it on a per planet basis if you wanted.

NOW, let’s talk about the future

Eventually, GalCiv III is going to have a bunch of different types of governments to choose from.  The reason the Economy tab is done the way it is is because it’s been designed with the idea that eventually the type of government you have will determine what shows up in that tab.   So one type of government might have a bunch of sliders, another might have almost no controls, another might have players choosing a series of subsidy policies and so on.  For now, we just have the production wheel. But it’s never been intended to be the end-all be all.  

So when?

I’d like to see this change put into 1.5 or sooner.   It’ll take a little balancing to make sure pacing isn’t hosed. But ultimately, it will result in a much more balanced, less…arbitrary economy and allow us to justify more types of planetary improvements, super projects and other goodies that offset this.

Oh, and we can get rid of the large empire penalty too since it won’t be needed under this system.