Brad Wardell's Blog


The Galactic Civilizations IV BETA Guide Tour

Published on Tuesday, January 25, 2022 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv IV Dev Journals

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Introduction

If you’re coming from Galactic Civilizations III, you’re in for a treat. And if you have never played a Galactic Civilizations game before, then know this: this game is specifically designed to answer to the question, “I want to play a space 4X game, what game should I start with?”

Read on to learn what this game is all about, who made it, and why we made it.

A little about the team

The highest rated space strategy game of all time is called Galactic Civilizations II: Twilight of the Arnor. With a 92 Metacritic score, it is tied with Alpha Centauri, Unreal Tournament, and other greats.  After Galactic Civilizations II, the team went on to other projects and our lead developer went on maternity leave for a few years.  Now, armed with a decade's worth of ideas, the team has been reunited for Galactic Civilizations IV.

The big changes

When we started designing GalCiv IV, we had a long list of grievances with the 4X genre.  We are, after all, the first customers for these games.  Moreover, since GalCiv III was released, the space strategy genre kind of exploded with some really great games that had their own ideas and innovations. 

Here's a high level summary of the new features and what they are meant to do:

  1. Sectors.  These are maps that connect to other maps and dramatically improves pacing, letting us have much bigger maps (because let’s face it, 200 tiles of dead space is not fun to traverse).
  2. Characters.  This will be the most obvious first turn change for players. Less spreadsheety, more nuance.
  3. Policies.  Our stats show that the vast majority of players play as the Terran Alliance. Not even a custom civ. Sigh.  So we need a way to allow players to customize their civ during the game.  Once you use this feature you’ll never want to go back because it’s obvious.
  4. Prestige Victory.  4X games are notorious for knowing you’re going to win long before you actually win.  The Prestige counter combined with the new Galactic Achievements feature allows players to move the game to the endgame quickly.
  5. Executive Orders. GalCiv IV introduces a new resource called “Control” that allows players to perform direct actions on the game. These actions have consequences too, but allow players more direct ways to intervene.
  6. Core worlds. A big issue in 4X games is the micro-management late game. In every GalCiv playthrough, later in the game the player might have dozens of planets to manage (just like in other 4X games where you might have dozens of cities or stars or whatever).  GalCiv IV has core worlds which are the high quality worlds that matter which are then fed by colonies which require no management.  So late game, the player might have 50 worlds in their civilization but only 9 that are core worlds.
  7. Combat. Battles (and invasions) are no longer necessarily over in a single turn.  An invasion might take several turns to occur.  Transports are only required for core worlds, whereas colonies can be taken by any ship with weapons. Battles can also take place across multiple tiles, allowing for ships with extreme range weapons to soften up targets from multiple tiles away.
  8. Missions.  We eliminated “the campaign” and instead took the content and made it so that every game can feel like a campaign with “missions,” which are story driven quests based on who you are playing as, who you are playing against, and what characters are in your civilization.
  9. Ideology. Gone is the old “good” vs. “neutral” vs. “evil”.  Now there are 7 categories of ideology each with two trees.  The choices players face are no longer “I’m a good person vs. I’m a terrible being”. Instead the choices might be between cooperation vs. creativity or innovation vs. tradition or compassion vs. pragmatism.
  10. New Economic System. In the new system, resources are brought in from the worlds themselves and then multiplied (as a %) by the population who are empowered (against by a %) by the improvements on the planet.  The approval rating on a planet directly affects production (making approval matter a lot) with new elements such as crime (which affects planetary income) and pollution (which affects food production) as additional potential casualties of player decisions.  And approval is now extremely nuanced and explained in great detail.

This is, by no means, a comprehensive list.  The game has an entirely new UI that is much cleaner and more effective to use.  The general game mechanics work together in really nice and intuitive ways. We have nested tooltips and lots of other goodies.  This guide will walk you through the game as it stands Pre-Beta 1.

 

A walkthrough of the start of Galactic Civilizations IV

A full walkthrough of an entire game is well beyond the scope of this article, but this should be enough to get you started.

 

The Main Screen

The main screen has room for the new ship designer (see bottom row) along with links to Discord and other places.

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GalCiv IV’s graphics engine gets a big upgrade with PBR (Physically Based Rendering).

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You can also upload your designs to be printed.

 

Who do you want to play as?

GalCiv IV comes with a lot more civilizations than GalCiv III did.  We intend to have around 18 at launch, not counting the custom civs you can create.

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You can also directly customize your civilization while setting them up.

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Setting up your galaxy

In previous GalCiv games, you played on a single map (a sector).  In GalCiv IV you can set up the size of your sector (this is like setting the map size in GalCiv I/II/III), but now you can also set up how many sectors you want.

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You can also tell the game how close you want other opponents to be to you.

 

Opponents

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Opponent setup is fairly straight forward.  You can, however, set up their intelligence individually, as well as their teams.

 

Into the game

The year is 2307.  Earth has formed the Terran Alliance.  Earth has 3 ships:

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The starting ships that the humans have include:

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The Discovery, a survey ship.  Survey ships can explore anomalies.

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The Endeavor, a colony ship filled with people ready to start a new colony.

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Abd Theia, an unmanned exploration ship that has unlimited range.

 

Survey Ships

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The top command (top right of the card) displays any automated feature of the ship.  In this case, auto-survey.

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It takes 3 turns to survey an anomaly now, thus rewarding players who decide to build a lot of survey ships later.

Survey ships have the ability to attach new items and equipment to them becoming - if they survive - quite powerful late game.

 

Research

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When it comes to researching technology, different techs have different likelihoods of being available at a given time. 

However, players can “reshuffle” to try and get the tech they want - if they're willing to pay an extra 20%.

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I’m going to choose Starbases.  In GalCiv IV, when you get a technology that unlocks something interesting, it tends to give you free samples.  For instance, unlocking the Starbase tech gives you a couple of Constructor ships.

 

Governing

No one is going to accuse GalCiv IV of just being GalCiv III with better graphics.  This is the new Civ Manager.

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Setting your tax rate affects approval which affects output.

Max taxes brings in more money, but your production is very low.

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Low taxes does the opposite:

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So it’s a question of balance.

Here’s what “Normal” taxes do:

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Look at that approval. 90%.  It won’t stay that way.

 

Policies

Next up are the policies.  At the start, you have one free one.  So which one do you want?

  1. Brainstorming  [+2 Research on your home world.]
  2. Coerced Colonization [Doubles population growth, but lowers approval by 5%]
  3. Fast Exploration [+2 to movement but at a cost of 50% of your HP]
  4. Heart of the Empire [+10% to influence and +10% to money]
  5. Land Exploitation [+5 to credits per turn but +30% to pollution – which lowers food production]

I’m going to pick Fast Exploration.

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And then drag and drop it:

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Later technologies will open up more policies.

 

Managing your Core World (Earth)

In this game, the capital is in Florida, apparently.

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We admit that we did this part of the design as a hat tip to classic strategy games.  But it is also quite fun.

Different tiles have different strengths.

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Also, in the Beta we will sprinkle in random special traits to make sure your home world isn’t the same every game.

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There’s a lot of dragging and dropping in GalCiv IV.  This helps prevent a lot of accidental mis-clicks that we saw in previous games.

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I drag and drop my Manufacturing Center over to central Africa and then queue up manufacturing districts to be adjacent.

When you click on a tile, you will see what it’s good at:

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New technologies will bring up additional options.  But this eliminates the listbox of death issue we’ve traditionally had by just having these districts be levels instead of a unique building for every possible one.

 

Citizens

Up in the top right are the citizens of this planet.  So, a planet with a population of 5 has 5 citizens.

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Each citizen has their own strengths and weaknesses. So for the uber min-maxers, there’s a lot to play with, which is also why we keep the # of core planets to a reasonable number.

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This is also where you can find out where your approval comes from.  The total approval of a planet is just the average of its citizens.  She hates our culture because she’s Harmonious and our civilization is biased towards individualism:

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Throughout the game, players can make choices that will change their ideology in different areas based on the kind of civilization they want to have.

 

Shipyard

Core worlds can have shipyards. 

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Another new feature in GalCiv IV are advisors who suggest what you should do.

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Your culture advisor recommends the colony ship while your science advisor suggests the probe, and your military advisor who runs the shipyard thinks you should build probes as well.  This also gives secret insight onto what the AI players are likely doing… Winking smile

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So I choose Rush the Colony ship to start my colony rush.

 

Executive Orders

I recommend using these early.

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The first one is super useful in exploring some nearby territory.  The other one, Draft Colonists, might make people a little mad, but getting those early colonies up is important.

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By using the Telescope take over, I can see there’s a really good planet nearby.

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This planet is a class 23, which means it has 23 tiles on it if you choose to put a governor on it to turn it into a core world (note: Governors aren’t AI, they give buffs and penalties based on the character you use).

It also has 3 minerals, 5 tech, 6 wealth, 7 food and 1 influence.  If you leave it as a colony, this output will flow to its nearest core world (in this case, Earth).

 

Economics

Let’s explain the new economic system.  It’s much more straight forward in how it works but far more sophisticated too.

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Here’s Earth. Turn 1.

Its inputs are just Earth’s natural richness in these areas at the start of the game. In this case, the year 2307. 

The outputs are what happens after your people get done processing it.  Let’s take a look:

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So your mineral input was 3.  Then various “Stuff” gets applied to it.  And then, lastly, it’s multiplied by your approval (80%).  In this case, it ends up a wash.

Here is food:

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In this case, my input was 12 but I lost 12% pollution. 

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But let’s say I really care about food.  If you run out of food, your people will go hungry which ends population growth and makes people unhappy.  I’m going to go way out on a limb and say that starvation is bad.

Now, let’s make 4 of my 5 citizens farmers.

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Voila.  Instead of 11 food being produced I now get 14.  However, my manufacturing has gone down because they were previously (and by default) workers. 

So yeah, you can really tinker with these planets which, again, is why we have Core worlds. 

 

Colonizing Mars

I drafted colonists with my Executive Order and am sending those colonists to Mars.

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We have arrived on Mars.

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When we colonized Mars we got an event.  There are 3 options here.  Each one does something different.  The first will give us a leader. image

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So now we have a colony on Mars and it sends back 2 minerals, 1 wealth, and 1 influence back to its Core world (Earth).

So back on Earth you see this:

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Now, Mars does consume food.  So keep that in mind.

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Leaders

So we mentioned getting a leader, this brings us to where the new character system really shines.

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Going to the Leaders screen you can spend money to recruit leaders.   Like all characters, they have the Intelligence, Social skills, Diligence, and Resolve.  Later in the game, you will be able to train your own citizens to be leaders but for now, you need to recruit them.

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The key things to keep in mind on leaders are:

  1. How good their stats are.  (5, 6, 8, 6 from the screenshot)
  2. Their loyalty (60)
  3. How much they cost
  4. How long they’re going to be available to recruit before leaving.
  5. What their backstory is, because this can trigger missions.

Once I recruit a few, now it’s time to put them to work.

 

Ministers

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Your ministers help run your empire.  And by run, I mean they give buffs to various areas based on the stats of your leaders.  The color of the ministry corresponds to the stat they make the most use of.

Let’s put Bryan in charge of Exploration:

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Having him there gives me +9 more range for my ships instantly plus an extra move for all my ships. 

But I can drag him over to be in charge of tech and get this benefit:

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1 additional slot plus 5% more tech research.  5 isn’t great, as Brian’s intelligence is only average.  So I’m going to put him back as Minister of Exploration.

Making Ivan in charge of tech gives me a 9% boost.

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Now I’ll put Masako in charge of Colonization:

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Her social skills are 6 (above average) but I don’t really need a 6% boost to approval right now.

Instead, I’m going to look at my Commanders tab.

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These are special ships that different based on what civilization you play as.

Each one is unique and makes use of the skills of your leader that you put in command.

So I put Masako in charge of the TAS Curiosity.

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This ship has a survey module.

 

Factions

This will come as a complete shock, but within a given society there are factions.  Not everyone agrees with the way your government should be run.  I know, this is unbelievable.  In GalCiv IV, every civilization has their own set of factions to deal with.

The Terran Alliance have 4:

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Most factions have pros and cons.  Let’s bring Ivan and Bryan back and put them here instead and see how that goes:

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Assigning them to work with the Warforged Movement improves our shipyard production by 2% while raising crime by 4%.  Needless to say, not worth it.  That’s because both of them have 2 at resolve (i.e. they are very low on resolve and that’s the stat this movement cares about while crime goes up based on their social skills and note that both of them have 10s for social.  So this is a terrible place to put them.

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Putting Ivan on the science team gives us a 5% boost in research.  But this isn’t nearly as good as he got as minister of tech.  Lesson learned early on: fill the ministry positions first.  If I put both of them here, I get:

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Still not as good as what Ivan did as minister.

Now that this is set up, let’s check out Earth again.

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My research has gone up.

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That’s because having Ivan as Minister increased my output by 9%.

And we have just finished TURN 1.

 

Turn 2

That colony ship I rushed the last turn is now ready to be used.

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Now it’s time to decide who gets to...go.

Alpha testers have already found (aka admitted) that they end up putting their criminals (some citizens have a criminal trait) or their most picky citizens on transports to colonize.  Thankfully, we know this never happened in our history.

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She has high expectations.  Well, I hope she enjoys the icy planet of Artemis. Stop judging me!

So now we have 3 colonies.

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And Earth’s doing pretty well.  But not as well as you might expect:

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First, crime has gone up.  Colonies tend to have more crime on them (though it’s still better to ship criminals out there than keep them on a core world but I digress).

Second, people don’t like rushing production.

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But still, we’re on our way.  Nevertheless, it’s a waste to have Altair V be a mere colony.

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And now I have a second core world.

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Now, the governor’s loyalty matters.  It’s 45 right now which is fine.  But if it gets too low, he can start to cause trouble or even take his planet and colonies independent.  Quality planets can really magnify the resources coming into it, eventually.  But not immediately.  At first, they’re actually a net loss. Look at the stats in the above screenshot.  In every case, they are providing less than what they were when they were a colony.  Lesson learned: Don’t fall for trying to make every planet a core world.  Only really good planets make good candidates, and even then it takes awhile to have a positive outcome.

 

Meanwhile…What is going to be your ideology?

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My survey ship, the TAS Discovery, has encountered a debris field.

Each choice has consequences:

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Each choice gives you awareness of an ideology.  It does not, however, actually give you points in that category.  Awareness is the first step.  How you spend your culture points is what matters.

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So now you have more awareness of Opportunity which means when you acquire a culture point (which you get from completing missions and through tech) you can then gain the benefits from adopting the traits of a given ideology tree. 

My other Survey ship, the Curiosity, has also found something:

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And now boom:

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I have another level of awareness.  We are still balancing this system (and will be throughout the beta), but the goal is for these to become very powerful, as you won’t be able to pick very many throughout the game.

Just be aware: Other civilizations have very strong relations bonuses and penalties based on how similar your ideologies are.

 

Starbases

Starbase technology has arrived, which not only lets me build Constructor ships but also gives me two constructors immediately.

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Starbases are designed to essentially lay claim to resources within their zone of control.  Let’s look at our solar system.

Other than planets and asteroids the only weird stuff are anomalies which your survey ships deal with are galactic resources and relics.

Precursor relics are pretty hard to miss.

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This demonic Deep Space Nine looking thing is some sort of ancient Precursor manufacturing relic.  Controlling one of these gives your entire civilization a manufacturing boost.

And this is an Ascension Relic:

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No one knows exactly where the Precursors went but these ascension relics kind of give a clue. Controlling one of these gives you a prestige bonus, which helps you win the game faster.

Then, just beyond the Oort cloud is this:

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This is an Elerium node.  These are required for advanced beam weapons.

And if I zoom out really far:

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You will see there are quite a few resources to choose from.  Each with its own benefit.   I’m going to go with the Manufacturing relic first.

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Now, you can see the area that a future starbase will be able to claim.  This range can be increased with technologies and other events as well. Just be very careful.  If you hit the G key, you can actually see the grid:

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As long as the range goes into the grid tile, then it’s in its range.

Now I just need to construct the starbase:

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There are three types of starbases in the game:

  1. Military
  2. Communications
  3. Economic

Economic starbases only show up if there is a core world in range.

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So here there are only two choices.

Military will give my ships in its area a boost whereas Communications will increase my influence in the area and help spread it which helps bring my culture across the galaxy.

I’m going to choose military because it’s close to Earth and I want to protect this area.

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Now I can add an Archeology lab to start benefit from those relics.

So here on turn 5 you can see my growing empire.

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But it is a small part of the overall sector:

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Which in turn, is a small part of the galaxy (based on my game setup choices).

 

Mining Asteroids

With Starbases researched, I now research Asteroid mining.

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I can also look at the Technology Navigator to see what different techs lead to.

Getting Asteroid mining spawns two Asteroid mining ships that you can send to asteroid fields.

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Asteroids provide small but meaningful boosts to mineral input.

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Space is Dangerous

There are things out there that will kill you if they get the chance.  Remember the probe I sent out? Well, it found…something. Then it blew up.

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At some point, we will need to start arming our ships.

 

UI Tricks

In the top right is your empire management UI.

The third one manages planets.

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Uncolonized planets at the bottom are planets that be be colonized.  Big ones are good planets and little ones are not.

If you have a Colony ship selected, you can right click onto an uncolonized planet and it will go there.  The little buttons at the top allow for sorting.

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Core worlds can build their own Shipyards. Don’t forget to do that.

And with that our journey really begins.  We haven’t even met any aliens yet, fought any battles or gone on any missions yet.  We’ll do a late game version of this guide another time.  This should be enough to get started.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments!

 

Appendix A: Let’s talk scale

So how big can a game of Galactic Civilizations IV get? Pretty big.  Let’s take a look.

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Earth and the moon.

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Our solar system.

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Our sector.  This would be a “medium” map in Galactic Civilizations III.

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Zooming out, we see another sector.

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Zooming out further, we see a bunch more sectors.

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Zooming further out, and we see there’s even more sectors out there and that our sector isn’t even the biggest.

GC4 Beta v0.75 preview

Published on Sunday, January 23, 2022 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv IV Early Access Feedback

This is, by no means, a complete list but here are some of the changes coming up:

  • Unwavering ability adds +100 to rebellion resistance (Takes much longer to culture flip)
  • Assigning a diplomat benefit increased from +1 to +3 relation points.
  • Shared borders diplomatic penalty reduced from -2 to -1.5
  • Want to conquer the galaxy effect on relations reduced from -2 to -1.5
  • Civs with "Cruel" AI trait double the effect of the above.
  • Base culture flip resistance increased from 10 to 100 (much slower to culturally flip a planet so that when you conquer a planet it doesn't just flip back).
  • War endurance increased for most civs so that they won't ask for peace unless there's been a genuine change in status.
  • Enforce the habitable planet counts so that occasional really means it.

  • Balance pass across habitable planet settings now that the setting is being enforced.
  • The influenceRadiusRoot changes over the course of the game so that all the players borders eventually grow to fill the map.

  • Diplomatic modifiers scale over the course of the game via # of turns.

  • Disabled code that was either preventing ships from moving or forcing them back into orbit.

  • Put in error checking code to prevent AI from seeing any planets it hasn't explored.

  • AI much much beter at conducting galactic wars with its ships
  • Cruel AI players don't care about defending class 1 planet colonies. Sorry. You're screwed.

  • Aggressive civs don't build defensive oriented ships.
  • AI much better at managing its planets
  • AI way less likely to declare war until they have a decent military.
  • Strip mining increases pollution by 1% (instead of 20%) (it adds up)

  • AI smarter about what durational projects it will run.
  • General planet improvement balance pass based on new economic factors.
  • Fixed Bob.

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  • New music added.
  • AI values larger ships more making them more likely to build them.
  • Prestige victory categories get caps to prevent a runaway stat from resulting in game over, man!
  • AI will now compare themselves iwth their opponents and adjust their strategies based on keeping up.
  • AI much more likely to buidl starbases.
  • Medium hull cost reduced from 60 to 30
  • Medium hull design slots increased from 5 to 6
  • Large hull size reduced from 120 to 60 (this will probably get more adjustments)
  • Large hull design slots increased from 8 to 9
  • Huge hull size cost reduced from 240 to 120 (this will probably be adjusted)
  • Huge hull slots increased from 11 to 12.

 

 

Beta 0.75 will be out this week.

GalCiv IV Dev Journal #15 - Internal Factions

Published on Monday, January 10, 2022 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv IV Dev Journals

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.

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GalCiv I for Windows

 

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GalCiv II for Windows

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GalCiv III v1.0 for Windows

While 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.  It also substantially limited how differentiated we could make the different alien species. 

With GalCiv III: Crusade we introduced the leader system that let players put their leaders into various categories to boost them.

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GalCiv III: Crusade

This was a much better setup than what we had had before.  Much easier to understand.  However, once again, every race was identical and it was a little cumbersome.  Moreover, it didn’t really lend itself to different play styles. 

Game designers frequently claim that their game allows for both tall and wide strategies but in my experience, that really isn’t true unless you give players the tools to build a civilization that allows them to play tall (or wide) but that strategy also precludes the opposite strategy from being employed simultaneously.

This is where internal factions come in: These are civilization specific groups that typically provide some strength and some weakness based the attributes of the leader you are putting in and how much favor you have with that faction already which itself is heavily determined by the ideological strategy you’re playing as.  That’s a lot to take in so let me give you an example:

You can’t play as Space Commies and then simply turn on a dime and benefit from the Space Capitalists Guild (or vice versa). 

 

Internal Factions in action

Let’s try out some civilizations and look at how all these new systems work together.

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The Pre-Beta list of Civs

 

 

A recap of people and their smells, desires and benefits

The first thing to remember is that in Galactic Civilizations IV, every citizen has their own set of stats.  Here is an example of a human citizen who has made leadership their career.

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Hi Ivan!

Now, besides the fact that every character (or most characters anyway) have a backstory based quest event that can potentially come up, they also have 4 stats plus how loyal they are to your civilization.

The 4 stats, intelligence, social skills, diligence and resolve come in handy depending on what you’re trying to do.  And many of these people have other traits like genius or criminal or timid (our Australian alpha testers may note the irony of shipping off their criminals on colony ships to live on some god forsaken desert world for instance).

These stats interact with internal factions and their bonuses along with the civilizations’ overall ideology.

 

 

A recap of the ideology of a civilization

In the original GalCiv, there were 3 ideologies: Good, Neutral and Evil.  So sue me, I was 20 years old in 1991 when I was less…sophisticated.  In GalCiv IV, we have 7 different ideology categories each with its own ying and yang.  So for instance, Tradition vs. Innovation.  Secrecy vs. Transparency.  Equality vs. Opportunity.

On Earth, there are big cultural differences here as well.  Shame vs. Face.  Harmony vs. Diversity, etc. 

In GalCiv IV, the player gains awareness of different philosophies (in the same way that we gain awareness of different ways of thinking) and then can gain culture points to actually embrace a given ideological trait.  I.e. I know of eating babies but I have not embraced that it’s a good thing to eat babies.  Awareness vs. adoption.

The net result is that your adoption of these various cultural traits will slowly build a profile on what kind of people you are.

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The traits of the Terran Alliance at the start of the game.

 

Quick summary so far

Your civilization is made up of people. These people are good (and bad) at different things.  Your civilization has an overall cultural ideology that you develop through the course of playing the game and making various decisions. Each civilization has 4 internal factions which give your civilization bonuses (and penalties) based on the people you assign to them as well as their favor towards you which is based on how well your cultural ideology matches theirs.

 

 

 

Example 1: The Terran Alliance

So let’s return to Ivan.  We are ready to put him to work at one of these Internal Factions.  Each time we assign one of our people to an internal faction our favor with them goes up by 1 and the higher their favor, the more bonuses we get from them.

The Terran Alliance’s native species are humans.  You can design your own civilization (soon) and pick the 4 factions you want yourself.  But the 4 that the Terran Alliance have are:

 

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Warforged, Natural League, The Science Team, the Media Alliance

 

Warforged helps build up your manufacturing base so you can get ships out there.  They are, however, a little shady so the more people you add, the higher your crime rate will go up.

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Warforged: +5% manufacturing but +1% to crime

Now this isn’t a case where they’re “balanced” (i.e. a full trade off).  A tiny increase in crime is worth it.  But you add more and more and eventually you’ll have to do something:

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The benefit of the Warforged faction is based on your leader’s resolve.  So if that person’s resolve is low, don’t put him or her in there.  Ivan is pretty good.

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But Tali is not. 

Instead, we should put Tali in the Media Alliance because she has an 8 social score.

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And look at how much she provides. A 24% boost to influence.  The second number is the hit to your diplomacy ability which, as you can see, is very low here.  Besides Tali having good social skills, the Media Alliance have a high favor towards you already.

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The Media Alliance favor was already 4 without Tali because the Terran Alliance is strong on liberty and innovation.  The Media Alliance also likes transparency (as opposed to secrecy).

If I put all 3 of my recruited leaders here I get this:

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And what does that translate to?

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My planets get a 35% boost to their influence generation which is pretty good.

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Which means my sphere of influence will grow faster and make it easier to culturally conquer other civilizations.

Of course, there is a catch: There are diminishing returns for how much impact each leader has.  Adding 100 leaders to a given faction won’t give you 100 times the benefit.  It’ll be a lot less at that point.  But it will still add up and acts as a great sink to put additional leaders later in the game to help shape your civilization.

 

Example 2: The Drengin Empire

The Drengin Empire have their own internal factions to deal with.

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The Drengin have a Slaver’s Guild, a Superiority League and their own Natural and War Forged groups.  Slavers not only increase manufacturing but also reduce maintenance on planets.  The Superiority League increases research at the cost of growth.

Example 3: The Corporate Sector

The Iridium species (sometimes called the Iridium Corporation) play quite differently from other civilizations.  They essentially play to buy off everyone and everything. 

image

The Corporate Sector seeks victory based on the free market and capitalism and just getting better prices.

image

 

None of their factions care about research or manufacturing.  The Free Market Society adds pure money into the system based on giving them a free hand to do whatever it is they do that is most definitely none of our business. The cost is that it makes people a little bit unhappy.  The second is the Banking clan.

image

They underwrite all the loans in the galaxy which makes the player very rich but lowers their relations a tad with everyone.  Now, let’s say we put everyone in the free market faction.

image

That’s +57 credits per turn, per core world.  Absolutely insane.

image

However, not everything is happy in free market land.  The people are slightly unhappy and you don’t have a way to increase manufacturing or research.

image

 

Look how imbalanced it is.

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But the Corporate Sector, unlike everyone else, can easily afford to have super low taxes which makes people a lot happier which increases production.  Thus, you can play with low taxes, but still making lots of money without quite as terrible research and manufacturing.  And money can buy a lot of things in this universe.

 

Replayability

The goal here is to allow players to play the game in lots of different and interesting ways while helping each civilization be more distinct.

 

________________________________________________________

GalCiv IV Journals

Version 0.71 warmup

Published on Sunday, January 9, 2022 By Brad Wardell In Galactic Civilizations IV

We expect to have the BETA out this month.  Which means that we are starting to do more than just tighten up the graphics.

However, we are, you know, tightening up the graphics this month too.

Here's a changelog from this weekend to give you a sneak preview of this week's new build:

  • Fixed bug where you could have more policy slots in theory than you could place resulting in a broken game. Sorry!
  • New Faction: Spacing Guild
  • New Faction: Conversion core (Yor)
  • New Faction: Production Core (Yor)
  • New Faction: Empathy Society (Mimot)
  • New Faction: The Science Team! (Humans of course)
  • New Faction: Media Alliance (Terran Alliance)
  • New Faction: Banking Clan (Corporate Sector)
  • New Faction: The Freemarket Society (Corporate Sector)
  • New Faction: Thrive Group
  • New Faction: Ecologism
  • New Faction: Slaver's Guild
  • New Faction: Superiority League
  • New Faction: Technological Singularity
  • New Faction: The Mining Guild
  • New Faction: Warrior Caste
  • Governments removed
  • Call Election removed
  • Existing Factions updated so that they tend to have one good benefit with a small negative effect.
  • Cutter's Guild faction no works.
  • Yor civilization now more evil than ever
  • Default civilizations updated to use the new factions
  • XP needed to go up a level increased. (probably not enough)

  • Big balance pass on other factions
  • Faction Leaders give a diminishing return (i.e. adding 20 leaders to say Warforged will have a diminishing benefit)
  • Lots of new flavor text based on race. Special focus on the Festron this time.
  • Changed references of "empire" to "civilization" when found.
  • New Policy: Xeno Harvesting (don't ask).
  • Removed "Gun rights" policy.
  • Balance pass on policy benefits.
  • Planetary Stimulus policy now requires Colonial Bureaucracy tech.
  • Defensive Measures policy now requires Defensive Studies tech.
  • Heart of the Empire policy cannot be used by Relelentless trait civs and can only be used by carbon based life forms.
  • Factions screen (for leader management) reworked to fix cut off text and make more pleasing.
  • Civilization manager (policy screen) eliminates the ideological bars and governments for easier viewing.
  • General reworking of Civ Manager (policy screen) for easier viewing and have more space.
  • Made sure techs don't provide more than 7 policy unlocks.

  • Criminal chance for Yor is now 0. Because they're the Yor!
  • Balance pass on all planets to make their production more in line with the more gentle approval penalty.
  • Added missing descriptions to several stat types.
  • Added a tiny bit of pollution to various manufacturing improvements.
  • UI updated to say N of M players instead of max players.
  • Removed reference to elections and governments from policy screen.

 

 

 

Christmas break coding fun

Published on Tuesday, December 28, 2021 By Brad Wardell In Galactic Civilizations IV

For me, programming is what I do for fun.  So while Stardock is closed...I get to play with the GC4 code.

Here's a running list of changes I'm working on that may end up in the next update:

  • Base technology rate for adjusting for map size changed from 500 to 1200 since GC4 has sectors and most of the "hexes" aren't real. This drastically reduces the # of turns to get techs.
  • Galaxy setup screen now automatically adjusts player counts based on the actual # of usable hexes in the universe.
  • Adjusted the number of players recommended to take into account both the size of the sectors AND the number of sectors.
  • New # of stars calculation for map generation so that there is a much greater variance in star frequency based on sector count and sector sizes.
  • Nebula spawning redone to deal with the sectors (basically, the area outside sectors are still technically hexes and this needs to be deal with when spawning things).
  • AI's "ripe for conquest" calculation ramps up rather than suddenly turning on.
  • AI deals with starvation much better (food starvation not some sort of fancy CPU starvation or whatever). Not real food but the food in the game.
  • Taxes have a much bigger effect on approval than previous.
  • Research and Manufacturing are now knee-capped by approval. I.e. a 55% approval means your research on a planet is adjusted to 0.55 of what it would have been. (lots of rebalancing to deal with this incoming).
  • Colonies (not core worlds) get a free +1 good so that they're not so bloody miserable all the time (they're still pretty miserable but sheesh).
  • Colonies (not core worlds) get a free 0.1 per planet class of goods to make the approval rate of say Paridia a very different thing than say Ceti Alpha V.
  • AI targets low taxes rather than medium taxes.
  • AI now uses the AI Preference tech for choosing executive orders to use.
  • AI much more likely to build constructors when there are resources and stuff to go get.
  • AI will abort building endless "defender" (the little ships) if it can't find something else to do and instead will try to produce mission ships or other types of ships.
  • Fixed a bug where the "needs more defenders" value was inverted...
  • AI more willing to build ships that take longer to build if they're at peace.
  • AI more likely to build supply ships if the other core world isn't too far away.
  • Fixed bug that resulted in AI not rushing ships if it was rich.
  • Write a new heuristic (i.e. crappy) tile distance calculator that will need to be improved to determine how far away a tile is when it's in another sector (since, again, the space between sectors are technically tiles and we need to largely ignore this distance and deal with where the different subspace stream lanes are.  This way, the AI will go into other sectors far more readily. THIS NEEDS TO BE IMPROVED ON.
  • Uncolonized planets that can be colonized have a whiter, more easy to see glow around them.
  • Fixed a few crash issues.
  • AI uses heuristic tile distance calculator for dealing with tiles that are in other sectors.
  • AI will only used cached battle ratings rather than recaluclating (massive turn speed boost).,

  • Small ships now require orbital manufacturing to research (Was artificial gravity which already gives a +1 to moves).
  • Fixed bug that caused the pirates not to move.
  • Big rebalance to planet classes (crappy worlds are still 1 to 3 but the good ones are now much higher).
  • Colonies do not have their output affected by approval. Thus, a core world, at first, is actually worse than a colony before it gets improved on.
  • Big balance pass on the mineral, food, wealth and tech defaults of planets in order to deal with the approval affecting outputs.  This also results in more variance and distinction between worlds (Which is fun)
  • High quality planets are now visibly larger on the map to make them easier to spot.
  • Taxation rate high changed from 0.75 to 0.67
  • Taxation rate max changed from 1 (100%!) to 90%.
  • Max starvation penalty reduced from 30% to 20%. (though this may creep upward again, we'll see).
  • Rebalanced the default strategic zoom settings so that dead planets and other stuff all disappear at different rates.
  • Changed "income" to revenue in various places.
  • Expectations rebalance across all civs now that approval is such a big deal.
  • Control relics produce 0.1 control per turn, not 1 per turn!
  • Balance pass on cluster sizes to make the sizes more distinct.

  • Vastly reduced the amount of nebula based on player settings (pick abudant if you want it to be abundant).

  • Top to bottom revisit of the # of stars, planets, etc. that are generated at the start of the game based on player settings, # of sectors, starting sector, etc.
  • Asteroid fields can get bigger.
  • Significant reduction in the # of anomalies on occasional and lower (basically far more variance based on the setting).
  • New starting executive order: Print money. Gives you 1000 credits but lowers approval for 52 turns but the cooldown is only 25 turns which means you can stack the misery if you want!

  • Hyperlanes allow you to move 20 times faster instead of 10 times faster.
  • Core capitals now cost 1 maint.
  • Core capitals provide +1 raw minerals.
  • Civilization capital provides +10 wealth to get the player started.
  • Various galactic wonders are now moved up into the tech tree so that there are more intersting choices early on.
  • Research mission cost increased from 90 to 100.
  • Treasure mission cost increased from 80 to 120.
  • Promethius stone now provides 3 wealth to a core world.
  • Xanthium deposits now provide 1 mineral to a core world.
  • Techapod hives now proivides 1 mineral to a core world.
  • Removed maint from many of the improvements.
  • Reduced the cost of improvements in general to deal with the generally lower manufacturing (due to approval).
  • Reduced the tech inflation multiplier so that late game techs aren't quite so crazy expensive.
  • Population growth multiplier reduced from 2.0 to 1.5 (population will grow a lot faster).
  • Rushing on planets and shipyards only cost 1 control rather than 25 and 20 respectively.
  • Elimination of "galaxy size" pick.  Now, players choose # of sectors and the size of their starting sector. Those two now generate the galaxy size.
  • Planet class now described on how good it is instead of using a size (a planet class 26 is awesome, not "big").
  • Eliminated screen dirt of displaying the rarity of a tech on the card. The rarity icon is sufficient and the mouse over now displays the rarity label.

  • Changed "player" to civilization.

  • Added some missing descriptions

  • Cultural Value protection policy now requires ministry of culture tech
  • New policy: Grove Growth.  Species with the Spore ability can use this. Food production +50%.
  • New policy: Empathic Connection. Species with the Empathy trait can use this. Approval +30%.
  • New policy: Fast Exploration.  Species with Explorers trait can use this.  All ships get +2 moves but lose half their HP while enacted.
  • New policy: Hull Reinforcing. Drath (warprofeering) can use this. +25 HP to all ships. 
  • New policy: Focus on Innovative individuals.  Species with inspiration trait can use this. All planets get +1 to tech.
  • New policy: Enviromental Exploitation.  Gross Income +5 but pollution goes up 25%. Anyone can do this. Even you.
  • Fixed Research Grants policy to work.
  • Research grants now requires research districts tech.
  • Fixed Genius grants policy to work.
  • New policy: Asteroid Exploitation. Species with Archeology trait can use this. Asteroids give 1 raw material instead of 0.1 each.
  • New policy: Subspace Sensor installation. Species with starfairing trait can use this. Doubles sensor range.
  • Planetary Stimulus policy can't be used by robots.
  • New policy: Population boom. Species with fertile trait can use this. People are..encouraged to..er...breed. Approval +10%. Wealth -20% (people are busy). Population growth +200%.
  • New policy: Shoddy Construction. Species with Proliferation trait can use this. Improvement cost is cut in half but maint on buildings that have maint is quadrupled while enacted (of course, you can turn this off later..).
  • New policy: Endless Feast. Species with ravenous trait can use this.  While enacted, sentient forms of food are..ahem..imported.  Food income +1 per planet.   Approval +20%. Diplomacy -2. Don't judge me!
  • New policy: Singular Purpose.  Species with Unrelenting trait can use this. While enacted, civ gets +1 control per turn.
  • Military Stimuls now requires armed shuttles tech.
  • Rationing policy now requires planetary mobilization tech.
  • New policy: Extreme Automation. Robot races can increase their manufacturing by 50% though it costs 20% income.
  • Unregulated Corps policy now requires orbital manufacturing tech.
  • Unregulated research now requires WeakAI tech.
  • Slave Labor tech now virtually eliminates planetary maint.
  • Genetic Manipulation policy now requires Planetary Adaptation tech.
  • New policy: Ship specifications. Requires Space Doctrine tech.  Ship HP +20% but increaes ship costs by 10%.
  • Coerced colonization can only be used by carbon based lifeforms but not ones with fertile ability (they have pop boom).
  • New policy: IP Theft.  Races with resourdceful trait can use this.  REsearch +20% but diplomacy -1.
  • New policy: Laissez-faire.  Species with wealthy trait can use this.  Colony money income doubled but pollution increased by 20% and crime increased by 10%.
  • Experimental drive HP penalty reduced from 50% to 20%.
  • New policy: Remote Navigation.  Robot races can add +1 moves to their ships.
  • New policy: Professionalism.  Species with the loyalty trait can enact this. Experience increased by 50% by ships while enacted.
  • Conscription now requires Planetary Invasion tech.
  • Drengi buffed a lot because it sucks so much otherwise.

  • Policies the player can't currently enact are now hidden to make the screen more readable.
  • Removed the governor powers from the planet screen. 
  • Updated planet art for home worlds.
  • Xeno Entertainment gives a 10% approval bonus.
  • Moved Subspace Streaming tech to immediately follow the scanning tech.
  • New technology: Space Doctrine.
  • New technology: Flexible Bulkheads: +1 component slots to all ship sizes. [uncommon]
  • New technology: Extreme Miniaturization: 1 + 25% more component slots to all ship sizes. [rare].
  • Civ capital now longer requires maint.
  • Players start with a single policy slot (instead of none).
  • Tooltip system updated to intelligently place itself so that it's not showing up on top of the control
  • Ship XP is now evenly divided between participants rather than based on damage dealt.
  • Updated tech short descriptions to be more descriptive.
  • AI builds a lot more scouts.
  • AI much more likely to go to war with other civs (and the player) if they really hate that civ and they have good miltiary power. 
  • AI much better about building resource mining starbases
  • AI much better about building asteroid bases.
  • Big AI update to how it decides what ships to build (this will likely need additional iteration)
  • Fixed bug where AI was not clearing the # of ships it thought it had in orbit.
  • AI much better at handling tax increases and decreases
  • AI no longer uses AIstrategydefs (which are a pain to maintain) as a template on what to build and instead builds a strategy in code based on lots and lots of factors for much smarter AI performance.
  • Hyperwave radio policy slots opened reduced from 2 to 1 (since players now start with 1 slot)
  • Other species have lower expectations (so that they're not so annoying on your planets)
  • Colonial Bureaucracy now adds a policy slot.
  • Colonial Bureaucracy now requires leadership recruiting
  • Political Capital now opens a policy slot.
  • Colonial Law and policy now opens a policy slot
  • Ministry of defense tech moved from requiring Ministery of Finance to Leadership recruiting
  • Removed "Ministry of Truth" (until we can find something interesting for it)
  • Domestic policy doctrine opens a policy slot
  • Colonial Governance opens a policy slot
  • Ministry of Culture moved from using leadership recruiting as a prreeq to Xeno Entertainment
  • Xeno Religions tech now requires ancient civ trait
  • Black Market tech now requires War profittering ability
  • Removed "Marketing" tech until we can find something useful for it.
  • Space Doctrine now adds a policy slot
  • Planetary Shock and Awe tech moved to requiring PLanetary Siege TEch
  • Systems of Control now requires Unrelenting civ trait.
  • Supply depot cost reduced from 50 to 28 to help get new worlds going faster
  • Supply depot manufacturing level bonus increased from 1 to 2.
  • Virtual World is now classified as an Approval improvement instead of a research one
  • Upgrading of Entertainment districts moved from Colonial Bureacracy to Xeno Entertainment
  • Throttled calls to message pump to reduce fan noise on PCs and make system more responsive.
  • Added a MapSizePacingAdjustment() API to make it easier for devs to adjust pacing based on map size.
  • Prestige victory now scaled by MapSizePacing.
  • Balance pass on Prestige victory contributors
  • Tech research cost now uses MapSizePacingAdjustment() resulting in much better pacing for research times.
  • Max approval rating reduced from 100% to 99% (this isn't a North Korean election).
  • Asteroids are more common
  • Marginal planets have a smaller halo than better quality planets.
  • Genius Grants policy now provides +1 to annovation awareness.
  • Culture rings on starbases no longer require maint.
  • Basic defensive armor now unlocked with Defensive Studies
  • Updated prestige victory tooltip to be more descriptive
  • Went through and updated all the alien text dialog to and from the player.
  • Added a bunch of new alien dialog for the greetings screen.
  • Added a bunch of new alien dialog for the diplomacy screens (both main and other topics) [really this is like 50 bullet points here but suffice to say, lots of new text].  
  • Wrote specific AlienX talking to AlienY dialogs (like Drengin talking to a player playing as the Torians for instance) in many places.
  • New file: FlavorText_UnknownAliens which provided unique descriptions written by Chris Bucholz of the various aliens (that aren't supported by our editor).
  • Fixed typos in events.
  • Fixed the rush tooltip to have it be X out of Y and to have a space after the number but before "credits".
  • AI puts more effort into reviewing approval for determining its tax rate.
  • Updated the flavor text system to support strings that have no preference weight provided. This means a lot of additional variance in the text players will see.
  • Added new quest events based on each category of ideology. These will need testing and we still need to address the too much repeating quests issue.
  • Added Krynn citizen units.
  • Culture Ring modules now produce 1 influence per turn for colonies in their area.
  • New module: Cultural Awareness module. Requires Universal Translator. 
  • Removed Harmony Crystal requirement from Cultural Forum module
  • Adjusted star cluster sizes to feel better at different settings.

  • Tiny, Small, Medium ships now longer cost maint.  Large and huge ships cost 2.
  • Prestige Victory adjusted so that citizens only count for .5 points per citizen.
  • Made low quality planets visibly smaller on the map and in the planet list so that players can tell they aren't good core world candidates at a glance. (except for Artemis and Mars).
  • Increased the number of stars at various sector sizes.
  • Fixed issue where no matter what, a single sector map was always huge.
  • Colony default crime reduced from 10% to 2% because sheesh, not every planet is space Detroit!
  • Culture (ifnluence) districts now arrive with Universal Translator tech instead of Political Capital.
  • Rush cost mult increased from 2 to 4.
  • Pressure scientists executive order moved to require Xeno Research. (otherwise this is just a no brainer for the first turn).

 

We should have an update for the alpha testers next week.

GalCiv IV Dev Journal #14 – Pacing Comparisons

Published on Thursday, December 23, 2021 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv IV Dev Journals

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 payments.

· Unit: Colony ship sent out system

· Unit: Space Miner to Automated

· Unit: Survey Ship to automated

· Survey ship finds 500 credits

· Rush bought innovation project.

· Earth: 10 tiles, no adjacency

· Music: Hopeful

· Research: Artificial Gravity [4 turns]

· Computer Core [5 weeks]

· Planet Earth: Rushed Computer Core

· Survey Ship: Set to Survey

· [no other starting ships]

· Shipyard: Rush bought Colony Ship (no monthly payment option available)

· Planet Earth: Began work on Helix artifact. [can only rush once per turn. Boo].

· Earth: 10 tiles, adjacency bonuses.

· Music: Hopeful

· Research: Asteroid Mining [3 turns]

· Planet Earth: Rushed computer core

· Colony ship sent out system.

· Scout ship sent to explore.

· Survey ship sent to survey

· Shipyard: Rush bought colony ship (no monthly payment available

· Planet Earth: Began construction on Industrial Center

· Planet Earth: Queued hearthstone construction

· Planet Earth: Queued Snuggler artifact

· Earth: 27 tiles, adjacency bonuses.

2

· GNN Report comes up summarizing what happened at the start of the turn.

· Planet project: Rush bought a factory

· UI experience is pretty dated

· Rush bought a colony ship

· Rushed colony ship sent to next system.

· Shipyard: Rushed second colony ship.

· Earth: Rushed Helix project

· Earth: Began work on Colonization Center

· Executive Order: Draft Colonists (free colony ship for 20 control points)

· Executive Order: Telescope take over and viewed nearby system which shows a class 22 and 23 planet a class 19 (requires extreme colonization) and a class 13 (that requires extreme colonization)

· Colony ship sent to class 23 planet

· Colony ship 2: sent to class 22 planet

3

· Rush bought a colony ship

· Rush bought a research lab

· Anomaly: +4 to weapons

· Rushed colony ship sent to a different system.

· Leaders: Hired 3 leaders.

· Assigned leader to minister of tech

· Assigned leader to minister of exploration

· Assigned a leader to prototype ship: Curiosity (free ship if you have a leader)

· Curiosity ship sent to survey.

4

· Anomaly: Economy boosted by +1%

· New Propulsion actually researched

· Anomaly: 17 credits. Boo.

· Anomaly: Lost Genius, instantly finishes current tech.

· Research: Asteroid Mining researched

· Next project: Subspace Scanning

· Rush bought a colony ship

5

· Anomaly: Repair rate +1%

· Anomaly: Survey ship +4 HP

· Drengin are met but I don’t understand what they are saying.

· Anomaly: 247 credits. Yay.

· Research complete: Artificial Gravity (Moves +1)

· Rushed colonization center

· Began work on Industrial Center

· Asteroid miner spawned due to getting the tech. Sent to nearby asteroid field near earth.

· Colony ship sent to Mars. Mars colonized.

· Colonization event: Received a leader.

· Leader assigned minister of colonization.

6

· Report that the Thalen Empire has built a Wonder

· Minor Race met

· Event: Benevolent choice = Got a scout ship.

· Scout ship ordered to go out of system.

 

7

· Met Torians

· Raised tax rate from 33% to 48%

· Raised spending to 100% of our manufacturing capacity

· Research ratio is set to 55%.

· I can see lines on the map where my ships are auto piloting to without clicking on them.

Nothing

· Ideology: Unlocked Flexible (+2% income, spawns Ambassador ship)

· Event: Received resources!

· Used artifact power: Researched Subspace scanning.

· Researching Space Elevators

· New colony: Freehold (class 23)

8

· Anomaly: Trade +5%

· Anomaly: Research boost of 25 points

· Research: Artificial Gravity perfected

Nothing

· New colony: Galen (class 22)

· Increased tax rate to High.

9

· Anomaly: Research +1%

· Research: Xeno Communications Researched

· Colonized a class 15 planet!

· Event: Pragmatic choice for productivity

· New Tech: Space Elevators

· Queued up manufacturing districts around industrial center.

10

· Anomaly: Trade ability +5%

· Anomaly: Espionage +1%

· Colonization of Mars (I was trying to find a better planet and finally went back to Mars)

· Report: Thalan have built the Temporal Entertainment Matrix

· Galactic Report: Top 5 most popular Civs with flavor text describing our situation.

· Asteroid field near Earth is built up now by the Space Mining ship and it is now moving towards another asteroid field.

· Scottinglas Scout approaches Earth

· Government screen unlocked. Chose Colonial.

· Research: Space Elevators Researched

· New colony ship sent to Artemis

· Probe ordered

Here are some thoughts I have on how GalCiv IV could be further improved before Beta

  1. Have some early game galactic achievements (pretty much every early tech should have one)
  2. Announce to the universe when someone has gotten it
  3. I really want a way to give priority to research over manufacturing over ship production.  This was part of the GalCiv series going back to the OS/2 version but got lost in GalCiv III.  We don’t need sliders but I want to be able to focus on one at the cost of the other two even if it’s just a single selection with a big boost.
  4. I really miss the flavor text in GalCiv II.  Now, there’s a reason this went away – GalCiv II was English only and in the world of translations, being so wordy is hard.  But I miss it.
  5. How quickly you meet aliens is now a setting (alien home worlds) I still feel like they’re too far apart.  In GalCiv II, I met both a major and a minor race in the first 10 turns.  In GalCiv III and IV, I met none.
  6. We gotta get that Civ list back onto the main screen before Beta.
  7. I want more executive orders at the start of the game.
  8. Every ideology option should give you something tangible (not just a stat boost).
  9. Policies should start on turn 1, I think we should just have a default set for each civ that players can change but leaving this empty early on is a bad idea.  By turn 10, I should have unlocked 2 new policy options.

And now screenshots:

 

Galactic Civilizations II Galactic Civilizations III Galactic Civilizations IV
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So what do you think? Let us know in the comments.

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GalCiv IV Journals

GalCiv IV Dev Journal #13 - The Vault

Published on Monday, December 20, 2021 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv IV Dev Journals

The Galactic Civilizations games are known for their ship design features.

image

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 things from credits to unique parts to special items.  The special items found (or made) go into the vault.

Items in the vault can then be put on ships.  These items are a one-time use once added to a ship, it remains there and if that ship is destroyed, it’s gone (or worse, becomes scavenged by an enemy).

image

The number of items you can put onto a ship is based on its level.  When ships level up, rather than having to manually mess with them, they will simply automatically get more HP.  But each level will allow you to add more items to the ship.

There will also be techs and planetary improvements that will allow ships to automatically start out at a higher level.

image

So rather than having to go through and add stuff to every single ship that levels up, as you currently do in the alpha, you will be able to pick and choose which ships you want to use precious items on to beef them up.

Here’s a sample of some of the items we have in store.  Feel free to suggest your own and if we use them, we’ll add you to the credits if you’d like!

Item

Frequency

Description

Prerequisite

Quantum Targeting Computer

Uncommon

Allows ship to attack targets +1 tiles away

Quantum Computing

Organic Nanite Slurry

Rare

Completely heals a ship after every battle

Construction drones

Precursor Accelerator

Common

+1 to moves

None

Precursor Blade of Armor

Common

+1 to all defenses

None

Precursor Torpedo

Common

+2 to missiles

None

Precursor Teleporter

Legendary

Ship can teleport to target destination

Precursor Relic Proficiency

Auto Factory

Uncommon

Ship requires no logistics

Improved Life Support

Precursor Survey Module

Common

Ship can survey

Survey

Hyperdrive Disruptor

Rare

Enemy ships in its range move at 1 move

Warp Drive

Last Breath

Rare

When destroyed, enemy ship takes 100 damage

Artifact Mastery

Beam Nullifier

Rare

90% of enemy beam weapon power is removed.

Defensive Studies

Scavenging Computer

Uncommon

25% to 50% more likely to scavenge items after battle

Scavenging

Weakpoint Computer

Uncommon

10% to 40% chance of a volley doing 3X damage.

Weak AI

Second Chance

Legendary

Upon destruction, ship is returned to home world

Precursor Relic Mastery

Stay tuned!

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GalCiv IV Journals

GalCiv IV Dev Journal #12 - AAR Drengin Human Wars I Part 1

Published on Monday, December 13, 2021 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv IV Dev Journals

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 from the company Creative Director on a given project.

I wrote some AAR’s for GalCiv I and GalCiv II as well. 

Past examples:

GalCiv III: Drengin/Human Wars VI (stardock.net) (2017)

Gameplay Example: Drengin-Human Wars XXII (stardock.net) (2006)

Let’s dive in…

The setup

This takes place within a single sector.  From a gameplay point of view, it means it plays out like a GalCiv II or GalCiv III map.

In the beginning

The fledgling Terran Alliance has invented a new form of Faster than light travel called Hyperdrive.  This new drive system replaced the Stargate system that had been set up by the Precursors long ago and enabled free form travel between different stars in a matter of weeks rather than centuries.

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The first two ships to come out of the newly christened Endeavor space dock are the T.A.S. Santa Maria and the extremely expensive prototype survey ship called the T.A.S. Discovery.

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The Santa Maria holds 25,000 colonists.

Comment: The Santa Maria didn’t start out named. It should.  Similarly, the initial shipyard should be named. I had to rename it Endeavor manually.

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Vos Tremen, the science advisor leading Earth’s efforts, has come up with 4 different promising candidates to research.  After much debate, Space Elevators are chosen.

Comment: The science advisor should have a name. I gave him the name Vos Tremen, but we shouldn’t just have generic people here.  Moreover, there should be an economic and military advisor, and each one should argue for a tech to research.

On Earth itself, we have a number of new projects available.

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I decide to put the capital mainframe on the rare earth metals deposit to help increase its productivity.

Comment: The science, military, and economic advisors should be there to help.  Also, it would really help with immersion if the tiles at least broadly shaped the Earth’s continents. The paradise icon looks a little out of place for some reason.

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Karn Urlox presents a number of different options for us to construct.  We decide to go with another colony ship.

Comment: Instead of a military advisor, make it the Shipyard Commander and have it be a character with existing stats that was previously put there with their own pros and cons.  The advisor suggestions are too tiny to be usable.

Some new Candidates have arrived to be recruited into our civilization to help us run it.

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The Terran Alliance needs to make the full use of its best and brightest to help run a galactic civilization.

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So I’ve brought in two characters here. 

Comment: I should be able to rename these characters.

Mera is a genius, so I will be putting her in charge of our technology.

Comment: This means from this point, this is the person who should show up in the technology screen.

Mera has a 10 intelligence, which means she gives a 10% bonus to resarch.

As for Ginny, she has a 9 resolve, which makes her really good at combat.

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So I’m going to put her in command of the prototype ship, Perseverance.

Looking at my 3 main resources I have: image

Money.

Control.

Food.

Control is new in Galactic Civilizations IV.  It is primarily used in being able to use executive orders.

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Every civilization has a different set of executive orders to start with, and more show up through the course of the game.  I also use control points to invite more candidates and pressure scientists to work harder to research faster. These actions consume the points, but I gain points back over time.

The Sol System

Within a very short amount of time, we have successfully colonized the home solar system and the Perseverance is on its way out.

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Comment: I should still be able to see my character that is in command of the Perseverance and note the spelling.

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A few weeks later the Colony ship Opportunity reaches the Scutti system and creates our first extrasolar system colony.

…End of Part 1…

 

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GalCiv IV Journals

Galactic Civilizations III 4.21 Change Log

Published on Saturday, November 27, 2021 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv III Support

** RELEASED 12/15/2021 **

As hardware gets better, we are able to update some of the things in the game, including AI and map density.  While we were at it, we made a number of long requested balance updates as well.

What players will probably notice the most, however is how much better the AI is at putting together fair trade offers.  This may only merit a single line in the change log but represented the bulk of the engineering time for this update.

All versions:

  • AI is now significantly better at putting together trade offers with the player (ones likely to be acceptable to the player).
  • Asteroid likelihood in a system increased from 20% to 25%
  • Ion storm spawn likelyhood an a sector increased from 50% to 65%

Retribution:

  • Minimum star distanced reduced from 7 parsecs to 5 parsecs
  • Approval requirement for content reduced from 45% to 40%
  • Civilization capital raw resource production increased from +2 to +3
  • As hardware continues to become more powerful we have bumped up the number of objects a map can spawn:
  • Small galaxy base object spawn increased from 300 to 400 (this is how many planets, stars, etc. are allowed)
  • Medium galaxy base object spawn increased from 500 to 700 (this is how many planets, stars, etc. are allowed)
  • Large galaxy base object spawn increased from 750 to 900 (this is how many planets, stars, etc. are allowed)
  • Huge galaxy base object spawn increased from 900 to 1000 (this is how many planets, stars, etc. are allowed)
  • Gigantic galaxy base object spawn increased from 1000 to 1200 (this is how many planets, stars, etc. are allowed)
  • Excessive galaxy base object spawn increased from 1400 to 1500 (this is how many planets, stars, etc. are allowed)
  • Insane galaxy base object spawn increased from 1500 to 1600 (this is how many planets, stars, etc. are allowed)
  • AI weighting of technologies improved to ensure the AI researches the updated tech tree more effectively
  • Ministry of Alien Affairs now gives a +0.25 diplomacy bonus
  • Interstellar Tourism prereq changed from requiring Immigration to ministry of alien affairs to make available earlier in the game.
  • Supply ship manufacturing cost reduced from 200 to 125
  • Early game music tracks updated

 

GalCiv IV Dev Journal #11 - Combat AAR

Published on Wednesday, November 24, 2021 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv IV Dev Journals

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:

  1. Combat on the map can involve multiple (ranged) tiles which complicates things a bit.
  2. Combat can take multiple turns which complicates things

After 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, a notification shows up in the far left:

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Clicking on it will provide details on what happened with players being able to go into deeper and deeper detail (like, far far beyond what we had in previous GalCiv games) as well as view the incident so you can see how different weapon, defense and other modules affected the course of battle.

We have a new feature we will be discussing soon that will explain why we actually ended up needing this (short version: combat is getting a lot more interesting).

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GalCiv IV Journals

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