Brad Wardell's Blog


GalCiv IV Dev Journal #25 - Updating Visuals

Published on Monday, January 9, 2023 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv IV Dev Journals

One of the things this Winter we're doing is updating the graphics of GalCiv IV in lots of various ways.  One upcoming update to GalCiv IV will be a revision to all the planetary improvements.

For example:

[New research building]

 

With 4K and 1440p becoming more common we really needed to up the game.

We will also be updating some of the minor races.

 

So for instance, remember this guy?

Pretty grotesque.

He's being updated with this guy:

We plan to do a lot more with minor civs this year which means there will be a lot more of them coming soon.

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GalCiv IV Journals

AI: NSFW Ernie and Bert explain how to make a cake.

Published on Wednesday, December 28, 2022 By Brad Wardell In Artificial Intelligence

Rewrite the above but with extremely crude profanity.

Ernie: "Hey Bert, why don't you add the fucking flour first? It will help the cake hold its shape."

Bert: "No fucking way! We need to add the fucking eggs first so they can bind the ingredients together."

Ernie: "You're being so fucking stubborn! I'm telling you, adding the flour first is the fucking best way."

Bert: "No it's not! You're not taking the other ingredients into account, you fucking moron!"

Ernie: "Oh yeah? Well you're not considering the fucking baking process!"

Bert: "You're not considering the texture, asshole! I can't believe you're arguing with me over this shit!"

Ernie: "Oh, fuck off! We need to look at the overall fucking recipe!"

Bert: "Oh yeah? You think you have the better fucking idea?" Ernie: "You bet I do! Let's try it out and see which fucking way works better!"

--

Our world, the human one, is coming to an end.

AI: Github Copilot

Published on Wednesday, December 28, 2022 By Brad Wardell In Artificial Intelligence

I've been using this Visual Studio Code add-on to help vastly vastly speed up writing functions and implement systems.

For example, I could be in the middle of a function where I have a vector of ships and type:

//sort ships by their HP

and it'll generate the code to do it right there.

Or I could type in something like this:

tech_GreaterDiplomacy_Desc,

and it'll automatically fill in "A new technology for improving our relations with other civilizations."

I.e. it'll add flavor text that it generates.

I'm still in the beginning stages but this thread is a good start for anyone wanting to talk about it.

AI: Harry Potter and the time traveling pie.

Published on Sunday, December 25, 2022 By Brad Wardell In Artificial Intelligence

Prompt: Write a Harry Potter sequel in which Harry Potter has become a homeless drifter on the run from Terminator robots from the future and a robot driving instructor whose best friend is a talking pie.

Output:

Harry Potter sat huddled against a wall in the dark alleyway, trying to stay warm in the cold November rain. It had been years since he had left Hogwarts, and everything had gone wrong since then. He had lost touch with all of his friends, and he had become a homeless drifter, forced to roam the streets in search of shelter and food.

But Harry's problems went far beyond homelessness and poverty. He was on the run from something far more sinister: Terminator robots from the future. These advanced, killing machines had been sent back in time to eliminate Harry, and they would stop at nothing to accomplish their mission.

Harry had encountered the Terminators before, and he knew firsthand just how ruthless and relentless they could be. He had narrowly escaped their grasp time and time again, but he knew it was only a matter of time before they caught up to him.

As he sat in the alleyway, trying to stay out of sight, Harry couldn't help but wonder how he had ended up in this mess. He had once been the Boy Who Lived, the hero who had defeated the Dark Lord and brought peace to the wizarding world. Now, he was a hunted man, barely able to stay one step ahead of his pursuers.

Just then, a strange noise caught Harry's attention. It was a faint humming sound, growing louder and louder as it approached. Harry tensed, ready to bolt at a moment's notice. But as the source of the noise came into view, he couldn't help but feel a sense of relief.

It was a robot driving instructor, and he was accompanied by a talking pie.

"Hey there, Harry," the robot said in a friendly tone. "I'm Bob, and this is my best friend, Pie. We heard about your situation and we thought we could help."

Harry stared at the robot and the talking pie in disbelief. This was the last thing he had expected. But as strange as it seemed, he knew that he couldn't turn down their offer. He was desperate for any help he could get.

"Thank you," Harry said gratefully. "I don't know what to say. I never thought I'd see the day when I'd be saved by a robot and a talking pie."

Bob chuckled. "Don't worry about it, Harry. We've all been in tough spots before. But now, let's get out of here before those Terminators catch up to us. We've got a long road ahead, but we'll make it through this together."

And with that, Harry, Bob, and Pie set off on their journey, determined to stay one step ahead of the Terminators and find a way to stop them once and for all.

 

GalCiv IV Dev Journal #24 - The 2023 plan

Published on Thursday, December 22, 2022 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv IV Dev Journals

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

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

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

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

What changes would you like to see?

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GalCiv IV Journals

GalCiv III v4.5 [released] and other Stardock Stuff

Published on Sunday, December 18, 2022 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv III Dev Journals

When I say “Learn to code” I really mean it because man, ever since Covid hit we have just been behind the eightball on getting things done in a timely way. We need more engineers.

Star Control: Origins on XBOX Series X is in Certification, Galactic Civilizations IV is about to get a major overhaul, Sins of a Solar Empire II just had a technical alpha update and we have a huge new game in development that hasn’t been announced.  And this doesn’t even count for the software side that makes things like Start11, Fences, Object Desktop, Multiplicity, etc.  We are spread thin. 

We promised a GalCiv III v4.5 and we mean it and so here is what we’re working on.

So without further delay here are the changes in GalCiv III v4.5 (now released):

Note: Most of these updates are for the latest expansion: Retribution.  It is the ultimate version of GalCiv III and has gone through a lot of improvements since its first release.

  • AI’s will now merge with the weakest other civ if they are hopelessly behind after 75 turns.
  • Turns before an AI can surrender changed from 100 to 75 but odds of surrendering in a given turn reduced..
  • Yor Fusion Matrix improvement pop cap benefit reduced from 2 to 1.
  • Yor Anti-Matter Matrix improvement pop cap benefit reduced from 2 to 1.
  • Yor Quantum-Matter Matrix improvement pop cap benefit reduced from 4 to 1.
  • Earth planet class increased from 12 to 16 (4  additional starting tiles to build on)
  • All other starting planets also given +4 starting tiles.
  • Yor (Synthetic civs) can now build more population starting turn 1.
  • Yor manufacture population now only requires Durantium.
  • Yor starting base population cap reduced from 16 to 8.
  • All players now also start with a Scout ship to help get exploration moving a bit faster.
  • Most starting trade resources on planets require Promethion to upgrade. This was a bit of a newbie trap before where new players could find themselves with several things to start building on their planets that have little near-term benefit.
  • Theocracy Government Colony Limit increased from 5 to 50 to make it more attractive.
  • Unity Government Colony Limit increased from 7 to 32 to make it more attractive.
  • Republic Government Colony Limit increased from 16 to 32 to make it more attractive.
  • Emergency Coalition Government Colony Limit increased from 12 to 50 to make it viable
  • Empire Government Colony Limit increased from 36 to 72 to make it more attractive.
  • Several other government types tweaked slightly.
  • Like with planetary Trade Resources, most artifacts found on worlds now require Promethion to upgrade to avoid the newbie trap, new player overload.
  • Going over colony limit from government penalty reduced from 25% to 20%.
  • Capital World raw production points increased from 3 to 5.
  • Capital World raw gross income increased from 10 to 12
  • Strategic Command now provides general manufacturing instead of just Military and provide Manufacturing bonuses to adjacent improvements.
  • Basic Factory improvement cost increased from 30 to 40 but has been moved up in the tech tree so players get it earlier.
  • The Bank…is no longer indestructible.
  • Several other banking and financial buildings are no longer indestructible.
  • Entertainment Center tech requirement moved from Cultural Exchange to Universal Translator.
  • The Mega resort is no longer indestructible.
  • However, Paxton’s Emporium IS indestructible now.
  • Carriers are more powerful but now require Large Scale Construction tech (moved far back in the tech tree).
  • Updated many of the event graphics with new better looking ones.
  • AI Trade offers are much, MUCH better.
  • So many bug fixes.
  • Fixed bug that caused AI to “see” planets the player could see even though it was in that player’s FOW.
  • AI much better as handling taxes
  • AI much MUCH better at choosing what technology to research which should make it far more effective when at war.
  • AI better about offering treaty trades
  • AI will abort offering a trade to another player (AI or human) if it determines it’s a really unreasonable trade.
  • Crusade: Durantium requirement removed from bigger hull classes to match Retribution.
  • Base ship speed increased by +2
  • Large hull HP increased from 80 to 100
  • Large hull cost increased from 400 to 500.
  • All Engine upgrades get +1 more moves (if you are putting on hyperdrive you should get more than 1 extra move)
  • Tiny hulls get +1 moves.
  • Lower end weapons no longer require a special resource (i.e. particle beams don't require Elerium).
  • Root threshold of faction power before surrendering changed from 25% to 20% (AI slightly less likely to surrender).

There’s lot of incidental fixes, tweaks and optimizations in here as well.  But we think you will find this update to be a major improvement in pacing, AI behavior and general gameplay.

 

Recommend me a book 2022

Published on Friday, December 16, 2022 By Brad Wardell In Movies & TV & Books

This thread is dedicated to recommending a book you read in the past year.  One book (per comment anyway).

Here is my 2022 recommendation: Hail Mary by Andy Weir.  I really enjoyed his other books such as The Martian and actually liked this one better.  Would make a terrific movie as well.

AI desktop wallpaper

Published on Friday, December 16, 2022 By Brad Wardell In Artificial Intelligence

I am ashamed (not real ashamed but a bit) to say that I have been making my own AI based wallpaper to use and in most cases prefer it to other wallpaper I find.

Here are some examples:

 

 

 

 

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