Brad Wardell's Blog

Forever Internet and GenX

Published on Wednesday, May 22, 2024 By Brad Wardell In Life, the Universe and Everything

When I look at the people who have gotten "canceled" over things they posted on the Internet, it's disproportionately GenXers.  

Why is that?

I think it's the awkward timing. GenX grew up on BBSes and Usenet which were a free for all.  It wasn't until the Millennials and later GenZ came on the scene that the raunchy, insensitive, or intentionally trolling behaviors of GenX got us into trouble.


v2.5 & Warlords Expansion Guided Tour

Published on Thursday, April 18, 2024 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv IV Dev Journals

v2.5 and the Warlords Expansion is now available, and we're excited to share the ins and outs. Check out my guided tour below:

Our prior dev journal gave a preview of what to expect from the Warlords Expansion. This week’s dev journal is a guided tour what is new for both the v2.5 ‘Ares’ update and Warlords, including an improved tech tree, QOL improvements to in-game lighting, an upgraded battle viewer, and much, much, more…

Updated Visuals

We have adjusted lighting and added point light effects to things to get them to “pop”. The prettiness is more of a side effect of the desire to make the galaxy more readable.


Expanded Technology Tree

We have greatly expanded the tech tree for both Warlords users who get new technologies like Cloaking Devices and Biological Targeting as well as 2.5 users looking for new ship components instead of merely a stat bump.


Improved Battle Viewer

You can now click on any ship and see how it’s performing in the battle. The log now clearly shows how different weapons and defenses work.


Resource Clumping

We have improved the map generation so that resources will tend to “clump” a bit together. This should result in some areas of space being particularly more valuable than others (relative to previous versions).

In this example, 3 Durantium nodes are found within a single alien system.


Specialized Defense Systems

GalCiv IV gets rid of the rock-paper-scissors way of weapons vs. defenses.

Instead, in GalCiv IV when an enemy attack reaches your ship, it first checks to see if its accuracy is better than your evasion in order to tell if it hits at all. Then, if it hits, the shields will see if they absorb the damage. And then any remaining damage goes to the armor which mitigates a % of it.

However, with v2.5 we have made it so specific ship components can do special things. Some weapons can ignore shields for instance. Some defenses can thwart missiles. And so on. This allows players to counter enemy strategies that have focused too much on a particular area of weaponry or defense.


We plan to do a lot more with this in the future. We also suspect modders will do a lot more in the future.

Invasion Tactics

New to the Warlords expansion are various invasion tactics. Invasion Tactics allow you more control over the nature of Planetary Invasions. They allow the player to make interesting choices at the start of an invasion that affects casualties, planetary destruction, and the duration of the Invasion.


Each tactic has its own pros and cons.



The Doctrines feature completely revolutionizes how players design, build, and utilize their ships in Galactic Civilizations IV. Combat Doctrines are composed of Operational Abilities and Targeting Priorities, which can be combined with Ship Type to create the perfect combat solution for even the most specific of warfare situations. 

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New Ship Components

We’ve added a host of new ship components into the game for both Warlords users and 2.5 users, many of which have unique capabilities to change the field of battle in your favor.


War Aims

New with the Warlords expansion, the War Aims feature allows for limitations on conflict depending on the War Aim selected, but beware the diplomatic consequences of over aggression and war weariness.


Capturing Starbases

Warlords players can now capture enemy starbases, provided that they have powerful enough fleets to do so.


Updated Trade Breakdown Screen

The trade breakdown screen now allows players to clearly understand at a glance which planets are trading with your civilization and which of your planets is being traded with.


Updated Fleet Wide Command UI

The Fleet Wide Command UI has seen an upgrade as well.


Quick thoughts on Warlords from the designer

Published on Wednesday, April 17, 2024 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv IV Dev Journals

I've been saying this a lot to design teams lately:

There is no subsitute for playing the game and then playing the game some more and then playing it still more. And Warlords really shows that.

Now, those of you who get it right away are in for a particular treat that you should take advantage of as much as you can while you can:  There are a lot of absolutely crazy ship components in this that we have balanced as best we can but I can tell you right now, I there are going to be some crazy combos that will come from "the meta" so enjoy the crazy while you can.

We are going to be watching very closely how people use the new ship components and use that to train the AI to use them as well.

For instance, boarding parties are extremely strong.  Too strong? I'm not sure yet.   Cloaking is very powerful too.  So is weapon reflection.  And ion beams.  

I've done some combos that I am not going to discuss here that I've already had to adjust.  But it's a fine line between "balancing it" and what is fun.  

Case in point: I really, really enjoyed making some barely armed ships that were stuffed with defensive gadgery that were flanked by lots of cloaked ships that took out much larger fleets.  Is that fair? Is that balanced? I am not sure.  But I do know I enjoyed it a lot.

The other thing I have come away from playing Warlords: We're going to have to do a bunch of free updates to it because there's a ton of interesting new things we can add to it.  Cloaking detectors.  Mirage components. Teleporting. Etc.  I don't want to create additional war themed DLC or whatever and so it makes sense (to me anyway) to put this into a future update to Warlords.  

This is true with the invasion tactics too.   After playing with the invasion tactics I already know there are a bunch of invasion tactics I'd like to see added.  For example, I want some invasion tactics that let you have a chance at absolutely failing in your invasion in exchange for much more rapid conquest.  

Anyway, I hope you guys like what we've done.  We've never overhauled the combat in a GalCiv game this much...ever.  Not even the OS/2 versions from the 90s had this big of a change.  I know I like the changes but obviously, we're nervous and hoping you like it too.



GalCiv IV: Warlords techs

Published on Wednesday, March 27, 2024 By Brad Wardell In Galactic Civilizations IV

Without getting too much into spoilers, here are some of the new technologies players with the upcoming Warlords expansion pack will be able to research (hint they all give you something cool)

  • Coil Acceleration
  • Neutronium Weapons
  • Neutronium Augmentations
  • Neutronium Mastery
  • Gravitonic Vortex Weapons
  • Electrodynamic Gravitonics
  • Quantum Catapults
  • Higgs Fields Disruption
  • Cerberus Ensemble
  • Leviathan Warheads
  • Fury Missile Enhancements
  • Icarion Warhead Clusters
  • Orion's Spear
  • Orion's Fury
  • Experimental Weapons
  • Assault Shuttles
  • Ion Weapons
  • Time Dilation Weapons
  • Exotic Energies
  • Nanite Defense Systems
  • Cloaking Devices
  • Theronic Weaponry
  • Neutron Manipulation
  • Damage Reflection
  • Shocktroopers
  • Biological Targeting
  • Desperate Measures



v2.4 Populi Tour for GalCiv IV: Supernova

Published on Tuesday, March 12, 2024 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv IV Dev Journals

AlienGPT Citizens

The Create Civilization screen has gotten a major uplift. More space for your description and AlienGPT will pick your citizens, personality, citizen description, and more.

A few examples:


And yes


It’s a very complex, cutting edge setup that we’re still working some kinks out of as these large language models have a mind of their own.

Galactic News Network Upgrade

The GNN Report has been move dover to the status screen on the right so that it doesn’t get in the way and you can keep an eye on it. Planet upgrades and such now get reported.


Citizen Transports


You can now send citizens to your other worlds. Have a world that is maxed out? Send it to another. Just be careful…


Because the transport isn’t done abstractly. There is a ship being sent that can be destroyed.


Published on Monday, January 1, 2024 By Brad Wardell In Galactic Civilizations IV

2023 was a great year for 4X gamers and especially fans of Galactic Civilizations!

But 2024 is going to be even better.  

I've been "back" on GalCiv for just over 6 months now and it's been a blast.  I loved working on GalCiv II back in the day but the hardware now is so much better. I can do so much evil with the AI and the tech in this engine is just crazy.

Another amazing thing that's changed is that game releases aren't "the end" anymore.  That was always so frustrating.  Just as we were getting into the zone we'd have to "ship".   

Even tonight, on New Year's Eve, I had my laptop with Remote Desktop able to do just a few know, changes.  You'll get to see them soon.  

This upcoming year is going to see more advances to GalCiv and arguably in the genre than we've seen in years if ever and it's all thanks to you guys!

Happy new year!  I cannot wait to start getting some of this stuff out to you.  

GalCiv IV v2.2 Holiday Update

Published on Wednesday, December 27, 2023 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv IV News

Hat tip to @Cephandrius for sending us his saved game. There was a case where you could get a stuck AI turn because it assumed it would always be able to build a designed ship. But in 2.2, we introduced the concept of the AI building the BEST ship even if it couldn't be built right then. So in rare cases, the AI wouldn't have any ships it could build. This update fixes it.

And since we were fixing that bug, we decided to include something many of you have asked for: Better map generation. This update has a new map generation algorithm for placing other players. Rather than weighting the dice on nudging players further from the player based on settings, this one does some enforcement to ensure that other players don't end up on top of you if you've set further distances. This change is for AI in your own sector.

  • Improved AI for designing player ships.
  • Fix for endless loop of the AI looking for the "perfect" ship to build (perfect is the enemy of good).
  • Improved map generation that enforces distance from player setting more stringently.


Galactic Civilizations IV v2.2 for Epic

Published on Monday, December 18, 2023 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv IV News


I wanted to give an update to our Galactic Civilizations IV (base game) customers on Epic.  We are just about complete with the v2.2 update for the base (non-Supernova) game but ran out of time to put it through QA before the holiday break.

We anticipate putting out v2.2 for the base game on Epic in early January.  It's a huuuuuge update.  It's everything we did in Supernova (other than new content) plus everything up to 2.2.  So it's a pretty massive update.

Just wanted to post that we haven't forgotten our fans that supported us by buying the base game. We love you!


GalCiv IV: Supernova Dev Journal #37 - New Biomes in the v2.2 Ethnology Update

Published on Monday, December 11, 2023 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv IV Dev Journals

Another big change coming this Holiday season for GalCiv players in v2.2 (Ethnology) is a massive expansion of the number of biomes that make up worlds. Today we’ll take a look at some of the new ones.

First, a recap: The humans of Earth have a specific planet layout that loosely matches the continental layout of Earth (minus Australia – you guys didn’t send the bribe money!!).

Earth. Obviously.

We did, however, add a lot of new special tiles that have a chance to show up. I see several in the screenshot above. But still, Earth is the one that is most like previous versions.

Let’s go to a new planet.

Toria (Oceanic)

For fun, perhaps someone in the screenshots could post a link to a screenshot of what Toria looks like in v2.1 so you can see why we needed to improve this. Because we didn’t just add new biomes, we revisited what biomes can show up on which planets.

On this planet there are several new biomes including:

  • Marshlands

  • Barrier Reefs

  • Lagoons

  • Tropical Grasslands

  • Shallows

  • Gold Field (special)

  • Coastal

That’s 7 new biomes just for this one planet type.


This is another one that it would be cool if someone could link a screenshot to the 2.1 version of the Yor homeworld to see how lame it was.

This world has these new biomes:

  • Volcanic (which also shows up on Lava worlds of course)

  • Barren

But as you can see, Barren is pretty barren now but not necessarily boring. The big change though is just in terms of controlling what kinds of tiles will show up where.

Drengi (Volcanic)

Now, volcanic worlds have some similarities to a barren world. But also some notable differences.

Here you can see:

  • Volcanic

  • Lava Flow

  • Volcano

  • Volcanic Plains

Dratha (Jungle)

Jungle worlds are another one that should look quite different.

So on this planet we see:

  • Oasis

  • Stony Plains

  • Flood Plains (updated)

  • Giant Mushrooms (special)

Along with some things that were on other planets.

Refuge (Terrestrial)

Not surprisingly, terrestrial worlds saw the fewest changes.

But fertile plains were added.

We felt that since grasslands are a population buff tile, we needed a more common one that was just for food.

Let us know in the comments if you like this direction. Are there other types of biomes you’d like to see?



Galactic Civilizations IV: Supernova Dev Journals

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