Brad Wardell's Blog


GalCiv IV: Supernova Dev Journal #21 - What to do about Space Bugs in Battle

Published on Monday, June 5, 2023 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv IV Dev Journals

GalCiv IV: Supernova Dev Journal #21 - Pretty vs. mechanically satisfying space battles

Forget realistic space battles. In a real space battle, the ships would be incredibly far apart and only missile weapons that are flying at relativistic speeds would matter. So putting that aside, let’s talk about the challenge of making space battles look pretty.

The Mechanics

We want kinetic weapons (guns), direct energy weapons (beam weapons) and payload weapons (missiles) to have very different ranges.

Missiles have a long range and a long cooldown.

Direct energy weapons are much shorter and a medium cooldown. Half the time of missiles.

And kinetic weapons have a very short range but a very short cooldown.

Space bugs

And of course, we want pretty decent scale differences between the ships.

Meanwhile, the marketing and artists want to see really cool looking ships battling it out.

Putting aside the camera controls we need to improve on, it doesn’t change the fact that there is a dichotomy between visually pleasing battles and ones that are strategically sophisticated.

So what say you? How do you think this should be approached?

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Galactic Civilizations IV: Supernova Dev Journals

GalCiv IV: Supernova v1.55 Early Access Update

Published on Thursday, June 1, 2023 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv IV News

v1.55 - Introducing New Features and Major Balance Overhauls

Greetings!

We're excited to announce the release of GalCiv IV: Supernova v1.55, a significant step forward. This update brings a collection of new features, key balance changes, and improvements that will transform your intergalactic adventures. Here are some of the highlights:

  1. Gameplay Overhaul: Expect a major rework of the technology tree, including an entirely new approach to Exotic World colonization, Interstellar cabinet, and Space Weapons. We've fully rebalanced the AI's tech prioritization, and you can look forward to seeing them focusing more on weapons and hull research. 

  2. New Anomaly Events: We've introduced several new anomaly events to keep things fresh. If you've been tired of the "stealth field", you're in for a treat!

  3. Improved Ship Mechanics: Ships can now attack multiple times per turn as well as invade multiple times per turn if that's applicable.

  4. Custom Factions: We've improved AlienGPT and added a host of improved abilities for civilizations including new citizen types.

  5. Economy and Diplomacy Tuning: Trade routes have been revamped to be more valuable, with their value multiplier increased from 15% to 33%. Various factions, including the Banking Clan and Capitalist Society, have undergone balance tweaks to offer a more fair and engaging gameplay experience.

  6. You can move your Civ Capital. Enough said. We've also done a full balance pass on planetary improvements.
  7. Many many small and large improvements: We've been spying on you as much as we can. Or at least, we've been reading your feedback and have jammed as much as we can into this.

NOTE: This update will break the previous version's (1.51).  If you have a game in progress you want to finish, you can use the 1.51 branch. Read here to learn more.

We hope these updates will significantly improve your game experience in the GalCiv IV universe. As always, your feedback is invaluable to us, so please don't hesitate to share your thoughts on these new features and improvements.

Full change log:

  • Update siege ship strategic icons and stat icons.
  • Resized faction logos resized to reduce scaling artifacts.
  • Visual display of ship hull sizes modified to make it easier to view them in battle.
  • You should see fewer "failed generate error" messages.
  • Fixed the Voyagers ability to actually for realsies give a +2 moves, +2 sensors.
  • "Hive Mind" ability HP buff in territory decreased from 25 to 5.
  • Several new anomaly events (tired of the "stealth field" yet?).
  • "Grand festival" length decreased from 25 turns to 12.
  • Major rework of technology tree.
    • Full rebalance of the AI prioritization of techs to get it to better research weapons and better hulls.
    • Exotic World colonization replaces the myriad of specialty planet types techs.
    • Interstellar cabinet replaces the myriad of "Ministry of X" techs.
    • Space Weapons. Early game tech to give some additional weapons before specialization.
    • Point Defense tech tree removed (point defenses and other specific weapon counters will become part of a specialized defense branch later along with new evasion techs).
    • Beam weapon theory renamed Directed Energy Weapons.
    • Space Lasers (sigh) renamed Photonic Alignment.
    • Devastator Missile System renamed to Phoenix Missile System to match the weapon it gives.
    • Shrunk the size of the cruiser tech description.
    • Removed drones as a resource / element of the game until we can do something more interesting with them.
  • Self Determinism now grants 3 leaders.
  • Ministers unlocked mostly between Interstellar cabinet, political capital and colonial bureaucracy.
  • Various exotic world planet types (like radioactive worlds) are unlocked by a single tech: Exotic World Colonization.
  • Several new ship components for early game use.
  • Ideology naming updated to fit new culture system.
  • Festron no longer take a penalty for not being on an aquatic world because they don't actually like water. They're not water bugs. They're bug bugs and prefer jungle which they now get a huge morale boost of if they're on those worlds.
  • Invite leader cooldown reduced from 50 to 10, control cost increased from 10 to 20.
  • Trade route value multiplier increased from 15% to 33% to make trade routes more valuable.
  • The number of Trade licenses greatly reduced.
  • Tech Inflation multiplier reduced from 11% to 10%.
  • Number of rounds in a battle increased from 40 to 100 so that battles have a better chance to play out.
  • YOU CAN MOVE THE CAPITAL. Players can destroy their capital and then place it on any tile they want.
  • Colony capitals can now be destroyed and relocated as well.
  • Civ capital maintenance removed.
  • Durantium Processor level bonus increased from 1% to manufacturing to 3%.
  • A new upgraded research project added.
  • Garrison now increases Planetary Defense instead of Resistance.
  • More improvements moved to earlier in the tech tree.
  • Low quality planets now rarely have any food output to make food more valuable.
  • Coerced colonization approval penalty increased from 5% to 15%.
  • Hull Reinforcing changed form providing 25 HP to every ship to 20% (percent) buff to a ship.
  • Major Prestige Victory balance pass. Should feel a lot better.
  • Siege Ships are now Frigate class.
  • Carriers are now Dreadnought sized.
  • Siege ship template changed from medium to small.
  • Tactical speed of ships altered to be better balanced.
  • Cruiser hull Manufacturing cost increased from 40 to 100.
  • Battleship hull manufacturing cost increased from 100 to 300.
  • Dreadnought hull manufacturing cost increased from 250 to 1000.
  • Dreadnought hull usable space increased from 32 to 36.
  • Updated starbase modules to fit with the updated tech tree.
  • Various command ship requirements updated for new tech tree.
  • Banking Clan faction diplomacy penalty increased from 0.5% to 1%
  • Capitalist Society faction gross income buff changed from a flat 1 per intelligence of leader to a 1% buff to income per intelligence of leader while increased the approval penalty from 0.1% to 0.5% per social.
  • Emporium faction Bazaar discount changed from 0.005 flat to 0.5% per intelligence of leader added wile Crime is now increased by 0.01% per diligence of that leader.
  • Trade routes no longer create the trade ship mission. Kills perf. 
  • Minister of Finance provided a 1% buff per colony income per intelligence.
  • Minister of Defense now provides a Planetary Defense buff instead of resistance.
  • Cleaned up which ideology gets a buff from event choices.
  • Cleaned up ideology buffs based on event choices.
  • AI ships will no longer bother with marginal colonies unless it can take them in less than 2 turns.
  • Improvements to AI tax rate handling some issues with the way the AI was choosing techs to research.
  • Planets will rebel much faster than before.
  • Fix to the galactic market changed to simply see if they have the universal translator. No fancy stuff.
  • Economic Power no longer takes the treasury into account.
  • Much bigger approval penalty from high crime.
  • HP buff to ships based on # of colonies is now the square root of the # of colonies rather than linear.
  • Raw fleet weapon rating greatly reduced for determining the siege rating of a fleet.
  • Update to support cheesing of building capital improvements on all your planets.
  • Renamed Explorers ability to Voyagers.
  • Lots of new lines of text for the AI to speak to the player rather than "we want peace".
  • Trader renamed Independent Trade ship.
  • Prison World explains what it does now
  • General UI text update to fit better on screens (especially for people in Germania) and clearer descriptions of stats.
  • Forum link now goes directly the GalCiv IV sub-forum.
  • 3 new citizen types: Avian, Canine, Feline. 
  • Placed limit on AI Freighter construction 
  • Improved Map Generation 
  • Tiny maps are now slightly bigger. 
  • Fixed common, abundant black holes over spawning. 
  • Updated Orders menu to display the relevant stat each profession uses. 
  • Damage numbers no longer float off before they do damage on hit.
  • Adjusted the tactical speed of ships.
  • Terror stars always show up in the battle replay
  • Custom faction Traits tab to fit single column
  • Make sure that when you edit the name and short name fields, the faction data is updated
    correctly.
  • Strip additional invalid characters from the "name" and "short name" fields.
  • Custom factions no longer default to Totalitarianism.
  • Fixed a problem where the Steam authentication cache silently fails.
  • Abundant map setting resources balanced.
  • Massive change to the cultural trait system.
  • Consolidated cultural traits used to create factions.
  • AI manages its defenders better.
  • AI players won't start covering worlds until much later.
  • Fixed missing anomalies.
  • Fleets automatically form at rally points.
  • Made it so that sentinels only attack ships.
  • Make fleets can attack more than once per turn.
  • Updated AI to use a new ship class system.
  • When you pick a given ideology, ALL of them increase the cost by N, not just the one in that tree.
  • Yor home system always starts with a Durantium resource.
  • If the player has a strong military, some civs will give you some respect.
  • New Mercenary added.
  • Set up data for commander ships for Korath and Seeing.
  • Fixed broken triggers on anomalies.
  • Added missing Tech prereqs.
  • Added misused Tech prereqs on events.
  • Slight buff to the conquest ability.
  • Compassion Trait now gives the correct approval bonus.
  • Fairness trait only gives 1 colony ship now.
  • Synthetic life civs can no longer get the "Dwindling Numbers" event.
  • The "Culture Clash" event is now using the correct strings.
  • The Starport improvement restored.
  • Removed cultural awareness buffs from improvements.
  • Precursor Accelerator event:
    • Changed "Individualism" choice to improve planetary defense.
    • Removed "Totalitarianism" choice (was OP).
  • Fixed ideology effects from the "Legacy" and "Prototype" events.
  • Crimelords get a new executive order: Impress Constructors. Make the workers an offer they can't refuse.
  • New improvement: Heritage Center. Early game tourism improvement.
  • Terror Stars no longer show up in the cargo hulls when you play as the Terrans.
  • Fairness culture trait now correctly spawns a colony ship.
  • Trade routes create a mission ship.
  • The Festron are NOT aquatic.
  • Festron homeworld is no longer aquatic.
  • Bazaar is now unlocked by the "Universal Translator."
  • Fixed a problem where if you unlocked the bazaar and then started a new game, the bazaar was unlocked at the start. Bizarre!
  • Steam achievements are now enabled.
  • Make asteroids go to the nearest core world, not the nearest colony.
  • Added more Anomaly images.
  • Big changes to the culture tree:
    • Iron Fist control reward increased from 50 to 100
    • Fairness now spawns 3 colony ships.
    • Deep Investigation spawns a bunch of anomalies.
    • Kindness now spawns 3 constructors with it
    • Individualism(new) - Lowers decay, the player is awarded a flagship.
    • Added a bunch of new placeholder traits that aren't functioning yet.
    • Getting a trait increases only the discount for the next tech by 1%.
  • Shorten some of the quest events that were too long.
  • Changed references of "Empire" to "Civilization"
  • Cultural affinity choice now gives a 25% upfront discount.
  • Updated resistance bonus description.
  • Inconsistent improvement warnings have been removed (for now).
  • Military consistently renamed to Shipyard Production.
  • Tweaked culture window
  • Planetary Crime tooltip breakdown is less confusing.
  • Removed redundant stat breakdowns in the Planetary defense tooltip.
  • The planet tooltip for colonies shows who they send their resources to at the bottom of the
    tooltip.
  • The Y and N keys should no longer hide the shipyard window.
  • We are updating our combat U.I to display battle rating, conquest, and HP stats. Screens updated so far include:
    • Ship design "stats" box
    • Starbase and Shipyards
    • Battle start and results screen
  • Changed distances to be consistently measured in KM
  • Disable Tech brokering by default.
  • Improve the Rally Point UX flow. Now you click on the map to set the point, rather than going
    through a series of menus.
  • Mission Rewards are now in whole numbers, not fractions (e.g., you won't get 1.45 Elerium as a
    reward anymore).
  • Resource Popup should show how much you already have.
  • The splash screen is longer stretched on ultrawide screens.
  • The tech tooltips need to show what stats they change.
  • Update Planet Tool tip icons to be consistent with the yield tokens.
  • Made a pass on all techs and ensure they are color coded most sensibly and aesthetically.
  • Show Ship Range on the ship tooltip and ship details.
  • Upgrade Window - Text is no longer cut off for the lowest line of text.
  • Fleet names no longer include their faction's name and instead just uses their call sign (e.g., TAS if playing as Terrans).
  • Anomaly alerts now display the event name, description, and choice.
  • Updated Starbase Missile Salvo text.
  • Fix String issue with "Pirate" Frigate and Cruiser. The name was given to the Onyx and the Baratak.
  • Disabling the Tutorial really really disables the Tutorial robot.
  • The options screen only warns of restart needed due to graphics changes only if you've actually changed the graphics.
  • Move the controls so that they're docked to the top bar. 
  • Shrink the writing in the log such that you can fit 2 more rows. 
  • Increase the size so that it goes to the very bottom. 
  • Fix missing ideology traits in custom civs created in builds prior to v1.55. 
  • Prevent core world capital from being able to be built on the capital world. 
  • The Shipyard manufacturing value is now referencing the correct number  
  • Updated battle viewer combat stat displays to just battle rating and HP 
  • Update Galaxy Settings slider icons for Minors, and Entities. 
  • Updated the Bazaar popup card to support one more line. 
  • Make more room for long custom faction names on the turn button. 

Good luck!

Screenshots:

GalCiv IV: Supernova Dev Journal #20 - How people use AlienGPT

Published on Tuesday, May 30, 2023 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv IV Dev Journals

GalCiv IV: Supernova Dev Journal #20 - How people use AlienGPT

The Generative AI feature of Galactic Civilizations IV seems to be the breakout feature so far.

To recap: When a player wants to create a custom civilization, they can choose to enter in a short description and then press “Generate”.

There are two parts of this.

The first part uses OpenAI’s ChatGPT which generates the text and code for describing the civilization as well as quests in the game.

The second part uses AI to figure out what key words to look for and then see what already existing AI generated images exist for this. Since these images are trained solely off of Stardock’s own considerable library of art, it isn’t infinite. If the AI determines the match quality is poor, it will then queue it up for generation later while sending the best results it has back.

Stardock’s Tachyon backend for this only gets the text entered and works with that. So for example, let’s say the player enters in “A civilization made up of beautiful amazon women” (one of the most common entries apparently it just looks at the text and the final result would be something like this:

And then the images it matches with. It sends 9 at a time. 3 are the best it can find. 3 are a bit looser and 3 are totally random.

So what are the results we get?

Broadly speaking, the types of inputs we get can fall into these categories:

Category

 

Humanoid

['human', 'woman', 'female', 'humanoid', 'male', 'men', 'boy', 'girl', 'person']

Cat-like

['cat', 'cats', 'catgirl', 'kitten', 'lion', 'tiger', 'panther', 'leopard', 'cougar']

Dog-like

['dog', 'dogs', 'puppy', 'wolf', 'wolves', 'fox', 'foxes']

Robot-like

['robot', 'robots', 'ai', 'borg', 'machine', 'machines', 'android', 'cyborg']

Dragon-like

['dragon', 'dragons', 'reptile', 'reptiles', 'snake', 'snakes', 'lizard', 'lizards', 'dinosaur', 'dinosaurs']

Other Mammal-like

['bear', 'bears', 'mouse', 'mice', 'rat', 'rats', 'horse', 'horses', 'monkey', 'monkeys', 'ape', 'apes', 'goat', 'goats', 'deer']

Insect-like

['insect', 'insects', 'bug', 'bugs', 'ant', 'ants', 'bee', 'bees', 'spider', 'spiders', 'butterfly', 'butterflies', 'moth', 'moths']

Bird-like

['bird', 'birds', 'eagle', 'hawk', 'falcon', 'parrot', 'sparrow', 'pigeon', 'chicken', 'chickens', 'duck', 'ducks', 'goose', 'geese', 'swan', 'swans']

Aquatic-like

['fish', 'shark', 'sharks', 'whale', 'whales', 'dolphin', 'dolphins', 'octopus', 'squid', 'crab', 'crabs', 'lobster', 'lobsters', 'shrimp', 'mermaid', 'mermaids']

Plant-like

['tree', 'trees', 'plant', 'plants', 'flower', 'flowers', 'grass', 'vine', 'vines', 'leaf', 'leaves', 'mushroom', 'mushrooms']

Fantasy Creatures

['elf', 'elves', 'vampire', 'vampires', 'ghost', 'ghosts', 'zombie', 'zombies', 'werewolf', 'werewolves', 'demon', 'demons', 'witch', 'witches', 'fairy', 'fairies', 'unicorn', 'unicorns', 'goblin', 'goblins', 'troll', 'trolls']

Non-living Entities

['rock', 'rocks', 'stone', 'stones', 'metal', 'metals', 'iron', 'gold', 'silver', 'copper', 'bronze', 'steel', 'diamond', 'diamonds', 'gem', 'gems', 'jewel', 'jewels', 'crystal', 'crystals']

Custom Citizens

Now, what the AI doesn’t currently do is pick your citizens for you.

You would need a couple dozen images for citizens to work, otherwise, there’d be excessive repetition of the same face in game. So obviously it’s not currently possible to have dozens of citizens for each species as the generation time would go off the charts.

However, what we can do is start looking at the broader categories. While there are infinite possibilities when it comes to species, the number of general categories (human, robot, cat people, insect people, rocks, etc.) is quite finite and thus takes a massive issue and makes it much more manageable.

The top 10

You might be wondering, what are the top 10 most popular alien choices people put in? Wonder no longer, here they are:

  1. Humans

  2. Women

  3. Robots

  4. Female

  5. Cat

  6. Girls

  7. Elves

  8. Cats

  9. robot

  10. human

Now, if we get rid of the duplicate meanings it goes more like this:

That’s how the top 10 are distributed. People like women and cats. Which makes it unsurprising that the 11th entry was catgirls.

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Galactic Civilizations IV: Supernova Dev Journals

Galactic Troublemaking on Memorial Day

Published on Monday, May 29, 2023 By Brad Wardell In Galactic Civilizations IV

We're going to have a new Insider's Branch probably on Tuesday.  Thought I'd give you guys a sneak peek on some of the things in it that we did during the weekend (we're NOT addicted to the game, we swear!).

  • Visual display of ship hull sizes modified to make it easier to view them in battle

  • Renamed Explorers ability to Voyagers

  • Fixed the ability to acutlaly for realsies give a +2 moves, +2 sensors

  • HIvemind ability HP buff in territory decreased from 25 to 5

  • Several new anomaly events (tired of the "stealth fileld" yet?)

  • Grand festival length decreased from 25 turns to 12.
  • Major rework of technology tree

  • Full rebalance of the AI prioritization of techs to get it to better research weapons and better hulls.

  • New tech: Exotic World colonization replaces the myriad of specialty planet types techs

  • New tech: Interstellar cabinet replaces the myriad of "Ministry of X" techs

  • New tech: Space Weapons. Early game tech to give some additional weapons before specialization.

  • Point Defense tech tree removed (point defenses and other specific weapon counters will become part of a specialized defense branch later along with new evasion techs).

  • Beam weapon theory renamed Directed Energy Weapons

  • Space Lasers (sigh) renamed Photonic Alignment

  • Devastaor Missile System renamed to Phoenix Missile System to match the weapon it gives

  • Shrunk the size of the cruiser tech description

  • Removed drones as a resource / element of the game until we can do something more interesting with them.

  • Lots of new lines of text for the AI to speak to the player rather than "we want peace"

  • Self Determinism now grants 3 leaders.

  • Ministers unlocked mostly between Interstellar cabinet, political capital and colonial bureaucracy.

  • Various exotic world planet types (like radioactive worlds) are unlocked by a single tech: Exotic World Colonization.

  • Several new ship components for early game use.

  • General UI text update to fit better on screens (espeically for people in Germania) and clearer descriptions of stats.

  • Festron no longer take a penalty for not being on an aquatic world because they don't actually like watr. They're not water bugs. They're bug bugs and prefer jungle which they now get a huge morale boost of if they're on those worlds.

  • Invite leader cooldown reduced from 50 to 10, control cost increased from 10 to 20.

  • Trade route value multiplier increased from 15% to 33% to make trade routes more valuable

  • Number of Trade licenses greatly reduced

  • Tech Inflation multiplier reduced from 11% to 10%

  • Number of rounds in a battle increased from 40 to 100 so that battles have a better chance to play out.

  • YOU CAN MOVE THE CAPITAL. Players can destroy their capital and then place it on any tile they want.

  • Colony capitals can now be destroyed and relocated as well

  • Civ capital maintainence removed.

  • Durantium Processor level bonus increased from 1% to manufacturing to 3%

  • A new upgraded research project added

  • Garrison now increases PLanetary Defense instead of Resistance

  • More improvements moved to earlier in the tech tree

  • Low quality planets now rarely have any food output to make food more valuable.

  • Coerced colonization approval penalty increased from 5% to 15%.

  • Hull Reinforcing changed form providing 25 HP to every ship to 20% (percent) buff to a ship.

  • Major Prestige Victory balance pass. Should feel a lot better.

  • Explorer race trait fixed

  • Siege Ships are now Frigate class

  • Carriers are now Dreadnought sized

  • Tactical speed of ships altered to be better balanced

  • Cruiser hull Manufacturing cost increased from 40 to 100

  • Battleship hull manufacturing cost increased from 100 to 300

  • Dreadnought hull amnufacturing cost increased from 250 to 1000

  • Dreadnought hull usable space increased from 32 to 36

  • Banking Clan faction diplomacy penalty increased from 0.5% to 1%

  • Capitalist Society faction gross income buff changed from a flat 1 per intellgence of leader to a 1% buff to income per intelligence of leader wwhile increased the approval penalty from 0.1% to 0.5% per social.

  • Empporium faction Bazaar discount changed from 0.005 flat to 0.5% per intelligence of leader added wile Crime is now increased by 0.01% per diligence of that leader.

  • Minister of Finance provided a 1% buff per colony income per intelligence.

  • Minister of Defense now provides a Planetary Defense buff instead of resistance.

  • AI ships will no longer bother with marginal colonies unless it can take them in less than 2 turns.

  • Improvements to AI tax rate handling

  • Fixed some issues with the way the AI was choosing techs to research

  • Planets will rebel much faster than before from foreign influence.

  • Fix to canusegalactic market changed to simply see if they have the universal translator. No fancy stuff.

  • Economic Power no longer takes the treasury into account.

  • Much bigger approval penalty from high crime.

  • HP buff to ships based on # of colonies is now the square root of the # of colonies rather than linear.

  • Raw fleet weapon rating greatly reduced for determining the siege rating of a fleet.

We hope to have this out for insiders Tuesday, May 30, in the afternoon.

 

GalCiv IV: Supernova Dev Journal #19 - Culture is your Civilization's Character

Published on Wednesday, May 24, 2023 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv IV Dev Journals

GalCiv IV: Supernova Dev Journal #19 - Culture is your Civilization's Character

The feedback we got from Beta 1 of GalCiv IV: Supernova was that the Cultural Progression tree was too big and too “soft”. Soft meaning the choices didn’t have meaningful consequences. We read all the feedback and used it to rethink the concept of culture in a 4X game. Here’s what we’ve come up with.

Culture vs. Influence

Influence affects how far your borders go from your planet. Culture is the input that comes in that is transformed into influence.

So in this example, Mars has a cultural significance of 1 which goes to its core world Earth.

Then influence takes that Cultural Input and turns it into influence growth per month which then goes to the planet’s bank of influence which becomes the radius (in tiles) that influence flows from the planet.

Now, what we want to have happen is that this culture coming int goes towards how many culture points in you generate per turn. In the current build, you just get 1 per turn. So it’s still way too convoluted and messy for our liking.

So to recap:

  • Culture is the raw resource.

  • Influence is one of the byproducts of culture.

  • We want “Culture points” to also be derived by how much culture you have coming in.

Feel free to leave comments on how you think this should be improved. We have our ideas but I’d like to hear yours.

Cultural Progression

So then your culture should also feed into your cultural progression where the cost of a given cultural trait will increase the further in you go (as well as overall).

If this were an RPG, I’d say your Cultural Progression would be like your character and the traits unlocking new powers. That’s essentially the goal we have anyway.

So the idea then would be to have a Cultural Level for your civilization which would use this formula:

Where N and B are “magic numbers” and X is the next level and Y is the total number of points you need to go up a level. If you’re a game designer, save that formula, it’s what we all use for leveling up costs.

In our case, it would be the base cost of another unlock with each category having discounts based on how much awareness you have generated in that category based on your decisions in the game.

The long-term plan is for players to have a “Level” for each category that we can key new events off of.

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Galactic Civilizations IV: Supernova Dev Journals

GalCiv IV: Supernova - Experiments we're trying

Published on Monday, May 8, 2023 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv IV Dev Journals

Greetings!

In recent years, "Early Access" has meant "Game is basically done but with bugs". And while it's true that the engine for this game is pretty "done" we are trying to take advantage of early access to try out a lot of crazy new things to get your ideas and feedback on.

GalCiv IV: Supernova is being developed by the GalCiv II team and so some of the changes the team wants to make are things that come from the things we really liked in GalCiv II but in a GalCiv IV game.

Some of the things we want to try may not work out. But we want to see what you guys think.

Coming up:
* Making range matter again. We're going to reduce range back to how we used to do it. This will mean the AI doesn't get into your business as much but it also means that expansion requires building starbases and researching new tech.

* Influence is going to mean a lot more. No colonizing in someone else's area of influence. And planets will fall to foreign influence much faster than currently. It'll be a viable soft conquest mechanism.

* Emergent colonies. Worlds that are in your area of influence that aren't colonized will start to colonize on their own on your behalf. How often this happens will depend on your species.

* More galactic outlook. We want to give players a lot more mechanisms to automate their civilizations as well as mechanics to deal with their galactic civilization at the large scale. Some of our attempts at this will likely fail.

Stay tuned.

GalCiv IV: Supernova - The Combat System Discussion

Published on Sunday, May 7, 2023 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv IV Dev Journals

GalCiv IV: Supernova - The new combat system discussion thread

Greetings. I’m making use of two particular threads as background for this one:

https://forums.galciv4.com/518716

Feedback on the new weapon system and class system » Forum Post by Halicide (galciv4.com)

The currently designed system for Supernova

I say designed because it’s not actually working correctly. But here is how it is supposed to work:

Weapons

Weapons have 4 primary characteristics:

  1. Potential Damage

  2. Range

  3. Cooldown

  4. Accuracy

Weapon type

Range

Cooldown

Base Accuracy

Notes

Missiles [explosives]

4500KM

9s

50%

Fire first but infrequently

Beams [energy]

1500KM

3s

90%

Fire second, more frequently and always hit.

Kinetic [mass]

500KM

1s

75%

Fire last but very frequently and usually hit.

Ion [Future]

Pulse [Future]

Exotic [Future]

To hit: Weapon rolls a 100sided die from 1 to 100. If it’s lower than the modified accuracy (base accuracy - target evasion roll) it hits.

Defenses

Each type of defense has its pros and cons as well.

Defense type

Effect

Point-Defense

First line of defense. Rolls between 0 and its rating. If it is higher than the incoming attack then nothing gets in. Otherwise, it all gets in.

Shields

Second line of defense. Damage coming in is absorbed by shileds until it reaches 0 and then passes it on to Armor.

Armor

Armor mitigates damage. It rolls its value against the incoming damage. What isn’t mitigated goes to the hull (HP damage).

Problems/Criticisms

These are soft mechanics. They’re more realistic but you can’t really make a strategic ounter like you could in previous GalCiv games where if a race focused on beam weapons you could counter it by focusing on shields which blocked beam.

Now, keep in mind, different weapon systems require researching up the tech tree for them. A civilization is almost never going to be equally good at all of them. Rather than a rock-paper-scissors system, I’d rather see counters involve ship designs that make use of something that targets a particular class of weapon.

Ship Classes

Ship classes are intended to setup the rules for the ship – order of attack as well as set up buffs. These are just the combat ones not including the Terror Star.

We haven’t exposed a lot of this to the UI because it’s still a work in progress.

Ship Class

Hull Type

Logistics

Rules (order of target)

Buffs

Fighter

Tiny

1

Fighter,Bomber,Dread, BS,Cruiser,Destroyer,Frigate

Evasion +50%

Bomber [not in yet]

Tiny

1

Dreadnought,Battleship,Cruiser,Destroyer,Frigate,Bomber,Fighter

Evasion +50%

Frigate

Small

2

Frigate,Destroyer,Cruiser,Battlecruiser,Battleship,Dreadnought

Evasion +25%

Destroyer [not in yet]

Small

2

Bomber,Fighter,Frigate,Cruiser,Battlesip,Dreadnought

Evasion +25%

Cruiser

Medium

4

Cruiser,Battlesip,Dreadnought,Destroyer,Frigate,Bomber,Fighter

Battleship

Large

6

Battleship,Dreadnought,Cruiser,Destroyer,Frigate,Bomber,Fighter

Evasion - 25%

Dreadnought

Huge

12

Dreadnought,Battlesip,Cruiser,Destroyer,Frigate,Bomber,Fighter

Evasion -50%

Evasion, like Accuracy, is a dice roll.

But as you can see here, a mass of Dreadnoughts won’t do so well against a giant fleet of bombers.

Communicating this to the player

If we can’t communicate this nuance to the player, it doesn’t matter. That’s why we’re putting in so much time to iterate on this new system. It’s going to take quite a few tries before we can communicate this system to the player.

And THIS is why people used to like to join early access projects like this. Before early access got turned into a demo or a bug testing thing. Here we (you and us) can try out different things until we like what we get.

GalCiv IV: Supernova Preview for May 11

Published on Saturday, May 6, 2023 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv IV News

GalCiv IV: Supernova: May 11

Lots of big updates coming the second week of May. Here’s some highlights:

Civ image re-rolling

Previously, to get more potential race images to choose from, you had to regenerate the entire civilization. Because of how taxing that is on the AlientGPT system, we had to limit that to 5 tries per civ and 25 per day.

But since most people just want to try out to see more images, we are separating the civ regen to the reroll of the images.

So just reroll until you get the image you want (based on the description of your civ).

The system returns 9. 3 of the picks are always totally random and the other 6 are it’s best guess of what goes with the description you gave.

For fun, guess what my civ’s description was!

More Civs Unlocked

The classic GalCiv civs plus the main GalCiv III civs plus the new GalCiv IV civs are now unlocked. The new Supernova civs are still locked for now as we are still working on them.

New Settings

We are starting to tweak the Civ traits.

What we want to do is make all of these quite interesting between now and release.

Updated visuals

We’ve done our first pass on the visual style of the map itself. Gone is the blah grays.

Also, you can set it so that you can see which tiles have been explored.

New Default strategic zoom settings

If you found the iconizing agonizing (I’ll show myself out) then you’re in for a treat. We’ve rebalanced when and how different icons show up as you zoom out.

One smooth zoom out:

(if you look closely, you can see the milky way slowly moving – not here, this is just a screenshot, I mean in the game, screenshot doesn’t do it justice).

AI to Supernova

Beta 1 of Supernova was focused on AlienGPT (would it work) and making sure it didn’t blow up on your computers. It mostly didn’t. Beta 1A brings the new AI over. Which isn’t to say the AI in Beta 1 didn’t work, it just hadn’t been updated yet to support all the changes to Supernova yet.

You will find it much more engaging as a result.

Diplomacy gets more sophisticated

The computer players have a lot more nuance now in how they deal with each other.

There are a lot more things that can happen in GalCiv IV: Supernova that affect relations. Sometimes you’ll have to pick who are your friends and who are not and live with that. It also means the other civilizations will be more likely to have diplomatic challenges with each other as well.

Major balance pass

Everything from how the galaxy gets generated to how much a pulse cannon costs has been looked at and adjusted. We’ve also brought back a lot of starbase upgrades that were previously only available to the Synthetic civs (By popular demand).

This list will be too big to cover here but it’s a big set of changes. We’ve been reading every forum post and every Discord talk.

Feedback addressed / Quality of Life

We are glad so many people are liking Supernova. The biggest complaint, by far, has been that it’s so different from GalCiv III that the game needs to do a better job at explaining how things work.

While we work on making sure the game explains things, one tip: In GalCiv IV you can hold down the SHIFT key to lock a tooltip and then you can mouse over the tooltip to get more information.

Experiments

We are going to try out a pretty big change this week: We are going to make it so that colonies can’t be conquered. Only the core worlds. If you take the core world, you automatically get all the colonies that sponsor them. We haven’t decided if that will be a permanent change but we want to see how that affects pacing. Let us know in the comments what you think.

Scratch that. That’s too immersion breaking. We’ll need to find some other way to ensure that conquest isn’t too much of a slog. Share your thoughts in the comments.

Bug Squashing

From typos to crashes, we’ve been squashing bugs to get this update ready for you guys. We’ve even brought in a veteran game industry editor to finally deal with the tipoes.

Frogboy Weekend: May 2023

Published on Friday, May 5, 2023 By Brad Wardell In Galactic Civilizations IV

Hey guys, so every weekend I'll be taking the team's work and then integrating ideas and feedback from you guys so that we can can get a new beta build going in the following week.

I'll be reporting my progress here but feel free to add your own notes.

I'll also be on Discord here: https://discord.gg/galciv so feel free to join the GC4 Commons area.

 

GalCiv IV: Supernova - First 10 Turns, May 2023

Published on Wednesday, May 3, 2023 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv IV Dev Journals

GalCiv IV: Supernova - The First 10 Turns

Today we’re going to do a fairly simple game to “smoke test” the AI and general game mechanics. Here we will find bugs, AI issues and balance issues.

Setup

I’m playing as the Terran Alliance, the default civ.

Small galaxy, ONE sector. This lets us do an apples and apples comparison with GC3 and GC2.

Only 3 opponents.

In the beginning…

Our home solar system. I wouldn’t mind if Mars was moved so that it was closer.

Month 1: February 2307.

Picking research districts as my first tech:

Choosing Fast Exploration for more moves. I don’t really care about my HP.

Going to rush build my Industrial Center. I got a really good starting spot.

Before:

After:

We got some good feedback saying that this sort of seemingly minor change just doesn’t feel very good. Let’s see what happens if we boost the level up bonus on this from 1% per level to 5%:

Thoughts?

One idea we’re playing with:

Replace region districts directly with your citizens here. You would drag and drop them onto a region. You could move them around however you want.

This would require a lot of work because we’d need to deal with the fact you need these people to also man your special starships and we woudln’t want to yank them once they were placed or put players in the min/max position of extreme micro management.

We’d also have to deal with the fact that your colony would, mostly, not be building anything. But on the other hand, is that bad? Let us know.

Zooming out

Now, I feel like there should be tooltips for star systems. Something like this:

  1. Yellow Star.

    1. Yellow Stars are the most inviting for most forms of life. Habitable planets are more commonly found around them.

  2. Violet Star.

    1. Purple Stars are rare and are where Promethion can be found. Promethion is used is many advanced technologies.

  3. Red Star.

    1. Red stars tend to be larger and is where Durantium is most commonly found. Durantium is an exotic alloy needed for most mega structure efforts.

  4. Blue Star.

    1. Blue Stars are fairly uncommon. Their unusual gravimetric fields result in Thuilium, a highly dense material used for certain types of weapons can be found.

  5. White Star.

    1. White stars are a wild card. One never knows what htey might find.

 Anyway, still on turn 1.

For leaders, I went with the one that pumps up my tech. Now I almos thtink we have too much going on on turn 1 but I’m not in love with the idea of locking leaders behind a tech. Feel free to share your ideas.

Same thing with Executive orders. I almost think we could make some of these abilities be locked behind the Cultural Progression tree (and have fewer of them) to make these a lot more intersting.

There’s an amazing world not too far away.

So I’m going to draft colonists and send them over there.

For my first shipyard project, I have to go with the colony ship.

So who do I put on the ship? Always the least happy person I’m afraid. That said, this gets back to wanting the professions to be more powerful and varied from the start (And not easily changeable).

And at last, we have finished Month #1.

Month 2

The Endeavor has arrived at Mars. Now, there’s a bit of lore behind why isn’t there a Mars colony by this point?

I only see two possibiltiies:

#1 We will never go to mars as meat humans.

OR

#2 We will not colonize Mars until we have a new type of propulsion.

In GalCiv, we assume #2.

Our flagship, the TAS Discovery is investigating an artifact just outside the solar system.

So we reach Mars and there’s a situation. Depending on the game, I pick different things. In this situation, I’m going to go with minerals because I happen to know it’s a crowded little sector and I want resources coming in quickly.

I’ve nearly doubled my output by the second month.

Our probe has flown near a pre-hyperdrive world. We can’t talk to them yet. This is going to be an area we’ll be expanding on a lot this Summer.

Meanwhile, the Discovery has finished investigating the artifact:

This will be nice for later. Now off to the next anomaly:

Month 3

My colony ship has reached the Malmo system.

This planet used to be a Precursor world that refined Promthion.

It’s an amazing world, so I’m going to assign a governor so we that we can manage it.

It’s funny, people in GalCiv III always said they wanted to place their colony capital. Well here you go!

Month 4:

First contact with another hyperdrive capable civilizations.

I have a good feeling about them.

Month 5

I’ve gotten research districts technology.

Now, I want to make it clear: I have total confidence that we and this “Drengin Empire” are going to be best friends. But I’m still going to research armed shuttles.

Let’s take a look at their world and compare it.

These Drengin don’t have much cultural output (Influence). And their pollution is relay really bad. But who are we to judge?

Meanwhile.

I have no idea what a Techpod Hive is but I’m going to get it (actually I do know but a new player won’t/shouldn’t).

Month 6

I’m actually pretty torn this time. I want Asteroid Mining and Universal Translator. But they’re so much more expensive than the ones getting a research bonus. I have to go with Space Elevators.

And I am going to get a Constructor to start claiming the shiny resources I’m finding.

Month 7

This doesn’t make me happy. The GNN is now in action and they have heard rumors there are two other civilizations out there. And both of them are better than ours.

Month 8

Artemis, the 9th planet of our solar system (didn’t you know?) is colonized.

And we’re going to sell it to Big Planet.

I also have enough culture points to choose a trait for my civilization.

Cultural Progression

This is an area of the game we are still lookingi at. I feel like it’s too much bread for the butter.

There are 14 different cultural paths here. Let’s assume they average 6 traits each. First off, that’s not many traits and second, even if you only can get half of them due to the balance, that’s still 42 of them. Let’s say you pick one every 10 turns, it would take 420 turns and that’s longer than we expect the average game to take. I’m 45 minutes into this game and I”m on turn 8.

Next, let’s look at the choices available right now:

  1. Self-Governance. Gets me a free leader. That is worthwhile.

  2. Iron Fist. +50 control. That’s worthwile.

  3. Ambition. Leaders cost less to hire. That’s weak.

  4. Fairness. 10% approval boost on my worlds. That’s weak

  5. Sacred History. 1000 influence on your home world. THAT’S HUGE. Ok fine.

  6. Eureka. 30 research. That’s pretty good.

  7. Kindses. +1 Diplomacy. Boo.

  8. Practicality. You get 3 SUpply ships. Ok that’s quite good.

  9. Amiable. +1 Diplomacy. Double boo.

  10. Spycraft. +5 Deception. The game doesn’t explain what that means so it’s worthless.

  11. Independence. -15% decay rate. Meh.

  12. Unification. +50% homeworld influence. This is too powerful.

  13. Intolerance. Citizens of other species don’t care if you’re at war with the homeworld of their species. This is nice but not a good one for the first choice.

  14. Tolerance. Core world start with 1000 influence. HOLY cow that’s OP. We need to take a 0 off that.

So of these I see a few good ones and a lot of weak ones.

Culture Traits should be more like a Loot Box. You get a thing with it. Something right then and there. Not a stat boost. So we’re going to have to revisit.

Month 9

From here I’m going to start really getting into the game and come back later….

…Time

Passes…

Ultimately, I was able to conquer the other AI players pretty well. The issue is that the weapons are just too expensive for them and it messes with the value they put onto other things.

This in return resulted in an update we released to the game on May 2.

A from here we created the 1.6 requirements document. (smile)

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GalCiv IV: Supernova First 10 Turns Series

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