Brad Wardell's Blog


GalCiv IV Dev Journal #17 - Screenshot Time

Published on Friday, April 15, 2022 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv IV Dev Journals

It’s hard to narrow down what screenshots help show off Galactic Civilizations IV the best.  Below I’m going to post some of my favorites, but we’d love to read your opinions and what screenshots you might think better represent the game to strategy gamers.

GC4-00-Earth

This will come as no surprise to those of you who have been playing the series, but it has always mattered a lot to me that Earth is in the game. Because of that, it makes it really easy to compare how far the series has come over the years.

 

GC4-01-ChooseCiv\

One of my favorite features of the Galactic Civilizations series is that the other civilizations aren’t generic.  Each has their own story and unique capabilities. I am also glad you can create and share your own custom made civilizations as well.

 

Galactic Civilizations IV 0.91 Beta 2022-04-06 16-15-58.mp4.00_00_59_10.Still001

Designing your own ships in Galactic Civilizations has become one of the features that people now strongly associate with the series.  It’s going to be really interesting to see what cool types of ships people make.

 

GC4-04-Events

Even decades ago, it was important to us that the first time a player does something they're met with a video cut scene.  This is because we wanted players to see - with detail - what it actually means to live in this universe.

 

GC4-05-Sector

Possibly my favorite new feature in Galactic Civilizations IV are the sectors.  It’s an obvious feature in hindsight.  While most space strategy games have star-to-star nodes and such, Galactic Civilizations has always had a free moving map. 

 

Galactic Civilizations IV aims to combine the best of both by having free moving maps that are also connected to other sectors.  This creates another dimension of strategic depth and a second phase of exploration, which is typically a major part of this genre.

 

GC4-06-Challenges

Possibly the most innovative feature of Galactic Civilizations IV are the Galactic Challenges.  Typically in 4X strategy games, the player knows they’re going to win long before they actually win.  GalCiv IV introduces the Prestige victory condition, which gives points for leading in various areas.  It’s typically very hard to win purely on prestige without completing the Galactic Challenges, which are special events (think mini campaigns) the player can engage in that reward them with a bunch of prestige points.

 

Galactic Civilizations IV 0.92 Beta 2022-04-11 20-26-39.mp4.00_01_34_12.Still002

Trading in Galactic Civilizations games is nothing new.  While the trading screen looks better, the real work was under the covers where players, especially 4X players, will notice how intelligent many of the AI trades are.

 

GC4-08-Siege

By splitting planets between core worlds (the planets the player can directly manage) and colonies (worlds that are purely automated). we not only dramatically reduce micro-management - especially late game - but also give players who are really detail-oriented a mechanism to min/max to their heart’s content.  Moreover, having colonies means we can have invasions take place almost immediately as any armed ship can, depending on the resistance, conquer a colony as seen in this screenshot.

 

The new siege mechanic has dramatically changed the strategy of moving ships around between all of your planets into using sentry and picket lines instead. Intercepting enemy fleets near the border is far more effective than engaging in a game of 'whack-a-mole' by trying to defend each planet individually.

 

GC4-09-Combat

The combat viewer was a late edition, but one that proved very important in balancing the weapons and general combat system of the game. This is an area of the game we intend to actually do more on after release as we see what additional ideas players might have.

 

Galactic Civilizations IV 0.91 Beta 2022-04-04 19-44-02.mp4.00_00_07_56.Still002

One of my favorite features of Galactic Civilizations IV is that there is a simple "customize your civilization" screen.  In our previous games, if you wanted to customize a civ, you basically had to build a new one from scratch. 

________________________________________________________

GalCiv IV Journals

 

The decline of Twitter

Published on Tuesday, March 22, 2022 By Brad Wardell In Everything Else

If I were to make a graph of the amount of time I spent on Twitter, it would have started at the founding of that service, peeked in 2015, gradually declined until 2019 and then plumuted.

As NASDAQ noted, Twitter isn't really profitable.  And how can it be? How can you base your business on something that might suspend your account based on the opinions of its far, far left employees? 

Satire site, Babylon Bee, was recently banned for making a satirical post about public figure, Rachel Levine, the trasngender assistant secretary of health.  Making death threats against conservatives is rarely punished.  President Trump's Twitter account is gone while Kathy Griffin, who famously called for violence against President Trump remains.

How can anyone seriously look at Twitter as a viable platform when the rules are always in motion and enforced so capriciously?  

It's only a matter of time before Twitter is gone.  And I suspect the world will be better for it.

GalCiv IV Dev Journal #16 - The Battle Viewer

Published on Thursday, March 3, 2022 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv IV Dev Journals

You wanted it. We’re giving it to you.  The Battle viewer.

Beta 2 of Galactic Civilizations IV brings back the Battle Viewer and a new After Action Report.  It’s pretty basic for Beta 2 and we plant to add a lot more to it.

Today, I’m going to talk about what is already in it and what we plan to add.

The viewer and the after action report

There are really two elements here that players tend to want to see:

Their ships in action to see how different designs are stacking up and an after action report to look at the data from the big picture.

For beta 2, we did some cosmetic work to make the battles look a lot better

image

image

We have a lot more data planned for Beta 3 but we wanted to get this out in time for Beta 2.

Additionally, we have some ideas for how these battles should work that we’d like your feedback in the comments such as:

Ship roles

More meaning to the ship roles.  Right now, ship roles mostly affect the placement of a ship in the battle arena but this is something that could be fleshed out to reward more thoughtful fleet creation.  Here are some ideas:

The type of ship determines the order in which the enemy can target them:

  1. Interceptor
  2. Guardian
  3. Escort
  4. Assault
  5. Capital
  6. Support

This way, players can assemble fleets with additional strategy behind them.

Tactical Combat

I know a lot of people want tactical combat but let me, for instance, show you my current game:

image

This isn’t even the largest map size. Not even close.  I have a dozen battles each turn and I can barely keep track of one fleet versus another in terms of what it’s good at or not let alone have any desire to micro manage a battle or even set up a battle at the start of the battle.  And I am not interested in having an AI choose (badly) for me.

But I am definitely open to the idea of the assembling of a fleet mattering more as well as the design of the ship.  I.e. rewarding the logistics of war versus the tactics of war.

What are your thoughts?

________________________________________________________

GalCiv IV Journals

GalCiv IV 0.77B sneak preview

Published on Sunday, February 6, 2022 By Brad Wardell In Galactic Civilizations IV

As usual, this is, by no means, comprehensive

 

  • Heap corruption bug fixed. [causes crashing]
  • Aquatic worlds tech now available to all civs

  • Foreign affairs tech removed

  • Precursor Studies tech now available to all civs

  • Intermediate weapons techs now provide weapon boosts

  • Defensive studies gives ships a modest defense

  • More flavor text
  • Influence explosion on invasion issue fixed (again)
  • Star cluster sizes tweaked
  • Shipyard cost reduced from 60 to 36.
  • Default starting cluster size changed from large to small
  • Manufacturing costs for larger hull sizes increased
  • Occasional planet frequency now results in more planets
  • Occasional star frequnecy results in more stars
  • Tweak for making sure the number of sectors asked for actually show up in a game.
  • Minister of Production requirement changed to Manufacturing Capitals

More to come.

This build should go out this week.

Star Control: Early 2022 Status Update

Published on Friday, January 28, 2022 By Brad Wardell In Star Control Journals

Greetings!

It's been awhile since we've done an update so I figured it would be a good time to tell you where things are.

Star Control: Origins News

Before Covid, we had started porting Star Control: Origins over to XBOX One.  However, all that went out the window when the pandemic hit since you can't take the kits home and everyone was working from home.  

However, this past Fall we were able to get restarted on it and we now have the game in pre-certification for XBOX One.  The plan is to release that this Spring or Summer and then see how demand goes.  Assuming it does well, we'll move to a PS4 version of it and potentially even a Switch version (though that might be tough since our engine was based on x86 assumptions and the Switch uses a completely different hardware set).

We also have the tentative design for what is internally referred to as Star Control IV.  Now that all the IP disagreements have been cleaned up we can design a new Star Control game without any uncertainty as to what is and isn't kosher.  Future Star Control games will come out for PC and console at or near the same time which allows us to have a bigger budget.

Right now, our studio has its hands full with 3 different major game projects in progress including Galactic Civilizations IV and two unannounced games that you'll hear more about later this year.  So it'll be a bit before we can return to Star Control but we have toyed with the idea of putting out a stand alone new Star Control fleet battle game if there's interest.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them here.

GalCiv IV v0.77A Preview

Published on Friday, January 28, 2022 By Brad Wardell In Galactic Civilizations IV

As usual, this is, by no means, comprehensive.  Just some changes coming up.

  • Minimum camera angle increased
  • Camera view moves to icon view quicker.
  • Fusion Power plant cost reduced from 600 to 200.
  • Singularity power plant reduced from 1000 to 500
  • Eyes of Universe grants a culture point (testing this concept) upon being constructed
  • Research Mission cost reduced from 100 to 80
  • Credits mission reduced from 120 to 100
  • Production mission reduced from 100 to 60 (testing)
  • Exotic Resources mission cost reduced from 240 to 140
  • Influence mission cost reduced from 180 to 150
  • Laser ship component cost reduced from 30 to 25
  • Particle beam cost reduced from 45 to 32
  • New component: Experimental Laser
  • Disruptor cost reduced from 55 to 50
  • Enhanced disruptor cost reduced from 55 to 50
  • New component: Advanced disruptor. More powerful, costs 2 Elerium.
  • Similar balance changes to kinetic and missile weapons
  • New Advanced versions of most weapons where there is now an additional "advanced" component that uses even more of a special resource than the enhanced.
  • Citizen approval ratings when you're at war with their species penalty increased except for the Mimots.
  • Drengin and Yor approval penalty greatly increased.
  • Diplomacy: If your civilization is too far out of range then "Ripe for conquest" and "we want to conquer the galaxy" are no longer counted since they don't apply to you.
  • Default out of range bonus reduced from 5 to 1.
  • Xenophobic multiplier on out of range diplomacy bonus increased from 2 to 4.
  • Another balance pass on prestige victory multipliers.
  • Big revamp on the AI ship design system to make their ships focus on what they are best at. (i.e. all beam, all kinetic or all missile rather than a mess).
  • All starbase modules now cost 1 starbase module (duh)
  • Sector scanners no longer cost a Thulium. (but do cost a module..)
  • Surveillance System module no longer costs Thuliuim.
  • Starbase relic upgrades no longer rely on exotic resources but instead require Promethion to upgrade.
  • Starbase military enhancements no longer rely on exotic resources but now require Durantium instead.
  • Starbase factory enhnacements no longer require exotic resources but instead use Durantium.
  • Starbase lab modules no longer require exotic resources but instead use Promethion.
  • Starbase economic enhancements no longer use exotic resources but instead use a bit of Promethion AND Durantium.
  • Starbase Culture modules no longer require exotic resources but instead use Durantium.
  • Starbase pinnacle (the top level upgrades) do still require an exotic resource.
  • Tiny ship mass slots increased from 1 to 2.
  • Tiny ship default moves increased from 8 to 9
  • Small ship mass slots increased from 3 to 4
  • Small ship default moves increased from 7 to 8
  • Medium ship mass slots increased from 6 to 8
  • Medium ship default moves increased from 6 to 7
  • Large ship mass slots increased from 9 to 10
  • Influence gradually grows based on turn number. (balance pass)

Update #1

  • Lots of new flavor text.
  • Mimot lore story expanded on.
  • New super project: Iridia Exchange. Provides +4 adjacency bonuses Wealth trait civs only.
  • Wealthy trait civs no longer get a capital mainframe and other super projects for tech
  • Slight decrease in the cost of planetary improvmeents (balance)
  • Certain planetary trait improvements now provide adjacency bonuses.
  • Turns now represent ONE MONTH instead of ONE WEEK
  • Slightly more players recommended per map size.
  • Day of the month is randomized for flavor
  • One year anniversary event changed to Five year (60 turns) event.
  • Starting Cluster size chosen by player enforced.
  • Overcrowded pentalty to approval reduced.
  • Crime penalty to approval reduced (until it gets pretty high then BAM!)
  • AI more likely to build asteroid miners.
  • General AI improvement on what ships to build when
  • AI much smarter about what improvements to build.
  • AI less likely to send out missions from its shipyards
  • AI puts more effort into building up planetary production 
  • AI better about choosing technologies during times of war
  • AI a bit better at specializing citizens
  • AI much MUCH more reasonable about trading techs
  • Visual pass on making the ship designer screen cleaner
  • Leaders assigned to factions provide greater benefits.
  • Fixed missing HP icon in the ship designer screen.
  • New policy: Wealth Civs only = The Great Expansion. 3X to planetary growth on capital world.
  • Yor no longer result in a negative approval rating when you are at war with their species.
  • Iridium default expectations increased by 8.
  • Drastic reduction in the cost of weapons and defenses in ship construction (increase military ship pacing) [testing balance]
  • New component: Efficient constructor module.  Wealthy trait civs get a cheaper version of the constructor module.
  • No Ship component costs more than 1 slot.
  • Text: Speed changed to moves
  • Text: Tiny changed to Tiny Hulls (will require some UI adjustments because it's longer)
  • Text X changed X Hulls
  • Text references of weeks changed to months.
  • Text: Capacity changed to Equipment slots
  • Text: Base cost changed to Base Manufacturing cost
  • Text: Favor ship tooltip in shipyard now mentions it is a toggle
  • Text: Reference to Galactic Achievements changed to Galactic Challenges
  • Text: Mention of map size change to number of sectors.
  • Corporate Sector (Irridium) start with Translator tech.  Will require an advisor change so that we aren't looking at a blank diplomacy screen.

  • Subspace stream lanes are now 100X faster for ships rather than 20 times.
  • Marginal worlds are now either class 1 or 2 rather than up to 5 (eliminate confusion as to what that number is). Really these should probalby just be class 1 planets.
  • Marginal worlds are more specific about what kinds of raw resources they have based on what type of world it is.
  • Earth minerals increased from 3 to 4
  • Drengi wealth reduced from 5 to 3
  • Drengi fertility reduced from 12 to 10
  • Altaria minerals increased from 3 to 4
  • Iridia minerals increased from 3 to 4
  • Iridia wealth reduced from 8 to 4
  • Iridia planet class increased from 25 to 29
  • Iconia minerals increased from 3 to 4
  • Iconia Fertility reduced from 6 to 5
  • Kryseth minerals increased from 3 to 4
  • Kryseth fertilty reduced from 12 to 10
  • Arcea minerals increased from 3 to 6
  • Arcea tech reduced from 3 to 2
  • Fen minerals increased from 3 to 5
  • Fen Tech reduced from 3 to 2
  • Balance and variance pass across all map sizes and sector counts. Big big changes here.
  • Occasional planet frequency changed from 1.75 to 1.8 (slightly more planets).

 

 

 

This will be part of next week's update.

 

The Galactic Civilizations IV BETA Guide Tour

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

**NEWEST WALKTHROUGH HERE**

image

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.

image

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

image

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.

image

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

image

 

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.

image

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

 

Opponents

image

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:

image

The starting ships that the humans have include:

image

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

image

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

image

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

 

Survey Ships

image

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

image

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

image

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%.

image

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.

image

Setting your tax rate affects approval which affects output.

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

image

Low taxes does the opposite:

image

So it’s a question of balance.

Here’s what “Normal” taxes do:

image

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.

image

And then drag and drop it:

image

Later technologies will open up more policies.

 

Managing your Core World (Earth)

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

image

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.

image

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

image

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.

image

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:

image

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.

image

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.

image

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:

image

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. 

image

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

image

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

image

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

 

Executive Orders

I recommend using these early.

image

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.

image

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

image

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.

image

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:

image

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:

image

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

image

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.

image

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.

image

image

We have arrived on Mars.

image

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

image

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:

image

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

image

 

Leaders

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

image

image

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.

image

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

image

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:

image

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:

image

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.

image

Now I’ll put Masako in charge of Colonization:

image

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.

image

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.

image

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:

image image image image

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

image

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.

image

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:

image

Still not as good as what Ivan did as minister.

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

image

My research has gone up.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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

So now we have 3 colonies.

image

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

image

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.

image

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

image

And now I have a second core world.

image

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?

image

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

Each choice has consequences:

image

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.

image

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:

image

And now boom:

image

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.

image

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.

image

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:

image

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:

image

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

And if I zoom out really far:

image

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.

image

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:

image

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

Now I just need to construct the starbase:

image

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.

image

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.

image

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

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

image

But it is a small part of the overall sector:

image

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.

image

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.

image

Asteroids provide small but meaningful boosts to mineral input.

image

 

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

Earth and the moon.

image

Our solar system.

image

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

image

Zooming out, we see another sector.

image

Zooming out further, we see a bunch more sectors.

image

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

 

**NEWEST WALKTHROUGH HERE**

 

GC4 Beta v0.75 preview

Published on Sunday, January 23, 2022 By Brad Wardell In

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.

--

  • 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.

image

GalCiv I for Windows

 

image

GalCiv II for Windows

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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:

 

image

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.

image

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:

image

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.

image

But Tali is not. 

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

image

 

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.

image

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:

image

And what does that translate to?

image

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

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

 

 

 

719 pages 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next