Brad Wardell's Blog

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: 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.


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.



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%:


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.


#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?


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….



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)


GalCiv IV: Supernova First 10 Turns Series


Published on Tuesday, May 2, 2023 By Brad Wardell In Galactic Civilizations IV

The fastest way to improve balance and make changes is when we can directly play with your saved games.  That's because you guys do things we'd never think to do.

Please post your late game saves in this thread.  Tell us what is happening along with what you think should be happening.


Okay you monsters! Listen up!

Published on Friday, April 28, 2023 By Brad Wardell In Galactic Civilizations IV

So in case you didn't know, the images you choose from aren't part of AlienGPT.  Those get queued up and made later because otherwise it would take 10 minutes to pick your pictures.

So I want to preface this that you're all monsters.  All of you. Especially YOU! Yea you know who you are!

Here are the top new images currently in the queue.  BTW, if you wonder why there's already so many poop images in the cache, that's...well that's me. Stop judging me you monsters!  

Here we go:


  1. zombies
  2. cat
  3. elves
  4. plant
  5. sith
  6. jedi
  7. tomato
  8. rocks
  9. insectoids
  10. foxes

Ok, that wasn't quite as filthy as I thought.

Carry on.

GalCiv IV: The Supernova Roadmap!

Published on Friday, April 28, 2023 By Brad Wardell In Galactic Civilizations IV

Now with GalCiv IV in early access on Steam (with the Supernova expansion bundled) we’re going to try to provide a fairly comprehensive road map of what we have planned between now and release.




Initial Early Access

April 2023

Early access release of Beta version of GalCiv IV: Supernova

Civ Unlock 1

May 2023

Major classic civs unlocked

German Language Beta

May 2023

“Ich German sprecher bin am.”   

Civ Unlock 2

May 2023

More aliens unlocked

Big Balance update

May 2023

First big feedback integration on Gameplay feedback

AI generated quests

May 2023

This is where the AI will converse with you to ask for specific things using generative AI.

Core Engine Update

June 2023

Visual improvements, UI improvements, etc. This will be also part of an update to GC4: Epic

Battle System Upgrade

June 2023

Lots of updates concerning the way battles to address player feedback we’ve gotten to that point on making combat more interesting.

Invasion System Update

June 2023

The new conquest system should be “finished” at this point. This will also be part of an update to GC4: Epic

Civ Unlock 3

June 2023

Additional aliens added

Strategic AI Update

July 2023

AI redesigned for better strategic war fighting

Battle Viewer Update

July 2023

Battle viewer has a lot more details, information

Big Balance Update II

July 2023

Feedback from players gets put into this update.

The big AI update

July 2023

All the evil players and their evil strategies will get put into the AI. This will also be brought back to GC4: Epic.

The big pacing update

August 2023

This will be where we bring it all together to see how everything together.

Ship Designer Update

August 2023

Brand new ship designer screen and corresponding system

Cultural Progression

August 2023

Major overhaul to Cultural Progression

New Planet Economy

August 2023

Planet screen updated with new citizen system

Story-Driven Events

August 2023

Lots of new events added to the game

Civ Unlock 4

August 2023

Phalenoids, Luxar added

New Diplomacy Screen

August 2023

Re-designed Diplomacy Screen to provide a lot more information to players

Big Graphics Update

August 2023

Top to bottom graphical asset update

AlienGPT Update

September 2023

AI a lot smarter but also a lot more player control over what images are picked

Big Language Update

September 2023

French, Spanish, Russian, Polish, Italian, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese

Multiplayer Update

September 2023

New Multiplayer system for competitive and cooperative play

New Planet AI

September 2023

AI much better at managing planets

GalCiv Workshop

September 2023

Players can share their ship designs with each other

Civ Unlock 5

September 2023

Cosmic Contaminate, and other civs added

Consequence Events

September 2023

Do you remember those early event choices you made? GalCiv remembers..

Performance Optimization

September 2023

Make the things faster

Tech Update

September 2023

New ship components, tech tree cleanup


September 2023

Interactive but entertaining tutorial

Campaign: Supernova

September 2023

Included campaign to give users an opportunity to play some interesting scenarios


September 2023

Lots of UI polishing


October 2023

Stardock turns 30 years old!

GalCiv IV: Supernova Dev Journal #12 - Humanoids?

Published on Monday, April 24, 2023 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv IV Dev Journals

GalCiv IV: Supernova Dev Journal #12 - Humanoids?

One of the things we are definitely looking at widely expanding are the number of different species categories:

There’s a lot of reasons to do this. For one, I think it would be a good way to have several different tech trees. Right now, the tech tree in the game is different per race but they are all derived from the same master. But imagine if we could make it so that each biology category had its own completely different tech tree?

In the meantime, I think we should add some here. The question is, what kinds?

Right now the main differences are:

  1. How they reproduce

  2. Advantages on certain worlds

I feel like we could do even more. But first, let’s think about what types of biologies there might be.

For starters: Replace ‘Carbon’ with ‘HUMANOIDS’ and create some additional types like Fungal, Plant, Insectoid. Here are some more:

  • Energy-based.

  • Gaseous

Are there any that you would like to see and what would make them distinctly different?


Galactic Civilizations IV: Supernova Dev Journals

GalCiv IV: Supernova Dev Journal #11 - The AI Elephant in the Room

Published on Thursday, April 20, 2023 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv IV Dev Journals

Supernova makes heavy use of AI art generation. While our human art staff on GalCiv IV is the biggest it’s ever been, the art team has made a great deal of use of using AI to vastly increase the amount of variance of art assets in the game.

There are a lot of different types of AI generated content in Supernova including text, missions, AI dialog, citizen portraits and even the aliens themselves.

Some uses of AI are controversial. For example, one of the controversial aspects of AI art generation has to do with the art the AI was trained on. We’re not going to wade into that controversy other than to say that our AI generated art is trained on our own art. We’ve been making aliens for a long time, so we have a lot of them.

Training the AI on our own art has some benefits besides avoiding controversy. It allows our style to stay reasonably consistent. More accurately, it stays as consistent as we have been which is to say, not always very consistent.

For example, here is the Altarian leader from GalCiv III.

Now she was made with a variety of tools. But using AI, we can do a lot of interesting things with her.

But then you can do this:

It’s like the Korath and the Altarians had a baby. Which, in a way, they did here.

Now for our team, the AI stuff is just the next logical step. Obviously, I have some ambivalence on the issue since now, “some guy” can just crank out aliens putting all our years of hard-earned artistic experience at risk. But it is what it is.

Stardock used to have a big advantage because we knew assembly language extremely well and could make our games really fast and then, so-called “programmers” using C++ came in and just use compilers. We adapt.

Stardock has always been bullish on AI. GalCiv only exists because I wanted an excuse to make a multi-threaded AI back in 1992. Now, GalCiv IV: Supernova will be making full use of AI in every way we can.


Galactic Civilizations IV: Supernova Dev Journals

BabyAGI Impressions

Published on Thursday, April 13, 2023 By Brad Wardell In Artificial Intelligence

I'm going to use a number of really dumb analogies to try to explain how these large language models like ChatGPT work.

First, you have the amount of training they have done combined with the number of things they can look at at once.  ChatGPT 4 is much better than ChatGPT 3 in that regard.  Think of this as the AI's "hard drive".

Second, and often unappreciated, is the number of tokens that the model can handle.  Think of this as RAM.  Tokens represents how much the AI can "remember" about what you re talking about.  ChatGPT 3 could do 4K.  ChatGPT 4 defaults to 8K and there's a 32K version on the horizon.  When it runs out of tokens, it starts to get wonky. 

The user asks a question of ChatGPT and gets an answer.  The user can then ask a follow-up question.  

AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) has many definitions but one of the key components is to get the AI to handle its own inner monologue (answer it's own questions and pose new ones that it will then answer) to work out a larger problem.

So what if you could get ChatGPT to answer it's own questions and then have those answers cause ChatGPT to ask new questions based on those answers?

That is the super simple explanation of what BabyAGI does. BabyAGI takes advantage of some new technologies including Vector databases like Pinecone which effectively gives the AI a longer term memory. You can find the Github distribution here.  Vector databaes don't fully solve the token limitation but they help.

Once you have it set up, you can ask it to solve a big problem.

For my test, I asked it how I could make my Russian Tortoises have a better life.  An hour later, the world was made of paperclips but boy did I get my answer and here it is:

(note: The AI generated ALL of this)

Happy Russian Tortoises

Goal: Improve the life of the Tortoises

Initial task: Develop a task list

  • Create a safe and comfortable habitat: Design and set up a comfortable indoor and outdoor living space for the Russian tortoises, ensuring they have enough space to roam, hide, and bask in the sun.
  • Develop a balanced diet plan: Research and create a diet plan consisting of various leafy greens, vegetables, and occasional fruit, ensuring that the Russian tortoises receive proper nutrition and avoid overfeeding.
  • Schedule regular health check-ups: Coordinate with a qualified veterinarian to perform annual health check-ups and address any health concerns that may arise.
  • Implement a daily exercise routine: Encourage the Russian tortoises to stay active by providing them with opportunities to explore, climb, and dig in their environment.
  • Provide mental stimulation: Introduce creative enrichment activities to keep the Russian tortoises mentally engaged, such as hiding food in puzzle toys or rotating the placement of their habitat's decorations.
  • Maintain optimal temperature and humidity levels: Regularly monitor and adjust the temperature and humidity levels in the Russian tortoises' habitat to ensure they are within the ideal range, providing them with a comfortable living environment.
  • Educate caretakers on proper care: Offer training sessions or workshops for the Russian tortoises' caretakers, ensuring they understand how to provide the best possible care for these animals.
  • Monitor social interactions: Observe the Russian tortoises' interactions with each other, ensuring that they are getting along and not exhibiting signs of aggression or stress.
  • Develop a cleaning and maintenance routine: Establish a regular schedule for cleaning and maintaining the Russian tortoises' habitat, ensuring that their living environment remains clean and sanitary.
  • Research advancements in Russian tortoise care: Stay up-to-date with the latest research and advancements in Russian tortoise care, incorporating new findings into their care routine as appropriate.
  • Establish a support network: Connect with other Russian tortoise caretakers, veterinarians, and experts to exchange valuable information, advice, and support.
  • Advocate for responsible pet ownership: Raise awareness about the responsibilities and commitment involved in caring for Russian tortoises, encouraging future pet owners to make informed decisions when considering adopting these animals.



Ideal Habitat Layout for Russian Tortoises

Indoor Habitat

  • Enclosure dimensions: The indoor habitat should be at least 4 feet by 8 feet in size, with a minimum height of 18 inches. This will provide ample space for the tortoises to move around and explore their environment.
  • Substrate: A mixture of coco coir, cypress mulch, and organic topsoil should be used as the substrate. This will help maintain proper humidity levels and allow the tortoises to burrow.
  • Basking area: A basking area should be placed in one corner of the enclosure, with a basking lamp providing a temperature of 90 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. This will help the tortoises thermoregulate and aid in their digestion.
  • Hiding spots: Multiple hiding spots should be placed throughout the enclosure, such as half logs, overturned plant pots, or commercially available reptile hides. This will provide the tortoises with a sense of security and privacy.
  • Food and water: A shallow dish should be provided for fresh water, and a separate dish for their daily greens and vegetables. These should be placed away from the basking area to prevent excess heat from wilting the food.
  • Climbing and enrichment: Rocks and branches should be placed throughout the enclosure to provide climbing opportunities and stimulation for the tortoises. Additionally, live or artificial plants can be added for extra enrichment.

Outdoor Habitat

  • Enclosure dimensions: The outdoor habitat should be at least 4 feet by 8 feet in size, with a minimum height of 18 inches. A secure fence or wall should surround the perimeter to prevent escape and protect from predators.
  • Substrate: A mixture of natural grasses and organic topsoil should be used as the substrate. This will allow the tortoises to graze and forage naturally.
  • Basking area: A basking area should be provided with natural sunlight, or a basking lamp if sunlight is insufficient. The temperature should range from 90 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Hiding spots: Multiple hiding spots should be placed throughout the enclosure, such as large rocks, dense shrubbery, or commercially available reptile hides.
  • Food and water: A shallow dish should be provided for fresh water, and a separate dish for their daily greens and vegetables. These should be placed in a shaded area to prevent excess heat from wilting the food.
  • Climbing and enrichment: Rocks and branches should be placed throughout the enclosure to provide climbing opportunities and stimulation for the tortoises. Additionally, live plants can be added for extra enrichment.
  • Weather protection: A small, weatherproof shelter should be provided for the tortoises to retreat to during inclement weather or extreme temperatures. This shelter should be insulated and have a regulated temperature to ensure their safety and comfort.

After conducting research on common health issues that Russian tortoises may face, I have identified several health problems and developed strategies for prevention and treatment. Here are the main health concerns and their corresponding prevention and treatment strategies

  • Respiratory infections: Symptoms include wheezing, runny nose, and difficulty breathing. To prevent respiratory infections, maintain a clean habitat and ensure proper temperature and humidity levels.


- Maintain proper temperature (70-85°F) and humidity (40-60%) levels in the habitat.

- Clean the habitat regularly to prevent bacterial growth.


- Consult a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and antibiotic treatment.

- Increase the basking area temperature to help boost the tortoise's immune system.

  • Shell rot: This condition is caused by fungal or bacterial infections that result in softening or disintegration of the shell.


- Maintain proper humidity levels in the habitat.

- Keep the habitat clean and dry to prevent fungal and bacterial growth.


- Consult a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment, which may include topical antifungal or antibiotic medications.

- Clean the affected areas with a diluted iodine or chlorhexidine solution, as recommended by the veterinarian.

  • Metabolic bone disease (MBD): This is caused by an imbalance in calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D3, leading to weak and deformed bones and shells.


- Provide a balanced diet with appropriate levels of calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D3.

- Ensure access to UVB lighting to aid in calcium absorption.


- Consult a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment, which may include calcium and vitamin D3 supplements.

- Monitor and adjust the tortoise's diet and lighting to ensure proper nutrient levels.

  • Parasites: Internal parasites, such as worms, can cause weight loss, diarrhea, and lethargy.


- Maintain a clean habitat to minimize the risk of parasite exposure.

- Regularly wash your hands before and after handling the tortoise to prevent cross-contamination.


- Consult a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment, which may include deworming medication.

  • Dehydration: Insufficient water intake can lead to dehydration, kidney problems, and bladder stones.


- Provide fresh, clean water in a shallow dish for the tortoise to drink and soak in.

- Maintain proper humidity levels in the habitat.


- Consult a veterinarian if dehydration is suspected.

- Increase the humidity levels in their habitat and ensure access to fresh water.

By implementing these prevention and treatment strategies, you can improve the life quality of your Russian tortoises and help them lead a healthy life. Regular veterinary checkups are also essential for monitoring their overall health and addressing any potential issues early.

Weekly Diet Plan for Russian Tortoises


- Breakfast: Dandelion greens (chopped)

- Lunch: Collard greens (chopped) with a sprinkle of calcium powder

- Dinner: Bell pepper (sliced)


- Breakfast: Mustard greens (chopped)

- Lunch: Romaine lettuce (chopped)

- Dinner: Cucumber (sliced) with a sprinkle of calcium powder


- Breakfast: Endive (chopped)

- Lunch: Kale (chopped) with a sprinkle of calcium powder

- Dinner: Zucchini (sliced)


- Breakfast: Watercress (chopped)

- Lunch: Escarole (chopped)

- Dinner: Yellow squash (sliced) with a sprinkle of calcium powder


- Breakfast: Bok choy (chopped)

- Lunch: Arugula (chopped) with a sprinkle of calcium powder

- Dinner: Carrot (shredded)


- Breakfast: Turnip greens (chopped)

- Lunch: Cabbage (chopped)

- Dinner: Tomato (sliced) with a sprinkle of calcium powder

Sunday (treat day)

- Breakfast: Radicchio (chopped)

- Lunch: A small piece of strawberry or apple

- Dinner: Butternut squash (cooked and mashed) with a sprinkle of calcium powder

Note: Sprinkle calcium powder on the food 3-4 times a week to ensure proper calcium intake. Provide a UVB light to help with vitamin D3 synthesis. Always provide clean, fresh water for your tortoise. This diet plan should be adjusted according to the age and size of your Russian tortoise. Consult a veterinarian for specific dietary needs and adjustments.

Exercise and Enrichment Program for Russian Tortoises

Objective: To design a variety of activities and enrichment ideas that promote physical and mental stimulation for Russian tortoises, improving their overall well-being.

  • Climbing Opportunities

- Provide multiple levels or platforms with ramps or rocks for the tortoises to climb and explore.

- Ensure any climbing structures are stable and secure to prevent injuries.

  • Digging and Burrowing

- Create designated digging areas using a mix of coconut coir, topsoil, and sand, allowing the tortoises to dig and burrow as they would in their natural habitat.

- Rotate the digging areas to keep the environment interesting and engaging.

  • Maze Exploration

- Set up a maze with cardboard, rocks, or bricks that the tortoise can navigate, encouraging mental stimulation and exploration.

- Rearrange the maze weekly or biweekly to maintain interest.

  • Foraging and Feeding Enrichment

- Scatter food items throughout the enclosure to encourage natural foraging behavior.

- Provide edible plants, such as dandelions, clover, or plantain, in the enclosure for the tortoise to graze on and explore.

- Hang leafy greens from a string or clip, encouraging the tortoise to stretch and reach for their food.

  • Sensory Stimulation

- Introduce a variety of textures, such as soft moss, smooth rocks, and rough bark, for the tortoise to explore and experience different sensations.

- Use a variety of substrates, such as sand, soil, or gravel, to provide varied terrain for the tortoise to traverse.

  • Hide and Seek

- Hide treats, such as cut-up vegetables or fruit, in small containers or under rocks for the tortoise to find, promoting problem-solving skills and mental stimulation.

  • Social Interaction

- If possible, house multiple compatible Russian tortoises together, allowing for social interaction and activity.

- Monitor interactions closely to ensure the tortoises are getting along and to prevent any aggressive behavior.

  • Outdoor Excursions

- Weather permitting, provide supervised outdoor time in a secure and enclosed area with natural sunlight, allowing the tortoise to explore and bask in the sun.

  • Toys and Objects

- Introduce safe and tortoise-appropriate toys or objects, such as balls, mirrors, or tunnels, for the tortoise to investigate and interact with.

- Rotate toys and objects periodically to maintain interest and prevent boredom.

Regularly monitor the Russian tortoises during enrichment activities to ensure they are engaging with their environment and to assess the effectiveness of the activities. Adjust the exercise and enrichment program as needed to continue promoting physical and mental well-being for the Russian tortoises.

  • Enclosure: A suitable indoor or outdoor enclosure, such as a tortoise table or a secure outdoor pen with appropriate dimensions (minimum 4 ft x 2 ft for one adult Russian tortoise).
  • Substrate: A mixture of coconut coir, cypress mulch, or organic topsoil (pesticide and fertilizer-free) for the indoor enclosure, and natural grass or plants for the outdoor enclosure.
  • Hiding spots: Provide at least two hiding spots, such as a wooden or ceramic tortoise house, half-log hide, or a plant-filled corner.
  • Basking spot: A flat, heat-resistant stone or tile for basking.
  • Heating equipment: A heat lamp with a ceramic socket and a thermostat to maintain proper temperatures (90-95°F in the basking area and 70-80°F in the cooler area).
  • UVB lighting: A UVB tube light or compact fluorescent bulb to ensure proper calcium absorption and overall health.
  • Light timer: An automatic timer to maintain a consistent day and night cycle (12-14 hours of light per day).
  • Thermometer and hygrometer: Digital or analog devices to monitor temperature and humidity levels in the enclosure.
  • Water dish: A shallow, sturdy dish for the tortoise to drink from and soak in.
  • Food dish: A flat, smooth surface or shallow dish for serving food.
  • Calcium supplement: A powdered calcium supplement without added vitamin D3 to sprinkle on the tortoise's food.
  • Multivitamin supplement: A powdered multivitamin supplement to use occasionally with the tortoise's diet.
  • Cleaning supplies: A reptile-safe disinfectant, scrub brush, and paper towels for cleaning the enclosure and accessories.
  • Outdoor habitat supplies (if applicable): A secure perimeter fence, weather-resistant hiding spots, and a shaded area to protect the tortoise from extreme temperatures and predators.
  • Enrichment items: A variety of objects and materials to encourage natural behaviors, such as rocks, logs, tunnels, and edible plants.

Weekly Cleaning and Maintenance Schedule for Russian Tortoise's Habitat


  • Remove and replace soiled substrate in the indoor habitat
  • Clean and refill the water dish
  • Spot clean any feces or uneaten food in the outdoor habitat
  • Check and clean hiding spots, basking areas, and other structures in both habitats


  • Sweep or vacuum the floor around the indoor habitat to remove loose substrate
  • Clean and refill the water dish
  • Check and adjust the temperature and humidity levels in the indoor habitat
  • Inspect the outdoor habitat for any potential hazards or issues


  • Remove and replace soiled substrate in the outdoor habitat
  • Clean and refill the water dish
  • Spot clean any feces or uneaten food in the indoor habitat
  • Check and clean hiding spots, basking areas, and other structures in both habitats


  • Sweep or vacuum the floor around the indoor habitat to remove loose substrate
  • Clean and refill the water dish
  • Check and adjust the temperature and humidity levels in the indoor habitat
  • Inspect the outdoor habitat for any potential hazards or issues


  • Thoroughly clean and disinfect the water dish in both habitats
  • Spot clean any feces or uneaten food in both habitats
  • Check and clean hiding spots, basking areas, and other structures in both habitats
  • Inspect and maintain any equipment, such as heat lamps, UVB lights, and timers


  • Sweep or vacuum the floor around the indoor habitat to remove loose substrate
  • Clean and refill the water dish
  • Check and adjust the temperature and humidity levels in the indoor habitat
  • Inspect the outdoor habitat for any potential hazards or issues


  • Perform a general inspection of both habitats, looking for any issues or areas that need attention
  • Clean and refill the water dish
  • Spot clean any feces or uneaten food in both habitats
  • Check and clean hiding spots, basking areas, and other structures in both habitats

Note: Adjust the cleaning frequency as needed based on the number of tortoises and their specific requirements. Regularly monitor the tortoises' health and well-being, and consult a veterinarian if any health issues arise.

Ideal Lighting and Temperature Conditions for Russian Tortoises

  • Temperature

Russian tortoises thrive in a temperature gradient that replicates their natural habitat. Provide a basking area with a temperature between 90-100°F (32-38°C) and a cooler area with a temperature between 70-75°F (21-24°C). This temperature gradient allows the tortoise to thermoregulate by moving between the warm and cool areas as needed. Use a high-quality digital thermometer to accurately monitor and maintain these temperatures.

  • Lighting

Russian tortoises require proper lighting to support their overall health and well-being. They need two types of light: UVA and UVB.

  1. a) UVA Light: UVA light is essential for the tortoise's psychological well-being. It helps regulate their daily activities, such as feeding, mating, and basking. Use a high-quality UVA bulb that closely mimics natural sunlight. Keep the light on for 12-14 hours per day, and turn it off at night to mimic the natural day/night cycle.
  2. UVB Light: UVB light is crucial for Russian tortoises as it helps them synthesize vitamin D3, which is necessary for calcium absorption and overall bone health. Provide a high-quality UVB bulb with a rating of 10-12% for the best output. The bulb should be placed within 12-18 inches (30-45 cm) of the tortoise's basking area. Replace the UVB bulb every 6-12 months, as its effectiveness decreases over time. Make sure to turn off the UVB light at night to mimic the natural day/night cycle.
  • Natural Sunlight

Whenever possible, provide your Russian tortoise with access to natural sunlight. Sunlight is the best source of UVA and UVB light and is highly beneficial for their health. Ensure that your tortoise has access to a shaded area to prevent overheating and provide fresh water during outdoor exposure. Monitor the temperature and never leave your tortoise unattended in direct sunlight.

By maintaining these ideal lighting and temperature conditions, you will significantly improve the life quality of your Russian tortoises, promoting their health, happiness, and longevity.

A comprehensive diet plan for Russian tortoises should include a variety of leafy greens, vegetables, and occasional fruits. This plan ensures proper calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D3 intake, promoting overall health and well-being.

Indoor Enclosure Guide for Russian Tortoises


Creating a comfortable, safe, and stimulating indoor enclosure for your Russian tortoise is essential for its health and well-being. This guide will provide you with the recommended dimensions, substrate, and accessories to set up the perfect home for your Russian tortoise.

  • Recommended Dimensions

The size of the enclosure plays a significant role in the overall health and happiness of your tortoise. A larger enclosure allows for more freedom of movement and opportunities for exploration. For a single adult Russian tortoise, a minimum enclosure size of 4 feet by 2 feet (1.2 meters by 0.6 meters) is recommended, with a height of at least 1 foot (0.3 meters). If you have multiple tortoises or plan to add more in the future, increase the enclosure size by 2 square feet (0.19 square meters) per additional tortoise.

  • Substrate

The substrate is the material that lines the bottom of the enclosure. It's essential to choose a substrate that is comfortable for your tortoise to move on and helps maintain the appropriate humidity levels. A combination of coco coir and cypress mulch works well for Russian tortoises. This mixture provides the right balance of moisture retention and drainage, preventing the growth of mold and bacteria. Make sure the substrate is at least 2 inches (5 cm) deep to allow your tortoise to dig and burrow as they would in the wild.

  • Accessories
  1. Hide Box: A hide box provides your tortoise with a secure and comfortable place to rest and sleep. It can be made from a variety of materials, such as wood or plastic. Ensure the hide box is large enough for your tortoise to fit comfortably inside but small enough to provide a sense of security.
  2. Basking Area: A basking area is essential for your tortoise's health, as it helps them regulate their body temperature and absorb essential UVB rays. Set up a basking spot with a flat rock or slate under a heat lamp, ensuring the surface temperature is between 95°F (35°C) and 100°F (38°C).
  3. Water Dish: A shallow water dish is necessary for your Russian tortoise to drink and soak in. Make sure it's large enough for your tortoise to easily enter and exit but shallow enough to prevent drowning.
  4. Food Dish: A flat rock or a shallow dish can be used as a food dish for your tortoise. It's important to keep the food off the substrate to prevent ingestion of substrate material.
  5. Enrichment: To keep your tortoise mentally stimulated, incorporate a variety of enrichment items into the enclosure, such as tunnels, climbing structures, and edible plants like hibiscus or dandelion.
  • Lighting and Temperature

Install a UVB light to mimic the sun's natural rays, which are crucial for your tortoise's health, particularly for calcium absorption and vitamin D3 synthesis. Ensure that the UVB light is within 12 inches (30 cm) of your tortoise's basking area. Maintain a temperature gradient in the enclosure, with a basking area temperature of 95°F (35°C) to 100°F (38°C) and a cooler area of 70°F (21°C) to 75°F (24°C). Use a thermometer to monitor the temperatures regularly.


By following this guide, you can create a comfortable and stimulating environment for your Russian tortoise. With proper care and attention to their enclosure, you'll significantly improve their quality of life, ensuring they remain healthy and happy.

Now, if you've ever used ChatGPT, you know it can't generate this kind of output.  This is what BabyAGI does. And remember: This is just the beginning.  Soon, the APIs will have internet access, plugins and be able to do vastly more than this.  This is why they talk about safety so much.  Imagine what the malicious will do.  

We are entering an amazing and frightening future.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go buy some kale.


GalCiv IV: Supernova Dev Journal #10 - Little New Things

Published on Thursday, April 13, 2023 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv IV Dev Journals

I spend a lot of time debugging AI in games. This means having to play the game over and over and over again trying to see why the AI is doing something dumb.

Two features that will be rolling out into Supernova and then back to the base game are:

  1. Fast Move

  2. Fast Battles

When you turn these on, ships move instantly to their destination and battles occur without any fanfare. It makes the turns go by insanely fast.


Galactic Civilizations IV: Supernova Dev Journals

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