Brad Wardell's Blog


Galactic Civilizations III: Retribution Journal #8 - The Drath

Published on Thursday, February 21, 2019 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv III Dev Journals

The Drath were first introduced in Galactic Civilizations II. But, the lore behind them was developed in the 1990s during the stories that would ultimately serve as the game's underpinnings.

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Long ago, the Drath shared their world with the Altarians. They are, in effect, sentient dragons. They are very large, over 4 meters tall.  Physically the strongest of any civilization in the game, they actually have evolved into a subtle and cunning species since they were taken from Altaria by the last Mithrilar thousands of years ago, and placed on their own home world.

You might expect that a species as physically powerful as the Drath would become a race of warriors, but the sheer damage that any violence between their would cause resulted in the species developing in a very different direction. Their unique trait, war profiteering, is, with some irony, the result of their own culture's attempt to discourage infighting. That is, if two Drath clans were battling it out, it was well understood that other clans would economically profit from the war, thus making obvious that those Drath who chose violence would be economically deprived.

Once the Drath gained access to faster-than-light travel via Hyperdrive, they naturally took advantage of the galaxy's turmoil. The Drath, in short, eagerly trade with anyone and everyone they can, and profit greatly from the chaos of interstellar war.

Homeworld

Thousands of years ago, the Mithrilar took the remaining Drath from Altaria and gave them a new world. That world has thrived. It's +1 better than Earth as planets go.

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Drath Ships

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The style of the Drath is ornate. They are an ancient civilization. While humans have only begun to realize that there are beings from higher-planes of existence, the Drath, of course, have always known of them. Both the Mithrilar and the Arnor (the Precursors) interacted with the Drath directly in ancient times.

Drath Technology

Being an ancient species, they have a handful of unique technologies that other species, like humans, do not have access to.

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Probably my favorite is the Precursor Relic Understanding tech.  It gives an early (but significant) boost to precursor relics that are scattered across the galaxy. 

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Not surprisingly, the Drath will tend to grab up Precursor relics more so than other civilizations.  This was enough of an issue that we had to modify the Ascension notifications, because the Drath frequently win by Ascension victories. Beware.

Drath in action

The play-style of the Drath focuses on capturing and utilizing the Precursor relics. The most common path to victory for them is to ascend to a higher dimension through Precursor artifacts (this was enough of an issue that we had to beef up the notification system to let you know what they were up to). 

The Drath can get 25% more out of Precursor artifacts than other species.

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This screenshot is just because..holy cow! Durantium, Promethion, and Thulium with a single starbase!

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Here is an example of where the Ancient ability really comes in handy.  The Precursor Observatory provides +1 for ascension and the Arnorian Relic study gives a 25% bonus.  Any other civilization would only receive 2 total points per turn from this starbase that covers two Ascension relics. But the Drath are getting 5.

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Acquiring 5,000 points is not easy of course (would take 1,000 turns at this point!), but if you were to capture a handful of additional Ascension relics and keep going down the Precursor tech tree, a dedicated player could find themselves ascending in less than 200 turns.

The Drath also get a large bonus for trading with civilizations that are at war.  Now, the purpose of this is less about making money and more to encourage a strategy of keeping your enemies busy while you collect ascension points.

Good luck!

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Retribution Journals

Journal #1

Journal #2

Journal #3

Journal #4

Journal #5

Journal #6

Journal #7

Journal #8 (Current)

Journal #9 (Coming Soon)

 

Galactic Civilizations III: Retribution Journal #7 - The Korath

Published on Tuesday, February 19, 2019 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv III Dev Journals

The Korath make no bones about what they're about: Extermination.

They were bred by the Drengin to be the elite shock troops of the empire.  Consider that -- the merciless Drengin Empire felt the need to breed a sub-species of Drengin who are even more brutal than they are.  Let's take a look at the Korath.

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The Korath are the only canon species in Galactic Civilizations to have the extermination trait. This trait gives them access to a special technology called Spore Weapons.  While other civilizations have to raise legions of troops to conquer a planet, the Korath will simply  sterilize a planet from orbit - it doesn't matter how many legions are on the surface. This makes them extremely dangerous.

To breed super-Drengin, the Korath are raised on a miserable planet surrounding a dying blue star. While the planet itself is productive (class 12), it is a hellish environment.

Playing as the Korath

The Korath are built for war. Unlike everyone else, they can exterminate planets using their spore ships, which bypass any legions on a given planet.

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The Korath start isn't that much different than other species, except there is one major difference: the Temple of Despair. This improvement vastly increases the player's sensor range on their home planet and greatly expands their influence. It will lead to many beings wanting to visit the world it is on in order to indulge their darker impulses. It also gives a +3 bonus to any manufacturing that is near it, and it provides a commander!  So yeah, it's incredibly powerful.

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Before the Temple of Despair is constructed you can see the unexplored space just outside the solar system.

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After its construction, the player can see a vast area around their world.  It also quickly expands their influence.

Korath Destiny

It is very, very difficult to play the Korath as anything other than malevolent. The Korath receive a series of unique and enticing monuments they can construct.  However, constructing them produces a lot of Malevolent ideology points. Thus, if you want to get the most out of the Korath, it means you will likely be a pariah.

They are my new favorite conqueror civilization.  Here's why:

  1. They quickly see anyone around them.
  2. I can still get the early nice benevolent and pragmatic ideological bonuses from early game choices before I accept that I'm going to be a very, very evil civilization.
  3. I can generate a lot of income from tourism because of the Temple of Despair.
  4. I can exterminate planets relatively easily, meaning I don't have to worry much about legions.

Korath Gameplay Example

The Year is 2242. It is time for the Korath to cleanse this galaxy.

In this iteration, my home world of Kora has spawned with Hyper Silicates, which is a rare treat. It also has a Precursor artifact that gives the target planet a bunch of instant production as well as a Thulium deposit.  So, we're off to a pretty good start.

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Turn 1:

  • Rush Buy Shipyard (pretty typical start)
  • Rush Buy a Colony Ship (pretty typical)
  • Rename Survey ship to "Doom Giver" (I hate the default names)
  • Send Survey Ship to nearby star.
  • Research Artificial Gravity (because it will add +1 to my ship speed)
  • Start building Temple of Despair

Turn 2:

  • Set population of new colony ship to 1 (minimum -- to make sure Kora has a good population for more colony ships).
  • Start building another colony ship.
  • Send new colony ship to a different star than the survey ship.
  • Rush Buy Temple of Despair.
  • Begin building the computer core next to the Hyper Silicates

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Temple of Despair quickly uncovers a bunch of stuff, including a class 12 planet in another solar system.

Turn 3:

  • Event: I choose pragmatic (doubles the population growth)

Turn 4:

  • I encounter the Drengin, but I don't speak their language (the Korath have long lost that ability).

Turn 5:

  • Artificial Gravity has been researched.
  • Archaic Languages chosen as next project so I can understand/trade with the Drengin.
  • Computer Core has been completed.
  • Nano Fabricator Artifact study chosen.

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Korath is producing a crazy amount of influence.  If you look closely, you will see 3 stored goods. When a project finishes now, overflow is saved for the next project.

Turn 6:

  • Survey Ship has found the Drengin home world.
  • I compare the home worlds (I'm playing on Gifted). My population is a bit lower than theirs, but my research is better. Their planet started with food, which means they probably built the colonization center (which requires food), something I couldn't do.
  • Survey ship sent to another solar system.

 

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Turn 7:

  • New colony founded.  I name it Ruin.
  • Event: I make the pragmatic choice, which gives me a Kinetic Augmenter.
  • Artifact that increases planet resistance on planet.
  • Supply Depot is started. It will, however, take 19 turns.
  • Planet only produces 3 social construction points per turn (compared to the 6 on Kora).
  • Event: Ancient Device offers to terraform a nearby world. Yes. Yes!
  • With a second planet, I'm asked to choose a form of government (Intrigue expansion feature). I choose Imperial.
  • New planet is named Agony. Also unveils an amazing new planet nearby that I didn't previously know about.
  • Ideology Pragmatism unlocked.  I choose to get 3 free constructors.
  • Kora now has access to food, so I choose to build the colonization center next to the temple of Despair because the Temple gives a +3 production bonus to it.
  • On Agony, I choose to build a supply depot.
  • Constructor 1 is sent claim a Thulium deposit in another solar system.
  • Constructor 2 is sent to claim a Precursor Economic relic, but is also within range of Kora, which means I can make it an Economy starbase that has an Archeology lab.
  • Constructor 3 is sent toward my awesome new solar system.

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The Korath will benefit from the Ship Construction bonus.

Turn 8:

  • New Constructor is sent towards my awesome solar system that has an unclaimed Precursor world.
  • I set Kora's shipyard to have sponsors from all my planets ,despite that they are far away and much of the production is lost.
  • Archaic languages is completed, so I choose Path to Purity, which will give me the Euology of the Fallen Wonder, something the Korath have unique access to.
  • Survey ship is sent towards another star system.
  • Colony ship selected as next project.
  • New colony ship that just got completed is sent to claim that wonderful Precursor world.

 

Turn 9:

  • I open up negotiations with the Drengin now that I know their language. I trade them Artificial Gravity for money. I also trade them open borders to keep our relations decent...for now.
  • With the money I build 3 asteroid bases near Kora to increase production.

 

Turn 10:

  • New Citizen chosen: Administrator.  Because I will be building more constructors and Hypergates soon.

 

Start of game Status report:

I have 3 citizens (starter, one I got from building Temple of Despair and one I just picked).

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Early game prognosis: Very good.

From here on out, I'll just highlight major events.

Early Game Notes:

  • Kora produces 13, while most of my colonies currently produce 2 to 3.  To get them built up, I send them Supply ships.

 

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Empire looks like this.

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The Korath meet the humans.

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Filthy Altarians steal a planet.

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During early game Kora gets its default tiles built up.  I move to Aid Economy which I set to repeat until I get some terraforming tech.

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I use the Nano Fabricator to build up my planets.

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I construct a Hypergate connection between my home solar system and the "super solar system" to help get supply ships over to it more quickly.

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Hyperlane between Kora and Ruin.

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Battles now show damage on screen.

Spore weapons are a double-edged sword.  On the one hand, you get the planet... but on the other hand, the population is gone, which leaves no people to work in the factories or slave pits. It also means any citizens that were on that planet aren't captured. They're dead.

In my game, my home world got captured and I used a spore ship on it.  I got the planet back, but my empire was never the same.

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Population

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Research

Mid Game Notes

Rebuilding Kora was a major focus here from my mistake in exterminating the population. The Drengin occupation forces wiped out a lot of what was there, and their initial invasion destroyed my artifact.  Normally, I would say it was a total loss, but I need revenge on the Drengin for what they did.

I also need to research atmospheric cleansing since Kora is now a toxic world.

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There is something satisfying about seeing the humans and the Altarians fighting...

 

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The Drengin must be our slaves.  So the invasion force does not include sport ships. At least not for the capital world.

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Or maybe not.

(sometime later)

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Drengin is now mine!

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This was satisfying.

Mid Game Summary

 

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If you want lots of trade, always make sure the Iridium Corporation is a player.  That's all money they're trading with me, which is very nice. It has let me keep my taxes way down.

There are some interesting AI Mysteries here.

Consider these two graphs:

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Ship Construction

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Military Power

The Iridium Corporation ship construction is actually better than mine most of the time, but they have basically no military.  They're rich, but weak.  They're at war with the Snathi, but they're a pretty minor power.

The humans are obviously doing pretty well. They're the only ones who really can contest my power. The question is: why?

And that's where the magic of AI programming comes in.  Figuring out the "why".   You can see that they have the ability to build bigger fleets. Look at the Drengin's capability versus their actual military.  Why were they not able to keep up?

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Kora has built the Technological capital, which unlocks the Aid Research project for just that world. However, it is 100 research for 200 cost, which is a much better deal than the old aid research.  Some people will grumble that you can't do it on all worlds now, but it really messed up the pacing. To balance this, the cost of tech progression has been reduced.

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The dark gray area in the top left is my territory. The humans are blue. The Snathi are yellow (top). The bottom right I don't have in range yet, so I don't know everything that's there. The Iridium Corporation is orange.

Update:

More investigation makes me think the AI is being too greedy on taxes. This causes unhappy people, which reduces productivity.  So yes, they have lots of money, but they are losing too much production.

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The red vertical line shows when I modified the AI's tax rate.  This is eadch player's research.  The Korath of course are doing fine already since I built the tech capital.  But as you can see, the others benefited by trading income for productivity.

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This is each civilization's approval level.  You an see where each one starts to jump up.  100% approval is a waste for your entire civilization.  But if it's less than say 80% and you have plenty of money, consider lowering taxes.

 

The Korath in summary

They are very powerful, but you will, ultimately, end up playing them as a malevolent civilization if you want to get the most out of them.  When using the spore weapons, use them only on planets with low populations already (minor worlds).  Use legions on on important worlds.

 

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Retribution Journals

Journal #1

Journal #2

Journal #3

Journal #4

Journal #5

Journal #6

Journal #7 (Current)

Journal #8

Journal #9 (Coming Soon)

 

 

 

 

 

Galactic Civilizations III: Retribution Journal #6

Published on Thursday, February 14, 2019 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv III Dev Journals

The New Technologies

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Retribution makes the greatest changes to the technology tree since the original release of the game.  Moreover, many of those changes occur at the very start of the game as opposed to late game. Today, we'll walk you through some of the changes and why we made them.

Colonization

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The most obvious change here is the study of artifacts. We will have an entire journal dedicated to artifacts.  But suffice to say, going up the artifact tree allows players to get more out of the artifacts they find on worlds. There have also been other changes designed to improve the overall pacing of the game.  For example, Colonial Administration introduces farms and cities together.  Moreover, the various multi-choice techs are completely eliminated. Every tech gives you something meaningful.

Engineering

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Engineering got a pretty big shake-up.  First off, Space Elevators have been moved to "space elevator technology".  At the start of the game, players have some new planetary improvements they can construct instead, like the Colonization Center, or Supply Depot, which help get things moving and provides a bit more time to decide where players want to place their hubs.

This tree also has the Hypergate tech path on it that makes hypergates better and faster.  Like with Colonization, this tree has been narrowed and the optimization/choose 1 of N techs concept is gone.  Starports have been moved to Orbital Manufacturing and, as you may have noticed, Carriers have been moved way, way up in order to make them a viable alternative to weapon systems.  This will also involve improving the carrier concept in general.

Warfare

The Warfare tree has been re-designed to be much cleaner. While there are a few optimization techs in the tree, the pacing of the techs has been substantially improved.

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Planetary Invasion is much earlier now in the tech tree.  This is partly because, now that stars are more distant, there is a bit more time to prepare for being rushed. 

The weapon improvements have been merged together by weapon type.  So instead of, for example, beam weapons having two parallel improvement tree,s there is only one.  This way, a weapon technology has time to become relevant.  New miniaturization techs have also been added later in the tree to, again, make a given weapon technology have its day in the sun, rather than becoming obsolete in a short time.

Culture

The Culture Tech tree has gotten a major overhaul as well.  It now contains a immigration sub-tree for increasing population growth on planets. Like the others, the tree here is narrower in order to give techs more time to be relevant, as well as make sure that each technology feels important.

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The effect

In the game I'm testing with today, I have 6 colonies.  It's turn 40.  I am playing on a large map. What's happening?

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My Best Colony

My population is 2 out of a max of 3.   But as you can see, my production isn't that dependent on population now.

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My 2 population becomes 9.5 production thanks to the Space Elevator placement, Supply Depot, government, etc.  The costs of various improvements and techs have been balanced to reasonable levels.  Moreover, a Supply Ship from Earth...

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Supply Ship from Earth bringing 100 social production with it (10 turns worth of production).

 

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On Mars I have "aid economy" on repeat, which is helping me out.

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My home world, Earth, is built up.  I haven't researched any terraforming improvements yet, so this is Earth's natural state. 

Let's look at Earth

Its population of 7 is getting a lot done thanks to automation.  I have it aiding economy.

You might be wondering what happened to Aid Research. The answer is: that ability is now tied to the Technology Capital super project.  Aid Research is now much, much more powerful, but only can be done on a single planet (which if you use supply ships with rally points you can get a lot done).  This was done because late game, social manufacturing effectively became research, which was not really ideal.

I also feel like there are a lot of interesting things I might want to build on this planet once I have more tiles available.

Back to La La World

The question on pacing boils down to what players would expect to accomplish in 10 turns.

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La La world got rich!

 

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So what changed?  As you can see, the population didn't, it's still 2.  Raw production didn't change either.  What did change was the construction of the Central Bank, a Supply Depot, and a Market Center. 

But how did all that get built in 10 turns? Answer: the Supply Ship from Earth.

Before Retribution, players would basically just pound the turn button waiting for their population to grow.  And what were their shipyards doing around turn 50? Either spamming colony ships (if it was a huge map) hoping to find stuff, constructors, or treasure hunters. Game in and game out.

Now, Shipyards are deciding between Stellar Architects (hypergates), Supply Ships, Constructors, or Colony ships depending on the situation.  Because planetary invasions are so early now (relatively speaking), players can punish nearby civilizations that are mindlessly expanding by building up their own colonies a bit. And this ignores the effect of artifacts in this formula.

The cumulative effect is that players have a lot more strategic choices to make based on how the map is set up, who their neighbors are, and what resources they want to employ.

 

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Retribution Journals

Journal #1

Journal #2

Journal #3

Journal #4

Journal #5

Journal #6 (Current)

Journal #7

Journal #8

Journal #9 (Coming Soon)

Exciting times for 4X games are coming!

Published on Thursday, February 14, 2019 By Brad Wardell In PC Gaming

My entire adult life has been dominated by 4X strategy games. Some periods have felt like the genre was in a bit of a rut. Other times (looking at Alpha Centauri and Distant Worlds) there are true moments of amazing innovation.

I can't go into specifics because of NDAs. But I can tell you that we're entering a new era for 4X and I thought I'd share with you why this is.

As some of you already know, my partner Soren's studio, Mohawk Games, is working on Ten Crowns which is a 4X game and Soren knows 4X inside and out. There's some real innovation going on over there.

There are projects at some of the other studios we're part of that aren't announced yet but are going to fundamentally change the 4X landscape and here's how:

Less abstraction. Historically, we've always had to play a fine balancing act between abstracting or not. It's either all in or all out. 4X games often feel like board games. One of the innovations Stellaris brought to the strategy genre which seems like a natural progression from Crusader Kings has been nuanced abstraction. That is, game elements that you can choose to care or not care about depending on your gameplay preferences.

This nuanced abstraction will become a much bigger deal over the next few years as we are able to simulate more and more detail.

So how is that possible? Cloud-coprocessing. Right now, in 4X games, we are constantly paranoid of hardware requirements. Because they're a bit niche, we have to keep the hardware requirements down. But soon, players will be able to have the Sim and AI processed in the cloud.

Specifically: Co-processed. That is, if you have a monster machine, you won't need the cloud. But it means that users with lower end hardware who have a decent net connection can experience truly detailed AI and sim.

I can tell you that internally, we've already started playing around with sending out AI jobs to the cloud to process. This allows us to have vastly more detailed AI (and smarter AI) and more detailed game elements.

But "better AI" isn't really that transformative. What is, however, is the more nuanced gameplay. Less abstraction means you, the player, can have much finer control over your empire based on what level you want to involve yourself in.

Right now, we get stuck between micro-management hell or overly simplistic. The player really doesn't get much of a say of how much they have to manage and we all know that throwing a "governor" on it isn't really that helpful.

But on the other hand, if I have a strategy game with extremely detailed mechanics that I can comfortably zoom in or zoom out (figuratively) on the detail and decide where I"m comfortable, knowing that the details will be handled just fine because the AI (or even entity scripting) is farmed out to the cloud, I get to play the game the way I want to play.

That nuance will, in turn, change the way 4X games are designed. I can't tell you how many times we've had to toss out some sophistication (especially late game) because computing times would take too long to have the process AI-driven and the only alternative would be to make the player manually mess with it (and again, governors are typically pretty terrible because they're so simplistic and arbitrary, there's no nuance -- manage entire city or do nothing).

Anyway, I can't wait for you guys to be able to see what I'm talking about. We are in for some exciting times. -b

Galactic Civilizations III: Retribution Journal #5

Published on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv III Dev Journals

I have met God and he's a Slug

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Some believe that all living creatures have an elemental spark of divinity within themselves. In the case of the Tywom in the year 2246, that may literally be true.

The Sun Sets on the Altarian Empire

On Christmas eve of 2246, the TAS Omega arrived near the orbit of the Altarian Homeworld.

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The once powerful military of the haughty Altarians had been utterly crushed.  Not by humanity, but by the most unlikely of beings -- the Tywom.

The humans had cooperated in the sense of destroying many Altarian starbases.  This had, however, resulted in the Tywom capturing many new resources while the humans were preoccupied with reaching the Altarian homeworld.

Glory is fleeting.  And while the humans congratulated one another for their triumph over the hated Altarians, they barely noticed a minor headline that came over the networks...

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The humans had missed the forest for the trees. The Tywom had aggressively picked up the Ascension crystals.  Their strategy, from the very beginning, was to go for that victory path.  Many things can be said about the Tywom, but... calling them 'great warriors' would not be one of those things.  They knew this, and instead pursued a different path.

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The humans had been destroying starbases connected to Ascension Crystals, which pleased the Tywom.

The Tywom were stymied from their path of galactic victory because of the wars. But, the humans had solved this problem for them by sacrificing entire fleets to take out the fortified starbases that guarded the various Precursor relics across known space.

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The Human's vaunted Omega class destroyer capital ship was still no match for the Altarian equivalent.

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As in, not even able to scratch the paint.

Rapture

In hindsight, the trials and tribulations of the Terran Alliance were of no consequence.  Now that we bask in the light of the Tywom, we truly understand what it means to love.  To be completely and fully devoted to something.

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All praise his great moistness!

 

Next up: A feature tour of Retribution!  Now with100% less goo.

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Retribution Journals

Journal #1

Journal #2

Journal #3

Journal #4

Journal #5 (Current)

Journal #6

Journal #7

Journal #8

Journal #9 (Coming Soon)

Galactic Civilizations III: Retribution Journal #4

Published on Thursday, February 7, 2019 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv III Dev Journals

The last days of Earth

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The year is 2245.  The galactic war has ended, with only three surviving civilizations of note. The aggressive Altarian Empire, the friendly yet oddly powerful Tywom, and of course, the Terran Alliance.

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We are very lucky that these space slugs like us.

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They are also very generous with their tech.

The Altarians want to bring their ideology to the universe. It happens to be an ideology we don't share, and they have not been shy about using their military might to crush others in order to do it.  That war between the Altarians and the humans only ended because the Tywom intervened on behalf of their BEST FRIENDS (which happens to be us).  Without them, we were hopelessly outmatched.

September 17, 2245

What made the humans even relevant at this time was the fact that the dying Onyx Confederacy brokered an armistice with the Altarians that resulted in their worlds being transferred to the humans.

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Unfortunately, Onyx Prime is thousands of light years from Earth. However, thanks to Hypergates, this is not a problem. The only real problem was that this area of space was largely unknown to humans.

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The Dimensional Mirror artifact

Luckily, the Dimensional Mirror artifact on Onyx Prime provided its own solution.  It was ready to be used to uncover areas of space.

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3 charges of the artifact had already been produced. It was now ready for use.

Using the artifact was easy.  The humans simply picked the area of space they wanted to see.  In this case, star systems that were unknown.

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In particular, star systems thought to be within the Altarian sphere of influence.  With multiple charges on the artifact, it didn't take long to find the true heart of the Altarian Empire: Dawn's Glory.  An amazing world that produced an astounding amount of research.   Deep within the Altarian space, it was only lightly defended.  In the next war, this would be humanity's focal point of attack.

October, 2245

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A stellar architect skims the border to build a secret Hypergate near the Altarians' core worlds.

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Earth's Hypergate now had 4 lanes connecting to it (there's no limit). 

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The furthest hypergate was over 101 parsecs to travel to.  While the base speed-up is 2X, new technologies were on the horizon that would increase the speed up to 3X, and later 4X.   On a ship with a normal travel speed of 4 parsecs per turn, it would shorten the travel time from 25 turns to only 6!

The Incident

The Tywom are kind and gentle but they are not pushovers.  The humans, in 2245 made a dangerous mistake.

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They had inherited a starbase from the Onyx that had long been a bone of contention, and the humans carried the policy forward by not agreeing to remove it when the Tywom asked. This resulted in a massive hit to relations at a very dangerous time.  The humans needed friends, and now they had lost their best friend.

The resulting scandal nearly brought down the administration.  The humans had only survived the war with the Altarians thanks to the Tywom.  The humans began a swift deconstruction of their starbases that were in Tywom space.  It was no wonder that the Tywom were so angry, since the Onyx, who were master spies, had installed several of them deep within Tywom territory.  The question was, would this be enough to rebuild the relationship?

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By December, tensions had cooled.  The humans had removed all but the Durantium starbase, which was badly needed as it was the humans only source of Durantium.  But the others, and there were several, were now gone and relations eased. The Tywom and the Altarians renewed their war soon after.

December 2245

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The Hypergate network would also act as a hub for sending out the new "Peeping Toms" to track the progress of the Tywom-Altarian world.  The fate of the Terran Alliance likely rested with the victor.

While the military had dreams of dominance, the reality is, the Tywom are humanity's best hope for survival.  And, they are not very good at war despite their paper-strength.

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The diplomatic core, meanwhile, had done a good job repairing relations with the Tywom. 

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The Christmas 2245 Trade deal included a non-aggression pact.  This would anger the Altarians but would, we hope, lead to an eventual alliance with the Tywom.

The Omega Project

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The Terran Alliance had reverse-engineered the massive ships that the Altarians had constructed in the last war.  Using the hull design (downloaded from Steam Workshop), it is equipped with Photonic Warhead and ECM defenses.  In theory, it should be able to put up a fight against anything out there.

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The Altarian spy network noticed the human work on the stolen tech and responded.  Could they handle the Terran Alliance, now armed with Omegas, along with the powerful but somewhat clueless Tywom?

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While the Omegas were being deployed, the Star Vikings, the previous state-of-the-art ships, would have to hold the line.

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While human technology had improved, it was still far inferior to the Altarians.  Their elegant frigates could take out entire fleets of human ships.

What the humans did have was desperation.

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The mothballed Onyx ships, being all that was left, were employed.  The inventory of Onyx ships was limited but they were still more advanced than anything the humans had.

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The real winners were the Korx...as usual.

The Korx were happy to supply the anti-matter the humans needed. It would bankrupt the Terran Alliance, but they had little other choice.

The war of 2246

The Altarian declaration of war on the humans was enough to convince the leaders of both the Tywom and the Terran Alliance that the time for a permanent alliance was needed. The Altarians simply were too aggressive to be allowed to continue. 

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Two Terran fleets, each with an Omega, arrived in the home Altarian star system.  Their weapons magnified by Arnorian Embers (artifact) to give them a bit more fighting power against the superior technology of the Altarians.  Their military might had been devastated by the Tywom already, but their planets were filled with legions of defenders making the worlds difficult to conquer.

 

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Even after conquest, pacifying would be an issue.  How to prevent the native from revolting? The answer: ARTIFACTS.

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What the Omegas lacked in technical excellence, they made up for with lots and lots of nukes. However, whenever the odds were remotely even, the Altarians carried the day easily.

For the moment, the humans and Altarians slugged it out.  The Tywom even made peace with the Altarians, which resulted in some frustration in the Senate as the Tywom were aggressively picking up Ascension crystals that became available because of the Altarian starbase losses.

The military, however, was unconcerned.  The Tywom had annihilated most of the Altarian military, and the Terran fleets, while inferior in technology, were slowly pushing the Altarians back through brute force.

Next: End Game!

 

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Galactic Civilizations III: Retribution Journal #3

Published on Tuesday, February 5, 2019 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv III Dev Journals

The Age of War

The year is 2243.  Earth has colonized three planets and met several alien civilizations.  It has made friends with a couple, and is at war with another.

Human space is connected by a set of Hypergates, which allow for supply ships from Earth to rapidly support the construction of critical infrastructure on these fledgling colonies. In turn, humanity's policies and culture have encouraged friendly migration from across the galaxy.

On the planet Athenia, an ancient artifact has been uncovered. When used, it will greatly increase the destructive power of a selected ship. Despite the war with the malevolent Korath, it has not been necessary to use it.

Humanity is a minor power in the bigger scheme of things, but it is about to transform itself into a major power on the galactic scene.

The Raid

For over a year, the Korath have been raiding just outside human space.  Now, it was time to strike back.

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The Hyperion and the Roanoke would lead the charge, along with 3 escort fighters. The humans hoped that a show of force might bring the Korath to the bargaining table.

The raid, however, did not go over as planned.  While the Terran Alliance had learned a lot about the Korath, the Korath had learned even more about the humans.

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This included coming up with counter-measures to the human weapons along, with a different weapons technology that was unknown to them.

They also had a ship much bigger than anything the humans had seen before.

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It absolutely dwarfed the Hyperion class ships. The raid was far from convincing the Korath to negotiate a peace - instead, it had emboldened them.

Emergency on Ceres

The engineering team on Ceres was tasked for designing a new class of ship to answer this threat.  Unfortunately, such large hull sizes were relatively new but the Odyssey class ship was born (hatt-ip to Steam workshop).

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January, 2244

While the war with the Korath became more of a priority, another civilization, apparently related to the Korath known as the Drengin Empire made their anger with EarthGov known.

The long-failing colony of Larasa, orbiting Proxima Centauri, finally revolted and joined the Terran Alliance.  Despite the insistence of EarthGov that the Terran Alliance had nothing to do with the colony's defection, the Drengin Empire insisted that humans make Larasa a commonwealth planet.

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Larasa was made an independent commonwealth. The Drengin living there will hopefully be able to deal with their parent civilization.

Most experts believed, at the time, that this was a mistake.

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The primary problem was that their other colony, Proxima Centauri IV, shared a border with the Terran Alliance and the influence of the Terran Alliance was growing.

April, 2244

Task Force Beta (the second raid) led by the Odyssey class, was more successful than the disastrous first one.

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The Speaker for the Labor party, however, disagreed that the task force was impressive to the Korath but rather that the Onxy Hive's growing military power made them decide that they had more worthy adversaries.

May, 2244

The debate over what impressed the Korath came to an abrupt end in May, 2244.

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The Korath surrendered to the Altarians, who were now the dominant power in known space.

The Cold Peace

The Drengin Empire, like everyone else, was building up a hypergate network.

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Unlike everyone else, the Drengin were being especially aggressive with building hypergates. 

Meanwhile, the Altarians were slowly conquering known space.

The problem, however, was that the Altarians fully intended to incorporate human space into their empire.

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The only reason they hadn't already was because the Drengin Empire was keeping them busy. But, the Drengin Empire was losing the war.

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With the Drengin Empire slowly being destroyed by the Altarians and humanity next on the list, it became a question of: what should the Terran Alliance do?

Humanity was far behind the Altarians technologically and had twice the population. Fundamentally, the humans simply couldn't keep up. This fact was kept hidden from the civilian population. Quietly, however, a wide-spread infrastructure upgrade took place in the hope that when the time came, humanity's logistics would be able to deter the Altarians from reaching out to grasp Earth.

The Hypergate-Rally-Supply Initiative

While Earth was humanity's starship juggernaut, New Copenhagen was the research center of the Terran Alliance.  Supply ships then delivered the raw goods, which then were converted by New Copenhagen's labs into accelerated research.

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Now, supply ships are built on Earth, sent over to New Copenhagen automatically, and converted into research.

A Twilight on Larasa

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The Altarians conquered Larasa.  Which means that they will likely come to the Terran Alliance, as there is little chance that the Altarians will be able to hold a planet so deeply in human space.

The Drengin Empire fell the same day.

Inevitability

The next day.

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The day humanity had feared had arrived.

HELLO, BEST FRIENDS

Luckily for the humans, they had a slimy friend...The Tywom (Star Control alien).

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The Tywom decided to stand up to the Altarians with their own surprisingly powerful military.

The two powers were evenly matched.  Humanity's tiny military might be enough to tip the balance.

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Humanity had put together its biggest fleet ever. Now was the time to use the Arnorian Embers artifact.

Invasion

2245 arrived, and with it, an interstellar invasion of one of the outer worlds of the Altarian Empire. 

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Invading a planet is no small feat.  The Tywom had done much of the heavy lifting by clearing most of the Altarian fleets.  The humans had managed to flank the main Altarian force by constructing a hypergate far to the galactic east of the Altarian homeworlds, which allowed them to bypass the front line between the Altarians and the Tywom.

Unfortunately, the Altarians were quick to respond.

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Their ships had been designed to counter the Terran Alliance's fleet.  Moreover, their weapon of choice was a more advanced form of missile.

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The defenses of the Altarians nullified the Terran Alliance fleet allowing them to do over 6X more damage to the Terrans.  The fleet and the 4 legions of soldiers were vaporized.

That fleet was literally the best the humans were capable of putting together.

Doom Fleets

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The Altarian response was nothing short of breath-taking.  Behind their powerful ships was some sort of capital ship of a size that the humans had never seen before.

August 6, 2245

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The Onyx surrendered, but not before giving us their remaining worlds and ships.

Consolidation

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There were only three major powers left.  The Tywom had beaten back the Altarians. so there was still hope.

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But every head-to-head engagement led to utter defeat.  The humans simply couldn't penetrate the Altarian defenses.  Their weapons couldn't even get a weapons lock.

Diplomatic Success at Last

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The Tywom threat had made the Altarians consider whether it was worth fighting the Terran Alliance.  The humans were of little consequence and far from the Altarian home worlds.

A complicated and decidedly one-sided negotiated peace took place.  The humans did their best to make the settlement appear to be an agreement of equals, but the terms spoke for themselves.

Still the humans, though battered, ended the war with many new worlds.  Instead of 3 colonies, the humans had 9 now.

The hypergate network had made the difference and in the process, had captured worlds with several new artifacts:

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Next up: The Tywom BEST FRIENDS...

 

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Retribution Journals

Journal #1

Journal #2

Journal #3 (Current)

Journal #4

Journal #5

Journal #6

Journal #7

Journal #8

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Galactic Civilizations III: Retribution Journal #2

Published on Thursday, January 31, 2019 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv III Dev Journals

January, 2242

The year is 2242. Earth has tiny outposts across our solar system. On Earth, the ancient artifact found in Peru that was thought to have been built by the Mayans is now known to be a Precursor artifact that is designed to greatly enhance the empathy of those it is used on. 

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Earth's first interstellar ship, the Discovery, commanded by Colonel Aaron Roberts, is assigned to travel to Alpha Centauri to see if there are any colonizable worlds there.  The trip will take 6 weeks using Hyperdrive.

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In the Sahara desert, the largest construction project in human history has begun.

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The colonization center has been designed to encourage people from around the world to become official citizens of the Terran Alliance, and thus qualify for the colonization program.

Meanwhile, near Ceres, a massive shipyard begins work on the Santa Maria, the controversially named first colony ship.

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The colony ship can carry up to 100,000 humans in its massive city-sized holds.

Back on Earth, the scientific community is focusing its efforts on figuring out how to construct space elevators.  After the infamous debacle when constructing the Discovery (massive cost overruns), a cheaper way to get things into orbit has been mandated.

February, 2242

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The Discovery has reached Proxima Centauri.  There are two habitable planets and a brown dwarf.  Brown dwarfs are theorized to be able to be mined for a material called Promethion, which has recently only been produced in tiny quantities in the lab. This substance will allow our labs to greatly increase their scientific research.

Meanwhile, Voyager has been tasked to go to Barnard's Star.

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On its way to Barnard's Star, the Discovery encounters what appears to be a massive abandoned Precursor factory. The Scientific (and military) community lobbies for the next use of the Ceres shipyard to be for a construction ship in order to place a starbase near it for further study/exploitation.

After much debate, the resolution passes, though it's partially because the Colony ship does not have the necessary range to make it all the way to Proxima Centauri without stopping off for repairs and replenishment along the way.

The Ides of March

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The destruction of the Santa Maria with its 100,000 passengers is our first contact with an alien species.  And by contact, we mean their attack, and our ship's destruction. It is a devastating loss that calls the entire colonization program into question.

The Discovery is re-tasked with returning to the area to look for survivors and deal with the threat. With its complement of nuclear missiles, it is hoped that the Discovery can provide security for future missions.

Unfortunately, the number of colonists willing to volunteer has, not surprisingly, shrunk.

April, 2242

Aliens have made contact with the Discovery.

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We cannot understand what they are saying.  Are they the Santa Maria's murderers?  Most believe so.

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Fortunately, the Discovery proves to be more than a match for the unknown aliens.

As the Space Elevator efforts begin to wind down, another group of scientists begin researching a "universal" translator based on a semi-strong AI linguistics computer.

May, 2242

The second colony ship, the aptly named T.A.S. (Terran Alliance Ship) Persistence, is launched. Most of the citizens are from Denmark (for lengthy political reasons), and the new colony is named New Copenhagen.

Because of slight improvements in Hyperdrive, they arrive at the end of May and begin establishing their colony.

It becomes very apparent that the hostile environment will make things slow going. As a result, Earth decides to send a supply ship.

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(new in Retribution)

The supply ship will send manufactured goods from Earth to New Copenhagen to help speed up the growth of the new colony.

Crisis on Mars

Despite Mars already having tiny outposts on it, a massive colony ship from that alien civilization calling itself the "Korath" (new in Retribution) has colonized Mars.

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The first use of the Universal Translator is unsuccessful. The Korath are not willing to leave Mars.

Quietly, EarthGov decides to simply annex Mars through intimidation. By the end of the Summer, Mars voluntarily joins the Terran Alliance without bloodshed.

The New World Incident

During the colonization period of North America, it took about 6 weeks for a ship to sale across the Atlantic.  This was a problem then and it's a problem now with the new colony of New Copenhagen.

Luckily, a new (new in Retribution) technology has been discovered that will allow for "hyperlanes" to be created between Sol and Proxima Centauri, which should halve the travel time.

The first "Hypergate" has been constructed just beyond Neptune.  The second one is on its way to Proxima Centauri and will arrive in six weeks.

Retaliation

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The Mars incident may have ended without bloodshed, but the Korath did not take it well. 2242 ends with the Earth involved in an interstellar war!

Earth has no combat ships. At all (other than the Discovery).

Diplomacy

Simultaneously, we encounter a species called the Altarians.  They are not interested in getting involved.

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Our diplomatic efforts rebuffed, the Terran Alliance finds itself alone.

Christmas, 2242

New Copenhagen gets a sister colony called Athena and the first working hyperlane is now active, allowing for goods to begin flowing rapidly between Earth and its new colonies.

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All research is now focused on defensive technologies to protect ourselves from the Korath.

Other civilizations have become known to the Earth and trade with them represents nearly half of the GDP. Tourism is even beginning to generate substantial revenue.

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January, 2243

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The Defender class ship is constructed.  Designed to travel quickly between colonies.  It is primitive but will at least prevent "another Mars" where a giant, unarmed ship can simply park in orbit and unload enemies onto our surface.

The war has also brought out new concerns from colonists regarding their say in their protection.  After much debate, a new form of government (governments are added in the Intrigue expansion) is chosen.

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This means that the colonists will be able to vote directly for the President of the Senate.

The Financial Crisis of 2243

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The tax rate of 38% is threatening to cost the government the next election which would be a disaster.  Moreover, the reliance on trade income from civilizations that are free to cut off trade at any time has resulted in a new dual policy for the Terran Alliance.

First, the construction of a new starbase between Proxima Centauri and Earth that will act as a resting area for alien travels, and thus connect our influence between Sol and Proxima. 

Second, the easing of regulations to allow for more consumer goods to be produced on world by alien civilizations via their "entertainment centers" which loosely translates to factories producing alien goods much desired by the native population.

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The Andromeda starbase is designed as a rest stop between Proxima and Sol, which hopefully will increase tourism to Earth. 

Who are the Korath?

It has been nearly a year since the war with the Korath began.  Thus far, they have primarily raided our scout ships to prevent us from expanding into the Barnard's star region.

Thanks to some technology acquired from another alien species we've encountered, we have begun to build up a spy network to see what can be done.

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The Korath are about on par with the Terran Alliance.  Four colonies apiece.   It is a war that the humans are determined to win.

However, the Korath are significantly ahead of the humans when it comes to weapons technology.

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Their weapons are energy based. Some sort of laser or plasma technology. 

The humans begin to design a counter.

Thanks to Steam Workshop, we have lots of ship designs to choose from.

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The Hyperion class frigate (designed by a player who uploaded it to Steam workshop) is equipped with two nuclear missile launchers.

The prototype Hyperion, placed in orbit of Earth, causes the Korath fleet to turn around and return home, deterred by a battle they are not prepared to fight.

Unknown to the Korath, a Precursor artifact was found on Athenia and studied.  If necessary, the Korath would have encountered an Hyperion with supercharged weapons.   The government was relieved to not have had to use it, as it would have been a one-time advantage better saved until the absolute most dire of need.

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May 2243

The first election is held and it is decidedly close.

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The loyalist party wins, but with only 55% of the vote. New Copenhagen is, obviously, pleased with the results, but mainly because Earth is footing the bill for protecting them which shows in the exit polls.

June 2243

The financial situation for the Terran Alliance has become been relieved.

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With tourism substantially increased and trade route income continue to grow, taxes have been reduced to only 25%

July 2243

Earth's spies have discovered that the Korath are engaged in 4-sided war.  Despite being militarily powerful, the Altarians are keeping them from bothering Earth.

Thus became the first thoughts of moving from defense to offense...

[To be continued in part 3]

 

______________________________

Retribution Journals

Journal #1

Journal #2 (Current)

Journal #3

Journal #4

Journal #5

Journal #6

Journal #7

Journal #8

Journal #9 (Coming Soon)

 

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