Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.

I'm enjoying my time back on Galactic Civilizations.   The team is working on lots of neat things for the upcoming version 2.0 update which is due this month.

Here are a few highlights:

Administrators

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There's a new resource called administrators.  Your capital world provides N of them where N is based on the size of the map.  Building a starbase consumes one.  You can get more by researching government related techs but that means you're not researching weapons or economy techs. 

The practical effect is that it takes a little pressure off the idea that you have to spam out starbases and also gives some advantages to smaller empires who can now choose to use their starbases to improve morale and productivity in their home systems.

 

Better diplomacy

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When I play other games, I tend to cheese.  There have been patches made for games over the years to counter some of my cheese.  There's plenty of diplomacy cheese in GalCiv also and thanks to player feedback, I was able to b-line my way to it.

But it wasn't just cheese that I wanted to improve on.  I wanted the AI to do more trading and less "give me stuff please". So I worked on the diplomatic system to work harder on coming up with trades.  It'll probably be one of the first things players notice.  More AI talk with more interesting trades.

 

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One new system I spent some time on was the concept of redlining. 

When I inevitable have to work on contracts in my "day job" at Stardock/Mohawk/Oxide I do what is called redlining.  That is where I make marks on a proposal as to why I think we should pass on it or cross out things that won't work for us.

One of the first things I did when cheesing GalCiv was to use the old technique of manipulating the aliens to do things that weren't in their best interests.  Now, to be fair, most people don't do this kind of thing but once you do it, it's hard not to do it.

So in response, I implemented a redlining system that you code-geeks might find interesting:

I noticed that the game passes around the trade offer a lot:

VOID IAIOpponent::AppraiseTradeOffer(CDiplomacySystem::ActiveTradeInfo* pTradeOffer, CDiplomacySystem::ActiveTradeInfo* pOtherSideTradeOffer, ObjectID forPlayerID, ObjectID otherPlayerID)

See the pTradeOffer there?  It was the full detail of what was being offered and the AI looks at it in lots and lots of different ways.

So what I did is add a vector of redlines to it.  That is, the AI can be evaluating an offer and say "Hey, this tech is too valuable" or "Those guys are too tough" and add that redline to the trade offer.

Then, when it gets back to you, you see why they rejected it.  And in the process of implementing it, I went ahead and got rid of some of the things I was exploiting like how easy it was to get other people to do your dirty work (you can still do it but you  need to have a lot of persuasive ability or have a much better deal or both).

UI: This will be controversial

I don't expect this next change to be universally loved and I haven't gotten approval yet from the GalCiv III lead designer, Paul Boyer to check this in. 

But anyway, I really really REALLY hate the ship list thing.  That is, when I go to pick a ship to build, it gets filled with tons of auto-generated ship designs.  None of the filter options work for me (i.e. I don't like them).

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So instead, what I did was make it so that when you first load up the game, only your favored ships are shown and the other ones are folded up.  Then I made it so that if you click on the label (like Beam Ships) it'll unfold the other ships.   

Now, the trickier thing I had to do was when designing a ship.  I wanted my ships that I designed to automatically show up in the favored list.  It was annoying to design a ship and then have to go look for it.

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So now, when I design a ship and save it (in this case, I'll call it the Intrepid class).

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Ironically, this proved a lot tougher than you'd think because the ship design screen deals primarily with saving files where as the ship build list actually deals with UI handles (which don't exist when you design a ship since you haven't added that ship to a listbox list yet).

But it's done.

There's a lot of other stuff going into 2.0.  Today I'm working on late game AI stuff.

This free update is due this month.  Stay tuned!


Comments (Page 2)
on Jan 13, 2017

The idea of seeing less "give me stuff" and more complexity in trade behavior is very pleasing. And I think I'll like the ship list changes (especially if it ends up including some way to get that Build Current Design button to recognize custom ship upgrades).

But I generally agree with Naric re the Administrators thing, especially in the context of the largest maps, and extra-specially the largest maps with tight clusters.

I could be courted into cheering that change if it came along with some serious additions to starbases, e.g. unanchor like shipyards have, advanced techs that allow additional functionality rings, multiple expansions of area of effect, and in the very late game, very expensive high-tech modules that let you build habitats that can host space-based versions of the planetary improvements.

Basically, if we're to have an arbitrary cap on the number of starbases that based on the structure of a faction's political economy and not its size, then we should be able to invest more heavily in making those limited/scarce resources more useful.

on Jan 13, 2017

Very happy with the changes outlined so far for the next patch. Keen to see more and also to learn about more about how you're tinkering with the AI. Definitely the changes to trade are a big one -- for so long now it has been very easy to manipulate the diplomatic trade into disproportionately favorable outcomes for the player.

 

What needs a serious look is the alliance/treaty system. Alliances are... apparently a box that gets ticked on the path to a victory condition and not much else. Treaties I have only ever used for the sole purpose of 'buying' techs and source income rather than a strategic decision that has a mutual benefit geopolitically with another civ.

 

I like the admin concept and I would think that opens up some interesting opportunities to combine it with a government system, but I'm not sure if things like senates/houses/dictaterships, etc are in the scope of 2.0 or the upcoming expansion. 

 

I'm really looking forward to seeing how this update will effect empire planning going forward given that starbases are a pretty key piece of economic infrastructure, as well as seeing if the AI now actually offers up interesting trades decisions, which if I am honest, never really have ($100 to go to war?! 0.o).

 

*obligatory can we have an update/info on Crusade, pretty please ?* 

 

Anyway, glad to hear you're enjoying being back with GalCiv. Best wishes to you and the GalCiv team!

on Jan 14, 2017

There's a new resource called administrators.  Your capital world provides N of them where N is based on the size of the map.  Building a starbase consumes one.  You can get more by researching government related techs but that means you're not researching weapons or economy techs. 

The practical effect is that it takes a little pressure off the idea that you have to spam out starbases and also gives some advantages to smaller empires who can now choose to use their starbases to improve morale and productivity in their home systems.

 

Love this. Limits breed creativity. I would like to see some ideas along the lines of what Philocthetes said. If we're going to have "tall" starbases, let's make them sufficiently different from "wide" starbases.

on Jan 14, 2017

Strange, can't seem to get the neurotic facial twitching going, regarding the (potential) UI changes. Will be sure to check in with my physician, as this seems to be highly irregular behavior!

Looks like a very nice update, and having the version number rounded off, will beyond doubt lead to a more wholesome feeling of cyclical completion, as the wheel turns once more. We are talking about a milestone, after all!

 

Thank you, Stardock Troopers. Now beware those bugs.

on Jan 14, 2017

What? Administrators? But I was just starting to love my Starbase Manager 3! /sarcasm

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=841991203

on Jan 14, 2017

In response to Noric who wants unlimited amounts of constructors. The game was getting 'too messy' and there needed to be a cap on things a player can do. Putting a soft cap on the number of star-bases a player or ai can build will go a long way to help minimize star base spam. One of the biggest complaints was the micro management associated with the game and star base micro in particular. By limiting how many a player can build now you impact that  problem. 

Before a player could blindly build hundreds of constructors with zero worry it would impact economy or your empire. Now we must make choices on where to send those constructors, it is something we needed from the start.

I would like to see something to do with your empire if it is NOT building constructors or military ships. The answer that is the projects. I also feel that 'happiness or economy' needs to take a hit as we get 70% or more of the Galaxy colonized. This will force players to focus planets on happiness or economy but I admit this may not be as fun as it sounds. 

Inter-empire trade routes that have choices in them like 'happiness routes, production or food' would also add a bit of interaction, much like Civ 6 does. I'd like to see more things going on in our map. Civ 6 does a good job with this albeit it does tend to make your map messy late game. 

 

Once again, Kudos to the Stardock team. One thing nobody mentioned is Brads nod to Paul. I was a bit worried he was not actively hands on Gal Civ III. I am happy to hear he is!

 

Cheers!

on Jan 14, 2017

I like the in empire trade idea.

on Jan 14, 2017

Larsenex



Once again, Kudos to the Stardock team. One thing nobody mentioned is Brads nod to Paul. I was a bit worried he was not actively hands on Gal Civ III. I am happy to hear he is!

 

Cheers!

Yep, glad to see Paul is still in the game, so to speak.  He does seem to have this rambunctious AI programmer on the team who is shaking up all sorts of things.  Maybe Paul should talk to that programmer's supervisor about it.  

on Jan 14, 2017

So basically GC2 diplomacy and logistics by another name is back.

on Jan 14, 2017

Larsenex

In response to Noric who wants unlimited amounts of constructors. The game was getting 'too messy' and there needed to be a cap on things a player can do. Putting a soft cap on the number of star-bases a player or ai can build will go a long way to help minimize star base spam. One of the biggest complaints was the micro management associated with the game and star base micro in particular. By limiting how many a player can build now you impact that  problem. 

Before a player could blindly build hundreds of constructors with zero worry it would impact economy or your empire. Now we must make choices on where to send those constructors, it is something we needed from the start.

I would like to see something to do with your empire if it is NOT building constructors or military ships. The answer that is the projects. I also feel that 'happiness or economy' needs to take a hit as we get 70% or more of the Galaxy colonized. This will force players to focus planets on happiness or economy but I admit this may not be as fun as it sounds. 

Inter-empire trade routes that have choices in them like 'happiness routes, production or food' would also add a bit of interaction, much like Civ 6 does. I'd like to see more things going on in our map. Civ 6 does a good job with this albeit it does tend to make your map messy late game. 

 

Once again, Kudos to the Stardock team. One thing nobody mentioned is Brads nod to Paul. I was a bit worried he was not actively hands on Gal Civ III. I am happy to hear he is!

 

Cheers!

 

The administration-system is a hard-cap, not a soft one.

Because even if you can increase it with research, this is limited.

 

Anyway right now starbases ARE way to op,

it doesnt make sense to build anything than farms(and some special-improvements) on a planet.

 

There should be somthing done about that, we will see if this administration-system does the job

on Jan 14, 2017

This will be interesting to check out! Well, two weeks or less to go...

on Jan 14, 2017

mortili

The administration-system is a hard-cap, not a soft one.

Because even if you can increase it with research, this is limited.

 

 

You are correct. Still, I would like to see a finite number of Star Bases you can build capped. I also would like to see changes in how they improve the output of a planet rather than how they are now. As you pointed out all you need is to boost population and put star bases up and little need to do anything else. 

on Jan 14, 2017

But capped in relation to what?

Number of planets colonized? Number of colonizable tiles? Population?

on Jan 14, 2017

Thanks for the glimpse ahead!  I'm all in favor of improved diplomacy.

One thing I wish is that when an AI comes up with a trade offer or request that I get a chance to review my state of affairs before having to commit to a decision.  I can't keep the whole map in my head.  If an AI wants me to declare war on someone else, I'd like to see if I'm really in a good position to do that -- do my ships even have the range to get to reach the new enemy? Am I going to put planets/ships at risk from a counter-attack?  Or if an AI is asking me for a strategic resource can I afford to spare some or do I want to hang onto it to build something?  I can't keep the whole tech tree in my head, so it's often hard to know if a proposed tech trade will be good for me.  I greatly dislike having to make these snap decisions blind.

I'd really like it if I could get a chance to review my empire before committing to a trade like any reasonable leader would. 

My suggestion:  when an AI offers a trade, give me the option "I'll think about it."  Then at the end of turn (or start of next turn?) have the requesting AI re-evaluate the trade and come back with a revised offer or withdraw it entirely.

Thanks for all the work looking for ways to keep improving GC3.

on Jan 14, 2017

Larsenex

In response to Noric who wants unlimited amounts of constructors. The game was getting 'too messy' and there needed to be a cap on things a player can do. Putting a soft cap on the number of star-bases a player or ai can build will go a long way to help minimize star base spam. One of the biggest complaints was the micro management associated with the game and star base micro in particular. By limiting how many a player can build now you impact that  problem. 

Before a player could blindly build hundreds of constructors with zero worry it would impact economy or your empire. Now we must make choices on where to send those constructors, it is something we needed from the start.


I wasn't aware that this was an issue with players as my friends and I never had much of an issue being able to spam constructors should we choose to do so. When we focused on constructor growth it took away manufacturing that could go to something else, so it was a decision between building military versus strengthening your economy. Yes, it could be tedious micromanaging all the starbases, but that is where I feel a starbase management screen would have done wonders. A tall request, but one that would reduce the micromanagement of it all. I guess the answer to the complaints of micromanagement by reducing how much you can build doesn’t seem like a good solution to me. Capping the number of starbases also feels like it’s a way of dictating how to play the game. Build these improvements, make some military, cap your starbase limit and then move on to something else.

 

But it seems I’m clearly in the minority here, so it looks like most of the fanbase will be happy with the cap and that’s overall a good thing for the game. I can accept that if it means the game has a happier fanbase as a whole. Perhaps I just don’t play the game on the same level as other players where starbases turn from fun to nuisance. It always took time for me to get the maxed amount of starbases around my planets and I’d always worry I wasn’t strengthening my military enough during construction. It just feels odd to have something that could be expanded across your empire if you had the time and resources to do so now become a resource you have to manage. I really enjoyed expanding my empire with starbases, and having to now decide on whether expanding borders, mining, or supporting my worlds doesn’t sound fun.


Edit: I tried to copy and paste this from another doc as I wanted to get all my words out first, built it seems I had to change the font to white just for it to appear here.



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