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:



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


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.





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).


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.


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


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 1)
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on Jan 13, 2017

Great stuff!  Good luck with the late game issues.  That will be a big help to the game.  

on Jan 13, 2017

Looking forward to trying the AI stuff out.


on Jan 13, 2017

Things certainly seem to be on the right track!

on Jan 13, 2017

WoW this is amazing! Thank you and I look forward to see it!

on Jan 13, 2017

Am I understanding correctly that there will be a limit to the administrator resource amount, or is it that you will generate N points of administrator points over time with larger maps having a higher base value? If it's the former, I don't think I'm going to like this change.

While I understand your stated reasons for this change, I don't think the benefit of reducing the stress to build starbases outweighs the game changing effects of providing a cap to the amount of starbases you can create. It honestly seems like an arbitrary cap. Limiting what the player can do so the player will not feel inclined to do an action as much should be done only on game breaking mechanics, and building lots of starbases doesn't seem to me to be a game breaking mechanic as it does take time and money. If a player builds tons of starbases they do so at the risk of halting production of other items, which is something the player should have to consider and be allowed to either fail or succeed depending how they've gone about it. It feels like you're dictating how players should play by saying how many starbases can be built.

Another point is that bridging the gap between a small empire and a big empire by limiting starbase production seems like a poor way of going about it. Currently, a larger empire can support a larger amount of starbases than a smaller empire because the larger empire has the production and income to create and support said starbases. And to be honest, what's wrong with that? A more successful player should be allowed to expand as much as he can. Telling the player otherwise does not make for fun game play. This is a game of building an empire, expanding your borders, building larger fleets, creating trade routes, and spreading your influence. It's a 4X game, and expanding is one of those X's. If you are going to provide a limit on how much a player can expand in a category, it should be for a better reason than reducing the stress to expand and to bridge the gap between smaller and bigger empires.

With that said, I do love the game and I am looking forward to the patches this month overall. This reply is just my initial reaction to the administrator resource, and I have no idea how it will mesh with other unannounced changes, so it's very possible I'm not aware of the larger picture.

on Jan 13, 2017

Any new updates on upcoming expansion "DLC"?

Great work though waiting to see these changes in action.

on Jan 13, 2017

Looking forward to administrators and endgame changes

But: Currently when not at war we can do nothing but build ships and constructors at our shipyards (and that's very tedious ...). Since building lots and lots of war ships eventually has to stop because of maintenance costs we *must* build constructors to enhance existing and build new starbases. So when that is not possible anymore, what can we do instead (since we cannot just let our shipyards unoccupied; perhaps that has to change)?

That has also to do with endgame boredom. When the first one or two enemies are conquered the player is normally strong enough to conquer the rest of the galaxy, but because the AIs cannot put up a decent fight, that is just a matter of mopping up in a very un-fun fashion (as others stated at serveral occasions already). So the AI must become better at fighting back and we should have more useful things to do when not at war or while preparing to fight the next enemy. E. g. give us more interesting things to discover (e. g. planet with trader that sells unique ships or components, more varieties of pirate bases and their ships, more varieties of anomalies, new precursor artefacts and relics, more (rare) special resources for special, more powerful components and buildings, to list only some of my ideas) or make it so that resources from resource mining starbases must be fetched by transports so that we have supply lines to attack (although that makes only sense when ships and buildings using special resources actually use them up and stop working if there is no more supply. I could go on a while like that

I play only insane maps, so above considerations are only my own and for that style of gameplay.

on Jan 13, 2017

These sound like great improvements!

Question: in your look at diplomacy, were the various broken treaties and options fixed? Doing so would go a long way to making diplomacy a fun part of the game.


when not at war we can do nothing but build ships and constructors at our shipyards

One thing I'd like to see implemented is a means to repair and upgrade existing ships using shipyards rather than cash. This would provide another function for the shipyard that would be useful in the mid-to-late game. I'm not sure how difficult this would be to integrate into the current code--but if it were something that just syphoned off resources from the total manufacturing (e.g., a property that gives a negative value, like -3.5 from total manufacturing for repair--and on the ship upgrade end, it would need a separate payment option, like one button that specifies the number of credits and another that says "use shipyard" that is only enabled if the ship is stationed at a shipyard...), anyhow, I'm sure this is more work than I expect, but it may not be too bad... I think it would add a lot. Just a thought.

Thanks again, Draginol!

on Jan 13, 2017

 I wanted the AI to do more trading and less "give me stuff please".

It made me very happy to see this.  It annoys the crap out of me when the AI keeps asking me to just give them techs for free, and then has the nerve to get pissed at me for saying "NO".  Especially considering that I can't ask the AI to just give ME techs for free.

I also like the administrators idea a lot.  It is kind of like logistics for fleets.  You can only effectively manage so many ships coordinated together in a fleet; kind of makes sense you can only manage the logistics of keeping so many massive structures in space supplied and running effectively.  Both of which you can get better at by investing research time into making them better.

Really liking the vision moving forward that I am seeing so far.  Thanks much for the update Brad.


on Jan 13, 2017

I really like that it will not be that simple anymore to drag the AIs into wars just to weaken everyone  - it's too easy indeed.


on Jan 13, 2017

Nice to see this game receiving more updates!

on Jan 13, 2017

Hey Brad...

first thank you for all the work you do.    


As you nitpicked the ship designer a bit in this post...   can I direct you to this?

I really wish the game would see a ship design that we upgraded from a pre-existing design as an UPGRADE that we could then go into the ship yard and just use the Build Current Design button.


This UI element currently only works with game generated ships...  and really  who uses those?

on Jan 13, 2017


Is this update big enough to be called "2.0" or is it actually "1.10" ?


on Jan 13, 2017

Well this is great work and I applaud you.

Another thing I would like to see is some auto-updates to custom ship designs.

Right now, if you unlock a stronger weapon in a tree (say, a stronger beam weapon) all your auto ships upgrade to them, but not your custom designs. Why not? It isn't too much harder to do it with a custom design than to an automatic one. You just need some rules. As in, fast designs remain fast, high damage designs remain high damage, and so on.

That would cut a huge amount of tedium from longer games where you unlock a lot of warfare tech.

Also, if the faction definition could include a "use this ship design type", then custom factions could be set to use the custom ship designs they come with wihout having to have an actual mod made.

on Jan 13, 2017

Brad, although I like what I've read so far about the administrators and think it sounds like a step in the right direction, would you also consider changing how the bonuses from overlapping startbase zoc's stack? Please add a law of diminishing returns.... Please? I don't want to see the incentive to have overlapping SB's done away with outright, but the crazy, crazy high bonuses from several feel like a total cheese factor, one that cannot be ignored. Thanks.

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