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

Ship design has been part of Galactic Civilizations games for many years.  However, with Galactic Civilizations III, the designer has reached the point where user creations are starting to rival what you would see in movies.

The ship designs we included are wholly original creations based on the lore that's been developed over the past 25 years.

The ship designer itself lets people put together thousands of parts to create whatever they want.

A new design

For the serious designer, they start from scratch.  This blank screen with a collection of parts is the starting point.

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In the beginning...

 

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As you add parts, you will see red dots where you connect other parts to it.

 

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In the hands of a clod like me, I can design something like this in minutes.  The controls in the bottom right let me resize, rotate, animate, etc.

 

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In the hands of someone with some skill, you can get something like this such as this Babylon 5 inspired Starfury like ship.  Because ships are hard surfaces, it's relatively easy for someone to create pretty much any ship.  Organic ships tend to be a lot tougher to make.   But most ships are ultimately a series of wings and cylinders.

What is part of the game?

Obviously, we don't include any of these designs, even inspired ones, with the game.  The point of the ship designer and the fans who share their ship designs is to create their own stories in their heads. 

There is a cottage industry of people who compare different ships sizes, write fan fiction regarding their favorite ships.

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Ship size comparison on deviantART.

Anyway, the point being, what people create and share with our tools is up to them.  Galactic Civilizations has always been about creating your own sandbox universe to play in.  It asks the question: What happens after we leave Earth? What is next? And leaves the answers up to the player.

If you have any questions, feel free to post in the comments.


Comments (Page 2)
on Feb 05, 2017

Direct hit. Fire for effect!

on Feb 06, 2017

General Pants

And none of us remembered that in GCII you could favorite a part. That would be so useful for making ship sets!

 

but that only lasted for that game, persistent would have been better.

on Feb 06, 2017

Hey there! I have a few questions/thoughts.

 

1) While I greatly appreciate that there are fixes and additions that could be made to the ship designer, I will disagree with many here, in that I think it is and should be, a low priority. Games like Spore for example, focused too much on their creative generator and not enough on gameplay... I've spent just shy of 1500 hours in GC3 and I've never finished a game properly, and I doubt even 100 hours is actual game play. So while, it would make MY life much better if the designer was improved, I think it wiser for SD to focus on content that the majority will enjoy, not just the shipyard junkies. The Civ editor is far more important to making the Ship editor more relevant than ever before.

2) I will however gripe about one thing... the ship parts in the Rise of the Terrans DLC are so badly textured that I find them completely unusable. I get that they are a rip from the old game, but seriously textures matter. The various "material" differences between the ship styles, isn't totally helpful, but these are egregious.

3) And if we are going to work on the designer, instead of adding features, it would be better if: 1) It was optimized better, a ship in the designer is laggier than in game BY FAR, and 2) Fix the "no visible scaling" issue, where a part, attached to a custom part, does not visible change scale, but will outside the designer. It makes it very difficult to create intricate designs that require numerous custom parts at certain scales.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

 

on Feb 06, 2017

Gauntlet03

, I will disagree with many here, in that I think it is and should be, a low priority.

 

Yes, perhaps "the ship designer is the game" was a bit hyperbolic. And Stardock does need to focus on what will get the most buys. However, they WERE advertising the designer, so it seemed an appropriate time to reconsider some of the persistent problems in their well-advertised feature. I would be happier if they addressed just one or two of these problems at some point (lighting, perhaps, maybe an 'edit' button).

on Feb 06, 2017

General Pants


Quoting Gauntlet03,

, I will disagree with many here, in that I think it is and should be, a low priority.



 

Yes, perhaps "the ship designer is the game" was a bit hyperbolic. And Stardock does need to focus on what will get the most buys. However, they WERE advertising the designer, so it seemed an appropriate time to reconsider some of the persistent problems in their well-advertised feature. I would be happier if they addressed just one or two of these problems at some point (lighting, perhaps, maybe an 'edit' button).

 

I would agree that the ship designer is less important than the base game, but it's still a vital part of what separates the galciv games from other 4x games.  If GCIII did not have the ship designer, I doubt I would have bought the game.

on Feb 06, 2017

I absolutely love the Ship Designer.  Don't get me wrong, my thousands of hours are mostly dedicated to managing empires or killing enemies or both, but I love the Designer.

I do not do "conventional" designs.  I do off the wall things that convince me that they are not anything humans would build or that tickle some part of my funny bone, or most importantly, somehow leverage the animation portion of the Ship Designer.  There are numbers buried in those animation settings!  I am not an artist, but I am clever with numbers, so some of my designs are quite original and unique.  Most importantly, even though they take tons of fiddling and rethinking about values and relationships, they are fun for me.

My highest praise goes to the texturing.  I am almost always completely satisfied by the way two parts of a style match up no matter how you connect them.  It looks like it was built that way on purpose, even if you don't know what the purpose is.  That is an important illusion for standard designs and really helps my wilder ones.  That it can work with so many physical placement variations amazes me every time.  Even non-matching styles can be made to convincingly merge and do the "It's supposed to look this way." illusion.  Nice.  Thanks go to the Ship Designer designers.

Next goes for the number of variables in the design tools.  Offsets are great.   I don't always understand what is going on with Symmetry and my animations, but when they do work out, it is perfect for synchronizing things.  The different animation motion choices are, of course, the key feature for me.  I am still trying to figure what to do with animated scaling.  What I have found so far is pretty wild, even for me.  It is there in those animation settings I get the most satisfaction and the most frustration, all at once.  We are all obsessive here, but we obsess over so many different things. 

Now for the frustrations:

I cannot believe there is still no cute stylized 3D compass rose marked Forward, Aft, Port, Starboard, Above, Below.  That it is not there in a corner spinning around to match the way I have spun my ship model mystifies me.  With each patch and release I look in the corner for it, but it is not there.  If someone can explain why it is not there, I would love to hear that.  I know it has been mentioned before on the forums, and if you devs claim to be listening to us, this is not evidence that you are doing so.  I am still disappointed it was not part of the original plans.  There is not much about the game I would say that about, but that is a horrible gaff in my opinion.  A similar one is the scaling issue.  I have a Medium hull that almost spills out of its hex tile on the map.  I have no idea how to fix that and I do not appreciate that the designer did not give me some clue about it before I put all my work in. 

I have lost many ship designs because I forgot to save the test file game I was using to design the ship.  I still don't understand if I should save as template or save as ship or what the difference really is.  I get confused about the custom parts function, and it doesn't seem to like saving animation definitions.  The busy work of ship designing could use some streamlining or something.  I generate tons of interim files during my designing and cleaning them out is not really an in game function.  And I still haven't heard why the Ship Designer can't be accessed from the main menu. 

When I get down to the details of the animation settings, I do not understand many of the decisions made there.  One is granularity.  I can adjust Rotation in integer steps from -180 to +180.  That is a lot of freedom of choice.  But it is not as much freedom of choice as implied by putting a decimal place in the display.  As far as I can tell, there is no way to utilize that decimal place.  I don't know why it is there.  I would love for it to be meaningful, but I doubt a lot of other people would notice.  Either make it do something or get rid of it as an empty promise.  When I go to Lateral motion I get a range of choices from -10 to +10.  Why is that?  Is lateral motion somehow different to code?  And again there are decimals there that should help my nitpicky obsession, but they don't do anything.  I type them in as values and it looks like it takes it, but it is a temporary illusion and does nothing.

In each of the animation screens there is a function called Oscillate.  It is a wonderful idea and very useful.  Setting it up is a fiddly mouse movement pain.  If I need two parts to move the same distance, I have to set the two arrows exactly the same on both.  Neither arrow lets me set the value precisely with the scroll wheel.  And in the Lateral movement settings, I suddenly have functioning decimal places!  Yay!  However, it has its own ideas about how I can use those decimals and will jump from 3.2 to 3.6 or some other interval.  But I cannot enter numerical values and the scroll wheel does not slide the arrows, so I end up trying multiple times to move my mouse just one pixel and get this part to 3.2 just like I got the other part.  That takes a lot of the fun out of the process.

I could use a button that resets the animation to start point and pauses.  Otherwise, adding parts becomes a nightmare.  The present pause button can leave parts in positions where the hardpoints are not where the part is visually at the moment.  You get unidentifiable hardpoints floating in space. 

I could really use a phase control function to synchronize or de-synchonize two matching rotations.  I consider that a request for a very limited usage base but having one object pointing forward while the others are pointing starboard is a problem.  You can often fix it with a quick static rotation in the Edit function, but in any compound set of rotations, a simple phase adjust, even of 90 degree steps, would be a big help.

And I want blinking and dimming animation for glowing parts, pretty please.

And I want to end on a high note.  The Ship Designer can be very interesting if you let someone young coach you as you design.  "It needs more glowy things!  Make the top part spin real fast!"  "I want one of those!"  Fun.

on Feb 06, 2017

Gauntlet03

instead of adding features, it would be better... 

I agree with this--and this overall premise. I would actually prefer not to see any added features, at least not until the handful of features at issue work as intended and are better optimized.

on Feb 06, 2017

Would it be an outrageous idea to make it much easier to swap hull sizes? Since every size can use the same modules, why not simply make it so that you can design any ship you wish, but determine the relevant hull size finally only when saving (so you could also change it when saving again).

That way we would never get into trouble when we realize that design X would be much better in another hull size...Of course in an ongoing game you would still only be able to build ships using sizes that have been researched.

 

 

on Feb 07, 2017

GalCivius

Would it be an outrageous idea to make it much easier to swap hull sizes?

Proposed many times on many threads. There is a work-around, but it is time-consuming. I am hoping they will fix this in Crusade!

erischild

The Ship Designer can be very interesting if you let someone young coach you as you design.

I find looking at other people's work challenging and good for this. I'm gotten some good coaching on here, although you do have to decide ultimately for yourself. I personally have to work a lot with computer limitations. And imagination limitations...

Gauntlet03

instead of adding features, it would be better if

I will wholeheartedly agree to this, and add to it. Please make the designer work like it is supposed to, then make it work like the one in GC2, then add new options.

on Feb 07, 2017

Agree its a low priority.

I like the sound of several features suggested here.

Another I'd like, and I've asked for this before, is a toggle function that can cycle the attachment of a selected part through the hardpoints on the part it's attached to.

on Feb 08, 2017

Now that looks great^^^

I really liked the designer in GCII way more better than GCIII au courant

 

Luceo Non Uro

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