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

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Spying on Aliens

Galactic Civilizations is a game that asks the question: What happens after we start colonizing other planets? For our purposes, we are going to assume that we will come into contact with alien civilizations.

Alien civilizations will have their own histories, cultures and ideals that we can only fathom.  In Galactic Civilizations III: Crusade, you will be able to train your citizens to learn more about these other civilizations and, if necessary, do very bad things to them.

[[..]]

Tough Choices

If you are new to Galactic Civilizations, you can skip this section, since I'm going to be spending it creating great outrage among GalCiv III fans.

Dear GalCiv III fans,

Your old economy is dead. I killed it. 

I killed it because each citizen matters. A lot.  You get 1 every 10 turns.  That means in a typical game, you'll see around 25 citizens.  That means they're not disposable.   There are certain planetary improvements you can build that will give you specialists (like spies), but they will be either wonders or 1 per civilization and require resources. 

Bottom line: each citizen makes a difference.

Turn 1: A new start

For 25 years, Galactic Civilizations had a preferred strategy: the colony rush.  This isn't surprising because that was, after all, the premise of the game.  Crusade doesn't get rid of the colony rush, but it adds other equally viable strategies.

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Turn 1: Look closely at your resources: 5,000 credits, 10 population, 4 admin points.  And only 1 ship.

What uses administration?

  1. Colony Ships & Colonies
  2. Survey Ships (which you can now build on turn 1)
  3. Constructors

In the base game, the first turn meant moving your colony ship, survey ship, and scout around and then waiting 20 turns for a colony ship or whatever to be built.  Now, colony ships are cheap, but cost an administrator. Survey ships are instantly available and space junk provides resources, but also costs an administrator.

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Turn 1: Look at your home world. Raw Production =  base resource production in every category.  There are no "sliders". Instead, you directly control your output either through using those precious citizens on a planet, or globally.

Now, let's say you want to do the colony rush thing. Well, then you will need to make a tough choice once you consume those first 4 admin points:

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By turn 10, you will likely have 3 different training options for your citizens.

At this point, I've consumed my administration points with colony ships.  Do I want to train my first citizen as an administrator to get 5 more administrative points?  Or do we want to greatly increase our research? Or maybe greatly increase our planetary production.

You might say, "It's always better to have more colonies in the long run..."

But what if I told you that there's now a bunch of early game Galactic Wonders (that can only be built by one civilization)?

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Hey, look at that? An early game Wonder that if I obtain it, I get a free General (which would let me invade a planet super early)

Galactic Wonders aren't cheap.  The Strategic Command, which provides a free General used for invading planets, normally takes 28 turns.  But what if I trained my citizen to be a Worker?

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Putting my trained Worker on Earth yields a 33% bonus.

Now suddenly, that 28 turn wonder is down to 19 turns.  That's a huge advantage.  And the Strategic Command isn't the only early game wonder that does awesome stuff.  By the way, Basic Factories now only provide a 5% manufacturing bonus by default instead of 15%. This change scales through the whole game (the costs and production have all been redone).

And Citizens level up, which means he'll keep getting more and more powerful over the course of the game. 

The other choice, Research, is more obviously beneficial. An immediate 33% boost to research on Earth is pretty huge.  And they stack (33% + 33% + 33%) so yes, you can do some crazy stuff.  Just bear in mind that all the other numbers have been heavily nerfed and/or greatly increased before you start thinking about having planets with 10,000 production per turn.

 

 

Spies

When you research the Espionage technology, you can then train new citizens to be spies. 

 

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Train one of those precious citizens to be spies. 

So if a single Worker can increase production on a planet by 33%, you can imagine how powerful a single Spy must be to balance that.

For starters, you can choose to do nothing at all with your spy, in which case he or she handles counter-espionage:

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Similarly, you can assign them to an alien civilization and begin spying on them.  This means learning more about what they are up to as a civilization and later, stealing tech. 

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However, you can also use them for planetary destabilization.

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By clicking on colonies, you will be shown all of their planets that you know of (unless you've already done some surveillance, in which case you will get to see all their planets regardless of location).

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Placing a spy on a planet will do two things.  First, it knocks planetary production (raw production) down by 20% (and yes, it stacks).  Second, it will totally disable the improvement you station it on.  The target will know that there's a spy on that planet, but will not know who is doing it.

Now, I imagine some of you who were previously worrying about how powerful those 33% boosts to planet research from a single scientist are, are realizing that it doesn't seem quite so overpowering given that someone might nerf your production down by 20% with a spy or be stealing your tech that you're researching so aggressively, unless you save some spies for defensive uses. 

You can kill a spy by sacrificing one of your own spies to terminate it.

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We're still working on those descriptions...

But that's not where spies stop being scary.  You can also promote them to become infiltrators, saboteurs, assassins, provocateurs and more -- if you have enough resources.    If you're an experienced 4X player, you probably read the above and thought about how screwed you could get if your enemies ganged up on you with spies.  However, if you are powerful enough in terms of resources (which is when your enemies are most likely to gang up), you can do things such as turn a spy into an Assassin and sacrifice them to kill all other enemy spies on a planet.  Similarly, you can use spies to wreck entire planets or get the people to revolt. 

The super powers of spies aren't lightly used because they cost a lot of resources and most of the time, players won't have those resources or they won't have the proper ideology (sorry, no genocide for you benevolent types).  What it does mean, however, is that late game, the gods of the galaxy will truly begin to feel like gods as they begin to smite their enemies.

 

 

Next up

Galactic Civilizations III: Crusade will be released this Spring.  Spring is almost here.  As you are probably gathering, it is a top-to-bottom expansion of Galactic Civilizations.  

Next Week: Commanders!


Comments (Page 2)
on Mar 09, 2017

A question is the information i gain from these posts can i share on other forums.

on Mar 10, 2017

like all, I have seen as I wasn't very happy how GalCiv III was ...

so make it more complex and kill everything, which means MASSES like hundreds of colonized planets, ships, mines, SPACESTATIONS etc. nobody cares about millions of things, but when you have 3-5 pieces , with name, background etc. you care about it, doesn't matter what it is ...

but to keep you busy you need a lot of different things, which connects to each other.

That is what makes a strategy game great "IN MY OPINION" and everyone likes something different.
Away from Grinding to things which matters ...

I see it here AND THAT IS GOOD

so for me it is a buy and hope Gal Civ III will continue that way !
Wish the devs the best and success 

on Mar 10, 2017

I really like this Changes and Think it will be a very interesting development. But I can´t help feeling that; Why didn´t you go all the way and kill off the building on planets? In this new direction it would have been plausible to accept that the Construction on planets are run by the administrators. As the prime leader you decide the focus of the planet rather than where the factories are to be placed.

on Mar 10, 2017

Even better!

Considering Frog´s statement in another thread, the Founders´ beta should be almost ready, right?

Do not bait us anymore, guys

on Mar 10, 2017

Over all im excited about all the changes and think it will make for a much better experience overall! I do have some thoughts of discussion tho, most of which im sure have already been considered but I thought I would throw them out there.


But what if I told you that there's now a bunch of early game Galactic Wonders (that can only be built by one civilization)?

When reading this the Firaxis Civ games come to mind. One of the problems with those games is that higher difficulty Ai get bonus to everything. This means that the AI will pretty much always get to build the earlier wonders first and most players know this so avoid even aiming for them. Saying this I do remember hearing Brad say Gal Civ 3 AI dont get bones any more as the AI has been made good enough as to not need it. Unless im mistaken about this, that would mean we all have an equal chance to get the wonders which would curb that issue which is great. Side note however, the production into the building if we are building it but another civ gets it first, I assume we get all the production back and it goes towards the next item in the queue?

Another point that comes to mind when hearing about limited Galactic Wonders. If you have a high number of races on the map, each additional race significantly reduces the chance you will be able to get the wonder before them. Meaning its a higher risk that you might waist the citizen by missing out on the wonder. Well not necessary wasted as you sill get the 33% bonus, but I am curious how map size and number of races in a game will effect peoples strategies. Its always sad to me when playing Civ 5 that I know I will never be able to get that coveted Great Library lol

Putting my trained Worker on Earth yields a 33% bonus.

This sounds like it could be huge on a capital planet or with a synthetic race as it would allow you to not only fill out your planet faster even without a wonder, but in the short term you could pump out more ships or move the citizen to other colonies as you finish building out a planet.


By the way, Basic Factories now only provide a 5% manufacturing bonus by default instead of 15%. This change scales through the whole game (the costs and production have all been redone).

This explains why Paul said the race trait percentages wont be changing, I was curious about that. The race traits can be upto a 25% bonus, these look way more appealing now that they are equal to 5 basic buildings as opposed to now where its equal to one building. Sure it might not help in the end game but that early game and new colonies boost could be huge! This would also make taking the negative percent traits a significant larger hit.

In regards to the this change however, I'm wondering if the Colonizers ability and maybe some other race abilities have been changed to be balanced with this to? Colonizers gives the 'First improvement on all new colonies for free.'. A 5% boost from a free factory doesn't seem as nice as something else now. Then again everything else has been balanced so maybe it is.  My initial thought on a change might be to perhaps have it give you a free administrator citizen or bonus 2 administrator points at the start of the game. This would meld well with the new changes and design. Another random thought is that it might be interesting to have a new ability make all wonders (or early game wonders) cost 20% less manufacturing. Kinda like the Civ Egypt equivalent of Gal Civ 3 lol
 


 My last thought is in regards to the second image. The second image has 'recruit Citizen' at 250 turns. With the 4.8 Manufacturing in the list that would be~ 1200 production. Does that mean that later on you could make a dedicated production planet turn out citizens over and over, obviously dependent on max production, or is there a cap on the amount of times you can do this?
 
 
 
Just have to say thanks for all the hard work you all are doing to make Gal Civ 3 a better experience for all and I look forward to trying out the changes!

on Mar 10, 2017

AI still get bonuses with 2.0, the same as they did before minus the bonus to planet economy (which is what Brad mentioned they no longer needed).

on Mar 10, 2017

Horemvore

AI still get bonuses with 2.0, the same as they did before minus the bonus to planet economy (which is what Brad mentioned they no longer needed).

 

Oh right, I wrongly took that as they didnt need any bonuses at all. If that is the case then that means generally speaking the higher the difficulty and the more races you have in a game. The chance to get a early wonder before the AI, as with Civ 5/6, is near nil. Whether or not that is true or is a problem is yet to be seen. We will have to wait to get our hands on the op-in

on Mar 10, 2017

Wasn't there an announcement of a Resources Dev Diary after no. 4?

Apart from that: if you have around 25 citizens all together in an average game and given the fact that you won't train everybody as Spy, isn't sacrificing a spy a very, very large investment that would only be a last resort in dire times?

on Mar 10, 2017

DevildogFF

I'm so thrilled for the fans to get their hands on this soon. It revolutionizes GC3 and is easily the best expansion Stardock has ever done!

I'm happy to relay what information I can about gameplay, if anyone has questions!

 

Hey Devildogff, it's encouraging to read your comments. Most of what you've posted about GalCiv3 the last couple of years has matched up more or less with my own feelings about it, so this ought to bode well. How long do you think it might be until you can share an LP? Really looking forward to that.

 

In the meantime, it would be great if you could talk about whatever it is you are most impressed with to the extent you are allowed. I am also curious whether you like Crusade any better than the updated nuMoO, since, if I recall correctly, you warmed towards that one a lot after not being too thrilled with it at first. Do you picture Crusade competing seriously for your time spent with other games?

on Mar 10, 2017

Hm what a copy cat of Stellaris and Dawn Of Andromeda , both I not like much due to a stupid leader thing like what they offering here , oh yea I forgot he also very similar to endless space and endless space 2  hero system. So this is really nothing new or different very sad , administrators  should be for starbases only as it makes sense, not colonies or colony ships what a load nonsense. if I was iceberg I be suing them for copyright

on Mar 10, 2017

delwyn1

Hm what a copy cat of Stellaris and Dawn Of Andromeda , both I not like much due to a stupid leader thing like what they offering here , oh yea I forgot he also very similar to endless space and endless space 2  hero system. So this is really nothing new or different very sad , administrators  should be for starbases only as it makes sense, not colonies or colony ships what a load nonsense. if I was iceberg I be suing them for copyright

Why don't you wait until you can actually see and play it before you start to put it down. It might actually pan out a little differently than you are assuming.

on Mar 10, 2017

00zim00

Its always sad to me when playing Civ 5 that I know I will never be able to get that coveted Great Library lol

Sure there will be an xml-File where you can set it from  <IsGalacticWonder>true</IsGalacticWonder> to  <IsPlayerWonder>true</IsPlayerWonder> or something like this

 

But it would be nice if there is a map option where you can choose: Spy's = off

on Mar 10, 2017

Avatar137


Quoting delwyn1,

Hm what a copy cat of Stellaris and Dawn Of Andromeda , both I not like much due to a stupid leader thing like what they offering here , oh yea I forgot he also very similar to endless space and endless space 2  hero system. So this is really nothing new or different very sad , administrators  should be for starbases only as it makes sense, not colonies or colony ships what a load nonsense. if I was iceberg I be suing them for copyright



Why don't you wait until you can actually see and play it before you start to put it down. It might actually pan out a little differently than you are assuming.

 

The espionage system sounds like its taken right from circa 2000 Imperium Galactica 2... which was a GREAT game. Are there any new game mechanics really? The promising part of Crusade is how Stardock will implement spies into GC3. Seems like this DLC will change the whole game (in a good way).

 

on Mar 11, 2017

laws2150

Seems like this DLC will change the whole game

 

Exactly this i don't like - reagradles what the change is - regardless of the game.

 

Now i'am sure i will hate the espionage but i would like the faction designer - hope the espionage system could be modded out of the game!?!

on Mar 11, 2017

As with a good number of things, theoretical appliance* and practical experience, is not quite the same. If not for being intercepted by the waiting game, this must be tested out! For science of course!  

 

*Application. It was the eh... bad machine day, when I wrote that. Possibly.

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