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

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What kind of people are you?

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I think the biggest reason the Galactic Civilizations series has been so popular over the years has been because each game is your own epic story.

In fact, the biggest request we get is to make the galaxy feel move alive.  With this Spring's mega expansion to Galactic Civilizations III, we hope to do just that.

With Galactic Civilizations III: Crusade, we've been able to use the new, 64-bit, multicore game engine to create a much more lively universe as the engine allows us to deal with a lot more entities than what was possible in, say, Galactic Civilizations II.

Today, let's talk about what kind of civilization you might want to create.

Crusade Economics: A Primer

Galactic Civilizations has been with me my entire adult life.  Since 1992, I've been making this game (GalCiv OS/2, GalCiv I, GalCiv II).  I took a break to design Ashes of the Singularity and now I'm back for the Crusade with a re-imagined look at how the economy works.

In Crusade, everything is very, very tight. That is, every resource matters.  The numbers across the board are much smaller and this has ramifications everywhere.  The result is a massive change to the pacing. It's both faster than the base game (early game) and slower (late game, techs and buildings and cool ships are not a 1-turn affair).  Each choice you make is meant to be meaningful.

Let's start from the beginning of a game:

TURN 1

TURN 1: RESEARCH CHOICES

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A: Research Resource Exploitation, which gives me access to Kimbrey's Refuge (a Galactic Achievement that produces 4 food, the only early game way of producing global food)

OR

B: Research Planetology, which let's me build Brindle's Observatory, a Galactic Wonder that will discover a nearby Earthlike planet. 

OR

Research Interstellar Travel, which speeds up my ships by 1 move per turn

OR

Research Militarization, which will let me build the Strategic Command wonder and award me with a General (super early game invasions)

OR

Xeno Commerce, which lets me start building freighters

OR

Get Universal Translator, which will give me the ability to build the Galactic Intelligence Agency and grant me a spy very early on.

 

TURN 1: PLANET CHOICES

After we pick what technology we want to research, we are brought to the home planet (in this case, Earth) to decide what to build...

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A: Basic Factory to build things faster?

B: Research Lab to get new tech faster?

C: Shipyard to be able to build ships?

Wait, what? Yes. I took away your magic shipyard.  It's gone.  You have to build it. 

The shipyard bugged me a lot.  Here's why:

From 1992 when I started programming Galactic Civilizations for OS/2 all the way to 2008 when I worked on Galactic Civilizations II: Twilight of the Arnor, it was always with the premise that Turn 1 took place the same day Earth launched its first interstellar ship (and later, whatever alien race you're playing as).

Then suddenly, in GalCiv III you have a shipyard, a Colony ship, a Scout, and a Survey ship?  It just felt like we had gotten pretty far away from the idea that we're at the dawn of the galactic age. 

Now, I can hear some of you all the way from here saying, "But the early game will be too slow."  If we did this in the base game, it would be too slow.  But, like I said, numbers and early game is different now.

Crusade is NOT about spamming out colony ships.  The idea here is to have lots of interesting viable strategies.

If the early turns of a game are "boring," the answer is to fix that by making your choices more interesting, not throwing more stuff at you to do.  The base game of GalCiv III would be too slow if you didn't have all that stuff to do.  But Crusade is designed so that each turn matters including the first one and without so much stuff.

...

Now, getting back to our tough choice.   I am going to choose FACTORY because there's a +3 manufacturing bonus tile.  And I will rush buy it.

And for my tech choice, I decide to choose Planetology so I can get Brindle's Observatory.

TURN 1: EXPLORATION CHOICES

The Survey Ship has a name:  the T.A.S. Discovery (for Humans, anyway).   The galaxy has a lot of interesting stuff that gradually respawns.  This means one economic strategy now is to build survey ships and send them out to go collect stuff. 

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A: Send the Discovery out to explore?

B: Send it over to the bottom left to get that cargo container?

 

Yea: I want the cargo container.


 

TURN 2

 

TURN 2: EXPLORATION CHOICES

The cargo container got my research half way done! Awesome!  New choices arrive:

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A:  Send him to get the two goodie huts below?

B: Send him out to explore?

I choose the goodies.

TURN 2: PLANET CHOICES

I rush build a second factory! Madness!

Still no shipyard!

But I still have 764 credits.

Delayed gratification will pay off.


TURN 3: EXPLORATION CHOICES

Awesome.  I found 1 Antimatter module, got 18 more credits, and the Discovery leveled up! And I found a Precursor Relic. Now I command the Discovery to explore.

TURN 3: PLANET CHOICES

Oh, now...

Now I build the Shipyard. And thanks to my delayed gratification, I have a pretty decent economy going.  I might feel differently if those wonderful nearby planets get colonized, though...

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Turn 3: I can now build ships

I also order a Research Lab to be built.

 

TURN 3: SHIPYARD CHOICES

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I design a ship based on a design I downloaded from Steam.  I call it "Serenity"

Now, which ship should I build?

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A: Serenity (my custom survey ship): Survey ships will go out and collect scattered resources

B: Colony ship (so I can get those sweet planets)

C: A Constructor: So I can lay permanent claim to galactic resources

D: A scout to go out and find stuff faster

I actually choose E: A short range colony ship I designed that is stripped down so that I can build it in 6 turns.

 

TURN 3: EVENT CHOICES

On Turn 3, I encounter an alien automated cargo ship that is carrying a shipment of a material called Durantium.  Its engines have failed but it is in the process of self-repairing and will be on its way.  What should we do?

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A: Help fix the cargo vessel and send it on its way [Benevolent] (Costs 100 credits)

B: Do nothing [Pragmatic]

C: Take the Durantium and destroy the ship [Malevolent] (Gain 5 Durantium)

In Crusade, Durantium  matters. A lot.  You can't build larger hulled ships without it and you can't build the higher end factories without it.  On the other hand, if I steal it, who knows how that might come back to bite me later.  And 100 credits is a lot to fix it and it might amount to nothing...

The point being that each turn, there is something meaningful happening and it's all driven by the new economic system.  There is a cost and benefit to everything.

  • Higher end factories require Durantium
  • Higher end research labs require Promethion
  • Lots of the wonders require some sort of exotic resource
  • Advanced Beam weapons require Elerium
  • Advanced Missile weapons require Anti-matter
  • Advanced Kinetic weapons require Thulium

And don't forget that planets have lots of strange and interesting resources that are also required for certain rare galactic achievements and components.

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Planets will tell you what resources are on them. 

And I'm already thinking about my next tech choice because Interstellar Travel will let me build the Eyes of the Universe wonder, but it requires 1 anti-matter resource which, as you may recall, I found!

 

And so it goes...


Soon...

Against the backdrop of thoughtfully deciding how to spend your precious finite resources, comes the new Citizen mechanic. You receive a new citizen every 10 turns (barring civ bonuses and events).  You train them in a particular field with the number of fields to choose from based on what techs you have.

 

Resource Trading

Economics is the driving force of your civilization.  You need stuff to keep your people safe and happy.  How you get that stuff depends on your focus: Guns or Butter.

With all the talk of resources and how important they are, the cynical 4X player might be (should be) thinking "Crusade better have a really good diplomacy system!"  And the answer is, yes. Yes it does.

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The bar in the middle changes to reflect the balance of the trade. As you add/remove resources, it updates.

Trading with other civilizations is now a lot easier.  And massively more fun.

 

Commanders

One alternative to trade is, of course, conquest.

One of the careers you can choose for your citizens is Commander.  When you have Commanders available, you can select any existing fleet in your game and add a Commander to it.

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The Commander in his flag ship with his fleet

I renamed my Citizen to be Commander Xander from Canton, Michigan (for my son).  Now, the Flagship itself is pretty awesome for a number of reasons.

  1. Doubles the speed of a given fleet. 
  2. Increase the fleet's logistics by 25% which means you can have more ships in your fleet. 
  3. Increases the hit points of your fleet by 25%. 

...And the ship itself is pretty decent in combat as well.

As cool as Commanders are, it's the promotions that make them really interesting.

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If you have the right ideology and the right resources, your Commanders can do some awesome stuff.

A few examples of what your Commanders can do if you have the right ideology and the resources:

  1. Convert ship into a transport (you have an opportunity to take a key world, you can convert your Commander to a General if you have the right resources).
  2. Martyr.  Guarantees victory. Destroys enemy fleet.  Citizens are very precious, so this would be a pretty desperate measure, is only available to the Pragmatic Ideology, and has a stiff resource cost.
  3. Overlord.  If you're evil enough, you can spend the resources and convert an enemy fleet.  Your Commander doesn't die but is promoted into an Overlord in the process (so it can only be done once).
  4. Sovereign.  You can transform your Commander into a Sovereign who will convert a target enemy fleet into belonging to the League of Non-aligned worlds. You lose the Commander, but it's a great way to take out a huge enemy fleet at a lower cost.
  5. Privateer.  Your fleet becomes Privateers.  You can go attack other fleets but no one knows who they belong to.  This is really fun if you want to help a third party directly without declaring war.
  6. Admiral.  And of course, you can promote your Commander to Admiral, which upgrades his ship to something sufficiently awesome if you have enough resources.

 

Wrapping up

What is really hard to communicate in a blog like this is just how much more engaged each turn is now.  Starting next week, we're going to be streaming Crusade weekly on our Twitch.TV channel. Please do me a favor and SUBSCRIBE to that channel (they're going to take my thumbs if you don't!).  So you'll be able to see just how much more engaged each turn is.

The increase engagement is not just because of the new features.  It's a top to bottom revisit of the entire game and how the game interacts with you.

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Trading resources is very cool

Below are just some, off the top of my head, examples experienced just in this game:

  • I need to build Pascal's Garden.  This Wonder will double the planet Tristan II's influence production.  However, it requires 2 Arnorian Spice and a 1 Techapod Hive.   My friends the Altarians have the Spice and the Drengin have the Techpod hive.  The new trade system makes it easy to bargain with them to get this.
  • The Drengin come to me and want some of my Anti-matter.  I don't dare give them any because I know they have specialized on Missile weapons and the really powerful ones all use anti-matter.
  • The Yor want some Xanthium metal.  That makes me think they're probably going to be building a wonder.
  • The Drengin rely on Precursor Nanites which will allow them to promote their Engineers into Master Engineers (which will really super charge their ship building).  So I put a spy on their Precursor Nanite mine, shutting it down until they remove it. 
  • The Krynn military is getting pretty scary.  I am sending a second diplomat to them which will increase my relations.
  • All the new balancing in the game makes the numbers fit nicely together. Gone are the 100+ manufacturing per turn.  All the numbers have been rebalanced to make decisions more meaningful.  It's hard to put into words.
  • The battles look a lot cooler.
  • Everything you own (even asteroid mines) gives off a bit of influence.
  • Ideology matters a lot more.  What you can and can't do with your citizens is based on your ideological choices.
  • There are a lot more events in the game that have interesting, meaningful results (I'll be doing a blog on this soon).
  • The updated tech trees matter a lot more.  Each tech gives you something that matters. This also means we took out a lot of redundant planetary improvements.
  • The old ongoing projects thing is gone.  Instead, you can build projects that give you something specific after so many turns.
  • My breadbasket world is getting blight.  I will need to train a Farmer (which I really should have already), send them to that planet and promote him to be an Agronomist which will eliminate the blight on that planet.  Alternatively, I can click on the Blighted tiles and use Helius Ore to kill it...except I don't have any, only the Slynn have it and I'm at war with them.  But I'm currently -2 in food production which means my people are starting to starve and starving people will generate Rebels on my planet.
  • The Drengin vs. Torian war is going poorly for the Torians even though I have two Privateers nipping at Drengin freighters.
  • I built all my Wonders on Earth which let me win those wonders. But the maintenance is killing me.  I hate to do this but I'm going to promote my Administrator into a Tax collector which will increase my planet's income by 25% but will consume 2 goods and services (lowers my approval rating).

And you notice, I haven't even really gotten into Invasions yet...

NEXT WEEK: INVASIONS!

 

Screenshots:

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Every tile you own matters.  The entire influence/ZOC system has been redone.

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Strategic Zoom has been redone so that everything is cleaner. And since influence isn't just a big blob now, you have a lot more control over what is and isn't in your sphere of influence.

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Spies can tell me who they plan to attack, what their internal political issues are and of course, can steal tech, sabotage things, etc.

 

 


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Comments (Page 4)
on Mar 19, 2017

Frogboy


Quoting Ascaloth,




If each civ starts out with only one ship, that's indeed a significant nerf to the colony rush tactic. But assuming the Ideology system in Crusades is the same as in vanilla, and I want to try a colony rush anyway, I can still;

a. Starting Survey Ship -> Upgrade to Constructor -> Build Shipyard

Or

b. Starting Survey Ship -> Upgrade to Colony Ship -> Colonize distant planet for Ideology points -> Pragmatic Ideology -> 3 free Constructors -> Use 1 Constructor to Build Shipyard -> Upgrade remaining 2 Constructors to Colony Ships

 

Is that right so far?



 

Yep.

 

That wouldn't be possible in base game, as survey ships are medium hull ships and constructors are cargo hulls and you don't have access to medium hulls on turn 1.

Are the new survey ships based on cargo hulls in crusade?

 

on Mar 19, 2017

shayvaan


That wouldn't be possible in base game, as survey ships are medium hull ships and constructors are cargo hulls and you don't have access to medium hulls on turn 1.

Are the new survey ships based on cargo hulls in crusade?

 

New Survey Ships can be built using the tiny hull or cargo.

on Mar 19, 2017

And you notice, I haven't even really gotten into Invasions yet...

 

NEXT WEEK: INVASIONS!

Did anybody else read this as, "You'll have to wait at least another week for this to come out," lol?

 

I have stopped playing the base game because I'm too excited for Crusade.

on Mar 19, 2017

shayvaan


That wouldn't be possible in base game, as survey ships are medium hull ships and constructors are cargo hulls and you don't have access to medium hulls on turn 1.

Are the new survey ships based on cargo hulls in crusade?

 

Hmmm. Yes, that's a bit of a crimp in my plans. This means that certain civs which have a Cargo hull as a starter ship will have an advantage there...

Going to have to test this out when I get back, but do you know if it's possible to design a Medium hull ship that can hold a Colony/Constructor module on the first turn? That may give the starting Survey ship something to upgrade towards in subsequent games.

Frogboy

New Survey Ships can be built using the tiny hull or cargo.

Oh. Does that mean Survey Ships are now Cargo instead of Medium in Crusade?

on Mar 20, 2017

Frogboy

New Survey Ships can be built using the tiny hull or cargo.

The screenshot posted on your Crusade Preview Stream thread clearly shows a medium hulled survey ship.

Is this not a screenshot of Crusade?

BTW, none of my questions on this or on the Crusade Dev Diary 5 thread were answered.  Not implying that I'm obliged answers, just saying they weren't answered.

Reply#14 this post and replies #s 13 and 15 the other post.

on Mar 27, 2017

we will see but I have noticed a big issue with one of their planned minor civs here amoebas , I'm sure the endless space owners will  be unhappy with copyright as I'm sure they got all races of their game covered and amoeba , are major race in endless space and in endless space 2 a minor race.


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UESophonsHisshoAmoebaCraversHoratio

SowersPilgrimsSheredyn LeaderAutomatons LeaderHarmony Faction IconVaulter Faction Icon

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Overview Edit

Endless Space featured 8 playable factions at launch, and currently features 12 unique playable factions. Each has their own history and unique traits and bonuses.

 

FactionHome Planet TypeDiplomatic AlignmentGameplayMain Victory Type
Amoeba Ocean Good Exploration, Diplomacy Diplomatic/Military
Automatons Jungle Good Peaceful, Isolationist Economic/Diplomatic
Cravers Arid Evil Consume Worlds Military
Harmony Tundra Neutral Exploration and Isolationist Wonder/Population
Hissho Jungle Evil Conquest & Glory Military/Population
Horatio Arid Neutral Expand Population/Wonder
Pilgrims Jungle Good Diplomacy Diplomatic/Military
Sheredyn Terran Evil Colonialist Economic/Military
Sophons Terran Good Amazing Scientists Scientific
Sowers Tundra Neutral Construction Wonder/Military
United Empire Terran Evil Colonialist Economic/Military
Vaulters Terran Neutral Defense & Science Scientific

 

 

The Amoeba

The Amoeba are one of the sixteen minor civilizations available in Endless Space 2. They were present in Endless Space as a major civilization and are playable in the Early Access version of the game. all rights are reserved what that means

on Mar 27, 2017

I don't think Amoeba is a copyrightable word.  I don't think that "Harmony", or "Pilgrims" could be considered non-generic enough either, for example. I have troubles imagining anyone making the claim successfully in a copyright court.  I am surprised you didn't point out the overlap of "United Empire" and "United Earth.

I can't see it being an issue, let alone a "big" issue.  I am sure that people have filed legal action for less, but I don't think they win very much at all.

on Mar 27, 2017

Amoeba is a very generic word.  It is a single cell life form right here on our very own world; there are billions of them all around us.  It is a common science/biology term.  There really isn't any way anybody could win any kind of copyright infringement lawsuit over using the word in a game.  Especially since the Endless Space guys are not the first people to use it...

Endless Space 2 is looking to be a pretty fun game so far though.  But they aren't going to get any additional funding from a lawsuit over "Amoeba".

 

on Mar 27, 2017

I also disagree with the original post an amoeba does already exist. Thats like saying that only marvel can use thor. Which pre existed long beforenthe super heroe thor. 

on Mar 28, 2017

I had this reply from

 Amplitude Studios

Senior Community Developer

 

Hello Delwyn,

 

Our games are indeed trademarked and copyright protected. The Amoeba faction could be some sort of homage or wink to our games

 

so it depends how they intend to use amoeba minor faction here

on Mar 28, 2017

Delwyn, 

 

So if Stardock used the same Art as Amplitude then I could see a potential issue. In this case if its just a minor race that is named the same as in another game but uses different art and 'descriptions' I don't think its such an issue. Do we have any copyright lawyers hanging out here on the forums?

on Mar 28, 2017

I am not sure how the act of notifying one company of a possible legal conflict with another can be interpreted as a helpful action as opposed to stirring up trouble.  At the very least, if you were that concerned, a polite letter to Stardock and its lawyers would be in order, allowing them to start any legal discussion on their own terms.  I know if I were a corporate lawyer type, I would very politely ask you not to intentionally or unintentionally represent my client in the future.  

It sounds like Amplitude has a reasonable attitude, so I think Stardock can breathe easy as long as one celled creatures cannot get together for a class action suit.  If that happens then Stardock is in serious danger, regardless of how many lawyers they have on retainer.  

on Mar 28, 2017

Why are even having this discussion? The new amoeba civilization is called Slyne. 

"Meet the members of the Terran Resistance, lurk deep within the bowels of the living rock of asteroids as the new Onyx Hive faction, or look down on other primitive races as the cybernetic space amoebas, the Slyne."

on Mar 28, 2017

Because trolls have to be trolls?

 

Seriously, pretty much all ideas have been used at one time or another.  It is the differences that make a difference.

After all Amplitude isn't the first to use space amoebas either, Star Trek used the concept at least twice (with two different monsters) way back in the 1960s.

I doubt they were the first to use the concept either.

on Mar 29, 2017

@islanddog , trying to report the above spam but getting this error :/

Can del this post to if you like once the above is gone. just thought I would let you know.

 

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