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

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In our previous entries, we've discussed specific major new features of Crusade.  For this entry, we're going to go through a guided tour of what's new in Crusade over GalCiv III in terms of features and gameplay.  Strap in!

[[..]]

Let me preface that this is long and probably a bit full of typos.  I wanted to get this out to you as soon as possible. It's long, but I hope you like it! -brad

 

Prior to the age of digital distribution, Crusade would be a sequel.  It's that big.  There is a bigger difference between Crusade and GalCiv III than there was between GalCiv III and GalCiv II.  

Crusade is an expansion that will be released as a DLC for Galactic Civilizations III (www.galciv3.com), which means you do have to have GalCiv III already, but Crusade itself will only be $19.99.

Because of the immensity of the changes, I'm going to do this in two parts and mostly as screenshots.  I will leave it to other, smarter people to determine which of these features matter the most.  In the comments area, please feel free to comment on which things you care about the most.


The Civilization Builder


Immediately at launch, you know something is up.  There are two conspicuous new entries:

  • The Ship Designer
  • The Civilization Builder

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The Ship Designer and the Civilization Builder

We already had a dedicated article (DIARY 2: Civilization Builder) on this, but it has continued to get better and better since then.

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Via Steam Workshop, nearly every ship design ever made is available, including this fan made version of the iconic Omega Destroyer from Babylon 5.

 

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Players can customize what the citizens of their civilization look like.

Because players design their own ships and can share them online so easily, I feel I must emphasize: Stardock does not include popular sci-fi style ship designs with the game.  We simply provide a tool that lets people create any type of ship or civilization they want by giving them lots of ship parts.  There is no pre-made Tie-fighter part or Star Fury part or what have you.  People have made robots, snakes, Giant Rick, and of course, many excellent versions of favorite sci-fi starships.

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At any time, I can click a button and subscribe to one of the over 10,000 fan made designs that have already been submitted.

My screenshots tend to feature Babylon 5 fan art because I was a Babylon 5 fan going all the way back to Usenet. If you don't know what Babylon 5 is, you should check it out.

I also highly recommend you check out this site, as it has been a major source of inspiration for me over the years.

Anyway, the Civilization Builder does what it sounds like, right down to even controlling what the aliens say to each other.


 

Ship Designer


 

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Animated, organic ships are possible too.

 

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On the left you can see all the pieces. The red dots indicate where you can connect parts to.


New and Updated Races


We include two new alien civilizations, as well as the Terran Resistance.  We'll talk more about the TR later and go into some detail later about the new civilizations.

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Updated Races

These are just examples, but we've changed a ton about each of the existing civilizations to make them play much more differently than before. Playing against them now is much more unique.

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The Thalan are Time Travelers, which gives them access to special techs

 

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The Krynn are now "devout"

 

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Because the civilizations are substantially different based on traits, we make sure to give more detail about them when choosing opponents

 

Races no longer get a "tech tree".  Instead, tech trees are procedurally generated based on the traits of your civilization.  Modders should love this, since now they can just submit a bunch of new techs that have race trait requirements and they'll "just show up".

 


The new Economy


The new UI has a lot more relevant information and is much more intuitive. Because of the overall re-balancing and pacing changes, the early game keeps you busy with lots of interesting choices.

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You no longer start with a shipyard. That is one of the early choices your civilization will need to make.

Crusade's new economy means that each decision matters. A lot.

Most of you are familiar with Earth, so we'll use Earth on turn 1 as our example.

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Also, because population grows slowly, be careful about just cranking out colony ships.

 

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Everything starts with raw production, which is the square root of your population + any bonuses (such as happy people) or penalties (unhappy people).

Your construction, research, and money come directly from that number X any specific bonuses attached to them.

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Since Earth has a lot of people at this point (10 population units), you get 3.33 base production, plus a little something extra because people are happy.

Then you have to decide what you want to build first.

  1. Shipyard: Always tempting and about half the time it's my first choice, depending on what I start out with. 
  2. Computer Core: You only get 1 of these.  It provides 2 research points plus 1 for every level it goes up.  So your home planet may not be where you want to use this.
  3. Space Elevator: You can (and should) build one on each planet. Why? Because it's a goddam space elevator. It also adds +2 to general construction on the planet and gets another for every level it goes up.
  4. Central Bank: There can only be one of these, but it's +2 to the planet's income and it goes up +1 for every level.

So which of these should you build first?  The answer: it depends.  On this example, I'm going to build the compute core because it gives me +2 levels to research. It will make that computer core do +4 total, which is more than doubling my research on the first turn.

Also in this example is the Prometheus Stone Extractor, which would increase my wealth by 1 and give me Promethion (a resource used for higher end research stuff), but it's not not compelling in this case.  Aid Research is a Project I can do that will give me 25 research points, which is nice, but not something I want to do right now when I can build that computer core.

 

 

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Rather than having to mess around with sliders, players specialize citizens to be leaders who can be moved into any area of the player's economy to give it a boost.

 

 

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The new research screen provides a straight-forward view of what technologies you can access and why you would want them. Each tech is designed to provide a very tangible benefit.

 

 

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Because resources are so crucial, planets will now disclose what they have on them before you colonize.

 

 


Galactic Citizens


By far the biggest new addition to Crusade is the concept of Citizens.

Rather than using sliders and dials to manage your economy, you instead specialize your citizens in the area that you want to focus on.  Every 10 or so turns, one of your people rises to the top and becomes a galactic citizen. 

Once players have a citizen, they can choose a specialization for him or her.  These specializations depend on many factors including your race, ideology, and more. 

Specializations include:

  • Administrator:  Allows for the construction of more Starbases, Colonies, and Survey Ships.
  • General: Allows for the construction of Transports for planetary invasion.
  • Spy: Allows you to spy on your opponents and sabotage their planets or protect yourself.
  • Scientist: Boosts your research.
  • Commander: Can be assigned to a fleet to boost its speed and offensive power.
  • Leader: These citizens only work for the central government, but can be switched into any area of it.

 

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When a new citizen is available, players can choose an area for them to specialize in.

Citizens can work for your central government, where they provide a civilization-wide bonus in some areas -  OR, they can be sent to a specific planet to provide a massive boost for that planet in a particular area.

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Citizens, when assigned to planets, must travel to the planet in question. The further away, the longer it till take him or her to get there.

Players with large empires will tend to want to keep their citizens in their central government.

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Over time, the priorities of a civilization become clear based on where they put their citizens.

Early game, most players will settle citizens on key worlds.  On larger maps, players will often gravitate to specializing in leaders (see the gold leader icons above) so that they can quickly adjust their global economy.

 


Espionage


What are your opponents up to?  Use Spies to find out what they're up to and eventually steal their technology.  Alternatively, use spies to sabotage key planets. 

 

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Spies can tell you a lot about a given civilization, including who their primary enemy is, key stats on their planets, and much more. Once you know everything there is to know, your spies can start stealing tech.

 

 

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Putting a Spy on a given planet dramatically reduces that planet's overall productivity. The tile you place the spy on is completely disabled as well.  A single spy on a key world can knock that player's economy for a loop until they use one of their own spies to kill them.

 

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Spies can do some pretty awful things to a player if they are left on the planet long enough.

 

 

 


New Starbase System


Players construct modules on the starbase itself rather than sending additional constructors.  Different modules cost different amounts of various resources, requiring players to trade for them (most common reason for AI trading).

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No more constructor spam. Starbase modules simply have a resource cost. If you have it, it's yours.

 

 

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The Starbase market requires a Techapod hive.  Those are rare and only found on certain planets.  You will have to find someone who has it and trade with them (or conquer them).

 


New Diplomacy System


Diplomacy in strategy games is always a challenge.  You want it to be powerful, but you also don't want it too easy to exploit the players.  Because Crusade's general focus is now about obtaining resources, we had to rewrite the diplomacy system in order to make it intelligent and fun to trade with, as there is a lot more trading.

 

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This had to basically be rewritten in order to properly handle the new resource system.  This, in turn, required us to create a simple but effective bar that shows up above your trade to tell you how close to being equal the trade values are.

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Thus here, I'm being too generous. So I can go ask for more money.

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Now it's fair.  But the AI calculates the value of every tech and compares it with its treasury.

For example:

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The Drengin value Space Labs for $1230.

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The Altarians value them at $1600.

Why the difference? Lots of reasons including that the Altarians are more concerned about research techs, and have more money, and like you more, and so on.

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The sneaky Onyx only value it at 700.  Do they know something you don't?

Similarly, if you're really smart, you can use the system to figure out what strategies they use based on what they value different resources at. 

Generally speaking, the trades are a lot more sophisticated because the AI has a self bartering system to prevent it from wasting the player's time (or other AI's times).  It doesn't come to you until it has put together a reasonably good trade. 

 

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This is a trade deal the AI put together to present to the player.

 


A new vision for the third act of 4X


The late game in PC strategy games is notoriously grindy.  This was a challenge we wanted Crusade to address.

Let's take a closer look at how the very term "4X" advertises the seeds of its own demise:

  1. Explore.  This is fun! Hooray!
  2. Expand.  Still pretty fun.
  3. Exploit. Can be fun if done right.
  4. Exterminate. Oye. I either know I'm going to win or I know I'm going to lose.

So how do we mix this up and move things along?

We do this in a number of ways, some of which are obvious...in hindsight.

 

Reusable Transports

For example, in every Galactic Civilization game you invaded planets with a transport ship full of soldiers.  When the invasion was completed, the transport was consumed.  But why?  In Crusade, the transport isn't consumed.  One of the most tedious parts of a 4X game is the effort in conquering planets, cities, etc.  But it shouldn't be tedious.  If they're militarily finished, then taking their planets should be quick and easy.

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Being a native 64-bit game, GalCiv III: Crusade has map sizes that are insanely big. This makes it imperative that the late game be worth finishing.

 

Citizen Promotions

By late game, players will have quite a few citizens.  If the player has the right resources (which means, late game) they can promote their citizens to become incredibly powerful.  These promotions are typically a one-time act which results in the citizen retiring. But in return, you can help finish someone off or buy yourself a last desperate chance to turn things around.

A few examples:

  1. The Privateer:  Trying to win an alliance victory but not powerful enough to take out the one hold-out? Promote your Commanders to Privateers, which will convert your most powerful ship into a Pirate that you can control to help your more powerful friends take out the hold-out.
  2. The Epiphany:  You can sacrifice your scientists to instantly research late game techs.  Going for a tech victory, but the Drengin are slowly destroying you (or alternatively, you won't want to have to grind through another 50 turns to get there)? 
  3. Crunch Time: Sacrifice an engineer to instantly finish a ship at your home planet or at at whatever planet the engineer is stationed on.  Your mega ship designs can become become a reality.
  4. Influence Burst: Sacrifice your Celebrities to get a huge influence burst on your home planet or whatever planet they are stationed on.

Each of your citizen types has at least one promotion. Early and even midgame, you won't have the resources to use them, but late game is a different story.

 

 

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Some of the Promotions we are testing now...

 

 

Alliance System Upgrade

The base game has alliances, but they didn't tend to have the teeth that some players wanted them to.  In Crusade, Alliance treaties are enforced, resulting in those who don't obey them being roundly hated by everyone. 

Civilizations will actively band together to deal with evil (from their point of view) and to try to swiftly wipe it out late game. 

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Late game, you and your allies may face off against opposing alliances in epic galactic wars

 

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Get that tech immediately.

 

 


Missions


There's never a reason not to be building something from your shipyards.  There's no concept of wastage so you might as well just build something at all times.  Worried about micro-management?  Queue up a bunch of missions:

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Your shipyard can now be used by the "private sector" to send out various types of missions that can benefit your civilization. This eliminates the need for a "governor" or an "auto build" system, which drastically reduces late game micro management.

You can send out missions from your shipyard. These are private sector efforts so you, as the "government," don't have to do anything other than grant them permission to use your shipyard.

What techs, ideologies, etc. you have determine what missions are available. 

The Research mission goes off and gets some tech for you.   Bear in mind, these aren't a matter of just building it and getting free stuff.  The missions actually do go out somewhere and only when they get to wherever they're doing do you get the reward.

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There he goes!


Invasions


Planetary Invasions tend to be an all or nothing affair.  In Crusade, we try to make sure that most of the time, once a planet's space force is eliminated, taking the planet is pain free.

However, players can station garrisons on their planets.  Here's how it works:

Unlike in the base game where your population is simply conscripted to board an invasion transport or die against invaders, players instead use legions, which are produced through a number of different means:

  1. Specialize a citizen as a General and you receive 5 legions.
  2. Build a Military Academy and you can train a legion on a given planet.

Legions are a global resource by default.  When an Invasion transport is produced, players can load up the transport with legions from their global pool, send them to an undefended planet, and quickly conquer it.

However, players can also choose to assign a general to a key planet.  Alternatively, they can choose to station a Garrison.

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Players can transfer one of their legions from their global pool onto a specific planet so that incoming invaders will have to get through them first.

If the planet has soldiers on it, your civilian population will rise up to help them defend your planet.  That is where the resistance value comes into play.

When a player invades a planet that has garrisons on it, they are presented with a screen like this:

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The defender's single legion

When a planet is contested, things get interesting.  After choosing their invasion tactic the invader then is presented with a map of the planet's surface:

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Invaders place their invading legions based on what their objective is.

To conquer a planet, the player must conquer the cities.  This puts an interesting dilemma on both the attacker and the defender because any non-city tile that the invader goes through is destroyed.

Thus, an invader with only a single well placed legion may not be able to conquer a planet with 5 garrison legions that are all placed in city centers but it could wipe out most of the planet's infrastructure.

Thus, each player has to carefully consider where they place those legions for battle. 

 


 A living galaxy


Crusade is technically an expansion pack.  Actually, technically, it's DLC.  But we believe most people will find Crusade a whole new game.  A lot of the changes are small, but have a big impact.

A few examples:

  1. New Multicore pathfinding.  We'll be doing video demos of this, but the late game performance of Crusade is unlike anything that has ever been seen before in turn-based strategy.  That's because Crusade uses all of your CPU cores which means even late game, with dozens of civilizations on massive maps,  turns will be reasonably short (it's not magic, however. If you're playing on a 2-core laptop, we can't do much about that).
  2. Planet Projects.  Similar to the missions you can use on your transports, you can queue up projects such as Aid Economy, Aid Research, etc. that will keep your planet busy while also contributing to your overall empire.  This matters because you don't end up having to micro dozens of planets on a large map if you don't want to, but also don't end up forgetting about them due to assigning them to a governor or having it on a continual project (we've eliminated continual projects).  You can still use governors if you want, but they are not nearly as necessary.
  3. Tight balance. Whether you're playing Crusade single player or multiplayer, tight balance means that each decision you make has tangible consequences.
  4. Personality. Each civilization has its own dialog and we've given players the tools to easily add and share their own civilizations with their own dialog.
  5. Usability. No one throws a parade for UI designers. But UI design is crucial to the enjoyment of games like this.  When the choice has been between making a UI "clever" or functional, we've chosen functional.

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200 turns into the game. The numbers reflect the priorities of the player.

It's little things such as having early planetary improvements act as hubs that get more powerful based on what improvements are constructed adjacent to it. It's making sure all the numbers in the game are the result player choices that don't blow up the balance.

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Your people will tell you what they think (see the word of the street quote)

 

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Your planets at your finger tips.

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The research screen has been re-designed to maximize usability.

Next up

Next up, we'll get into part 2 of what is in Crusade and why we hope you'll find it to be the ultimate space 4X strategy game. Stay tuned!

 

Previous Entries:


Comments (Page 1)
on Apr 17, 2017

So what you're saying is this epic expansion won't be released in early spring.

on Apr 18, 2017

My most anticipated feature is definitely the Civ Builder.  So much more customization possible even before we have to start digging into the XML's.

 

Saying that, I do hope that all of our creations will be able to have customize-able music as well.

 

Also, it would be nice to be able to choose civilizations that would be permanent rivals throughout a game. In Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, for example, you had the Morganites (the resource consumers) at odds with the Gaians (the resource protectors); the University (atheistic humanist researchers) against the Believers (religious fanatics); and so on.  I know we do that now mainly through ideological choices but this would give us that much more customization power.

 

Either way, this will easily be a first day purchase for me.

on Apr 18, 2017

These are great improvements. I really look forward to it.

But isnt it early spring yet?

on Apr 18, 2017

 I cannot pick any one feature that does it for me -- as whole piece of design, Crusade is taking GalCiv 3 to the next level in a way that I was not expecting. The sheer number of changes and new features is quite staggering, really. I suppose, when I get down to it, the entire redesign of the economy and balance is what I am really looking forward. The game as it currently stands turns into a player fueled snow ball, and decisions gradually have less and less consequence and therefore strategy becomes increasingly a one track affair. That isn't a problem exclusive to GalCiv 3. Lots of 4x games also appear to have the issue where they become 'upgrade treadmills' as well, rather than about managing strategic choices that have any kind of weight to them. 

 

Having citizens as your primary lever also just makes so much more sense given that labor is at the heart of an economy.

 

I'm also a big fan of the UI redesign and the mechanics which reduce the amount of clicking, nursing, and pointless busy work and I'm very happy to hear about the Alliance upgrade, diplo and general AI improvement. 

 

Suffice to say, I am really looking forward to this expansion and well done for making such a powerful and easy to use civ designer/ship designer!

 

A question and a point of note:

 

1. Can players upload a ship design from a local HD into the civ builder? So far, I think only its steam integration has been shown -- which is itself, a great addition.

2. I really would like to see you guys work on your marketing a bit more. I share these dev diaries on eXplorminate and anyone else interested in reading, but sometimes I wonder how well word is getting around and it would be a shame if this expansion doesn't get the sales because no one knew about it. Of course, I don't have the internal view on this topic so my perspective is quite limited, and perhaps you already have a good handle on your targeted market segment. However, it's a really competitive market out there right now.

 

Still, all the hard work is really appreciated!

 

 

on Apr 18, 2017

This is looking really great. So many great improvements, it's gonna feel like a complete new game. But when? When will we get a release date more specific than (early) spring?

on Apr 18, 2017

Races no longer get a "tech tree".   Instead, tech trees are procedurally generated based on the traits of your civilization.  Modders should love this as they could just submit a bunch of new techs that have race trait requirements and they'll "just show up".

 

It's been looking good Brad.  Above is a pretty interesting and substantial change that I haven't really seen mentioned before.  It's actually something that I know I've brought up before in the distant past and glad to see that it's going in..

I'll also echo the prior comments of the 'entire package' being a lot more compelling than any one particular feature addition, I've been pretty middling with playing the base game, but Crusade is definitely something I'm looking forward to plugging around with. 

With the "Civilization Builder" feature, I would also love for there to be a "generate random" option, and fill a map with randomly generated opponents - maybe a tweak for a later day.  (this would be awesome to do with soak by the way, just start a huge universe then see what combinations have the highest probabilities of success in a Darwinian experiment..)

 

Also... You'd asked on input into the new invasion system.  I think I'd have to play with it to see what I actually think in practice.  I'd actually started writing up a large post about it after one of the past dev streams, but never ended up posting it.  In short, conquest isn't an 'event' so much as it's a 'process', and so whether being able to planet-hop with a transport conquering planets along the way (like the Mongols) should lead to 100% and permanent conquest could maybe be something that could be looked at if player feedback ends up echoing what seemed to be your own hesitation in thinking that your conquest balance was exactly where you want it to be. 

It's been a while now, but I was thinking a lot about John Hall's "Powers and Liberties: Causes and Consequences of the Rise of the West" when I was thinking about the issue https://www.amazon.com/Powers-Liberties-Causes-Consequences-Rise/dp/0520067525/ , in particular Section 4: "Islam and Pastoralism" - although I'd have to re-read it to say exactly why it came to mind, but it mainly points out that conquest generally doesn't really last.  The conquered places all just end up reverting to what they were prior to conquest (if a little changed) absent some sort of native genocide (the Islamic tribes were one of the only exceptions to this, which Hall goes into), and aside from Hall's work, anyone on the street can confirm that conquered people are just never happy..  Lieberman's "Does Conquest Pay" might also drum up some tweaks to the conquest system if you're looking for ways to make it more fulfilling/gratifying to meet the GC3 vision later on, if you do find the invasion/conquest system not as inspired as you'd like.

cheers, as I said before, it's looking good Brad - hat's off to you and the team..

-tid242

on Apr 18, 2017

Races no longer get a "tech tree".   Instead, tech trees are procedurally generated based on the traits of your civilization.  Modders should love this as they could just submit a bunch of new techs that have race trait requirements and they'll "just show up".

This concerns me a lot as of right now we can vary Factions by tech tree, where it sounds like if I give a faction specific traits (which are similar to another) there is no way to vary their tech tree? Even if we are able to create new techs based on traits, those techs would still be assigned to the other faction because tech trees are built on traits. So there is no way to vary tech trees. 

 

No more constructor spam. Starbase modules simply have a resource cost. If you have it, it's yours.

Does that mean it's instant build or do starbase modules take time to build. So if I build a new starbase - late game and have tons of resources I can immediately build it up to super powerful base? It really sounds like building modules should take time in addition to resources.

 

The Starbase market requires a Techapod hive.  Those are rare and only found on certain planets.  You will have to find someone who has it and trade with them (or conquer them).

So if I only have one techapod  from a planet I can only have one(1) starbase market without trading? Or do planet resources now produce quantity rather than a static 1. And if it is only 1 per one per planet that is severly reduced, because lets say I have 100 planets with maybe like a max of 10 planets with the required resource, and 10 factions, that means each faction can have at most 1 market starbase?????? 

 

Players can transfer one of their legions from their global pool onto a specific planet so that incoming invaders will have to get through them first.

Can you then later re-assign that legion back to the Global pool? I ask this because earlier in the game your "edge" planets where factions attack will be drastically different later in the game, thus if the legion "lived" then it is now wasted. If you can transfer back it should take time or something otherwise people will just be re-assigning their legions every attack/turn.

 

Faction Generation?

- Can you design planets? If not then again factions will be too similar?

- Can you design Star systems? 

- How will the game handle existing factions? I have built over 100 factions on Steam and really don't want to have to redesign them? Also if I switch between the two modes (like GC3) will I have to install/uninstall lots of things?

- Will we be able to design new techs for a faction since tech trees are now based on traits of a faction?

on Apr 18, 2017

Thanks for the "illustrated novella". The mission system sounds intriguing, had not expected that one. Will be interesting to see how these components interact with each other, and how the flow will turn out to be. Very tight initially, it sounds like. Like a space ballet, the Romulans said in some other game, very unrelated to this one. Apart from the space of course. We will always share space. Hehe.

Summer is still far away, so we will no doubt enjoy the freshness of life waking up from the cold winter, for some time yet! 

 

on Apr 18, 2017

Syrkres


The Starbase market requires a Techapod hive.  Those are rare and only found on certain planets.  You will have to find someone who has it and trade with them (or conquer them).


So if I only have one techapod  from a planet I can only have one(1) starbase market without trading? Or do planet resources now produce quantity rather than a static 1. And if it is only 1 per one per planet that is severly reduced, because lets say I have 100 planets with maybe like a max of 10 planets with the required resource, and 10 factions, that means each faction can have at most 1 market starbase?????? 

One of the last screenshots of the planet shows under colony stats that the harmony crystals are 0.25. I'm guessing then the planet will produce a harmony crystal every 4 turns, which is pretty fast. 

 

Really looking forward to this update! Especially the civ builder, but the procedurally generated tech tree sounds awesome!

on Apr 18, 2017

 This explains what the long hours and hard work have been for.

Fantastic work, folks. Looking forward to Beta Release Day, whenever that may be.

 

 

on Apr 18, 2017

 Some thoughts that come to my mind:

- Missions: it looks like you can see and follow the civilian ships. Can they be attacked? What happens then?

- UI usability: what about all those widely requested sort and filter functions in lists? And a lot of other changes (which I can't remember off the top of my head right now) that would enhance user friendlyness?

- In the economic overview screen the numbers (income and spendings) still do not add up.

- All in all Crusade looks good to me and I will certainly buy it. But I'm not sure whether I would see the changes between Crusade and GalCiv III more significant than that between GalCiv II and III.

- I hope for more modding possibilities to better adjust the game to my own tastes.

on Apr 18, 2017

It is the most fun I have had since Gal Civ II. 

on Apr 18, 2017

Larsenex

It is the most fun I have had since Gal Civ II. 

This is good to hear. GalCiv2 was my favorite game, and GalCiv3 has always been fun but not quite the same level. I'm excited to see what it's like to play.

on Apr 18, 2017

This is an amazing expansion. It is more like a new game than an expansion. So much so that it seems that an option to play the old game would be appropriate. I assume that will not be possible without deleting the Crusade expansion.

Hard to say what is the most appealing feature, but the civilization builder appeals to me greatly.

on Apr 19, 2017

I don't think I've ever seen an espionage system in a 4X that I've liked and usually disable them whenever possible.  For me, it just doesn't fit the scope of the game and I can do with out it.  I know some people really like it but to me it's just a distraction.  So we'll see how that goes.

 

I've been a bit lukewarm with GC3 thus far.  I've played it ~200 hours per Steam, which is decent (and objectively getting 200 hours out of any premium game is remarkable), but 200 hours is a small number compared to what I've logged in some other games like GC2 or Civ 5.  I suppose it's a bit much to expect EVERY great 4X to yield 1500+ hours of fun.  Hmm, maybe strategy gamers get spoiled be limitless replay?  GC3 (and DLC/updates thus far) really hasn't grabbed me as firmly as I might have hoped for.

 

But, I've gotta say, Crusades is looking absolutely amazing.  I'm really liking the design direction, changes, and additions described here.  I can't wait to check this out.  On top of so much goodness I also appreciate the effort to reduce/eliminate tedium from some elements and to mix up endgame a bit.  I won't miss starbase constructor spam...at all.

 

Obviously one can't fully judge til one experiences things for themselves but I already want to say "good job" because all of this looks that impressive!   At the beginning when Brad said this was like a whole new game, I was like, yeah, right, whatever, Brad is letting his marketing voice speak up.  However, after reading it all...I'm blown away.  Bring it on!

 

 

 

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