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Galactic Civilizations 3 Enters Alpha, Release “A Year Away”

By on March 28th, 2014 2:23 pm

Galactic Civilizations 3 (Early Access - March 2014) | Turn-based space 4X strategy game by Stardock

So, this means that Stardock expects to release the 3rd installment to its Galactic Civilizations’ space 4X series around March/April 2015. Or somewhere around that. In the meantime, they’re now selling their early alpha build of the game via Stardock’s store and Steam Early Access for $99.99, €92.99, £75.99. What they call, the Founder’s Elite Edition.

This Founder’s Elite Edition grants early access to the current work in progress build and “a lifetime subscription to all GalCiv III DLC and expansion packs”. It also grants a few additional perks, like “suggest a star name”, “get special thanks credit”, “access to exclusive content (e.g. art, music)” and a “forum badge”.

“What’s the current state of the game?”, you may be asking. Well, I guess I will let Stardock’s CEO say it by himself when he announced what this Alpha would be about.

Do not play the alpha expecting to have a fun game (though, ironically, the 1 on 1 multiplayer might have some bit of fun based on the playtesting I’ve seen). But do play it with an open mind to see what things you like, how well it works on your box, what things you think should be changed and share those things with us after giving your own concepts serious consideration. […] You should NOT join the Founder’s program if your goal is to play a video game for fun early. That is not the purpose of the Founder’s program. –Brad Wardel, Stardock CEO (under the name frogboy, or draginol on other occasions)

“So, what is the purpose of this Founder’s Early Access program then?”, you may also be asking.

We’re over a year away from release. The opportunity here is to see how well the game runs for people but also to hear what long time GalCiv players think of different parts of the game. […] The $99 isn’t for alpha access. The $99 is basically pre-ordering GalCiv III + all expansions and DLCs and one of the features is getting early access to GalCiv III.

And speaking of future expansions and DLCs this is what Stardock’s current release plan looks like.

This is, by no means, set in stone but only our current plan:

When GalCiv III is finished (next year) its list price will be $49.95.

We expect to release new DLC for it every month for the first couple months and then once a quarter there after. Each DLC will likely be priced at $4.99. I’d expect there to be around 5 DLC released per year.

We also expect to release approximately 3 or 4 major expansions over the next several years for it. This is the main reason we went with 64-bit with GalCiv III — we can keep enhancing it and improving it for many years because the underlying tech should be expandable for a long time. Those expansions will probably be $20 each.

The lifecycle of GalCiv III should be approximately 7 years (GalCiv II was released in 2006 and its lifecycle was about 4 years, we couldn’t do more with it because we ran up against the 2GB 32bit game memory limit).

So basically 7 years of expansions and DLC.

I toyed with the alpha build for a couple of hours, and frankly I feel that it’s too soon to make any kind of judgement on what I see. I have the impression that everything is still very much in a state of flux right now. Sure you can play with 4 of the 8 planned races (Terran, Drengin, Altarian and a new faction called Iridium), construct buildings, colonize planets, build some star ships, choose between some technologies, explore around and do some occasional fights, although only in simple quick battles. But, everything feels and seems to be very basic and incomplete.

The single major novelty I think I found so far was a new game system called “Ideology”, where you can choose between adopting a benevolent, merciless, or pragmatic approach for your empire according to how you approach galactic events, which unlock bonuses along each path you choose, but not all the ideology options are available as of yet.

Galactic Civilizations 3 (Early Access - March 2014) | Ideologies system

So, a lot of features are still not in the game. So, this isn’t a “true” alpha in the traditional sense of the word, where it’s expected for all of the main features to be in. No. Major features like the full technology tree, the space combat system, diplomacy, ship design, strategic resources management, other victory conditions than conquest and the announced story-based campaign aren’t in yet.

An example of why I’m saying it’s too premature to make any impressions on the game is that the UI and graphics have a very strong resemblance with Galactic Civilizations 2, the previous installment, but with hexagons instead of squares now. So, I suspect that they may be using GalCiv2 placeholder art? So, they’ll probably be overhauling the game a lot in the coming months, both gameplay and content-wise. And so, I see little point in writing long impressions of something that will most probably be totally obsolete in a couple of weeks. As far as I know, the alpha is so preliminary that they may even decide to give up on the hexes entirely and return to squares again, and that probably the content I’m seeing now is totally made up of placeholder art. Who knows.

At some point, no official time frame set but Brad talks that probably this Summer, they plan to replace this Founder’s Edition with a much cheaper Beta pre-order option, which only includes the game with a discount. The final game will be $49.99 and is expected to release a year from now, which should translate in about mid-2015, for the Windows PC (64bits).

To not leave you totally in the dark here, find some screenshots I took of the Alpha build below. And, have a look at the following Alpha gameplay video published by Stardock.

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  1. Delastone says:

    Frankly ? Paying a company for letting me doing QA and product management ?

    Those early access are just ridiculously expensive… A open communauty forum with some survey, a controlled alpha and beta access by stage and a strong feedback from the dev , will have probably be a excellent and respectuous thing to do for all the fan and players who have supported this licence since the first episode…

    • Alien JD says:

      That’s a good point. I used to do alpha and beta testing many years ago. Usually either I was paid to do it or if it was a small studio I really liked I volunteered to test out the game in exchange for a free copy and updates. I never ever ever paid a company to be an alpha/beta tester.

      Companies like to say that it lets you influence the game and help them create it but of the early accesses I watched so far I’ve seen two very dominant and common patterns: 1) The companies ignore the feedback and much of the bug reports and 2) the game gets released early anyway.

    • Noldor says:

      Yeah $100 USD is just really risky at this point.

      Factor in the fact that Elemental, their last game, was released in a less than ideal state and it doesn’t quite work out. Even LH is not a great game – the factions lack life. That game needs at least 2-3 more expansions before it becomes a great game.

      Even I would argue GC2 wasn’t a truly awesome game. Compared to say, Alpha Centauri, the factions again lacked a certain touch to them.

      The problem is that companies don’t always listen to feedback, even when a large majority say that there’s a problem, as has been noted above. For $100, it just is not worth the money at this point, especially considering the mixed history of the developer.

  2. Alien JD says:

    So far it looks like GalCiv2 with a few graphical changes. Which is good I think. I prefer it when a sequel builds on the previous game and improves on it but doesn’t radically change the game.

    Borderlands 2 for example. It was more of the same but mostly better (if you like Borderlands).

    MOO3 on the other hand made so many changes that it was pretty much a different game and MOO in name only (although if you get MOO3 now and install all the patches and the fan mods/patches it is pretty good and I’ve had fun playing it).

    It’ll be a long time before I pick this up though. It’ll be a while until I can afford the quad core i5 and 6gb ram that they recommend. Looking at the game so far they either have a lot more planned or the high system requirements are just to make development faster and easier.

    • Happy Corner says:

      MOO 3… I keep seeing that statement “Once you install all the patches and the fan mods, MOO3 isn’t so bad”.

      Now I’m morbidly curious.

      Just so I don’t go wrong, which fan mods do you mean?

      • Alien JD says:

        I did the mods about a year ago but best as I can recall I installed
        Tropical Mod, Gofur’s UI Mod, and the New Graphics Mod. You can get them and the install instructions from here:

        The Tropical Mod is nice because it is a huge roll up of a ton of fixes and mods in one. There is also a mod called the Master Mod. I can’t recall if I installed that one or not.

        If you have the Gog version of MOO3 back up your files. One of the mods puts the original exe file (I think moo3.exe) back and overwrites the gog version which puts back the copy protection. I just had to put back the gog copy of the exe and then when I ran the mod patcher application it modified the gog version of the file and everything worked (the exact instructions I found online but that’s what I can remember).

        Oh, and YMMV. I wouldn’t call MOO3 a great game, but I had fun and would rate it pretty good :)

        • Happy Corner says:

          I have an old disk copy, not the gog version, so I should be okay.

          Thank you for your advice.

  3. Kordanor says:

    Played the version for about 2 hours and liked what I saw.
    The 100$ must be seen as in investment. It’s not for the alpha as they say. I don’t feel bad to spend 100$ for a game and 7 year long content. I mean how much did you spend for Civ 5 if you played everything on release?

    The game is still extremely rough of course, but it already feels better than Horizon, probably because everything follows certain standards and feels intuitive.

    I also like the Idiology system, seems to be a nice addition. The texts are also quite interesting and immersive. I mean in the tree for the bad boys you can decide between putting the “weak” into factories or let them fight in arenas so that they make at least some use of them.

    I also like the adjacency System when planting buildings. If you build a factory, it provides +1 production for adjacent factories for example. The system still needs to be improved and polished, but the idea is great.

  4. Happy Corner says:

    “We expect to release new DLC for it every month for the first couple months and then once a quarter there after. Each DLC will likely be priced at $4.99. I’d expect there to be around 5 DLC released per year.”

    “We also expect to release approximately 3 or 4 major expansions over the next several years for it. This is the main reason we went with 64-bit with GalCiv III — we can keep enhancing it and improving it for many years because the underlying tech should be expandable for a long time. Those expansions will probably be $20 each.”

    That was the answer I was hoping we’d get with the interview earlier. The Founder’s Edition looks like a slightly better option now… $100 for ultimately $110-130 worth of content, not counting whatever DLC they try to milk everyone else with (and it sounds like they plan to be aggressive on that score).

    Of course, that is assuming that they hold to that release schedule. And that the game itself will be any good to begin with.

    • Keith Turner says:

      “Of course, that is assuming that they hold to that release schedule. And that the game itself will be any good to begin with.”

      I think you really nailed the important points. In order for this to be a good deal for the consumer, a lot pieces are going to have to fall into place.

      In any case, I think this type of pricing and “complete pack” is a slippery slope. MMOs have tried this before and a lot of people have gotten burned. I’m not a fan of this practice.

      • Happy Corner says:

        Yes, this approach really seems backwards when you think about it. Typically, companies offer the “Super Elite Ultimate Mega Everything!” package AFTER they’ve actually released everything for their game, not before.

      • Adam Solo says:

        And one must consider the frequent and early sales as well when doing the math. It could still be advantageous but probably not that much if you can be patient and wait for the 50%-75% sales.

    • Ptp says:

      I am not getting your calculations. 5 DLC per year at 4.99 (let’s say 5$) are 25$ a year. And they say 7 years so it should be a total of 175$ in DLC +60$ (3 major expansions at 20$ each) plus 50$ for the original game. So total should be 245$. A better discount (but of course it’s possible to save a lot of this 245$ just by waiting a little bit after release).

      • Happy Corner says:

        It’s hard to know how many DLC there will really be, or if they’ll be sufficiently worthwhile to even count. Some of the DLC for the Fallen Enchantress games was pretty weak, IMO.

        Thus, I just counted the base game and expansions in my calculation, while only mentioning the DLC. But if you want to count the DLC in your own calculation, then by all means. I’m not the one who gets to make your buying decision for you.

        • Alien JD says:

          I bet the 4.99 dollar DLCs are something goofy like different avatars or different colors for your ships.

          I got Jagged Alliance Back in Action as a complete bundle a while back and several of the DLCs are just different trousers for your mercs.

  5. Viktor Rexach says:

    I don’t know the rest of you fine people, but I’m not paying $100 again for a game I already have. Seems, imho, an exact copy of the previous. I don’t care if they have tweaked the game or “improved” anything…still the same game. Take your living room and re-arrange the furniture then try calling it a brand new house???

    • Kordanor says:

      Well, the question is: What do people wish? What do you wish from the game?
      A completely different game which throws all the old mechanics overboard?
      Because it pretty much seems like that.

      Personally I love GalCiv 2 and would love to get a GalCiv 3 which is tweaked and improved.

      And if you compare it with Civilization I would rather have loved a Civ 4-2 instead of what we have as Civ 5 now.

      • Viktor Rexach says:

        I knew I would get down-poured in this forum, nothing out of surprise.

        But as I said, is in my opinion, the same game. And yes, I’ve compared Civ I, 2-4, and yes, I love Civilization V much more than the others. Yes, I would like a “completely different game which throws all the old mechanics overboard”. I’m *that* type of gamer. You see? there are different types. If you all like where the game is going, good for you! Me, on the other hand, enjoy new, re-invented wheels. Even if we already have one of the best.

        I’m also one of those who likes what we call Creativity.

        • Kordanor says:

          Well it’s fair. But as I have to accept your opionion you need to accept that some people prefer perfection instead. And 100$ for perfection is perfectly fine for us and not a “scam” as you presented it.

        • Viktor Rexach says:

          1) I already accepted all of your opinions in these lines: “If you all like where the game is going, good for you!”

          2) The word “scam” was never typed by me (except for now).

          Why is it so hard to express your opinions on this webpage?
          What’s the purpose of the comments section after all?

        • Kordanor says:

          Then I misunderstood what you meant by “Take your living room and re-arrange the furniture then try calling it a brand new house???” including the three “?” :P

      • BlueTemplar says:

        I found Civilization 5 to be inferior to Civilization 4,but I disagree. I would prefer developers to be bold when releasing sequels. Otherwise why not just release an expansion pack instead?

        • Mark says:

          I agree, even after all those patches, the Civ V AI still couldn’t figure out how to move its “carpet of doom” without creating a horrible mess.

          Mind you I didn’t find it all that easy to move mine either, painfully annoying would be a better description. Hopefully Civ V marks both the beginning and the *end* of the “carpet of doom” idea.

        • csebal says:

          I totally agree. It is “to boldly go where no man has gone before”, that takes the industry to the next great game.

          Not with a 100% certainty, there might even be backward steps along the way, but if we would always just be looking for sequels that are “true to their predecessors”, then we would never get anywhere.

          Sure, being bold, experimenting with new ideas might not always be successful, but even failures are important steps along the journey towards perfection.

        • ashbery76 says:

          CiV is best in the series after the last expansion in my view.The political game is amazing and I could never go back to 4.

          People like moaning about CIV5 A.I but 4 was not deep blue last time I played it.The A.I could not handle a super stack invasion.

        • Wodzu says:

          The thing is that we have right to bash A.I. in Civilization because it is developed since 20 years! :)

        • BlueTemplar says:

          It’s probably too hard/expensive to make a good AI for games as complex as most 4X games. (One reason that GalCiv2 AI is generally considered as “good” is probably because the game is rather simple, and was developed with singleplayer and AI focus in mind. P.S.: I’m going to predict that, mostly because of tactical combat, the GalCiv3 AI is going to be worse than GalCiv2 AI.)

  6. t1it says:

    I agree this is the best approach. Why reinvent the weheel when you already got one of the best. I don’t think it’d need this much development time if it was a “large expansion” to GC2. This is not Paradox Interactive.

  7. DrBalthar says:

    I’ll pass 1.) overpriced 2.) Steam only 3.) Why release now an alpha when you know the game is over a year away and you want me to pay for it?

    • Kordanor says:

      Because of money and feedback ;)
      Actually there isn’t a reason against it (exception is if the presentation is misleading which causes a hurt in reputation).

      • Delastone says:

        they don t need my money for having my feedback. If there was at least some alpha access for the fan base motivated to help but not having 100 usd to spare … I am much more interested on helping than hypotival DLCs and future whatever…

        • Kordanor says:

          You might see it as a way to first filter it to the most dedicated fans. Not sure if this is an issue with GalCiv though.

          But in case of Wasteland 2 (RPG) it actually was a big advantage in my eyes to cater towards the oldschool RPG fans and not “taint” the feedback by too many mainstream players.

          In addition by “filtering” out “normal” players, their experience will also not be affected by buying an unfinished product they might be unhappy with. Which then could have resulted in bad word of mouth.

  8. Jeff P says:

    I own, and have played all the previous GalCiv iterations, and once polished and released, I will undoubtedly buy GalCivIII. That said, I’m a little disappointed that there is so little to distinguish III from II.

    The original GalCiv was strictly 2D and did not portray the galaxy or ships in all three dimensions. Ships were not customizable, and “specials” (space monsters, pirates, etc.) played a huge role in game play.

    GalCivII (and expansions) changed all that, with beautiful 3D renderings, a ship builder that was almost a game in itself, far fewer “specials”, and a strong emphasis on variable victory options.

    At least from this early preview, it looks like Stardock is merely tidying-up GalCiv and not incorporating the “big” changes (i.e., tactical ship and ground combat, expanded colony management, enhanced ship customization, improved espionage, etc.) requested by players for many years. Sadly, it seems like an opportunity lost.

    • Kordanor says:

      Well, there are new systems like the Idiology System and the Adjacency systems. We also have to be aware that it’s just a skeleton at the moment. So who knows. E.g. the ship contructor isn’t even implemented yet.

  9. GnoSiS says:

    How about I invest 100$ on stocks with leverage 5:1, do a little sniping and flipping on securities that have true value, earn 1000 to 5000k in 7 years and then pay stardock for all of their Galciv 3 products that actually make it out of their sausage factory and are indeed playable!??!?!?

    Got burned hard with Elemental and I lost all trust with them as a studio.

    Charging 100$ for 7 years of gamedev dreams is preposterous in our time.

    Show me the game and I will show you the money.

  10. Joel says:

    The fact that they still didn’t put in tactical combat is the most disappointing thing for me. Like Jeff P said “what a lost opportunity”.

    There are some fanboys over on the Stardock forums who love the no tactical combat decision. Poor stupid fools.

    • BTJ says:

      So you call players of Civilization games poor stupid fools?

      • ashbery76 says:

        Civ has interesting combat with the units type,terrain,etc.GC was just get bigger ship with little else.

      • Joel says:

        Hey BJ,
        Never once did I mention the players of Civilization games.

      • csebal says:

        Just because GalCiv has civilizations in its name, I would not mention the two games on the same page. Its an insult to civilization players around the world, not to mention the game itself.

        Yes, I can concur with the opinion, that anyone who plays a game allowing for ship design, yet has no tactical combat to speak of (or no depth to combat besides a very simply rock-paper-scissors system) is a poor, stupid fool.

        • BTJ says:

          Let’s not become unclear here. I did no compare GalCiv to CIV. I merely stated that Civilization games do not have tactival combat. I love CIV games. I do not miss tactical combat. Thus, GalCiv could be a great game, even without tactical combat. WILL it be great? I do not know yet.
          Also, opinions vary. Gal Civ II was a pretty good game and I like it as much as I like CIV games. I believe the whole “insult” thing is ridiculous.
          I see the point however on the comment regarding ship design. Let’s see. We do not know yet, how the combat will be implemeted in the end.

        • Adam Solo says:

          I totally subscribe BTJ’s comment.

          And, I would say that the “insult” thing is not only ridiculous but also totally uncalled for.

        • csebal says:

          @BTJ: Yes you did, though not explicitly, but the comparison was nonetheless implied.

          Also the “why” could warrant a completely separate discussion in its own right. I would love to explain why CIV not having tactical combat and GALCIV not having it is not even remotely the same, but sadly I do not have the time, maybe later.

        • Joel says:

          Guys, quit mucking around with Civilization and stick to the topic. I and many, many other GalCiv players think that no option for tactical combat is an unfortunate decision.

          Again, even bringing up tac combat as an option on the Stardock forums unleashes the wrath of the fanboys; “Ew, if you want combat play a different game” or ” GalCic has always been about strategy and not tactics” or my favorite “If they spend time on coding combat then it will detract from my personal favorite aspect of the game”.

          How satisfying what few changes they are planning for ship combat turn out to be will determine if I buy it. If I see my carefully constructed, time expensive ships wandering around lost [like in GalCiv2] then forget it.

          I wonder how many others will forget it too?

        • AstralWanderer says:

          “…anyone who plays a game allowing for ship design, yet has no tactical combat to speak of…is a poor, stupid fool.”

          Although rather harsh, who else would pay $100 for alpha access especially given Stardock’s track record?

          As for (lack of) tactical combat in Civilization games, Activision’s Call to Power series did include it (in a very limited form where the only decision you could make was when to retreat). Most Civilization games did not have unit design though (Alpha Centauri being the only exception) which made it less of an issue – as others have pointed out, detailed unit design supports and is supported by in-depth tactical combat.

          It is worth considering why most Civ games skip tactical combat and one reason could be, compared to their futuristic brethren, that they take place over a small area (one planet, tops) which leads to lots of small battles. Once you have the scale of solar systems or entire galaxies to consider, combat tends to be less frequent involving larger forces over strategic points.

          There are counter-examples of fantasy empire builders (Age of Wonders, Heroes of Might and Magic, Eador, Dominions series) where tactical combat is a significant gameplay element, but in those cases it is sped up by either restricting unit numbers (AoW, Eador), grouping units into stacks and limiting stack numbers (HoMM) or have all such combat auto-resolved (Dominions).

          Given that GalCiv2 imposed such tight limits on fleet size (7 “huge” ships maximum), there’s no reason for Stardock to skimp on tactical unless they feel they’re not up to it.

        • BlueTemplar says:

          Civilization games HAVE tactical combat (at least starting from Alpha Centauri), it’s just that it happens on the strategic map.

    • Mark says:

      No tactical combat?! Yep, I’ll pass, there’s no excuse for that in this day and age.

  11. Lens Flares Suck says:

    I think to sweeten the pot they should give you GALCIV2 complete when you give them your hundred bucks.

    It’s at it’s end of life and they’re not going to be making any more money from it anyway.

  12. BlueTemplar says:

    “So, a lot of features are still not in the game. So, this isn’t a “true” alpha in the traditional sense of the word, where it’s expected for all of the main features to be in.”

    I’m sorry, but the lack of some of the main features is pretty much the definition of an alpha. Feature-complete is beta.

    • Adam Solo says:

      “I’m sorry, but the lack of some of the main features is pretty much the definition of an alpha. Feature-complete is beta.”

      You may have a different view on what an Alpha is, of course. For me, I tend to agree with the following.

      “A game in alpha is feature complete, that is, game is playable and contains all the major features. These features may be further revised based on testing and feedback. Additional small, new features may be added. Programmers focus mainly on finishing the codebase, rather than implementing additions. Alpha occurs eight to ten months before code release.” wiki

      “Beta is feature and asset complete version of the game, when only bugs are being fixed.” wiki

      So, on the light of the above, and if we want to be strict about it, this recently released build could be seen as a First playable or a Pre-alpha version.

      “The first playable is the game version containing representative gameplay and assets, this is the first version with functional major gameplay elements. Alpha and first playable are sometimes used to refer to a single milestone, however large projects require first playable before feature complete alpha. First playable occurs 12 to 18 months before code release. It is sometimes referred to as the “Pre-Alpha” stage.” wiki

      But, Brad explicitly says that he has is own personal version of what an Alpha is.

      “Software goes through 5 distinct phases with varying definitions but below is my own personal version”. (source)

      At the end of the day, what matters is not the words you pick to describe your build but the state the game is in. What’s in, what’s out. And, considering the amount of major systems completely unavailable in this build, I would not call it an Alpha in the “traditional sense” but a “Pre-Alpha” or “First playable”.

      • BlueTemplar says:

        That looks like to me more like word drift in video game development…
        “Pre-alpha refers to all activities performed during the software project before testing.”
        “The alpha phase usually ends with a feature freeze, indicating that no more features will be added to the software. At this time, the software is said to be feature complete.”
        And it seems to fit with Brad’s definition. I wonder if the word drift is due to marketing and making people pay to test the unfinished game instead of the opposite?

        • Adam Solo says:

          Yeah, the normal software release cycle doesn’t apply directly to game development. In game development, you have a pre-production phase, prototyping and a first playable/pre-alpha release before reaching alpha, while in general software releases you start at pre-alpha. That can help justify the drift you mention.

          Of course, different people will use different methods, the ones they’re more familiarized with. The thing is that a game is more than regular software. It needs to be fun, and it needs to be playtested a lot and as soon as possible. So, I think it’s perfectly fine, if not desirable, for game development to follow a slightly different cycle than regular software. The prototyping and the first playable/pre-alpha are excellent opportunities to test things early.

  13. Zero says:

    I am very interested in blowing GalCiv III out of the water with SD2. In a friendly way! Seeing high-quality competition gives me something to aim at. I know that people who want high-quality tactical combat will not be getting it with GCIII and I aim to scratch that itch, plus a few more!

    • Kordanor says:

      Just make sure it works with Tactical Comabt disabled. Because in multplayer matches there is no way to play these.
      If you are missing half the game by disabling it, you can as well not implement multiplayer at all.

      • BlueTemplar says:

        Why are you saying that there’s no way to play tactical combat in multiplayer?

        • Kordanor says:

          Well, of course that is not the case if you play with 2 players only and with no AI.
          In all the other cases it would make the game to a waiting game.
          Once one player has war and battles, all the other players would spend 50-90% of their time waiting. And that’s why in MP you skip (you let calculate them instead of fighting them yourself) all battles against AI…and against other players…well, depends on the system and the number of players.

        • Zero says:

          Yeah I was thinking that basically there will be a time limit on all combats (3-5 minutes). And if you don’t complete the combat, then it is saved and resumed at the next turn. This way you can bring reinforcements as well. I think this will work well in MP as well.

        • BlueTemplar says:

          How is that a problem? I have played tons of Sword of the Stars 1 8-player multiplayer games, some of them even with most spots taken by real players, and the waiting never really bothered me. It is well worth the wait, you spend most of that time looking at the global situation, planning your next move, and designing ships. You actually often wish you had a bit more time, and the “waiting” rarely takes 3/4 or more of total time…

        • BlueTemplar says:

          A lower time for combats is usually going to result in (total) longer waiting time, since the combat still needs to take place, and now the ratio of “ships actually shooting at each other” / (“combat loading” + “ships maneuvering into position”) is now lower.

        • BlueTemplar says:

          Though, now that I think of it, with lots of players, it’s probably better to have a 10 combat per turn for most of them, rather than a 30 min combat for only one of them each turn.

        • Kordanor says:

          With simultaneous turns that would mean that you first “spam” your opponent with small encounters which you skip and the opponent might want to play. After his 10 Minutes are up, you attack with your real fleet, so that the opponent cant fight manually anymore.

          Or you wait till your opponent fought against NPCs and did his full turn before attacking him.

        • BlueTemplar says:

          And that’s why a total combat time limit is a bad idea and it’s better for the timer to be per combat.

          With simultaneous turns you can’t “wait until the other player did his full turn” unless you talk about games which don’t have a separate movement phase, which is bad design since it basically turns the global operations into a form of RTS

    • ashbery76 says:

      From what have I seen you have a good chance.GC3 looks very samey and they seem to be hiding details about combat until last beta release.

    • Mark says:

      High quality tactical combat in a 4x is really important to me. I’ll certainly be giving GalCivIII a miss if it doesn’t have any.

      If SD2 has good tactical combat I’ll be getting it even if the strategic layer is poor, although I’m already worried about SD2 because I think RT tactical combat is sub-optimal and difficult to control. I would greatly prefer turn-based.

      We’ll see though. I liked the RT tactical combat in SOTS 2, although that was about the *only* thing I liked about it.

      • AstralWanderer says:

        “I think RT tactical combat is sub-optimal and difficult to control. I would greatly prefer turn-based.”

        Heh, I’d argue for the opposite – real-time (but pauseable) tactical and turn-based strategic. The downside with turn-based is “I go, you go” sequencing which in tactical combat can mean the side moving first gaining a major advantage. With real-time, everything happens simultaneously which is fairer in time-critical situations (though difficult to control, as you note, without a pause option).

        • Mark says:

          You make it sound like “I go, U go” sequencing is the only option available for turn based combat, it isn’t. It’s just the easy option for game designers of limited imagination and skill.

          Moo II had a turn-based initiative system where small, fast ships or ships with inertia-less technology from either side would get to move and act first. And that was 18 years ago, imagine what a dev with decent imagination (if any still exist) could do today.

          I’d agree with you that if you *must* have RT combat then having it pausable is essential since that’s the only way you will ever achieve any reasonable degree of control in a battle containing more than just a few ships.

          But once you hit “un-pause” everything starts to happen simultaneously again and you have to watch the battle like a hawk, but sooner or later you are bound to miss something, possibly something happening off-screen that you weren’t even watching. The AI wont miss anything because it can easily think and react in RT.

          That simply doesn’t happen with turn-based combat, you have complete control over your forces at all times. You aren’t rushed, you have time to plan tactically, you don’t have to glare at the battle with intense concentration with your finger poised over a pause button hoping you don’t miss something critical.

          So while I think pausable RT is (barely) adequate, I stand my ground in claiming that RT is sub-optimal and difficult to control and that intelligent (as opposed to “I go U go”) turn-based combat is far superior.

        • AstralWanderer says:

          “Moo II had a turn-based initiative system where small, fast ships or ships with inertia-less technology from either side would get to move and act first.”

          Yes, but that doesn’t remove the problem completely – someone using an fast-ship fleet still gets a greater advantage than they should. MOO2 also imposed tight limits on fleet sizes (not as draconian as GC2 though) so this system wouldn’t have to handle hundreds or thousands of ships.

          “The AI wont miss anything because it can easily think and react in RT.”

          Most AIs need all the help they can get. :) In practice, it’s unlikely that every part of the battlefield will be important and a human identifying and focusing on key areas isn’t likely to be at a big disadvantage (depending on how much micro-management is allowed).

          “You aren’t rushed, you have time to plan tactically, you don’t have to glare at the battle with intense concentration with your finger poised over a pause button hoping you don’t miss something critical.”

          You could say the same about real-time with pause. And configurable auto-pause (as with Space Empires V where the battle could be set to pause every 0.5/1/2/5 seconds) allows players to conduct combat at their own pace while ensuring that ships have proper opportunity to move and fire.

        • Mark says:

          @ Astral Wanderer,

          “Yes, but that doesn’t remove the problem completely”

          Yes it does, anyone who goes to all the trouble to field a fleet composed solely of small, fast, inertialess ships deserves to move first. They have paid the price to gain that (relatively minor) advantage and it makes perfect sense for them to do so. If as the opponent you don’t like it then design smaller, faster ships for *your* fleet.

          “Most AIs need all the help they can get. :)In practice, it’s unlikely that every part of the battlefield will be important….”

          Not every part but it is likely that several parts of the battlefield will be important, consider a RT game like Distant Worlds. Near the mid-end game you can *easily* have 3 or 4 full battles occurring simultaneously in different parts of the galaxy, sometimes more. No matter how much you pause the action. You can only observe and direct one at a time because you can only observe one place in RT. When you eventually hit unpause there *will* be 3 or more other battles where you wont know what is happening! In situations like this (that happen all the time in late-game DW) you are bound to miss something, possibly something really important and you might never even know it. This is one of the things I really hate about RT tactical combat, you miss things, not due to any mistake on your part but simply due to the nature of RT.

          “You could say the same about real-time with pause.”

          No you couldn’t, for the above reason. When you unpause as you eventually must in a RT game, you can only manage the area you are currently focused on, and in games like DW you can easily miss everything else that is happening simultaneously in the galaxy that you aren’t looking at.

          In a turn-based game, if you miss anything you only have yourself to blame, not the game doing things you cant see while your proverbial back is turned.

        • AstralWanderer says:

          “Yes it does, anyone who goes to all the trouble to field a fleet composed solely of small, fast, inertialess ships deserves to move first. They have paid the price to gain that (relatively minor) advantage”

          Being able to move fully and fire first for a whole fleet is hardly a minor advantage. A faster ship should be able to do more, but not totally remove an opponent’s ability to react.

          “Near the mid-end game you can *easily* have 3 or 4 full battles occurring simultaneously in different parts of the galaxy…”

          Which would each be resolved separately on an (RTS) battlefield screen (think Age of Wonders, Heroes of Might and Magic, Space Empires, Dominions). Tactical combat done properly should be a game within a game, so RTS tactical in TBS strategy should not present the problem you indicate.

        • Mark says:

          @ AstralWanderer,

          “Being able to move fully and fire first for a whole fleet is hardly a minor advantage.”

          Many times in MOO II the enemy has moved first against me, done pretty much nothing against my forces and then proceeded to get annihilated once most of their little ships have acted. I’m sure many other people have seen the same thing.

          You pay a price for having all your ships small, fast and weak. Is that price worth the advantage of moving first? I guess that’s something that can and should be game-balanced until it feels right. It may not be balanced perfectly in MOO II but that doesn’t mean that the concept wont work well if balanced properly.

          The advantage of moving first – whatever it is – can (and should) be counterbalanced by sacrifices made in designing your entire fleet to be small fast and weak.

          “Tactical combat done properly should be a game within a game”

          Agreed, doing it the way you describe would greatly help lessen the problem but many RT game designers clearly don’t see it that way. Almost all the examples you provided are from turn based games and I would argue that the vast majority of RT games don’t instance tactical combat at all.

          Distant worlds and Sins of a Solar Empire are two very popular RT games that DON’T separately resolve tactical combat and both suffer greatly from the problems I previously outlined as a result. In DW’s case you can often get 2 or 3 combat warnings going off *per second!* in a large galaxy.

          SOTS 2 *does* instance RT tactical combat and is – for the most part – quite manageable, although the same problems do exist to a lesser degree. Even in SOTS 2 though I would much prefer the control of turn based tactical combat over RT.

        • AstralWanderer says:

          “Many times in MOO II the enemy has moved first against me, done pretty much nothing against my forces and then proceeded to get annihilated once most of their little ships have acted.”

          MOO2 gives larger ships a disproportionate advantage since shields reduce damage on a per-weapon basis (i.e. fewer larger weapons will do more damage than smaller weapons with a similar total damage capacity). So small ships are a complete no-go for that game due to its damage system.

          “…many RT game designers clearly don’t see it that way. Almost all the examples you provided are from turn based games and I would argue that the vast majority of RT games don’t instance tactical combat at all.”

          I haven’t played SotS (since it requires Steam) or Distant Worlds (requires .NET Framework) so I wasn’t aware their “tactical” combat occurred on the strategic screen – I wouldn’t even consider such a system to be properly tactical at all so sorry for any misunderstanding. However almost all spacefaring empire-builders I’ve played do handle tactical combat separately(Space Empires series, Ascendancy, MOO) and some (Imperium Galactica 1 and 2) are real-time at the strategic level.

  14. Daniel Judah says:

    $100 for an unfinished game? No thanks.
    As far as I love Stardock and space games, I think I have enough to be robbed by game developers.

    Buying early access and alpha is useless, as you will never know will the game be finished or not. I lose faith in early access thanks to StarDrive and Rome Total War II.

    That aside, $100 is so expensive. Yes, the DLC is free forever, but how much DLC is going to be launched?

    Personally nowadays I will NEVER BUY any alpha access or pre-purchase any games, I will read reviews for two weeks after release to buy that one. Heck, even as a diehard fan of Crusader Kings series, I still haven’t purchased Rajas of India.

  15. Foster says:

    I just hoped there will be 3D battles like homeworld, battery power system like Jupiter and random maps like sins;
    e.g. just make all the turret firing arc, angles of guns , ship position , flanking of fleet, missile lanuching/intercept by flak guns possible….
    If there is game likes : sins +homeworld + Jupiter + random maps, i will be pleased to paid 100$ USD to get it even no DLC >.<

    • AstralWanderer says:

      “I just hoped there will be 3D battles like homeworld, battery power system like Jupiter and random maps like sins…If there is game likes : sins +homeworld + Jupiter + random maps, i will be pleased to paid 100$ USD to get it even no DLC”

      GC3 is totally out of the running there. However I’m surprised that developers haven’t tried to link complementary games like having a strategy game with the option to run the likes of Homeworld for tactical combats. All this would need is some glue code (mostly on the strategy game side to generate a random battlefield and place ships, converting them to Homeworld stats) and you’d have a major game improvement. Add the likes of Supreme Commander for ground/planetside combats for more cross-gaming goodness. ;)

  16. SpaceEnthusiast says:

    Actually, this “singe major novelty” you mention was in GalCiv2. It was pretty much like you described, choosing alignment, making choices, unique research, etc.

    Even at a website all about space games, I’m still the only one who played that it seems.

    • Happy Corner says:

      Actually, the ideology system seems more like the social policy system from Civ 5 than the alignment system from GalCiv 2. Yeah, you’re still making event choices like in the last game, but now they unlock trees of bonuses. In GalCiv 2, your choice amounted to a UI color change, a handful of new techs (once you finally decided what alignment you are), and that was about it.

      So they’re not exactly recycling GalCiv 2 on that point… but it’s still not all that novel.

      I would have preferred something like the social engineering system from Alpha Centauri, actually. That system was good, and I STILL haven’t seen another game do it as well.

      • AstralWanderer says:

        “In GalCiv 2, your choice amounted to a UI color change, a handful of new techs…”

        Agreed, GalCiv 2’s alignment seemed underdeveloped to the point of irrelevance. The political system is a better example of innovation in my view (you select a party such as Federalist or Industrialist which provides a set of bonuses – as long as that party maintains an electoral majority you get those bonuses but if another party wins, you receive *their* bonuses as penalties).

        This could be developed further to impose restrictions on player actions (no peace treaties while the War Party is in office!) and the alignment system could link into this (genocide those cuddly panda-saurs and you get more colony space but a major drop in popularity – best leave them till after the next election…)

        • Happy Corner says:

          Yeah, it always bothered me that if I acted like an asshole during ONE planet event, my alignment nudged towards evil, but I could genocide as many civilizations as I wanted (even “good”-aligned ones) with no change.

          I like that idea of the political system being more developed. Race relations could play into this, too. Your party could lose votes because you declared war on your race’s biggest trade partner, or your economy has been in the toilet for too long, or you’re buddying up with a known warmonger, or any number of other decisions (“Tau Ceti V still isn’t fully terraformed, and President Dipshit is STILL blowing his budget on terror stars!”)

    • Adam Solo says:

      I played a lot of GalCiv2, it’s one of my favorite games. It’s just that it’s been a while, so I’m not sure about the novelty factor of the ideology system. And that’s why I said “The single major novelty I think I found so far…” :)

      The Ideology “Civ5 social policies” trees system Happy Corner talks about is definitely new. In GalCiv at least, which combined with your alignment choices makes it kind of a novelty system.

  17. stormcloud says:

    $99 for 7 years? Tempting but that’s a lot of ifs and probables, especially after you consider the Elemental debacle. Then take into account that no game sells for a full price after 2-3 years, makes the proposition even less attractive.

  18. JR says:

    €93 for the honour of beta testing the game for the developers. Huh.

    Anyone who buys into this at that price is a chump, and is contributing to the abuse of the Early Access program in general.

    I don’t care if this game is good; there is no justifying this sort of price for testing a game that is a year away from completion. Promise of DLC or not, this is a ridiculous and frankly extortionate way to advertise the game.

  19. Noldor says:

    I hesitate to ask this, but is anyone else here disappointed by what they see?

    I’ll be honest, I found that GC2 was somewhat overrated in some ways. The factions felt like they were well unbelievable. There wasn’t the effort made to inject life into the game the way that say, Alpha Centauri had.

    What they did right:
    – GC2 did have a pretty decent AI, all things considered
    – Modding support was overall very good, although certain things were hard coded (mega events especially)

    Issues I see:
    – the rock-paper-scissors between missile-laser-gun in tactical combat
    – universe was very shallow as was terraformation
    – good-evil was too simple, again compared to the social choices of Alpha Centauri or Civ IV
    – factions lacked a very rich history behind them
    – improvements in some ways were uninspired
    – tech tree was again problematic
    – certain mechanics like espionage needed work

    The problem was that the gameplay itself did not feel like a living universe and in some ways lacked depth. The tech trees were complex for sure, but in some ways, they lacked the feeling that you were in an immersive atmosphere, probably because the gameplay was itself in many ways shallow. It doesn’t make you go – what if the future were really like this?

    Anyways, I guess the question is, am I the only one who feels this way?

    • Mark says:

      I was never a huge fan of Gal Civ so I cant really say I’m disappointed by how GC3 looks since I didn’t really expect anything much better.

      But yes I agree with all the issues you raised, especially the crappy, brain-dead rock-paper-scissors combat system which never should have made it into GC2, let alone GC3. I guess it makes it easier for the AI. The total lack of tactical combat is really the final nail in the coffin for me. Zero tactical combat in a modern space-based 4x is an inexcusably bad design decision.

      I’m honestly not sure what people ever saw in Gal Civ, I suppose the AI was pretty good in comparison to other 4x games, but that’s really about it.

    • Jeff P says:

      I feel the same as you. GalCiv II was a big improvement over GalCiv (which was already a great game.) GalCiv II added 3D game elements, a compelling ship design module, improved (but not optimal) combat, enhanced colony management, expanded tech tree, and new victory conditions. GalCiv II took the original game and elevated it, adding significant content while polishing its presentation.

      Judging from the preview and descriptions on the GalCiv III website, I don’t see the same degree of evolutionary progress. Unless I’m missing something, the new game appears to add none of the gamer requested elements (tactical combat, improved weapons systems, deeper tech tree, etc.) while merely spiffing-up the graphics and limiting the game’s availability to newer computer systems.

      As a Borderlands and Borderlands 2 fan, I’m all in favor of keeping and expanding on success. But that is not what Stardock is doing with their new game. A better comparison would be SOTS and SOTS 2, where the developer took a successful title and “re-imagined” it with brand new code. We know how THAT turned out.

      • SQW says:

        SOTS II’s problem were the bugs, bugs and even more bugs. Actual new mechanics, while fiddly, weren’t a problem at all so I wouldn’t lay the blame on the ‘re-imagining’.

        • Jeff P says:

          I don’t know if you have played it lately, but for me SOTS 2 is very stable: I have a game in progress with 900 turns and no crashes. That being said, it is rife with artifacts and erroneous tool-tips as well as an eye-straining UI. Development has ceased on SOTS 2 so players will have to live with it as is.

          My point was that Gearbox took the Borderlands engine, refined it, created new campaigns, added features and released a relatively glitch-free enhanced Borderlands 2. Kerberos, on the other hand, re-coded SOTS 2 apparently without retaining the (stable and relatively bug-free) SOTS programming and ended up with a mess.

          It appears that Stardock has plumped for the SOTS 2 plan, which makes me leery.

        • Mark says:

          Yes SOTS2 is now quite stable, and I honestly think it has the best tactical space combat ever created. The tactical decisions you make in a battle can be instrumental in deciding the outcome which – sadly – is rare.

          Unfortunately the rest of the game is just a mish-mash of horrifically bad design decisions that make you wonder what the hell they were thinking, interspersed with (very) rare flashes of genius.

        • Noldor says:

          SOTS2 as indicated is mostly stable now. Mostly. Don’t rely on the autosave though and save frequently.

          But the problem is that the game itself is well … not fun to play. The UI seems to have been made complex for the sake of complexity. Some ideas were good, like the tactical combat changes. Most though … added time, but did not add to the quality of experience. Documentation is poor at this point.

          Worse, there are indications that the updates have stopped, so I don’t think the game is going to change.

        • BlueTemplar says:

          Updates have stopped because Kerberos is cramming on SotS : Ground Pounders, they should resume once it’s released. The same happened with SotS : The Pit. (And as you might know, they’re not paid for SotS2 development anymore).

  20. Noldor says:

    Some clarification here – what I am saying here is well, they are sticking to the same game, with a few UI changes, and better graphics. That works well if your previous title was good (and I suppose there is a group of people who do feel that way). But if your previous title had flaws, then it becomes problematic.

  21. Ermdog says:

    I really want to buy this game, not at the $100 price of course, but I hope they expand on the game and not leave it the same. I think I will actually wait to see a review or two on this game. If it’s the same thing but better graphics I’ll settle for GalCiv2 instead.

  22. jingles says:

    It looks ok hardly mind blowing. After other early buys that turned out to be bad (RTW2) I think i’ll wait.

  23. SQW says:

    Marketing question: how do you get the most money out of a head of lettuce?
    Answer: Cut it in half. Price one half as normal and the other half as premium at 30% extra.
    Why? Because people have different levels of discretionary spending and willingness to pay for the exact same good/service.

    Translate this into games and you get this early access BS. The company is essentially getting the max money out of people who is willing to pay at a huge premium for the ‘privilege’ of playing early while still be able to price the product at ‘normal’ level for the masses. A steam discount months later would then capture the cheap-asses like myself who will never pay day-one prices.

    Imagine if this happens in the movie industry. Your mates will be laughing their head off if you boasted that you spent $50 to watch a half completed movie 1 year before release.

    • Mark says:

      Don’t give the movie industry ideas some people would pay that, laughing mates or not.

    • Adam Solo says:

      It’s funny that this “movie early access” idea also crossed my mind a couple of days ago. It probably wouldn’t be long until we start to see Early Access movies. Imagine, Star Wars VII Early Access.

      “See 30 minutes of unedited footage of Star Wars VII featuring the entire cast, and get all movies published by Disney in the following 5 years” for just $1000. I’ll bet there would be thousands of people that would buy into that.

      • Noldor says:

        It’ll come down to whether there are people who are willing to pay for it.

        If they find a loyal audience, it is going to become mainstream. If it crashes and burns (which I hope it does), then we’re ok.

        I mean technically they already do this. Movies are released in “select” theatres often (especially big titles).

        Personally, these days, the quality of film has declined. It’s a bunch of sequels mostly and the quality of acting, storytelling seems to be down. I only go to the movies like 2 times a year and only then on Tuesdays (cheaper). Never buy movie theatre food, btw, it’s a huge ripoff.

    • SQW says:

      Or join our exclusive paid membership and see Trailers weeks before anyone else. In today’s world of digital streaming platforms, that’s quite possible to be honest.

      However, to my knowledge, video game industry is still the only mass consumer goods that can charge EXTRA for incomplete products. The first time I heard paid early access was years ago when I was doing my Marketing Masters and the every idea seriously flies in the face of every logic. The guy/gal who came up with this paid early access was a marketing genius…and most definitely evil.

      I understand Indie scene and KS but to do so for a well established publisher on games that’s already funded?

      • Mark says:

        @ Adam,
        Yeah I not only think its possible but only a matter of time until some greedy hollywood exec comes up with (or steals) the idea. Its not a matter of if but when.

        The only good thing would be that unlike games, movie makers wont skimp on making a good movie just because they get some early access money……..or will they? Maybe we should be bracing ourselves for horrible quality in all areas of entertainment media due to “early access”. :(

  24. Sebastian says:

    I don’t know why everyone needs tactical combat? I would love a 4x game with the gratious space battle engine and deeper damage calculation on them.

  25. Noldor says:

    Out of curiosity, is anybody reading this in the early access? What do you think if you are? How is the game compared to GC2?

  26. Noldor says:

    Actually on that note, Adam are you going to be testing out this beta, alpha, or whatever you call it?

    • SQW says:

      Why should anyone ‘review’ a pre-alpha? I mean, what is there to review? The game is so half-completed it’s ludicrous to even attempt an analysis. The mechanics, features, the game as a whole are so open to changes, anything Alex says now would amount to nothing come beta/release.

      Heck, you can’t/shouldn’t even give devs feed backs because you have access to so limited scope of the game as a whole; it’ll be like Alex attempting a review of Star Citizen based on the hanger module or a food review based solely on the first 4 ingredients etc.

      • Happy Corner says:

        I don’t think Noldor meant an actual review… he just wondered if Mr. Solo was going to be spending any more time trying the game out.

        • Noldor says:

          Nah I was thinking more of a preview of some sort.

          Something a bit more complete than the “let’s plays” that are starting to go all over the web.

    • Adam Solo says:

      No, not at this moment. I feel that too many systems are still absent to test out this build and write something meaningful and concrete about it. And, as I wrote above, I feel it’s too early as the current features and look & feel will probably be changing a lot in the coming months.

      Moreover, and according to their tentative schedule, Ship Design should only be available in June, Diplomacy in August and the Combat screen only in October. So, I’ll probably try the game out by Summer time and possibly write some impressions by then. But, we’ll see.

  27. Lens Flares Suck says:

    You know, GC2 was not anywhere near an ‘A’ list title. I’m just saying.

  28. dearLeader says:

    I’ve read on the forums that the price tag is to discourage “casual gamers” – their words, not mine – from getting in the alpha and flooding them with useless suggestions or stupid complaints.

    Although I can understand the purpose, the sentiment itself leaves a bad taste in my mouth – as if true, non-casual fans that can offer constructive criticism universally have 100$ to burn for the privilege : “if you don’t give us 100$, we don’t care what you think”. I think that’s a terrible way for a company to view its fans and I lost quite a bit of respect for Stardock because of that bit of marketing. If I were of a conspiratorial bend I’d perhaps say that this is a way for them to get criticism they can more easily agree with, as people spending a brownback for this are likely to have loved GC2 and to want more of the same.

    I don’t get why they could not offer the alpha build sans the “season pass” at a more reasonable price ; they actually had a cheaper bundle before but now the only thing on sale in the Founder’s Elite. It sounds like provocative reverse psychology to me : you are a casual gamer and not a true fan if you do not pitch in your hundred loonies, so in the hopes of proving themselves to their lord and master, sheeples throw their hard-earned money for what, exactly? A pre-alpha build and years of wishful thinking? Where’s your “gamer’s bill of rights” now, Brad?

    I even saw one of those who bought the game saying he/she did it because of “charity”…charity?! To a company whose main drive is to create profit? Stardock does not need early access to program and release a game, much less charity from their fanbase!

    Stupid moderm instant gratification culture…I’ve been saying lately a lot that I don’t like gaming as much as I used to mostly because I hate gamers. That the culture is willing to accept this kind of thing is a little disgusting, to be honest.

    Another thing that annoys me with GC3 is the naming of stars thing : there’s a topic on the forums where the people discuss what name they will choose. A lot of them are self-serving names that will do nothing but break immersion for everybody else : who wants to colonise star “Iluvkate” or similar? Either Stardock reins this in or makes the star name list moddable or includes the option to disable user-created names, or I’m not buying it for this simple reason. I don’t want vanity names breaking my immersion in my 4X games.

    • AstralWanderer says:

      I’d agree fully – if Stardock wants constructive criticism then a $100 entry fee isn’t likely to work too well.

      As far as star names go, if GC3 ends up mod-friendly then it should be possible to edit anything objectionable out but Stardock do need to ensure that names chosen don’t break the spirit of the game.

      However both these things (high pricing, vanity inclusions) can be found on many Kickstarter projects, so I’m a little hesitant to criticise Stardock for doing something similar (hint to Brad Wardell: many KS projects promise DRM-free content – why don’t you copy that too?).

      • dearLeader says:

        But Stardock doesn’t need crowdfunding. It’s a company that does many more things than just produce games. They have the budget and the talent to see GC3 out without “charity” or exploitation of their fanbase.

        I hate how the lines between consumer and investor are now so blurred in the gaming world. At least when a CEO tanks a company he can be fired by the voting investors and replaced. They even have a say on the future and the direction of the company. All crowdfunders have is passion and a promise by developers that their comments and criticisms will be heeded. See Endless Space where even the community completely hated the combat, yet the devs never did budge an inch on the concept despite the Games2gether initiative. It remains the very weak point of the game and a deal breaker to many.

        A promise to consider criticism is not judicially enforceable, nor should it be. But at the very least, a company with a spotted record like Stardock asks you to throw in 100$ when the return on your investment is calculated in years is a “pensez-y bien”.

        I’m willing to bet that in a few years’ time we will see crowdfunding initiatives by the likes of EA and Ubisoft. That’s where it becomes unacceptable.

        • Noldor says:

          If anything, this is proof that more money doesn’t always buy a better game. It can (allows for things like more graphics and a bigger developer team), but it’s no assurance.

          For a parallel, look at Hollywood. Over the years, the budgets have gone up. What have they gone to though? More special effects sure. But in terms of story depth, screenplay, quality of acting, and perhaps even quality of music, we’ve seen a drop in quality. There is less originality – and an overuse of sequels.

  29. ACEofHeart says:

    Already posted elsewhere how I felt about GalCiv2. It was a solid game but I so hated the whole board game feel. Never felt like a space game,, it was that flat movement between stars. It should feel a little more epic. Games like MOO3 failed in lot of areas, but I loved their galaxy setup for movement of ships.
    GalCiv3 graphics setup looks the same to me. And that’s a shame. Yes its an Alpha and could change.

  30. Wiliam says:

    A common thread always bothers me about 4x games. Mainly, how the computer players always have more personality and options in their communications with you than the player is allowed. Like: “That’s a terrible deal for us, we’d never agree to that”, as their answer as opposed to a simple “yes or no”, “Agree or disagree” for the players. This sort of communicative imbalance is present in just about every level of every 4x game I have ever played. Being able to basically tell them to stick it in some creative way would liven matters up a bit. Maybe the developers should treat the player as another computer option when programming dialogue, with options developing as a player travels along their chosen ethical pathway.
    Another is ship design. Many of the “parts” are way to big or small to allow for flexible ship design. Cockpits and command bridges are few and far between. And tech trees are a bit to similar. There should be a bit more individuality per race in tech development. And in this game, at least, there is no “Carrier” option.
    While the individual pieces are highly detailed and colorful on the full zoom, it is hardly practical to view the game that way, so these details go largely to waste. A bit more work of the lower, broader zooms would be more practical, and appealing.
    All said, I do look forward to the new version, which does have a solid basis for further development.

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