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Ask the Devs a Question: Galactic Civilizations 3

By on December 16th, 2013 12:55 pm

Galactic Civilizations 3 | Turn-based space 4X strategy game by Stardock

A couple of months ago, Stardock announced that they are developing Galactic Civilizations 3. Its predecessor from 2006, Galactic Civilizations 2, is a great space 4X strategy game, and in my opinion one of the best ever produced.

So, but, what is already known about GalCiv’s third installment? And, more importantly, what do we don’t know, and want to know?

We know that the map will be divided in hexagons this time, instead of squares. The game will be turn-based as before but there will be multiplayer now (online and hotseat). It will be released exclusively for 64-bit PCs and we should expect better graphics overall. There will be new aliens and a campaign, which begins 10 years after the events of Galactic Civilizations II: Twilight of the Arnor (GalCiv2’s last expansion pack).

With respect to the release date the devs say that they’re still in “internal alpha testing” and that they expect to enter closed alpha early 2014 with a public beta “soon to follow”.

We also know that the game’s final price will be $49,99, and that Stardock has already opened pre-orders. A “Founder’s Edition” for $39,99 and a “Founder’s Elite Edition” for $99,99. The regular pre-order gives beta access while the Elite edition also gives alpha access and all DLCs and expansions packs to be released. So, we also know that they plan to develop expansions for GalCiv3.

Now, what do we want to know? Well, in this rubric you guys run the show. I’m sure there are lots of GalCiv fans out there and many others who already heard about this game. So, if you have a question that you would like to ask the GalCiv3 devs, just leave a comment below and I’ll make sure to send it to them. Can’t promise to send every question you guys put below but I’ll make sure I’ll send them the most I can.

\Edit (clarification): The plan is to collect your questions, send them to Stardock, and then write an article with their answers.

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  1. Kordanor says:

    I’d like to know more about multiplayer:
    1. How will the system be implemented? Like will there be simultaneous turns or igougo turns?
    2. If there are simultaneous turns, will the orders be executed right within the turn (like in Civ 5 which leads to the problem of “who clicks first has the advantage”) or will they be executed “between” turns?
    3. Will there be a special lobby for Multiplayer? Meaning will steam be required or another platform? (Gamespy *cough*)
    4. Will there be technologies or traits which are useless against human players?

    Other questions:
    What will you do to make the eXploration fun?
    What will planet management look like?

    In many other games (particularily Endless Space) the planet is just a set of numbers which can be shaped as required. Galciv 2 already gave planets very special attributes including a map, so that they feel individual. In Master of Orion 2 you could even see the buildings in the background and ground combats taking place on this planet view. Is there anything else planned for GalCiv 3 to put emphasis on planet individuality?

    One aspect which felt quite cumbesome was the space station mechanic. Is there any change on that in GalCiv3?

    Will there be a boxed version? If yes, at what price (compared to the digital versions) and with which content?

  2. jackswift says:

    Has the ship combat evolved from the previous installments? If so, what new mechanics or features should we expect?

    Also, ditto on Kordanor’s space station mechanic question. I seem to remember too much futzing around with constructors and space stations than anything else in that game.

    • Chuki792 says:

      My two most burning questions in a nutshell! I feel the conbat was the weakest element of an otherwise (almost) flawless 4X experience.

  3. eleazar says:

    Will there be mac support this time?

  4. Sotiris says:

    I don’t care at all for the multiplayer. I very much liked GCII because of it’s high quality AI. Is the AI of this version going to be at the same standards as the previous one? I am worrying because of multiplayer, because working on something means that you spent less time to improve something else (like the AI for example).

    • Kordanor says:

      Well, that doesn’t exclude each other. Civ 5 for example has neither: MP isn’t balanced and the AI is horrible ;)

      Independent on Multiplayer or not: Hope for the same standards as GC2. :)

  5. Happy Corner says:

    How much would the expansion packs cost? Will there be at least two, like with GalCiv 2? The link says they have some “big plans” for expansions, but some actual numbers might help make that Founder’s Elite option look like a better deal.

    With the previous games, Brad Wardell was never shy about how he didn’t add multiplayer, stating that adding MP would take time and effort away from developing a great single player game. Why the change? Can we be confident that the single player mode of GalCiv 3 won’t suck balls? I hate all those MP games where SP is just a glorified tutorial for multiplayer.

    The combat thing for me, too. Can we expect some control or tactics this time? Say what you will about Endless Space and its cards, but at least they TRIED to spice things up.

    Actually, speaking of Endless Space, I really liked how some planets had not just normal specials, but wonders (precursor or natural) that you could exploit. That was a nice bit of flavor? Can we have any precursor wonders like that in GalCiv 3?

    I really liked the good/neutral/evil choice events, but hated how – once you researched far enough to officially commit your civ to one side – the events stopped. Are the morality and events going to be more sophisticated this time around?

  6. Ore says:

    I’d like to know if they’re redoing the design of the planetary management system from scratch. Not a fan of how it is in GalCiv2 compared to MoO (1&2), especially with the tiles ‘minigame,’ the counterintuitive population model (300% farm bonuses are actually really bad), and maintaining positive cash flow meant spamming economy boosting buildings everywhere. Would love to know how much of that design is staying or whether we’d get a system closer to MoO or something else entirely.

  7. trix62 says:

    GalCiv2 was one of my favorite space games. GalCiv3 to put it only on 64 bit will be a no buy for me tho.

    • Kordanor says:

      Why that if I may ask? XP is dead in a couple of months anyways.
      And to run Vista/ Win7/ Win8 with less than 4 GB of ram is borderline insane.

      • Jeff P says:

        I finally bit the bullet and bought a new 64bit system a couple months ago, and boy am I glad I did. I’m not impressed with Win 8, so I stuck with Win 7 which is a tremendous OS. There are many custom rig makers out there and most are running sales for the holidays, so now would be a good time to upgrade.

        Re: Gal Civ 3, I was a big fan of GC and GCII, but looking at the screen shot, I’m disappointed they stuck with the GCII map style. In the original GC, the galaxy map displayed stars only. When you arrived at the star, a system screen would appear and you could explore (or colonize, raze, or invade) any of the several planets in the system.

        In GCII (and III, apparently) the “system” is immaterial, as all the planets are just spread out on the map. This isn’t just an esthetic concern, but rather one of immersion. Galaxies are huge, with incredible distances between star systems. The GC map style at least acknowledged this, while GCII and III creates weird situations in which some planets may be closer to planets of another star than to sister planets in their own system. Kinda wounds the “suspension of disbelief” necessary for any sci fi game.

        • Happy Corner says:

          Yes. The map issue was even more absurd when you realized that each square represented a parsec – in real life, Alpha Centauri and our own solar system would be on neighboring squares!

          Of course, this is one of those things where you can stop thinking about it and just play the damn game, but still. I appreciate it when games DON’T have things blatantly wiping their asses on the immersion factor like that.

        • Chuki792 says:

          Ditto this! THe maps in ii & iii were terrible now that i think of it, strange I couldn’t put my finger on what it was that irked me, they just ‘looked wrong’. I too hope they revert to the GC1 style.

      • trix62 says:

        I use Vista with 4 gigs even tho i think it only says 3 something. I using a fairly old computer. In my opinion these type of games do not need a huge graphics upgrade…

        • Kordanor says:

          Well, the only reason it says “3 something” is that you chose the “wrong” Vista Version. To my knowledge there is no reason at all to chose Vista 32Bit, and hardly anyone uses it. I mean Vista alone together with a browser and anti virus programm are almost eating away the memory a 32 bit system can offer.

      • Wodzu says:

        I think trix62 has asked very good question I wanted to ask about the same. I do not understand the reason behind this, do they need more than 3.5 GB RAM for this game? For what?

        @Kordanor – I have Win 7 with 1 GB RAM and it runs perfectly fine…

      • AstralWanderer says:

        @Kordanor: “Why that if I may ask? XP is dead in a couple of months anyways…”

        a) Compatibility with existing hardware/software
        b) Dislike of UI changes/increased bloat/crappy design
        c) Weakened security due to 64-bit Kernel Patch Protection (KPP) hobbling 3rd party security software

        I run XP on my gaming system and don’t intend to change in the forseeable future. Microsoft dropping support makes maintenance easier since there are fewer patches to deal with. As for security, any version of Windows is vulnerable unless locked down with third party software and 64-bit versions more so thanks to Microsoft’s implementation of KPP.

      • AstralWanderer says:

        @Kordanor: “Why that if I may ask? XP is dead in a couple of months anyways…”

        a) Compatibility with existing hardware/software
        b) Dislike of UI changes/increased bloat/crappy design
        c) Weakened security due to 64-bit Kernel Patch Protection (KPP) hobbling 3rd party security software

        I run XP on my gaming system and don’t intend to change in the forseeable future. Microsoft dropping support makes maintenance easier since there are fewer patches to deal with. As for security, any version of Windows is vulnerable unless locked down with third party software and 64-bit versions more so thanks to KPP.

        • Kordanor says:

          @Astral Wanderer:
          Because Windows is dropping support as you are aware.
          But while this is already extremely bad this itself isn’t all. This can also be seen as start of a chain reaction.
          New Drivers will most likely not be released for Xp anymore.
          XP is still limited to directX9. When XP isn’t supported anymore developers might want to skip the costs and limit their ressources to DX11.
          We already see a shift to 64 bit. When XP is no longer supported developers might no longer include a 32 bit version (like we see here, its not the first game). 32 bit versions of vista and win7 can’t run even some older games efficiently due to their missing free memory and are not a factor.
          Don’t get me wrong. I have 2 PCs myself and on my 2nd PC is mainly use for communication programs I still use XP as well. XP was a great operating system. But I am pretty sure that this system will die during 2014.

          And one thing I almost forgot: The new consoles are 64 bit. So it would take additional efford to develop versions specifically for the people “left behind”.

          Examples for engines which cannot be used by 32 bit systems are Frostbite (e.g. Battlefield) and Nitrous (which is probably used in Galciv 4).
          An article about this engine:

          Of course there are also lots of people who like to tweak and fiddle with their OS. But these people normally don’t use a MS-OS but fiddle with Linux instead.

    • Kordanor says:

      Just wanted to add some statistics recently provided by Steam:
      At the box “DX10/11 Systems (Vista/Win7/8 + DX10/11 GPU” click on “Click for more info” and then scroll to the very bottom.
      Atm about 70% of all windows users are using 64 bit systems, 30% are using 32 bit systems.
      Granted, 30% is still a lot, but guess most of them are laptop users (especially considering that some of the most popular graphic cards are laptop cards) and question is how much sense it makes to make an engine for systems which are very restricted anyways.

  8. Fishy says:

    I would love to hear more about the ship design (and combat too),

    Do the ship modules just fill up space capacity and you have the miniaturization tech to fit more in each design or have the added extra stats then just size to determine what can fit, I wouldn’t mind a little extra to think about when designing :)

    How’s research work in 3 compared to 2? any extra features or major changes?

    Does it have the same fleet management\limits as 2 any extra stats or resources such as crew, unique resources for special weapons etc?

    I’m a soo looking forward to this game and love the move to 64bit, I’ve spent so many hours on 2 and 1 for a while too. GalCiv was my main inspiration for wanting to develop my own 4x game and how far I’ve gotten so far :)

  9. Laird says:

    Adam, thanks.

    Will there be any RPG elements? Specifically, named agents, admirals, generals, etc, etc.

  10. Bobby E says:

    I would like to know if colonizing planets and developing planets will be different.

    I don’t like how every race needs the same kind of high end planet to colonize. Also it would be more interesting if there could be a reason to colonize less than desirable planets, even level zero planets, if there was something there of specific value.

    It would be nice to see in more detail on the planet the types of buildings needing to be built and the good and bad of the different kinds of terrain on specific planets. In other words, more diversity of planets and what they contain and what they can support.

  11. Lens Flares Suck says:

    Will this game concentrate on the basics? Or will it be a ‘kitchen sink’ approach? Games keep getting more complicated and it keeps getting harder to see the basic gameplay mechanics working.

  12. SQW says:

    Will there be randomized tech tree a la SOTS so you don’t bee-line the same tech EVERY TIME.

    I don’t mind hands-off combat as long as the aesthetics is closer to Gratuitous Space Battles than GalCivII. Heck, I’ll even take Endless Space’s over GalCivII.

    • Chuki792 says:

      Agree on the tech tree point, although they could do a SOTSII and make you research the feasibility first, so while techs are locked out to some races due to said feasibility (or not), you might later discover something that makes it more feasible to revisit that area of research, or maybe unlocked through alliances… ooh, how about making it so while allied, you can develop tech that is locked to you but availble to your ally, but only as long as you are allied.. it would add another dimension to diplomacy.
      I have to say, for me aesthetics were definitely not the issue with ES’ combat. If anything they’re some of the best i’ve seen, though i’d have preferred more dynamic battles rather than mimicking 18th century broadsides… but then again as a fan of Battlefleet Gothic, I can enjoy it still since this is how Imperial ships fight. I’d personally hate a top-down view (if thats what the GSB reference was to) i liked the idea of the ‘cinematic’ camera in GC2, i just wish it was actually cinematic, á lá Empire at War, or Nexus:TJI (watching a space battle from the padlocked view of a fighter as the capital ships took lumps out of each other was just gorgeous, weaving through the lasers and cannon shots… its like the Babylon 5 game i always wanted!)

      • Arquebus says:

        Oh yeah. I play a lot of X3: Albion Prelude, and what I love most is being a noncombatant watching massive capital ships and fighters duking it out a few kilometers away.

  13. Dudester says:

    Meh, still no planetary systems revolving around their parent star but rather a collection of marbles on a map ho-hum.

    I really wish space 4x strategy devs broke that boardgame feel to their games and actually tried to immerse us in a real universe.

    Anyways to each their own I guess. They must of settled on this art style a long time ago and aren’t budging from it. I will probably fob this off as I did the last 2. Despite trying to like them.

    • Alien JD says:

      Star Ruler has this if I remember correctly. Planets orbit stars and ships have to slow down and gradually stop with their thrusters. You can’t just park ships near a planet because the planet is moving –you have to put them in orbit.

    • Arquebus says:

      For that, check out Distant Worlds. Stellar systems are modeled in more detail; they’re not just marbles on a grid.

      • Dudester says:

        I tried it, didn’t like it very much because it felt very flat 2 dimensional and my interactions were almost inconsequential. I like playing games that don’t leave me feeling that they can play themselves, however I did find the alien portraits and back stories incredible.

  14. TanC says:

    I see they are planning on using Steam and Steamworks. Do they have plans for a non-Steam version? I don’t mind if they used Steam to only distribute the game though as long as it doesn’t have to go thru Steam to run GC3. I’m not one for multiplayer games anyway.

  15. Harry says:


    in these day the pictures from hubble and other telescopes can find planets on other star systems.
    Can you implement a telescope to build where you explore regions for planets without scout ships?

    How much terraforming will be in the game?



    • Jeff P says:

      Excellent point. A mechanic in which you discover possible colony candidates long range, then send a scout to confirm the details would be great. It would add another element of randomness to the game.

    • Chuki792 says:

      sounds awesome, however looking at the map it looks like, as Dudester reflected, we get the same random scattering of marbles on the board we’ve had since GC2.

  16. towerbooks3192 says:

    Fallen Enchantress’ unit designer was easy to use compared to Galactic Civilization 2’s unit designer, will Gal Civ 3’s designer be as easy to use as the one from fallen enchantress or will the devs be taking something from it in order to improve the ship designer in GalCiv3?

    Some 4x games can have the right mix of complexity and depth, it can be as simple and deep as Civilization or as complex as distant worlds , which part of that scale is Galactic Civilization going to be?

    What would be the invasion mechanics in Galactic Civilization 3? Will the series be adding land units other than ships or what will be the mechanics for planetary invasion this time?

    Will there be more types of improvements/structures that we will be able to build in deep space and will we be able to design them as we design units like make a defense battery or fortress or a listening post?

    How big will be the maps this time around?

    Will there be a faction creator and a chance to make a back story for your faction similar to fallen enchantress?

    With the many space 4x and strategy games around, what could you tell everyone that they should make GalCiv 3 the space strategy of their choice?

  17. intraloper says:

    1. Research. How much randomized and unpredictable will it be? IMO it is a key factor to replayability. You spend money and resources to invent or upgrade something but the outcome should be a bit unexpected eg. new weapons with deadly side-effects for the ship hull.

    2. Damage system. Shallow percentage counter vs individual components damage which could lead to some interesting results ie. drifting capital ships with smashed up engines… epic ;)

  18. adarax says:

    will there be lan multiplayer?

  19. TimmY says:

    No questions. Good luck with the development. I believe in you :)

  20. Don’t worry guys, there will be a new Q’n’A around the end of the year. But you’ll have to post the Qs in Stardock’s forums – unless Adam collects them as SS community questions. Which would be great really.

    If there was one thing that I really found boring in GCs so far it was battles. So much thought gone into design, just to not have any influence on battles. So I’m really looking forward to more news on this.

    • Happy Corner says:

      I had presumed that Mr. Solo was going to collect our questions (at least the more worthwhile ones), send them to Stardock, and maybe bang out an article with whatever answers he gets. But now that you mention it (and I reread THIS article), it’s kind of ambiguous what exactly he’s doing here.

      What’s your plan, Mr. Solo?

      • Adam Solo says:

        “I had presumed that Mr. Solo was going to collect our questions (at least the more worthwhile ones), send them to Stardock, and maybe bang out an article with whatever answers he gets.”.

        You presumed correctly :)

  21. ande says:

    How important are the story elements compared to the multiplayer?

  22. xadar says:

    1. Research. Will each tech in the tech tree have its own icon or some sort of art? Something a la Deadlock: The Planetary Conquest maybe? You don’t see much art in tech trees these day.

    2. Resources. Will there be exotic resources with some specific use (art, rare metals, anti matter, gas isotopes…) or just credits ?

  23. Dufos says:

    I’d like to know what are the planned chagnes to the economic system. In GalCiv2 the economy and sliders were very unintuitive and it was difficult to understand how BC, production, social and military interacted.

    • Lens Flares Suck says:

      In GalCiv2 it was pretty much difficult to understand how ANYTHING worked.

      Because it often didn’t. I tried building a dozen of so ‘increase your influence’ items and it had NO EFFECT ON THE GAMEPLAY WHATSOEVER.

      • Happy Corner says:

        Just out of curiosity, what race were you playing?

        Cause I once tried an influence strategy and found myself getting nowhere, too… really weird, since I’d scored an influence victory in at least half a dozen games before that. Then I remembered I was playing the Yor this time, who have such a massive hit to influence that my failure in that department shouldn’t have been a surprise after all.

        The sliders were annoying, though, I’ll give you that. I hope that GC3 has something less obnoxious.

  24. Ivan says:

    Bombardment – will there be a way to bombard enemy colonies without hauling own population? Or any other way to deny a colony with purely space combat ships (ala blockade in Master of Orion II).

  25. Adam Solo says:

    Questions sent to Stardock! Now we just have to wait :)

  26. andrew says:

    Will it support mods?

  27. Andrew says:

    In Galactic civ 2 I noticed all the ai players would often go to war with another player who was significantly superior to them or all players of opposing philosophy that they no chance of defeating. Will this be address in galactic civ 3?

    • Kordanor says:

      While I guess it’s too late to send this question to the devs I would say that you have to keep in mind that GalCiv3 will have multiplayer. Therefore arbritrary AI decisions as a “fix” for imbalances won’t work that good anymore. Sure, Civ 5 didn’t stop implementing mechanics which have absolutely no use for multiplayer and are actually harming a mp game.

      But my guess is that GalCiv 3 will use more “reasonable” counterbalance mechanics.

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