Reinventing the Wheel

By on October 30, 2015 11:46:00 AM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

Frogboy

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imageYesterday was the long-waited big update to Galactic Civilizations III.  Version 1.4 added many many AI and UI updates to the game based on months of player feedback.

You can see the news here: http://forums.galciv3.com/472349/

 

!! UPDATE !! READ THIS: http://forums.galciv3.com/472865/ 

We’re pretty happy with the response overall.  But there is one change I’d like to discuss with you guys: THE WHEEL.

Who am I?

I’m Brad Wardell. I wrote the original GalCiv for OS/2 and much of GalCiv I and GalCiv II.  I also designed those games and wrote their AIs.  On GalCiv III I’ve been more of an executive consultant thus far as I’ve been focusing on Ashes of the Singularity for the past couple of years.  But GalCiv remains my baby. I’ve spent over 20 years with it. So it matters a lot to me.

Background

In GalCiv III 1.0 through 1.3 players could go to the planetary governor and override the global spending priorities on a planetary basis.  This made micro-managers very happy and people who don’t like to micro manage very sad.

Planetary Wheel: Love & Hate

I am in the camp of hating it. HATING it.  Not because of the micromanagement because it completely violates what GalCiv has always been about: You are running a galactic civilization.  It’s supposed to be half simulation, half strategy game.  The wheel is totally gamey.  No civilization functions where last being can be assigned a job by the government. 

I have tried to stay reasonably hands off on GalCiv III but the planetary wheel had to go.  I wanted it out for 1.1, then 1.2, then 1.3 but other things took priority and it was finally killed in 1.4.

It has NOTHING to do with the AI

I read the forums and I see people talking about the change being made to make the AI easier.  That’s a ridiculous argument. Not to be mean but only a non-programmer would say that.  Micro-managing is what AIs do best.  I could write up an AI that could tweak planetary wheels every turn to a level that would make most micro managers weep. 

Put another way: computers are faster and better at math than humans and the planetary wheel was all about math. 

The reason the AI didn’t use the planetary wheel in previous versions is because it was supposed to be eliminated long ago.  So there was no point writing AI for this if the feature was going to go away.

It is my game but it is also YOUR game

Now, that said, I write games for you guys. That’s what motivates me.  I see people who really liked the planetary wheel.  So we need some sort of solution that will make both groups happy.

What I’m going to ask is that a prefs.ini setting called planetarywheel=on be added.  If that’s on, you’ll get your wheel.  However, that won’t be the official version of the game. There will be no in-game UI option to turn it on.  People who are passionate about this feature can still turn it on without everyone else feeling like they have to use this feature in order to micro-manage their empire to the nth degree.

I know that solution won’t make everyone happy. No solution will.  But hopefully this will be a reasonable compromise for most people.

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October 30, 2015 11:50:17 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Planetary wheel going away is nothing but a win.  The design of infrastructure already rewards specialization, compounding that just made the game broken with horrendously powerful specialized planets.

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October 30, 2015 11:51:44 AM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

Brad, out of curiosity do you guys have any in-game data on how many players used the planetary wheel?

I prefer the focus system to the wheel and I'm happy with the continuous improvement of the game. Keep up the good work.

Edit: just one suggestion, could we able to set the focus from the colony list?

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October 30, 2015 12:10:23 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Brad that would be an acceptable solution to me.  I respect the opinions of those who h8 the wheel.  For me its one of the coolest game features cuz I love to micromanage planets.  I was close to hanging the game up with it gone.  It would be like Ford taking the stereo out of my mustang.  The prefs ini solution works for me.  Would this be a 1.5 release?

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October 30, 2015 12:12:45 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

As someone who works in Public Relations, I must thank you for such a well thought out and kind post. I'm not a fan of the wheel but am sure this will make people happy- just like a no doubt in-progress Diplomacy Update and more DLC will make me happy!

 

Keep on rocking and rolling.

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October 30, 2015 12:17:26 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

Quoting Rhonin_the_wizard,

Brad, out of curiosity do you guys have any in-game data on how many players used the planetary wheel?

I prefer the focus system to the wheel and I'm happy with the continuous improvement of the game. Keep up the good work.

Edit: just one suggestion, could we able to set the focus from the colony list?

Yes.  Almost nobody used it.  However, nearly 20% of players who have more than 100 hours into the game use it (Which is a lot).

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October 30, 2015 12:41:29 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

One suggestion...

 

Can we get the Production slider on the planetary level that lets us focus Civilian/Military rather than just the super project?


There are times when i want to focus more on military or more on infrastructure... and making it so  I can only be building ships at max if I am not building any infrastructure seems to defeat the whole reason we moved the shipyards off of the planets.

 

 

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October 30, 2015 12:44:40 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

I think I follow your reasoning Brad and I am glad you made that post. Hopefully that will make things less confusing for many people.

My knee jerk reaction to the removal of the wheel was frustration but I gave it a try and I do not really feel the game to be less enjoyable.

The solution of making the wheel toggable in the prefs.ini is a good compromise. But what about making it a non-default but toggable option at the start of a game? It can have a strong influence on the overall difficulty and style of a game. So making it a permanent choice at the beginning of the game, like AI difficulty and galaxy size makes some sense.  At least it does to me.

In any case thank you for at least making the option easy to toggle back, I am sure some modders will do this justice.

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October 30, 2015 12:49:10 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

Thanks for  the response. I misunderstood the reason for its removal and thought it was to make players on a lvl field with the Ai. 

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October 30, 2015 12:54:11 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

So if we can get 20% of people with 100+ hrs we can dictate where the game goes from here?  Nice to know.

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October 30, 2015 1:07:33 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

I think you should stick by you guns and leave it to the dustpile.

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October 30, 2015 1:10:35 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

Good. I did ask for it to be something we could mod back in when the change was originally announced. This should keep most people happy. I also said there'd be a whirlwind of rage over the change, too... this whole debacle  was fairly predictable and could've been avoided.


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October 30, 2015 1:12:15 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

Brad, you are just too nice to people.  Seriously.  Taking the planetary wheel out was a good game design idea.  A better idea would have been to never let it be there in the first place and people would have never known to miss it.  But, that is irrelevant now and you are just being way too accommodating.  Ah well, I guess that is why Stardock has such a customer centric reputation/history and I don't.

But when you talk about a moddable game, you get serious. 

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October 30, 2015 1:36:13 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

Brad, The wheel is still alive, in my Version of the game    (the 1.4 opt-in final)

also the console is disabled and dosent work in any way.

And the Assault fighter module bug, has come back to life, from the beta Version (0.70-0.90) 

I am in need of great help at the moment, is there any thing i can do.

(here is what i have tried to do)

 

Install the game again (dint work) (verify the content on steam and validate the files, that also didnt work.)

so PLZ (i am desperate here) i need some kind of support, i havent tried yet that can fix my game to the current state of the game.

 

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October 30, 2015 2:03:39 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

Very sad to hear this, Brad. I think the planet wheel was an absolutely essential construct for resource generation governance. The new system allowing you a whopping 3 options does not do justice to this games complexity at all.

 

Is there at least a plan to improve control over the *social-vs-military* production spending percentage on a non-global level?

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October 30, 2015 2:23:20 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

Strumknecht: Have tried going eco? (in the actually game)

Cause i have and i found the best way to make Money. (Your Capital planet + Raw Production and population, starbases spec in eco,)

so what you are saying is very wrong. (the planet Wheel is not needed.

what you need now that the wheel it is gone, is raw Production starbases (eco) population above 30 in the mid game to get good amount of BC Just from the Capital.

(also rush the eco Tech in the age of expansion and anything that can give raw-Production + population.

  at least for me that Works. (also i dont use the Wheel even if i can, but it will ruin my experience of the game for me.

 

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October 30, 2015 2:44:42 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

I am not talking about making money, maybe I was unclear.

The wheel was the only way you could direct and adjust planet resource generation in any meaningful manner.

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October 30, 2015 3:06:37 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

Quoting Ashbery76,

I think you should stick by you guns and leave it to the dustpile.

 

Why? It's an option that can be toggled on or off, defaulting to off, and unsupported by SD. If you don't want to use it, then it will have no impact on your life whatsoever. What possible reason is there for objecting to that? 

 

Quoting erischild,

Brad, you are just too nice to people.  Seriously.  Taking the planetary wheel out was a good game design idea. 

 

Meh, I don't think it was good game design. It has good and bad aspects, and whether the good (bringing production into balance with spending; there's also great potential for micro-reduction based on the feature in future, though it's not in the game as yet) outweighes the bad (limiting player control and causing a massive shit storm for two months) is highly debatable, especially since the positives could have been achieved in other (albeit more labour-intensive) ways without the negative impact. The fact is, the community is remains very split on this even beyond this forum, as the number of new faces who've suddenly popped up in the last 24 hours to declare they hate it and that the game has been ruined for them shows.

 

That makes it hard to say whether the change is good or bad; especially since many of the players who claim to like the wheel's disappearance would still insist on using it if it were available in addition to focuses. A good change is not one where even the supporters think it's the worse option when given a direct choice. It has good balance implications; this needs to be recognized (and should be stressed far more to those disappointed by the wheel's disappearance), but we also need to recognize that removing player freedom was not the only way to achieve that, and that using UI changes to address balance issues is never a good solution.

 

Bringing it back on a prefs toggle is a good compromise, and really there's no solid reason for anyone to object to it.

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October 30, 2015 3:46:02 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

 

I am not talking about making money, maybe I was unclear.

The wheel was the only way you could direct and adjust planet resource generation in any meaningful manner. (reply to 16)

 

but not anymore.

 

Also i am gonna give you an exsample how the Wheel is gonna work in the real world, by using Brad as an exsample.

(sorry Brad i hope you dont feel offended, but i wanna give him a good exsample as possible. (if i can)

 

Let me tell what will happen if you ask for the Wheel!

 

lets say you are controlling Earth and you got the Wheel!.

what do you do With it ?

use it of course. (but in a very unrealistic way)

Brad Works at stardock but what happens ? you have turned the Wheel into 100% eco. (end turn)

Next day: what have happend ? well everybody is now working in the banks, markets stores. (brad included, but who is at stadock ?)  (why do they do that ? cause you set the Wheel to 100% eco)

End turn/day by setting the Wheel to 100%manufactory.

Next day: All of the Earth is now working in the factorys (brad included, so who is in charge of coding and writing, now!! ?

Turn the Wheel to reasearch 100% Again ? (waits Next day end turn)

brad is now working as a scientist!! ? (but is he good at it Nooo!! he dosent have the education to do that and he knows little about what he is gonna do!.) (also the labs dosent have any Space at all due to all of Earth is at the science labs.

Now tell me do You! still think that the Wheel is really good at maneging People With different educations on Earth ? (NO! the empire (Earth) didnt last a month because of the idea 100% Wheel end turn (statement) and you killed Brad by telling him to go and work on somthing he cant work on he lost his house he lost his Income and starved to death.

 

(i hope all who see this, and still wish the Wheel was back. is now feeling really guilty about what they have done!.

 1 day before the months end.

Newspaper news: Earth didnt last one month, who is to blame ?

 

Muhahahahahahahahaha i hope you have learnd why the Wheel dosent work! (in short terms) in a 4x Space simulator,sandbox  turn-based strategy game as galciv 3.

 

Ironi and Karma is best!! (yes i became a Maniac while writing about this.

 

And a Apology to Brad:

 

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October 30, 2015 5:07:32 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums
I'm glad to see the local wheel gone. I'm kind of an OCD minimaxer, and I'm certainly one of the 20% of players with more than 100 hours logged. I always felt like I HAD to use the local wheel. Now I prefer the focus system. It makes it more of a sim and less of a spreadsheet. I was a bit afraid to install it, but I'm delighted with the change. It would be great to have a line in prefs.ini that lets one set social/military spending per planet, as several have said.
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October 30, 2015 5:51:25 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

It's like ripping off a band-aid, guys. It needs to be done, there's going to be some pain involved, but 6 months from now no one will remember or care.

If there had never been a wheel to begin with, nobody would be saying anything right now.

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October 30, 2015 7:45:35 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

Don't spend precious dev time on putting the wheel back!

Spend it on refining what we have now.

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October 30, 2015 8:02:52 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

It has NOTHING to do with the AI

I read the forums and I see people talking about the change being made to make the AI easier.  That’s a ridiculous argument. Not to be mean but only a non-programmer would say that.  Micro-managing is what AIs do best.  I could write up an AI that could tweak planetary wheels every turn to a level that would make most micro managers weep.  Put another way: computers are faster and better at math than humans and the planetary wheel was all about math.  The reason the AI didn’t use the planetary wheel in previous versions is because it was supposed to be eliminated long ago.  So there was no point writing AI for this if the feature was going to go away.

Then you simply should have made these AI tweaks. Let the AI outsmart the human player with his raw computational powers. Then, you wouldn't have to give the AI such enormous difficulty bonuses/handicaps because the AI could work them out for himself via planetary specialization. There are alot of players around who despise such handicaps as "cheats" and see them as proof of weak AI coding (not my opinion really). 

In contrast noone accuses a chess computer to be cheating because everyone knows they have no trouble to fully calculate 5,6,10... turns in advance in regions where humans naturally will get lost... and that's practically the only measurement of diff levels in chess.

Now in GalCiv there are so many fields where a human player has tremendous advantages which he can exploit for his own purposes it would just be more than fair if the AI would do these kinds of calculations....

Nevertheless, I agree with your other points raised.

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October 30, 2015 8:14:25 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

"No civilization functions where last being can be assigned a job by the government. "

Actually, that's not true... but a good point regardless. For a race like the YOR, it makes total sense...

Also, hive-minded races like the Borg from star treck...

 

Or a theoretical race where the ruler can take control of any one subject's body independently at any one point in time.

 

 

you know what? Make the local-wheel a Race-Trait! Call it *Control*... or something along those lines. (also maybe add the traits available to 3 instead of 2 for every race)

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October 30, 2015 8:18:39 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

wheel ftw

 

just my 2 cents

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October 30, 2015 9:08:02 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

Quoting Maiden666,

Then you simply should have made these AI tweaks. Let the AI outsmart the human player with his raw computational powers. Then, you wouldn't have to give the AI such enormous difficulty bonuses/handicaps because the AI could work them out for himself via planetary specialization. There are alot of players around who despise such handicaps as "cheats" and see them as proof of weak AI coding (not my opinion really). 


In contrast noone accuses a chess computer to be cheating because everyone knows they have no trouble to fully calculate 5,6,10... turns in advance in regions where humans naturally will get lost... and that's practically the only measurement of diff levels in chess.

Now in GalCiv there are so many fields where a human player has tremendous advantages which he can exploit for his own purposes it would just be more than fair if the AI would do these kinds of calculations....

Nevertheless, I agree with your other points raised.

 

Indeed; it was particularly galling, when faced with the atrocious AI and the obvious use of handicaps, to be told by Paul that SD couldn't teach the AI to specialize because 'it would be so good at it that people would think it was cheating'. Oh, so the AI playing well would be cheating, but obviously handing the AI giant cash grants every dozen turns and tripling it's production is OK? That's a little bit patronizing, frankly, because it implies that the player base are too stupid to recognize the difference between good play and blatant cheating.

 

We know that a commercial product's AI is never going to be world-class. But we expect the AI to make up for it's other deficiencies by doing all that micro that we can't. We defeat it in spite of that, and that's what makes us feel good when we beat the game. 

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