Lead designer Paul Boyer and associate producer Raymond Bartos answered many of the questions you folks sent in last week. Tactical battles, minor races, and moddability were among the many hot topics, and our guys dropped some new info in their answers. Check out the full Q&A below.
Programming note: Paul (mormegil on the forums) has been active here on the boards and has provided most of the info I’ve been bothering the team for to fill in the journals and such I’ve been posting. Today he’s joined by another member of the team you should get to know: Raymond Bartos, associate producer. Ray’s great, if a little unconsciously intimidating with the giant Nerf mace he absentmindedly twirls around as he paces the office, and you’ll be seeing him around the boards more and more in the coming months. So give Ray a nice friendly welcome to the forums!
A note of apology: I promised to put this up last week, but the untimely intervention of a particularly nasty strain of strep throat nixed that plan. Feel free to curse the flesh-eating bacteria nearest you for its cousin’s role in delaying the latest deployment of Galactic Civilizations III info to your eyeballs.
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Tridus: Given all the threads on it and the endless speculation... is there going to be any player control/influence of ship combat at all? If so, what form will that take? (aka: Tactical combat?)
Paul Boyer, lead designer: At first glance space combat in GC3 will appear similar to that in GC2; ships will fly around in fleets, when ships from separate powers meet in a single tile they fight it out. Two fleets enter, one fleet leaves. Where GC3 will be different is how the battles are fought. If battles are auto-resolved, not much will appear different, but once fleets meet in the battle screen everything changes.
In GC3 we will introduce the ability to assign roles to ships, giving them unique behaviors in fleet battles. These different behaviors will be used to specialize ships and create checks and balances, making the composition of your fleet almost as important as what weapons or defenses it has.
Parrotmath: Will there be tactical battles on the ground (planet)? -- controllable / watchable?
Paul Boyer: We have a new planetary invasion system in the works, but we don't want to comment on it until we are happy with it.
Seilore: Any system requirements/suggestions beyond the windows 7/8 direct X 11 that you have previously stated? To help those that may be looking for a new computer and wanting to make sure it can handle the game.
Paul Boyer: The only other hard and fast requirement is that your OS is 64-bit. We will have more detailed recommend specifications available later, we of course want as many people as possible to be able to play the game. I for one want it to play on my two-year-old laptop, so most computers today should have no problem playing the game.
Achronus: How long will the campaign be? Bigger than GalCiv2? Will there be an interactive campaign selector (such as a 'space map' to choose scenarios in the campaign) or will the campaign be one scenario after the other with only a small briefing in between?)
Will there be cutscenes of quality such as the diplamacy screen we've seen or more on par with Galciv2?
Paul Boyer: The campaign will be pretty beefy. We are still working on the story and the gameplay, so we won't promise any particular length, but it should be around the same length as the Galactic Civilizations II: Dread Lords campaign.
Hawawaa: In the campaign when you fail a mission will the campaign follow different routes (think Wing Commander) or will the it just end there and you have to redo the mission again until you pass? So Branching story?
Paul Boyer: We have not locked down the flow of the campaign yet, but Brad and I are both big fans of a branching campaign, like in Galactic Civilizations II. Don’t be surprised if you see something along those lines in Galactic Civilizations III.
Achronus: Are there going to be animated parts in the ship designer?
Raymond Bartos, associate producer: There are animated parts in Galactic Civilizations II, and we fully intend to implement them in Galactic Civilizations III as well.
Paul Boyer: Yes, you will be able to do all the same animations that were available in Galactic Civilizations II: Twilight of the Arnor, as well as some new ones.
Hawawaa: Can we have a separate program to design ships in when playing other games? Would love this!
Paul Boyer: The idea of having a standalone version of the ship designer has been floating around since Galactic Civilizations II. We would like to do it, but it’s too early to say whether it will be practical. It is definitely on my wish list.
NitroX infinity: What will the difference between the expansions and the dlc be?
Paul Boyer: I think it is safe to say that expansions will drive the Galactic Civilizations story forward, and to deliver larger game-changing content, and scope.
DLC will be where we get to release the fun stuff that we have always wanted to do, but may or may not be part of the overall narrative.
Satoru1: How will you handle DLC vs expansions? In a broader model of should we see something like Game->DLC to fill time->Expansion1->few more DLC->Expansion2 kind of deal (yes I know on steam 'expansions' show up as DLC, but for sake of clarity I'm referring to them in the 'archaic' sense of the term)
Paul Boyer: Currently we are focusing on the the main game. However, we do have plans for multiple expansions as well as some great DLC ideas. It’s still to early to commit to any sort of release order, but your guess is a pretty safe one.
ParagonRenegade: How in depth will the new "Stellar topography" be? Will there be the suggested black holes, binary stars and the like?
Paul Boyer: Interstellar terrain will have effects on movement, ship stats, weapons, etc. In addition, most of the that we are adding in Galactic Civilizations III will be attached to that we are adding in GC3, Black Holes and Antimatter for example. So they should have a huge effect on game play.
Adrencrow: Considering this is on a 64 bit system will the number of AI players in a match be increased? if so any guess as to how many? also will the map sizes change and how so?
Raymond Bartos: We plan to utilize the capabilities that the 64-bit requirements offer us. This means an overall improvement to the game. You will be able to select the galaxy size similar to Galactic Civilizations II, all the way up to Gigantic maps.
Paul Boyer: We dont want to commit on how many players will be able to be on a map, but we will want to make it as high a number as we can while keeping the game fast and fun. We will probably not lock down player numbers until late in the beta process.
Aygis: Will there be Support for stellar Object or live-forms that can move on the main map or on a tactical map? (great for mods) - aka shifting clouds, dark-stray-plantes (?), meteors, space whales,…
Paul Boyer: We will have some new interstellar objects that move on the map. We are still playing with what types, and how many.
Rhonin_the_wizard: Will there be hot seat multiplayer?
Raymond Bartos: As of yet there are no plans to implement this.
Parrotmath: Will there be an editor to create custom galaxies? That is will the modders have easy access in creating a galaxy to their liking for multiplayer matches?
Paul Boyer: We will have a map editor. We hope to have it available at release.
Rhonin_the_wizard: This is probably a given, but will the civilizations have different tech trees?
Raymond Bartos: Yes.
Gaunathor: How different will the tech trees be? What I mean is, will they all be structured the same, but with some techs replaced with others, or will they all be uniquely structured?
Raymond Bartos: We are currently exploring many options as to how exactly we want the player to experience the vast tech tree of Galactic Civilizations III. What I can say now is that each race type will have its own advantages/disadvantages.
WIllythemailboy: Are influence mechanics going to be similar to GC2? How much calculus will be involved in solving the influence system this time around?
Paul Boyer: Cultural influence will be similar to Galactic Civilizations II, but a bit simpler. It will be tied directly to culture this time, so players build cultural improvements that spread their cultural influence. Unlike in Galactic Civilizations II that influence will not be capped at a range; theoretically a player could eventually take over the entire galaxy with the culture from their home planet if no one stopped them.
Qrtxian: What can you tell us about how random events will work? Will they be divided into categories like the "normal" and "mega events" in GCII? About how many are there going to be, and how often are they likely to occur (and is that adjustable)?
Raymond Bartos: Events are a key element that breathe life into Galactic Civilizations, and their importance will be no less in Galactic Civilizations III. Currently there are be two types of events: the more common colonizing events and galactic events. We have a huge number of events planned, and players will have the opportunity to tune their frequency to their own preference. We have also kept the modders in mind with this feature, and made sure our events are customizable through the XML.
Paul Boyer: In addition to colonizing events and galactic events, we still have mega events. These will be similar to those in Twilight of the Arnor, and are meant to really shake up the game. They will be able to be disabled in game setup of course.
ParagonRenegade: How many civilizations will be in the game (not counting custom races)?
Raymond Bartos: Currently we have eight factions for launch: Terran, Drengin, Altarian, Thalan, Yor, Iconian, Iridium, and Krynn. Several unannounced minor factions will join them as well.
Gaunathor: Will some races have unique game mechanics? For example: the Drengin gain slaves when invading planets, which provide bonus production.
Raymond Bartos: Yes, we have unique abilities planned for all the major races.
Qrtxian: What exactly happened to the Korath? They aren't mentioned in the Civilizations databank as either a current or former civilization. Will they be playable or appear in some other fashion, or are they just gone?
And since no one else has brought it up so far, I may as well be the one: what did make you go in such a different direction with the blue-skinned Altarian leader? And are any other returning races getting radical visual overhauls?
Paul Boyer: The Korath were absorbed back into the Drengin Empire at the end of what they now consider to be a civil war. There are still remnants of of the Korath out there that refused to reconcile – you may see them around sooner or later.
We are not trying to do any major overhauls of existing leaders. Our primary goal is to bring them up to date and emphasize the differences that were already there in the lore, but were beyond our skill at the time to depict.
Hawawaa: Will all the killed off races be back in sandbox mode?
Paul Boyer: Not in the base game. We want to make sure that each race feels unique and gets a lot of artistic love, which includes each race having its own ship style and animated leader.
Parrotmath: Also, will there be an option to "Set phasers to fun"?
Raymond Bartos: These are the voyages of Stardock Entertainment...
We plan to boldly go where no fun has ever gone before!
Space: the Final Fun-tier?!?!
Paul Boyer: We hope the entire game is fun, but keep an eye out, there might be some surprises hiding in there.