Posted on behalf of Paul Boyer
The day has finally arrived where Galactic Civilizations III slips out of my iron grip and into the hands of our Elite Founders. I am both excited and terrified. The team has been working hard for over a year, and we are very proud of this alpha. That said, we have a long way to go and we’re excited to have you guys along for the rest of the ride.
Normally, we try not to give the player to much information on how to play the game in a beta; we want to know if players can figure things out or if we have made mechanics, systems, or strategies too difficult to discover. However, with this initial Galactic Civilizations III alpha, we have many features disabled or hidden and that results in game flow issues that will not be in future builds. So in hopes of helping players fully explore the alpha and find as many bugs as possible. I wanted to post some helpful hints -- and some strategic warnings -- to our heroic founders.
When you think to yourself, “Why don't they do this, or why aren't they doing that?” the answer will often be “we do and it’s disabled for alpha” or “we plan to, it’s just not in yet.” That said, ask anyway! We want to know what you think -- that’s the whole purpose of inviting you into our alpha. No request is unwelcome.
As mentioned above, major game features are missing in this alpha. Some of these features leave bigger holes in the gameplay than we would like.
We will be introducing “consumable” strategic resources that will live in asteroids, nebulas, black holes, and certain planets. We have not included these in the alpha in order to make sure the players are as unrestrained as possible in their conquering of the galaxy. So when you fly through an nebula and wonder why it’s there, or question why you can’t mine an asteroid field, the answer is that they are part of something bigger.
Perhaps the biggest missing piece seasoned Galactic Civilizations players will notice is the ship designer. We love this feature as much as you do, but it’s disabled for alpha primarily because it’s not ready for prime time. It works; all of the ships currently in the game were built with it. One side effect of missing the ship designer is that it’s kind of hard to figure out how to unlock new ships. See the hints below for a couple tips on that.
Diplomacy, Trade, and the United Planets
We want players banging on the system, killing each other and conquering or colonizing as many planets as they can get their hands on. Diplomacy would only get in the way! We know that diplomacy is a key feature of Galactic Civilizations, but we want it to be fun before we turn it on. Its absence leaves some big holes in the game flow in the meantime, particularly where it comes to money, so watch your treasury.
Graphical Tech Tree, and Technological Ages.
The graphical tech tree is disabled, which can make it a bit hard to tell where research paths lead. Each tech in the tech list will have “leads to” list, so keep an eye on that as you feel your way through the tree.
We are also introducing the concept of technological ages. Each tech belongs to an age, and once you research enough you will unlock the next age. This allows us to better control the progression of the game. For now, we’ve locked everyone in the first age so you will only have access to the first third of the tech tree. The good news is there are plenty of ways to kill each other in that first third.
Descriptions and Text
Many game items are currently using filler text and description, most of which will be getting replaced or revised as we move forward. Typos and incorrect homonyms abound. Feel free to report these, but many of these strings will be getting re-worked regardless. Missing strings and missing descriptions that don’t even say something like “full description goes here” may be symptoms of larger problems, so let us know if you find any of those.
Some of the missing pieces above can lead to confusion when playing. To help players make get the most out of the alpha, I wanted to supply some helpful hints. Most of these only apply to the alpha, and we will have better ways to address these problems in the future.
Unlocking ships without the ship designer can be confusing. We don’t automatically generate ships as you unlock techs in the alpha, as we did in GC2 and will in GC3 in a future build. Instead we have created a large set of ships that each race can unlock.
There are tiny, small, and medium versions of all the primary weapons paths. Many require both a weapon and a defense, while others are unlocked with better drives, sensors, or life support. Here is a quick example:
Researching Lasers and Deflectors unlocks the tiny ship “Sniper MII”. If the player than discovers Interstellar Craft, they unlock the small ship “Cutter”. Then, at Zero-G Construction, the medium ship “Corvette” becomes available.
Improvement adjacency is new to Galactic Civilization III, and we are eager to get your feedback on it. I encourage you to play with it – adjacency can make a huge difference. We are currently keeping the rules pretty simple, but make sure you check tooltips to see what is possible. Simple example:
Placing a factory next to another gives both factories will get a one-level bonus, which currently equals about +10% each. Building a fusion power plant next to those factories would boost them both up another level, giving them each a total of +20%.
All production is based on population. Simply putting down a factory no longer gets you +2 production, but instead grants +20% production from of your population. This is a big change for the series so keep an eye on your population and do what you can to help it grow.
See this quick guide to the basics of the Galactic Civilizations III economy for more.
I said it above and I’ll say it again, this is an alpha. I can pretty confidently say that everything you see today will be changed or even reworked completely over the next year. We want as much feedback as possible during that time so we can make sure that every tweak we make and every feature we add or change makes the game more fun.
Thank you to all the Founders, and welcome to the team.