Dropping 32bit support was a huge change for Galactic Civilizations. On the one hand we know that it means that there is a percentage of potential customers that won't be able to play the game. On the other, we are able to do things we could never do before, such as play a game with 100 players, which is exactly what I did this week. The following is the results.
*** Disclaimer ***
The following if from a super early version of the Beta 2 build. You will see some bugs and partially added features. The most noticeable bug is that the font text looks a little wonky and isn't showing special characters. This is because we are rewriting the font code, some players had issues using DirectWrite (the old solution), and performance was pretty bad. The new font code fixes all of that, but you will see missing character and font alignment issues in the following screenshots.
*** Disclaimer #2 ***
I am a modder and I did this as a mod which required 3 new xml files. One to add all the new factions, one to add names for the factions and one to add new colors for the factions. I didn't go as far as giving the factions all unique planet names, icons, etc. Which would have been cool, but this is really just to put the engine to the test.
Starting My Game
Here you sae the first evidence that I am using a very early beta 2 build, the Kyrnn have been enabled. The reason you see a bunch of Terrans is because the first 20 new factions I added all use the Terran leader graphics (then 20 that use Drengin, 20 Altarian, 20 Iridium and 19 Krynn). That top bar scrolls so I could select any of my new factions, but I'm going with my personal favorite faction, the Iridium (I love their mirror ships and their research bonus).
I am starting on a Large map (i accidentally started on a Small and that was incredibly crowded). Paul is adding some map sizes above large which will be fun too, but for now I'm going to use Large and enjoy having other players all around me. To support all of these players I've set Star Frequency, Planet Frequency and Habitable Planet Frequency all to Abundant.
Here is where I get to pick who I want to play against. 99 opponents have been added. After I took this screenshot I went back and switch the Weeping Angels to Godlike Intelligence just to see if that would be enough to allow them to start conquering the galaxy. Bonus points to anyone who knows where these faction names came from.
In the beginning this doesn't look much different than any of my other GalCiv3 games. I have my starting planet, my shipyard with which to make more and a selection of ships to explore with. I'm going to assume that if there are other habitable planets out there in the universe then the other 99 players are going to grab them first, so I am going to colonize the one right beside my homeworld even though it isn't ideal.
It also seems like a good time to start researching some weapons technology. Unlike in Beta 1 we start at peace in Beta 2, but how long can that last?
I love making my 2nd planet into a research planet so that my first can focus on manufacturing and my 2nd planet is ideally suited for it. With this and the Iridium Research bonus I should be getting techs a good rate.
Only 5 turns in and I already have neighbors on all sides. Here we notice the first bug with running 100 players in one game, the ZoC code (that draws the borders around your empires) is having a problem dealing with that many players. Something we will check out. But the minimap correctly displayed all the owned territories I've seen so far.
My survery ship is pretty awesome for its range and sight, but nearly useless for collecting anomalies. I think I found 1 before these other factions scoured the universe like teenage girls at a Bieber concert (that reference seems dated, what do teenage girls go crazy for now? Kardashian mobile apps? Genetically modified ponies? Eric Estrada?)
Don't mind me busy neighbors stealing my anomalies, I'm just going to attach some purely decorative missiles to my spaceships.
Turn 9 and my survey ship has found an Antimatter and Durantium resource close enough together that I could get both with one starbase. It's not exactly close to my home planet but definitly worth it to get a Mining Base up here and working before anyone else does.
Turn 29. My survey ship hangs out in a dust cloud well within someone else's borders. I love that the universe is full of all kinds of stuff, but very little of it isn't claimed by someone in this game. While I have been exploring I built and deployed my new Mining Base and have built a few bombers to help clear out the rabble between my home planet and my new Mining Base in some sort of Genocidal version of Manifest Destiny.
Turn 31, my bombers are ready to launch my first war and take out the shipyards of the neighbors between me and my Mining Base. I know Paul plans to give Shipyards some defense (so you can't shut down players by wiping their shipyards) but for now they are easy picking and I'm going to take advantage of that.
No more shipyards for you. I'll be back when I can invade planets, until then just look up at my bombers in awe. You are no longer a space exploring people.
Turn 49 and the more I uncover the more factions I find. I have still only met a fraction to the players in the game (there are entire empires rising and falling that I will probably never meet in this game) as my range limits will only allow me to explore this little corner. But there is certainly enough to do even within it.
By Turn 66 my Mining Base is up and working and I'm collecting both the antimatter and Duranthium. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to collect them even though they aren't in my ZoC or not. I'll have to ask Paul. Either way my fleet of bombers has stared picking on another player and I can see that the Weeping Angels are #3 in the faction power rankings (I'm pretty low on the list) so I'm very worried about what happens when they find me.
But that is it for now. It's a crazy experiment, but it was fun and it made me so glad we are able to do this in GalCiv3.
There are more crazy experiments to come. And I am looking forward to getting the custom faction stuff in so modders can do what I did and a lot more to make all of the factions more interesting and unique.