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Using the Ship Designer in Galactic Civilizations IV

Article posted on 4/28/2022

One of the most popular features in any of our Galactic Civilizations games is the Ship Designer. Here at Stardock, we believe in supporting modders, and this feature is just one of the ways we do that.

My favorite thing about the Ship Designer is that you don’t have to be an artist in order to use it. If you like playing with LEGOs, then this will work out great for you - the pieces snap easily into place, and re-sizing and adjusting is a breeze!

When you first open the designer, you’ll be greeted with a screen that prompts you to choose a ship style. On the left hand side, you can choose from several pre-existing styles (Altarian, Drengin, Mimot, and so on) and also a color scheme. Don’t worry if you get to designing and you change your mind - you can adjust these later!

Below that, you’ll see a menu for ship surface textures. These will add additional details to different areas of your ship, and there are a ton of options which will give you ample opportunity to create a unique look.

Finally, there are the material modifiers, which modify the look, feel, and lighting of your ship. I prefer a slightly brighter look, but there are options to take the lighting down darker, so if that’s more your speed then have at!

Once you’ve selected all your options, you’ll get to the meat and potatoes: the ship parts. There are tons of options, and you can mix and match styles as much as you like to create something brand new. You can start with an existing ship as a base, or strip all of that away to start from scratch instead.

Since design isn’t really my strong suit, I like to pick an existing ship and modify it. I don’t really have a method - I just grab parts that I think might look good, drag them around until I find a spot they look like they might fit well, and then snap them in. I adjust the size and angles until it feels right, then I move onto the next thing.

In addition to just the aesthetics, there are parts that you can add to the ship that change the ship’s stats, like hyperdrives that add more movement or beam weapons to cut down your enemies.

Once I’ve pieced it together, it’s time to save it and share it. I wrote up a short description of mine, gave it a name - The Night Shark - and then posed my ship for its picture. Once all of that was settled, I clicked the upload button and presto - it’s online and ready for sharing!

Have you used the ship design feature yet? Share your creations with me! Galactic Civilizations IV is now available at