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PCGamesN - The best Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion mods

Published on Wednesday, January 20, 2021 By redskittlesonly In Sins News

From the PCGamesN article:
This iconic RTS/4X game has some really cool mods that you should check out, from Star Wars to Star Trek and more.

Sins of a Solar Empire was a great entry strategy game for its time. Originally released in 2008, it combined the best of RTS games and 4X games to create a wonderfully ruthless space-based strategy experience where you had fleets of capital and sub-capital ships dancing around from system to system as you fought for dominance over randomised maps.

It was a flawed experience, but one the team at Ironclad Games attempted to iterate on through several expansions, such as Trinity, and then the ‘definitive’ edition of the game with 2012’s Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion. About the only true ‘sin’ of SOASE is that it never got a proper sequel, even after all this time. We’re not sure what happened with the developers (who still seemed to be patching the game and releasing DLC), but at one point they got sued by Rebellion so, it’s good that they’re hanging in there at least.

One reason for the game’s continued popularity is it’s dedicated and competent mods community. There are some excellent mods for Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion, many of which have been ported to and from other games. Let’s take a look at some of our favourite picks.

Read more here.

Getting the GalCiv gang back together

Published on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 By Frogboy In GalCiv III Dev Journals

Galactic Civilizations II (not III) was released a long time ago.  Since then, most of the people who worked on the game have remained at Stardock but not everyone.  However, over the past year or so, we've been lucky enough to recruit and or contract back some of the original members to return working on new Galactic Civilizations efforts.


GalCiv at the end of 2020

Published on Friday, December 25, 2020 By Frogboy In GalCiv III Dev Journals

It's hard to believe that GalCiv III was released over 5 years ago.  Since then, we've had a few major expansions and a lot of DLC.

As we enter 2021, we have finally reached the stage where GalCiv III won't be seeing any new DLC but will continue to get updates in the form of balance, fixes and performance improvements as we find them.  Updates will be less frequent as QA time is particularly precious right now.

We are very proud of how Galactic Civilizations III evolved.  We have taken a lot of lessons from it on things that people liked (citizens, hyper gates, artifacts) and things that players didn't like so much (how invasions worked, commonwealths, how governments worked) and will be applying these lessons in the future.

One feature of GalCiv we have discussed many times is how future-proof the engine was.  And that has indeed been proven out as the engine is state of the art (does need its rendering module updated to DX12 at some point).  This means that its future sequel will start out much more fleshed out.  

With GalCiv III v1.0, we basically had to start from scratch which was a real bitter pill, especially given that I had spent oner a decade on the GalCiv OS/2 and Windows I/II AI tech which had to be rewritten.

For those who don't already have GalCiv III, now is the best time to get it.  It is now in its fully realized form.  And for those of you who have been on this journey with us, I hope you like how its evolved and thank you for being there with us!

Merry Christmas and Happy New year!

Featured Community-Made Mods from GalCiv III

Published on Friday, December 11, 2020 By MindlessMe In GalCiv III Dev Journals

Round 2, Fight!

Sorry. I got carried away there...

We're back for another round of my favorite GalCiv III mods created by the community! If you've not had an opportunity to check out the mods below, I highly advise taking a look.

Spokes [Download]
Created by xaaaaguuuu
Three massive black holes drawing all matter towards them. Stars and planets are grouped with some pirate activity in outlying star clusters.

Spokes is an Immense sized map with a lot of cool features. I especially enjoy the view of the three black holes in the center of the map. There are more black holes, planets and other goodies to explore while you are taking over the Galaxy.


PRY-RE Titan [Download]
Created by starmac
The Titan is a powerful Flagship and Carrier

Ever since my days of playing Eve Online, I've been a sucker for large ships. This Titan fits the bill in every way. If you're looking for something scary and large to add to your fleet, then look no further.


Epimetheus Destroyer [Download]
Created by Nightraven
This large warship is designed for heavy combat operations.

Ever since I saw this Destroyer on the Workshop, I have been fascinated by the design. It's not super alien or way out in left-field, but it has a certain charm. Something you can see humans building in the distant future. It's also part of a collection that I recommend checking out.


Vogon Conglomerate [Download]
Created by timeisonfire
Vogons are a bureaucratic race which could run the whole galactic bureaucracy if had the opportunity. They're claimed to be the most unpleasant race in the galaxy - not in an evil way, but in a way of being bad-tempered, officious and bureaucratic slug-like creatures.

I mean, who doesn't love to hate the Vogons? Ever since Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, the science fiction community has had a lot of fun hating on these bureaucratic aliens. Personally, I avoid them at all costs, and whatever you do, DO NOT let them read poetry.


Serenity [Download]
Created by Omnibus
Firefly class Cargo ship

This last one is for all the Firefly lovers out there. It's an excellent recreation of the famed Serenity. Seeing this ship flying through space brings back some memories.

A Timeline of the Evolution of Content in Galactic Civilizations III

Published on Tuesday, November 24, 2020 By Tatiora In GalCiv III Dev Journals

Galactic Civilizations III launched in 2015 just a month or two before I joined the team at Stardock. From my first day here, this particular title was my training ground as I navigated my new job and learned all of the products the marketing team is responsible for. 

It feels appropriate, then, as I pass my 5 year Stardock anniversary, that I take a look at GalCiv III and all of the expansions and DLC we’ve released over the years to continue making it a vast, enjoyable, exciting game for our amazing player base.

Map Pack DLC - July 9, 2015

The map pack DLC released not long after the base game with the goal of adding in several new maps ranging in size from tiny maps ideal for intimate 2-player battlegrounds or gigantic maps, perfect for hosting an 18-player brawl. This DLC is free if you haven’t acquired it yet, but if you’ve purchased the Core edition for the game it’s included, so don’t worry about picking it up individually!



Mega Events DLC - August 11, 2015

The Dread Lords return, the Peacekeepers declare war, and a beloved leader is assassinated. When we released Mega Events, we wanted to further give the player a sense of real galactic peril with some pretty high-stakes events. This particular DLC is now also included in the Core Edition of the game, because we decided that it adds enough that players picking up the game for the first time should have it included in their overall experience.



Revenge of the Snathi DLC - September 10, 2015

No race is safe from the true face of EVIL...even if it is as cute as a button! The Snathi are here and they’re out for revenge in what is, honestly, my favorite GalCiv III DLC to have written for. I had a lot of fun with these guys - I remember when they sent me the screenshots I was like, “OMG, they’re...they’re squirrels.” The DLC has an entire campaign you can play through as the Snathi, ships unique to the race, and introduced the new “scavenge” ability. 



Precursor Worlds DLC - December 9, 2015

Mysterious Precursors, long-forgotten ancient worlds, and unexpected colony events - oh, my! This DLC added new Precursor planet types, several colonization events, and anomalies (which are one of my personal favorite things to explore in GalCiv III). In Precursor Worlds, you can find plenty of exotic technologies like Space Elevators and Orbital Factory Rings, which can boost production, build better ships, or pump up your resources.



Mercenaries Expansion - February 18, 2016

Mercenaries added one of my favorite elements in GalCiv III, and that’s the Galactic Bazaar. At the Bazaar, you can hire all sorts of mercenaries - from scouts to warships - and send them off to do your bidding. The coolest part for me is that they’re a limited commodity; once someone has hired a mercenary, they’re not available to any other players for the rest of the game. This expansion also added my favorite race, the Torians, who are long-time slaves of the Drengin and are fighting for their freedom. Mercenaries has such key gameplay points that it is currently included in the Core edition of the game.



Builder’s Kit DLC - June 2, 2016

We wanted to give fans of the game more options for custom ship mods, so we added a ton of new parts! We included core functional parts in shapes like disks and boxes, as well as dozens of specialized parts in unique shapes like cockpits and fins. This DLC is free for everyone, so if you’re into customization and modding and you haven’t grabbed it yet, make sure you do.



Rise of the Terrans DLC - June 15, 2016

Lead humanity on their first foray into the galaxy and experience the early days of the Terran Alliance! This particular DLC contains a unique prequel story campaign that takes you through how the Terran Alliance was founded and what challenges it faced in its early days. It also gives you a new faction to play, headed by leader Secretary General Mathews. This DLC  is pretty cool from a lore aspect and is worth playing through if you want to get more of the GalCiv story.



Lost Treasures DLC - July 27, 2016

The secrets of long-forgotten worlds are waiting for you! Uncover lost treasures of the past, discover ancient technologies, and guide your empire into a new age of prosperity. You’ll face plenty of new challenges through colony events in this DLC, most of which have to deal with exploration and the difficult choices you’ll have to make as you unearth ancient secrets.



Altarian Prophecy DLC - August 23, 2016

The Altarian Prophecy carries on the story you experience in Rise of the Terrans, but this time you must forge an alliance with the Altarians and convince them to join you in the fight against the Drengin. This is must-have for anyone who wants the full scale of the GalCiv III story.



Crusade Expansion - May 4, 2017

Crusade added a ton of new content that has since become absolutely integral to the overall experience of the game (so it’s included in the Core edition). We added citizens, espionage, two new races - the Onyx Hive and the Terran Resistance - and the beloved Civilization Builder. The sheer amount of custom civilizations that our players have created in the last three years just blows my mind! If you haven’t tried playing a custom faction yet, browse your options on Steam Workshop and give it a try.



Mech Parts Kit DLC - October 24, 2017

What’s cooler than a mech? Nothing! Take on Kaijus - or just Drengin, I suppose - by creating your very own giant fighting robot. This DLC contains lots of unique parts for fans of ship design, including frames, beams, hooks, heads, and so much more.



Heroes of Star Control: Origins DLC - November 12, 2018

If you’ve read any of my other stuff, you’ll know that Star Control: Origins is my favorite project from my time here at Stardock. Honestly, I was pretty excited when I heard we were going to be porting over some of my favorite races into GalCiv III - starting with the Tywom, Mu’Kay, Mowlings, and Free Trandals! All of the factions have unique leaders, music, ship designs, and traits and are a great way to add more options to your gameplay whether you’re a Star Control fan or not.



Intrigue Expansion - April 11, 2018

To lead a civilization to galactic greatness, one must rely on some assistance in the form of government. In Intrigue, we added tons of different ways for you to govern, from diplomat to dictator. You can also establish commonwealths, keep up on current events with the Galactic News Network, and keep your coffers filled with trade on the Galactic Market. My personal favorite detail in this expansion is the way the Government icons look - aren’t those cool?



Retribution Expansion - February 21, 2019

Major civilizations and a new technology tree are only the start of what make Retribution so great. Hypergates - powerful gateways that you can construct and link to let your fleet travel quickly across hyperspace - and an exciting campaign that comes with a climactic final battle for humanity make Retribution truly fun and unique (so much so that it’s included in Core). My personal favorite addition here are the supply ships, which can deliver goods and services across planets in your control to aid in their development.



Villains of Star Control: Origins DLC - August 27, 2019

We return to my favorite Stardock game with a few more races moving over to GalCiv III - The Measured, Phamysht, Xraki, and Scryve became playable factions a little over a year ago. All of the unique leaders, music, ship designs, and traits are perfect for adding more fun to your gameplay and offering some new faction options for you to try.



Worlds in Crisis DLC - May 12, 2020

Our most recent release for GalCiv III, Worlds in Crisis focuses on bringing new world events to your game. The team worked hard on several new planet types and features, providing tons of new options to GalCiv veterans and lots to explore for anyone who was picking up the game for the first time.


Phew, that’s a lot of content! We have a lot of love for the title here - it’s really what gave Stardock its start all those years ago. What’s your favorite content for Galactic Civilizations III? Share with me!

Evolution of the Drengin

Published on Wednesday, November 11, 2020 By Tatiora In GalCiv III Dev Journals

I think most people are fairly well aware of this fact, but in case you aren't, there's something you need to know about Galactic Civilizations: it's been around for a really long time

The game's development actually started in Stardock CEO Brad Wardell's dorm room at Western Michigan State University back in 1993. It was just a hobby at first, until IBM heard about the game's development and sent Brad better tools and other goodies to work with. Galactic Civilizations was released in 1994, the same time as IBM's OS/2 Warp 3 - and that, as they say, is history.

Galactic Civilizations III released in 2015 and has definitely seen an improvement in graphics and gameplay from the first game that hit shelves (yeah, literally, back when PC games actually sold in retail stores!) over 25 years ago. Not only has the game as a whole seen quite an evolution, but the races within have as well - including one of Brad's favorites: the Drengin.

Brad has written a lot of blogs over the years talking about how the company got started and where certain races in GalCiv originated. Regarding the Drengin, he wrote:

"Many years ago, when I was trying to come up with a villain for what I called, at the time, Earth Space Wars, I wanted an enemy that was brutal, ruthless and most importantly, inhuman. An enemy that would look at our system of ethics, morals and honor and laugh at them as being hopelessly naïve and primitive." And thus, the Drengin were born.

Below are some photos of the Drengin (specifically, Lord Kona) over the years.

This is an early Drengin image from the 90's. On an old website I dug up that contains some GalCiv history, the caption under this photo says it's Kandar the Drengin from the cartoon series "Drengin Heroes" (which I assume is some Drengin propaganda).

This is a Drengin painting from 1995. This actually was hanging in what used to be the streaming room when I first started here, before I knew who the Drengin were or what was going on in this image. Looks like that human there isn't having a great day.

This is Lord Kona from the first Galactic Civilizations game. Most of what humanity knows about the Drengin comes from the Arceans, who have had a long relationship with the Drengin (and an amazingly peaceful one, given that they are both war-driven races). 

This is Lord Kona a few years later, in Galactic Civilizations II. The Drengin race is old - really old. By our standards, they are completely ancient, having already established star colonies while we humans were still living in caves and hunting wild prey. 

This one is pretty neat - it's an early Lord Kona concept from Galactic Civilizations III. You can see he's blended somewhat with concepts for the Korath (which you can read a little more about below).

And at last, we land on Lord Kona's final concept in Galactic Civilizations III - an elderly Drengin who has seen many years, many wars, and many great, um...feasts. 

Above, I talked about how an early concept for Lord Kona blended some aesthetics with the Korath. The Korath, shown above, made an appearance in GalCiv III later. They were bred by the Drengin to be the elite shock troops of the empire. The Korath make no bones about what they're about, either: extermination.


Which GalCiv game was your first and do you like to play as the Drengin? If not, what races do you prefer to play as? Let me know in the comments!


The Political Machine 2020 v1.4 - The Final Stretch

Published on Thursday, October 29, 2020 By ScottTykoski In Political Machine News

Greetings fellow Political Junkies!

It's almost here - the moment we've all been waiting for - Election Night 2020! 

Of course, being 2020, experts warn that the surge in mail-in ballots may result in an  'Election Month', but...whatever. I know WE'RE pumped! And with early voter numbers being shattered, it looks like most of the electorate is pumped too!

But enough about the horse race - let's talk about v1.4!

Randomization Options: In the Advanced Setting popup, you can now play with the Randomization of Issues and State Data. Want a crazy game where all the state values are scrambled and the big issues are "Banning Soft Drinks" and "Giving Frogs the Right to Vote"? Want a regular game with just small randomization tweaks made to top issues? In v1.4, all those randomization options at your fingertips.

New Achievements: We've doubled the number of available achievements to unlock, giving hardcore players rewards for their mastery of the game! Masochistic wins for Trump, Biden, and several other candidates will give you an official badge of honor for your accomplishments. Wear them proudly!

New & Improved Issues:
Keeping up with the news has been hard the last few weeks, but we've added & boosted several issues that are coming up in the final stretch of campaigning.

  • Investigating Hunter Biden
  • Herd Immunity
  • Saving the Middle Class
  • Court Packing
  • Dangers of Socialism
  • Second Stimulus Package
  • Nation Mask Mandate
  • Election Integrity

We've also updated the Biden and Trump Ideology trees to reflect their 2020 campaign messaging.

And More!

While those are the big things, the whole change log lists bug fixes and stat tweaks that were put into the final update!

Happy Campaigning!



 v1.4 Changelog

  • NEW FEATURE: Issue and State Randomization
    • You can now access Randomization options under the ADVANCED SETTING tab when setting up your game.
    • Issue randomization can result in 'Some Randomization' or a 'Very Random' game, where even the most crazy fringe issues can bubble up in importance.
    • State Data can have Wealth, Electoral Votes, Party Affiliations, or 'All The Above" randomized.
    • Election Night: Updated the '270 to Win' text to be driven by the actual number of electoral votes.
    • Note: This only works in Single Player modes.
    • Trump Train
    • President Joe
    • #YangGang4Ever
    • Tea-Party Triumph
    • Feel the Burn!
    • Obama's 3rd Term
    • Romney 2020
    • A Vote for Extinction
    • A Totally Random Win
    • Beating the Coronavirus
    • There are now a series of 10 achievements, many of which tied to beating the game on Masochistic difficulty with specific candidates.
  • New Issues
    • Investigating Hunter Biden
    • Peaceful Transfer of Power
    • Saving the Middle Class
    • Socialism
    • Election Integrity
    • Herd Immunity
    • Court Packing
    • California Wildfire Assistance
  • Updated Issues
    • Fracking
    • Filling Supreme Court Vacancy
    • Second Stimulus Package
    • Building the Wall
    • Funding Nasa
    • Stopping the Coronavirus
    • National Mask Mandate
    • Defund the Police
    • Prosecuting Rioters
    • Higher Importance
    • Lower Importance
  • Updated State Demographics 
    • Alaska: D +1, R +8, I -9
    • Oklahoma: D - 5, R +3, I +2 
    • Texas: D + 6, R -1, I-5
    • Virginia: D +2, R -2
    • Washington: D +2, I -2
  • Updated Candidates
    • Ideology Tree given several new issues: Saving the Middle Class, The China Virus, and Dangers of Socialism
    • +1 to Minority Appeal
    • Notes: One of the big areas where President Trump is outperforming his 2016 numbers is with Latino voters, so boosting his 'Minority Appeal' stat made sense for this update.
    • Ideology Tree given several new issues: National Mask Mandate, Second Stimulus Package, and Court Packing
    • +1 to Starting Funds
    • +1 to Media Appeal
    • Notes: After some record-breaking fundraising months, we had to give him a boost in funds. We're also seeing the media go pretty easy on the former VP in situations where they'd be tougher on his opponent, so boosting his Media Appeal made sense as well.
    • Donald Trump
    • Joe Biden
  • Fixes
    • When you have a malformed Ideology Tree in the My Games directory, the game will now pop up a message warning you about the problematic XML (This would break the game in earlier versions).
    • John Adam's home state set to Massachusetts
    • Fixed Various Misc Typos


Galactic Civilizations III: What Sets it Apart

Published on Wednesday, October 28, 2020 By Tatiora In GalCiv III Dev Journals

With so many choices in games available these days thanks to digital distribution, it can sometimes be hard to settle upon a choice of what to play when you happen to have an afternoon free to yourself. 4X is an extremely popular genre, and there's no question that there are hundreds of 4X-style games available on Steam and other platforms.

Today, I want to talk a little bit about what sets Galactic Civilizations III (called GalCiv from here on out for brevity) apart from many of the other 4X games on the market right now. Let's get into it!

The Scale

Right off the bat, anyone who opens up a game of GalCiv will notice just how absolutely massive this game is. It is one of the largest space 4X sandbox games ever made, and the game showcases this in more than just map size. The amount of options you have as a player when setting up your game - from number of planets to how many and which races you'll be sharing the galaxy with, and more - is just so vast. 

You can be as particular as you want with your settings. Don't like that victory condition? Turn it off! Tired of your opponents surrendering before you get a chance to crush them beneath your heel? Turn on the option that forces them to fight to the last breath. You can adjust resource frequency, planet frequency, and whether or not pirates are constantly beating down your proverbial door. If you're just starting out, you might find it helpful to adjust the game's pacing and the amount of crises that occur. 

The nice thing about GalCiv III is that you can start a game on a massive map and play across the span of a few days, or play a smaller-sized map just to fill an afternoon. Scale in this case doesn't refer to how large or small a map is, but rather how many options YOU as a player have at your fingertips when sitting down to play.

The Ship Designer

From our earliest games here at Stardock, we have always had our modding community in mind. Many of our developers got their start in games through modding hobbies, and we like to be able to support that within our games. GalCiv III is unique in that it has a ship designer built into the game, allowing players to make changes that are both cosmetic and functional.

Ship designing can make or break a victory. Looking carefully at the types of weapons and defenses that are available and applying them to ships in order to directly counter your opponent's forces will grant you a huge advantage during a game. If you're like me, you'll be exceptionally excited to change your ship's colors into cool, eye-catching combinations. 

If ship design isn't really your thing, don't worry - there are thousands of community-created designs on the Steam Workshop. Trust me, you can get lost browsing the ships for hours, there's just so much there.

The Civilization Designer

This particular feature was added in one of our expansions and then later rolled into the core version of the game. The Civilization Designer lets you create your own civilization from scratch, complete with traits, attributes, logo, leader photo, and more. You can modify existing civilizations to create some for yourself, or just like with the ship designs, you can browse all of the player-created civilizations over on the Steam Workshop. 

The traits that you apply to your civilization will dramatically affect how they play. You'll start with points to spend on positive traits, but if you're willing to take a few negative traits as well, you'll be able to add more points to your pool in order to take more traits. It's a delicate balancing act, and it's really fun to try new combinations of traits and attributes to see what works best!

When you create your civilization, you'll also be prompted to select what ships they'll start the game with. Not only can you choose ship style and designs, but you'll be able to determine if your civilization will start with scouts, or perhaps a colony ship, or maybe even something with more guns. The choice is yours.

My favorite thing about the Civilization Designer is being able to write a description for my civilization. I can add paragraphs of text talking about the civilization's background, origin, play style, and more. If you want to share your civilization with the community, you can upload it to the workshop! You can learn more about the Civilization Builder here and here.


What sets GalCiv III apart for you? Share your thoughts with me!

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