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GalCiv IV: Supernova Dev Journal #41 - Managing a Large Game

Published on Monday, January 8, 2024 By BATTLEMODE In GalCiv IV Dev Journals

A common complaint found in the 4X genre among its player-base, old and new, is that eventually their large and expansive empire becomes a chore to manage, with many military units to individually control and too many colonies or cities to build, leading to the player losing their connection with the game as it begins to feel more like work than play.

We still see some complaints about this in our games too, and while we’re not claiming to have solved the issue forever in the GalCiv series, we’ve made some bold strides towards that goal, and I thought I’d point some of these features and tools in the hopes that players make use of them a little more.

Galactic Civilizations IV and its Supernova update made some fairly dramatic changes in an attempt to address this old 4X problem, both in terms of giving the player options to more carefully structure their game, and some nifty tools to help automate some of the more laborious aspects of the game.


In a first for the series, Stardock added the new Sectors as a feature in Galactic Civilization’s IV as a way to break up larger maps into smaller portions: this doesn’t necessarily mean your game is smaller, as adding more sectors can make the game very large, and very long. Instead, it offers a way for the player to compartmentalise and portion off various parts of the game map into more manageable chunks, and good organisation is the key to successful managements. Of course, if you prefer, you can play the game on a single sector map as featured in previous GalCiv games!


Secondly we’ve reduced the overall number of player-managed worlds by separating settled planets into Core Worlds and Colonies. The player is now free to decide whether they want to control more or less of the higher class planets they settle, and the way Colonies attach to Core Worlds to add their Planetary Input values has added a new dimension to the game’s economic simulation in the process.


Leaders can be added to Factions, adding their Statistics to directly boost your economy in various aspects in accordance with the theme of the Faction they’re a member of. This feature was added as a more fun and thematic replacement for the old “economy sliders” that featured in the original Galactic Civilization game. While these did allow the player to directly fine tune where their economic spending was going each turn, it was a little unnecessarily complex and had the potential to encourage micromanagement on a turn-by-turn level. Anybody who played the original Master of Orion game on Impossible difficulty might remember having to resort to this tactic to stand a chance of keeping up with the AI super-boosted economy, and while that was probably ok back in 1994, 4X players expect better these days!

Finally, we’ve added some optional automation tools to the user interface to reduce the need for the player having to manually move or build units each turn. I think it is these tools specifically that players tend to miss when playing the game, so let’s take a look at some of them.

Firstly, Probes and Flagships can be automated to explore on their own. Not exactly a ground-breaking feature in 2023, but it was back in GalCiv1!


Slightly more impressive is the Rally Point system: Rally Points can be created anywhere in space, or attached to Colonies and Starbases. Once created, they can be easily renamed or moved to a new location too. Shipyards can be set to send all constructed vessels to a specific Rally Point, while individual ships and Fleets also have a button on their UI allowing them to auto-navigate to a waypoint too.

These Rally Points are intended to drastically reduce the amount of player clicks and map scrolling required to manually move many ships around each turn, and with some thought, networks of Rally Points can be created to automate the production and movement of ships from the inner sphere of your empire out to reinforce key locations on its frontiers, and can be of particular use during wartime.


And that’s not all: the Automate window in the Civilization screen allows empire-wide quick allocation and reallocation of production targets for Shipyards and Rally Points for Fleets. Shipyards can be filtered by the type of ship they’re building, and then that selection can either be set to build something, or send those newly constructed ships to a different Rally Point instead. Ships can be filtered by type or their destination, and have all their waypoints changed simultaneously. Fleets can be reallocated to a new Rally Point here too.


When utilized, the Rally Point and Automate tools can take help take the pain out of managing a very large 4X empire. They do tend to come into play a bit later in the game, but for those of you that love the idea of ruling over the very largest maps, but don’t love the excessive management that comes with it, they might be what you’re looking for.

Hope you find this helpful!



Galactic Civilizations IV: Supernova Dev Journals