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Stardock Game News

Take to the Stars Episode One: Philippa Ndiaye

Published on Monday, August 7, 2017 By Tatiora In Offworld Dev Journals

Philippa Ndiaye

Memo from the desk of Philippa Ndiaye
CEO of the Diadem Trust

The future lies in the hands of people like us. We must rise above these failings and lead humanity to greater prosperity.

My father is a wise man, and I have never forgotten those words. When he sought retirement and left his company to me, I followed his procedures to the letter - because they worked. Whispers of nepotism an an effortless inheritance based on anything but merit reached my ears, but I paid none of them any mind - they would all know soon enough.

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Space is Really Really Big

Published on Monday, July 31, 2017 By Draginol In Star Control Journals

Video games normally take liberties with the size of the universe.  We know the universe is big but we frequently trivialize the immense size of the galaxy.

Even scientists seem to trivialize this with questions like "Why haven't we detected aliens?".  The answer might be because our radio signals haven't even reached a trivial distance of the milky way galaxy.

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Our solar system out to Jupiter.

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Zooming way way out to our local neighborhood.

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Now this is zooming out to about as far as we can go and still name stars without skipping over lots of them.

NOTE: Our radio signals haven't even come close to leaving this area yet.  Also, we only know the distances of these starts within +/- 8 light years.  A lot of people think we have nailed down where all these stars are.

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And all that fits in the dot within that box.

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and that last screenshot fits within the red box in this screenshot.

Now, in the new Star Control game, we are going to do our best to mix accuracy with gameplay.  But hopefully you get the idea of just how insane the scales really are.

ASHES DEV JOURNAL: July 2017

Published on Tuesday, July 18, 2017 By GGTheMachine In Ashes Dev Journals

Hey guys!

Lots to talk about here. Last month I was at Stardock headquarters in Michigan, USA all the way from Australia. I had an incredible time, and while I was there we crafted up a roadmap for the rest of 2017. Here's a dorky photo of Brad (Draginol) & I.





##Upcoming 2.4 Update##

Check out the video below to hear all about the update! If you crave more detail, keep reading. 

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GalCiv Journal: July 2017 (Polish and Balance)

Published on Sunday, July 16, 2017 By Frogboy In GalCiv III Dev Journals

CrusadeLogo

 

Microsoft Surface Pro love

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I got GalCiv III to run on my Surface Pro 4 by manually updating the video drivers to the latest ones by Intel.  The official drivers from Microsoft are a year old and those drivers claimed to be DirectX 11 capable drivers (they were not) and so the game would crash when trying to do a DirectX 11 specific call.

If you have an embedded Intel video adapter, do yourself a favor and head over to Intel's site and download the drivers.  I had to download the ZIP file and then extract it and then manually install the driver as it isn't digitally signed.

The biggest issue I have with my Surface Pro 4 is that it throttles. Badly. It would play GalCiv III like a champ if it weren't running at 860Mhz.

 

Balancing Thoughts

There is no perfect balance because what is balanced is in the eye of the beholder.  That said, we are looking at adding more options (such as disabling espionage) to allow players to customize their game experience further. 

Population is going to be tweaked so that 1 point of population = 1 raw production. This will require some balance changes on morale and farms and such but this is the most elegant way to make population be more powerful.  Planets will tend to start with 1 population.

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Ultimate asteroid field: Don't hate the player, hate the game (please don't hate the game!)

Tourism will eventually be tied to your cultural influence. We are starting to keep track of how many tiles you control and how many are congruent to your capital world.

Minor races are going to be getting friskier in the future (as in, provide opportunities for early game limited wars).

AI won't offer to trade with you if they don't like you (results in weird offers)

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AI generated offers are awesome when relations are decent.

 

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Cultural conquest is coming along nicely.

 

Polish Polish Polish

Right now, much of our work is on polishing the UI, making quality of life fixes and fixing bugs that we get reported.  We are also trying to make modding a lot easier so that people can enable subscribe and unsubscribe from mods more easily.

 

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Your Civ's racial abilities will show up on the stats screen

AI

The AI is something we continually update as we get new saved games from players and just play test over and over again.  Each time we play, we see something that we think can be improved on.

I'm in the debugger now.  So more to come.

v2.3 Updates the New Crusade Expansion and Base Game, Galactic Civilizations III

Published on Monday, June 19, 2017 By Island Dog In GalCiv III News

Enjoy AI improvements, new missions, and more in Crusade
and check out the AI adjustments and bug fixes in the base game!
Players who don't own Crusade yet can still experience smarter AI opponents, improved diplomacy, and more!
For a detailed list of updates, view the changelog at the bottom of this post.

 

Crusade Expansion-Only Updates:

New Content 
More missions, more money (and probably more problems). The new missions will let you further explore the galaxy in search of wonders and resources to build up your civilization. The new "Mogul" promotion for your entrepreneurial citizens will net you 5000bc when you reach it. Score! 

Game Balance
Many adjustments to the game's balance through changes to missions, bonuses, ideology, and more also feed into the improved AI.

AI Improvements
The AI is substantially better at managing domestic affairs (improvements, economy, etc.), as well as issues abroad (waging war, exploration, etc.).

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 

Base Game, Galactic Civilizations III Updates:

  • Diplomacy: The AI is much better at bargaining with players and makes more intelligent trade offers.
  • Balance: A balance pass on planetary improvements now gives them an increased effect on gameplay, though it has also made
    them more expensive. Adjustments have also been made to the cost of specialty vessels such as constructors or colony ships.
  • Galaxy Setup: More anomalies are available to explore early on in the game than there were before. The number of planets,
    stars, and habitable planets have also been substantially increased.
  • Performance: Some of the optimizations for Crusade have been ported over to create faster turn times and improve the general framerate.
  • AI: The AI has been improved to be able to play more intelligently, especially during times of war.

 ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 

The v2.3 update is ready and waiting for you in your Steam client!
If you haven't already joined the Crusade, the expansion is available on Steam or at Stardock.

www.galciv3.com | www.galciv3.com/crusade

 

 

v2.3 Changelog:

Crusade Updates:

  • Shipyards and Starbases are now destroyed only when a faction surrenders to the pirates
  • The "Certain" abilities now correctly award research points when ideological traits are unlocked.
  • Singularity Powerplant now actually charges for Elerium.
  • Fixed typos
  • Asking someone to declare an embargo or to declare war now longer destroys the universe.  
  • Slight modification of blueprints to not require as many resource heavy weaponry.
  • Slight increase in the amount of mining the mining modules produce per turn.
  • Shipyard HP and defenses reduced so that players can eliminate pirates and break defenses more effectively.
  • Nerf and Re-enable the Arbitration Center, that was disabled, making the Arbiters ideology trait useless.
  • Update Starbase modules so their bonuses to stack, instead of upgrade.
  • Removed a ghost ship from shipping crate

AI

  • Substantial AI improvement to how the AI builds planetary improvements
  • New AI governors for smarter AI planetary building.
  • Added support for AI specific events.
  • AI transports are much more intelligent than before about targeting planets 
  • AI much smarter about focusing its endeavors on its target primary opponent and its assets
  • AI work on trying to get it to be smarter about when to make massive fleets and when to send out smaller fleets to finish someone much weaker.
  • Lots of AI work to try to find a good balance between the AI using its military might to conquer versus when it should hunker down.  This will be an endless balance war for the AI.
  • Removed code that was blocking the AI from even looking at units that were far away that it knew about. While this made sense when performance was tight, now that this has been moved to its own thread on its own core, we don't care.
  • Damaged fleets that fall behind a certain threshold will be sent home to reinforce
  • More improvements to the AI guessing algorithm for where good planets are (or as novices say "AI cheating" -- it's not cheating).
  • Big one: For the human player, 3 survey ships sitting on the same tile will go to 3 different anomalies rather than all going to the same stupid one.  The AI players are very unhappy with this change.
  • A LOT of AI work on getting the AI to sacrifice a fleet on a hardened position to soften it. The AI doesn't like to sacrifice units and marketing doesn't like it either because users will say the AI is dumb for sending weak fleets that can't possibly win.  But sometimes, you have to do this to soften up the player's defenses if you have the power to spare.  
  • Eliminated the tech governor for the AI.  They don't need a script on what to research.
  • AI ship design much better than previous for putting together more powerful ships by saving up resources more than they were before (fewer better ships rather than squandering them on lots of crap)
  • AI is better about building transports when it should and not build them when it shouldn't.  
  • What AI players build on planets is less scripted and more procedural.
  • New code for the case when the AI can't find something to build on a planet. It switches to the new procedural system to figure out what to build.
  • More AI differentiation based on player traits (moving away from races to support better modding)
  • Eliminated last vestiges of AI scripting for trying to achieve a particular victory. You can't script a victory in a game like this.
  • Ship tech research now weighs heavily what resources it has coming in rather than what it currently has in inventory.  The AI getting lucky and finding say 5 anti-matter shouldn't dictate its weapon research choices.
  • Tech stealing by player or AI players made less frequent
  • Warmonger penalty more intelligent. If you attack early game, you get it for awhile and if you are declaring war on a lot of players (where a lot depends on how many players are in the game) then it goes on.
  • Pirates no longer look for danger when going to a destination because, again, quit being goddam babies.
  • Pirate player will assign its ships to be on the warpath so that they're not such babies about attacking other ships
  • Pirates will do suicidal attacks.
  • Pirates are no longer considered dead if they still have a shipyard.  They are only mostly dead.  
  • As if the pirates are going to maintain a freaking starbase. They're pirates!

Gameplay / Balance

  • All Starbase rings now generate 1 influence per turn so that they at least, over time, will expand 
  • Starbase modules now stack instead of upgrading
  • New promotion type: Mogul.  Gives 5000bc upon promotion from Entrepreneur
  • New missions: Gem Trader, Pilgrimage, Xylology, and Hyper Silicates.
  • Sensors, which provide local navigational benefits, give a slight increase to a starbase's influence
  • Most starbase modules now have a +1 maintenance cost.
  • Colonizing events that gave "Planetary Defense" now give "Planetary Resistance."
  • Colonizers ability now grants 1 administrator point.
  • Unrelenting ability now provides +1 influence per turn for colonies
  • Ancient ability provides 10 research for each anomaly that it picks up.
  • Entrepreneur ability provides 5 additional trade routes in addition to existing abilities
  • Devout ability now gives an influence to all planets boost every time they choose an ideological choice
  • Bureaucrats start with 25 administrators in addition to existing abilities
  • Conquerors receive a 2,500 bounty every time they conquer a planet
  • Certain ability now provides 100 research every time they choose an ideological trait
  • Made the Prolific and Devout abilities global. 
  • Trade secrets bonus reduced to 25% instead of 100% for pragmatic choice.
  • Trade Secrets ideology event nerfed from a 100% bonus to trade income to a 25% trade income bonus.
  • Cultural Center now provides 1 influence per turn flat
  • Elevation Foundation ideology reduced from 0.2 to 0.1 per turn
  • Temple of Enlightenment ideology per turn reduced from 0.3 to 0.1
  • Preparedness Center ideology per turn reduced from 0.2 to 0.1
  • Arbitration Center ideology per turn reduced from 0.2 to 0.1
  • Citadel of Revenue ideology reduced from 0.2 to 0.1
  • Death Furnaces ideology reduced from 9.3 to 0.1 per turn
  • Cultural Beacon now provides both a 20% influence bonus to the colony as well as a +1 per turn influence
  • Cultural Forum influence per turn increased from 2 to 4
  • Information Hub IpT increased from 4 to 6
  • Interstellar Exchange IpT increased from 8 to 12
  • Interstellar Embassy module IpT increased from 12 to 16
  • Interstellar Ministry IpT increased from 16 to 32
  • Changed planetary bonuses that helped just Social Manufacturing to help All Manufacturing.
  • Nerfed Renaissance event's research bonus 
  • Fixed bad Food Stats on Desert worlds and Precursor worlds
  • Nerf some more of the base planet traits for Crusade.
  • Altarian AI personality changed from Aggressive to Peaceful (they were too mean)
  • Terran Resistance are no longer diplomatic (heh, they never were..) but instead are scientific
  • Yor are now 'Expansionist" instead of "Aggressive".  The Yor aren't capable of being "Aggressive" by our standards. That would require them thinking of us as sentient.
  • Arceans are now opportunistic removing the Chaotic trait (Which made them move between Neutral and Merciless).  
  • Vigilant Level 2 on the ideological tree now provides the player 3 engineers upon choosing it.
  • Trade route diplomacy bonus increased from 0.5 to 1 for the Traders 4 trait.
  • When a player dies, their starbases and shipyards are destroyed instead of being given to pirates. 
  • Durational projects will now re-queue themselves on completion (can still be canceled normally)

Custom Factions

  • Custom Starbases can be uploaded to the Steam Workshop 
  • Fleet's now show the original author's name of custom ship designs
  • Original author's name shows when creating a blueprint in the Ship Designer
  • Perf
  • Minor change to FOW with big performance improvements. Removing a redundant stat update.
  • AI players no longer recalculate every turn whether they know about an asteroid.  Asteroids don't move
  • Player objects processing has been moved to the AI for faster performance

UI

  • Govern->Stats screen now shows the number of tiles (parsecs) owned, as well as number of tiles contiguous to the player's homeworld
  • Promotion options list now fills correctly
  • Fixed issue where promotion option costs were not showing the tooltip for the resource entries
  • Fixed display issue where weapon components in the ship designer landing would not show any stats in the tooltip
  • Large UI: Resources in the top bar no longer overlap in 
  • Added alert for when another faction has destroyed a faction

Campaigns

  • Updated campaign maps
  • Reduced starting pop on some of the campaign factions.
  • Retiring in campaign no longer causes some buttons to stack on each other

Bugs

  • Asteroid Mining bases should no longer change ownership.
  • Fixed bad bonus text on several "Lost Worlds" colonizing events.
  • Fix resource cost triggers for Singularity Power Plant.
  • Fix incorrect descriptions on several colonizing events.
  • Mining base assignments no longer get reset if one of your planets has changed ownership or was destroyed 
  • Fixed missing adjacency bonuses on the Silicon based life cities.
  • Fixed Power on the Manufacturing Focus specialization.
  • Fixed crashes
  • Fixed MP desyncs
  • Battles in nebulas are no longer missing their backgrounds
  • Fix preclusion bug that allowed some one-per-planet improvements to be built multiple times.
  • Changed Adjacency text to say Adjacency Bonus.
  • Changed short name for Torian to Torians.
  • Fix for bad grid lines on some Nvidia cards.  Doesn't fix all cases, yet.  But hey, we got some perf as well. 
  • Administrator points granted from the Colonizers ability are now properly displayed.  
  • Fixed some cases where Legion count wasn't being updated correctly.
  • Don't refund legions after invasions for whole ships that weren't destroyed. 
  • You can no longer view non-selectable ships in the fleet details window by going next/prev.
  • Fixed a logistics problem that prevented the ships from not always merging to a commander's fleet
  • "Destroying Galaxy" loading shows up when exiting to the main menu. 
  • Tech victory alerts will no longer show up before the age of ascension.
  • Removed duplicate resource window in the ship designer window
  • Ship missions now show the proper completion time in the queue
  • Metaverse: Tutorial Factions and New Factions now show their proper names
  • Mercenary entries with large resource costs no longer get split into two lines
  • MP: Players are no longer double-charged for mercenary resources.
  • Fixed typos.

Base Game Updates:
For a list of just the base game updates, click here.

AI

  • Player objects calculations moved into the AI thread (performance)
  • Fixed bug that caused AI to potentially get "free credits" due to messaging being disabled
  • Pirate AI is more aggressive.
  • AI better at defending planets (Crusade tech)
  • AI targeting system updated to near Crusade level
  • AI keeps track of its fleet inventory, this is used to make better decisions on what to Build
  • AI more aggressive in using transports
  • Lots and lots of improvements to the AI's ability to target enemies intelligently
  • Smarter AI behavior when it comes to asking for money and such
  • AI smarter about what ships it wants to build and when
  • Much better AI trading system for putting together deals 
  • AI trading changed to be a vector so that it can offer multiple trade offers (Crusade feature)
  • AI evaluates its money much better
  • AI much stingier on ship Trading
  • AI much smarter about declaring war on players when someone tries to bribe them to
  • AI much better about going to war against those who are at war with its ally
  • AI more reactive to parking fleets near its territory
  • AI war mongering set up
  • Smart auto credit bidder added to the trade window to make trading easier. 
  • Greater variance in flavor text in conversations

Gameplay

  • Increased the amount of stars, planets and habitable planets when common is chosen
  • Planetary Improvement cost generally made higher.
  • Production points on colonies and capital planet default to a higher value
  • Reduced manufacturing cost but increased mass of special components so that the ramp up time isn't so severe.
  • Added new "Complete Tech" event.

Bugs 

  • Various crash issues fixed that were due to custom ship designs / ship mods
  • Lots and lots of potential crash issues resolved due to better checking of custom/mod data
  • Crash fixes from Crusade
  • Brought over Crusade optimization for stat updating while unit moving
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