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Stardock Game News

Ashes of the Singularity v1.2 Preview!

Published on Saturday, June 4, 2016 By Frogboy In Ashes Dev Journals

 

We’re putting the final touches on Ashes of the Singularity version 1.2.

Below are some screenshots on what we’ve got going:

 

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Global Chat

 

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Voice-over based single player campaign from scratch.

 

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Lots of little touches to the multiplayer league stuff

 

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If you have enough CPU cores, you can enable some new visual effects

 

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A new benchmark for measuring your CPU’s gaming potential

 

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New PHC unit: Athena (short-ranged heavy cruiser)

 

AshesUnits

New Substrate unit: Eradicator (long-ranged anti-cruiser)

 

We expect to release this within the next week.  Stay tuned!

Galactic Civilizations III v1.8 preview

Published on Thursday, June 2, 2016 By Frogboy In GalCiv III Dev Journals

imageWith the 1.7 series done, we’re well on our way to version 1.8 which has a pretty substantial update in terms of the underlying plumbing of the game as well as new features.

A lot of work has been spent on the multiplayer parts of the game.  While few people currently play GalCiv III multiplayer, it is a part of the game that we want to improve the general robustness on as it, in turn, makes the single player game more robust.

We are also putting some work into the AI diplomacy. This is mostly about making the AI substantially more sophisticated when dealing with other players.

As you can see in the screenshot, we are also bringing back asteroid mining in 1.8.

Road Map 2 is in the works

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For fans of Galactic Civilizations III this next year is going to be pretty exciting.  There’s going to be a stand-alone expansion for the game next year (and “expandalone”).  All DLC for GalCiv III will work on it as well but the main thing is that like GalCiv II: Dark Avatar and Twilight before it, this will be a major revamp of the entire game from top to bottom.

Now that the GalCiv III engine is maturing along with the completion of Ashes of the Singularity we can turn more attention to the next phase of GalCiv III.

Let’s take a look at our staffing today:

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Each purple box represents a game team.  EXP teams are “expansion” teams that are mostly focused on content rather than engineering. The size of the box represents the staffing size for each project.

By the end of this year, the staffing will look more like this:

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There’s a major Ashes of the Singularity expansion scheduled for 2016 and once that is completed, the expansion team will move to GalCiv III along with anyone we hire this Summer (pass the word around, we are hiring software developers).

Galactic Civilizations III Brings More Customization Options for Ships with Builder's Kit DLC

Published on Thursday, June 2, 2016 By Island Dog In Press Releases (GalCiv III)

Plymouth, MI. – June 2, 2016 - Stardock released new DLC for its popular strategy game, Galactic Civilizations III today. The new Builder's Kit DLC contains dozens of new parts for custom ship designs, a new ship design style, and additional labeling options for player-created vessels.

"We have a huge amount of talent in our community," said Galactic Civilizations III’s lead designer, Paul Boyer. "I have seen some absolutely incredible designs on Steam Workshop and we really wanted to give players an opportunity to explore even more options for customization. We’re looking forward to seeing what people are able to build with all of these extra parts."

The DLC will contain dozens of new core parts in functional shapes such as disks, boxes, and more, as well as additional specialized parts in more unique shapes like cockpits and fins. Players will now also be able to add letters and numbers to their ships with the new labeling system. "We've seen some pretty creative ship names," said Boyer. "And now designers can display them directly on the sides of their ships."

An additional ship style called “raider” also comes with the DLC and allows you to outfit your custom factions with a new look. The style provides new designs for constructors, starbases, shipyard designs, and more.

The Builder's Kit DLC is now available for purchase on Steam or through Stardock. For more information on Galactic Civilizations III, please visit www.galciv3.com.


Screenshots
Screenshot 1 | Screenshot 2 | Screenshot 3 | Screenshot 4 | Screenshot 5


# # #


Media Contacts:
Kjell Vistad | Tom Price
ONE PR Studio [for Stardock]
stardock@oneprstudio.com
510.893.3271


About Stardock: Stardock is a developer and publisher of PC games and desktop software founded in 1991 by nationally recognized technology expert Brad Wardell. Located in Plymouth, Michigan, Stardock is a powerful leader in the video gaming and software development world.  Its PC games include Sins of a Solar Empire, the critically acclaimed Galactic Civilizations series, and Ashes of the Singularity. Stardock puts the user experience first through software that enriches the Windows experience for everyone from casual computer users to highly technical professionals. Products offered by Stardock include Start8, Start10, Fences, WindowBlinds, Multiplicity, and more at www.stardock.com.


On Game engines and sneak previews

Published on Thursday, May 26, 2016 By Frogboy In Ashes Dev Journals

A few topics I wanted to address based on forum feedback.

 

Re lore:  This is something that matters a lot to us.   Hopefully some of you check out Dawn of the Singularity. It is really really good.  http://amzn.to/1OQkvpZ

David Simpson, who is arguably the master of the singularity genre with his Post-Human series spent 2 years on this.  It's where Mac and Haalee and everyone else came from.

Re Deluxe campaign:  This will internally be done before the end of this Month and release early next month.  The voice overs and the new dialog system is now done. It does make it a lot better and having more missions and cut scenes to flesh things out further helps too.

Campaign 2, which won't come out until the end of the Summer, will shed a lot more light on the Substrate's motivations. 

Right now, there's only like a hundred Post-Humans.  There's still billions of regular old humans on Earth and the Substrate's position is basically that the there won't be enough "sentience" to escape the Milky Way if it's spread across billions of humans rather than a handful (or ideally single, super-intelligence).   Haalee's well on the way to figuring out how to leave the galaxy, she's worrying about how to leave our local group (a set of galaxies that are gravitationally bound while every other cluster is expanding away form each other).

Example dialog: https://draginol.stardock.net/files/Flowers.mp3

 

Re balance, SupCom, and progression

The key feature, imo, that Ashes needs to pick up is progression.  That is a feature SupCom added that was not really in TA.  For example, we should allow Quantum Relays to be upgradeable to Super Quantum Relays that do 4X (and cost 4X). Same on defenses.

Re the long long future

imageI don't think the answer to Ashes is to have "tons" of units.  Right now, Ashes has about 15 units per faction.  I think it will end up being around 25 units (not counting future naval).

Some of this will be when future version of Ashes have diplomacy and trade features (ala Sins: Rebellion) as well as more specialized units (e.g. transports, spies, etc.).

However, I expect many of the units you have now to go away as time goes on.  They will still exist in the campaigns and scenarios of course.  But this is a war and each side will be upgrading their armies.

Anyway, that's all for now.

Ashes of the Singularity Gauntlet DLC adds New Scenario, Maps, and More

Published on Thursday, May 26, 2016 By Island Dog In Press Releases (Ashes of the Singularity)

Plymouth, MI. – May 26, 2016 - Stardock released the Gauntlet DLC for Ashes of the Singularity todayThe Gauntlet DLC pack contains the scenario “Gauntlet,” plus new maps that are ideal for free-for-all and 3v1 asymmetrical match-ups.

The single-player "Gauntlet" scenario pits the player against two Substrate entities that are fighting an ongoing war with overwhelming armies. In order to win, the player must cross the battlefront and seize control of the lone Turinium Generator in the North.

In addition to the scenario, the Gauntlet DLC comes with new maps such as the large 4-player map "Nightshade," the 6-player "Tanuk" map, and more.

"We’re adding some variety with new maps," said Brad Wardell, president and CEO of Stardock. "We wanted to throw some unique twists in there with things like the "Frontier" map, which starts a single player at the top of a plateau while they’re surrounded by everyone else and will have to fend them off."

The Gauntlet DLC is now available for purchase on Steam or through Stardock. v1.12 is also available for all current Ashes of the Singularity owners. For more information about Ashes of the Singularity, please visit www.ashesgame.com.


Screenshots
Screenshot 1 | Screenshot 2 | Screenshot 3 | Screenshot 4 | Screenshot 5


# # #

Media Contacts:
Kjell Vistad | Tom Price
ONE PR Studio [for Stardock]
stardock@oneprstudio.com
510.893.3271



About Stardock: Stardock is a developer and publisher of PC games and desktop software founded in 1991 by nationally recognized technology expert Brad Wardell. Located in Plymouth, Michigan, Stardock is a powerful leader in the video gaming and software development world.  Its PC games include Sins of a Solar Empire, the critically acclaimed Galactic Civilizations series, and Ashes of the Singularity. Stardock puts the user experience first through software that enriches the Windows experience for everyone from casual computer users to highly technical professionals. Products offered by Stardock include Start8, Start10, Fences, WindowBlinds, Multiplicity, and more at www.stardock.com.

About Oxide Games: Oxide Games is an independent digital entertainment studio focused on delivering revolutionary leaps in PC and console gaming. Its groundbreaking Nitrous engine provides industry-leading visuals and powers its first game, Ashes of the Singularity. Oxide Games is based in Timonium, Maryland. Learn more at www.oxidegames.com.

Offworld Trading Company patch 3 (ver 13174)

Published on Wednesday, May 25, 2016 By Derek Paxton In Offworld News

 

*** Released 5/25/2016 ***

 

Changelog

  • UI/campaign/adjacency bonus display: Added adjacency bonus display.
  • Fixed some lobby issues for Use Real Maps.
  • Improved AI.
  • Added stock delay when on the verge of a majority buyout.
  • Added a new Majority Buyout Vulnerable event.
  • UI: Fixing missing building icons for Scientific versions of Chemical Refinery and Steel Mill.
  • AI much better at handling ice maps.
  • UI: Adjusting the metal mine icon for Soren.
  • UI/campaign character select: Improved the (as Assistant) text to work better.
  • Players can now choose between 1v1 and 4p ffa at any time.
  • Added Scavenger's building texture.
  • UI/in-game/resource deposit display: Align geothermal icon.
  • UI/campaign character select/settings button: Trying to make the text sizes fit.
  • UI/campaign/planet links: Now have dotted lines that animate toward available missions. Lines are grey between colonies that have no bonuses, player colored if there is a bonus. Doing work on the nodes now.
  • Goon squad is now the same height for buildings and constructions.
  • Claim block timer no longer blocks the resources.
  • Improved text for New Days.
  • Cut down required base inline icons and adding the needed tutorial ones to the tutorial mod.
  • Scavengers now have to wait 40s for the black market to unlock.
  • Fixed a hang waiting for a ranked match to begin.
  • UI: Auctions now use a sane layout in team games.
  • Crash fixes.
  • Adjusted the AI that takes over dropped players.
  • Fixed typeo (this is seriously how this entry came in from the devleoper, I'm not sure if I should be scared).
  • Martian Thrillride sound now plays at appropriate time.
  • Added help to explain future colony income.
  • Added a Play Soren achievement.
  • Added help text if Daily Challenge is disabled to explain why.
  • Fixed some issues with the hologram.
  • Reni-6 is now 3% less likely to become sentient, take over your computer and begin ordering batteries online.
  • Fix for leaderboard name pointing to garbage memory in some cases.
  • Added match history screen.
  • Fixed some Core Sample issues.
  • Click on Auction winner in chat log will go to their HQ.
  • TAB cycles forward through HQs, SHIFT+TAB goes backwards.
  • Fixed charts & graphs bug.
  • Destroyed Offworld no long count towards buyout percentage.
  • Boosted market effect of events.
  • Fixed issue with hologrammed offworlds and player list.
  • UI: Moving replays list to the match history screen.
  • UI: Splitting date and time in match history layout.
  • UI: Fixing the "Tip:" label on the loading screen.
  • UI: Updating match history labels and layout.

 

Ashes: MAY 2016 Dev Update

Published on Tuesday, May 24, 2016 By Island Dog In Ashes Dev Journals

Originally posted by Brad on the Steam forums.

http://steamcommunity.com/app/228880/discussions/1/364042262885766841/

 

Greetings! 

Lots to talk about.

## Ashes v1.12 ##

This week we should have Ashes v1.12 out. The PHC Refinery is in this build along with bunches of small, UI tweaks and fixes.

The main balance change will come in the form of the Punisher's damage being reduced and the Brute getting some more HP. The Reaper will probably also get a minor buff to m ake it a bit tougher.

## Deluxe Campaign News ##

The campaign voice overs are now recorded and starting to be put in. This will be in English abd German. There are also 3 new cut scenes that help explain the story a bit more.

Once the deluxe campaign is done, we're going to move to campaign 2 which will tell the story from the Substrate point of view in a new sector.

## You are watching evolution in action ##

Traditionally, RTS's are released and stay relatively static. One big exception: Total Annihilation. Ashes will be following TA's lead on this in that what you are witnessing is an arms race between the PHC and Substrate.

The PHC will soon have the Athena and the Refinery. The Substrate will have to respond.

## Factions in the Singularity universe ##

You know of the PHC and the Substrate who are both derived from the same technology base. The Deluxe campaign will directly reference the third. The Nemesis project will will with the 4th race.

## We need your advice ##

The Steam summer sale is coming up soon. What we want to do between now and then is address things that you think turn new players off the game.

Obviously, with a limited amount of time there's only so much we can do. So in this thread, please let us know what *simple* things could we do that you think would make Ashes more appealing to you, your friends and new players?

Thanks

-brad

 

Review Roundup!

Published on Friday, May 20, 2016 By Island Dog In Offworld Dev Journals

Originally posted by Soren Johnson on the Mohawk Games blog.
 

Offworld shipped three weeks ago, so it’s a good time to roundup some of our best reviews!

Rock Paper Shotgun:

Civilization IV – the greatest strategy game ever made – was Offworld creator Soren Johnson’s first commercial games as a lead designer. Offworld Trading Company is an entirely different proposition: short-form rather than ultra-long-form, real-time rather than turn-based, sci-fi rather than history. Its surface complexity and basis in economics rather than war and culture make it a less immediately attractive game than Civ, but it’s an exceedingly intelligent game.

I haven’t even mentioned the different challenges offered by each of the four factions. There’s so much to analyse that I could write another couple of thousand words, but you don’t need to know everything. What you need to know is that Mohawk have made a game that creates tension and ruthless competition out of a screen of ever-changing numbers. Every victory feels hard-earned and every defeat can be traced back to specific twists in the tale, and in each of its half hour sessions, there are as many twists as in Civ’s six thousand years.

Quarter to Three (5 stars):

I hope I haven’t made it sound boring. Some folks might get the impression it’s boring. A game about an economy in space? All those little buildings and numbers in those screenshots? You have to make oxygen from water? But it’s really not. It’s really, really not. It’s a freakishly smart game design, as if someone made M.U.L.E. back in 1983. It’s got a learning curve because it’s a very particular setting about people living on Mars, provided for by different types of companies (the four companies are as distinct as the factions in Starcraft). You have to understand how the pieces interact before you appreciate how this is so much more than a spreadsheet with pretty graphics in front. But it’s carefully built to get you to where everything clicks.

At which point, it is the exact opposite of boring. It is every bit as thrilling as something with constant explosions. It’s the sort of game you’ll be thinking about at work. It’s the sort of game you just might want to try online. It’s the sort of game with a campaign you can play and replay and replay some more. It’s the sort of game with so many settings and options and variables that you might never need another RTS. Okay, maybe you’ll occasionally need your fix of one of those less interesting RTSs with tanks or a MOBA with fireball spells or whatever. But Offworld Trading Company is the sort of game that isn’t going to let go of you for a long, long time.

GameSpot (9):

I had feared, when I started, that Offworld Trading Company would wear thin after a few games. But that moment never came. I still find every match exhilarating. From the time I bought stock in my opponents, sold them quickly to crash the price and then bought them out a few seconds later, to the time when I managed to keep three launch pads going all at once to reach stupendous riches, every game is memorable. Each map is randomly generated, and with four factions that have distinct strategies that all work with different resource distribution patterns, even the opening is never quite the same. Echoing the classic Civilization question of whether it’s best to found your nascent country where your settler begins or to explore for better options, you’ll only be able to see certain parts of the map at first. You can either scan for better drop locations, or take what you see. But if you wait, another company can claim vital real estate before you, and you may find yourself with precious few options for critical resources later in the game. Every moment from that initial decision until the final stock purchase is incredible. I haven’t even scratched the surface of all that you can do here.

It’s a bit chilling to think that in Offworld you’re playing out the same obsessive pursuit of capitalism that led to the fall of its fictional Earth–an event hinted at in tutorial dialogue–yet it’s so recklessly entertaining and biting with its satire that I couldn’t help but get lost. When combined with truly deep and intricate strategic options, Offworld is a revelation. It’s almost unparalleled in the genre. Each and every game is thrilling. Every moment is a challenge. And the brutality of the free market ensures that you can never rest on your laurels, less you be quashed by the invisible hand.

Gaming Trend (90):

Graphically, OTC is stellar. The art is simple, yet fluid – watching buildings slowly unfold once they’ve been slated for creation is a pleasure itself, smooth as silk. The music and sound effects are serviceable, with the audio-visual package doing a good job of being pleasant, serving to buttress the fun of the game itself. And all of this complexity comes with a good amount of actual ‘game’. There’s a single-player campaign mode which allows the success of your business to play out over multiple ventures. There’s a skirmish mode for those interested in shorter bursts of play, and an online multiplayer for people looking for competition with actual human beings. Suffice to say, if you’re into the game itself, there’s a few ways to play it – and considering this title is published by Stardock, I have faith in its reasonably long-term support prospects.

The fact is, Offworld Trading Company is a dramatic success in the RTS genre. It manages to innovate in a field that often feels stagnant, and it does so with a package that is polished and welcoming, making it easy for newbies and jaded gamers alike to get into. At $39.99 USD on Steam (temporarily marked down to $29.99 as of this writing), it’s a must-have for anyone seeking out a new and exciting challenge with a strategic edge to it. Grab your start-up money and head skyward, ladies and gentlemen: martian riches are waiting for you.

Gaming Nexus (9):

If you think there’s ever a dull moment in Offworld, you’d be wrong. Selling off stockpiles of goods for cash is as satisfying as cranking out foot soldiers in other strategy games. Buying out an opponent with cold, hard clicks of the mouse—and of course cold, hard cash in hand—can be as satisfying as going nuclear on a rival. And pulling off a hard-won economic victory feels every bit as brain draining as a prolonged military campaign in your average real-time title.

Offworld is meant to play much faster than the average RTS, though. Skirmishes can run 20 or 30 minutes. Maybe up to an hour if I can’t get my act together. The campaign is broken down into several stages, each one also hovering around that 30-minute mark, but moving on to the next stage and objective before you get too entrenched in any one map.

I’m sure there’s balancing and rebalancing and buffing and nerfing that needs to happen. Somewhere buried in the spreadsheets are some sneaky little “errors” that require tweaking from the developer. But Offworld Trading Companymanufactures a variety of gameplay styles, beckoning you into trying several kinds. Just when you’re getting comfy,Offworld introduces a new set of win conditions and along-the-way hindrances (and, again, opportunities) to keep the maps and scenarios worth playing and replaying. And for a game purportedly about numbers, it can feel like the boxing gloves have come off and you’re fighting for your life. At least in a businesslike fashion. This is full-contact economics 101.

PC Gamer (88):

Offworld Trading Company is a savage game, as immediate and competitive as Street Fighter. The slightly depressing revelation is that our chief human exports to Mars are capitalism and an endless capacity for consuming each other. There are no tanks or troops, though. Your weapons are price fixing and corporate espionage. Your ultimate goal isn’t to destroy your opponent, but absorb them via hostile takeover. It’s different from more leisurely strategy games in that it’s short form—games can be over at any stage, resources allowing—and if you just feel like laying back and colonising Mars, you’ll simply get devoured. This isn’t an RTS with the combat removed – it’s Wall Street on a new frontier. It kept me engaged because every choice is part of an ongoing battle. It’s impressive that a pillar of fluctuating numbers can be so captivating.

Offworld Trading Company is a difficult game to review because I’m probably not good enough to enjoy it the way I should. It says plenty about about the game, then, that I still completely love it. There’s a simple, tactile joy of seeing every a nudge of the finger explode into a flourish of numbers, but a deep and lasting satisfaction from knowing every profit was carefully engineered.

Eurogamer (Recommended):

It’s a difficult, cerebral game, dense with rapidly shifting complexities and massive swings in advantage. There’s a pretty thorough set of tutorials which do a decent job of explaining the basic mechanics, but once the training wheels come off and you’re exposed to the full force of the free market, it quickly becomes clear that there are few prisoners in finance. The AI becomes brutally efficient very quickly, executing strategies with a sometimes unfair alacrity and grace, seeing the all of the numbers at once in a way unparalleled by all but the most specific of human minds. Online play can be a bloodbath, too, as skilled operators rapidly extinguish their less adept fellows in fell swoops which can easily blindside even experienced players who lapse in concentration.

Everything moves very quickly and very precisely. The central economic model at the core of experience performs impeccably, and never once does it feel unfair. I often found myself mystified as to which part of the the process I’d fudged, which column I’d failed to account for, but I never once doubted that I’d deserved it.

 

Offworld Release Tournament Finals

Published on Thursday, May 19, 2016 By Island Dog In Offworld Dev Journals

Originally posted by Soren Johnson on the Mohawk Games blog.


The Offworld Release Tournament has finished, and the best-of-5 finals were between PBHead and YerAnd. The streams were broadcast by Zultar, and the match is linked below.

The final bracket can be viewed here.

The third-place match between Gameslayer and Deathtacticus was also pretty interesting:

Galactic Civilizations III is having its 1st Birthday!

Published on Thursday, May 19, 2016 By mormegil In GalCiv III Dev Journals

Galactic Civilizations III turns a year old this week. I'm both shocked that it has already been a year, and surprised it has only been a year. When GC3 shipped I was very proud of what we had done, but I am even prouder of what the game has become over the last year. As a designer, I know that a game is really never done, so it has been a pleasure to continue working on GalCiv3 with such a great group of people.

Lets look back at Galactic Civilizations III’s first year...

Steam Workshop

The first thing we did after shipping, was dig into the Steam Workshop. The steam workshop is a perfect fit for Galactic Civilizations III as it allows players to share the custom content with the world. Everytime I go to the forums I am amazed by what users have created. I can waste hours just looking at the incredible ship designs.

One year in, there are thousands of Custom Factions on the Workshop. Want 100 factions in in your insane galaxy? You can pick from original player factions or factions inspired by just about every sci-fi universe you can think of. There are hundreds of custom maps and don't even get me started on the thousands user-designed ships. If you have not checked out the player-designed ships, stop reading this and go do so now. There are even a few celebrity designers that have submitted hundreds of designs on their own; to them I say thank you -- you guys make awesome stuff.

 

Gameplay Changes

Anyone who reads the changelogs each time we update the game will know that it would be impossible for me to list all the changes, balancing, and flat out bugs fixes we have done over the last year. In fact, it is hard to just sum it up.

With each update, we are always looking for ways to improve performance, stability, balance and (most importantly) the fun of the game. Each point release has focused on one or two aspects of the game.

Some of these changes, such as improving the AI, can be subtle. We have spent time making sure each AI has its own personality, and is better at building worlds, managing it’s civilizations, building ships, using resources, and hunting down players. It’s very important to us that the AI continue to grow and improve as we move forward.

Thanks to great user feedback we now have a much more balanced production system that allows players to better manage large civilizations without having to micro-manage each planet’s spending. Other planetary management changes have included adding governors and simple production focuses.

Still other changes have made both the late game and large maps more fun for the player. Better fleet, shipyard, and design screen lists have made it much easier to manage the crazy amount of ships and fleets players can accrue in a long game. The completely re-factored starbase system done in 1.7 has made managing starbases much simpler and has made starbases much more useful and fun.

New Content

We have also added some entirely new gameplay features through DLC. For example, PrecursorWorlds mixes up the colonization rush while Mega Events shakes up mid- and late-game play. New maps change the flow of both singleplayer and multiplayer experience. You can can even now play as the terrifying Snathi or fight off the return of the Dreadlords.


 

With the Mercenaries expansion, players can hire out their dirty work and make better use of their precious Galactic Resources. We were also able to bring back two classic GalCiv2 races (the Arceans and the Torians) as well as a new campaign where you help the Torians reclaim their place in the galaxy.

Looking Forward

As we move forward toward the next expansion, we will continue to improve the base game with asteroid mining, ship leveling (including for Mercenaries), and a rather substantial update to multiplayer. And of course we will continue to work on improving the AI, and user experience.

Perhaps what has impressed me most over the last year is that the game has such dedicated players, designers, and fans. Players have given us an amazing amount of feedback and suggestions on how we can make the game better. The most difficult problem with this torrent of feedback is deciding what to do first, or how to integrate it into existing plans. So keep checking back! Galactic Civilizations III will keep growing and getting better for years to come.

Paul Boyer
Lead Designer
Galactic Civilizations III

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