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GalCiv II preview at Gamespot

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Anonymous
September 4, 2005 5:43:21 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

Beta 3 of Galactic Civilizations II has had a hands-on preview over at
Gamespot. As some of you probably know, Galactic Civilizations is a PC
strategy game. The very very first version of it came out like a million
years ago or so back in 1994. The concept of it was actually put together
here on comp.sys.pc.games.strategic back in summer of 1993 (when I was in
college). Much has changed since then of course. ;-D. For example, my
socks normally match but I digress.

The final game is supposed to ship this upcoming February. I'm not sure how
many of you reading this played the first one, but here are a few highlights
of what's different about the sequel:

1) You can play as any race.
2) It has a 3D engine instead of a 2D sprite based one
3) Performance for most players will probably be better on the new one than
the first one
4) You can run it at any resolution from 1024x768 on up with each screen
intelligently scaling based on DesktopX tech.
5) You can design your own ships.
6) There is fleet combat now.
7) There is a new combat system in now.
8) The tech tree is being redone.
9) Each planet is unique.
10) Totally different colony management system that offers more strategic
depth with less micro-management.
11) Cleaner UI (can view things from any angle, any zoom level, etc.)

Here's a couple of screenshots from beta 3.
http://www.galciv2.com/screenshots/gc-sept05e.jpg
http://www.galciv2.com/screenshots/gc-sept05f.jpg

Quite a few people have described it (including Gamespot) as a kind of
marriage between MOO2 and the first GalCiv. That's not our intent but the
ship design stuff is proving to be one of the most popular features (and you
can really go to town with your designs and they are saved for future games
automatically).

For those of you into these kinds of games, feel free to let me know what
kinds of features you'd like seen in over the first one and assuming it's
within our scope, we'll see what we can do about getting it in.

Here's the Gamespot link:
http://www.gamespot.com/pc/strategy/galacticcivilizatio...

Brad
--
Brad Wardell
Project Manager: Galactic Civilizations II (http://www.galciv2.com)
Stardock: http://www.stardock.com
Anonymous
September 4, 2005 1:11:02 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

On Sun, 4 Sep 2005 01:43:21 -0400, Brad Wardell wrote:

> The final game is supposed to ship this upcoming February.

Will it be distributed traditionally or electronically? Or differently put,
will I be able to pick it up at my local game store in Germany?

Preview looks promising!

M.
Anonymous
September 4, 2005 1:27:40 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

Michael Vondung wrote:
> On Sun, 4 Sep 2005 01:43:21 -0400, Brad Wardell wrote:
>
>
>>The final game is supposed to ship this upcoming February.
>
>
> Will it be distributed traditionally or electronically?

That's what I want to know, too.

I want to buy it based on the above description alone, but I have to be
able to order it on disc.
Related resources
Anonymous
September 4, 2005 4:56:39 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

"Briarroot" <woodsyl@iwon.com> wrote in message
news:11hltmcr1b46n9a@corp.supernews.com...
> Michael Vondung wrote:
>> On Sun, 4 Sep 2005 01:43:21 -0400, Brad Wardell wrote:
>>
>>
>>>The final game is supposed to ship this upcoming February.
>>
>>
>> Will it be distributed traditionally or electronically?
>
> That's what I want to know, too.
>
> I want to buy it based on the above description alone, but I have to be
> able to order it on disc.

It'll be at stores in North America and Europe pretty much at the same time
this February. It should have significantly wider distribution than GalCiv
I did. We're working to set up pre-orders with Gamestop/EB, Walmart, Best
Buy, CompUSA, Fry's, etc.

Brad
--
Brad Wardell
Project Manager: Galactic Civilizations II (http://www.galciv2.com)
Stardock Corp. http://www.stardock.com
Anonymous
September 4, 2005 6:26:06 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

"Brad Wardell" <bwardell@stardock.com> wrote in message
news:UYqdnSTljdHuFIfeRVn-gQ@comcast.com...
>
> The final game is supposed to ship this upcoming February. I'm not sure
> how many of you reading this played the first one, but here are a few
> highlights of what's different about the sequel:
>
> Here's a couple of screenshots from beta 3.
> http://www.galciv2.com/screenshots/gc-sept05e.jpg
> http://www.galciv2.com/screenshots/gc-sept05f.jpg

Looks great, very vibrant. Are we still going to get to see blazing suns of
varying colours as well though or is it only planets that we see now? The
green and purple etc suns was always great, added some wonder to the game.

Thats one additional pre-order.

Ceo-
Anonymous
September 4, 2005 6:26:07 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

"Ceowulf" <ceo@NOSPAMii.ATALLnet> wrote in message
news:431a937f$0$15547$5a62ac22@per-qv1-newsreader-01.iinet.net.au...
> "Brad Wardell" <bwardell@stardock.com> wrote in message
> news:UYqdnSTljdHuFIfeRVn-gQ@comcast.com...
>>
>> The final game is supposed to ship this upcoming February. I'm not sure
>> how many of you reading this played the first one, but here are a few
>> highlights of what's different about the sequel:
>>
>> Here's a couple of screenshots from beta 3.
>> http://www.galciv2.com/screenshots/gc-sept05e.jpg
>> http://www.galciv2.com/screenshots/gc-sept05f.jpg
>
> Looks great, very vibrant. Are we still going to get to see blazing suns
> of varying colours as well though or is it only planets that we see now?
> The green and purple etc suns was always great, added some wonder to the
> game.
>

Yea there's lots of different colored suns. Like GalCiv I, suns with good
planets around them are yellow. But even there we plan to put in some more
distinctions so that there's more difference between them.

Brad
--
Brad Wardell
Project Manager: Galactic Civilizations II (http://www.galciv2.com)
Stardock Corp. http://www.stardock.com



> Ceo-
>
Anonymous
September 4, 2005 6:27:14 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

"Ceowulf" <ceo@NOSPAMii.ATALLnet> wrote in message
news:431a937f$0$15547$5a62ac22@per-qv1-newsreader-01.iinet.net.au...
> "Brad Wardell" <bwardell@stardock.com> wrote in message
> news:UYqdnSTljdHuFIfeRVn-gQ@comcast.com...
>>
>> The final game is supposed to ship this upcoming February. I'm not sure
>> how many of you reading this played the first one, but here are a few
>> highlights of what's different about the sequel:
>>
>> Here's a couple of screenshots from beta 3.
>> http://www.galciv2.com/screenshots/gc-sept05e.jpg
>> http://www.galciv2.com/screenshots/gc-sept05f.jpg
>
> Looks great, very vibrant. Are we still going to get to see blazing suns
> of varying colours as well though or is it only planets that we see now?
> The green and purple etc suns was always great, added some wonder to the
> game.

Meh, I just read the GameSpot preview, and yep theres the sun. So the
screenshot you showed is a zoom in of a solar system I wonder?

Looks good anyway thanks for the heads up.

Ceo-
Anonymous
September 4, 2005 6:27:15 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

"Ceowulf" <ceo@NOSPAMii.ATALLnet> wrote in message
news:431a93c3$0$15512$5a62ac22@per-qv1-newsreader-01.iinet.net.au...
> "Ceowulf" <ceo@NOSPAMii.ATALLnet> wrote in message
> news:431a937f$0$15547$5a62ac22@per-qv1-newsreader-01.iinet.net.au...
>> "Brad Wardell" <bwardell@stardock.com> wrote in message
>> news:UYqdnSTljdHuFIfeRVn-gQ@comcast.com...
>>>
>>> The final game is supposed to ship this upcoming February. I'm not sure
>>> how many of you reading this played the first one, but here are a few
>>> highlights of what's different about the sequel:
>>>
>>> Here's a couple of screenshots from beta 3.
>>> http://www.galciv2.com/screenshots/gc-sept05e.jpg
>>> http://www.galciv2.com/screenshots/gc-sept05f.jpg
>>
>> Looks great, very vibrant. Are we still going to get to see blazing suns
>> of varying colours as well though or is it only planets that we see now?
>> The green and purple etc suns was always great, added some wonder to the
>> game.
>
> Meh, I just read the GameSpot preview, and yep theres the sun. So the
> screenshot you showed is a zoom in of a solar system I wonder?
>
> Looks good anyway thanks for the heads up.

You can zoom in and out on the map as far out or in as you want. Some of
the guys here play the game purely in strategic mode (looks almost like a
board game) where everything is represented in symbols. I don't have any
screenshots of that handy on-line to show that mode but it was inspired by
the ST:TNG episode "Yesterday's enterprise" where there's a tactical map of
Klingon vs. Federation battles going on.

Brad
--
Brad Wardell
Project Manager: Galactic Civilizations II (http://www.galciv2.com)
Stardock Corp. http://www.stardock.com


>
> Ceo-
>
Anonymous
September 4, 2005 7:54:14 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

On Sun, 04 Sep 2005 09:27:40 -0400, Briarroot wrote:

> I want to buy it based on the above description alone, but I have to be
> able to order it on disc.

The reason I had asked is because I don't have a credit card, still have
only an ISDN connection and live in Germany, so if there is no way to
purchase it from a local vendor, I'll be out of luck (well, except for
sending cash to Stardock). Provided there is a way to buy the game without
card and from Europe, I'll buy purchase a copy for sure. There are barely
*any* games in this genre anymore.

M.
Anonymous
September 4, 2005 7:54:15 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

"Michael Vondung" <mvondung@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1kyheb9h442zb$.1pa6na98wj1tp.dlg@40tude.net...
> On Sun, 04 Sep 2005 09:27:40 -0400, Briarroot wrote:
>
>> I want to buy it based on the above description alone, but I have to be
>> able to order it on disc.
>
> The reason I had asked is because I don't have a credit card, still have
> only an ISDN connection and live in Germany, so if there is no way to
> purchase it from a local vendor, I'll be out of luck (well, except for
> sending cash to Stardock). Provided there is a way to buy the game without
> card and from Europe, I'll buy purchase a copy for sure. There are barely
> *any* games in this genre anymore.

Paradox (Hearts of Iron, Europa Universalis, etc.,) is distributing it in
Europe. There should be a German version of the game available at roughly
the same time. We've built a really close partnership with them over the
past year. We're going to try to make sure translations are available early
on.

Brad
--
Brad Wardell
Project Manager: Galactic Civilizations II (http://www.galciv2.com)
Stardock Corp. http://www.stardock.com

>
> M.
Anonymous
September 5, 2005 12:04:20 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

>But this is a good point, it might be useful to make it so >that players
>could, to some degree, override the global sliders to have >some planets
>focus on different things (like ship production).

>Any suggestions on the best way to implement that UI->wise? I.e. don't want
overcomplicate the UI

You could create a UI screen for each planet with the same sliders and a
global check box. If the global check box has a check in it (which should
be the default), the global settings are used and shown. If not, the player
can set local settings which will be used instead.
Anonymous
September 5, 2005 12:04:59 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

Brad Wardell wrote:
> "Briarroot" <woodsyl@iwon.com> wrote in message
> news:11hltmcr1b46n9a@corp.supernews.com...
>
>>
>>I want to buy it based on the above description alone, but I have to be
>>able to order it on disc.
>
>
> It'll be at stores in North America and Europe pretty much at the same time
> this February. It should have significantly wider distribution than GalCiv
> I did. We're working to set up pre-orders with Gamestop/EB, Walmart, Best
> Buy, CompUSA, Fry's, etc.

Great! No worries... :-)
Anonymous
September 5, 2005 12:43:05 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

On Sun, 4 Sep 2005 12:58:47 -0400, Brad Wardell wrote:

> There should be a German version of the game available at roughly
> the same time.

Is there still a chance to make the game bilingual so that the user can
pick their preferred language during installation? I don't mind playing
games in German, but whenever possible, I prefer the original over the
localized version. It's just a small thing, though. EU and HoI are still
readily available here, so getting GalCiv2 won't be a challenge,
thankfully!

If you guys need beta-testers for the localized version or for some native
Germans to look over the translated text/strings, I'd happily offer a hand.

M.
Anonymous
September 5, 2005 1:56:00 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

Brad Wardell <bwardell@stardock.com> wrote:
>
> In Galactic Civilizations I, planets had planet classes from 1 through 26.
> People usually colonized planets of class 15 or better.
>
> On the planets, there would be a listbox of improvements players could build
> on the planet. As a practical matter, players built every improvement they
> could throughout the game. To decrease micro-management, governors were
> made available where people coudl queue up their construction but
> realistically it meant that all planets were pretty much the same.

Yes it did. I always try to differentiate a bit, simply because I like it
and I think it's realistic, but in the long run they still ended up pretty
much the same. So I'm really happy that planets will be a lot more
specialised in GalCiv 2.

> In Galactic Civilizations II planets look like this:
> http://www.galciv2.com/screenshots/gc-sept05c.jpg
>
> Classes 1 through 26 are still there but now the class number determines how
> many useable tiles there are on the planet. A typical planet now is a class
> 8 planet -- 8 tiles. Players can queue up what they want to build on a
> given planet. The player doesn't even have to be notified on construction
> status if they don't want, a green tile will appear on the main map letting
> you know when a given planet has gone through its queue.

So every planet has a custom build queue? That's great. Queues are good.
But does this now replace the governor queues? Perhaps it would be useful
if, on colonisation, you could asign the new colony one from a few standard
queue templates (editable by the player?), and once you've thought a few
turns about that planet's role in your empire, you can customise it. This
would be very similar to the way queues work in Stars!. But if each
building has a tile asigned to it, automated queues may not work. In any
case, the way you described it, it sounds very playable. (But keep in mind
that first impressions can be deceptive, so keep the idea in the back of
your mind in case players ever get tired of selecting the same standard
build queue for each new colony.)

> IMO, it drastically reduces micro-management and puts strategic depth into
> how one handles planets since now you'd have a population center world or a
> research world or an industrial world and so forth based on your particular
> needs and strategy.

I really love this specialisation aspect. I think I'd said it already, but
it's worth repeating.

>> You could asign
>> different build queues to planets and had centralised sliders to divide
>> between ships, buildings and research, but in the end you want some
>> planets to build ships, and others to do the research or build wonders
>> and trade goods, so every turn I'm fiddling with the centralised sliders
>> and checking the effects on the individual planets in order to get the
>> most out of it and not waste any production. (It also looks like unused
>> production still costs money, but I never checked if that's really true.)
>
> Well one big difference off the bat is that in GalCiv II, if a planet isn't
> producing anything, you aren't charged for its shields. So players didn't
> get stuck having to play with the global sliders constantly due to not
> wanting to spend money on things they aren't using.

Not having to pay for unused production capacity is great. But ofcourse
that's not gonna stop me from trying to get the most out of my production
capacity.

> But this is a good point, it might be useful to make it so that players
> could, to some degree, override the global sliders to have some planets
> focus on different things (like ship production).
>
> Any suggestions on the best way to implement that UI-wise? I.e. don't want
> to overcomplicate the UI but such a feature would be nice and not terribly
> hard to implement.

That's a good question. I don't know. Tweaking individual sliders for
every single planet is way too much micromanagement, ofcourse. If you
still have governors, you could tie the sliders to the governors, so
you'd have shipbuilding governor that spends most on ships (and probably
has manufacturing and shipyards in his build queue), and the research
governor that lets his planets spend most on research (while building
research labs, I suppose).

But I can imagine you don't have governors anymore, and besides, it
would probably make more sense to keep these sliders on the economic
screen. Multiple sets of sliders on the economic screen might clutter
it too much.

Personally I like the simple system of Stars! a lot: Every planet has
a build queue that includes both ships and planetary structures, and
any production that's left after finishing the queue goes to research.
You can choose to have some or all planets spend a globally adjustable
percentage of their production on research. But I don't think this
system translates well to the GalCiv approach.

How about this: Have a single set of global sliders, but for each planet
you can choose to ignore it and check one of three check boxes: spend
everything on ships, spend everything on buildings, or spend everything
on research. Spending everything on buildings is useful for newly
colonised planets that need to catch up quickly, while the other two
are useful for planets that have built everything they need and can
now focus on their specialisation. This is simple, and still gives
quite a bit of control over individual planets. You could even identify
the 3 alternative production strategies with an icon and show it on maps
and planet lists, so you can quickly identify your developing colonies,
your shipbuilding centers, and your research centers.

>> Something else that I would really like, is the option to play against
>> the smartest, most devious AI you can think of, but on a completely
>> level playing field: no economic bonuses for them, no ganging up on
>> the human, etc. I love the tough AI in GalCiv, but I can see that they
>> get bonuses that I don't, while at the same time they're still a bit
>> slow and aren't as devious as a human opponent would be. If that's the
>> best you can do (as it is with most games with their brain-dead AI),
>> well, that'd be the only option to keep the game challenging, but you
>> once mentioned that you actually dumbed the AI down because it was too
>> nasty. I'd like to play against the nastiest AI you can think of, but
>> on equal footing, if that's possible.
>
> Indeed. I don't know how much time there would be but it might be possible
> to put in a preferences field so that power players such as you could have
> the AI play at its maximum intelligence without resource advantages.

I'd really love that. Ofcourse I'm only a single player, and you probably
can't afford to cater to the wishes of every individual player, so I'll
understand if you don't include this option. But you never know, there
might be other die-hards like me that would like that kind of play.

> The reason why in GalCiv I we "dumbed" the AI down is because the AI,
> playing no-holds-barred, was not very fun in our view. Computer players
> can, by their nature, calculate optimal paths. For example, take
> colonization -- we could easily have made it so that the AI was even nastier
> at that. Just have the AI see if someone else's ship was going to reach a
> planet before their ship and then find a different planet. We decided
> colonization was tough enough so we have it wait until the other player
> actually colonizes the planet before the AI takes notice.

For most players that kind of cleverness might be a bit too nasty, but
I use those very same tactics, and if I were playing against humans,
some of them would probably do it too, so it'd only be fair if the AI
did it too. I don't mind a bit of a challenge. And especially if the
AI loses its economic advantages, it's gonna need the extra smarts to
have a chance. Ofcourse in the case of colonisation, it also has the
benefit of already knowing the location of the yellow stars (unless
you're changing that to), so for colonisation it might actually still
be fair to give the AI some disadvantage to compensate.

> Then there was starbase stuff we dumbed down. The AI would never get bored
> of building gazillions of constructors and literally making their sectors
> invulnerable to attack by just making use of stacking advantages.

I've done that too at times, although I don't really do it anymore. This
is a very defensive strategy, and as AI, sooner or later you're gonna be
attacked by the human. The human player can often count on not being
attacked quite that hard by the AI. But if you were to make the AI more
vicious, the human might also be forced to do something like this, in
which case it would be fair if the AI did it too.

> So in GalCiv II, we'll probably take a similar strategy. That said, it
> wouldn't be super hard to put in an update the ability for power gamers to
> have the AI play probably very similarly how someone would play it on-line.
> Every nasty tactic taken to the nth degree. ;) 

I would really love it if you did that, although I'm aware that I'm
probably a minority.

>> As for AIs ganging up on the human, I don't think that happens much in
>> GalCiv (which is good!), but there's one area where it does: tech trade.
>
> Indeed. And it still does thi to a certain degree. It's not that they gang
> up so much as the AI never gets bored of opening up the trade window to
> check to see fi there's a potential trade opportunity.

Well, neither do I. As soon as I develop new tech, I check the diplomacy
screen and often go on a tech trading frenzy. When I know I have tech
that others don't, I also check the diplomacy screen quite regularly, to
see if I can get something interesting for it. And then sell that to
everybody else, ofcourse.

>> If I can't sell tech on the same turn I receive it,
>> this tech trade strategy won't work as well. But what might be even
>> more interesting is to still require some research for techs you receive
>> from other players. This would still make some sense, because your
>> scientists need to adapt the new tech to your own technology base, your
>> engineers need to be educated in the new tech, etc. If trading tech gave
>> the receiver a 50% discount (or 90%, if you prefer), trading tech won't
>> be quite as much of a killer that the AI needs to be reluctant to do it
>> with the human. And if at the same time the AIs are a more willing to
>> trade tech with each other, I think this aspect of the game would be a
>> lot more balanced.
>
> That is pretty interesting. I don't know if it could be implemented that
> way without adding another laye rof complexity. But I think the general
> concept -- having players not be able to get a bunch of money being a trade
> merchant is possible. You could, for instance, have the value of teh tech
> be dependent on the # of players who already have it.

Could also be an interesting approach, although I have no idea yet what
influence that would have exactly. I think the most important thing that
makes tech trading so attractive is the ability to sell tech that you
just got from another player that same turn. If you only really got the
new tech at the start of the next turn, I think that would slow it down
enough to make it more reasonable. And perhaps selling a tech to one
player could trigger the AI to check if it can sell that same tech to
other players too. That way you can only sell someone else's tech to
others if the original developer of the tech is for whatever reason
unable or unwilling to do so.

> Thanks! And thank you for your excellent suggestions. I'm printing this
> out now actually. ;) 

I'm glad my comments are so useful.


mcv.
--
"Serenity is a very personal work with political resonance and a
heartfelt message about the human condition and stuff blowing up.
'Cause let's face it, nobody cares about that 'human condition'
stuff... in fact if you notice it, try to keep it to yourself."
-- Joss Whedon on his new film
Anonymous
September 5, 2005 2:31:38 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

"Michael Vondung" <mvondung@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1cu4tnzhj2jk$.1ec91apkxv3hv$.dlg@40tude.net...
> On Sun, 4 Sep 2005 12:58:47 -0400, Brad Wardell wrote:
>
>> There should be a German version of the game available at roughly
>> the same time.
>
> Is there still a chance to make the game bilingual so that the user can
> pick their preferred language during installation? I don't mind playing
> games in German, but whenever possible, I prefer the original over the
> localized version. It's just a small thing, though. EU and HoI are still
> readily available here, so getting GalCiv2 won't be a challenge,
> thankfully!
>
> If you guys need beta-testers for the localized version or for some native
> Germans to look over the translated text/strings, I'd happily offer a
> hand.
>

Yea, I'm not sure how that will end up working. It depends on how the
various localizations go in terms of timing.

Brad

> M.
Anonymous
September 5, 2005 2:32:21 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

"Michael Share" <mshare@midsouth.rr.com> wrote in message
news:8rISe.68630$2Q3.56904@tornado.ohiordc.rr.com...
> >But this is a good point, it might be useful to make it so >that players
>>could, to some degree, override the global sliders to have >some planets
>>focus on different things (like ship production).
>
>>Any suggestions on the best way to implement that UI->wise? I.e. don't
>>want
> overcomplicate the UI
>
> You could create a UI screen for each planet with the same sliders and a
> global check box. If the global check box has a check in it (which should
> be the default), the global settings are used and shown. If not, the
> player
> can set local settings which will be used instead.

So you see this as a seperate screen then? I.e. the user would go to their
planet screen and then click a button to go to a second screen to tweak
that?

Brad

>
>
Anonymous
September 5, 2005 2:56:29 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

"mcv" <mcvmcv@xs4all.nl> wrote in message
news:431b6d70$0$11069$e4fe514c@news.xs4all.nl...
> Brad Wardell <bwardell@stardock.com> wrote:
>>
>> In Galactic Civilizations I, planets had planet classes from 1 through
>> 26.
>> People usually colonized planets of class 15 or better.
>>
>> On the planets, there would be a listbox of improvements players could
>> build
>> on the planet. As a practical matter, players built every improvement
>> they
>> could throughout the game. To decrease micro-management, governors were
>> made available where people coudl queue up their construction but
>> realistically it meant that all planets were pretty much the same.
>
> Yes it did. I always try to differentiate a bit, simply because I like it
> and I think it's realistic, but in the long run they still ended up pretty
> much the same. So I'm really happy that planets will be a lot more
> specialised in GalCiv 2.
>
>> In Galactic Civilizations II planets look like this:
>> http://www.galciv2.com/screenshots/gc-sept05c.jpg
>>
>> Classes 1 through 26 are still there but now the class number determines
>> how
>> many useable tiles there are on the planet. A typical planet now is a
>> class
>> 8 planet -- 8 tiles. Players can queue up what they want to build on a
>> given planet. The player doesn't even have to be notified on
>> construction
>> status if they don't want, a green tile will appear on the main map
>> letting
>> you know when a given planet has gone through its queue.
>
> So every planet has a custom build queue? That's great. Queues are good.

Correct. They're different per planet since every planet is different. If
you get a planet with, for example, two tiles that have ancient ruins on
them that double research production IF you put a research lab on the tile,
then that's going to probably make the player more inclined to put research
labs there.

By contrast, on another planet, you may only build farms to increase
population to get the tax revenue.

In GalCiv I, you built 1 of each improvement. In GalCiv II, you can build
as many of the same improvement as you want, the limit is the # of tiles.

> But does this now replace the governor queues? Perhaps it would be useful
> if, on colonisation, you could asign the new colony one from a few
> standard
> queue templates (editable by the player?), and once you've thought a few
> turns about that planet's role in your empire, you can customise it. This
> would be very similar to the way queues work in Stars!.

When you play it you'll see what I mean but it's a totally different style.
GalCiv I was like the Civilization style, GalCiv II planets are more akin to
Simcity or something. You literally start building your planet any time you
want, they don't even seem like queues when you're playing.

>But if each
> building has a tile asigned to it, automated queues may not work. In any
> case, the way you described it, it sounds very playable. (But keep in mind
> that first impressions can be deceptive, so keep the idea in the back of
> your mind in case players ever get tired of selecting the same standard
> build queue for each new colony.)
>

Yea, originally we were going to have some sort of governor design your
planets for you. But once we got playing, it's so easy to just land on a
planet and in seconds design out how you want your planet to be used.

>> IMO, it drastically reduces micro-management and puts strategic depth
>> into
>> how one handles planets since now you'd have a population center world or
>> a
>> research world or an industrial world and so forth based on your
>> particular
>> needs and strategy.
>
> I really love this specialisation aspect. I think I'd said it already, but
> it's worth repeating.

Thanks. Yea, a lot of people felt that GalCiv I planets were generic.
Where was the mineral rich world? Where was the fertile world? So we
decided to take it one step further and have planets broken up into actual
tiles where a given tile MIGHT have a special resource.

Here are two different planets:
http://www.galciv2.com/screenshots/gc-sept05d.jpg
http://www.galciv2.com/screenshots/gc-sept05c.jpg

Now, on each planet, you can find a couple tiles that have a little white
icon on them. That means there is some special bonus on that tile if you
build a particular improvement on them.

>
>>> You could asign
>>> different build queues to planets and had centralised sliders to divide
>>> between ships, buildings and research, but in the end you want some
>>> planets to build ships, and others to do the research or build wonders
>>> and trade goods, so every turn I'm fiddling with the centralised sliders
>>> and checking the effects on the individual planets in order to get the
>>> most out of it and not waste any production. (It also looks like unused
>>> production still costs money, but I never checked if that's really
>>> true.)
>>
>> Well one big difference off the bat is that in GalCiv II, if a planet
>> isn't
>> producing anything, you aren't charged for its shields. So players didn't
>> get stuck having to play with the global sliders constantly due to not
>> wanting to spend money on things they aren't using.
>
> Not having to pay for unused production capacity is great. But ofcourse
> that's not gonna stop me from trying to get the most out of my production
> capacity.
>
>> But this is a good point, it might be useful to make it so that players
>> could, to some degree, override the global sliders to have some planets
>> focus on different things (like ship production).
>>
>> Any suggestions on the best way to implement that UI-wise? I.e. don't
>> want
>> to overcomplicate the UI but such a feature would be nice and not
>> terribly
>> hard to implement.
>
> That's a good question. I don't know. Tweaking individual sliders for
> every single planet is way too much micromanagement, ofcourse. If you
> still have governors, you could tie the sliders to the governors, so
> you'd have shipbuilding governor that spends most on ships (and probably
> has manufacturing and shipyards in his build queue), and the research
> governor that lets his planets spend most on research (while building
> research labs, I suppose).

Yea, of course then it puts too much in the hands of the computer IMO.

Here's the usual treadmill that we're trying to avoid:

Step 1: Put in super cool but complex feature.
Step 2: User notices it creates micro management.
Step 3: Developer puts in "governors" who take care of managing complex
feature.
Step 4: User observes that the AI behind the governors isn't as good as they
would be at managing it.
Step 5: User feels forced into doing it by hand (doing all the
micromanagement) in order to play as well as possible.

This is why, for instance, we don't have tactical fleet battles (i.e.where
the player literally controls what weapon is going to fire at what ship at
what time). It would be fun for those people who are into that but for
those who just are inclined to hit the "Auto battle" button, it means they
won't be playing the game optimally since no AI is going to be as good as a
good player.

Same in terms of setting up per planet spending ratios. It's not hard to
let players have per planet spending ratios. But if we do that, then the
player may feel like the HAVE to adjust every single planaet (Because the
computer players certainly will). And then if we have "governors" doing it,
then we might as well not have the feature.

What I was thinking was that maybe instead of setting ratios per planet we
allow players to set an "Emphasis". That this screen:

http://www.galciv2.com/screenshots/gc-sept05c.jpg

That the planet could put an "emphasis" on military, social, or research
that would boost production in that area away from the other areas. It
would be a set amount but I think it might be more realistic and would keep
the micro-management down.


>
> But I can imagine you don't have governors anymore, and besides, it
> would probably make more sense to keep these sliders on the economic
> screen. Multiple sets of sliders on the economic screen might clutter
> it too much.

We're trying to avoid having governors in II. They worked well in GalCiv I
but they always feel like a cop-out. It's like jumping up and down saying
"Hey everyone, we know we didn't design this feature really well but fear
not, we'll let governors take care of it!". In GalCiv I, the governors
weren't handled by AI, they were simply fancy names for build queues. ;) 

>
> Personally I like the simple system of Stars! a lot: Every planet has
> a build queue that includes both ships and planetary structures, and
> any production that's left after finishing the queue goes to research.
> You can choose to have some or all planets spend a globally adjustable
> percentage of their production on research. But I don't think this
> system translates well to the GalCiv approach.

That's pretty similar to what we're doing here. The planet stuff in II is
radically different.

For example, in GalCiv I, the planet class determined how much stuff it
produced. Then improvements added % bonuses to it.

In GalCiv II, buildings do specific amounts of research. A Factory might
produce 5 shields of production. Period. So the benefit of a class 10
planet over a class 5 is that you could fit 5 more factories on the class 10
planet.

Example:

GalCiv I: Class 20 planet.
Base production = 20.
Population: 10m = 100% bonus.
Fusion Power Plan = 25% bonus.
Production = 20 * 2 * 1.25 = 50 production

GalCiv II: Class 20 planet.
Translates to having 20 tiles to build things on.
Player builds:
10 factories that each provides 5 production each.
2 farms to increase population cap to 20 million.
1 Extreme Entertainment Center which provides 5 entertainment units (morale
is no longer some fuzzy thing, it's population per entertainment unit).
3 research centers that each provide 5 research production.
1 embassy that increases the planet's influence
1 start port so that planet can build ships
1 banking center to increase tax revenue
1 colony capital (required)

Much of the economcis in GalCiv I were a bit voodoo. Players just knew
"bigger planet == better". But there wasn't much strategy in it. The guy
who got the bestest planets early on was likely going to win. There was no
real strategy to how one ran their planets.

In GalCiv II, there is since now there's a strategic decision as to WHAT you
build on the planets.

>
> How about this: Have a single set of global sliders, but for each planet
> you can choose to ignore it and check one of three check boxes: spend
> everything on ships, spend everything on buildings, or spend everything
> on research. Spending everything on buildings is useful for newly
> colonised planets that need to catch up quickly, while the other two
> are useful for planets that have built everything they need and can
> now focus on their specialisation. This is simple, and still gives
> quite a bit of control over individual planets. You could even identify
> the 3 alternative production strategies with an icon and show it on maps
> and planet lists, so you can quickly identify your developing colonies,
> your shipbuilding centers, and your research centers.

Sounds like we're thinking along the same lines. I am not so much for an
all or nothing approach but I do like the idea of enabling the player to
place an emphasis on a particular area.

>
>>> Something else that I would really like, is the option to play against
>>> the smartest, most devious AI you can think of, but on a completely
>>> level playing field: no economic bonuses for them, no ganging up on
>>> the human, etc. I love the tough AI in GalCiv, but I can see that they
>>> get bonuses that I don't, while at the same time they're still a bit
>>> slow and aren't as devious as a human opponent would be. If that's the
>>> best you can do (as it is with most games with their brain-dead AI),
>>> well, that'd be the only option to keep the game challenging, but you
>>> once mentioned that you actually dumbed the AI down because it was too
>>> nasty. I'd like to play against the nastiest AI you can think of, but
>>> on equal footing, if that's possible.
>>
>> Indeed. I don't know how much time there would be but it might be
>> possible
>> to put in a preferences field so that power players such as you could
>> have
>> the AI play at its maximum intelligence without resource advantages.
>
> I'd really love that. Ofcourse I'm only a single player, and you probably
> can't afford to cater to the wishes of every individual player, so I'll
> understand if you don't include this option. But you never know, there
> might be other die-hards like me that would like that kind of play.

;)  As the AI coder, I too would like to have an option where the aI player
puts it all on the line. We could even have it start sending swearing
messages and then if you're about to win have a dialog saying "Player has
disconnected" and then simulate a ping flood. ;) 

>
>> The reason why in GalCiv I we "dumbed" the AI down is because the AI,
>> playing no-holds-barred, was not very fun in our view. Computer players
>> can, by their nature, calculate optimal paths. For example, take
>> colonization -- we could easily have made it so that the AI was even
>> nastier
>> at that. Just have the AI see if someone else's ship was going to reach a
>> planet before their ship and then find a different planet. We decided
>> colonization was tough enough so we have it wait until the other player
>> actually colonizes the planet before the AI takes notice.
>
> For most players that kind of cleverness might be a bit too nasty, but
> I use those very same tactics, and if I were playing against humans,
> some of them would probably do it too, so it'd only be fair if the AI
> did it too. I don't mind a bit of a challenge. And especially if the
> AI loses its economic advantages, it's gonna need the extra smarts to
> have a chance. Ofcourse in the case of colonisation, it also has the
> benefit of already knowing the location of the yellow stars (unless
> you're changing that to), so for colonisation it might actually still
> be fair to give the AI some disadvantage to compensate.
>
>> Then there was starbase stuff we dumbed down. The AI would never get
>> bored
>> of building gazillions of constructors and literally making their sectors
>> invulnerable to attack by just making use of stacking advantages.
>
> I've done that too at times, although I don't really do it anymore. This
> is a very defensive strategy, and as AI, sooner or later you're gonna be
> attacked by the human. The human player can often count on not being
> attacked quite that hard by the AI. But if you were to make the AI more
> vicious, the human might also be forced to do something like this, in
> which case it would be fair if the AI did it too.

Yea, there's a LOT of nasty stuff the AI could do. We'd monitor the forums
and some playe rwould come up with a really ruthless strategy and think
"Man, can you imagine if the AI did that?" and of course, it's tempting
since computers don't ever get "tired" of soemthing. Most "cheese" tactics,
for intance, involve some sort of exploit that's repititious in nature.

Imagine a computer AI that exploits its own game? lol

>
>> So in GalCiv II, we'll probably take a similar strategy. That said, it
>> wouldn't be super hard to put in an update the ability for power gamers
>> to
>> have the AI play probably very similarly how someone would play it
>> on-line.
>> Every nasty tactic taken to the nth degree. ;) 
>
> I would really love it if you did that, although I'm aware that I'm
> probably a minority.
>
>>> As for AIs ganging up on the human, I don't think that happens much in
>>> GalCiv (which is good!), but there's one area where it does: tech trade.
>>
>> Indeed. And it still does thi to a certain degree. It's not that they
>> gang
>> up so much as the AI never gets bored of opening up the trade window to
>> check to see fi there's a potential trade opportunity.
>
> Well, neither do I. As soon as I develop new tech, I check the diplomacy
> screen and often go on a tech trading frenzy. When I know I have tech
> that others don't, I also check the diplomacy screen quite regularly, to
> see if I can get something interesting for it. And then sell that to
> everybody else, ofcourse.
>
>>> If I can't sell tech on the same turn I receive it,
>>> this tech trade strategy won't work as well. But what might be even
>>> more interesting is to still require some research for techs you receive
>>> from other players. This would still make some sense, because your
>>> scientists need to adapt the new tech to your own technology base, your
>>> engineers need to be educated in the new tech, etc. If trading tech gave
>>> the receiver a 50% discount (or 90%, if you prefer), trading tech won't
>>> be quite as much of a killer that the AI needs to be reluctant to do it
>>> with the human. And if at the same time the AIs are a more willing to
>>> trade tech with each other, I think this aspect of the game would be a
>>> lot more balanced.
>>
>> That is pretty interesting. I don't know if it could be implemented that
>> way without adding another laye rof complexity. But I think the general
>> concept -- having players not be able to get a bunch of money being a
>> trade
>> merchant is possible. You could, for instance, have the value of teh
>> tech
>> be dependent on the # of players who already have it.
>
> Could also be an interesting approach, although I have no idea yet what
> influence that would have exactly. I think the most important thing that
> makes tech trading so attractive is the ability to sell tech that you
> just got from another player that same turn. If you only really got the
> new tech at the start of the next turn, I think that would slow it down
> enough to make it more reasonable. And perhaps selling a tech to one
> player could trigger the AI to check if it can sell that same tech to
> other players too. That way you can only sell someone else's tech to
> others if the original developer of the tech is for whatever reason
> unable or unwilling to do so.

So yea, we coudl make it so that the amount an AI player would want for a
given tech (or pay for) would be now based on the # of players who have it.
That really wouldn't be very hard to do. That's a good idea, mcv.

>
>> Thanks! And thank you for your excellent suggestions. I'm printing this
>> out now actually. ;) 
>
> I'm glad my comments are so useful.
>
Definitely!

Brad
--
Brad Wardell
Project Manager: Galactic Civilizations II (http://www.galciv2.com)
Stardock Corp. http://www.stardock.com

>
> mcv.
> --
> "Serenity is a very personal work with political resonance and a
> heartfelt message about the human condition and stuff blowing up.
> 'Cause let's face it, nobody cares about that 'human condition'
> stuff... in fact if you notice it, try to keep it to yourself."
> -- Joss Whedon on his new film
Anonymous
September 5, 2005 5:18:01 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

Hi!
>> It wouldn't be super hard to put in an update the ability for power gamers to
>> have the AI play probably very similarly how someone would play it on-line.
>> Every nasty tactic taken to the nth degree. ;) 
>
> I would really love it if you did that, although I'm aware that I'm
> probably a minority.
Well, not so small minority. I too would like to see that implemented!
BR, Iztok
Anonymous
September 5, 2005 9:23:37 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

"Brad Wardell" <bwardell@stardock.com> wrote in
news:RfCdneUOe8ViLobeRVn-iQ@comcast.com:

> "mcv" <mcvmcv@xs4all.nl> wrote in message
> news:431b6d70$0$11069$e4fe514c@news.xs4all.nl...
>> Brad Wardell <bwardell@stardock.com> wrote:
>>>
>>> In Galactic Civilizations I, planets had planet classes from 1
>>> through 26. People usually colonized planets of class 15 or better.
>>>
>>> On the planets, there would be a listbox of improvements players
>>> could build on the planet. As a practical matter, players built
>>> every improvement they could throughout the game. To decrease
>>> micro-management, governors were made available where people coudl
>>> queue up their construction but realistically it meant that all
>>> planets were pretty much the same.
>>
>> Yes it did. I always try to differentiate a bit, simply because I like
>> it and I think it's realistic, but in the long run they still ended up
>> pretty much the same. So I'm really happy that planets will be a lot
>> more specialised in GalCiv 2.
>>
>>> In Galactic Civilizations II planets look like this:
>>> http://www.galciv2.com/screenshots/gc-sept05c.jpg
>>>
>>> Classes 1 through 26 are still there but now the class number
>>> determines how many useable tiles there are on the planet. A typical
>>> planet now is a class 8 planet -- 8 tiles. Players can queue up
>>> what they want to build on a given planet. The player doesn't even
>>> have to be notified on construction status if they don't want, a
>>> green tile will appear on the main map letting you know when a given
>>> planet has gone through its queue.
>>
>> So every planet has a custom build queue? That's great. Queues are
>> good.
>
> Correct. They're different per planet since every planet is different.
> If you get a planet with, for example, two tiles that have ancient
> ruins on them that double research production IF you put a research lab
> on the tile, then that's going to probably make the player more
> inclined to put research labs there.
How build queues would do with those special tiles? It would be nice to
specify the building order (which can generally be derived from some
template) and not having to take care of placing research lab on those
tiles with ancient ruines. Basically, it there're some research facilities
in the queue, it's nice for those ancient ruins to be held until the turn
of research building comes
>
> By contrast, on another planet, you may only build farms to increase
> population to get the tax revenue.
>
> In GalCiv I, you built 1 of each improvement. In GalCiv II, you can
> build as many of the same improvement as you want, the limit is the #
> of tiles.
I like it. Btw, wasn't it optimal in GalCiv I to develop planets
differently too? AFAIR, building every improvement on each planet was too
costly and it wasn't paying off (at least on the hardest level).
>
>> But does this now replace the governor queues? Perhaps it would be
>> useful if, on colonisation, you could asign the new colony one from a
>> few standard queue templates (editable by the player?), and once
>> you've thought a few turns about that planet's role in your empire,
>> you can customise it. This would be very similar to the way queues
>> work in Stars!.
>
> When you play it you'll see what I mean but it's a totally different
> style. GalCiv I was like the Civilization style, GalCiv II planets are
> more akin to Simcity or something. You literally start building your
> planet any time you want, they don't even seem like queues when you're
> playing.
To me it sounds more similar to MOO 1, which is nice :) 

> >But if each
>> building has a tile asigned to it, automated queues may not work. In
>> any case, the way you described it, it sounds very playable. (But keep
>> in mind that first impressions can be deceptive, so keep the idea in
>> the back of your mind in case players ever get tired of selecting the
>> same standard build queue for each new colony.)
>>
>
> Yea, originally we were going to have some sort of governor design your
> planets for you. But once we got playing, it's so easy to just land on
> a planet and in seconds design out how you want your planet to be used.
Does it mean that you have to assign which building goes to which tile for
every planet? So, for example, if you discovered a planet with 10 regular
tiles and 2 tiles with ancient ruines what would be your step to schedule
development of this planet? Ideally, I'd like to be able to use prepared
templates and just say "develop this planet according to this plan" (and
have plans persistent from game to game). I see some problems in this plan
though. It's impractical to create templates for every combination of
speciality and every possible number of tiles. So probably, I'd have "large
research center" plan and "small research center" plan suitable for large
and small planets respectively. But then, what should be done with
remaining tiles (or building that don't fit). Truncating the tail of the
queue may not be the best way. For example, my "small research center" may
be 2 factories + 6 labs. In this order, because I want to build factories
(or whatever accelerate construction) first so then labs will get built
quicker. However, on the planets with 7 tiles, I don't waste tiles for 2
factories, so I may want to have 1 factory dropped rather than a lab
despite having that factory early in the queue. Another situation is that
my preferred plan may actually be 2 factor + 6 labs, replace one factory
with a lab, replace another factory with a lab. With all that plans start
to look quite complicated. On a good side, created once those plans will
get reused in many games. Such a feature may sound a bit too hardcore
though...
>
>>
>>>> You could asign
>>>> different build queues to planets and had centralised sliders to
>>>> divide between ships, buildings and research, but in the end you
>>>> want some planets to build ships, and others to do the research or
>>>> build wonders and trade goods, so every turn I'm fiddling with the
>>>> centralised sliders and checking the effects on the individual
>>>> planets in order to get the most out of it and not waste any
>>>> production. (It also looks like unused production still costs money,
>>>> but I never checked if that's really true.)
>>>
>>> Well one big difference off the bat is that in GalCiv II, if a planet
>>> isn't producing anything, you aren't charged for its shields. So
>>> players didn't get stuck having to play with the global sliders
>>> constantly due to not wanting to spend money on things they aren't
>>> using.
>>
>> Not having to pay for unused production capacity is great. But
>> ofcourse that's not gonna stop me from trying to get the most out of
>> my production capacity.
>>
>>> But this is a good point, it might be useful to make it so that
>>> players could, to some degree, override the global sliders to have
>>> some planets focus on different things (like ship production).
>>>
>>> Any suggestions on the best way to implement that UI-wise? I.e. don't
>>> want to overcomplicate the UI but such a feature would be nice and
>>> not terribly hard to implement.
>>
>> That's a good question. I don't know. Tweaking individual sliders for
>> every single planet is way too much micromanagement, ofcourse. If you
>> still have governors, you could tie the sliders to the governors, so
>> you'd have shipbuilding governor that spends most on ships (and
>> probably has manufacturing and shipyards in his build queue), and the
>> research governor that lets his planets spend most on research (while
>> building research labs, I suppose).
>
> Yea, of course then it puts too much in the hands of the computer IMO.
Maybe allow to create limited number (limited to prevent micro-
optimization-fest by creating a special profile for every planet) of
spending profiles that have individual sliders? For example, military
profile, research profile, cultural profile etc... Each planets can be
assigned to a certain profile. With limited number of profiles it would be
possible to put all of them on the same screen as well.


>>>> Something else that I would really like, is the option to play
>>>> against the smartest, most devious AI you can think of, but on a
>>>> completely level playing field: no economic bonuses for them, no
>>>> ganging up on the human, etc. I love the tough AI in GalCiv, but I
>>>> can see that they get bonuses that I don't, while at the same time
>>>> they're still a bit slow and aren't as devious as a human opponent
>>>> would be. If that's the best you can do (as it is with most games
>>>> with their brain-dead AI), well, that'd be the only option to keep
>>>> the game challenging, but you once mentioned that you actually
>>>> dumbed the AI down because it was too nasty. I'd like to play
>>>> against the nastiest AI you can think of, but on equal footing, if
>>>> that's possible.
>>>
>>> Indeed. I don't know how much time there would be but it might be
>>> possible to put in a preferences field so that power players such as
>>> you could have the AI play at its maximum intelligence without
>>> resource advantages.
>>
>> I'd really love that. Ofcourse I'm only a single player, and you
>> probably can't afford to cater to the wishes of every individual
>> player, so I'll understand if you don't include this option. But you
>> never know, there might be other die-hards like me that would like
>> that kind of play.
>
> ;)  As the AI coder, I too would like to have an option where the aI
> player puts it all on the line. We could even have it start sending
> swearing messages and then if you're about to win have a dialog saying
> "Player has disconnected" and then simulate a ping flood. ;) 
>
>>
>>> The reason why in GalCiv I we "dumbed" the AI down is because the AI,
>>> playing no-holds-barred, was not very fun in our view. Computer
>>> players can, by their nature, calculate optimal paths. For example,
>>> take colonization -- we could easily have made it so that the AI was
>>> even nastier at that. Just have the AI see if someone else's ship was
>>> going to reach a planet before their ship and then find a different
>>> planet. We decided colonization was tough enough so we have it wait
>>> until the other player actually colonizes the planet before the AI
>>> takes notice.
>>
>> For most players that kind of cleverness might be a bit too nasty, but
>> I use those very same tactics, and if I were playing against humans,
>> some of them would probably do it too, so it'd only be fair if the AI
>> did it too. I don't mind a bit of a challenge. And especially if the
>> AI loses its economic advantages, it's gonna need the extra smarts to
>> have a chance. Ofcourse in the case of colonisation, it also has the
>> benefit of already knowing the location of the yellow stars (unless
>> you're changing that to), so for colonisation it might actually still
>> be fair to give the AI some disadvantage to compensate.
>>
>>> Then there was starbase stuff we dumbed down. The AI would never get
>>> bored of building gazillions of constructors and literally making
>>> their sectors invulnerable to attack by just making use of stacking
>>> advantages.
>>
>> I've done that too at times, although I don't really do it anymore.
>> This is a very defensive strategy, and as AI, sooner or later you're
>> gonna be attacked by the human. The human player can often count on
>> not being attacked quite that hard by the AI. But if you were to make
>> the AI more vicious, the human might also be forced to do something
>> like this, in which case it would be fair if the AI did it too.
>
> Yea, there's a LOT of nasty stuff the AI could do. We'd monitor the
> forums and some playe rwould come up with a really ruthless strategy
> and think "Man, can you imagine if the AI did that?" and of course,
> it's tempting since computers don't ever get "tired" of soemthing. Most
> "cheese" tactics, for intance, involve some sort of exploit that's
> repititious in nature.
>
> Imagine a computer AI that exploits its own game? lol
I imagine that instead of coding AI to take advantage of some exploit it
may be easier to close the exploit :)  Personally, I'd prefer to have AI
that plays as well as it can. When AI has big economic advantages the game
seems to become much less flexible, because to overcome the disadvantage
the player has to stick to a limited number of strategies AI can't cope
well. Surely, AI will have some advantage due to number crunching, but with
a good UI, it shouldn't be hard to keep that advantage relatively minimal
in comparison to creative strategical decisions :) 


>>> So in GalCiv II, we'll probably take a similar strategy. That said,
>>> it wouldn't be super hard to put in an update the ability for power
>>> gamers to have the AI play probably very similarly how someone would
>>> play it on-line. Every nasty tactic taken to the nth degree. ;) 
>>
>> I would really love it if you did that, although I'm aware that I'm
>> probably a minority.
>>
>>>> As for AIs ganging up on the human, I don't think that happens much
>>>> in GalCiv (which is good!), but there's one area where it does: tech
>>>> trade.
>>>
>>> Indeed. And it still does thi to a certain degree. It's not that
>>> they gang up so much as the AI never gets bored of opening up the
>>> trade window to check to see fi there's a potential trade
>>> opportunity.
>>
>> Well, neither do I. As soon as I develop new tech, I check the
>> diplomacy screen and often go on a tech trading frenzy. When I know I
>> have tech that others don't, I also check the diplomacy screen quite
>> regularly, to see if I can get something interesting for it. And then
>> sell that to everybody else, ofcourse.
>>
>>>> If I can't sell tech on the same turn I receive it,
>>>> this tech trade strategy won't work as well. But what might be even
>>>> more interesting is to still require some research for techs you
>>>> receive from other players. This would still make some sense,
>>>> because your scientists need to adapt the new tech to your own
>>>> technology base, your engineers need to be educated in the new tech,
>>>> etc. If trading tech gave the receiver a 50% discount (or 90%, if
>>>> you prefer), trading tech won't be quite as much of a killer that
>>>> the AI needs to be reluctant to do it with the human. And if at the
>>>> same time the AIs are a more willing to trade tech with each other,
>>>> I think this aspect of the game would be a lot more balanced.
>>>
>>> That is pretty interesting. I don't know if it could be implemented
>>> that way without adding another laye rof complexity. But I think the
>>> general concept -- having players not be able to get a bunch of money
>>> being a trade merchant is possible. You could, for instance, have
>>> the value of teh tech be dependent on the # of players who already
>>> have it.
>>
>> Could also be an interesting approach, although I have no idea yet
>> what influence that would have exactly. I think the most important
>> thing that makes tech trading so attractive is the ability to sell
>> tech that you just got from another player that same turn. If you only
>> really got the new tech at the start of the next turn, I think that
>> would slow it down enough to make it more reasonable. And perhaps
>> selling a tech to one player could trigger the AI to check if it can
>> sell that same tech to other players too. That way you can only sell
>> someone else's tech to others if the original developer of the tech is
>> for whatever reason unable or unwilling to do so.
>
> So yea, we coudl make it so that the amount an AI player would want for
> a given tech (or pay for) would be now based on the # of players who
> have it. That really wouldn't be very hard to do. That's a good idea,
> mcv.
To me tech trading in GalCiv I felt kind of exploitive, because you could
see the tech right after buying it. And making AI less willing to trade
with player in the following patch only made usage of this exploit almost
mandatory on the hardest level. I don't think that making tech price
dependent on # of races having it is the best plan. In some situations AI
may want to sell tech cheaper to balance other races war balance, or most
of the races may want to keep the tech from somebody else. I like one turn
delay idea more. It may also be more interesting to delay not the
consequent trade, but tech availability. So that the bough tech will become
available to the player only on the next turn.

Please don't feel I'm criticizing here. I would just feel silly repeating
"That's nice" and "I like this feature" dozens of times, so I've
concentrated on something which looked uncertain :) 

Alex.
Anonymous
September 5, 2005 4:06:01 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

"Brad Wardell" <bwardell@stardock.com> writes:

> The final game is supposed to ship this upcoming February.

I won't preorder or whatever, but barring exceptional circumstances,
you can consider my copy sold.

Will there again be an option for online download-and-CD purchase?
That was something I liked with the first; I live in France, and
played GalCiv way before it was translated/imported - plus, I usually
like original versions better than translations (at least when the
original's in English).

--

Philippe Duchon (duchon@labri.fr)
Anonymous
September 5, 2005 5:40:47 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

"alexti" <QQalextiQQ@videotron.few.useless.chars.ca> wrote in message
news:Xns96C7EE2E567BCsfjshTTalextiFJFsdsi@24.71.223.159...
> "Brad Wardell" <bwardell@stardock.com> wrote in
> news:RfCdneUOe8ViLobeRVn-iQ@comcast.com:
>
>> "mcv" <mcvmcv@xs4all.nl> wrote in message
>> news:431b6d70$0$11069$e4fe514c@news.xs4all.nl...
>>> Brad Wardell <bwardell@stardock.com> wrote:
>>>>
>>>> In Galactic Civilizations I, planets had planet classes from 1
>>>> through 26. People usually colonized planets of class 15 or better.
>>>>
>>>> On the planets, there would be a listbox of improvements players
>>>> could build on the planet. As a practical matter, players built
>>>> every improvement they could throughout the game. To decrease
>>>> micro-management, governors were made available where people coudl
>>>> queue up their construction but realistically it meant that all
>>>> planets were pretty much the same.
>>>
>>> Yes it did. I always try to differentiate a bit, simply because I like
>>> it and I think it's realistic, but in the long run they still ended up
>>> pretty much the same. So I'm really happy that planets will be a lot
>>> more specialised in GalCiv 2.
>>>
>>>> In Galactic Civilizations II planets look like this:
>>>> http://www.galciv2.com/screenshots/gc-sept05c.jpg
>>>>
>>>> Classes 1 through 26 are still there but now the class number
>>>> determines how many useable tiles there are on the planet. A typical
>>>> planet now is a class 8 planet -- 8 tiles. Players can queue up
>>>> what they want to build on a given planet. The player doesn't even
>>>> have to be notified on construction status if they don't want, a
>>>> green tile will appear on the main map letting you know when a given
>>>> planet has gone through its queue.
>>>
>>> So every planet has a custom build queue? That's great. Queues are
>>> good.
>>
>> Correct. They're different per planet since every planet is different.
>> If you get a planet with, for example, two tiles that have ancient
>> ruins on them that double research production IF you put a research lab
>> on the tile, then that's going to probably make the player more
>> inclined to put research labs there.
> How build queues would do with those special tiles? It would be nice to
> specify the building order (which can generally be derived from some
> template) and not having to take care of placing research lab on those
> tiles with ancient ruines. Basically, it there're some research facilities
> in the queue, it's nice for those ancient ruins to be held until the turn
> of research building comes

That's the thing, it's not like the build queues in GalCiv I. It's more
along the lines of Simcity zoning. You literally go to a planet and can
double click on a given improvement and it will build in the highlighted
tile. So the player can essentially zone out an entire planet in <5 seconds
once they're used to it.

Then, as better improvements come along (better factories or new wonders or
whatever) they can revisit the planet and modify as they so choose.

>>
>> By contrast, on another planet, you may only build farms to increase
>> population to get the tax revenue.
>>
>> In GalCiv I, you built 1 of each improvement. In GalCiv II, you can
>> build as many of the same improvement as you want, the limit is the #
>> of tiles.
> I like it. Btw, wasn't it optimal in GalCiv I to develop planets
> differently too? AFAIR, building every improvement on each planet was too
> costly and it wasn't paying off (at least on the hardest level).

Sure, but every planet was still basically the same. On every world, you
would always build the same several improvements, usually in the same order
because the only thing that made one planet different from another was its
planet class.

Now in GalCiv II, you may want your industrial world. You couldn't have
industrial worlds in GalCiv I since you could only build ONE of each type of
improvement.

>>
>>> But does this now replace the governor queues? Perhaps it would be
>>> useful if, on colonisation, you could asign the new colony one from a
>>> few standard queue templates (editable by the player?), and once
>>> you've thought a few turns about that planet's role in your empire,
>>> you can customise it. This would be very similar to the way queues
>>> work in Stars!.
>>
>> When you play it you'll see what I mean but it's a totally different
>> style. GalCiv I was like the Civilization style, GalCiv II planets are
>> more akin to Simcity or something. You literally start building your
>> planet any time you want, they don't even seem like queues when you're
>> playing.

> To me it sounds more similar to MOO 1, which is nice :) 

It could be. I don't remember MOO 1 that well. But the idea is to make each
planet feel somewhat unique.

>
>> >But if each
>>> building has a tile asigned to it, automated queues may not work. In
>>> any case, the way you described it, it sounds very playable. (But keep
>>> in mind that first impressions can be deceptive, so keep the idea in
>>> the back of your mind in case players ever get tired of selecting the
>>> same standard build queue for each new colony.)
>>>
>>
>> Yea, originally we were going to have some sort of governor design your
>> planets for you. But once we got playing, it's so easy to just land on
>> a planet and in seconds design out how you want your planet to be used.

> Does it mean that you have to assign which building goes to which tile for
> every planet? So, for example, if you discovered a planet with 10 regular
> tiles and 2 tiles with ancient ruines what would be your step to schedule
> development of this planet? Ideally, I'd like to be able to use prepared
> templates and just say "develop this planet according to this plan" (and
> have plans persistent from game to game). I see some problems in this plan
> though. It's impractical to create templates for every combination of
> speciality and every possible number of tiles. So probably, I'd have
> "large
> research center" plan and "small research center" plan suitable for large
> and small planets respectively. But then, what should be done with
> remaining tiles (or building that don't fit). Truncating the tail of the
> queue may not be the best way. For example, my "small research center" may
> be 2 factories + 6 labs. In this order, because I want to build factories
> (or whatever accelerate construction) first so then labs will get built
> quicker. However, on the planets with 7 tiles, I don't waste tiles for 2
> factories, so I may want to have 1 factory dropped rather than a lab
> despite having that factory early in the queue. Another situation is that
> my preferred plan may actually be 2 factor + 6 labs, replace one factory
> with a lab, replace another factory with a lab. With all that plans start
> to look quite complicated. On a good side, created once those plans will
> get reused in many games. Such a feature may sound a bit too hardcore
> though...

Intiailly we were going to have general "zoning" managers. But then as we
got down to playing the game, managing a planet in GalCiv II is so much
easier than the first one that we decided not to go that route. The player
decides what's being built on each tile. However, we're only talking on
average 5 to 10 tiles per planet. And the UI has been optimized to make it
easier to crank those out (fire and forget).

As time goes on and we get more feedback, we can look at other things to add
in there to make personaliziation even easier.

>>
>>>
>>>>> You could asign
>>>>> different build queues to planets and had centralised sliders to
>>>>> divide between ships, buildings and research, but in the end you
>>>>> want some planets to build ships, and others to do the research or
>>>>> build wonders and trade goods, so every turn I'm fiddling with the
>>>>> centralised sliders and checking the effects on the individual
>>>>> planets in order to get the most out of it and not waste any
>>>>> production. (It also looks like unused production still costs money,
>>>>> but I never checked if that's really true.)
>>>>
>>>> Well one big difference off the bat is that in GalCiv II, if a planet
>>>> isn't producing anything, you aren't charged for its shields. So
>>>> players didn't get stuck having to play with the global sliders
>>>> constantly due to not wanting to spend money on things they aren't
>>>> using.
>>>
>>> Not having to pay for unused production capacity is great. But
>>> ofcourse that's not gonna stop me from trying to get the most out of
>>> my production capacity.
>>>
>>>> But this is a good point, it might be useful to make it so that
>>>> players could, to some degree, override the global sliders to have
>>>> some planets focus on different things (like ship production).
>>>>
>>>> Any suggestions on the best way to implement that UI-wise? I.e. don't
>>>> want to overcomplicate the UI but such a feature would be nice and
>>>> not terribly hard to implement.
>>>
>>> That's a good question. I don't know. Tweaking individual sliders for
>>> every single planet is way too much micromanagement, ofcourse. If you
>>> still have governors, you could tie the sliders to the governors, so
>>> you'd have shipbuilding governor that spends most on ships (and
>>> probably has manufacturing and shipyards in his build queue), and the
>>> research governor that lets his planets spend most on research (while
>>> building research labs, I suppose).
>>
>> Yea, of course then it puts too much in the hands of the computer IMO.
> Maybe allow to create limited number (limited to prevent micro-
> optimization-fest by creating a special profile for every planet) of
> spending profiles that have individual sliders? For example, military
> profile, research profile, cultural profile etc... Each planets can be
> assigned to a certain profile. With limited number of profiles it would be
> possible to put all of them on the same screen as well.

That is possible, but at that point, you really don't need a computer AI,
you could just integrate that into the UI which is something we're looking
at.
<snip>

>> Yea, there's a LOT of nasty stuff the AI could do. We'd monitor the
>> forums and some playe rwould come up with a really ruthless strategy
>> and think "Man, can you imagine if the AI did that?" and of course,
>> it's tempting since computers don't ever get "tired" of soemthing. Most
>> "cheese" tactics, for intance, involve some sort of exploit that's
>> repititious in nature.
>>
>> Imagine a computer AI that exploits its own game? lol
> I imagine that instead of coding AI to take advantage of some exploit it
> may be easier to close the exploit :)  Personally, I'd prefer to have AI
> that plays as well as it can. When AI has big economic advantages the game
> seems to become much less flexible, because to overcome the disadvantage
> the player has to stick to a limited number of strategies AI can't cope
> well. Surely, AI will have some advantage due to number crunching, but
> with
> a good UI, it shouldn't be hard to keep that advantage relatively minimal
> in comparison to creative strategical decisions :) 

It depends on the scale. For example, on a really large galaxy, the AI's
advantages grow significantly because it can simply keep track of things.

One of my disappointments in the AI in GalCiv I was the ship handling. It
was VERY difficult to keep the AI ships together. So sometimes, even at
higher levels, AI ships would attack piece meal instead of as a collected
force as they were supposed to. There were a lot of solutions for this but
all of them, on larger-sized galaxies especially, caused the game to slow
down too much as the AI kept having to pull its forces back together.

The fleets in GalCiv II help immensely along with the new battle system (3
types of attacks vs. 3 types of defenses).

>> So yea, we coudl make it so that the amount an AI player would want for
>> a given tech (or pay for) would be now based on the # of players who
>> have it. That really wouldn't be very hard to do. That's a good idea,
>> mcv.
> To me tech trading in GalCiv I felt kind of exploitive, because you could
> see the tech right after buying it. And making AI less willing to trade
> with player in the following patch only made usage of this exploit almost
> mandatory on the hardest level. I don't think that making tech price
> dependent on # of races having it is the best plan. In some situations AI
> may want to sell tech cheaper to balance other races war balance, or most
> of the races may want to keep the tech from somebody else. I like one turn
> delay idea more. It may also be more interesting to delay not the
> consequent trade, but tech availability. So that the bough tech will
> become
> available to the player only on the next turn.

I see what you're saying. So you think a solution might be to have
something that instead of buying a tech you actually get "info" on it that
gives you say, 75% of the research cost of the technology to be given to you
and the player has to say finalize the research? I.e. something liek that
anyway?

>
> Please don't feel I'm criticizing here. I would just feel silly repeating
> "That's nice" and "I like this feature" dozens of times, so I've
> concentrated on something which looked uncertain :) 

Not at all, these are great suggestions!

Brad
--
Brad Wardell
Project Manager: Galactic Civilizations II (http://www.galciv2.com)
Stardock Corp. http://www.stardock.com

>
> Alex.
Anonymous
September 5, 2005 5:51:08 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

"Philippe Duchon" <duchon@labri.fr> wrote in message
news:ysyll2bde2e.fsf@brillant.labri.fr...
> "Brad Wardell" <bwardell@stardock.com> writes:
>
>> The final game is supposed to ship this upcoming February.
>
> I won't preorder or whatever, but barring exceptional circumstances,
> you can consider my copy sold.
>
> Will there again be an option for online download-and-CD purchase?
> That was something I liked with the first; I live in France, and
> played GalCiv way before it was translated/imported - plus, I usually
> like original versions better than translations (at least when the
> original's in English).

Yep. It'll be available for download same-day.

Brad

>
> --
>
> Philippe Duchon (duchon@labri.fr)
>
Anonymous
September 5, 2005 6:54:41 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

Brad Wardell <bwardell@stardock.com> wrote:
> "Michael Share" <mshare@midsouth.rr.com> wrote in message
> news:8rISe.68630$2Q3.56904@tornado.ohiordc.rr.com...
>> >But this is a good point, it might be useful to make it so >that players
>>>could, to some degree, override the global sliders to have >some planets
>>>focus on different things (like ship production).
>>
>>>Any suggestions on the best way to implement that UI->wise? I.e. don't
>>>want
>> overcomplicate the UI
>>
>> You could create a UI screen for each planet with the same sliders and a
>> global check box. If the global check box has a check in it (which should
>> be the default), the global settings are used and shown. If not, the
>> player
>> can set local settings which will be used instead.
>
> So you see this as a seperate screen then? I.e. the user would go to their
> planet screen and then click a button to go to a second screen to tweak
> that?

I think too many seperate screens would be a bad idea. That's also why
I prefer a simple choice between the global setting or 3 more specialised
build strategies. Sliders per planet gives more control, but it also
encourages micromanagement and either it clutters an existing screen, or
you get an extra screen that you need to visit regularly, even if just
to check what it was again that you were doing at that planet.

If you decide to implement sliders for each planet, I'd suggest you add
to the planet's main screen a small but clear representation of the slider
settings, and if you click on it, you get a popup where you can adjust
the sliders. I think something like that would work.


mcv.
--
"Serenity is a very personal work with political resonance and a
heartfelt message about the human condition and stuff blowing up.
'Cause let's face it, nobody cares about that 'human condition'
stuff... in fact if you notice it, try to keep it to yourself."
-- Joss Whedon on his new film
Anonymous
September 5, 2005 6:54:42 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

"mcv" <mcvmcv@xs4all.nl> wrote in message
news:431c5c31$0$11073$e4fe514c@news.xs4all.nl...
> Brad Wardell <bwardell@stardock.com> wrote:
>> "Michael Share" <mshare@midsouth.rr.com> wrote in message
>> news:8rISe.68630$2Q3.56904@tornado.ohiordc.rr.com...
>>> >But this is a good point, it might be useful to make it so >that
>>> >players
>>>>could, to some degree, override the global sliders to have >some planets
>>>>focus on different things (like ship production).
>>>
>>>>Any suggestions on the best way to implement that UI->wise? I.e. don't
>>>>want
>>> overcomplicate the UI
>>>
>>> You could create a UI screen for each planet with the same sliders and a
>>> global check box. If the global check box has a check in it (which
>>> should
>>> be the default), the global settings are used and shown. If not, the
>>> player
>>> can set local settings which will be used instead.
>>
>> So you see this as a seperate screen then? I.e. the user would go to
>> their
>> planet screen and then click a button to go to a second screen to tweak
>> that?
>
> I think too many seperate screens would be a bad idea. That's also why
> I prefer a simple choice between the global setting or 3 more specialised
> build strategies. Sliders per planet gives more control, but it also
> encourages micromanagement and either it clutters an existing screen, or
> you get an extra screen that you need to visit regularly, even if just
> to check what it was again that you were doing at that planet.
>
> If you decide to implement sliders for each planet, I'd suggest you add
> to the planet's main screen a small but clear representation of the slider
> settings, and if you click on it, you get a popup where you can adjust
> the sliders. I think something like that would work.

What do you think of the "emphasis" button instead? That way, you can have
different planets have different focuses without having another screen or
making an existing screen look complex?

BTW, I found a decent screenshot of the strategic mode. Strategic mode is
if you zoom out on the map, the game looks like a board game. It's not as
"pretty" but you could literally play the entire game zoomed out like this
as if you were a general moving pieces on a board.

http://www.galciv2.com/screenshots/beta3/Previe11.jpg

Brad
--
Brad Wardell
Project Manager: Galactic Civilizations II (http://www.galciv2.com)
Stardock Corp. http://www.stardock.com


>
>
> mcv.
> --
> "Serenity is a very personal work with political resonance and a
> heartfelt message about the human condition and stuff blowing up.
> 'Cause let's face it, nobody cares about that 'human condition'
> stuff... in fact if you notice it, try to keep it to yourself."
> -- Joss Whedon on his new film
Anonymous
September 5, 2005 10:28:31 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

Brad Wardell <bwardell@stardock.com> wrote:
> "mcv" <mcvmcv@xs4all.nl> wrote in message
> news:431c5c31$0$11073$e4fe514c@news.xs4all.nl...
>> Brad Wardell <bwardell@stardock.com> wrote:
>>> "Michael Share" <mshare@midsouth.rr.com> wrote in message
>>> news:8rISe.68630$2Q3.56904@tornado.ohiordc.rr.com...
>>>> >But this is a good point, it might be useful to make it so >that
>>>> >players
>>>>>could, to some degree, override the global sliders to have >some planets
>>>>>focus on different things (like ship production).
>>>>
>>>>>Any suggestions on the best way to implement that UI->wise? I.e. don't
>>>>>want
>>>> overcomplicate the UI
>>>>
>>>> You could create a UI screen for each planet with the same sliders and a
>>>> global check box. If the global check box has a check in it (which
>>>> should
>>>> be the default), the global settings are used and shown. If not, the
>>>> player
>>>> can set local settings which will be used instead.
>>>
>>> So you see this as a seperate screen then? I.e. the user would go to
>>> their
>>> planet screen and then click a button to go to a second screen to tweak
>>> that?
>>
>> I think too many seperate screens would be a bad idea. That's also why
>> I prefer a simple choice between the global setting or 3 more specialised
>> build strategies. Sliders per planet gives more control, but it also
>> encourages micromanagement and either it clutters an existing screen, or
>> you get an extra screen that you need to visit regularly, even if just
>> to check what it was again that you were doing at that planet.
>>
>> If you decide to implement sliders for each planet, I'd suggest you add
>> to the planet's main screen a small but clear representation of the slider
>> settings, and if you click on it, you get a popup where you can adjust
>> the sliders. I think something like that would work.
>
> What do you think of the "emphasis" button instead? That way, you can have
> different planets have different focuses without having another screen or
> making an existing screen look complex?

It's slightly less control, but a lot less micromanagement, so I think
that's better. Just a button for emphasis on ships, emphasis on buildings,
or emphasis on research. And if you don't want 100% spent on that category,
perhaps you could spend 50% on that category and the other 50% according
to the global settings, or something like that.

Also, I still like the icons idea, so planets with emphasis on something
are easily identified. That's a lot harder to do with sliders for each
planet.

> BTW, I found a decent screenshot of the strategic mode. Strategic mode is
> if you zoom out on the map, the game looks like a board game. It's not as
> "pretty" but you could literally play the entire game zoomed out like this
> as if you were a general moving pieces on a board.
>
> http://www.galciv2.com/screenshots/beta3/Previe11.jpg

Looks good. Perhaps I'm gonna use that too. In any case, the ability to
zoom out is really great. In GalCiv 1 I often wanted to see stuff that
was on or just beyond the edge of the screen, so I had to scroll all
over the place.


mcv.
--
"Serenity is a very personal work with political resonance and a
heartfelt message about the human condition and stuff blowing up.
'Cause let's face it, nobody cares about that 'human condition'
stuff... in fact if you notice it, try to keep it to yourself."
-- Joss Whedon on his new film
Anonymous
September 6, 2005 12:16:00 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

Brad Wardell <bwardell@stardock.com> wrote:
>
> By contrast, on another planet, you may only build farms to increase
> population to get the tax revenue.

That reminds me: can you use farms on one world to feed the population
on another world? So one world can be the breadbasket of part of your
empire?

> In GalCiv I, you built 1 of each improvement. In GalCiv II, you can build
> as many of the same improvement as you want, the limit is the # of tiles.

I like that. Assuming higher tech brings better versions of certain
buildings, can I raze a basic factory to replace it with an improved
factory? Or upgrade, even?

>>> But this is a good point, it might be useful to make it so that players
>>> could, to some degree, override the global sliders to have some planets
>>> focus on different things (like ship production).
>>>
>>> Any suggestions on the best way to implement that UI-wise? I.e. don't
>>> want
>>> to overcomplicate the UI but such a feature would be nice and not
>>> terribly
>>> hard to implement.
>>
>> That's a good question. I don't know. Tweaking individual sliders for
>> every single planet is way too much micromanagement, ofcourse. If you
>> still have governors, you could tie the sliders to the governors, so
>> you'd have shipbuilding governor that spends most on ships (and probably
>> has manufacturing and shipyards in his build queue), and the research
>> governor that lets his planets spend most on research (while building
>> research labs, I suppose).
>
> Yea, of course then it puts too much in the hands of the computer IMO.

I didn't mean this in the MoO3-sense of the word governor, but in the
GalCiv1 sense of the word. So no AI whatsoever, just a name under which
a queue, and in this case also a set of budget sliders, are found, so
you can then let each planet follow one governor's settings or another's.

But you're probably right that it's better to just avoid this kind of
thing altogether.

> Here's the usual treadmill that we're trying to avoid:
>
> Step 1: Put in super cool but complex feature.
> Step 2: User notices it creates micro management.
> Step 3: Developer puts in "governors" who take care of managing complex
> feature.
> Step 4: User observes that the AI behind the governors isn't as good as they
> would be at managing it.
> Step 5: User feels forced into doing it by hand (doing all the
> micromanagement) in order to play as well as possible.

I've never played MoO3, but this sounds a lot like what killed it.
Sounds like a good idea to avoid it indeed.

> What I was thinking was that maybe instead of setting ratios per planet we
> allow players to set an "Emphasis". That this screen:
>
> http://www.galciv2.com/screenshots/gc-sept05c.jpg
>
> That the planet could put an "emphasis" on military, social, or research
> that would boost production in that area away from the other areas. It
> would be a set amount but I think it might be more realistic and would keep
> the micro-management down.

As I mentioned elsewhere in this thread, I think a simple "emphasis" is
a really good idea. A limited choice which adds very little additional
micromanagement, while still adding a reasonable amount of control.
And you can show little icons next to those planets so it's easy to
see which planets have which emphasis.

>> Personally I like the simple system of Stars! a lot: Every planet has
>> a build queue that includes both ships and planetary structures, and
>> any production that's left after finishing the queue goes to research.
>> You can choose to have some or all planets spend a globally adjustable
>> percentage of their production on research. But I don't think this
>> system translates well to the GalCiv approach.
>
> That's pretty similar to what we're doing here. The planet stuff in II is
> radically different.
>
> For example, in GalCiv I, the planet class determined how much stuff it
> produced. Then improvements added % bonuses to it.
>
> In GalCiv II, buildings do specific amounts of research. A Factory might
> produce 5 shields of production. Period. So the benefit of a class 10
> planet over a class 5 is that you could fit 5 more factories on the class 10
> planet.

So what do the sliders and the emphasis do? Sounds like all production
is determined by the buildings.

>> How about this: Have a single set of global sliders, but for each planet
>> you can choose to ignore it and check one of three check boxes: spend
>> everything on ships, spend everything on buildings, or spend everything
>> on research. Spending everything on buildings is useful for newly
>> colonised planets that need to catch up quickly, while the other two
>> are useful for planets that have built everything they need and can
>> now focus on their specialisation. This is simple, and still gives
>> quite a bit of control over individual planets. You could even identify
>> the 3 alternative production strategies with an icon and show it on maps
>> and planet lists, so you can quickly identify your developing colonies,
>> your shipbuilding centers, and your research centers.
>
> Sounds like we're thinking along the same lines. I am not so much for an
> all or nothing approach but I do like the idea of enabling the player to
> place an emphasis on a particular area.

Alright, but I think the effect of the emphasis should be simple and
easy to understand. So if you don't like all-or-nothing, perhaps 50%
goes to the emphasis, and the other 50% is spent according to the
global sliders.

Although after your explanation above, I'm suddenly wondering what
the sliders really do. I suppose the basic population without factories
and labs still does some production and research, and that's what's
regulated with the sliders?

>>> Then there was starbase stuff we dumbed down. The AI would never get
>>> bored
>>> of building gazillions of constructors and literally making their sectors
>>> invulnerable to attack by just making use of stacking advantages.
>>
>> I've done that too at times, although I don't really do it anymore. This
>> is a very defensive strategy, and as AI, sooner or later you're gonna be
>> attacked by the human. The human player can often count on not being
>> attacked quite that hard by the AI. But if you were to make the AI more
>> vicious, the human might also be forced to do something like this, in
>> which case it would be fair if the AI did it too.
>
> Yea, there's a LOT of nasty stuff the AI could do. We'd monitor the forums
> and some playe rwould come up with a really ruthless strategy and think
> "Man, can you imagine if the AI did that?" and of course, it's tempting
> since computers don't ever get "tired" of soemthing. Most "cheese" tactics,
> for intance, involve some sort of exploit that's repititious in nature.
>
> Imagine a computer AI that exploits its own game? lol

I think the best thing would be to fix the exploits so they don't work
anymore. Take my suggestion for the tech trade exploit, for example.
That's reasonably fixable by making the trade non-instantaneous.
Ofcourse not all exploits may be fixable, and the problem with these
games is always that most exploits are discovered after release, making
it even harder to fix them properly.


mcv.
--
"Serenity is a very personal work with political resonance and a
heartfelt message about the human condition and stuff blowing up.
'Cause let's face it, nobody cares about that 'human condition'
stuff... in fact if you notice it, try to keep it to yourself."
-- Joss Whedon on his new film
Anonymous
September 6, 2005 2:07:01 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

"Brad Wardell" <bwardell@stardock.com> wrote in
news:ZtadnYHf9vMEHoHeRVn-tw@comcast.com:

> "alexti" <QQalextiQQ@videotron.few.useless.chars.ca> wrote in message
> news:Xns96C7EE2E567BCsfjshTTalextiFJFsdsi@24.71.223.159...
>> "Brad Wardell" <bwardell@stardock.com> wrote in
>> news:RfCdneUOe8ViLobeRVn-iQ@comcast.com:
>>
>>> "mcv" <mcvmcv@xs4all.nl> wrote in message
>>> news:431b6d70$0$11069$e4fe514c@news.xs4all.nl...
>>>> Brad Wardell <bwardell@stardock.com> wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>> In Galactic Civilizations I, planets had planet classes from 1
>>>>> through 26. People usually colonized planets of class 15 or better.
>>>>>
>>>>> On the planets, there would be a listbox of improvements players
>>>>> could build on the planet. As a practical matter, players built
>>>>> every improvement they could throughout the game. To decrease
>>>>> micro-management, governors were made available where people coudl
>>>>> queue up their construction but realistically it meant that all
>>>>> planets were pretty much the same.
>>>>
>>>> Yes it did. I always try to differentiate a bit, simply because I
>>>> like it and I think it's realistic, but in the long run they still
>>>> ended up pretty much the same. So I'm really happy that planets will
>>>> be a lot more specialised in GalCiv 2.
>>>>
>>>>> In Galactic Civilizations II planets look like this:
>>>>> http://www.galciv2.com/screenshots/gc-sept05c.jpg
>>>>>
>>>>> Classes 1 through 26 are still there but now the class number
>>>>> determines how many useable tiles there are on the planet. A
>>>>> typical planet now is a class 8 planet -- 8 tiles. Players can
>>>>> queue up what they want to build on a given planet. The player
>>>>> doesn't even have to be notified on construction status if they
>>>>> don't want, a green tile will appear on the main map letting you
>>>>> know when a given planet has gone through its queue.
>>>>
>>>> So every planet has a custom build queue? That's great. Queues are
>>>> good.
>>>
>>> Correct. They're different per planet since every planet is
>>> different. If you get a planet with, for example, two tiles that have
>>> ancient ruins on them that double research production IF you put a
>>> research lab on the tile, then that's going to probably make the
>>> player more inclined to put research labs there.
>> How build queues would do with those special tiles? It would be nice
>> to specify the building order (which can generally be derived from
>> some template) and not having to take care of placing research lab on
>> those tiles with ancient ruines. Basically, it there're some research
>> facilities in the queue, it's nice for those ancient ruins to be held
>> until the turn of research building comes
>
> That's the thing, it's not like the build queues in GalCiv I. It's
> more along the lines of Simcity zoning. You literally go to a planet
> and can double click on a given improvement and it will build in the
> highlighted tile. So the player can essentially zone out an entire
> planet in <5 seconds once they're used to it.
How the player can specify in which order to build?

> Then, as better improvements come along (better factories or new
> wonders or whatever) they can revisit the planet and modify as they so
> choose.
In all similar games (GalCiv I, Civilization etc) it was always an
annoyance to revisit all your planets/cities every time you've researched a
new improvement. Unfortunately, it's hard to find a way to avoid it :( 

>>> >But if each
>>>> building has a tile asigned to it, automated queues may not work. In
>>>> any case, the way you described it, it sounds very playable. (But
>>>> keep in mind that first impressions can be deceptive, so keep the
>>>> idea in the back of your mind in case players ever get tired of
>>>> selecting the same standard build queue for each new colony.)
>>>>
>>>
>>> Yea, originally we were going to have some sort of governor design
>>> your planets for you. But once we got playing, it's so easy to just
>>> land on a planet and in seconds design out how you want your planet
>>> to be used.
>
>> Does it mean that you have to assign which building goes to which tile
>> for every planet? So, for example, if you discovered a planet with 10
>> regular tiles and 2 tiles with ancient ruines what would be your step
>> to schedule development of this planet? Ideally, I'd like to be able
>> to use prepared templates and just say "develop this planet according
>> to this plan" (and have plans persistent from game to game). I see
>> some problems in this plan though. It's impractical to create
>> templates for every combination of speciality and every possible
>> number of tiles. So probably, I'd have "large research center" plan
>> and "small research center" plan suitable for large and small planets
>> respectively. But then, what should be done with remaining tiles (or
>> building that don't fit). Truncating the tail of the queue may not be
>> the best way. For example, my "small research center" may be 2
>> factories + 6 labs. In this order, because I want to build factories
>> (or whatever accelerate construction) first so then labs will get
>> built quicker. However, on the planets with 7 tiles, I don't waste
>> tiles for 2 factories, so I may want to have 1 factory dropped rather
>> than a lab despite having that factory early in the queue. Another
>> situation is that my preferred plan may actually be 2 factor + 6 labs,
>> replace one factory with a lab, replace another factory with a lab.
>> With all that plans start to look quite complicated. On a good side,
>> created once those plans will get reused in many games. Such a feature
>> may sound a bit too hardcore though...
>
> Intiailly we were going to have general "zoning" managers. But then as
> we got down to playing the game, managing a planet in GalCiv II is so
> much easier than the first one that we decided not to go that route.
> The player decides what's being built on each tile. However, we're
> only talking on average 5 to 10 tiles per planet. And the UI has been
> optimized to make it easier to crank those out (fire and forget).
> As time goes on and we get more feedback, we can look at other things
> to add in there to make personaliziation even easier.
I hope it will work well.

>>> Yea, there's a LOT of nasty stuff the AI could do. We'd monitor the
>>> forums and some playe rwould come up with a really ruthless strategy
>>> and think "Man, can you imagine if the AI did that?" and of course,
>>> it's tempting since computers don't ever get "tired" of soemthing.
>>> Most "cheese" tactics, for intance, involve some sort of exploit
>>> that's repititious in nature.
>>>
>>> Imagine a computer AI that exploits its own game? lol
>> I imagine that instead of coding AI to take advantage of some exploit
>> it may be easier to close the exploit :)  Personally, I'd prefer to
>> have AI that plays as well as it can. When AI has big economic
>> advantages the game seems to become much less flexible, because to
>> overcome the disadvantage the player has to stick to a limited number
>> of strategies AI can't cope well. Surely, AI will have some advantage
>> due to number crunching, but with a good UI, it shouldn't be hard to
>> keep that advantage relatively minimal in comparison to creative
>> strategical decisions :) 
>
> It depends on the scale. For example, on a really large galaxy, the
> AI's advantages grow significantly because it can simply keep track of
> things.
From my experience, if you can survive through the early game you can win
later on against even toughest AI. It seems that the large empires become,
the more choices appear, the more advantage human players gain. I don't
know how much of that will apply to GalCiv II, but generally, the more
strategic options appear, the harder it becomes to make a decent AI.

Anyway, I'd prefer not have AI artificially dumbed down. One thing is not
investing time in coding of such AI behaviour and another is disabling AI
features that already exist. I don't see how having an option to enable
"the smartest" AI would harm anybody.

>>> So yea, we coudl make it so that the amount an AI player would want
>>> for a given tech (or pay for) would be now based on the # of players
>>> who have it. That really wouldn't be very hard to do. That's a good
>>> idea, mcv.
>> To me tech trading in GalCiv I felt kind of exploitive, because you
>> could see the tech right after buying it. And making AI less willing
>> to trade with player in the following patch only made usage of this
>> exploit almost mandatory on the hardest level. I don't think that
>> making tech price dependent on # of races having it is the best plan.
>> In some situations AI may want to sell tech cheaper to balance other
>> races war balance, or most of the races may want to keep the tech from
>> somebody else. I like one turn delay idea more. It may also be more
>> interesting to delay not the consequent trade, but tech availability.
>> So that the bough tech will become available to the player only on the
>> next turn.
>
> I see what you're saying. So you think a solution might be to have
> something that instead of buying a tech you actually get "info" on it
> that gives you say, 75% of the research cost of the technology to be
> given to you and the player has to say finalize the research? I.e.
> something liek that anyway?
It looks that there're many voices in this thread that suggest something
along those lines. In my opinion, required extra research should be
something small. I wouldn't want to get "no-research" strategy totally
eliminated. Even 25% will require quite a lot of research for high-level
techs, so everybody will be forced to have decent research which will make
strategy choice less flexible. I think the main goal here is to delay
technology availability rather than require some research.

Another idea to control trade-fest is to attach some cost to trade
negotiations. For example, charge the player (and AI too) certain number of
money, resources or whatever for initiating contact with each race
(charged once per race per turn, so you can go to the trading interface as
many times as you want on the same turn without being charged twice). I'm
not sure what overall effect it would have, so that's just an idea :) 

Btw, how tightly linked the research tree is going to be? I was finding
GalCiv I tree quite tight, which I think is something that limits strategy
choices. In MOO one of the strongest point was very loose research tree,
you could research everything in one fields without touching other fields
at all. Similarly, in Dominions, research tree is very loose and it also
results in a rich choice of strategies.

Alex.

>
>>
>> Please don't feel I'm criticizing here. I would just feel silly
>> repeating "That's nice" and "I like this feature" dozens of times, so
>> I've concentrated on something which looked uncertain :) 
>
> Not at all, these are great suggestions!
>
> Brad
> --
> Brad Wardell
> Project Manager: Galactic Civilizations II (http://www.galciv2.com)
> Stardock Corp. http://www.stardock.com
>
>>
>> Alex.
>
>
Anonymous
September 6, 2005 3:31:35 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

In article <431ca780$0$11067$e4fe514c@news.xs4all.nl>,
mcv <mcvmcv@xs4all.nl> wrote:
>
>So what do the sliders and the emphasis do? Sounds like all production
>is determined by the buildings.

If it's anything like GalCiv 1, then the buildings won't really be
doing much (except cost you upkeep) unless they're being funded, and
the sliders determine which types of building get funds.

Cheers
Bent D
--
Bent Dalager - bcd@pvv.org - http://www.pvv.org/~bcd
powered by emacs
Anonymous
September 6, 2005 3:34:06 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

In article <Xns96C8A429A5BD8sfjshTTalextiFJFsdsi@24.71.223.159>,
QQalextiQQ@videotron.few.useless.chars.ca says...

> It looks that there're many voices in this thread that suggest something
> along those lines. In my opinion, required extra research should be
> something small. I wouldn't want to get "no-research" strategy totally
> eliminated. Even 25% will require quite a lot of research for high-level
> techs, so everybody will be forced to have decent research which will make
> strategy choice less flexible. I think the main goal here is to delay
> technology availability rather than require some research.

You could simply introduce a time delay before acquired research
becomes 'active'.

- Gerry Quinn
Anonymous
September 10, 2005 12:09:33 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

On the 4 Sep 2005, "Brad Wardell" <bwardell@stardock.com> wrote:

<snip>

> It'll be at stores in North America and Europe pretty much at the same time
> this February.

Damn! Too late /and/ too early for my birthday! I suppose I'll have to
go and buy it then. ;-)

--
Jades' First Encounters Site - http://www.jades.org/ffe.htm
The best Frontier: First Encounters site on the Web.

nospam@jades.org /is/ a real email address!
Anonymous
September 11, 2005 11:01:43 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

In article <spKdnfwp5--duobeRVn-vg@comcast.com>,
"Brad Wardell" <bwardell@stardock.com> wrote:
> We also heavily limited the amount of aid comptuer AI 1 and computer AI 2
> would give to one another in war. They'll give the human player free
> goodies but they won't tend to do that for each other because they could
> optimally calculate how to beat the human player down in all instances.
> Then there was starbase stuff we dumbed down. The AI would never get bored
> of building gazillions of constructors and literally making their sectors
> invulnerable to attack by just making use of stacking advantages.

Belatedly responding:

I'd see that as a game design bug to be fixed: If you've got an
unbeatable strategy that requires vast amounts of boring activity,
players either need to bore the hell out of themselves implementing it
or deliberately play with an inferior strategy. (Wasn't micromanagement
in starbase construction one of the more common complaints about
GalCiv 1?)

Instead of dumbing down the AI, turn down the power of starbases--add
diminishing returns, so that building gazillions of constructors isn't
worth it. Or make it easier to build all those constructors, so players
are on an equal footing with a smart AI.

Or, to pick another example you gave:

> For example, take
> colonization -- we could easily have made it so that the AI was even nastier
> at that. Just have the AI see if someone else's ship was going to reach a
> planet before their ship and then find a different planet. We decided
> colonization was tough enough so we have it wait until the other player
> actually colonizes the planet before the AI takes notice.

Rather than doing that, I'd rather give the player better UI feedback.
Highlight enemy colony ships, their destinations, and mark their path
with a time to arrival. Put a red ring around any world that a known
enemy colony fleet is headed to. Add an exclamation point if there's a
player colony ship that's going to reach the planet after the enemy.

- Damien
Anonymous
September 12, 2005 8:20:02 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

Hi!
> Other cheese tactics are simply flaws in (or artifacts of, depending
> on your pov :-) the basic game design.
> ...
> you can surround a resource you'd like to have to yourself
More cheesy tactics with resources: when asked if you want to build the
starbase over resource just say no, and constructor will stay on
resource effectively blocking it until you have enough money to actualy
pay for the new SB.
Br, Iztok
Anonymous
September 12, 2005 2:06:00 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

In article <neild-usenet4-DE1DFA.19014311092005@news.newsguy.com>,
Damien Neil <neild-usenet4@misago.org> wrote:
>
>I'd see that as a game design bug to be fixed: If you've got an
>unbeatable strategy that requires vast amounts of boring activity,
>players either need to bore the hell out of themselves implementing it
>or deliberately play with an inferior strategy. (Wasn't micromanagement
>in starbase construction one of the more common complaints about
>GalCiv 1?)

I am currently replaying GC1 (kudos to Wardell for prodding me into
doing so <g>) and apart from rediscovering its more frustrating
aspects :-) I also find that the AI isn't quite as good as I remember
it. Or, at least, the strategy AI isn't. The economic AI is pretty
good - well better than me, anyway - on Intelligent, but it keeps
wasting its ships on completely hopeless attack patterns. It seems
that once it has picked a world of mine to conquer (apparantly
whichever one is the closest to the AI), it just can't get its mind
off of it. Never mind how many Planetary Defenses I have (hopefully
they stack <g>), how many support starbases there are and how many
dreadnoughts are sitting in orbit - it just keeps pouring in its
attack fleets to the slaughter. Attack fleets, I might add, that would
completely cream me if it attacked any one of my
non-ridiculously-fortified sectors.

Anyway, one of the things I found after I sent the USS Hero in to do
some poaching on enemy trade routes (I just love it when a simple
tactic such as this actually starts showing in the graphs <g>) is that
the AI has built tons and tons of single-constructor starbases that
aren't sitting on a resource and that are in sectors with other
starbases already in there. Now, while this may be a long-term plan to
build them up to production bonus bonanzas, it makes no sense to build
10 of these single-constructor bases that give a total bonus of zero
when you should be using the 10 constructors to build one starbase
with a full set of bonuses.

Of course, there may be a super-clever use for single-constructor
non-resource-extracting non-range-extending bases that I'm just not
aware of.

>Instead of dumbing down the AI, turn down the power of starbases--add
>diminishing returns, so that building gazillions of constructors isn't
>worth it. Or make it easier to build all those constructors, so players
>are on an equal footing with a smart AI.

I was really surprised the first time I found that that multiple
starbases within the same sector stacked bonuses. It seems to me that
if this was really the purpose, then you should just be allowed to
keep adding modules (at added cost perhaps) to the original
starbase. There is little need to force the player to jump through
hoops by requiring the establishment of additional starbases. I think
it would have been a better game if non-resource bonuses from
starbases within the same sector did not stack. The various
after-market hacks to limit starbase usefulness (I seem to recall that
both they and the modules were free to build in the first release)
appears to support this notion.

Other than that, I think that, ideally, many of the tactics that
Wardell thinks is cheesy should be turned into mainstream strategies
by designing a UI that makes it easy to employ them.

Massive starbasing is one example - introduce automation of starbase
construction. Let the player define a "starbase building plan" that
says "plop down bases - each with all the three trade modules - here,
here, here, here, here and here" and then allow him to assign planets
to feeding that building plan. Constructors from such planets would
then auto-move to the starbase currently under construction and add
the correct module to it.

Harassing civilian shipping behind enemy lines is another - introduce
threat indicators that tell (or show) you which enemy ships are within
one turn's travel distance from your corvette (or whatever) so that
you can keep it out of harm's way for so long as possible _without_
turning the player into an underpaid parsec-counter. Protecting
civilian shipping should then be made feasible with an Escort type UI
facility that automatically detects enemy warships within one turn's
distance of a civilian ship and either alerts the player or simply
moves in to attack. And what _should_ have been happening already is
that ships on AutoPilot should auto-disable-AutoPilot whenever they
see that an enemy ship vastly more powerful than themselves will be
within one turn's distance on the AutoPiloting ship's end of turn. If
I have Eyes of the Universe _and_ the super-sensor-range special event
has taken place _and_ I have sensor drones all over the place, there
should be _some_ benifit I think ...

Anyway, since there aren't UI facilities for many of these, I can only
conclude that there weren't enough resources to add them and that
removing the same tactics from the AI is more or less a hack to
account for a sub-optimal UI.

Other cheese tactics are simply flaws in (or artifacts of, depending
on your pov :-) the basic game design. For example, if you see an AI
ship that you don't like the looks of and you want to bring it to a
halt (and you don't want to go to war with the AI, or you don't have a
ship powerful enough to destroy it anyway), surround it with sensor
drones. Since it can't move through them without declaring war on you
by attacking them, it stays put until further notice. If you don't
have 8 drones to spare, you can use fewer to slow it down or divert it
altogether (depending on its speed) by getting in its way. This is
probably a very powerful tactic against enemy Combat Transporters in
your heartland. Or you can surround a resource you'd like to have to
yourself, or a planet you don't want approached by anyone else.

One thing I'm doing right now that seems cheesy to me, simply because
the AI probably doesn't realize its mistake, is that I'm letting his
combat transporters roam through my hinterlands unhindered. Apart from
the fact that it would probably cost me two anti-matter missiles to
take out each one, I observe that all of my worlds are garrisoned and
his transports cost him upkeep so long as they are alive. Since I
don't let any of his warships through (with the aid of said missiles),
his combat transports are completely useless and so basically a net
loss for him to keep around. A human player would realize this and put
some more effort into punching through my front lines with a small
warfleet (which would be easy to do, seeing as I've only seen the need
to fortify one single sector on my right flank and I don't have nearly
enough resources to do this throughout).

(Of course, if the UP votes in the "armed transports" resolution, I
may be the one weeping ... <g>)

>Rather than doing that, I'd rather give the player better UI feedback.
>Highlight enemy colony ships, their destinations, and mark their path
>with a time to arrival. Put a red ring around any world that a known
>enemy colony fleet is headed to. Add an exclamation point if there's a
>player colony ship that's going to reach the planet after the enemy.

You don't actually know which planet a given AI ship is heading
for. You can only really guess. It could still warn you, however, that
there exists an AI colony ship that conceivably _could_ reach a planet
before your own. And then you can send in the sensor drones to slow it
down <g>

However, having a UI to project the future position of an AI ship
(well, actually, the area it can reach) would be incredibly useful. As
it is, I spend a lot of my turn counting parsecs and that's really
quite boring.

When threading the needle behind enemy lines, it would also be very
useful to be able to place a marker on the map just to remember a
specific location. Now, this _can_ be done by setting a waypoint
today, but it's a little hackish-seeming :-)

Cheers
Bent D
--
Bent Dalager - bcd@pvv.org - http://www.pvv.org/~bcd
powered by emacs
Anonymous
September 12, 2005 3:59:17 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

In article <1126524002.635971.32780@g47g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,
<iztok_bitenc@yahoo.com> wrote:
>More cheesy tactics with resources: when asked if you want to build the
>starbase over resource just say no, and constructor will stay on
>resource effectively blocking it until you have enough money to actualy
>pay for the new SB.

I noticed this, but didn't realize you couldn't just plain old park in
it anyway. I take it what you are saying is that constructors will,
e.g., navigate around a resource spot if it's in the way of their
route (much like they navigate around planets, AI ships and anomalies)
so that you're not really _supposed_ to be able to move through the
actual resource.

Along similar lines, in one scenario (I'm playing the altarian
prophecy campaign), the Torians had an annoying starbase on an
influence resource that was out of range of my death knight. The map
concerned looked something like this (use proportional font or
imagination):

Ss
SS

Where capital S is a sector that I have range to and a small s is one
I do not have range to.

So what I did was put my death knight as high as I could in the lower
right S, diagonally below and to the right of the starbase, and plot a
course to take it diagonally up to the left into the upper left S. It
will happily follow such a course through out-of-range territory (a
flaw, imo) and as it encounters the starbase en route, it auto-attacks
it.

This seems wrong to me.

(And, tangentially, there should be a way to turn off auto-attack. Is
there?)

Cheers
Bent D
--
Bent Dalager - bcd@pvv.org - http://www.pvv.org/~bcd
powered by emacs
Anonymous
September 12, 2005 6:38:15 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

"Damien Neil" <neild-usenet4@misago.org> wrote in message
news:neild-usenet4-DE1DFA.19014311092005@news.newsguy.com...
> In article <spKdnfwp5--duobeRVn-vg@comcast.com>,
> "Brad Wardell" <bwardell@stardock.com> wrote:
> > We also heavily limited the amount of aid comptuer AI 1 and computer AI
2
> > would give to one another in war. They'll give the human player free
> > goodies but they won't tend to do that for each other because they could
> > optimally calculate how to beat the human player down in all instances.
> > Then there was starbase stuff we dumbed down. The AI would never get
bored
> > of building gazillions of constructors and literally making their
sectors
> > invulnerable to attack by just making use of stacking advantages.
>
> Belatedly responding:
>
> I'd see that as a game design bug to be fixed: If you've got an
> unbeatable strategy that requires vast amounts of boring activity,
> players either need to bore the hell out of themselves implementing it
> or deliberately play with an inferior strategy. (Wasn't micromanagement
> in starbase construction one of the more common complaints about
> GalCiv 1?)
>
> Instead of dumbing down the AI, turn down the power of starbases--add
> diminishing returns, so that building gazillions of constructors isn't
> worth it. Or make it easier to build all those constructors, so players
> are on an equal footing with a smart AI.
>

I'd like to see a completely different approach to the starbases: after the
first constructor has "initialized" the base, further upgrades to be bought
with points appropriated from empire wide production "tax" that you can
adjust based on need (or something like that anyway)

This would elimate the micromanagement inherent in the constructors.


-Tomi
Anonymous
September 13, 2005 4:40:53 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

Hi!
> So what I did was put my death knight as high as I could in the lower
> right S, diagonally below and to the right of the starbase, and plot a
> course to take it diagonally up to the left into the upper left S. It
> will happily follow such a course through out-of-range territory (a
> flaw, imo) and as it encounters the starbase en route, it
> auto-attacks it.
I've used that corner-to-corner travel over space out of range only
with scouts. Well, the AI can also do that, so it is IMO not so wrong.
BTW, for killing ships/SBs with better defense than ofense it helps to
have a Vampyre-class ship (evil civ only). With only one I destroyed
most bases in one of the AP's higher mission. IIRC at the end it was
level 10 or 11 and was able to successfully engage AIs dreadnoughts
(evil grin).
BR, Iztok
Anonymous
September 13, 2005 11:53:37 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

In article <N_2dnVlZGprJM4beRVn-jg@comcast.com>, bwardell@stardock.com
says...
>
> "Michael Share" <mshare@midsouth.rr.com> wrote in message
> news:8rISe.68630$2Q3.56904@tornado.ohiordc.rr.com...
> > >But this is a good point, it might be useful to make it so >that players
> >>could, to some degree, override the global sliders to have >some planets
> >>focus on different things (like ship production).
> >
> >>Any suggestions on the best way to implement that UI->wise? I.e. don't
> >>want
> > overcomplicate the UI
> >
> > You could create a UI screen for each planet with the same sliders and a
> > global check box. If the global check box has a check in it (which should
> > be the default), the global settings are used and shown. If not, the
> > player
> > can set local settings which will be used instead.
>
> So you see this as a seperate screen then? I.e. the user would go to their
> planet screen and then click a button to go to a second screen to tweak
> that?
>
> Brad
>

I would second that suggestion. The whole idea of specializing planets
is a good one i.m.o. (I've already done that in Galciv 1, largely) but
it makes relatively little sense if you can't set a research planet to
*research* and a shipyard planet to *build ships* while you have set the
overall empire strategy for building improvements ...

Been messing around with the beta3 for a bit now, sadly it crashes way
too often at this point and from time to time it crashes very very hard
(locking everything bar the reset button, not a good thing to happen on
the server which is where I sit) - but I think you are definitely on the
right track. This could be the space 4x game to supercede all others
<grin>.

-Peter

--
=========================================
firstname dot lastname at gmail fullstop com
Anonymous
September 18, 2005 11:24:18 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

On Sun, 4 Sep 2005 01:43:21 -0400, "Brad Wardell"
<bwardell@stardock.com> wrote:

>Beta 3 of Galactic Civilizations II has had a hands-on preview over at
>Gamespot. As some of you probably know, Galactic Civilizations is a PC
>strategy game. The very very first version of it came out like a million
>years ago or so back in 1994. The concept of it was actually put together
>here on comp.sys.pc.games.strategic back in summer of 1993 (when I was in
>college). Much has changed since then of course. ;-D. For example, my
>socks normally match but I digress.
>
>The final game is supposed to ship this upcoming February. I'm not sure how
>many of you reading this played the first one, but here are a few highlights
>of what's different about the sequel:
>
>1) You can play as any race.
>2) It has a 3D engine instead of a 2D sprite based one
>3) Performance for most players will probably be better on the new one than
>the first one
>4) You can run it at any resolution from 1024x768 on up with each screen
>intelligently scaling based on DesktopX tech.
>5) You can design your own ships.
>6) There is fleet combat now.
>7) There is a new combat system in now.
>8) The tech tree is being redone.
>9) Each planet is unique.
>10) Totally different colony management system that offers more strategic
>depth with less micro-management.
>11) Cleaner UI (can view things from any angle, any zoom level, etc.)
>
>Here's a couple of screenshots from beta 3.
>http://www.galciv2.com/screenshots/gc-sept05e.jpg
>http://www.galciv2.com/screenshots/gc-sept05f.jpg
>
>Quite a few people have described it (including Gamespot) as a kind of
>marriage between MOO2 and the first GalCiv. That's not our intent but the
>ship design stuff is proving to be one of the most popular features (and you
>can really go to town with your designs and they are saved for future games
>automatically).
>
>For those of you into these kinds of games, feel free to let me know what
>kinds of features you'd like seen in over the first one and assuming it's
>within our scope, we'll see what we can do about getting it in.
>
>Here's the Gamespot link:
>http://www.gamespot.com/pc/strategy/galacticcivilizatio...
>
>Brad


One of the features I really like is an Option (and it has to be an
option) for a variable tech tree. This precludes a pure turtle race up
the tech tree strategy because you do not know what the tech tree is.
Does GC2 have anything like that?

Also looking at that screenshot I see a small box showing tech tree
paths. Is there an overview or do you have to scroll the view window
around and try to piece it together?
Anonymous
September 18, 2005 11:24:18 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

On 05 Sep 2005 14:54:41 GMT, mcv <mcvmcv@xs4all.nl> wrote:

>Brad Wardell <bwardell@stardock.com> wrote:
>> "Michael Share" <mshare@midsouth.rr.com> wrote in message
>> news:8rISe.68630$2Q3.56904@tornado.ohiordc.rr.com...
>>> >But this is a good point, it might be useful to make it so >that players
>>>>could, to some degree, override the global sliders to have >some planets
>>>>focus on different things (like ship production).
>>>
>>>>Any suggestions on the best way to implement that UI->wise? I.e. don't
>>>>want
>>> overcomplicate the UI
>>>
>>> You could create a UI screen for each planet with the same sliders and a
>>> global check box. If the global check box has a check in it (which should
>>> be the default), the global settings are used and shown. If not, the
>>> player
>>> can set local settings which will be used instead.
>>
>> So you see this as a seperate screen then? I.e. the user would go to their
>> planet screen and then click a button to go to a second screen to tweak
>> that?
>
>I think too many seperate screens would be a bad idea. That's also why
>I prefer a simple choice between the global setting or 3 more specialised
>build strategies. Sliders per planet gives more control, but it also
>encourages micromanagement and either it clutters an existing screen, or
>you get an extra screen that you need to visit regularly, even if just
>to check what it was again that you were doing at that planet.
>
>If you decide to implement sliders for each planet, I'd suggest you add
>to the planet's main screen a small but clear representation of the slider
>settings, and if you click on it, you get a popup where you can adjust
>the sliders. I think something like that would work.
>
>
>mcv.

Why make it that complex. On the screen where you set global sliders
add 2-3 tabs at the top that you can name and set sliders for. The
primary screen is the global, and each of the others represents a
subtype (Shipbuilding/research/military/trade). Then on each
individual planet info screen include a drop down list with which to
follow with it set to default to the global options. If you found a
planet you wanted to be a research planet then setting one dropdown
box once after you colonize it would do.

I noticed you use a tile system for planets? Do tiles have bonuses to
different areas like tech mining etc, like in Ascendancy? If so unless
your AI is very good players are going to feel the need to micro
manage planet build cues.
Anonymous
September 18, 2005 11:30:46 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

On Mon, 5 Sep 2005 13:40:47 -0400, "Brad Wardell"
<bwardell@stardock.com> wrote:


>>> >But if each
>>>> building has a tile asigned to it, automated queues may not work. In
>>>> any case, the way you described it, it sounds very playable. (But keep
>>>> in mind that first impressions can be deceptive, so keep the idea in
>>>> the back of your mind in case players ever get tired of selecting the
>>>> same standard build queue for each new colony.)
>>>>
>>>
>>> Yea, originally we were going to have some sort of governor design your
>>> planets for you. But once we got playing, it's so easy to just land on
>>> a planet and in seconds design out how you want your planet to be used.
>
>> Does it mean that you have to assign which building goes to which tile for
>> every planet? So, for example, if you discovered a planet with 10 regular
>> tiles and 2 tiles with ancient ruines what would be your step to schedule
>> development of this planet? Ideally, I'd like to be able to use prepared
>> templates and just say "develop this planet according to this plan" (and
>> have plans persistent from game to game). I see some problems in this plan
>> though. It's impractical to create templates for every combination of
>> speciality and every possible number of tiles. So probably, I'd have
>> "large
>> research center" plan and "small research center" plan suitable for large
>> and small planets respectively. But then, what should be done with
>> remaining tiles (or building that don't fit). Truncating the tail of the
>> queue may not be the best way. For example, my "small research center" may
>> be 2 factories + 6 labs. In this order, because I want to build factories
>> (or whatever accelerate construction) first so then labs will get built
>> quicker. However, on the planets with 7 tiles, I don't waste tiles for 2
>> factories, so I may want to have 1 factory dropped rather than a lab
>> despite having that factory early in the queue. Another situation is that
>> my preferred plan may actually be 2 factor + 6 labs, replace one factory
>> with a lab, replace another factory with a lab. With all that plans start
>> to look quite complicated. On a good side, created once those plans will
>> get reused in many games. Such a feature may sound a bit too hardcore
>> though...
>
>Intiailly we were going to have general "zoning" managers. But then as we
>got down to playing the game, managing a planet in GalCiv II is so much
>easier than the first one that we decided not to go that route. The player
>decides what's being built on each tile. However, we're only talking on
>average 5 to 10 tiles per planet. And the UI has been optimized to make it
>easier to crank those out (fire and forget).
>
>As time goes on and we get more feedback, we can look at other things to add
>in there to make personaliziation even easier.
>

I'm getting ascendancy flashbacks here. If you have tiles with special
bonuses on them then your ai has to know to build the right thing on
them or your talking the exact same kind of supermicromanagement
ascendancy produced. How confidant are you in its ability to actually
not build a farm on that +20% mineral output tile?
Anonymous
September 18, 2005 11:35:59 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

On Sun, 11 Sep 2005 19:01:43 -0700, Damien Neil
<neild-usenet4@misago.org> wrote:

>In article <spKdnfwp5--duobeRVn-vg@comcast.com>,
> "Brad Wardell" <bwardell@stardock.com> wrote:
>> We also heavily limited the amount of aid comptuer AI 1 and computer AI 2
>> would give to one another in war. They'll give the human player free
>> goodies but they won't tend to do that for each other because they could
>> optimally calculate how to beat the human player down in all instances.
>> Then there was starbase stuff we dumbed down. The AI would never get bored
>> of building gazillions of constructors and literally making their sectors
>> invulnerable to attack by just making use of stacking advantages.
>
>Belatedly responding:
>
>I'd see that as a game design bug to be fixed: If you've got an
>unbeatable strategy that requires vast amounts of boring activity,
>players either need to bore the hell out of themselves implementing it
>or deliberately play with an inferior strategy. (Wasn't micromanagement
>in starbase construction one of the more common complaints about
>GalCiv 1?)
>
>Instead of dumbing down the AI, turn down the power of starbases--add
>diminishing returns, so that building gazillions of constructors isn't
>worth it. Or make it easier to build all those constructors, so players
>are on an equal footing with a smart AI.
>
>Or, to pick another example you gave:
>
>> For example, take
>> colonization -- we could easily have made it so that the AI was even nastier
>> at that. Just have the AI see if someone else's ship was going to reach a
>> planet before their ship and then find a different planet. We decided
>> colonization was tough enough so we have it wait until the other player
>> actually colonizes the planet before the AI takes notice.
>
>Rather than doing that, I'd rather give the player better UI feedback.
>Highlight enemy colony ships, their destinations, and mark their path
>with a time to arrival. Put a red ring around any world that a known
>enemy colony fleet is headed to. Add an exclamation point if there's a
>player colony ship that's going to reach the planet after the enemy.
>
> - Damien

Exactly!
Anonymous
September 19, 2005 12:41:04 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

hmm..

I have tooken a look at many different so called sci-fi space
civilization like games. They have somewhat inspiring game aspects
however, instead of just plain 2D, I wonder if theres any games like
Gal Civ by in fully renderd 3D?

I'm not trying to say I hate this game or so but thats just me eh.

--Akafoche

Jumpgate: http://www.jossh.com - http://www.themis-group.com/jg/
A space simulator & RPG with a skilled based flight system.
Http://jgportal.50webs.com - Links to other JG resources.
September 19, 2005 6:09:31 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

Silverlock wrote:

> One of the features I really like is an Option (and it has to be an
> option) for a variable tech tree. This precludes a pure turtle race up
> the tech tree strategy because you do not know what the tech tree is.
> Does GC2 have anything like that?


Yes!! This is a great idea - and one that *massively* enhances replay
value. MoO2 had a partial implementation of this with the "uncreative"
pick - but since many people chose "creative" instead (which gave them
ALL techs) is was largely undone.

You see, however well you balance your tech tree, there will always be
some techs which find favour in popular strategies, and people will
just shoot straight for them after their first couple of experimental
games. A constantly shifting tech tree, randomised in some way each
game, really prevents that.

The trick is to get the randomisation variable enough without
knackering the logic of the tree (ie. anti-matter ship weapons still
have to come after the base anti-matter tech etc.).

I hope Brad implements this is some form, even if only as an option.

CC
Anonymous
September 19, 2005 7:04:44 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

magnate <chrisc@dbass.demon.co.uk> wrote:
> Silverlock wrote:
>
>> One of the features I really like is an Option (and it has to be an
>> option) for a variable tech tree. This precludes a pure turtle race up
>> the tech tree strategy because you do not know what the tech tree is.
>> Does GC2 have anything like that?
>
> Yes!! This is a great idea - and one that *massively* enhances replay
> value. MoO2 had a partial implementation of this with the "uncreative"
> pick - but since many people chose "creative" instead (which gave them
> ALL techs) is was largely undone.
>
> You see, however well you balance your tech tree, there will always be
> some techs which find favour in popular strategies, and people will
> just shoot straight for them after their first couple of experimental
> games. A constantly shifting tech tree, randomised in some way each
> game, really prevents that.
>
> The trick is to get the randomisation variable enough without
> knackering the logic of the tree (ie. anti-matter ship weapons still
> have to come after the base anti-matter tech etc.).

I like this idea, and I even have an option of how to implement it:
Each tech doesn't just have a hard set of prerequisites like they
do in GalCiv1 (and thousands of other games). Instead, they can have
(none, one, or possibly more) hard prerequisites (like Battleships
before you can get Dreadnoughts), and a number of random prerequisites,
from which the game chooses one or more for that game.

for example:

Dreadnoughts would have as hard prerequisite Battleships, and two more
from: Anti-matter weapons, Large Scale Construction, Warp Drive,
1D Phasing and Energy Projection.

So in one game, the prerequisites might be Battleships, Large Scale
Construction and 1D Phasing, while in another they'd be Battleships,
Warp Drive and Anti-matter Weapons.

Ofcourse there's still a risk that this will be unbalanced. If many
different techs all happen to choose the same prerequisites, a few
prerequisites may end up becoming very important, while many others
can be skipped with little trouble. Especially when different races
each get their own tech tree (which would be cool if it was balanced),
this will be very unbalancing.

You could compensate by using more prerequisites and adding a rule
that if some advanced tech is not chosen as prerequisite, at least
a hard prerequisite of that tech will become a prerequisite of that
tech. So you won't accidentally be able to develop Dreadnoughts
without any weapons tech at all; if you don't have Anti-matter
weapons, at least you'll need a lesser weapons tech. If you don't
need Large Scale Construction, at least you'll need a lesser
construction tech.

Perhaps some races will even have a tendency towards propulsion
prerequisites while others will tend more towards needing weapons
or construction prerequisites, but that'd be a later step of
cooling up this game.


mcv.
--
"Serenity is a very personal work with political resonance and a
heartfelt message about the human condition and stuff blowing up.
'Cause let's face it, nobody cares about that 'human condition'
stuff... in fact if you notice it, try to keep it to yourself."
-- Joss Whedon on his new film
September 22, 2005 11:06:32 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

That's actually a really good idea, and there is also the option of not
telling players exactly what the prereqs are in the current game. So in
your example, the player would know the hard prereqs (battleships
before dreadnoughts) but would have to research at least some of the
soft prereqs (without knowing exactly which ones) before the
dreadnought tech was unlocked. This is (i) realistic - you don't know
that researching X will allow you to discover Y until it happens and
(ii) good for balance - it prevents people gunning for particular techs
(or at least makes it take longer to do so).

Nice.

CC
!