Galactic Civilizations Impressions

As Christopher pointed out in the other post, we weren’t prepared for the number of people, particularly from overseas, who would attempt to download the game.

I mean, a month ago I was still sending polite emails to webzines correcting their spelling of Stardock. It’s Stardock, not Stard Duck. We had reserved 30 megabits of bandwidth for the release and it was saturated. We have since more than doubled that and the problems seem to have subsided.

I hasten to add, this has nothing to do with GalCiv itself. To my knowledge, no major retail release has ever allowed players to purchase and download the game on the spot.

First major review, Gamespot came out, 8.4. Same score The Corporate Machine got ironically. ;)

I just wanted to create this thread for those who wanted to talk about the game itself as opposed to the trials and tribulations of trying to download a retail game since 99% of people will likely purchase the game at a store.

The game is great. Congratulations.

I hope it sells well for you.

I’m very interested to see that the direct download response has been strong. Retailers have a very strong presence in this biz, and personally I like to see more of my $$ go direct to the developers. I’m glad to see games like GalCiv venturing into some of that territory. :-)

For example, when we talk about download sizes and distribution here, we immediately assume that no one would really download a full CD of content (much less 2), but that looks like maybe a false assumption.

Brad,
I’m curious about how you worked out the download option with Strategy First. Every one talks about how buying the game online “puts more money in the developer pocket.” How did you work that with SFI?

I’m asking because I think this model might be totally sustainable, and a win-win-win for everyone – developer, publisher and gamer – if it’s managed right (unlike the Steam model, which I think is a farce).

Can you share a little insight? Perhaps some ballpark numbers of orders from the first couple days?

Thanks,
B.

HEY!!! :cry:

Galactic Civilizations Impressions

Well, I haven’t seen it yet (although give me a shout when it comes out boxed in the UK if I haven’t snagged one elsewhere), but here’s my impression.

<sillyvoice>

Gaaagh! I am Galactic Civilizatiioooooons!

</sillyvoice>

Well the main reason we were able to do it is because Stardock funded GalCiv completely. So that was one of the conditions we made in our agreement with them. Since we were funding the game completely, we needed a way to be able to sell the game in the event the game weren’t say available over in Europe right away. ;)

Is there any word yet on when that’s going to be? Most of us over here don’t yet have the luxury of broadband.

Smart move…

So, do you get 100% of the online revenues? Who pays for the boxed copies you mail out? Am I being too fucking nosey? :D

Yeah. You’re stealing all the good ideas for future Game Developer articles[/i]

OK, I have almost stopped buying games in the last year or so, but picked up GalCiv today since I loved Brad’s previous games and want to support good independent developers. Took me a little bit to find a copy at retail but finally did. Installed and downloaded / patched with the add-on from galciv.com.

Now about the game:

Great overall job Brad and Stardock! Just spent 4 or 5 hours on my first game at beginner AI level. Very easy at first since I was trying to get used to the interface and etc. Only skimmed the manual and found it pretty easy to learn the interface and parts.

Have some minor niggles on the interface as others do:

Why no zoom in the galactic map view, for example? Scrolling or jumping around to find things could get tiresome on a big map.

Agree with other comments that the ship select / move / colonize mouse actions are a little unnatural and prone to error until you get used to them.

Question on diplomacy: Would you consider linking the technologies you can trade in the diplomacy window to a pop-up or encyclopedia type entry that shows what that links to / provides in the tech hierarchy? As it is now you’ve got to remember what the tech is and what it provides before you decide how important it is / isn’t to trade. Linking it to an encyclopedia entry would make the trade / not trade decision easier for the player IMHO.

There were some things that I thought were unexpectedly great. For example:

Very nice and professional art-work and movies. A step up from the workable but not especially fancy Entrepeneur / Corporate Machine type graphics.

Great job on balancing depth versus playability IMHO. Some items (combat, espionage) are streamlined where they would bog the game down, but just about everything has enough detail to keep the game interesting without being overwhelming.

AI looks like it will be pretty good, considering that one of AI’s actually caught up to me and beat me at the end of the game. If it’s anything as good as the AI in Corporate Machine I think we’ll be very happy with this aspect.

Looks immensly replayable as this kind of game should be. Large technology tree, though I wish we knew in moe detail how each advance affects each ship or structure that can be built. Perhaps an additional note for each item noting what new equipment or improvement it allows in a little more detail than what is there now.

Too bad we can’t play multi-player. I’ve had some pretty good games of multi-player Alpha Centauri and think that GalCiv could work OK multi-player since there is less turn-slowing detail than in MOO II (manual combat, etc).

I haven’t read / played enough to know how the other victory conditions work. In my initial game war was pretty much required against a few of the more aggressive civs. Hoping that the other conditions add some variety.

Overall GalCiv is exactly what I was hoping for after the mess of MOO III. Now if somebody would also port it to MacOS X for my occasional use there I’d be completely happy :-)

Random Question: the opening menu has a blank spot for an additional game type, it looks like. Any hints on what that might be or was it simply an artistic choice?

Thanks again Brad!

Diego

Just another data point on acquiring GalCiv:

Found out I’ve got a Gamestop in a strip mall not too far from my home so I thought I’d give them a little love and pre-ordered GalCiv. 26th comes and goes and no call which is okay since I’m short on cash. 27th comes and still no call so I call them and they say they don’t have any and they probably won’t get any and they don’t order anything they just get what HQ sends them. Color me pissed off until they call back saying that the mall store should be getting three in today and he’s told them to hang onto one for me. So I go in after work butthey didn’t get the shipment, maybe tomorrow, and the EB next door just sold out 5 minutes ago.

So I say fuck it and log onto Stardock. Type in the card #, click the link and I’m downloading the archive at 230kbps. I also load SDCentral for the hell of it. After dinner (35 mins later) GalCiv is on the hard drive, I start up SDC and 5 minutes after that I’ve got the bonuspak and all the other frillies.

Nice job Stardock, I decided to make the purchase at 7pm, started playing before 8pm and stayed up past 1am trying to conquer my first galaxy.

Lost my first 2 games rather quickly, as I hadn’t figured out that use of freighters and starbases are crucial to your economy.

Cultural victory for game 3, once I started everyone building constructors, and mining influence and other resources. In this game I also discovered how much $$$ trade goods are worth. I was trading them to everybody for terms like 100bc for 20 turns. Did the same thing with tech, when I needed to. Helped to keep tax rate lower.

I never saw Terror Stars on the tech tree. But I hadn’t researched everything yet. I got up to Rangers. Are they at the end of the tech tree? Is there anywhere I can get a full tech tree print-out to examine?

Also, why does my turn automatically end everytime I add a constructor to a starbase?

And one request: There’s that little event history box in the lower right. When I click on the announcement that a ship has been build, it takes me to the planet screen, where I can change military production if I like. I assume that’s the purpose, anyway. Here’s my idea: Have right click take you to the planet on the main galaxy screen, so from there you can immediately launch the new ship from the ship list on the middle right.

Otherwise, the best method to find your ship is to click the fleets button, then scroll through all your ships to find the colony ships/constructors/freighters that are just sitting around. Not terrible, but it does get annoying/tedious in the later game.

Thanks Brad, Frogboy, and Stardock for a great game. Having a blast with it so far.

The token indispensable link, with regard to the tech tree:

http://webpages.charter.net/trevorpowdrell/

Rangers are a pretty advanced ship, but you probably aren’t even close to finishing the tree by the time you get them. The tech tree is huge, and largely non-linear–you can focus you research on Weapons and become pretty advanced in that area while remaining primitive in, say, Medical. Every once in a while requirements for key techs cross over between disciplines, so you need to be advanced in all of the disciplines in order to make the final push to a tech victory.

Wow. Can’t wait to start my next game.
At the end of the last one I focused heavily on tech that gave ++ to trade and diplomacy, which probably helped with my cultural victory.

Next time I think I’ll focus more on weapons.

Communication (the yellow tech) is always good for cultural and diplomatic conquest. I like to focus on the blue techs at the beginning of the game, though–especially on large maps. Getting impulse drive early in the game (when the race is on to grab habitable systems) is a huge advantage.

Industrial (orange) tech has the most cross-over. Nearly all the disciplines have some sort of industrial tech requirements along the way, so it’s a good idea to always spend some time researching orange techs even if your primary focus is on something else.

Does anyone have a link to a proper tech tree and not just a tech list?

The site linked above has a tech tree in it somewhere.
One of the links in the lower left.

There is also one that comes with the game (I think–I have a review copy, but it looks like a regular production CD). Go to your GalCiv directory and open up the HTML document called “Survival Guide.” Scroll all the way to the bottom and click on the tech tree image.

I really like that there’s no CD-protection.
What do you think is the first thing I do after installing any new game?
Go to Gamecopyworld and download the cd crack. I hate diskswapping.
Kudos to Stardock.