MOO2 vs Gal Civ 2

I’ve been reading all the posts about GC2 and it sounds really cool, but very similar to MOO2. A friend is playing GC2 (but never played MOO2) and whenver he talks about something in the game it seems that I can totally understand it because it’s analogous to something MOO2.

So I was thinking about picking it up but if it’s really similar to MOO2 then I dunno… I already have that, know how to play, and love it. What is there to differentiate the two?

Both are great games, and both in the same genre. Anyone who loved MOO2 should be very satisfied with GC2. They both have the same basic structure, which is expand and build up a big empire, manage the economy of that empire, research new tech, and design ships with which to combat opponents.

That said, the two games do have some important differences because they put the emphasis on different areas.

GalCiv II has a much more complex economy which is much harder to understand than MOO2s very simple paradigm of assigning people to various production areas. GC2 has a much much better ship design system from an aesthetic standpoint, as it lets a player customize the appearance of ships extensively. GC2 ship design is practically a game unto itself.

MOO2 has a better tech tree with a more interesting and natural feeling progression than GC2s bland sprawling tech tree. MOO2 technologies really felt game changing, like some big advance had been made. GC2 on the other hand has a lot of technologies along the lines of “lasers take 5% less space” or “economy gets 10% better”. Very vanilla and unexciting.

MOO2 also has tactical ship combat which GC2 completely lacks. GC2 on the other hand has modern 3D graphics which MOO2 completely lacks.

If the two games were both up to snuff technologically then MOO2 would edge out GC2 in my mind, but both are great.

The two games are actually quite different, from my point of view at least.

MoO2 has tactical combat, GC2 doesn’t. However, in GC2, space is ‘open’ and combat can happen anywhere, rather than just at system nodes. So there’s ‘main map’ positioning and interception tactics that weren’t there in MoO2.

MoO2 had very detailed functional design of the ship, like how many weapons of what type in how many banks, their facing, modifications and special systems. A lot of this stuff didn’t usually matter but some of it was very very powerful. The appearance of the ships was fixed and kind of boring. In GC2, the functional design is simpler but there are still real decisions to make. There are no real ‘special rules’ combat components and hence no killer combinations. You design the appearance of your ships and they can be quite impressive.

Those are a few stand-out differences. There’s many more.

The AI in GC2 is tougher than the AI in MOO2. I could usually win at impossible in MOO2. I haven’t tried anything higher than tough in GC2. I think the AI’s ganged up against you in MOO2 as well.

The thing I liked alot about MOO2 was the terraforming. At the beginning you couldn’t even colonize the volcanic and radioactive planets, unless you were the crystalline guys. But by the end you could have them looking like gaia planets.

I don’t think is reasonable to say the AI in a game that’s been out for two or three weeks is tougher then one that has been out for over ten years because you’re better at the one that has been around or a decade.

The AI in GCII is just as prone to getting exploited as MoO II’s was. The Metaverse already has wins at either the highest or next-to highest level (can’t recall which) and I personally gamed it for a win two levels above Challenging that could have been done with a macro.

Chris Woods

It’s too bad for MOO2’s tactical combat that they ruined it with their stupid movement and turning rules. I mean, they put in all this great stuff in ship design for facing and firing arcs, and then made it completely pointless by treating 1 movement point = 1 hex move = 1 hex face turn. A ship could whiz by you in a close, near-head-on pass, stop in your left rear quadrant, instantaneously spin to bring a forward weapon to bear, and blast away. I think it would have been much more interesting if the turn rate had been separately modelled from forward motion. Oh, well.

I’ve played MOO and MOO2 ridiculously often since they were first released (I still fire up both game when I get bored of the current offerings, which is just about every month). I can say quite safely that the GalCiv2 AI beats the snot out of the Moo2 AI after only a few weeks of play. The Moo2 AI was not intelligent and relied instead on massive bonuses. The GalCiv2 AI seems to rely on playing the game well.

Sure, you can probably figure out deficiencies in the AI and exploit them. You can do that in every game, and you will continue to be able to do that in every game with an AI less developed than those for Chess. The possibility of exploit (which is a given in computer AI) does not diminish the quality of the AI outside of those exploits.

I don’t think you can post something like that without explaining it and I don’t even have Galactic Civilizations II yet.

Yeah, the MOO2 AI relied on numbers. The AI didn’t have the command point restrictions that you did, but it also couldn’t build an effective ship. Even in the late-game, AI enemies would build huge fleets of doom stars, and you could demolish them all with a few battleships. This was true even at a tech disadvantage.

Comparing MOO2 to GalCiv2 is like comparing fruit to vegetables.

"Botanically speaking, the tomato you eat is a fruit. So is a watermelon, green pepper, eggplant, cucumber, and squash. A “fruit” is any fleshy material covering a seed or seeds.

Horticulturally speaking, the tomato is a vegetable plant. The plant is an annual and nonwoody. Most fruits, from a horticulture perspective, are grown on a woody plant (apples, cherries, raspberries, oranges) with the exception of strawberries.

In 1893, the United States Supreme Court ruled the tomato was a “vegetable” and therefore subject to import taxes. The suit was brought by a consortium of growers who wanted it declared a vegetable to protect U.S. crop development and prices. Fruits, at that time, were not subjected to import taxes and foreign countries could flood the market with lower priced produce. (A hundred years really hasn’t changed anything.)"

So it’s simple. MOO2 is a tomato and GalCiv2 is an apple. Any questions?

Hmm, That’s better than the way I’ve described it.

I’ve said that MOO sounds like a noise a cow makes while GalCiv sounds like the name of a feminine hygiene product. (ducks).

Ducking won’t help.

Squatting might be more (in)appropriate.

Are you just being contrary, Chris? I think it’s pretty clear to anyone who’s played both games for any length of time that GalCiv II’s AI is far superior, and it doesn’t cheat. In fact, I’m hard pressed to think of any turn-based strategy game with better AI than GalCiv II.

Also, while the SimTex games were tons of fun they always had terrible AI. More obvious in Master of Magic, less obvious in Master of Orion, but they always relied heavily on cheating and playing by different rules. Even the first Galactic Civilizations had better AI than any SimTex game.

GalCiv 2 is certainly the better game empire-building wise, but falls short on the tactical aspect compared to MOO2. While GalCiv2’s ships are pretty, the MOO2 ships had more character due to the huge variety of toys that they could pack: subspace teleporters, boarding, shuttles, etc.

I agree with Nick: with an upgraded AI and graphical engine, the original concept and implementation of MOO2 would certainly have my vote.

edit: I just went over to the GalCiv2 forums, and discovered why I’m having such a hard time managing the economy. The entire slider system is just completely asinine. Unused social production is wasted, unused military production is not spent. It’s entirely unintuitive.

1830 had a great AI I think. Of course, it was a simpler game to write an AI for than a space strategy game like MOO.

Speaking about the GC2 AI, I’ve definitely encountered some strange issues. Even playing on ‘Tough’ ‘Painful’ or ‘Crippling’, I sometimes see the AI just sit there and not colonize any planets beyond it’s own system for a good 25 turns. Since the first 25 turns are such a land rush, that’s basically throwing the game, as far as I’m concerned. This doesn’t happen all the time, but it’s frustrating when it does.

Also, it sometimes seems to lack an appreciate for enemy-controlled space. Say I have a fleet above one of his planets. I destroy the defenders and the constructor that was in orbit. The next ship produced at the planet is also a constructor, and I think even the one after that. It’s like it has a queue and doesn’t overide it when it loses control of the orbital space. I’ve also seen it send multiple undefended constructors directly past my fleets above his planets. All this is just throwing money and industrial potential away.

Also, I don’t think the AI is aggressive enough with researching technology or employing the technology it does have. I started an ‘Idealogical War’ scenario (on Painful) in which there are three teams of three races each, and everyone else is at war. Clearly this cuts down on tech trading quite a bit, but it underlined for me how little research the AIs do themselves. I had the strongest economy, but most of the AIs were about 75-90% as strong. Yet I was doing about 3x as much research as the second-place player, and many were doing far less than that.

The end result of this was me fielding a large missile ship with 6 attack, 4 armour, 4 shields and speed 6 at a point when the AI was still using 2-0, speed 2 beam or gun attack fighters. The very first design I made was a 2-0, speed 4 ship, that hardly required any research at all (just some engine tech and first-level Stingers). I wasn’t even focusing on ship tech, really.

Maybe being at war with 2/3 of the galaxy just throws it off.

I think there is some serious selective sight going on here. Issues with the intelligence of the GalCiv AI have been mentioned in numerous threads; some examples:

The AI considers a races strengths based on a function that doesn’t take into account technology. An AI with 100 ships completely incapable of harming the 10 ships someone else has will go to war anyhow and watch it’s entire fleet gets annihilated.

The AI sends in lone transports on a regular basis, which are then destroyed at the cost of god knows how many people.

The AI attempts to build bases in strange locations while at war, which are then handily destroyed by the players fleet that is sometimes one or two moves away.

The AI tech values are based on something other then “cost of tech” to such a degree that it will consider trades for a players level 8-9 tech for it’s own level 1-2 tech to be “fair” and anything beneath that to be a ripoff.

GalCiv II looks like it has good AI because the system is near impenetrable. The economic/construction system is complex enough that you can easily be hamstringing yourself and not realize it, as such you will fall behind an AI capable of using it. Once you learn how the game actually works the AI suddenly becomes fairly trivial.

As for my simple win:

Pick whatever galaxy, whatever opponents.

Make your race +50 Military, +50 Research, +10 Economy or something close, I can’t remember how much that costs.

Get your starting techs to have Xeno Labs, Stellar Cartography, and as close to lasers I as possible.

Start the game. On planets build Starport, then Factory, Research, Economy, repeat. You should have an equal division of all three building types on all colonies. Just alternate. Colonize anything you can. Early on, just build colony ships.

Research to Lasers I. Once you have it, build a medium hull ship with one laser on it. Set all your colonies to build these.

Set research to the blue line that leads to technological victory.

Keep ending turns until you win the game.

I never established trade routes, built bases, or really traded with the AI. Because of it’s analysis of fleet strength, my massive fleet of crap was able to keep them at the “friendly” or above level for the duration of the game while I researched to tech victory, which took 6 game years.

I’m not saying MoO II’s AI was better at all; I’m saying it’s impossible to tell, they’re both pretty hamstring in various areas.

Chris Woods

You are confusing the argument. You are basically saying that the AI isn’t perfect, which of course it isn’t. However the topic was about comparing the MOO2 and GalCiv2 AI and anyone who is paying attention can tell you that the GalCiv2 AI is far superior. I still play Moo2 all the time. I’ve played both within the last few weeks, my memory on this is quite fresh. The Moo2 AI cheats like hell to provide a challenge and does not act intellegently at all. The GalCiv2 AI does not appear to cheat massively (the only think I wonder about is starbases, the AI seems to have them closer than 3 spaces in some of my games) and is capable of doing intellegent things, not always, but it is capable.

It is not impossible to tell that the GalCiv2 AI is superior, it’s pretty obvious when you play both games.

I wondered about the same thing and it got under my skin that the AI could seemingly do this when I couldn’t. Turns out that mining bases do not count in the 3 space limit and it is mentioned somewhere, I just don’t recall off the top of my where I finally noticed the verbage to that effect.