Near gold screenshots for GalCiv II

Some dude named “B.W.” slipped me some cash via Ebay to spam some near gold screenshots of a game called Galactic Civilizations II. So here they are. Looking good I must say. Love the fonts and the UI in general – it always bugs me how some games have such beautiful graphics except for the fonts, which often times are just an eye-sore.

Here’s hoping the actual game lives up to its potential.

PS: I was kidding about the cash part. :)

I’m really looking forward to this. Very visceral. I hope it’s FUN.

Also, innovative.

It should easily score somewhere between a 7 and 9 out of 10.

One of the few games in the near future I am pumped about, as well. Hooray for that Object Desktop thingie that allows Stardock to keep this one around. If only they could fund a Majesty sequel.

Is that what’s really keeping this thing afloat?

It does look pretty darn nice.

During the beta, the computer players pretty much were always at war. The diplomatic AI engine is now quite sophisticated with them coordinating attacks, ganging up, and generally trying to keep from dividing their forces. In this screenshot, the Torians are dead meat. BTW, the game makes no distinction between computer players and the human player in this sense. So the “difficulty levels” don’t involve them ganging up on the hapless human player. They don’t care any more or less about the player than another computer player.

Me likey likey.

Looks neato. How friendly is this for a casual 4x player like myself?

Some dude named “B.W.” slipped me some cash via Ebay to spam some near gold screenshots of a game called Galactic Civilizations II.

Check in mail. ;)

Well the original Galactic Civlizations was done on a roughly $300k budget (counting everything). It then sold 150,000 copies worldwide and if Strategy First hadn’t declared bankruptcy we would have done very well on it. Object Desktop though is what pays most of Stardock’s bills and let us take a crack at doing a sequel with a much bigger budget.

In terms of innovation, it’s a tough call. I think there’s a lot of new elements in the game but we also tried to incorporate elements from many classic games (MOO 2, Ascendancy, Twilight Imperium, etc.).

Having played…and played…and played it now the near final version, I will say there’s a few items that I think people will remember for a long time:

  1. The dialog. There’s a novel’s worth of dialog in the game. There’s not much to read at any given time. It’s purely in the number of different things you’re likely to see.

Each alien has their own set of dialog based on who they are talking to. Since you can play as any of 10 civilizations OR design your own, that’s a lot of different dialog.

  1. The campaign. It has a dynamic campaign. Personally I hate campaigns in strategy games. I never play them and to be honest, I wouldn’t play the one in GalCiv II either if I bought it. The regular game is all I normall play. However, that said, the campaign has multiple paths (which was a huge pain to test). That is, you can lose a mission and go on. We ripped er were inspired by Wing Commander I where you could lose a mission and go on to an alternative one. We think the story is pretty neat and flows well. We also had enough budget to put in cut scenes and a unique sound track into that.

  2. The strategic map. I’ve seen other games where you can zoom out but in GalCiv II you can zoom in until you can see a worm coming out of an apple on the bridge of a ship (just kidding but you can zoom in very close) and zoom out far enough to where the map morphs into strategic mode where it’s like a board game. So hard core strategy gamers can play the game looking at the map in symbols while other players can play it seeing all the ships in all their glory.

  3. The cosmetics on ship design. We made it so that you not only add weapons and engines and such but there’s a tone of “Extras” that take up no space but let you cosmetically design your ships to look like whatever and the result is saved to disk. The lego-like pieces are small enough that you can pretty much design any ship. one beta tester made a Shadow ship from Babylon5. I think that kind of ship design stuff will be a bigger deal in the long run than we thought when we were designing it.

Those are 4 things that stick out off the top of my head as being significantly new. There was a lot of work to make it appeal to non-hardcore users such as a series of included video tutorials.

Hopefully people will like it. ;)

Gah. The lesson to learn from Wing Commander is: Branching on success/failure doesn’t work. In a game where you can just reload and retry until you win, there’s no reason to ever see anything other than the flawless-victory path unless you’re deliberately throwing games to see the other routes. Well, or unless you’re not allowing yourself to reload and retry–but then, you’ll probably just get an unsatisfying “you lose” ending at some point.

When doing a branching campaign, branch on player choices. “I lost the last mission” is not a choice that most players will care to make.

Brad, how do you plan to handle the distribution of the printed manual? Is it only going to be available with the retail release, or will download purchasers be able to acquire a printed manual, too? Or, to put it another way, can I have my cake (day one GalCiv 2 downloader) and eat it, too (receive a printed manual)?

Two questions

  1. Is there a link to the final diplomacy options that are available to the player?

  2. Will preordering from Amazon get me the goodies also?

Thanks,

Chris

Can you build planets yet Brad? You know the technology in the original one really bothered me when it said we could build planets if we just had enough mass, meanwhile I am looking at 3 usless planets in my system I could recyle.

Looking forward to this one. Previewed the beta last month, and it was fun.

Any chance it will make it to Oprah’s book club?

If it does just remember: don’t jump on the couch and proclaim your undying love for Sparky.

:P

Wow, I hope I never have to meet these people that you assume are the norm, not the exception. That sounds horrid. People actually do that?

I must say, as much time as I spent with the beta, the latest gamma blows it away. (Yes, I do promote the game for a living, but damnit, it’s still a very, very good game)

Is there an EU/UK release date set or do I just need to persuade someone with a credit card to buy it for me and download it instead?

Don’t quote me on this, but it should be shipping around the same time in EU (Feb 28 or so). Paradox is publishing it in Europe.