Escapist Editorials

Escapist Editorials
The 3 Things I'm Most Excited About In Galactic Civilization III

Paul Goodman | 28 Mar 2014 22:00
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galciv3 2014-03-27 11-35-39-60

Planetary Structure and Interstellar "Terrain"

There are quite a few notable new additions to the general gameplay of Gal Civ III that shift around many of the elements we've seen in the previous games. One such example is how Gal Civ III handles planet colonization and management. Before, when you colonized a planet, you'd have access to several tiles where you could drop factories, research centers, embassies, etc, and occasionally some tiles held granted a specific bonus that may boost your influence or food production (provided you constructed the right building in that tile). But other than that, managing a planet's infrastructure didn't require a whole lot of effort - usually you could just click on buildings to have the game automatically place them in free tiles and leave it at that.

With Gal Civ III planets all come with a randomly generated hex map, and building placement becomes a much more important feature you'll need to pay attention to in order to get the most out of your colonies. Many buildings now offer passive bonuses to neighboring structures, meaning if you place a few factories right next to each other, they'll increase their output significantly versus if they were just on their own. The special tiles that granted extra boosts now offer more than one kind of bonus stat at a time, leading to instances where you'll have to decide if you want a particular planet to produce extra research points or wealth. And since most planets rarely have tiles available in chunks, you'll need to take a more careful approach to how you design your colony's given layout - a much-welcome change that I feel will let players care a lot more over how their individual planets are run, especially in the grand scheme of a galactic federation.

In addition, the galaxy now has its own version of "terrain" that can affect and potentially how you fight your intergalactic conflicts. Although the only two phenomena present in Alpha are nebulae and dust clouds that reduce movement speed or weapon accuracy, digging through the galaxy creation menu hints that aspiring galactic emperors may have to deal with the likes of black holes and "interstellar rifts" (whatever those are) when planning out where to put their starbases or move their war fleets. It's not the most massive game changing feature introduced, but I really like that it has the potential to really mix up some of the more strategic elements of the game.

As limited as the alpha of Galactic Civilizations III is right now, I can certainly see the potential it has to build upon the game mechanics of its predecessors and make a much more robust 4X experience. I'm definitely looking forward to see how many other features, like combat, custom races, diplomacy and any other nifty features that Stardock has yet to reveal, play out in the next version of the game. In the meanwhile, I'll have to start making a list of ship names for when I get to dig my teeth into the new ship builder - How does the name "Friendmaker" sound for a battleship?

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