Edit: 12/13 Added some additional clarification on my points, some things I forgot to add and text corrections.
As I try each new patch and expansion I continue to ask myself 3 simple questions...
- Is this game better than Galactic Civilizations II? (Why or why not?
- Is this game as good as it could be? (Why or why not?)
- What could be done to improve this game? (Why or why not?)
So here it goes...
Is this game better than Galactic Civilizations II? (Why or why not?)
The simple answer is in my opinion, No! Now the harder answer the why or why not...
Positives for Galactic Civilizations III...
- More factions (with DLC's/Expansions).
- More custom options (modding).
- Larger Maps
Positives for Galactic Civilizations II...
- Performance (Mind you this game is 15 years old, but did run smoother on older computers compared to Galactic Civilizations III on new computers.) [This could be disputed of course.]
- Dread Lords
- More Stars for the map size
- Terror Stars
Negatives for Galactic Civilizations III...
- Bugs (This is a topic for another discussion examples, Mercenaries, 1 per faction buildings, constructors with multiple constructor parts requiring multiple admins, too many star bases...).
- AI (Although always being improved still not as good as Galactic Civilizations II).
- Empty Space
- Weak showing for the Dread Lord Event
- Minor races have no reason to exist.
Negatives for Galactic Civilizations II...
- Modding options
With the points above I didn't have many negatives to say about Galactic Civilizations II, and both of which are in my opinion minor things. One of which, multiplayer with cheating options is available as a hot seat option.
Is this game as good as it could be? (Why or why not?)
The simple answer in my opinion, No! Again the harder answer why or why not...
A lot what I have to say here ties into the next point. Basically though it comes down to a few points. Performance, even on a decent computer from the year this game was released, it's recommended not to play on the largest maps with more than the core factions or the game is going to slow down. If one decides they're going to boost their planet stats by surrounding the planet with star bases, the game starts to slow to a crawl, so one can't utilize the full aspects of using star bases.
Planets, there is too much empty space or dead worlds. In Galactic Civilizations II, one could come up to a system with 4 or 5 decent planets, in this game it's almost non-existent. In every game there would be a few "Perfect" worlds class 26, normal planets. This was like finding the hidden treasure, in this game the only class 26 planets I find are extreme worlds.
All in all the game is there, a few things tweaking here or there and it could be.... On to the next point.
What could be done to improve this game? (Why or why not?)
Sorry in advance if this point get's a little wordy...
First off performance, I don't think there is an easy fix and personally I have come to accept it. There are limitations and only so much that can be done, so I'm not going to discuss this.
Next, game slow down. As the game really gets cranking a player spends a long time placing building, building ships, or attending to star bases during their turns. This not only brings a single player game to a crawl, but also can make things frustrating in multiplayer. Stardock has implemented splitting ones civilization into sections (commonwealths) which can help, however, this takes control of ones civilization and in itself can be frustrating. I suggest the following options...
- Build queue for all buildings that a player could build on a planet, including terraforming tiles so the player could set the queue when they colonize or invade a planet and not have to revisit it ever unless the planet class is increased by an event. (edit: All buildings that not only are available, but also will be available in their tech tree. It will just start building said building when available, or activated in the queue once available.)
- Allow a player to label planets into groups (outside of commonwealths) to be able to quickly tell all planets in this group that are queued to projects to switch to different project. Then just keeps building that project until the player switches to another project or one of the queued buildings becomes available. (edit: This would just apply to projects once all buildings have been cleared out of the queue.)
- Edit: (Allow the special projects to just repeat until changed. This was originally in the game when projects were first put in, but then pulled out.)
- Build queue for star bases and give priority for which star base gets upgraded first or just random. (edit: One builds a star base, however, is unable to fully upgrade it do to technology not unlocked or not enough resources/credits. Show all possible upgrades and have the player queue them as they either become available or can afford. Then also be able to rank star bases so one could specify which star base should be upgraded first. Along with this one could potentially then say only upgrade if I am banking x resources or x credits so that way it's not bankrupting you.)
- Shipyard repeat queues and auto upgrade existing queue. (if I have constructor mk2 in queue and mk3 is available that is queued instead unless otherwise selected not to.)
- Shipyard auto launch into orbit of shipyard versus launching for action, unless full.
- Shipyard auto launch into orbit of selected planet, unless full.
All of the above could greatly increase the time a player spends on the game between turns and focus on more important things such as destruction of other factions. These issues are the main reason why many of my games are left unfinished.
Mercenaries... Make them useful later in the game. Right now after the first part of the game, the weapons/defenses on the mercenaries pale in comparison to anything the player can develop. If nothing else allow them to be upgraded. Click upgrade on them and then it gives an option to upgrade the mercenary for x resources y credits gets z in return.
Edit: This game is already very customizable, thank you, however, right now we don't get a full slot of the final mercenaries. I believe some of them have been removed from what was available at one time because of balance issues. Revisit this, bring them back or add enough final tier mercenaries to allow the player to have the maximum. Allow the player to pick which mercenaries will be available in the game. I very much dislike meeting the Bazaar only to find that my favorite mercenaries aren't available in this game and have to restart. Play a few more turns in the new game and run into the same issue and repeat.
Give us everything that Galactic Civilizations II had that Galactic Civilizations III doesn't have.
- Terror Stars
- Powerful Dread Lords
- Minor factions that the player can actually interact with.
- Galactic Civilizations II missing factions.
- Edit: (All of the Galactic Civilizations II events.)
- Edit: (Ctrl+N - Re-generate the map with the same settings but different map.)
If all these points were met I would agree that Galactic Civilizations III would surpass Galactic Civilizations II by a long shot. Even if some of these points were met at we got everything that is missing from Galactic Civilizations II, Galactic Civilizations III would be better.
All in all I do like the way Stardock continues to support their games and look forward to whatever comes in the future for Galactic Civilizations III. Keep up the good work and thanks for reading.