Galactic Civilizations III

Galactic Civilizations III

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Draginol  [developer] May 31 @ 1:45pm
GalCiv Journal: June 2017 [Summer updates coming!]
Greetings!

We are working on version 2.3 for Crusade and the base game simultaneously. We don't have a final date but I expect you will start seeing opt-ins very soon.

I want to make you guys aware of some important changes happening on Steam that will affect you.

Review Scores
Some of you may have noticed I've been harping about the Steam user review scores.

If you're noticing an ever increasing disconnect between your opinion of a game and the user review score of a game, it's because the discovery algorithm heavily penalizes any game with <80% user reviews (And <70% means the game is basically invisible via discovery).

This puts immense power into the user's hands for good and for ill. It also puts a tremendous level of influence on the 0.7% of the user base who reviews.

Other games (not naming names) put a considerable amount of effort into optimizing their review scores. That's why you will see (via SteamSpy) games with fewer players than GalCiv III actually have 5X as many reviews (and a >90% review score).

Recently, Steam changed the review system such that those customers who pre-purchased GalCiv III during the Founders programs don't have their reviews count towards the review score. In the future, we'll be handling our founders programs differently, but in the mean time. it's a bit of a bummer for GalCiv III and in particular Crusade.

Understanding Steam's review system

Speaking of Crusade, it's review score average from Metacritic is 88 (http://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/galactic-civilizations-iii-crusade) the highest of any space 4X game in recent years (and our highest since Twilight of the Arnor). However, it's Steam user review score is only 71%.

We can have a vigorous debate on what sort of score a game "deserves". However, from a Steam discoverability standpoint, it's all based on it's *relative* score.

Thus, GalCiv III, for instance, actually has a 39% RELATIVE Steam score. That is, games are rated on the curve.

GalCiv III's Steam user score is 76% and its Metacritic score is 81. But its relative score is 39. So unless you think GalCiv III is a 2 out of 5 game, its Steam user review score should be much higher.

I personally believe that the *natural* review score of most games would fall between a 5 and an 8. Look at IMBD ratings as an example of how most movies score.

In other words, I don't think GalCiv III's score is too low, I think most games on Steam have too high a score versus what they would get naturally. This isn't to imply that developers are cheating but rather selection bias is very strong.

However, what this means is that unless the review score for GalCiv III perks up, it's going to remain largely invisible on Steam which affects its sales and that you, dear reader, have the power to make that score go up or down.

In either case, I would rather the score be more derived on the reviews from the community than by 0.7% of the overall userbase.

So I am outright asking, whether it's an up vote or a down vote, please take a few minutes to review GalCiv III: http://store.steampowered.com/app/226860/Galactic_Civilizations_III/

Bear in mind that on Steam 2.5 stars = 82% user review score (I kind of wish they'd implement a star system like that so that people reviewing it were grading games based on whether they think the score on the game is accurate or not).

Crusade vs. GalCiv III
We have finally concluded how the base game will evolve in a universe that GalCiv III: Crusade exists.

The first question we had to answer was what are the distinctly unique features unique to GalCiv III that were changed/removed from Crusade?

1. The production wheel (easily)
2. Planetary production wheels
3. Planetary focus check boxes

The second question was which path was the best to take to reach that? The answer is that we need to start with the Crusade code base and port it back to the base game.

As many have noted, GalCiv III: Crusade isn't really an "expansion pack" in the traditional sense. It's more of a sequel. I wasn't around to work on GalCiv III so you can look at Crusade as what my version of GalCiv III, having come from Twilight of the Arnor, would have been.

We'd like to hear from you in the comments on what other sorts of things in the BASE game you'd want to keep that were changed in Crusade.

What's next for GalCiv III

From a story perspective, there are TWO more campaigns in the future:

Dark Avatar
Apocalypse

Originally, the Crusade expansion was going to include Apocalypse but I nixed it for a variety of reasons one being the most obvious: It's the conclusion of the GalCiv III storyline and we, and many of our customers, believe that GalCiv III should have another major expansion to deal with politics, elections, protectorates, etc. and that would be where Apocalypse would go.

Dark Avatar, by contrast, would be updating the Dark Avatar campaign from GalCiv II. Dark Avatar was widely considered the best of the GalCiv II campaigns.

Those two campaigns would round up the GalCiv story line to this point:

1. Rise of the Terran Alliance
2. Altarian Prophecy
3. Dark Avatar (which will combine Dread Lords + Dark Avatar + Twilight together)
4. Return [base GalCiv III]
5. Apocalypse [Concluding GalCiv III]

So that's all for now!

Thanks for your continuing support!


Last edited by Draginol; May 31 @ 9:14pm
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Showing 1-15 of 28 comments
Thanks thats a good read, sadly I dont play into the reviews of steam myself. Anything SD I buy and then if by chance I see others I will buy other games. I enjoy buying early because of the bonuses. I have been burned though not naming any games like servo or anything like that :)

Cant wait to see what GalCiv holds on these two new campaigns!
Ke45TRo0 May 31 @ 2:06pm 
steam rating stupid : every game derserve a visibility no matter what.
I bought only 10 game in 10 years on steam. honestly i dont even bother with the rating thing. We all know it's all fake. critic are ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥t bias anyway.

I love crusade idea. a couple thing to fix but I would never go back to gc3 normal version.

just Did a metacritic review
did a steam review.
Last edited by Ke45TRo0; May 31 @ 2:30pm
th0ma5 May 31 @ 2:58pm 
Sounds like a good idea to work on from Crusade and cut back whatever features for the base game. Easier to progress and mange I would reckon. I already left positive reviews for the game and dlc as they deserve a good score imo. Will look into metacritic, think I have used it in the past. Looking forward to see what future dlc brings to the game.
There is nothing I would like to return to in the base game. Crusade is just strictly better.
keep everything.

But there is a problem - if you keep everything, what did I actually pay for in the crusade? Unfair, unless you actually merge the games along with adding the prices.

About reviews. There are reasons. GalCiv 3 was really dull compared to GalCiv 2. Crusade was bugged, YOu grabbed money and released a buggy game. Making those ppl to change their opinion will be hard.
I will still support you with good reviews, just brainstorming about other users.

TLDR
Crusade is strictly better - I want to continue with it in following DLC's.

PS
You guys seem desperate, the sales must be nightmarishly bad. Makes me sad :/.
Last edited by Nicol_Bolas; May 31 @ 3:31pm
I'm confused! there are going to be 2 games going forward, galciv3 and crusades? Crusades will not have campaigns and will not support campaigns? I haven't played galciv3 or crusades much, but I like the mechanics of crusades better and was hoping that would transfer over to the campaigns. Yes, I understand 4x games are not about campaigns, but I like them. If these are going to be 2 games going forward, I wish I would have known that. I probably wouldn't have bought crusades.

Edit: I just did a quick check and it looks like the campaigns may work now. again I just did a quick check and noticed the planet populations are correct now
Last edited by yendorciv; May 31 @ 4:00pm
Originally posted by yendorciv:
I'm confused! there are going to be 2 games going forward, galciv3 and crusades? Crusades will not have campaigns and will not support campaigns? I haven't played galciv3 or crusades much, but I like the mechanics of crusades better and was hoping that would transfer over to the campaigns. Yes, I understand 4x games are not about campaigns, but I like them. If these are going to be 2 games going forward, I wish I would have known that. I probably wouldn't have bought crusades.

this.
this will be a complete mess and the end of it for me. might go as far as to request anti-froad cashback from my credit card vendor.
Draginol  [developer] May 31 @ 4:12pm 
Originally posted by Nicol_Bolas:
There is nothing I would like to return to in the base game. Crusade is just strictly better.
keep everything.

But there is a problem - if you keep everything, what did I actually pay for in the crusade? Unfair, unless you actually merge the games along with adding the prices.

About reviews. There are reasons. GalCiv 3 was really dull compared to GalCiv 2. Crusade was bugged, YOu grabbed money and released a buggy game. Making those ppl to change their opinion will be hard.
I will still support you with good reviews, just brainstorming about other users.

TLDR
Crusade is strictly better - I want to continue with it in following DLC's.

PS
You guys seem desperate, the sales must be nightmarishly bad. Makes me sad :/.

Sales are good. But the Steam Summer sale approaches and what gets promoted is dependent on review scores.

Re Crusade. I think we can all agree that Crusade was somewhat buggy on release. However, I would like to think most people would agree that Crusade was extremely ambitious and provides a ton of value.

Compare Crusade $19.99 to say Mercenaries which was only released at $19.99. If we hadn't done the citizens system and the new tech tree system but had rather stayed with the Civ Builder + Espionage (the original idea) rather than the rest, it would have been pretty easy to release it as a super polished release.

Suffice to say, next time we'll focus on polish AND features. Crusade was my first GalCiv III project and so the bugs can be laid at my feet for my inexperience with the code base.

But I am not quite familiar with it. :)
I hadn't played any GalCiv campaigns until crusade was on the way and I assumed they might not be comparable anymore, so I played them. Turned out I liked them. I was wondering if I should go back and play GalCiv2 to get the rest of the story, but if I didn't want to have to play pre-crusade campaigns with crusade out I certainly didn't want to go back to GalCiv2. Now I won't have to.
So good for me. Thanks.
Draginol  [developer] May 31 @ 4:15pm 
Originally posted by Red Earth:
I hadn't played any GalCiv campaigns until crusade was on the way and I assumed they might not be comparable anymore, so I played them. Turned out I liked them. I was wondering if I should go back and play GalCiv2 to get the rest of the story, but if I didn't want to have to play pre-crusade campaigns with crusade out I certainly didn't want to go back to GalCiv2. Now I won't have to.
So good for me. Thanks.

Yea, we are really wanting to have the entire GalCiv universe story fully encapsulated in GalCiv III.

We have a campaign editor in development so that modders can create and share their own campaigns as well.
Let me 1st say I love Stardock games, and your a unique developer from a support standpoint, there are certain games I love as a modder, I rarely publish any of my mods anymore, spend most of my time creating my own mods for the games I love, I have over 2,500 hrs in Fallout 4, probably over 4,000 in Skyrim, and 1729 hrs in Gal Civ III.

But as a series matures, game developers start to lose the magic, newer talent just won't "Get It", they want to pull the game in one direction or another, pretty graphics, better game mechanics, but they forget the magic, a good game will always be a good game, regardless if the game was released in 1998 or 2017, the magic is there, the game is fun, it draws you in, you go to sleep at night in that world, it's not about beating the game, you just want to play with it, it's all about the escape, like reading a book you can't put down.

My suggestion would be to Play Gal Civ II, there was a lot of depth and personalty in that game, on my current system it runs like glass, the graphics are still great looking, that game had 2 main things that have not been transfered to Gal Civ III, a ship AI that actually works, and a much better AI for interaction and responses for negotiating with other races. It had the Magic.

Gal Civ III is a love / hate relationship, I love the graphics, creating new ships for every challenge, but the game runs like a model T with bent wheels, and most of what I loved in Civ II just isn't there....I keep hoping you'll put the magic back in it, but it just isn't there, every update is a bandaid that works or screws something else up, lack of a decent combat AI on the map makes a late game bone grinding, I usually never keep playing past where i've completed research, and created the mega ships that I like to punish them with, the reason is the magic isn't there that makes want to win, there's no story about the win, it's all mechanics and who gets there 1st....and it's the ONLY game I have that will Blue Screen my system with memory management issues.

The latest Crusade, runs like magic, but the game for me right now, just doesn't draw me in, so much of the ballance is gone, you almost had it right with Gal Civ III and instead of making a better game, you took a turn in different direction, not sure if I like the overall fun factor, so far it's not there for me, it's another me too, been there game, you have lost the magic, for now I'm back to Civ II, i'm just getting tired of Civ III/Crusade, no depth, no back story, shallow races, and still no combat AI...my god why would you make a game with combat in it and have NO AI for the map.....get back to the depth of one of the greatest Space exploration games ever created....Star Control II

Just my rant I guess

Draginol  [developer] May 31 @ 7:37pm 
The latest Crusade, runs like magic, but the game for me right now, just doesn't draw me in, so much of the ballance is gone, you almost had it right with Gal Civ III and instead of making a better game, you took a turn in different direction, not sure if I like the overall fun factor, so far it's not there for me, it's another me too, been there game, you have lost the magic, for now I'm back to Civ II, i'm just getting tired of Civ III/Crusade, no depth, no back story, shallow races, and still no combat AI...my god why would you make a game with combat in it and have NO AI for the map.....get back to the depth of one of the greatest Space exploration games ever created....Star Control II

I'm not sure what you mean about combat AI. Do you mean like tactical battles?

The strategic AI war management AI is much better in Crusade than either GalCiv III or GalCiv II (I wrote the AI for GalCiv II).

As for Star Control II, I'm working on Star Control: Origins presently (as in, right now, just switching to the forums while the game is building).

I think what you're seeing is more of a nostalgia thing.

I would definitely not consider GalCiv III (base game) balanced. Not even remotely. There are events and planetary improvements that are, imo, effectively "I win" events. Crusade's balance has been very meticulously reviewed (other than race traits which are meant to create more distinct gameplay).

Anyway, we are always open to feedback and suggestions.

For me, personally, Crusade brought the fun back for me. I really enjoy the the citizen system and the new economy where resources matter. But I can also see lots of areas where the game can continue to improve.
Gamer78 May 31 @ 7:55pm 
As a wargamer that I know many talents such as AGEOD, Gary Grigsby, The Operational Art of War 4 (didn't release yet) won't have have much interest in steam community. I think rating system should be classified much better according to genre and player profile. I like Crusade expansion currently, especially for the galaxy& planet only new building procedure.
There should be an AI in the map view to set a fleet to hunt down enemy ships, select and click battle is very tedious, you should be able to send fleets into enemy territory and have them hunt for targets, the enemy AI can do it, the player ship AI should be able to do the same thing.
Positive review of Crusade: done
Positive review of GalCivIII: done
kricket Jun 2 @ 8:32am 
I have a few comments here, please take them as constructive feedback. They are not intended to be mean or disrespectful, though my wife will tell you I am prone to sounding that way when I don't intend it.

1. News updates on steam. When I click the various links provided to get news / patch notes / updates from Galciv III in my library, they come up blank. I assume this would be a simple matter of copy / pasting your already tremendous community interaction posts to the correct place.

2. Buggy release: These last few releases had quite a few bugs that simply didn't have to happen. You have a huge following on steam of very supportive modders, that would be thrilled to help identify, and even resolve bugs. Leverage this community to the greater good! Perhaps invite them to participate in private beta's where they can identify stuff.

What I mean by this, are things like XML the XML entry bugs. Research centers offering 75% bonus instead of 7.5. Gravatonics tree reqquiring another trait to get access to the first one in order to open the tree. etc.
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Date Posted: May 31 @ 1:45pm
Posts: 28