Gal Civ III Beta Update: Watch Your Fleets Burn

Have you been playing the Galactic Civilizations III beta? If so, you may be excited to learn that it’s been updated to include some gratuitous-looking space battles. Try not to sear your retinas with laser beams as you watch this short trailer:

What you’ve got there is the Battle Viewer, as seen in previous GalCiv titles. As is traditional it’s not interactive: once your fleets are committed all you can do is watch them blast or burn. Still, at least you can pause, rewind, zoom in and out… you know, really get some spacewar porn into your eyeballs.

This all comes as part of Beta 4, which has also added extreme worlds – new colonization opportunities unlocked by pursuing certain tech tree branches – gigantic and immense maps, and a revamp to the ideology system. The latter is a new feature in the GalCiv series, replacing GalCiv II’s old alignment system and replacing it with something that sounds a bit like Civ 5’s social policy system. That the system has been entirely revamped suggests that Stardock are still working out how ideologies interact with the rest of the game’s systems. That’s to be expected, of course – why, it’s part of the reason the Early Access system exists.

The full patch notes are on the GalCiv 3 forums, if you’re interested in which other balance tweaks and bugfixes have been made in this update.

If you ask me, space warfare isn’t terribly civilized. But then no one does tend to ask me about such matters. They just let me quietly get on with my hobby: building a gigantic death ray beneath Brighton Dome. One day I plan to implode the galactic core, leading to the creation of a supermassive black hole that will devour all life, light, matter, energy and hope. I think I’ll call it the Eye of Terror. Despite all this… nobody asks me anything. All they do is blow one another up.


  1. Beanbee says:

    2D, or why 2D!

    • aepervius says:

      Because 3D battle are barely only interresting when you do your own tactic, like with homeworld and sins of a solar empire. Even then they rapidely become far more confusing to decode as the number of ships increase and weapons are fired everywhere and ships of both side are mixed.

      But when you are doing automated battle with few tactics and just ship shooting at each other, 2D is not only more than enough, but also enable a much clearer view of what’s going on.

  2. Gap Gen says:

    Oh man, they really sexed up the physics dept’s new laser safety video.

  3. lunarplasma says:

    This battle viewer just doesn’t do it for me. And the reason is because of smarty-pants like this guy who’ve looked at how space battles are really likely to turn out: link to

    • DarkFenix says:

      That guy really sucks the fun out of space combat doesn’t he.

    • jangove says:

      That guy really needs to look at project rho. While he gets a lot right, he gets a lot wrong, and doesn’t think very hard about a great many things that have been hashed out at length over there over the past decade. And I don’t think he fully understands the implications of the rocket equations.

      In any event, look at John Lumpkin’s Through Struggle, The Stars for an example of quite rigorous space combat done both well and exciting. Despite being self-published, they are far, far better than that would lead one to expect[1]

      As for Gal Civ, I’ve never been able to forgive it for its space-battles-as-spreadsheet model. While I get that destroying your enemies by burying them under a giant pile of manufactured goods is a completely viable way of war, I just don’t find it fun.

      [1] Lest someone accuse me of corruption in book journalism: I don’t know John Lumpkin, and he isn’t a friend. However I liked his book enough that I spent a few hundred dollars sponsoring reviews for charity of his book. So I have an interest, but it is just a rooting interest, if you will. See the following (James Nicoll is the only professional reviewer in that bunch, the others are just folks who’s intellect I respect who might be interested)

      link to (the post in which I made the proposal. (Incidentally, I think I was a bit drunk and I KNOW I was pretty depressed so please forgive the many errors of spelling and grammar)

      And a link to many of the reviews:
      link to

      • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

        I really enjoyed that book. Also Project Rho itself justifies the entire web as far as I’m concerned.

        • jangove says:

          Someone else who has read it!

          I’m sorry, I’m just a little bit misty eyed. Sadly, JL has gone back to school for a PhD (in Journalism; for those who haven’t read his about the author bit, he was a journalist on the military/intelligence beat for several years). Anyway. I’ve somehow become half convinced that the only way I will see sequels is if I, personally, hand the book forcibly to any and all persons I encounter. (but its okay. This has hardly ever gotten me arrested. Well, rarely. Okay, so maybe just “not always”…)

          Ever read Robert Frezza’s _A Small Colonial War_? It is a very different work that TS,TS but it scratches that same itch for non-jingoist, non-stupid Military SF.

          • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

            I have added that to my “to read” list. Did you ever read The Humanist Inheritance? One of the first written with Project Rho as a guide, although it fell off the Internet a few years ago. Also, A Sword Into Darkness by Thomas A. Mays, which actually came up with a plausible reason for aliens to travel to our solar system. More mainstream, A Deepness In The Sky, Vernor Vinge.

  4. DragonOfTime says:

    I’m sorry to break it to you, but the thing at the centre of our galaxy IS a supermassive black hole. Someone apparently beat you to it.

    • Gap Gen says:

      Or maybe they succeeded too well. Luckily it can only suck matter/light/hope into it for a small fraction of the distance between the Earth and the Sun.

    • Shaun Green says:

      Damn it, I *knew* there was a reason I thought it was a good idea. And I call myself an SF fan.

  5. Premium User Badge

    It's not me it's you says:

    That… doesn’t really look too spectacular.

    Which is just as well, as Wardell manages to be the only person in gaming I know that’s enough of a shit to be on my “do not give money” list. EA is distasteful and I’ll skip Ubisoft stuff that looks too derivative but I’ll buy stuff from them if it’s good.

    Wardell has proven himself a singularly unrepentant asshole in the whole That Hashtag debacle, so I’d feel wrong giving him, or the company he seems perfectly content to speak for, money.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      The combat in Galciv has never looked fantastic, I really doubt anybody is playing it for that. And as for the rest of your comment – I give my money to games I want to play. No matter what, any game that is made by more than one person has SOMEBODY on the team who is just there to make a game they like. So I refuse to boycott a game just because there’s someone on the team who’s offended me in some way – that way I don’t get to play games I like, and people who actually do deserve money don’t get it.

      • Gap Gen says:

        I mean, Wardell is the owner of Stardock, so I imagine they get the bulk of the cash from the game, but sure, there are enough shits out there that it’s hard to avoid everything problematic.

        • pepperfez says:

          Most them aren’t so obnoxiously proud of using the money you gave them to be bigger assholes, though. I mean, put the political stuff to one side: Dude sent around a photo of himself double-parking his sports car in handicap spaces and brought a beehive to the office when he found out one of his employees was afraid of them.

          Fuck. Him.

      • Shadow says:

        “I give my money to games I want to play.”

        Pretty much. If I opposed giving money to scumbags for their products, I’d have a lot less stuff in general.

        Are you going to give up a chunk of your clothes because at some stage they pass through exploitative Asian sweatshops? Same with complex goods with long production chains, such as electronics: someone somewhere is always exploiting someone else, doing much worse than taking bees to work to prank an employee one day, double-parking on handicapped spaces or sending raunchy e-mails to a co-worker. Wardell’s are all reprehensible behaviours, to be sure, but I’m pretty sure we all unknowingly make worse scumbags richer because their companies put out good products.

        All that said, I’m yet to be impressed by GalCiv3. I haven’t really been impressed by anything Stardock since GalCiv2.

    • bonuswavepilot says:

      Oh no… I try to get any news related to that hashtag in small increments lest my despair for e-humanity overwhelm me, so I had managed to miss Wardell’s involvement, and I already gave them my money! Got a lot of hours of entertainment out of Galciv II so this was one of very few early-access titles I went in for.

    • thaquoth says:


      Everything that has come to light about Wardell and Stardock has been so thoroughly unpleasant that I’m happy to not ever give them any money again. There was precedent for this even long before THE HASHTAG THING started.

      GalCiv 3 not looking terribly interesting just makes it easier. Good.

      • Gap Gen says:

        Yeah, it’s not unsurprising that this person would rush to that hashtag like a plague rat to a bloated corpse: link to

        EDIT: Ha, those court documents embedded with Scribd: “SHOW ME MORE LIKE COMPLAINT AND SUMMONS 12-30-10”. Oh yes please more legal documents am nam nam.

    • Fiyenyaa says:

      Looks like it’s no more Stardock games for me. Yuck.

    • pepperfez says:

      I’m glad I’m not always the one posting the daily reminder that Brad Wardell is a hideous troglodyte.

    • draglikepull says:

      Wardell’s involvement is why I, sadly, will not be buying Soren Johnson’s new game Offworld Trading Company. Which is too bad, because it sounds like a really cool game, but I just can’t give money to anything Wardell is backing financially.

      • Joshua Northey says:

        That is interesting, where did you get your computer and the parts it is composed off? Fair trade organic computer farms outside of Portland Oregon?

        • pepperfez says:

          I and several other people were at the home of an acquaintance of mine when, for totally legitimate reasons I don’t feel obligated to share, I began smashing her belongings, throwing furniture around, screaming obscenities and so forth.
          Coincidentally, all the people then present have been extremely busy and unable to return my calls lately. When I encountered the acquaintance at a coffee shop recently, I asked her what had been going on. She gave me a disgusted look and asked if I had forgotten about destroying her home, which of course I had not, and said that nobody wanted to deal with someone who did things like that. I was astounded! I said to her, “Where did you get your cell phone? Fair trade organic cell phone farms outside of Portland Oregon? Smashing a few belongings and ruining an evening is hardly as bad as what Foxconn does!”
          That was clearly an unbeatable argument, because she just turned and walked away without saying anything.

    • Neutrino says:

      Apart from being falsely accused of sexual harassment, lied about by the gaming press and then found to be innocent by due legal process, what else has Wardell done that I should know about?

      • pepperfez says:

        You can add to that list: He climbed Everest alone, eliminated Detroit’s budget deficit, and wrote a really good fantasy novel.

  6. Phantasma says:

    Can’t really complain about the lightshow, but wow, that’s one generic soundtrack right there.
    But let me guess… beta and all that?

    Sorry for my cynicism.
    GalCiv 2 was a nice (not outstanding but nice) little game 10 years ago.
    But everything i saw of the sequel so far screams little effort and no real improvement, paired with the trademark awful art direction most Stardock games seem to suffer from.
    And better mot talk about the lore *shudder*.
    Hopefully at least the economic system isn’t the same mess as before.

    But Brad Wardell can write nice AI, i’ll give him that.

  7. Kong says:

    A pity the small ships are nothing but cannonfodder.

    How do they recruit frigate and corvette crews? Red shirt lottery or punishment battalion?

    • Loyal_Viggo says:

      Yeah I agree, the fact that all the ships just seemed to charge forward and converge in point formation in one big clusterfuck of space-death.

      Not very appealing in terms of demonstrating any kind of strategy other than ‘BANZAI!’

      Anyway will be giving this a wide berth, so many better things out or in the pipeline (StarDrive 2!) than a slightly upgraded GC2.

    • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      I always assume the “redshirt” ships are coveted assignments in peacetime, as they’re the ones actually out and patrolling stuff while the battleships and world-destroyers just sit in port racking up the docking fees.

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        You’d think “redshirt ship crew” would immediately jump to being the least popular assignment come wartime, but the guy in charge of processing transfer requests would beg to differ.

  8. Shardz says:

    If they had only started on this game instead of take a 5 year detour with that other madness (as I initially was quite vocal about), Stardock would be in a much better position than today. As it stands, I really don’t know what this company is going to do one week to the next or even why.

    I think I’ll just stick with my GalCiv ][ and call it a decade.

    • Burningvillage says:

      Yeah Elemental was bad but Legendary Heroes is a really good game. Plus I’m not sure what you mean by a better position as stardock is doing really well. Anyway I’ll be checking it out but to each their own.