Update: Stardock have now released a video showing the diplomacy feature in action.
When Brendan looked at Galactic Civilization 3's beta back in August, he deemed it not ready for consumption. It's a 4X series that's beloved for the anecdotes it creates for players through its personality-driven AI and the ability to conquer galaxies not just with superior numbers but by, say, destroying all the stars or broadcasting better television. None of that choice was in the game at that point, despite the £30/$45 price tag.
Now there's a lot more of it. Beta 2 has just gone live, which adds diplomacy and trading and personalities and a ton of new ways to win the game, including through influence, alliances, ascension and research. The full list of changes is too vast to list here, but I've picked out a few below.
Here's the video released on the 20th.
Added the Krynn Faction: Including Racial traits and Unique Technology Tree
Added the ability to trade: Credits, Techs, Ships, Starbases, Planets and Strategic Resources
Added United Planets and United Planets Resolutions in order to govern the galaxy
Added a new mood system which drives the AI's choices in decision making
Added Universal Translator Tech, needed in order to communicate with the other factions of the game
Added two options to the game settings: Event Frequency & United Planets Frequency
Added In-game Victory Options, to change the victory conditions of the game if you so choose
Added the flavor text system which is the foundation to create unique user experiences
Added decommission button to shipyard screen, enabling the ability to delete an unwanted shipyard
Added a first contact screen when you meet another civilization for the first time
Added Galactic events (19 new events) which can randomly occur as you play
Added the ability to have Galactic Events offer ideological choices in how you deal with them (similar to colonization events)
Added Huge galaxy map size
It's the "new mood system which drives the AI's choices" that really interests me. Too often your computer opponents in 4X games feel like, well, computers. They tend to make decisions for mathematical reasons or out of a plain desire to win. Gal Civ 2 was far more interesting and fun because the route your AI enemies would take towards winning would be mad, and driven by their particular quirks of personality.
Galactic Civilizations III is still in Early Access, so don't take this to mean that it's necessarily ready to play. We'll have someone take a look at the changes and report back. For now, go read Tom Francis' war diary for a sense of what to hope for from this sequel.