Galactic Civilization 2 Interview

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posted 10/27/2005 by Tyler Sager
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We all know space is the final frontier but Kirk and company were all about exploring it, meeting new aliens species and even sleeping with them.  There was nothing about conquering all of that space and imposing your will on the new alien races.  No great intergalactic battles.   This is one of the reasons we liked the first Galactic Civilization so much.  Not only was it a great turn based strategy game but there was none of that Federation mumbo jumbo to get in the way of creating our own ginormous space empires.  With the sequel to that game finally starting to appear on the horizon we got to chat with one of the folks at Star Dock about what we can expect from the upcoming game.

GamingNexus: Can you introduce yourself and describe your role on the project?
My name is Brad Wardell and I'm the Designer and Project Manager on Galactic Civilizations II: Dread Lords.  I mostly program the computer AI aspects of the game and work on general game balance.

GamingNexus: What are the major new features for the new version of the game? What new feature do you think fans of the first series will appreciate the most?  Do you have something that you are particularly proud of?
Brad Wardell:
The biggest new features include the ability to design your own starships from scratch, unique planets/colonies and the new map system, in which planets are part of the map. Finally, we've added fleet combat with a new combat system that makes use of different types of weapons and defenses.

GamingNexus:  I noticed you guys have taken a modular approach to planetary improvements.  Care to expound on this?  Also, one of my biggest complaints with the original game was the feeling that many of the improvements just weren't worth the cost to build and maintain.  How have you tweaked the improvements in GalCiv2 to avoid this?
Brad Wardell:
I agree and in fact, in GalCiv I the improvements were just kind of pointless. They just added to the bottom line on all your planets, rather than having any kind of tactical or strategic value.  In Galactic Civilizations II, the planet class determines how many usable tiles there are on a planet. You build improvements on those tiles and as a result, you can only build a finite number of improvements on a planet.  This tends to reduce micromanagement and introduce a lot of strategic options.

GamingNexus: On to ships and fleets, which also are getting a major overhaul. For many fans, the ability to customize ships part by part as technologies improve is a welcome addition.  However, I was quite happy with the original, limited number of ship plans.  How will the new system keep burgeoning shipwrights happy without overwhelming the rest of us with micromanagement?
Brad Wardell:
Designing ships can be a snap.  The player can literally just click on a ship size and then click on the various items and the game will equip it for them.  That way, people who aren't into the ship design aspect of the game can get their ships out there with minimum of effort.  But shipwrights can add extras to their ship that cosmetically enhance the look and feel of their ships. You can spend a lot of time making really unique looking ships if you'd like.

Moreover, your ship designs are saved to disk each time, so when you play a new game, your ships will automatically appear when you get the proper technology pre-requisites, à la GalCiv I.

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