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f13.net  |  f13.net General Forums  |  The Gaming Graveyard  |  Archived: We distort. We decide.  |  Topic: f13.net turns 2: Other Challenges Await. A GalCiv2 review. 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
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Author Topic: f13.net turns 2: Other Challenges Await. A GalCiv2 review.  (Read 12733 times)
schild
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on: March 19, 2006, 03:35:26 AM

Part 3: Galactic Civilizations 2. Submitted by Yoru.
Merusk
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Reply #1 on: March 19, 2006, 07:02:53 PM

I bought this game on Saturday.  All I can say at this point is, I disagree that only truly hardcore 4x fans can enjoy it.  If you liked MOO/ MOO2 in any way shape or form I can't see how you wouldn't like this game. It's a space 4x and while it's slightly different from MOO, it's definitly its spiritual successor.  Hitting 'next turn' was always a lot of that game, because it lacks the ultra micro-management of your resource squares that Civs had.

 A small-map game is fairly quick so long as you don't go for a tech victory.  It's also got a lot of wit in the tech flavor and opening a conversation with the human leader and seeing "Good god man.  I mean, what the hell are you?" gives me a good chuckle.  (It's a dry humor.)


  The ship customization is fantastic and takes it to a level I always wanted to see in MOO.  Building your own 3d ship models and then fitting the weapons to the hardpoints, pure joy. 

I'll agree with some of the tech choices.  That was my problem with the original Gal Civ as well.  Too many 'fillers' that could easily just have been placed farther down the tree for the same point cost, rather than just creating useless research goals.  At times it seems like they felt it necessary to fill in every block of the grid rather than just extending that connecting line.

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Stormwaltz
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Reply #2 on: March 20, 2006, 02:45:11 AM

"Colonies will be familiar to anyone who's played the old Logic Factory title Ascendancy"

All six of us.

Nothing in this post represents the views of my current or previous employers.

"Isn't that just like an elf? Brings a spell to a gun fight."

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Tebonas
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Reply #3 on: March 20, 2006, 05:14:38 AM

Now, Ascendancy. Thats a game I didn't think about in a long long time.

The tech choices are abundant with fillers, but some of the descriptions are worth a laugh. The dry humor permeates the whole game. I love them for it.

Ironwood
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Reply #4 on: March 20, 2006, 06:04:23 AM

"Colonies will be familiar to anyone who's played the old Logic Factory title Ascendancy"

All six of us.

Seven.  It got released over here too.

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Nazrat
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Reply #5 on: March 20, 2006, 06:29:22 AM

Ascendency is in a box in my garage.  I loved that game.
Fargull
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Reply #6 on: March 20, 2006, 01:22:48 PM

Hell, I like Ascendancy over MOOG.

Am enjoying this game and have hopes it might curve my WOW addiction.  Damn ship building is a blast.... yes, yes... trying to design a firefly model.

"I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist and that there are as few as there are any other great artists. Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit." John Steinbeck
Heresiarch
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Reply #7 on: March 20, 2006, 04:00:57 PM

Huh. Jon (Curse) has Ascendency in a box. I never played it, cuz, well, it's in a box. This is starting to sound like a good review of Ascendency, coupled with a "when you're done with that, give GalCiv2 a whirl".
Stormwaltz
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Reply #8 on: March 20, 2006, 05:25:30 PM

Ascendency has terrible AI out of the box. You need the patch to make it a reasonable challenge.

I mainly remember the game for having a wide array of creative alien concepts, each with their own unique musical theme. But the only difference in play was that each had a way it could break the rules every few turns.

Nothing in this post represents the views of my current or previous employers.

"Isn't that just like an elf? Brings a spell to a gun fight."

"Sci-Fi writers don't invent the future, they market it."
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Yoru
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Reply #9 on: March 20, 2006, 05:42:57 PM

The main reason I mentioned Ascendancy is because it defines a planet as a set of slots upon which to build stuff, and the slots may or may not confer bonuses to whatever's built on a given slot. Aside from the specifics and the graphics, this is pretty close to what you find in GalCiv2. The rest of the game hardly resembles GalCiv2 at all. Ascendancy had a 3D galactic map and a neat 3D-rotating tech graph. And fun graphics. And neat races - nominally.

The rule-breaking reminds me of Cosmic Encounter. Now there's a game that would be a giant pain to computerize. Especially since half the playtime is often spent rules-lawyering.
Tebonas
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Reply #10 on: March 20, 2006, 11:27:04 PM

You certainly know whats good in Space-related stuff. Cosmic Encounter would suck as computer game though. Maybe online versus other humans, with much much time to broker out deals and bending rules. Which is the fun of the game.
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Reply #11 on: March 21, 2006, 05:01:16 AM

I'm not very satisfied with the review: Re: The AI. The only commnet about it was a disparaging one about it attacking star bases it can't destroy.

Did you play on AI level intellegent, and if so, how'd you beat it?

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Reply #12 on: March 21, 2006, 09:32:47 AM

Okay.  Probably going to derail this thread, but did anyone play Cosmic Balance on the C64?  One thing about Gal Civ II is the ship construction, which is what Cosmic B was plus combat.  I really wish someone would convert Starship Battles to the PC.

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Reply #13 on: March 21, 2006, 11:41:58 AM

I'm not very satisfied with the review: Re: The AI. The only commnet about it was a disparaging one about it attacking star bases it can't destroy.

Did you play on AI level intellegent, and if so, how'd you beat it?

Oh, it can destroy them; it just takes ten fleets or so to accomplish that.

I played mostly on the Average AI level, where it was quite handy in giving me an ass-whupping slightly over 50% of the time. I notched it up to Intelligent once and got, for the lack of a better term, "completely pwnt". The AI seems just fine at managing colonies and production. However, when it comes to choosing targets and outfitting its ships with offenses and defenses, it's not too good.

In the former case, the starbase example serves to illustrate; the starbase isn't much of a threat on its own and is a pain to take down. However, there's a half-built and vulnerable proto-fleet sitting around a nearby planet that, if attacked, would set my offensive maneuvers off by many turns. It often, almost invariably, goes for the starbase on the Average level.

For offenses and defenses, you need to mix and match what you're firing at the enemy against what their ships have the least defenses for, and similarly for defenses, in order to have a more effective fleet. The AI seems to pick one defense and one offense and stick with it for long periods of time, even in spite of a properly-coordinated opposition that guts its ships. Again, this is at the Average level; it may improve higher up, but I wasn't able to survive long enough to know.
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Reply #14 on: March 21, 2006, 12:36:42 PM

I find GalCiv 2 is the game MoO3 should have been.  They seem very proud of their work, so I imagine we shall get AI improvements in future patches.

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Comstar
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Reply #15 on: March 21, 2006, 04:16:13 PM

For offenses and defenses, you need to mix and match what you're firing at the enemy against what their ships have the least defenses for, and similarly for defenses, in order to have a more effective fleet. The AI seems to pick one defense and one offense and stick with it for long periods of time, even in spite of a properly-coordinated opposition that guts its ships. Again, this is at the Average level; it may improve higher up, but I wasn't able to survive long enough to know.

At intellegent it has no bonus, and uses the full AI routines, below that the human player has bonuses and the AI plays dumber than it has to. So don't crit the AI for playing dumb. Did you ever station troop transports near him and get the message "You must be a video game reviewer, as only someone like that would try such an obvious tactic. Fortunatly for you, my generals are dumber"?

However, the AI does miss things, as noted in todays dev blog, such as it's inability to put long range life support on ships. Something he's now going to fix in the 1.1 patch now :)

I'm playing a game now on tough/challenging and the AI definatly DID take note. Of the 4 civs left, I was the only one with beam tech, the other three mostly had mass drivers. I conentrtated on armour tech.  After losing a few fleets, the AI asked for peace. And started building ships with shields and missles, even when it wasn't at war with me directly. This has cost me because I'm way behind in point defence.

If you want to survive long enough, play a large/huge/gigantic game. Press CNTRL-N a few times at the first turn till you get a map were you're not too close to anyone.  And it helps to have a high diplomacy.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2006, 04:57:28 PM by Comstar »

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Reply #16 on: March 21, 2006, 04:50:00 PM

I find GalCiv 2 is the game MoO3 should have been.  They seem very proud of their work, so I imagine we shall get AI improvements in future patches.

You mean Like this (a journal entry of how the upgraded AI is now performing. Starfleet and the Federation for the win)? Anyone intetested in GalcivII should read the ongoing, DAILY updated journal of the lead dev. Something else not really touched upon on the review is the updates that will come out, not to fix bugs (though they were mostly fixed the first 2 weeks of release) but upgrades to the game, as asked for (and in some cases, demands with menaces, such as "no tech trading option") by the gal civ2 fourms.

Fiannly, what kind of reviwer reviews stardock games  is an interesting view from the devs side of how he takes reviews and the people who write them.

Defending the Galaxy, from the Scum of the Universe, with nothing but a flashlight and a tshirt. We need tanks Boo, lots of tanks!
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Reply #17 on: March 21, 2006, 05:08:12 PM

I sent the review to Stardock, as I always do with with full reviews of games. I've heard no response. But then, I sent it to their PR lackey and not someone on the Galciv 2 team.
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Reply #18 on: March 21, 2006, 05:19:05 PM

I just re-read the review, and I think we can all be proud and say that we are an ultra review site.  Or something, unless we are reviewing Hello Kitty  Hello Kitty


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schild
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Reply #19 on: March 21, 2006, 05:51:14 PM

That was an ultra review of Hello Kitty and you know it.

I like the use of the word ultra too. Hasn't seen much play since 1988 when Neon Yellow was a color you could find in clothing stores.
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Reply #20 on: March 22, 2006, 08:54:15 AM

His explanation of an ultra reviewer:

Quote
These ultra  reviewers scare everyone equally though. Whether you're Microsoft or Stardock, they'll crush you like a bug equally. They're freelancers. Publishers have no power over them. Go ahead, threaten to take your ad dollars away. They'll laugh at you.

They may write for big sites or they may write for small sites. It doesn't matter. Their words carry weight because of years of built up integrity. If they give a big name game a 2 star rating, people take notice. And when they give out 5 star ratings it's equally a big deal.  It's not that they give a lot of negative scores, it's that they're immune to hype.

You goddamn right. That's the way a game SHOULD be reviewed and should be considered. Fuck the hype, what does the game deliver?

Khaldun
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Reply #21 on: March 23, 2006, 12:54:09 PM

I played Ascendancy too.

Only a retarded lemur could actually genuinely, seriously, like that game. I liked the game it was trying to be before they stopped coding the game and doing little frill things like actually making it work and giving it an AI and stuff. I liked the look of it, the idea of it, but come on, the thing was as fucking broken as any game ever sold.

The review of GalCiv2 makes me think about GalCiv 1, a game whose quality was unmistakeable (unlike Ascendancy: seriously, one is not doing Stardock any favors by bringing up that name). I appreciated GalCiv1 but somehow it was just missing that spark, that special something that had me pressing the "next turn" button like a monkey pulling the level for more cheese pellets. I was glad to buy it, to subsidize it, and I couldn't tell you what was lacking in it for me, but it really just was lacking somehow. So I'm potentially persuaded that GalCiv2 might be more of the same...
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Reply #22 on: March 23, 2006, 09:48:04 PM

If you look back at the journel entries I linked above, around the week galciv2 came out, you'll see a list of "what I did wrong in galciv 1 that I fixed in galciv 2". That should put your feelings to rest.

Defending the Galaxy, from the Scum of the Universe, with nothing but a flashlight and a tshirt. We need tanks Boo, lots of tanks!
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Reply #23 on: March 24, 2006, 08:54:18 AM

Thanks! I've been reading it a bit this morning, and yes, it's very interesting. If nothing else, it's a class act from a development team--I think I want to buy GalCiv2 just to reward general virtue!

One thing I've seen in a few comments that reminded me of something I didn't like about GalCiv1 was the lack of a topography to conflict. E.g., that in Civilization or even MOO, there were locations that generated or focused conflict--places that resources were concentrated (CivIV has a really great implementation of this, I think), or places where the topography naturally funneled conflict (bottlenecks and chokepoints). MOO had that with hyperspace routes and also especially valuable planets. GalCiv1, I found, didn't so much have this--as one person commented, you tended to get an undifferentiated blob of planetary development, fleets all over the place. Does GalCiv2 have this kind of "topography of conflict", or is it still fairly undifferentiated?
 
Lantyssa
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Reply #24 on: March 24, 2006, 09:40:57 AM

There can be some bottlenecks, but not huge amounts.

One of the map choices allows you to cluster the stars together.  Early in the game this forms natural routes because of range restrictions.  Technology will increase your range and a starbase, which can be placed anywhere, can dramatically increase it if placed near the limits of your ships.

Later in the game most of space will be open to you and your enemies, although on the lower AI settings ships tend to head straight for you from their main planets.  Place a fortified starbase in their path and they will attack it.  The one campaign game I played on challenging they did start avoiding my starbases after losing several fleets, although they may have prioritized retaking the planet over an otherwise insigificant base.

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Reply #25 on: March 24, 2006, 11:47:38 PM

Theres no real "terrian" as such. You have randomly scattered "resource" points that if you sit a starbase on, give civ wide benifts (2-12%) on different things, like militry, economy, influence etc. If a civ you're fighting has a well developed mining starbase and you take it out, it often cripples them (or you if you're depending on it).

Also: beta 1.1 patch came out today: the change log has a lot of enhancements.

Defending the Galaxy, from the Scum of the Universe, with nothing but a flashlight and a tshirt. We need tanks Boo, lots of tanks!
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Reply #26 on: March 25, 2006, 03:45:26 PM

I agree, technology tree is probably weakest element in the entire game followed by uninspired ship combat. Researching Beam +2 that takes 6 spaces over beam +2 that takes 7 spaces is not impressive.  Overall entire game is not unpleasant but greatly underdesigned, exact opposite of MOO3. Still its relatively fun and stable.

Eternity is a very long time, especially towards the end.
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Reply #27 on: March 25, 2006, 03:48:26 PM

It's a space 4x and while it's slightly different from MOO, it's definitly its spiritual successor.

I disagree with successor bit. Aside from graphics and graphic tool to design looks of your ships GC2 is a misguided aprentice and inferior to MOO2 in every other way.

Eternity is a very long time, especially towards the end.
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Reply #28 on: March 25, 2006, 07:59:03 PM

So, you're still playing MOO2 I take it? How the AI again?

Defending the Galaxy, from the Scum of the Universe, with nothing but a flashlight and a tshirt. We need tanks Boo, lots of tanks!
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Reply #29 on: March 26, 2006, 12:19:51 PM

So, you're still playing MOO2 I take it? How the AI again?


AI is shitty but that why I play against other people.

Eternity is a very long time, especially towards the end.
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Reply #30 on: March 30, 2006, 02:53:19 PM

Re: space games. I was digging through my storage crap looking for some old 35mm lenses I had stashed away, and I came across a box of my DOS games. I barely even remember this one: Rules of Engagement. Also found the sweet, sweet Syndicate, Ultima VIII (which I actually liked, after the jump patch), Spelljammer, all kinds of odd old games. Should fire up that DOSBox! (Curse you, Oblivion, curse you!)

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Reply #31 on: March 30, 2006, 03:51:40 PM

I tried to install syndicate recently (I had copies of my disks saved for some reason), but some silly protection scheme only allowed a floppy install. angry

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Reply #32 on: March 31, 2006, 01:03:02 AM

Soln
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Reply #33 on: April 06, 2006, 11:27:20 AM

I remember enjoying and stressing over a copy of the original, so I went bought this second version.  So far Ok, but very close to Civ (same code or borrowed design) in some things.  A bit slow and a bit nervy on the AI -- "you have not master offensive weapons, so I will attack you now in round 4 of the game which started 3mins ago..."  Little too much of that, but I need more time on it.  Nice change from MMO's...
Soln
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Reply #34 on: April 07, 2006, 07:36:17 AM

Update:

Well, I installed on a good PC (3GB Ram, 32MB Nvidia, 3+Ghz) and then installed their updates, as well as some crazy .Net push thing called Stardock.  Np.  Played.  Np.  /firstsessionends,  shutdown

Same night went back (and this was before I posted the above).  Got a Windows Dialogue Warning thrown before even getting to the splash screen.  Hmm.  Debug and notes, some .dll missing/throttled.  Fine, reinstalled all.  I had uninstalled the Stardock push tool and presumed I had caused the problem.  Played 1hr np.  /secondsessionends, shudown

then yesterday /postedpraisetof13

Tried last night and SAME error.  Ok.  Now irked.  Checked the tech support forum, and lots of unhappy space cadets.  Turns out they didn't put in any graphics-range-checking as it were, inasmuch as there is no limit on polygon count.  That shouldn't have mattered I thought, but they kept reiterating to "get updated drivers newb!! lolz"  so I got the new Omegadrivers from 2 weeks ago (that's pretty current for Nvidia, jeez) and it started.  Then, after maybe an hour, didn't the damn thing crash.  Back to forums -- the unending polygon count limit apparently causes all/some video cards to overheat and causes "unexpected" crashes.  LOL.   

So I have literally spent more time installing/debugging/searching on how to fix this game then I have played it.  Wow.  /fails
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