Musings on, Art, Skinning, Computers, and the True meaning of Life. (AKA The Lego Theory)

Galactic Civilizations III turns a year old this week. I'm both shocked that it has already been a year, and surprised it has only been a year. When GC3 shipped I was very proud of what we had done, but I am even prouder of what the game has become over the last year. As a designer, I know that a game is really never done, so it has been a pleasure to continue working on GalCiv3 with such a great group of people.

Lets look back at Galactic Civilizations III’s first year...

Steam Workshop

The first thing we did after shipping, was dig into the Steam Workshop. The steam workshop is a perfect fit for Galactic Civilizations III as it allows players to share the custom content with the world. Everytime I go to the forums I am amazed by what users have created. I can waste hours just looking at the incredible ship designs.

One year in, there are thousands of Custom Factions on the Workshop. Want 100 factions in in your insane galaxy? You can pick from original player factions or factions inspired by just about every sci-fi universe you can think of. There are hundreds of custom maps and don't even get me started on the thousands user-designed ships. If you have not checked out the player-designed ships, stop reading this and go do so now. There are even a few celebrity designers that have submitted hundreds of designs on their own; to them I say thank you -- you guys make awesome stuff.


Gameplay Changes

Anyone who reads the changelogs each time we update the game will know that it would be impossible for me to list all the changes, balancing, and flat out bugs fixes we have done over the last year. In fact, it is hard to just sum it up.

With each update, we are always looking for ways to improve performance, stability, balance and (most importantly) the fun of the game. Each point release has focused on one or two aspects of the game.

Some of these changes, such as improving the AI, can be subtle. We have spent time making sure each AI has its own personality, and is better at building worlds, managing it’s civilizations, building ships, using resources, and hunting down players. It’s very important to us that the AI continue to grow and improve as we move forward.

Thanks to great user feedback we now have a much more balanced production system that allows players to better manage large civilizations without having to micro-manage each planet’s spending. Other planetary management changes have included adding governors and simple production focuses.

Still other changes have made both the late game and large maps more fun for the player. Better fleet, shipyard, and design screen lists have made it much easier to manage the crazy amount of ships and fleets players can accrue in a long game. The completely re-factored starbase system done in 1.7 has made managing starbases much simpler and has made starbases much more useful and fun.

New Content

We have also added some entirely new gameplay features through DLC. For example, PrecursorWorlds mixes up the colonization rush while Mega Events shakes up mid- and late-game play. New maps change the flow of both singleplayer and multiplayer experience. You can can even now play as the terrifying Snathi or fight off the return of the Dreadlords.


With the Mercenaries expansion, players can hire out their dirty work and make better use of their precious Galactic Resources. We were also able to bring back two classic GalCiv2 races (the Arceans and the Torians) as well as a new campaign where you help the Torians reclaim their place in the galaxy.

Looking Forward

As we move forward toward the next expansion, we will continue to improve the base game with asteroid mining, ship leveling (including for Mercenaries), and a rather substantial update to multiplayer. And of course we will continue to work on improving the AI, and user experience.

Perhaps what has impressed me most over the last year is that the game has such dedicated players, designers, and fans. Players have given us an amazing amount of feedback and suggestions on how we can make the game better. The most difficult problem with this torrent of feedback is deciding what to do first, or how to integrate it into existing plans. So keep checking back! Galactic Civilizations III will keep growing and getting better for years to come.

Paul Boyer
Lead Designer
Galactic Civilizations III

on May 19, 2016

Congrats Stardock and Happy Birthday Galactic Civilizations III!!! The best damn 4x game on the market! 

Paul can you talk to us about what lies ahead or perhaps what will be in the next expansion next year?

on May 19, 2016

Congratulations on making it through the first year with Gal Civ 3 -- It has been It has been a regular thing for me to be playing Gal Civ 3, and I am very happy with how it has evolved since its launch. Very much looking forward to the next big expansion!

on May 19, 2016

It's an expandable not an expansion. What that means is that the game will be a game that is not the same game and is not in the future game. According to brad.

on May 19, 2016

Congratulations and thanks for a great game!

Would appreciate to enhance administration and politics now, you know, but I am sure you have something great up your sleaves

on May 19, 2016

Congratulations and happy birthday, I imagine you take great pleasure in watching your baby grow!

on May 19, 2016

Happy birthday great game.

on May 24, 2016

Happy Birthday GC3 I just wish I had more time to play.