Over on Steam I wrote a really long Beta 6 notes post that you can find here: http://steamcommunity.com/app/226860/discussions/1/618460171327189089/
Here I’ll do a general highlights of Beta 6. You can read the Full Change Log too.
The suffering is nearing an end
We’ve been running the Beta 6 builds for a few weeks now. Beta 5 and its branch has done a great job in preparing ironing out the literally hundreds of issues players have reported.
UPDATE: Apparently Steam doesn’t autosend crashes in 64-bit games yet. So if you DO run into a crash, go into \programdata\galciv3 and please send us the ZIP file from that crash along with your autosaves.
Here are some highlights:
- Feature complete.
- Should not crash. Ever.
- Should run fast. I demoed a pre-beta 6 build on a Microsoft Surface Pro in San Francisco as well as on a 4 year old MacBook Pro (running Windows 7).
- The video streams you saw HERE and HERE were streamed live (at the time) on said 2011 MacBook Pro running Windows with 8GB of memory.
- New lighting system (HDR now). We will be tweaking this before release but visually it should look substantially nicer.
- You can now “retire”.
- New planetary improvements and ship components that use special resources
- End Game screens with graphs and such.
- General balancing across the board
- Massive AI. Beta 6 is the first beta that has significant work by me in it, should be noticeable (I hope).
- Lots and lots of UI updates (search feature for techs, lots of new chicks (enhanced tooltips)
- Influence: Hold your mouse over a given tile and it will tell you how much influence each player is providing in it.
- Lots of new options (no tech trading for example)
- You can now click on the user tab to see JUST the ships you designed.
- Obsoleting game provided designs gets rid of that class of design for the rest of the game.
- AI knows a lot more about techs and how they should work and how they are valued when it comes to tech trading
- Lots of improvements to the way influence works.
- General polish
Things to complain about
Some things didn’t make the cut. That is, they just weren’t “Baked” enough imo.
I am the bad guy here as I went through with a hatchet and said “nope nope nope”. For example, I didn’t like the direction the invasion screen is coming. We’re going to release an enhanced invasion screen in a free future update after we have time to sit down and decide what it is we really want to do here.
Instead, Kael and I asked the team to focus on things that we felt would have a more direct impact on the enjoyment on the game (like the previously mentioned influence stuff) and making sure well known player requests that we agreed were key to enjoying the game were added in. For instance, obsoleting ships in a way that worked the way players would want (i.e. make that type of ship gone for the rest of the game).
I also had them eliminate the United Planets victory conditions. I found this too easy to exploit and just plain not fun. We will have to revisit this in the future Political oriented expansion pack.
What’s NOT in
There is still some UI stuff that I don’t think made it into beta 6 but will be in the first update.
- When designing a ship it doesn’t tell you the manufacturing cost of a ship part. We have a whole new chick designed for giving information on ships because frankly, the current readout is just not enough (weapons range for example). I actually suggested removing weapon range but the team argued that this would greatly reduce the combat flexibility if we moved out that stuff so they designed some new chicks to communicate better the key factors in a battle before you get into a battle.
- AI AI AI AI. The AI will never be done. But let me give you my personal gripe list of things I just wasn’t able to pull off:
- I did get the trading system to work a lot better, particularly with peace treaties but the other treaties I’m still balancing.
- There’s lots of other trade stuff I’ll be working on. Please help in posting trade stupidities you see.
- I am really struggling in getting the AI to make good decisions between say, logistics, hull size and weaponry/defense.
- Flavor. We have started to do a lot more in getting the different aliens to speak differently. I was so tired of the “your gift is appreciated” nonsense that I put in some new ones. We will be adding a lot more. I am pretty sure the manager who is in charge of the language translation budget keyed my car though.
- Late game balance. This is something we’ll be working a lot on between now and release. By balance I mean finding ways so that you have worthwhile things to build that aren’t produced in a single turn. We’ve made a lot of progress here but we want to make sure things don’t just get totally out of hand (I mean, if you want to produce crummy low powered ships every turn that should be doable but the highest end ships should always require several turns).
- Lots of misc. bugs. For instance, missiles appear to miss even when they hit. There will be a lot of little stuff like this that we’re buttoning up even as I type this.
Release of beta 6: This week!
Insane galaxy size memory use:
In beta 5, this used 9.3GB.