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GalCiv IV: Supernova Dev Journal #28 - Replacing the Tech Victory in 4X

Published on Friday, October 6, 2023 By Frogboy In GalCiv IV Dev Journals

Since the first Galactic Civilizations game, we’ve always had the technology victory condition. When the player researched this very expensive technology, they won the game. Simple enough right?

Unfortunately, while it was straightforward to win that way, it was very unsatisfying to lose that way. In Galactic Civilizations II, we tried a host of different options including having a warning letting the player know that “Player X is nearing a technological victory.” That doesn’t really work though because what if that player is on the other side of the map? You’re helpless to prevent their victory.

For Galactic Civilizations III, we kept the technology victory in but prevented the AI from researching the necessary tech to win. This prevented the sudden human player loss but was pretty unsatisfying as a strategy game experience.

So what about Galactic Civilizations IV: Supernova Edition? We created something new: Stat Mutations.

Stat Mutations

A stat mutation is where we can say a given stat, like your economy or your influence changes M every N turns.

To make use of this, we made it so that the end culture trait unlocks a technology that can be researched. For example, the end of the Individualism culture progression tree is Sovereign Identity. Getting this unlocks a tech called Individual Divinity. This tech is extremely expensive but when researched, your citizens start gaining 0.1 to all their stats every turn. Which means, eventually…gradually your people will become god-like in their production abilities in every category.

An expensive tech that results in a per turn buff allows the AI to participate in the end game.

For example, the Dream of Utopia technology results in your capital world increasing its influence generation by 1 per turn every turn. Left alone long enough and they will overwhelm the universe with their influence. But that’s just the thing – left along long enough. There’s a way to respond to it. And in this case, it lets the player play tall since it’s just the capital world.

A Satisfying Victory

For players, this means they can see a way to win the game that doesn’t feel cheap. That goes doubly for players who don’t want their game to suddenly end due to the AI just researching a tech.

Now, as a practical matter, because these Mutating stat techs are incredibly expensive and are only available as a result of getting to the end of the culture tree, it means that those getting these techs have probably “won” the game anyway. But this feels a lot more organic and natural than a simple “You win” message because you got a tech.

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Galactic Civilizations IV: Supernova Dev Journals