A million years ago in the 1990s when I was designing the OS/2 versions of Galactic Civilizations I gave the player sliders to adjust what they were spending their resources on. This system lasted right on through Galactic Civilizations II for Windows.
GalCiv I for Windows
GalCiv II for Windows
GalCiv III v1.0 for Windows
While highly useful for min-maxing a relatively simple economic system, it suffered from being pretty opaque in how it worked and was pretty terrible for immersion. It also substantially limited how differentiated we could make the different alien species.
With GalCiv III: Crusade we introduced the leader system that let players put their leaders into various categories to boost them.
GalCiv III: Crusade
This was a much better setup than what we had had before. Much easier to understand. However, once again, every race was identical and it was a little cumbersome. Moreover, it didn’t really lend itself to different play styles.
Game designers frequently claim that their game allows for both tall and wide strategies but in my experience, that really isn’t true unless you give players the tools to build a civilization that allows them to play tall (or wide) but that strategy also precludes the opposite strategy from being employed simultaneously.
This is where internal factions come in: These are civilization specific groups that typically provide some strength and some weakness based the attributes of the leader you are putting in and how much favor you have with that faction already which itself is heavily determined by the ideological strategy you’re playing as. That’s a lot to take in so let me give you an example:
You can’t play as Space Commies and then simply turn on a dime and benefit from the Space Capitalists Guild (or vice versa).
Internal Factions in action
Let’s try out some civilizations and look at how all these new systems work together.
The Pre-Beta list of Civs
A recap of people and their smells, desires and benefits
The first thing to remember is that in Galactic Civilizations IV, every citizen has their own set of stats. Here is an example of a human citizen who has made leadership their career.
Now, besides the fact that every character (or most characters anyway) have a backstory based quest event that can potentially come up, they also have 4 stats plus how loyal they are to your civilization.
The 4 stats, intelligence, social skills, diligence and resolve come in handy depending on what you’re trying to do. And many of these people have other traits like genius or criminal or timid (our Australian alpha testers may note the irony of shipping off their criminals on colony ships to live on some god forsaken desert world for instance).
These stats interact with internal factions and their bonuses along with the civilizations’ overall ideology.
A recap of the ideology of a civilization
In the original GalCiv, there were 3 ideologies: Good, Neutral and Evil. So sue me, I was 20 years old in 1991 when I was less…sophisticated. In GalCiv IV, we have 7 different ideology categories each with its own ying and yang. So for instance, Tradition vs. Innovation. Secrecy vs. Transparency. Equality vs. Opportunity.
On Earth, there are big cultural differences here as well. Shame vs. Face. Harmony vs. Diversity, etc.
In GalCiv IV, the player gains awareness of different philosophies (in the same way that we gain awareness of different ways of thinking) and then can gain culture points to actually embrace a given ideological trait. I.e. I know of eating babies but I have not embraced that it’s a good thing to eat babies. Awareness vs. adoption.
The net result is that your adoption of these various cultural traits will slowly build a profile on what kind of people you are.
The traits of the Terran Alliance at the start of the game.
Quick summary so far
Your civilization is made up of people. These people are good (and bad) at different things. Your civilization has an overall cultural ideology that you develop through the course of playing the game and making various decisions. Each civilization has 4 internal factions which give your civilization bonuses (and penalties) based on the people you assign to them as well as their favor towards you which is based on how well your cultural ideology matches theirs.
Example 1: The Terran Alliance
So let’s return to Ivan. We are ready to put him to work at one of these Internal Factions. Each time we assign one of our people to an internal faction our favor with them goes up by 1 and the higher their favor, the more bonuses we get from them.
The Terran Alliance’s native species are humans. You can design your own civilization (soon) and pick the 4 factions you want yourself. But the 4 that the Terran Alliance have are:
Warforged, Natural League, The Science Team, the Media Alliance
Warforged helps build up your manufacturing base so you can get ships out there. They are, however, a little shady so the more people you add, the higher your crime rate will go up.
Warforged: +5% manufacturing but +1% to crime
Now this isn’t a case where they’re “balanced” (i.e. a full trade off). A tiny increase in crime is worth it. But you add more and more and eventually you’ll have to do something:
The benefit of the Warforged faction is based on your leader’s resolve. So if that person’s resolve is low, don’t put him or her in there. Ivan is pretty good.
But Tali is not.
Instead, we should put Tali in the Media Alliance because she has an 8 social score.
And look at how much she provides. A 24% boost to influence. The second number is the hit to your diplomacy ability which, as you can see, is very low here. Besides Tali having good social skills, the Media Alliance have a high favor towards you already.
The Media Alliance favor was already 4 without Tali because the Terran Alliance is strong on liberty and innovation. The Media Alliance also likes transparency (as opposed to secrecy).
If I put all 3 of my recruited leaders here I get this:
And what does that translate to?
My planets get a 35% boost to their influence generation which is pretty good.
Which means my sphere of influence will grow faster and make it easier to culturally conquer other civilizations.
Of course, there is a catch: There are diminishing returns for how much impact each leader has. Adding 100 leaders to a given faction won’t give you 100 times the benefit. It’ll be a lot less at that point. But it will still add up and acts as a great sink to put additional leaders later in the game to help shape your civilization.
Example 2: The Drengin Empire
The Drengin Empire have their own internal factions to deal with.
The Drengin have a Slaver’s Guild, a Superiority League and their own Natural and War Forged groups. Slavers not only increase manufacturing but also reduce maintenance on planets. The Superiority League increases research at the cost of growth.
Example 3: The Corporate Sector
The Iridium species (sometimes called the Iridium Corporation) play quite differently from other civilizations. They essentially play to buy off everyone and everything.
The Corporate Sector seeks victory based on the free market and capitalism and just getting better prices.
None of their factions care about research or manufacturing. The Free Market Society adds pure money into the system based on giving them a free hand to do whatever it is they do that is most definitely none of our business. The cost is that it makes people a little bit unhappy. The second is the Banking clan.
They underwrite all the loans in the galaxy which makes the player very rich but lowers their relations a tad with everyone. Now, let’s say we put everyone in the free market faction.
That’s +57 credits per turn, per core world. Absolutely insane.
However, not everything is happy in free market land. The people are slightly unhappy and you don’t have a way to increase manufacturing or research.
Look how imbalanced it is.
But the Corporate Sector, unlike everyone else, can easily afford to have super low taxes which makes people a lot happier which increases production. Thus, you can play with low taxes, but still making lots of money without quite as terrible research and manufacturing. And money can buy a lot of things in this universe.
The goal here is to allow players to play the game in lots of different and interesting ways while helping each civilization be more distinct.
Galactic Civilizations IV Dev Journals