Galactic Civilizations II: Dread Lords First Look

Galactic Civilizations II: Dread Lords is the sequel to the popular Galactic Civilizations game. It will continue in the tradition of the original in that it will be a turn-based strategic game of galactic empire building, but there are a number of new features and enhancements in store that look to take Dread Lords to a level above and beyond that of the original game

Once of the first changes youíll notice is that you no longer have to play as a human faction. All of the alien races are available for play, and if none of the 10 races suit you youíll be able to create your own custom race from scratch. I canít wait to lead the Smurfs to galactic dominance!

It's a whole new universe out there.
The next change in store is to the map and planets. Galactic Civilizations (GC) had a sector based map with planets grouped into systems. In Dread Lords, the planets are actually part of the map. This means that youíll be able to take over planets individually and that different races can share a star system. Speaking of the planets, in Dread Lords they will each be uniquely generated each time you play. Each planet will fall into one of the thirty planet classes in the game, but the mineral content, usable land, and even the very look of each planet will be unique in every game. Furthermore, when you see the planet on the galactic map it will reflect the actual surface as seen on the planet screen.

Dread Lords will also overhaul the ship design screens. You will no longer be confined to adding a few components to a predefined ship class Ė youíll now be able to create own classes. And thatís only half of whatís cool about the new ship design feature. In Dread Lords youíll be given the power to change the look of your ship. Not only will you be able to endlessly tweak your ship designs and customize them to your liking, youíll be able to share ship designs with other players via the Internet.

There are other changes to ships in the game that go beyond design matters. Ships will be rated in several categories rather than simply given an attack and defense rating. There will be three attack classes, beam weapons, mass drivers, and missile weapons, and three defense classes, shields, armor, and point defense. For each weapon there is a corresponding counter-measure, so the trick will be to attack with ships with weapons for which the enemy ship defenses are weak while making sure that you have the right defensive countermeasures on your ships to protect your fleet.

Those of you who played GC know that it did not come with a campaign game. Dread Lords will ship with a full, non-linear campaign. By non-linear, I mean that you can lose a mission and not lose the campaign, rather the storyline will take a different branch. Not only does this make the campaign more dynamic, it also greatly enhances the campaignís replay value.

All of these new features will come wrapped in a nice new 3D graphics engine, adding support for camera zooming and multiple resolutions. So far, Dread Lords sounds like it will build on the excellent GC core with a nice new set of features that will both please series veterans and attract newcomers to the series.