Prior to its March 2003 release, developer Stardock had promised that it would continue to provide meaningful updates to the game for an entire year after release. The game, which includes no CD copy protection whatsoever, strives to win gamers by delivering updates to players who bought the game.
“Rather than try to fight piracy by punishing legitimate customers with copy protection, we tried to encourage people to purchase the game by rewarding customers with a year’s worth of free updates based on their feedback,” said Brad Wardell, Project Manager of Galactic Civilizations at Stardock.
Additional updates after release meant something, especially given that the game, out of the box, won Editor’s Choice Awards from both Computer Gaming World and Computer Games Magazine. The game also recently won best Turn Based Strategy game from Gamespy and was a finalist for strategy game of the year from Computer Gaming World, Gamespot, and elsewhere. Computer Games Magazine rated Galactic Civilizations as one of the 10 best games released in 2003. The free updates Stardock has provided have built on the already strong game play of the original release.
During the first month of the game’s release, Stardock released a “BonusPak” for Galactic Civilizations players that added additional cut scenes, new technologies, new events and much more. Over the summer 2003, Stardock released several updates to the game that added new diplomatic options, increased the intelligence of the critically acclaimed computer AI, and more.
In Fall of 2003, Stardock released a free expansion pack for the game. The expansion pack added rally points, an integrated encyclopedia, new graphics for the stars, new abilities for interstellar governors, a game master mode (cheat mode), and a host of new technologies, events, ships, anomalies, and more.
The game has shipped over 100,000 copies worldwide making it one of the best selling strategy games of 2003. A person can purchase Galactic Civilizations at retail anywhere in the world and use their unique serial # to download the full latest/greatest version of the game – even if they don’t have the CD that came with the game. Even years from now, if the user has lost their CD, all they need is their serial # (and if they lost that, they can use Stardock’s automated serial lookup to email them their lost serial #) and can re-download the full game via Stardock’s Drengin.net game network free of charge.
Galactic Civilizations 1.2 fixes defects reported by users as well as adds new features such as Logistics, smarter diplomacy, Good/Evil technology handling in diplomacy, and more. Stardock also focused on the underlying graphics engine for v1.2 and as a result of performance improvements, Galactic Civilizations 1.2 has lower system requirements than the original release (it can now be played on a Pentium 2-400Mhz machine as the minimum hardware configuration). A full list of the features and enhancements and bug fixes to Galactic Civilizations can be found here: http://sdcentral.stardock.com/public/gc1/production/history.htm
Galactic Civilizations 1.2 is a free download from http://www.galciv.com/ It can be downloaded either as a stand-alone update or via Stardock Central, a program that allows users to obtain updates to all of Stardock’s games on the fly. Gamers can purchase Galactic Civilizations either at their local retailer or from Stardock directly at http://www.galciv.com/purchase.asp.
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