CRUSADE DIARY 5: Spies & Saboteurs

Published on Wednesday, March 08, 2017 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv III Dev Journals


Spying on Aliens

Galactic Civilizations is a game that asks the question: What happens after we start colonizing other planets? For our purposes, we are going to assume that we will come into contact with alien civilizations.

Alien civilizations will have their own histories, cultures and ideals that we can only fathom.  In Galactic Civilizations III: Crusade, you will be able to train your citizens to learn more about these other civilizations and, if necessary, do very bad things to them.

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Born lucky

Published on Sunday, February 26, 2017 By Brad Wardell In Life, the Universe and Everything

I'm on my way to GDC.  I write this from first class on a 752-200 from Detroit Metro.  25 years ago I lived in poverty. How did I go from having nothing to being one of those 0.1%ers? The usual, hard work, self-discipline, delayed gratification. But there's another element that rarely gets talked about: Being born lucky.

I took a political test and one of the questions struck me, "Some people are born lucky." as a True or False statement.  I remember watching a video of Sargon, a popular political YouTuber, taking this test where he answers no to this question.  Let me assure you, some people are born lucky.  I would know. I was born lucky.

There is a tendency I've seen with "rich" people I know to believe their wealth is solely due to their virtue and wisdom.  But in my experience, being "born lucky" is a pre-requisite to success.  The problem with believing in ones own virtue and wisdom when it comes to success is that it is easy to lose empathy for the less fortunate. 

Besides being born in the United States I had an advantage that even those who were born rich didn't have.  I have almost super-natural good health.  I suspect if you were to study rich people, particularly those, like me, who were at one time living in poverty (by USA standards) you will find that unusually good health is something they have in common.

As tempting as it might be to ascribe my health to decisions I made, I know that not to be true.  I eat horribly. I don't require more than a few hours of sleep per night. I brush my teeth only when my wife complains my breath is killing the plants even as my dentist tells me "whatever you're doing, keep doing it, you have exceptionally good oral health" (I've never had a cavity and tell the dentist that flossing is his job).  I never had to blow my nose until after I had kids.   I didn't have a single sick day from K-12 except for chicken pox. 

My health isn't something I earned. It was something I was born with.  My mom is a mutant as well as I'm not sure I've ever seen her sick. Ever. As in, I'm not sure she's even had a cold.

My unearned health has allowed me to do things that others couldn't do.  So many times in my career a given opportunity was only possible because I could work every day for months at a time to get it done.  So much of my success can be attributed to my unusually good health. I don't get tired. I don't get sick. Year after year. Even now, my entire family at home is sick. I try to sympathize by pointing out I have a hang nail (advice to others: don't do that, I am not immune to my wife's beatings).

So next time you hear someone ascribe some sort of moral failure on the part of the poor, remember, some of our success really is based on being born lucky.

This week, amongst many meetings, I will be reporting what I find over at Also, I trimmed that hangnail.

Destiny's Embers: Part 1

Published on Tuesday, February 14, 2017 By Brad Wardell In Elemental Dev Journals



Years ago, Random House asked me to write a book around the Elemental universe.  As a first time author, I was assigned an editor, Dave Stern, who soon became a good friend of mine.

Over the course of writing the book, now sold on Amazon, Dave and I would go back and forth on the story along with Random House's requests to ensure that the book was commercially successful.  I will be the first to admit that my vision of the story may not have been as commercial viable as theirs.  After all, the editorial team assigned to me was the same team managing the Game of Thrones series who, fortunately for me, had a lot of extra time to spend with me due to a Dance with Dragons being late.

The end result, however, is that what is on store shelves is dramatically different from the original story I wrote.

Thus, for the first time, I will share with you the original draft of the book with you. 

I hope you enjoy it.

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The Merging is near

Published on Monday, February 13, 2017 By Brad Wardell In Ashes of the Singularity

If all goes according to plan, most, if not all, Ashes players will have Escalation in the next few days.

Why are we expanding the criteria?

Simply put: While people like Ashes of the Singularity, the overwhelming message is that the community needs to be merged together.

We originally planned to allow players to play MP against each other but as time has gone on, it has become increasingly apparent that this would have both technical and fairness issues (i.e. do Ashes players get strategic zoom in MP vs. Escalation players? How much work is it to let players of SCU 1 play the players of SCU 2?).

And even if we meet those challenges, what about multiples forums on Steam and GOG that split the community? What about modding?

Since we are in this for the long-run, the best way is to just merge all players bases together into a single player base with Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation for everyone and then we can create a "simpler" in-game game mode.

We will have more information soon on this.  I want to thank everyone for sharing their ideas and feedback on the various options that have been presented.  I realize that some people will be pleasantly surprised to see their suggestions actually utilized by a game company, but sometimes the best ideas come from without.


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