PC Gamer's Magic Early Access 8-ball—or, in this case, Richard Cobbett—says the outlook for Galactic Civilizations III is good . Most promising is how, by dropping 32-bit support, the game can operate at a scale unreachable by its predecessor. An example of this was shown over the weekend, when Stardock designer Derek Paxton detailed a 100 faction game.
Paxton's game was running on a "super early version" of the upcoming 'Beta 2' build, and had been modded to introduce the requisite number of custom factions. "I am starting on a Large map," Paxton wrote. "Paul is adding some map sizes above large which will be fun too, but for now I'm going to use Large and enjoy having other players all around me."
As expected, things quickly become crowded. "Only 5 turns in and I already have neighbors on all sides," Paxton wrote. "Here we notice the first bug with running 100 players in one game, the ZoC code (that draws the borders around your empires) is having a problem dealing with that many players. Something we will check out. But the minimap correctly displayed all the owned territories I've seen so far."
The current Let's Play post only covers 66 turns—ending before Paxton had the range to investigate the rest of the galaxy. "I have still only met a fraction to the players in the game (there are entire empires rising and falling that I will probably never meet in this game) as my range limits will only allow me to explore this little corner. But there is certainly enough to do even within it."
Nevertheless, it's a promising look at what the full game can hopefully support. While a 100-player game might not be ideal in and of itself (just think of the turn-times), there's the possibility for advanced faction customisation and campaigns that support a massive numbers of opponents in a huge galaxy. If nothing else, it'll provide some interesting opportunities for 4X'ing.