New Galactic Civilizations 3 beta introduces the "Battle Viewer"

Galactic Civilizations III
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"Not only must justice be done," as the saying goes, "it must also be seen to be done." And it's the same with great battles in space: It's all well and good to have your Minister of War tell you that your interstellar conquest is proceeding apace, but sometimes the only way to properly scratch that Space Tyrant itch is to check in on things personally, and then watch them blow up.

That's where Galactic Civilization 3's new Battle Viewer comes into play: With it, you may now "see your fleets shoot lasers, launch missiles and blow each other up in glorious detail," from various camera angles, pausing, rewinding, and slowing or speeding the action in whatever way most tickles your fancy. A built-in battle log provides a blow-by-blow breakdown of what's happening on the screen, and developer Stardock says it plans to add even more explosions, weapons and defense effects, and sound effects in the future.

The new ideology system, meanwhile, replaces the old system of pyramids and adds a large number of new boosts and unlocks to Benevolent, Malevolent, and Pragmatic leaders, while "extreme planets" promise big advantages to players with the technology to colonize them. The new beta also enables Gigantic and Immense map sizes, and implements the usual array of fixes and balance tweaks.

Galactic Civilizations 3 is currently available as an Early Access release on Steam, and is expected to be ready for a full and proper launch sometime this spring.

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.