Galactic Civilizations IV: Supernova Galactic Civilizations IV: Supernova Galactic Civilizations IV

GalCiv IV: Supernova Dev Journal #55 - Ship Classes

Published on Tuesday, April 23, 2024 By BATTLEMODE In GalCiv IV Dev Journals

Excluding more abstract notions of war (such as dominating the economy, culture flipping planets with Influence and so on), when the protagonists of Galactic Civilizations IV: Supernova engage in kinetic warfare, there are two main theatres: planetary invasions and fleet battles, the latter of which we’re going to cover today by examining how we now approach ship design.


The core of the new and improved fleet combat mechanics, added in v2.5, is the introduction of the Ship Class, replacing the older system of thinking of military ships purely in terms of a hull size with a fancy navy name attached to it.

Understanding Ship Classes are key to understanding how a player can influence the outcome of a fleet action beyond just bringing bigger, more technologically advanced fleets than your enemy does.

We’ve discussed what Ship Classes are in last weeks developer journal, but here’s a quick recap: a Ship Class is a Ship Type plus a Doctrine, and a Doctrine is an Operational Ability plus a Targeting Priority.

Let’s say we’re facing an opponent who’s fielding some very dangerous, and numerous, small hull ships like Frigates and Corvettes, and we want something that’s suited to destroying them efficiently.

We could make a Ship Class called the Deathmaster, constituting the medium hull size Ship Type known as a Cruiser, granting a +10 Weapons Range, and then adding a Doctrine to that.


Here, the Operational Ability is Hunter, for a +25% attack and +25% Accuracy against small hull ships, Frigates and Corvettes specifically. To capitalise on this, the Targeting Priority is set to Frontline Combatants and will target Frigates and Corvettes first.


Now onto the ship designer to add some ship components.

Our rather evil-looking Deathmaster Cruiser is kitted out with enough Beam weapons that it can rapidly bypass any targeted ships' shields and armour. It’s shielded itself, and then we’ve added a couple of components that increase its threat against ships fielding high Evasion (whether through Doctrine or component).


First up is the Warlords expansion exclusive Ion Cannon to strip Evasion away from targets.


Next is a Targeting Computer to further increase Accuracy, because our enemy seems to be using Evasion increasing Doctrines like Ghost.

The Deathmaster is now kitted out to aggressively target enemy small ships boasting high Evasion scores in an efficient way.

However, the Deathmaster itself is rather vulnerable to anything that is kitted out to rapidly deplete shielded ships. Our enemy is also fielding a small number of rather powerful, rapid firing Battleships that seem to be set to target Cruisers and Destroyers first. Our Deathmaster is going to be an easy target for these, but we’ve identified that the threat from those Frigates and Corvettes is too high to ignore.

Let’s design a new Ship Class to cover for the Deathmaster and draw the fire of those deadly Battleships.

We’ll pick a Destroyer this time (although another Cruiser would work just as well), remembering that this new medium hull Ship Type is another addition from the Warlords expansion. Since the enemy Battleships field shorter ranged, less accurate but rapid firing Kinetic Attack weapons, deadly for our shielded Deathmaster, we’re going to want to build something that is better suited to dodging or absorbing that particular flavour of punishment.


Here’s the Kingslayer, a Destroyer with a Doctrine designed to complement our Deathmaster’s role of hunting Frigates by directly taking on the enemy Battleships guarding them. Killing them won’t be easy but the intention here is to have a fairly dangerous ship that will rush into range of the Battleship early and draw its fire away from our slower moving Deathmasters, allowing those to complete their mission.

The Kingslayer will need to be fielded in small groups of two or three if they’re to have much hope of surviving an encounter with a Battleship and still be in one piece afterwards.

Let’s pick some components that help this Ship Class perform this supporting role properly.


Despite my silly name, the Kingslayer is more of a tank: we’ve put a massive amount of armour on this thing, some extra hull points, plenty of shielding and some fancy Kinetic weapon protection courtesy of the E-Web component.


It’s got enough firepower to do some damage but it probably won’t be enough to be able to take on a Battleship even in pairs. But our strategy is to rush in, draw as much fire from the Battleships as possible while the Deathmasters in our fleet destroy those large numbers of deadly Frigates, and chip away at the Battleships' defences until the rest of the fleet is freed up from their own targeting priorities to turn on the Battleships and help bring them down.

Remember, the Battleships were themselves custom designed to take out our Cruisers, and are equipped to kill that specific Ship Class. We’ve now designed a support Ship Class to counter it, and directly assist the others in the fleet.

I hope this demonstrates some of the thought process that goes into designing Ship Classes and their composition within a fleet.

Remember, you can build general purpose Classes, and those that are custom-made to take out specific Classes or roles they encounter in the enemy’s formations too. This kind of gameplay is a lot of fun, and it can be critical if you’re facing overwhelming numbers: smaller well designed fleets with complementary Ship Classes, each with their own dedicated mission within combat, will be able to take down less well specialised fleets that rely purely on numbers.

That’s all for this time! Let us know what you think about the Ship Class system in the comments section below.




Galactic Civilizations IV: Supernova Dev Journals