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Much of the content of GC3 is defined in editable XML files that can be changed or added to by user created mods. Mods are placed in the %USERPROFILE%\My Documents\My Games\GalCiv3\Mods folder for the base game, or in the %USERPROFILE%\My Documents\My Games\GC3Crusade\Mods folder for the Crusade and Intrigue expansions.

From Stardock[edit | edit source]

For official information from Stardock on modding see the ModdingReadme.txt file inside the Mods folder.

Custom faction tutorial forum post By Derek Paxton

Installing Mods[edit | edit source]

To install a Mod you need to copy the modified files into your Mods folder. Many mods come as .zip or .rar file and need to be extracted to this folder.

Enabling Mods[edit | edit source]


There are two ways:

  • In the game options, click on Gameplay and select Enable Mods. You have to restart the game after changing this option.
  • Within the Prefs.ini file located folder one up from Mods there is a line EnableMods=0, changing the value of this to "1" will enable mods.

Testing Mods[edit | edit source]

Best way to test the overall gameplay of a mod is by using console commands, which can be enabled by adding the cheat launch option. Then ingame use a command like 'soak' to have AI take over control of the race you previously controlled.

Debugging Mods[edit | edit source]

Sometimes the game may crash after you've made some changes and you have no idea what is at fault. You may check the debug.err file in the folder one up from Mods. Either look at the end of the file for the error or before crash information dump part.

If there is nothing unusual there, you can increase the output debug information by using these values for Debug* options within the Prefs.ini file:

The valid values are:
  • Default
  • DebugOnly
  • VerboseDebug
  • Spam
I hope that this helps, but it really depends on how much debug messages we've added to a various system. Also, FYI, the debug messages slow down the game, so a higher volume will cause your game to run slower, so make sure to set them back to default when you're done. You will probably want to set the Data, Inititalization, and Engine categories to Spam if your problem occurs during load.
- Stardock Programmer Cari

Creating Mods[edit | edit source]

First, you will need either an XML editor or a text editor.

At best you want an XML editor that is able to validate the XML for errors against an XML schema. Unlike GalCiv 2, for GalCiv 3 Stardock provides XML schema's, which allow you to see what changes are possible within the XML file. GalCiv 3 will crash if an XML is not valid, describing what does not validate with the XML schema.

There is an xml plugin for it that includes syntax check and validation (both can be done automatically too) here:
This IDE provides enough maneuverability around any type of project. Such as switching to the XML schema by copying the name from the second line of an XML file, pressing Ctrl+P, pasting it and picking from available options.
The following package can be used to have validation of both XML and XML against the schema that has a relative location, you will also need SublimeLinter and xmllint:

Simple gameplay modifications

1) In your Mods folder is a textfile called "ModdingReadme". It's short, read it.

2) Either copy the ExampleMod folder (it's empty, only has folders) and rename it, or create the necessary folders manually (ParticleScriptDefs, Text, Core and Game)

3) Copy/paste the .xml files you wish to modify to the appropriate folder of your mod. Edit values.

Example mod:

This tiny modification sets the number of turns between trades with an AI player to 5.

File: \data\Game\GalCiv3GlobalDefs.xml goes into the mods Game folder


  • <AITradeCooldown>5</AITradeCooldown>

How to add custom images for your factions[edit | edit source]

To use your own images you need to put them into your "\Factions" folder, which comes before the Mods folder. Images should be in png format. There are four subfolders for:

Leader Background[edit | edit source]

Folder name: LeaderBGs
Suggested Image Dimensions: 1920x1080 Pixels*

Leader Foreground[edit | edit source]

Folder name: LeaderFGs
Suggested Image Dimensions: 1920x1080 Pixels*

All of the image except that of the leader should be set to transparent, so that the background image will be seen when the leader is superimposed on it.

Leader Portrait[edit | edit source]

Folder name: Portraits
Suggested Image Dimensions: 128x128 Pixels*

[edit | edit source]

Folder name: Logos
Suggested Image Dimensions: 128x128 Pixels*

*(other sizes work but try to keep the aspect ratio)

How to add custom videos in your mod[edit | edit source]

It is not possible for modders to create Bink 2 videos. However, non-transparent** Bink 1 files can be renamed to ".bk2". Take note Bink 1 videos that include transparency in pixels may show visual glitches when played back within GalCiv 3. Make sure that Bink 1 are proper size as crashes have been reported.

GalCiv 3 uses Bink 2 video codec. Bink is developed by RAD Game Tools. Unlike Bink 1, which was used by GalCiv 2, RAD Game Tools don't offer a Bink 2 converter for non-commercial use. GalCiv's Bink 2 player is not entirely compatible with Bink 1 format. Stardock have said they will look for an alternative so that modders can create their own videos(GalCiv 3 developers talking about it on 12th December 2014 Livestream).

"I’m sorry, but unlike Bink 1, we do not make the Bink 2 compressor available for non-commercial use." - Operations at RAD Game Tools, Inc. (6 Dec. 2014)

Leader Small[edit | edit source]

Suggested Video Dimensions: 320x256 Pixels

Leader[edit | edit source]

Suggested Video Dimensions: 1920x1056 Pixels

Other full screen size videos use these same dimensions

Faction Links[edit | edit source]

User created factions are now plentiful and growing. This section attempts to provide links to a number of locations allowing downloads of player created factions. There are two sections, one for simple factions and one for mods. It is important to realize that factions created as mods allow more extensive changes, such as including ship design types, but are far more fragile with respect to updates to the GalCiv3 program itself, and so are much more likely to become "broken" after a patch or update. Thus, some testing may be necessary to assure these factions work properly. Also, it is important to remember that modded factions will not appear unless mods are activated the program options.

Of course any of the factions downloaded may be edited as wished by clicking on the faction picture in the Start Game area and then clicking "Edit" in the lower right corner of the faction picture. If you then click the save button you will have a new faction. Alternatively, you can "copy" the faction to leave the original faction unchanged and save the new modified faction separately, as you choose.

Installation Instructions:

If the faction is not a mod, one can simply copy (after decompressing the file) the appropriate faction pieces into the appropriate sub-directories of C:\Users\Your User Name\Documents\My Games\GalCiv3\Factions. The sub-directories may include entries for foregrounds, backgrounds, or portraits. Some novel factions only need to copy the actual faction file into the above faction directory, as the faction code includes all needed information.

If the faction is a mod, the faction must be placed into C:\Users\Your User Name\Documents\My Games\GalCiv3\mods; AND the "Use Mods" button must be clicked in the Game Options. Be careful to note whether the author of the faction indicates any special instructions for installation or perhaps for updating a modded faction.

General Link (parenthesis include author handle):

Seilore's faction thread is a great place to start picking up new factions:

List of 45 factions (various):

Several Mods(rKade8583):

United Earth Planets (BogdanUkr1984):

Eight Additional Mods(SmegInThePants ):

Iron Sky(RavenX):

Several Factions, including The Global Dominion, Sim Federation, Sixam, and NanoTrasen (James009D):

Faction (exNihil):

Twelve Custom Shipstyles (Warblefly41):

Ten Custom Factions (PierreLuc): Link:

Two Factions (RavenX):

GalCiv3 Companion Custom Content Forum (Bl4ckSh33p):

Federation Mod (TurielD):

Star Control 2 Mod: