If you were put off by the absurd price of the Galactic Civilizations 3 alpha, then you might be interested in the lower-priced beta.

Now that the much-anticipated 4X sequel Galactic Civilizations 3 is out of alpha, Stardock aren’t quite so squeamish about having you play it. The alpha was something you had to buy into at around £75, simply because they felt it wasn’t ready for most players and they wanted people who were actually likely to care and give feedback, but now that it’s in beta you can pick it up for the relatively cheap price of £26.99 (regularly priced at £29.99, but it’s got a 10% discount on).

The move to beta does appear to mark the addition of quite a lot of stuff. Each race now has its own individual tech tree, for one thing. Huge ships are now in, new map features (including new resources and black holes) are in, lots of new art has been added and everything looks nicer, there are now difficulty levels, and – my personal favourite – “The AI knows how to upgrade ships.”

The full patch notes are below. If you fancy buying in then you can do so on Steam over here, but be aware that you need a 64-bit version of Windows or it simply won’t work.

New Features

  • Updated ideology system adds lots of new ideologies with unique benefits
  • New Terran tech tree, for balanced gameplay
  • New Altarian tech tree, for better access to mysticism, defense and influence
  • New Drengin tech tree, for when you just want to kill something
  • New Iridium tech tree, for earlier access to economic and production abilities
  • Added shipyard construction queue
  • Added black holes. Black holes are impassable but the only source of antimatter
  • Added the approval system. Now your people judge how you are doing, which affects their productivity and growth
  • Added terraforming, to optimize your worlds and open up new areas to build improvements and give adjacency bonuses
  • Added improvement upgrading
  • Planet generation finalized: Planet traits finalized, planet features finalized, planet light map is now working with population
  • Ships can now be upgraded
  • Added huge ships to give players more weapons in the late game
  • Added 30 more colonization events
  • Added the antimatter resource. This is needed for some of the advanced missile and point defense augments
  • Elerium resource can now be harvested. Elerium is used for advanced beam weapons and shield augments
  • Durantium resource can now be harvested. Durantium is used for advanced kinetic weapons and armor


  • Complete rebalance
  • Map generation pass: Better randomization, more clumping, and players start further from each other


  • Tons of new art (starbases, icons, lighting and ships all look much better)
  • Rendering system finalized
  • Lighting finalized
  • Added a new starbase screen
  • Added the ship and fleet detail screens
  • Updated planet screen
  • Added lots of tooltips (even more will be coming)
  • Added the faction power list so you can see how well you are doing compared to other players
  • Added a “Research Unlocked” popup screen that displays the results of the tech you gained, and what it does


  • The AI knows how to upgrade ships
  • Added difficulty levels (Beginner, Normal, Heroic, Genius, and Godlike)
Tim McDonald
Tim has been playing PC games for longer than he's willing to admit. He's written for a number of publications, but has been with PC Invasion - in all its various incarnations - for over a decade. When not writing about games, Tim can occasionally be found speedrunning terrible ones, making people angry in Dota 2, or playing something obscure and random. He's also weirdly proud of his status as (probably) the Isle of Man's only professional games journalist.

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