the reason i've reacted the way i have is that your OP and subsequent responses, while articulate and rationalized, seem pointless. the fact is they have developed a 3D engine and they haven't developed multiplayer.
And this fact means what? that people want 3D but don't want multiplayer? fine, I can't argue with that. People do want their games to be in 3D, but I also think they must not forget that it means it comes at the expense of something else. Namely, a better gameplay experience.
Nevertheless, I wouldn't mind having a good 3D engine, only if it is implemented properly into the game. Again, see Civ4 for a good example. In galciv2, however, it simply doesn't. The 3D interface feels awkward, it's hard to navigate around the map, and it's also too uninformative and clumsy - just one example: in order to see a planet's class rate you'd have to hover over it with your mouse... why? In the tactical view you get that information straight ahead by just looking at the planet's icon.
Besides, I highly doubt Stardock has ever conducted a poll in this regard ("What would you prefer - an attractive 3D engine or a deeper gameplay?"). This is also why we're having this discussion.
you say you're here for a richer gameplay experience, but you also pretty clearly imply that GC2 hasn't offered that experience to you: you've contradicted yourself, essentially saying that you're here for something you can't get here.
Where did I imply that? I think galciv offers a very good gameplay experience. Of course, it has its flaws, but I do enjoy playing it, otherwise I wouldn't have been here.
In simple words, what I was trying to say is that I would undoubtly prefer a richer gameplay experience over a 3D engine, especially if it's flawed like in galciv2.
unfortunately there's an important mistake in your logic. you assume the members of stardock who develop the game code are the same as the ones who developed the 3D engine. i know this at least isn't entirely true. i do not know who specifically build the 3D engine, but i know a few things that destabilize your argument. brad was the main force behind the AI, Cari and Code Critter were two of the main forces behind the gameplay coding and UI, and the art department is a separate group of people. furthermore, this 3D engine isn't being used solely for GalCiv2; AFAIK they're also using it for other games (or at least had planned to if they haven't yet).. the 3D engine was a company resource, not someting done specifically for GC2.
No, I didn't assume that, since it doesn't really matter who developed
the engine, but rather if it was developed.
Every project has its own budjet. The fact that Brad didn't code the engine by himself doesn't mean he didn't pay for the ones who did. Nowadays, 3D engines take most of the resources of any video game development project. Obviously, you could direct the same resources somewhere else. Simple logic.