(tl;dr: Link to the mod is near the bottom of the post )
One of the more persistent gripes regarding GC III from some players seems to be the terraforming system. Currently, there is an incentive to hold off upgrading tiles until the very last terraforming technology is unlocked so one will not accidentally improve a tile that could be used by the Ultra-Terraformer later on. Also, the Altarians do not ever get access to the Ultra-Terraformer and some players consider them to be at a disadvantage to the other factions late-mid game due to this.
Beyond that, some people just want to be able to create Super Planets with dozens of tiles on them.
Well if any of the above has been a concern for you, then this might just be the mod for you.
What this mod does is, eventually, allow for the upgrading of any and all tiles that the Resequencing Station (the best terraforming tile improvement in the base game) can improve. This means that it truly does not matter what order tiles are upgraded in since, eventually, any and all of the ones available to the Resequencing Station can theoretically be upgraded. This removes the guessing game/adjacency angst that accompanies the current improvement system. See a tile you'd like to improve and have the ability to improve it? Fire away, without any concern about "wastage".
There are a couple of catches, naturally.
Before I go into that, a caveat. THIS MOD IS NOT INTENDED TO BE GAME BALANCED. You WILL be able to create absurd planets with this mod that can crank out just about anything you can think of.
However, there are a couple of mitigating factors. First, the AI is more than willing to create "super planets" itself. This means that it will be able to get many Class 30+ planets to crank out death fleets against you, as well as researching techs as fast as it can.
Secondly, by having so many tiles on planets, it might actually be useful to make "mixed" planets, such as a production/research world or a research/wealth world. The costs of buildings means that, after a certain point, it really doesn't matter if one is cranking out 500mps a turn or "only" 300mps. Since more than a few factions are designed to have mixed worlds (say any faction whose improvements boost two different things equally), having more tiles to play with might them more viable. But this is just a guess, and one I haven't checked out.
To help slow down planet tile growth during the early game, a couple of brakes have been introduced.
The biggest, by far, is the fact that it takes the temporary use of strategic resources to upgrade tiles. The neat trick here is, a strategic resource can be used for an improvement, but once the improvement "goes away", the resource is put back into the pool of available resources. Well, an improvement that upgrades a tile is just that. The upshot of this is, a strategic resource is "tied up" in the upgrading of a tile, but released back to the player once it is done.
A nice side benefit, at least as far as I am concerned, is that this gives something else for the player to use strategic resources for in the early game. Perhaps it's just my playstyle, I often find my self with more strategic resources than I know what to do with. Well, I found that I had plenty use for them while testing this mod out.
Inspired by what Sorentoft did for his mod Terraform More, the other two brakes are cost and the amount of land it takes to upgrade a tile. The use of strategic resources is aready a pretty big break, however. As is the increased cost (well, except for the last repeatable terraforming improvement - that one costs slightly less). Because of this, the amount of land needed to upgrade a tile is not as restrictive as it is in his mod; opening up more tiles, sooner, than in the mod Terraform More.
Finally, and the main reason I made this mod, this mod is/should be version agnostic. Simply plop the folder generated by the zip file in the link below into your GC III mod folder, and everything should be fine. It should work with any and all other mods out there. Though I wouldn't suggest using it with other mods that modify the terraforming system, as the improvements available in the game might be somewhat redundant.
The six new improvements added by this mod all become available when the base terraforming improvment is unlocked by a faction. The six new improvements also use the exact same icon as the base improvement. Mostly because I did not feel like searching for compatible art or trying to figure out what to use in their place.
Pictures of the descriptions of the six new improvements:
Also, as said at the top of this post, I have added a technology to the Altarian Tech tree that allows them to get the final level of terraforming technologies.
Finally, the link to get the mod:
To install, click on the link above, unzip the file downloaded, and then put the unzipped folder into your GC III mod directory, along side whatever other mods one might have.
There is a README attached that goes over most of what is included above, as well as a few other comments and observations.
Also, as noted in the README, credit is given to both Deathwynd for inspiring me to make a mod that uses planetary improvements that are both game version and mod agnostic as well as Sorentoft for his idea of upping the LandPercentageMin as a way of slowing the growth of the class of planets.
UPDATE (9/15/15): Updated to allow factions based on the Yor Tech Tree to have access to Enhanced Soil Upgrader.
UPDATE (9/16/15): Corrected Link.
UPDATE (2/18/16): Updated to allow factions based on the Torian Tech Tree to have access to Enhanced Soil Upgrader.