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Stardock is about to send Galactic Civilizations III into open space on Thursday. The game leaves the dry dock of early access and begins its exploration of the post-release universe.

For those that do decide to conquer the galaxy this week, you’ll get something extra. Exclusive ship parts for the ship-builder mode are available for early adopters.

Additionally, Stardock shared information on two contests it ran during the development of Galactic Civilizations III. The company paid out $1,000 to “Tezmagorian,” who won the ship design contest and another $1,000 to “Psiyon,” who designed the Orphica Enclave race in the latest competition.

Both the winning ship and race have been incorporated into the game. Others races can be implemented through mods.

Our Take
I’m a big fan of creative partnerships between developers and the community. These contests are great for pre-release, and I hope that Stardock will continue to call out great community work  after release, too.

the author Mike Futter,