View Full Version : Advice: Why NOT to Diversify Your Units

Apr 25, 2002, 03:42 PM
There is a strong sentiment in many people in the Creation forum for making tons of very specific modern units, with many different classes of fighters, bombers, tanks, destroyers, battleships, or almost any other modern unit you can think of. Their reasoning is based on the belief that each battlefield role needs to be filled by some unit. This is wrong, or at least impossible, for two reasons, one simple and one complex:

The simple one: The AI is not, and very likely never will be, capable of understanding and using such distinctions.

The complex one: Having more types of fighters, ships, and tanks wouldn't fit in with the game. Civ3's combat system is just too simple to really distinguish between such things, and while I think they need to add a cruiser unit, it would actually fill a strategic niche that is empty now. Generic units work far better. Really, the differences between all of the different modern tanks and ships and planes etc. are exaggerated or due to the fact that they're in use now, all the more so because the differences are irrelevant. I've rarely see people asking for warriors with clubs, warriors with axes, spearmen with bronze shields, spearmen with iron shields, horsemen with stirrups, horsemen without stirrups, catapults, and mangonels.

The reason for this is that each pair of units mentioned above fills the same strategic niche. Tactically, they may have great differences, but the differences are minor strategically, and Civ3 is a strategic game, so it cannot accurately reflect tactical and strategic reality at the same time. The first good game that successfully does that will be sort of like a theory that reconciles quantum mechanics and relativity.

The lesson from this? Be vague.

Apr 26, 2002, 04:35 PM
I agree with that for public mods, but not unit graphics. People often use unit graphics differently than intended for them.

I also think there are too many redundant WWII units.

May 28, 2002, 12:04 PM
Originally posted by hzm
I agree with that for public mods, but not unit graphics. People often use unit graphics differently than intended for them.

I also think there are too many redundant WWII units.

Most of the WW2 units are being made in anticipation for a decent scenario editor using which a real WW2 scenario could be made. All of these WW2 units will come in very useful then.

May 29, 2002, 08:24 AM
Many of the units available can be used as flavour units, rather than making trying to fill a different niche. The stats for these units are exactly the same as others that fill that niche, they just look different.

For example, the German WWII planes available have been set up in my game exactle the same as the generic fighter. It's just the different look that is cool.

As for monkeying with the settings of the unit to try to make it fill a different role... it's more likely to upset game balance.

May 29, 2002, 12:55 PM
I have no arguement about simple graphics-style changes, but many people try and suggest what stats to give it, etc., and that makes no sense.

If you are going to change the settings of the units, you have to more or less overhaul the entire system. I've done this on my copy of Civ3, but to fit my tastes; other people probably wouldn't like it. Also, the settings don't really affect the "role" in a such a way that you can tweak a stat a little bit and the computer will suddenly think "oh, I need to use this here, but this here...". The computer just generally uses a good distribution of unit types. Role is more of a psychological effect on the human player, who is the only one who can understand the subtleties.

May 29, 2002, 02:49 PM
but now that we can expect to have Multi-player mode available some of these niche units will come into play.

Sep 24, 2002, 11:31 AM
I use different graphics for different Civs...for example....I use an F-18 for the USA and give the Harrier Jumpjet to Britain, the MiG-29 to Russia and so on and so forth..but I give them the same combat value, I only want them to be flavour units, to provide some distiction between Civs, and not so much as advances in unit technology or quality.

Oct 18, 2002, 02:40 AM
Where's the MiG-29 unit?

Jan 12, 2003, 03:26 AM
The regular Jet Fighter that comes with the original (out of the box) Civ3, Zulu... If you look very closely it's modeled after the MiG-29...

On the original topic of the poster, I would agree that, trying to make same purpose units different by assigning different attributes (Attack, Defense, Bombing Strength, etc) is pointless.

But making them "look" different with the "same" attributes (In other words: Flavoring them) is harmless, and in fact, neat to do and play with.

I try to have one individual, equivalent "counterpart" unit for every Civ that plays in my Mods... so that each Civ has its own "unique" units accross the board... but they all hold the same attributes, so it's all varied but less complicated to implement.

Atleast, that's what I like to do...

Mar 19, 2003, 10:56 PM
well if AI could manipulate such a thing as to building variations of units to such a huge range it wouldn't be something we all want would we? AI smarter than humans... don't like that

Nov 14, 2003, 04:56 PM
sorry to say that but i'm not completly agree with you, because in some occasion, if you manage well the properties of each units, it could give a good occasion to make more interesting the game. for example, if you have first the common sttler and after a tech you choose you have a new settler that is quicker, that could be good, and there is many example like that.

sorry for my poor english

Jan 20, 2004, 11:37 PM
There is reason not to go too far, but a limited variety of additional units will get used. The key for the ai using them correctly is only having one strategy. I had a heavy infantry unit I really liked that carried a rocket launcher and had a bombard ability. The ai never quite took advantage of getting two units out of one and it game human players an advantage. I created a special forces unit with high attack and all terrain as roads and the first time I tested it the ai came very close to winning a war.

I agree that adding units with a special combination of strategies will confuse the ai, but it can definitely recognize and use a unit with multiple abilities that focus on one strategy, i.e. offense, defense, explore, or artillery.

Feb 24, 2004, 06:04 PM
I like specific units because now I can make Civ3 more realistic

Apr 28, 2004, 03:27 PM
i agree to an extent, and i have never tried it so i dont know about the AI, but the ideals of more differing units i think is good as it ads an extra aspect to game. i know people are often anti war stategy inthis but i get kinda bored of the stack of death way of waging war so different units could help to combat this. i.e. cavelry to pick off enemy offencive units, defensive to defend attacking, etc. etc.

May 03, 2004, 11:34 PM
The first post on this thread is making an assumption that modders haven't a clue how the AI is programmed. The civ3 ai is so simple that you can see how it thinks in only one game played. It builds one type of attack unit and one defense unit for ground as well as one of each class the best unit in its building queue: ship, bomber, fighter, and arty. Knowing this, we make one unit for each class available to the AI for each civ. Giving each civ a unique set of units radically improves gameplay and interest level. Technology allows upgrades but always, each civ has only one type of unit for each class to build so it acts just as Firaxis planned it to.

How we make it balanced? Easy. I make my mod historical. For example, one country make cheaper but slightly lower stat units while another the opposite. Many countries have same stats but different graphics. Also we can vary units with att/def/hp/moves stats as well as special perks for say commando units. Mixing up the stats in each category makes them different yet strong in some areas to balance effect. Then when we are fighting, we can see the effects of the different stats so the game is much more fun that the original civ3 where the stats and graphics are all identical and viciously limited. I wouldn't play unmodded civ even if threatened with WMD.

There you go.

Milan's Warrior
May 19, 2004, 09:26 AM
I express my personal taste against having the same unit look different (the so called flavors) or even the same city improvements look different. If you do that, than you have to memorize all sort of different looks to be an effective player.
Personally, I find there are far too many flavors already in the game

May 28, 2004, 07:15 PM
I personaly think that you should use many different units to just give realistic flavours. Even Civ does this to an extent with UU example the celts have a Gealic swordsman and the vikings have a berserk etc. :king: :crazyeye: :lol:

Nov 11, 2005, 03:23 PM
I think you should diversify in the sense of giving different graphics (and perhaps also slightly different stats for these units) for different civs / flavours.

This may not class as diversifying, but I think it would be ok to have a heavy/medium/light system like in RoN, so three types of any thing at any one time exluding special things.

Nov 21, 2005, 11:39 PM
Where the play for the stock game is concerned, the basic units and the standard civ specific units are adequate. Where things seem to go south is when mod/scenarios and (in C3C) conquests get whipped up. This is where civ 3 shows diversity. This allows those that have a bit of computer skill and become dissatisfied or bored with the stock ("vanilla") versions to change things around and come up with something more suited to their individual taste.

There is no right or wrong here because if the game were not made for modification the designers would not have provided the editor in the first place. The fact that graphics can be added allows the whole concept of the game to be used in a wide range of both tactical and strategic forms.

For those who are into strategy and the rules of the game as designed;stick to what you like. For those of you who wish to expand your C3 experience by using the editor to change things; keep those mods, units, scenarios, conquests and tutorials coming. As a person who is trying to learn the skills neccessary to throw in my own creative input, I truly appreciate your efforts and sharing of information.

PS- I did not vote in this poll because you left out "other". I feel that my answer falls into the "other" category. I also disagree with skywalker's assessment that Civ3 is a Stategic Game. Though the concept as introduced falls under that heading, this is not exclusive. Modifications and the use of the smaller maps can easily turn it to the tactical level. The Game System is sound for such use and WW2 is a great subject for proving this, especially Europe.

Instead of Paris, London or Berlin, think Bastogne, St. Mere Eglise and Malmedy. Instead of Tank and Infantry Divisions think Tank and Infantry Companies. Instead of the Germans, English, French and Americans, think Commanding Generals in charge of Armies that are broken down to the component units that just happen to look to a greater authority. Instead of Diplomacy, think front line negotiations. Instead of Hitler, Roosevelt and Chuchill as Leaderheads, think von Rundstedt, Eisenhower, Rommel, Montgomery, Bradley, De Gaulle and Patton.

Think stagnant towns with arrested growth and builds that are geared towards barracks, mine fields and general supply depots, allowing that these towns start with such things as churches, hotels, aqueducts etc. and that the time of the mod would not allow these buildings to be rebuilt if they are destroyed. Instead of allowing towns to build units, use the editor grid system to introduce a set number of units each turn along a "board edge" -the arrival of reinforcements that is only altered by the successful building of hard to get 'Wonders' such as 'Intelligence Breach' or 'Hitler comes to his senses and releases the Western reserves'. A good mod can easily accomplish all of these things and make wonderful use of everything from Fallschirmjagers and SS to Sherman Flail Tanks, British Churchills, 82nd Airborne and French Resistance. In the end, it all comes down to the skill of the Mod maker.

I should think myself gifted if I could be a part of such a creation, but alas!, my strength is in knowledge of history, not computers. The playability would be just as interesting as any stock version could offer. Note that I gave the WW2 example above just off the top of my head. The Napoleonic Scenario in C3C could be scaled down in much the same way to cover any of the Major battles. The same could be accomplished with any Historic, Sci-Fi, Fantasy or other situation that you can name.

If you have read this far, you are probably wondering what might serve as the biggest obstacle to actually creating these types of Mods. Well, I'll tell you in two simple words: Civ Four. Inside of a couple of years, Civ 3 will go the way of Civ 2. When Civ 5 comes out, as we all know it will, Civ 3 will get no more attention than Civ 1 gets today. Sadly, the life of even games as complicated as the Civ series has a tendency to be measured in timeparts of less than five years except in a few cases, Diablo 1 coming to mind as one of the few. Most of the others go the way of the flea market. Where are you now, Dragon Warrior IV? Where are you now...:cry::twitch: :(

May 30, 2006, 05:00 PM
Yeah, the idea of that the AI can understand the strategy, is impossible:p :lol: