View Full Version : Does anyone use windmills?


Daverd
Jul 17, 2009, 09:23 AM
Does anyone use windmills? They seem very unbalanced to me. In order to make them at all worthwhile, you need a last-level dead-end tech (Machinery), and even then they don't quite keep up with mines or farms, which become more useful a lot earlier in the game (with things like Arete, Blasting Powder, Agrarianism, and Sanitation).

I was thinking, a tweak that might help balance windmills a little and also add flavor to the game would be to give them +1 :commerce: for every Air Mana you have. Or if that's too powerful (which I don't think it is), maybe just +1 :commerce: for having any Air Mana at all. After all, mines have synergy with Earth Mana, so it makes sense that Windmills should have synergy with Air Mana, and in my opinion windmills need the boost.

Taalen
Jul 17, 2009, 09:26 AM
Well, :commerce: for each wind mana would definitely be way overpowered. I agree they could use a little something, though. Personally I practically never use them

Worm4life
Jul 17, 2009, 09:29 AM
They do need a boost for the reason you stated. There's just no use for them. If you need food, farms provide plenty. Hammers: mines. Commerce: cottage. Windmills come too late and provide too weak a bonus for a watered down hybrid approach when any of the other specializations work a lot better.

+1 commerce per air mana might be too strong though.

Daverd
Jul 17, 2009, 09:39 AM
I could go either way on the specifics of the boost, but my main argument is that windmills are very underpowered and I never find myself wanting to use them. And there's a great chance here for adding flavor to the game.

EDIT:
Additionally, there are plenty of other powerful strategies that involve exploiting a mechanic of the game. Windmills are a notable exception in that they stay about as useful as they were in Civ4 and, again, require a last-level dead-end tech to just put them on par with other improvements, ignoring that the other improvements have specific strategies associated with them that make them far better than windmills.

It seems like the whole point of the mod so far is to provide exploitable mechanics. You could look at any particular path/strategy, such as aristocracy/agrarianism, or elven/ancient forests/guardian of nature, and say that it's overpowered. I think the fact that windmills *lack* such a strategy is the reason they don't get used. Quite frankly, if you get 3 air mana and rush machinery just so you can get a couple extra commerce out of your tiles, then I say more power to you.

Honor
Jul 17, 2009, 10:01 AM
I use them when playing the Sidar, for the extra food.

mmmrrrr
Jul 17, 2009, 10:01 AM
I use windmills when I have to build a city without any grasslands or plains in city radius for strategical (resource or land grabbing) reasons and I want it to contribute a little bit besides just being there (no harm in building them really, right?). But I never have a specific strategy revolve around them.

travathian
Jul 17, 2009, 10:14 AM
Well, :commerce: for each wind mana would definitely be way overpowered. I agree they could use a little something, though. Personally I practically never use them

Given they require a hill and a late game tech, and a source of mana that not every civ will want/use, I don't agree. By this stage in the game a grassland farm provides how much food? And a mined plains hill provides how many hammers? They are all but worthless as is, and even this tweak would still limit their usefulness, but provide an avenue for someone to take if they so chose. Sure you could switch all your mana nodes to air and replace all your mines will windmills, but that is gonna take a helluva lot of worker turns before it pays off.

Daverd
Jul 17, 2009, 10:28 AM
Even just switching all your mana nodes to air would take a lot of planning. You can't switch the type of a node without the level 2 metamagic spell, and metamagic is the hardest type of mana to get. So, to make it work, there's the opportunity cost of sitting on all air mana in the early game when it isn't doing you any good, or waiting for the metamagic tech so you can switch mana types later on.

Given they require a hill and a late game tech, and a source of mana that not every civ will want/use, I don't agree. By this stage in the game a grassland farm provides how much food? And a mined plains hill provides how many hammers? They are all but worthless as is, and even this tweak would still limit their usefulness, but provide an avenue for someone to take if they so chose. Sure you could switch all your mana nodes to air and replace all your mines will windmills, but that is gonna take a helluva lot of worker turns before it pays off.

[to_xp]Gekko
Jul 17, 2009, 10:52 AM
they're good. mines give +2H , windmills give +1F+1H+1C . and food is often more useful than hammers. blasting powder and machinery are both endgame dead-end techs, and with those you end up with mines +3H and windmills +1F+2H+2C . which means that windmills are better. even if running arete, they are basically on the same powerlevel, since 2C has pretty much the same value as 1H. mines are not as good as you think. until you get blasting powder for example, lumbermills are better on a forested hill, you get the same hammers AND the health.

kumquatelvis
Jul 17, 2009, 10:55 AM
I rarely use them because it requires removing the mine or cottage that's already on the hill. Perhaps if you got them sooner, when you were still trying to decide what to build?

Worm4life
Jul 17, 2009, 11:05 AM
Gekko;8273008']they're good. mines give +2H , windmills give +1F+1H+1C . and food is often more useful than hammers. blasting powder and machinery are both endgame dead-end techs, and with those you end up with mines +3H and windmills +1F+2H+2C . which means that windmills are better. even if running arete, they are basically on the same powerlevel, since 2C has pretty much the same value as 1H. mines are not as good as you think. until you get blasting powder for example, lumbermills are better on a forested hill, you get the same hammers AND the health.

Mines are specialized, that is what makes them better than windmills. If you're making that city an industrial center then mines give you more hammers. Otherwise just stick a cottage on that hill. That cottage will be a town by the time you get machinery. Would you really want to tear down a town for it?

It all really just boils down to them (and the tech that makes them useful) coming way too late in the game. At that point every worked hill tile should have either a mine or town on it. Who would go out of their way to research machinery so they can tear down all their mines/towns and put up windmills? You're not going to have many (if any) new cities to develop from scratch at that point, and would you go through the trouble just to put some windmills on those?

Daverd
Jul 17, 2009, 11:15 AM
Arete is an early game tech, and Machinery is most defniitely an end-game tech. Blasting Powder, while also an end-game tech, is something you will generally always want even if you aren't using mines exclusively or using an Arete strategy. Machinery on the other hand is not quite as clearly desirable.

The point also remains that by the time you get Machinery, which is a questionable tech in the first place, all of your hills will likely have non-windmill improvements on them, and you will have to spend a lot of worker-turns replacing them and retooling your cities to be able to make use of them. In a game where city specialization is so important, that does not come for free. It's a lot of work for 2:commerce:, which is probably not terribly important if you're late enough into the game that you have Machinery.

Also, in the event that the hills had lumbermills, you will need to tear down the forests anyway to put up windmills. Your point about lumbermills vs. mines stands, but I don't think it applies to windmills.

Also, logic and theory aside, do you find yourself actually using windmills? I agree that they seem decent on paper, but it never works out in-game that I ever want to actually build any.

Gekko;8273008']they're good. mines give +2H , windmills give +1F+1H+1C . and food is often more useful than hammers. blasting powder and machinery are both endgame dead-end techs, and with those you end up with mines +3H and windmills +1F+2H+2C . which means that windmills are better. even if running arete, they are basically on the same powerlevel, since 2C has pretty much the same value as 1H. mines are not as good as you think. until you get blasting powder for example, lumbermills are better on a forested hill, you get the same hammers AND the health.

Emptiness
Jul 17, 2009, 12:26 PM
Machinery, which is a questionable tech in the first place,Questionable? I consider any tech that gives a free Great Person a priority. If I don't need the Great Person then I'm still denying it to my opponents by researching the tech first.

Some civs don't have access to arquebusiers, and so for them Blasting Powder isn't as useful an investment. For those civs Machinery might be a better choice, and replacing mines with windmills might be worthwhile. Arete is a nice civic, but most civs are probably not going to be using it, so considering it's +1 :hammers:/mine as part of an analysis of the worth of windmills isn't very objective. A good improvement strategy used for the Khazad running Arete probably won't be as good for the Ljosalfar running Guardian of Nature, but that doesn't mean that the bonuses on specific tile improvements are unbalanced.

all of your hills will likely have non-windmill improvements on them, and you will have to spend a lot of worker-turns replacing them and retooling your cities to be able to make use of them. In a game where city specialization is so important, that does not come for free. It's a lot of work for 2:commerce:, which is probably not terribly important if you're late enough into the game that you have Machinery.:commerce: -> :gold: -> larger army, unit upgrades
I consider the ability to support a large, fully upgraded army to be important.

Windmills are not a specialized improvement, since they provide distributed bonuses. If you always specialize your cities then specialized improvements will naturally be a better choice. They are useful with a more generalized improvement strategy, which is favorable when you are running a 50% :science: / 50% :gold: economy.

[to_xp]Gekko
Jul 17, 2009, 12:37 PM
yeah, in the endgame I often switch most of my mines to windmills unless I'm using Arete. it's not like my workers have something better to do at that point of the game anyway, plus the additional food comes in handy when at huge populations growth gets slower and slower.

Daverd
Jul 17, 2009, 12:46 PM
Questionable? I consider any tech that gives a free Great Person a priority. If I don't need the Great Person then I'm still denying it to my opponents by researching the tech first.

:commerce: -> :gold: -> larger army, unit upgrades
I consider the ability to support a large, fully upgraded army to be important.

:hammers: also -> larger army, and the conversion rate from hammers into units is a lot better than from money into units. And why not just support your army and upgrades with the 10,000+ gold that you are giving up in order to put the research points into Machinery, and get +10 :) from a gambling house while you do it? How many turns would it take to recover the cost of Machinery from the extra commerce from windmills? Assuming you build 25 windmills, which seems reasonably large to me, and each one is giving you an extra 2:commerce: over an alternative improvement, then 10000 / (2*25) = 200 turns for you to recover the cost of researching the tech. This does not include the time spent actually getting the windmills built, or the cost/upkeep paid on the workers doing it, etc. The free Great Engineer would help you recover only a small portion. Crossbowmen are decent, but if we're talking about huge late game armies, 4 extra units is not much of an impact.

So yes, I would say that Machinery is a questionable tech.

Arete is a nice civic, but most civs are probably not going to be using it, so considering it's +1 :hammers:/mine as part of an analysis of the worth of windmills isn't very objective.

I haven't been doing that. If you do consider the Arete bonus, then mines are equivalent to windmills (assuming 1:hammers: = 2:commerce:, which Gekko said earlier), and then the cost of researching Machinery has absolutely no payoff and is a waste of time and commerce. No, I've been officially looking at the numbers as though the Arete bonus is not there, but I have also been recognizing that its strategy is available far, far earlier than Machinery's. By the same token, not every player uses Air Mana, either, and making windmills a little more dependent on the player's strategy would make them more interesting to the game. Nobody seems to be arguing that Earth Mana makes mines too powerful.

Dumanios
Jul 17, 2009, 12:49 PM
In my Khazad/Luchu starts,I usually end up half Mines/Windmills.

Emptiness
Jul 17, 2009, 01:13 PM
:hammers: also -> larger army, and the conversion rate from hammers into units is a lot better than from money into units. And why not just support your army and upgrades with the 10,000+ gold that you are giving up in order to put the research points into Machinery, and get +10 :) from a gambling house while you do it?There's a limit to how many :hammers:s will translate into more units. Additional :hammers:s are less useful than more :commerce: once you reach the point that a city is making one unit per turn. If a city is making a unit every other turn then extra :hammers:s will eventually build up to kick out a unit in a single turn, but the commerce might still be a better investment (depending on how much need for additional units you are currently experiencing).

You make a good point about the :gold: cost of researching Machinery, but the same could be said about other techs as well. For example, if all one does is build Mines and Farms and drown one's foes in waves of melee units then there are a lot of techs that can be skipped, including the entire Divine and Arcane research trees. That fact does not mean that the Divine and Arcane paths are underpowered.

Daverd
Jul 17, 2009, 01:51 PM
There's a limit to how many :hammers:s will translate into more units. Additional :hammers:s are less useful than more :commerce: once you reach the point that a city is making one unit per turn. If a city is making a unit every other turn then extra :hammers:s will eventually build up to kick out a unit in a single turn, but the commerce might still be a better investment (depending on how much need for additional units you are currently experiencing).

That's true only if any of the :hammers:s that carry over get thrown away, otherwise every single :hammers: is being put into a unit cost at some point or another. The waste occurs only if a a city is producing one unit every turn and still has :hammers:s to spare. Hopefully you are building the most expensive unit available. If you are doing that and still wasting :hammers:s, then I could see turning some mines into windmills. But I think that's probably pretty rare, and that situation shouldn't be the reason that windmills go untweaked.

I was expecting the response to be more universal that people don't use windmills, but apparently that's not the case. I still think they're underpowered, but I'll accept that people use them, even if I think it's not worth it myself. At any rate, I've made my case for windmills having an opportunity to be both more interesting in terms of player strategy as well as game flavor. It's ultimately up to the makers of the game, if they read through all this.

[to_xp]Gekko
Jul 17, 2009, 02:03 PM
maybe you don't remember how incredibly useless them, lumbermills and watermills ( which sadly got the axe ) used to be before they got changed in 0.40 patch R or something. they're a hell of a lot better now, I tell you :D

Daverd
Jul 17, 2009, 02:15 PM
Gekko;8273660']maybe you don't remember how incredibly useless them, lumbermills and watermills ( which sadly got the axe ) used to be before they got changed in 0.40 patch R or something. they're a hell of a lot better now, I tell you :D

Yeah I just started playing in the past couple months. It did seem weird that watermills were missing from the game. They could have had affinity for water mana. :(

[to_xp]Gekko
Jul 17, 2009, 02:23 PM
that would be too powerful, the mines' affinity for earth is balanced because it's not a yield increase but a small chance of a bonus. having stackable empire-wide yield increases would lead to crazy economies. but I do agree it sucks to no longer have watermills, they are still in FF and I'm pretty sure they are in Orbis, more choice in the tile improvements department is always welcome. cottage farm mine only gets boring after a while. the attention to economy is one of the strongest points of FFH compared to other great fantasy-based TBS games like Age of Wonders 2 ( loved that game, but too much focus on individual unit, shallow city development and tactical battles getting boring after a while take it down a notch or two. the magic system was definitely awesome though )

readercolin
Jul 17, 2009, 07:40 PM
the only time I ever used windmills was playing as the jotnar, but they get a bonus of like 1 commerce and 1 food (maybe? don't remember) to windmills. That being said, even then there was still a balance between windmills and mines - more commerce usually falls to the wayside of more hammers, simply because a windmill in no way competes with cottages or aristofarms. Though, now that I think about it, windmills would be nice to go with the calibam. Personally however, windmills just cometoo late to really be useful IMO.

-Colin

Worm4life
Jul 17, 2009, 08:33 PM
Questionable? I consider any tech that gives a free Great Person a priority. If I don't need the Great Person then I'm still denying it to my opponents by researching the tech first.

Does a great engineer really make that much of a difference at that point in the game? Is the game even going to last long enough for his benefits to pay off the cost of machinery?


Some civs don't have access to arquebusiers, and so for them Blasting Powder isn't as useful an investment. For those civs Machinery might be a better choice, and replacing mines with windmills might be worthwhile.

There's a bunch of much more useful techs at that point than machinery. Personally I think the only reason to bother with the engineering path is to get +1 road movement.


It's not like workers have anything better to do at that point

Correct. But in that case you're better off just disbanding them to save upkeep costs. Disband a worker, immediately save 1-2 gold per turn. I only keep one or two workers around total in the late game in case stuff gets destroyed.


Windmills are not a specialized improvement, since they provide distributed bonuses. If you always specialize your cities then specialized improvements will naturally be a better choice. They are useful with a more generalized improvement strategy, which is favorable when you are running a 50% :science: / 50% :gold: economy.

Specializing cities is always the better choice. I'm confused what difference the science slider setting would make. Commerce is commerce, and cottages = commerce.

I'm also confused why windmills would be a good strategy for Sidar. Working a windmill tile is never going to give you a net gain in food, so why not skip working that hill tile and make it a specialist?

I'm curious what difficulty setting windmill players are on. They don't cut it on higher difficulties, and on lower difficulties if you can afford to take the time to convert everything, you've probably already won.

MagisterCultuum
Jul 17, 2009, 08:53 PM
What would people think of adding an Air spell that could only be cast on a workable windmill plot and gave free :hammers:'s to the nearest city?

Randolph
Jul 17, 2009, 09:02 PM
While we're on the topic of windmills, I'd like to point out that I'm incredibly skeptical that even an elf could build and effective wind farm in a forest.

Randolph
Jul 17, 2009, 09:05 PM
What would people think of adding an Air spell that could only be cast on a workable windmill plot and gave free :hammers:'s to the nearest city?

A cool idea, but with obvious micromanagement issues. My gut is that the cool < MM in this case.

Have you been updating the public version of your mod MC? I recall it having a lot of great stuff.

JFSebastian
Jul 17, 2009, 09:07 PM
[to_xp]Gekko and Emptiness have already covered most of what I'd say.

There are primarily two reasons for me that windmills trump mines in most of my games. The main one is that food trumps both hammers and commerce. One food is equivalent to half a specialist. Half a specialist can be a lot, especially if you are using any of the specialist enhancing civics/wonders. It also allows you to grow a bit more in those food starved cities that were planted to capture resources early in the game. Instead of a plains/mine, you could be working two plains/windmills.

The other, lesser reason, which I admit is a fringe case, is that having at least one hammer and one commerce on all your working tiles, creates more potent golden ages. Its more a symptom of my obsessive compulsive nature while improving my cities than any sort of game strategy, but I really like to see all those extra hammers AND commerce blanketing my fat cross.

JFSebastian
Jul 17, 2009, 10:52 PM
To start, I'm not meaning to argue against your points or to pick on you specifically Worm4life, but you put up some good points I'd like to comment on.
Does a great engineer really make that much of a difference at that point in the game? Is the game even going to last long enough for his benefits to pay off the cost of machinery?I agree with you here, the utility of a great engineer late in the game is going to be very situational, but in the right situations he can be quite useful. Rushing a wonder in a production starved border city, a late game golden age, beating another civ to a contested wonder; these could all be game changing depending on what kind of victory you are aiming for. Considering the cost of machinery and its prerequisite, bowyers, its definitely doggy though. Machinery needs something extra and/or a cheaper/more common prerequisite than bowyers. Perhaps it should give the Strong promotion to siege weapons and have its prerequisite reduced to archery.

Correct. But in that case you're better off just disbanding them to save upkeep costs. Disband a worker, immediately save 1-2 gold per turn. I only keep one or two workers around total in the late game in case stuff gets destroyed.Good advice, but even a couple workers can switch a lot of mines over to windmills in their spare time. I can see a lot of folks wanting to hold onto a fair number of workers if they are taking over a lot of pillaged/barbarian cities, in which case the workers may have some spare time between wars.

I'm also confused why windmills would be a good strategy for Sidar. Working a windmill tile is never going to give you a net gain in food, so why not skip working that hill tile and make it a specialist?While a windmill tile will not increase your food surplus, it will increase the carrying capacity of the city. Larger cities can be important for score (high to low, final five, time), domestic trade (trade route economy in a large multi-continent empire), and trade missions (larger capital = larger great merchant trade missions). The problem of course is that it takes time to reap the benefits since a large city near its growth limit takes a while to add population. An aggressive, fast paced military conquest game might not be worried too much about squeezing in a couple more population into the core cities.

I think your points highlight the perils of playing on higher difficulties, that you are playing against a more technologically advanced opponent who has already beaten you to most of the wonders and most of the free great people. Blasting powder still looks kind of interesting against a foe with lots of walls, but how on earth is a canon's 25% withdraw superior to a catapult's 80%? The techs are also not on any of the victory condition paths. They definitely feel weak.

That said, I still like windmills more than mines for everything other than the most extremely specialized production cities.

Emptiness
Jul 17, 2009, 11:03 PM
Questionable? I consider any tech that gives a free Great Person a priority. If I don't need the Great Person then I'm still denying it to my opponents by researching the tech first.Does a great engineer really make that much of a difference at that point in the game? Is the game even going to last long enough for his benefits to pay off the cost of machinery?Probably not if you're going after a Conquest or Domination victory. For an Altar or Tower victory it can shave off some time. It also depends on when you get the Great Engineer. If I'm planning on using windmills, or if I have some good chokepoints to garrison with Crossbowmen then Machinery tends to be a midgame* tech for me, so there's plenty of time to get use out of the GE.

(* I prefer to build Guild of Hammers rather than building individual forges, and like to defend my cities with Longbowmen or Nightwatch, so Machinery usually isn't much of a detour.)

Windmills are not a specialized improvement, since they provide distributed bonuses. If you always specialize your cities then specialized improvements will naturally be a better choice. They are useful with a more generalized improvement strategy, which is favorable when you are running a 50% :science: / 50% :gold: economy.Specializing cities is always the better choice. I'm confused what difference the science slider setting would make. Commerce is commerce, and cottages = commerce.A specialized city is going to have as few buildings as possible. That means that cities not producing significant commerce (most likely production centers) won't have any +%:science: or +%:gold: buildings. Specialized cities tends to work best with a specialized economy, so you are probably either aiming for 100%:science: or 100%:gold:. So, your cities that do produce significant commerce will have only one or the other type of commerce-enhancing building: if you are running a 100%:science: economy then they will have +%:science: buildings, or if you are running a 100%:gold: economy then they will have +%:gold: buildings.

If you aren't using specialized cities then all of your cities will have a decent amount of commerce output. Examples of this include Aristograrian farmspam or Elven cottagespam. Although it is possible to run a specialized economy in this situation, I tend to run a balanced economy with approximately 50%:science:/50%:gold:. Since every city is splitting :commerce: between :science: and :gold: it is beneficial to build both +%:science: or +%:gold: buildings in every city (not including new cities with limited commerce output, of course). Once you've invested in several commerce-enhancing buildings in a city the extra commerce from replacing a mine with a windmill becomes attractive. Naturally a Town would provide more commerce, but at a cost of more :hammers: and requiring time to mature. As a late-game improvement change mine->windmill makes more sense than mine->cottage. Of course you could have just built a cottage there to begin with, but for Aristograrian farmspam and Elven cottagespam the :hammers: from the mine are more desirable in the early- and mid-game, because all your non-hill tiles are providing commerce but probably not a lot of :hammers: (especially in Aristograrian). Once the city has finished constructing buildings and is just a unit factory the loss of :hammers: may be less important (depending on how the game is going militarily) and so the shift of :hammers: to commerce by retooling for windmills can be done to give your economy a boost to help tackle the pricier techs.

Now, with that background out of the way, to the point: the difference the science slider makes is that a gold or science specialized economy needs to produce maximum commerce yield in the cities that are specialized for commerce output (because the production cities contribute very little commerce) - and so cottages (or Aristograrian farms + cottaged hills + specialists if working with a specialist economy) are the best choice for those cities. Production cities that don't require extra :hammers: could adopt +:commerce: improvements, but the yield will be limited because they have no +%:science: or +%:gold: buildings. In a balanced economy, however, cities need to produce hammers and commerce, and so an improvement that yields both, plus extra :food: as well, is the best choice. Since all cities have both +%:science: and +%:gold: buildings, the full benefit of +:commerce: improvements is actualized. The result is that hybrid improvements, such as the windmill, are better in a balanced economy than in a specialized one.

If you always specialize your cities then you may never see a situation in which replacing mines or towns with windmills will be useful. It is the nature of situational things to appear worthless if their "situation" never arises. Responding to that apparent worthlessness by making windmills strictly superior to mines would be unbalancing.

Thrar
Jul 18, 2009, 04:56 AM
Currently playing as the Doviello (final part in a High to Low), I've good some very good use out of windmills. They have a hero at Machinery, so there was an additional incentive of researching it. Additionally, they don't get Arquebus, which means Blasting Powder has a very low priority for me.
In the current end-game situation, windmills give me 2F 3H 2C, while mines (and lumbermills) only provide 1F 3H. I've been busily converting mines to windmills ever since I got Machinery.
Keep in mind that even with Blasting Powder, it will be 2F 3H 2C vs 1F 4H, so you're trading one hammer for food and 2 commerce. I value food over hammers for most cities already, so considering the added commerce, I don't think I would even consider converting any of those mills back to mines at that point.

Previous to Machinery, I presume for most regular cities it would be farms+mines/cottages, but those windmills are still very useful for food-poor regions like cities founded in areas with mostly plains (or worse, tundra) around them. Farm a plains tile and put a windmill on a hill and you have two tiles that balance each other food-wise after sanitation, while you would be hard-pressed to get much growth out of your city using mines.

Obviously, Arete changes that equation, given that it's available considerably earlier. But if I was in RoK running Arete, I would have to use quite a different overall game approach than I'm doing now with CoE. Arete is a special civic that additionally requires one particular religion, so it really shouldn't be considered when trying to compare windmills to mines on a general basis.

Worm4life
Jul 18, 2009, 10:05 AM
Well, if the civ you're playing gets their hero at machinery...then yeah.

Daverd
Jul 20, 2009, 08:48 AM
Whether or not Machinery is a good investment in general is kind of a side argument here.

The general point of the thread is that for a very large chunk of the game, windmills are too weak to be useful, and even then there's apparently some debate as to whether they're worth it. Up until Machinery, does anyone use windmills? I definitely don't, and even after Machinery, they're still questionable. In the absense of Blasting Powder and Machinery, many of the same arguments would apply on both sides except windmills are down a :commerce:. With the lack of watermills, there's already not much strategy around improvements, and taking windmills out of the equation until the very late game makes the game that much more bland. It's just mines, farms, and cottages.

Some of the prior argument revolved around the specific suggestion that I made to tweak them, but it was just a suggestion. There are other things that could be done.

Maybe they need to have their base yield reduced by a :commerce: and then give the +1:commerce: bonus per Air Mana, making them worse if you have no Air Mana, exactly as good as they are now if you have 1, and then exploitable if you have 2+. This would make them more dependent on the players' civ/strategy.

Maybe the Machinery bonus needs to be removed and put into an earlier tech instead, making the choice between mines and windmills come earlier. Maybe the +1:hammers: bonus can stay where it is, and the +1:commerce: can move to an earlier tech. Maybe vice versa.

Maybe the Fair Winds spell (Air level 1) can be used to permanently improve a windmill improvement by 1:commerce: (by turning it into a "strong windmill" or something), but only once per windmill. (This may take more than 1 turn to cast). This might help mitigate the earlier micromanagement complaint but still keep the flavor of the idea. (Thanks MagisterCultuum!) It would also make them more of a pillaging target, making them something you try to guard, the way you do with towns. Maybe "strong windmills" cannot be within X squares of one another, the way the Lanun pirate coves cannot be within 3 squares of one another. This would encourage a mix of mines and windmills, provide the additional optimization strategy of where to put the windmills, and reduce the micromanagement aspect even further, since you'd be casting it a lot less. If this restriction were added, the Fair Winds bonus could be made more powerful.

Maybe windmills could level up the same way cottages/forts do, up until some maximum. This would make them distinct from mines in a more meaningful way. They would be an investment (and a pillage target) like cottages, with an eventual payoff that's higher than it is now, but with an investment period where they are yielding less than usual. If this were the case, windmills could be made available earlier in the tech tree, since a number of turns would have to be spent just getting them built up. The more Air Mana you have, the quicker the upgrade process goes, adding the flavor that I'm looking for. Maybe the upgrade process does not happen unless you have any Air Mana at all.

All I'm saying is that there's a huge opportunity here to make windmills a little more exciting, because I don't think it can be fairly said that windmills are adding as much fun to FfH2 as they possibly can.

Worm4life
Jul 21, 2009, 05:21 PM
Here's another question: does anybody ever use workshops?

I never see the point. By that point in the game, you have high enough happiness and health levels to support large populations built on lots of farms. There isn't a single flat tile that doesn't provide a food, so why would you sacrifice a food to get hammers instead of just putting mines on hills and sacrificing nothing? If the city doesn't have enough hills to make it an industry center, why would you try to make an industry center out of it in the first place?

Infernals/Mercurians are the only reason I can see getting workshops, and even then I think I'd want a cottage.

[to_xp]Gekko
Jul 21, 2009, 05:40 PM
infernals only. yeah, workshops are pretty much only useful for fallow civs, after guilds, or when you are really really desperate for hammers and there are no hills around.

Monkeyfinger
Jul 22, 2009, 09:58 AM
Workshops with guilds are slightly better than mines with blasting powder (the workshop provides 1 more commerce, 2 for riverside financial) and guilds is way cheaper than BP and provides better benefits ignoring the improvement buffs, so with commerce rich, hammer poor starts I'll find myself rushing guilds and using flatland cities with plenty of farmable grassland for production. If I had enough traditional production cities before guilds though, I won't do this.

Breez
Jul 22, 2009, 10:31 AM
What would people think of adding an Air spell that could only be cast on a workable windmill plot and gave free :hammers:'s to the nearest city?

Personally I would love something like that, but I would rather see it as a "hope" type city spell that the caster stays in the city to get effect from.

Could have the "building" created by the spell add 1 or even 1/2 :hammers: per windmill worked. I think Fair Winds would be great and then could grant any boat in the city the Fair Winds promo like Hope grants Courage.

Tielby
Jul 22, 2009, 09:06 PM
Personally I would love something like that, but I would rather see it as a "hope" type city spell that the caster stays in the city to get effect from.

Could have the "building" created by the spell add 1 or even 1/2 :hammers: per windmill worked. I think Fair Winds would be great and then could grant any boat in the city the Fair Winds promo like Hope grants Courage.

That's just too much from a level 1 spell.

Verdian
Jul 22, 2009, 09:31 PM
What would people think of adding an Air spell that could only be cast on a workable windmill plot and gave free :hammers:'s to the nearest city?

Could you just make it so Fair Winds grants +1:hammers: to all tiles with a windmill in a +1 radius?

arcticnightwolf
Jul 23, 2009, 02:57 AM
on-topic: i use windmills on tundra-hill plot ... :)

Theodorick
Jul 23, 2009, 06:53 AM
What if you found a city where there are a lot of hills and a lack of food? I have used wind mills tons of times in those situations to build the city up to a reasonable size.

MagisterCultuum
Jul 23, 2009, 07:32 AM
Could you just make it so Fair Winds grants +1:hammers: to all tiles with a windmill in a +1 radius?

Sure, but I don't think I could make that bonus only be temporary, or prevent the spell from being cast repeatedly possibly by many adepts every turn for hundreds of turns, leading to insanely productive plots. Oh, also, the bonus yields added in python would not depend on the improvement so you could get a windmill plot to produce 100 :hammers: and then raze it to build a farm or village there to get more :food: or :commerce: too. It seems harder to abuse if the extra production goes straight to the city than if it is applied to the plot.




I currently have this in my version:

in CvSpelInterface.py:

def reqWindmill(pCaster):
pPlot = pCaster.plot()
if pPlot.isBeingWorked():
return true
return false


def spellWindmill(pCaster):
pPlot = pCaster.plot()
pCity = pPlot.getWorkingCity()
pCity.changeProduction(pCaster.getExperience())



in CIV4SpellInfos.xml:


<SpellInfo>
<Type>SPELL_FAIR_WINDS2</Type>
<Description>TXT_KEY_SPELL_FAIR_WINDS</Description>
<Civilopedia>TXT_KEY_SPELL_PLACEHOLDER_PEDIA</Civilopedia>
<PromotionPrereq1>PROMOTION_AIR1</PromotionPrereq1>
<ImprovementPrereq>IMPROVEMENT_WINDMILL</ImprovementPrereq>
<bAllowAI>1</bAllowAI>
<bHasCasted>1</bHasCasted>
<PyResult>spellWindmill(pCaster)</PyResult>
<PyRequirement>reqWindmill(pCaster)</PyRequirement>
<Effect>EFFECT_WIND_SWIRL</Effect>
<Sound>AS3D_SPELL_HASTE</Sound>
<Button>Art/Interface/Buttons/Spells/Fairwinds.dds</Button>
</SpellInfo>

The first time I tested it it seemed way too strong, but it is much less overpowered when you don't give yourself a 1000 xp unit at the start of the game. I think I may change the formula to be based on the unit's level rather than xp anyway though. I'm also thinking I may make it an Air-Earth cross sphere spell, as it represents a way to get productive work out a sphere normally devoted to chaotic, unproductive, irresponsible fun.

Neomega
Jul 23, 2009, 09:11 AM
windmills are better than mines, IMHO. Mines at end of game give 5 hammer. windmills give 1 food, 4 hammer, and 1 gold. That's just better to me.

While we're on the topic of windmills, I'd like to point out that I'm incredibly skeptical that even an elf could build and effective wind farm in a forest.

Me too. we had this argument on another thread... the answer was "its magical" :rolleyes:

And I find it funny, so many peopel think so many improvements are useless. I use all improvements, and I feel windmills are overpowered, in the end, they get you an extra tile bonus. They are actually the best improvement you can make, which I don't like at all, because in the end game, I just windmill spam every hill.

one hammer and one commerce on all your working tiles, creates more potent golden ages

Ah, the sign of someone who has a very deep understanding of this mod. Not surprised you agree with me that windmills are the best improvement.

And crossbowmen aren't bad... but machinery can get you a great engineer too... so it's not that bad of a tech to go for a tad earlier if you can.

Daverd
Jul 23, 2009, 12:51 PM
Neomega:

1. I'd like to see windmills useful at points other than "end of game". Please refer to previous posts.
2. Machinery isn't free. Please refer to previous posts.
3. Replacing mines with windmills isn't free. Please refer to previous posts.

But you also make a good point. If I'm wrong and you're right, and windmills are so good that you want them on every hill, isn't that ALSO a problem? The choice between mines and windmills makes the game interesting. One being better than the other does not.

Also, I'll have you know that I've been playing on Deity and winning at it. I'd say I have a fairly deep understanding of the mod.

Daverd
Jul 23, 2009, 12:54 PM
Also, MagisterCultuum, thanks for looking into this! I appreciate the playtesting.

Worm4life
Jul 23, 2009, 01:48 PM
For a deep understanding, it's not asking, "Isn't one commerce and food better than one hammer?" but rather, "Isn't 9200 extra gold plus worker upkeep/time more valuable at that point than 2-4 extra food per city?"

Exactly how many more golden ages are you expecting to have after that point in the game? A great engineer at that point is also not a huge factor. Best case scenario he gives you that golden age you wanted. That's...what, 300 extra hammers and commerce? Even being super optimistic and saying you're going to have 2 more golden ages after that point it's still only an extra 1200 hammers/commerce compared to the 9200 commerce you spent on machinery.

MagisterCultuum
Jul 23, 2009, 03:25 PM
Actually, now that I think of it, you could make a spell that temporarily increases the yields of the Windmill's plot using the TempTerrain function, but then you'd have to create copies of multiple terrain types.


In my version, you could also create temporary features.


I was actually already thinking of adding Prevailing Winds features (one for each of the 8 directions) to appear in the oceans, which would use <PythonOnMove> calls to make ships or flying units entering those tiles move on to the next tile in that direction without wasting movement points. (I might also ad a 9th, the Doldrums, which has no python effect but just a really high movement cost, and could of course be destroyed with a wind spell.) (I'd probably shrink the graphics down to 1 pixel, so they won't really matter.) I'd have to make my own mapscripts if I wanted to have these appear on random maps, but I could change it so that the Fair Winds spell creates these features (probably splitting the spell into several one version per direction). I believe I could also make it so that the Prevailing Winds features would boost the production of windmills.


Edit: Hmm, I thought that improvements could increase the yields of features, but it seems I was wrong. I guess I'd need to use a different feature to boost windmills, if not just go with a different method altogether.





Ignoring the Air sphere spells for a moment, I tend to think that it would be better for Windmills to become available at Construction and get yield bonuses at both Engineering and Machinery.

Turinturambar
Jul 23, 2009, 04:05 PM
Neomega:

1. I'd like to see windmills useful at points other than "end of game". Please refer to previous posts.
2. Machinery isn't free. Please refer to previous posts.
3. Replacing mines with windmills isn't free. Please refer to previous posts.


Windmills are superior to mines as soon as you reach engineering provided you have
a) not a civ with significant production modifiers ( i.e Khazad)
b) a use for more food (slavery/ unlimited specialist unlocking civic)
c) solved your happiness problems (social order;gambling houses;guardian of nature)
d) not stockpiled tons of earth mana.

Given that those circumstances happen pretty often, I find windmills to be decently balanced. You need to decide whether spending the worker turns is worth it to get a slightly better improvement. And after machinery they are clearly the better improvement.

The real crappy improvement are workshops, which are useless for nonfallow civs until guilds and even then are only a marginal improvement as more food is usually better than more production in the endgame.

Worm4life
Jul 23, 2009, 05:39 PM
Windmills are superior to mines as soon as you reach engineering provided you have
a) not a civ with significant production modifiers ( i.e Khazad)

But they're not superior to cottages. Any hills that you're not going to work for hammers, put a cottage on. By the time you get access to mills there should be a town there.


b) a use for more food (slavery/ unlimited specialist unlocking civic)

Why would windmills be a good choice for a specialist based strategy? You're never going to get more than 1 food out of a windmill tile, so working it with a citizen is always going to get you a net food loss. Why not just turn that citizen into a specialist then instead of working the windmill?


c) solved your happiness problems (social order;gambling houses;guardian of nature)

Does anyone even use social order? Setting your tax rate to have gambling houses completely solve your happiness problem is going to cripple your research, putting machinery out of reach.



Given that those circumstances happen pretty often, I find windmills to be decently balanced. You need to decide whether spending the worker turns is worth it to get a slightly better improvement. And after machinery they are clearly the better improvement.

Here's the thing though: you can't just look at the yield bonus. You have to see the bigger picture. It all boils down to this:

Specializing a city is always better. If you specialize it for production, a mine is best for that hill. If commerce, then a cottage. If specialists, then just build farms on flat tiles and don't even bother working the hill. The research cost of machinery plus worker cost/time outweighs the benefit to windmills.


I like the suggestion of making windmills available at construction. There'd have to be a change for the windmill boost to be worth researching. Make machinery a little cheaper (city defending archery units are pretty pointless at that stage anyway)? Move the boost down to engineering while making machinery a lot cheaper to compensate? Possibly look at changing the boost from 0/+1/+1 to something like +1/0/+1 so it doesn't become a straight up upgrade from mines but rather a benefit in a different direction.

Neomega
Jul 23, 2009, 05:52 PM
But you also make a good point. If I'm wrong and you're right, and windmills are so good that you want them on every hill, isn't that ALSO a problem?


absolutely it's a problem. :/ I hate it when there is an obvious better choice. Windmills actually give two extra yield over blasting powder mines. (+ 2 :commerce: ) That is windmill spam city. Windmills are the obvious choice.

So as you can see, this subject scares me, because I would actually like windmills nerfed. They should probably lose an extra hammer.


Also, I'll have you know that I've been playing on Deity and winning at it. I'd say I have a fairly deep understanding of the mod.

ok.

Why would windmills be a good choice for a specialist based strategy? You're never going to get more than 1 food out of a windmill tile, so working it with a citizen is always going to get you a net food loss. Why not just turn that citizen into a specialist then instead of working the windmill?

Green hills give 2 :food:, 3 :hammers:, 2 :commerce: at end game.





workshops are good for green flatlands, that's about it.

shippokirara
Jul 23, 2009, 08:24 PM
why dont we edit the windmill so that you can use it on flat planes that way if i were to build a city in the middle of aplane i coudl get it running until i can expand borders to get other things. tahtway every place can be a tactically sound spot to expand

JFSebastian
Jul 23, 2009, 09:10 PM
Why would windmills be a good choice for a specialist based strategy? You're never going to get more than 1 food out of a windmill tile, so working it with a citizen is always going to get you a net food loss. Why not just turn that citizen into a specialist then instead of working the windmill?
Can windmills increase the number of specialists you can work in a city? No. Can windmills increase the size of a city while maintaining the same number of specialists? Yes.

Does anyone even use social order? Setting your tax rate to have gambling houses completely solve your happiness problem is going to cripple your research, putting machinery out of reach.You can run a 0% science economy and still create a lot of research using councils, inspirations and sages. The large gold economy allows for rapid expansion, which makes up for the limited amount of science/city. A single super science city also works well in this setup using the academy, great library, great sages & crown.

far_wanderer
Jul 24, 2009, 12:23 AM
Because workshops keep being brought up, I thought I'd mention that they actually work perfectly, in that they do something no other improvement does. What I use workshops for is when I'm setting up a new city and it needs a few extra hammers to get going. Later on, once it has a few improvements and a few more citizens, the miscellaneous hammers from other tiles have built up and the workshop can be replaced by something that is now more useful. So that's what they are: specialized. Good in a few situations and worse in others.

Taalen
Jul 25, 2009, 04:16 AM
I must say I'll take back my original comment at the beginning of this thread - as a Financial leader (unless I go Arete) I would change mines to windmills after Machinery.

Aeon221
Jul 27, 2009, 01:00 PM
If you look back at the real world use of wind and water mills, they generally increased the productivity of other industries rather than generating resources on their own. Water mills were frequently used to power early modern industrial facilities, for instance large scale forges, while wind and water mills were both popular sources of power for grinding grain and other agricultural products.

It seems quite clear to me that the most beneficial use of both improvements would be a percentage increase in the overall output of the cities. I'd allow worked windmills to add, say, 3% to all three output types, and worked watermills, say, 5% -- with the percentage increased via techs. That way there'd be a trade off -- how many mines or farms do you give up, thereby lowering your base output, to increase your overall output.

Certainly it'd be more interesting than a hybrid production building of dubious utility.

NobbynobLittlun
Jul 28, 2009, 04:04 PM
I noticed something interesting in one of my games a couple weeks back (see attached image). There's a water duct running from a windmill next to the river over to the city.

Some experimentation in the World Builder indicates that this is purely coincidence. It's just the graphic for the aqueduct. However... if having a windmill next to a fresh water source were to pump fresh water to its city when worked (thus snagging +1:health:), and maybe even run ducts over to irrigate farms without having to use other farms to bridge irrigation (i.e. for a remote corn field), that'd be darned cool. And conceivably we could just reuse the aqueduct graphic.

JFSebastian
Jul 28, 2009, 06:42 PM
Regarding making a spell that boosts windmills. Thought this might be a cleaver method to use. Have the spell replace the windmill with a new improvement called "enchanted windmill" or whatever. This new improvement would have the bonus, perhaps even a modified graphic, but it would also have an upgrade counter similar to a cottage. When it "upgrades", it actually downgrades back into a normal windmill, hence making it a temporary spell.

Neomega
Jul 28, 2009, 07:00 PM
It would be hella cool for windmills to get a wind spell to make them better, but a wind mana bonus would probably be simpler to implement. A final game windmill should produce the same amount of yield icons as a mine. IIRC windmills were much better suited to agricultural uses than to industrial uses, (before electricity) so I think they should never give a hammer bonus. That's water wheels and workshops.

(Also workshops and mines should give about .25 :yuck: each)

Another idea might be an magical windmill improvement that can only be built by workers when your capital has access to wind mana. It would only be a windmill with perhaps a +.25 :health: , but it could be awesome, (esp with a custom windmill graphic) :P

But now that I am thinking of mana specific improvments....