View Full Version : Military Tweaks - Unit Balance and Upgrade Progression


evanbgood
Oct 11, 2010, 06:31 PM
MILITARY TWEAKS
-By EvanBGood:trouble:

The goal of this mod is to make every unit in the game practical and unique without making major changes to the game itself. Primarily, this is a mod of balance, convenience, and fun. This mod does not take the game's AI limitations into account, but rather, aims to balance the effectiveness of the player's decisions and eliminate the "one right way" to do things.

For the sake of customization, I will be working on three different versions of this mod:

LOW IMPACT - The low impact version addresses the most obvious problems with military unit balance only and has the least noticeable effect on the game as a whole. Low impact is base game compatible.

MEDIUM IMPACT - The medium impact version addresses problems in unit balance that each individual user may or may not see as necessary to be fixed. This version also includes tweaks to the unit upgrade system with the goal of making every unit in the game upgradable through all eras without ever becoming obsolete. Medium impact is base game compatible.

HIGH IMPACT - The high impact version makes more experimental changes to the game in the spirit of making combat more interesting through many stages of the game. Though no new units will be added in this version, existing units may be changed drastically. Due to these changes, high impact may not be base game compatible.

This is my very first published mod, and as such, may contain errors. It is very much in an alpha stage, so feedback and bug reporting are most definitely needed!

The following is a complete list of changes for each version:

LOW IMPACT V1.0
V1.0
Right now, the main purpose of the low impact version is to make minor adjustments to the horseman and ironclad units, widely seen as the most unbalanced units in the game at the moment.
Horseman/Companion Cavalry:
- Horseman Cost Increased to 100 from 80
- Horseman Movement Reduced to 3 from 4
- Companion Cavalry Movement Reduced to 3 from 5 (keeps combat advantage)
- Horseman and Companion Cavalry have a 40% penalty to city attack (same as tank)
Ironclad:
- Ironclad combat increased to 40 from 35 (for higher defense)
- Ironclad ranged combat increased to 20 from 18
- Ironclad production cost slightly reduced to 200 from 220
- Ironclad movement increased to 5 from 4 (coast-only trait remains)
MEDIUM IMPACT V3.0 RECOMMENDED VERSION
V3.0
- Should have been in V2.0 but that's the mod browser for ya :P
- Fixed: Scouts not losing their terrain bonus upon being upgraded to archers.
V2.0
- Fixed: Unit upgrades were not working properly. Please redownload version 2.0 to fix this issue.
- Fixed: Obsolescence was not occurring for the upgraded units.
V1.0
This is currently the most stable version of the mod. Medium Impact adjusts the costs and the abilities of several different units and streamlines the upgrade tree to make every unit in the game upgradeable to the modern era.
Horseman/Companion Cavalry:
- Horseman Cost Increased to 100 from 80
- Horseman Movement Reduced to 3 from 4
- Companion Cavalry Movement Reduced to 3 from 5 (keeps combat advantage)
- Horseman and Companion Cavalry have a 40% penalty to city attack (same as tank)
- Penalty does not currently carry over to knights, lancers, or cavalry, but this might change in a future version.

Ironclad:
- MAJOR CHANGE: Ironclad can attack twice per turn.
- Ironclad has an "Iron Armor" trait that increases ranged defense by 25%
- Ironclad production cost slightly reduced to 200 from 220
- Loses double attack with upgrade, no movement increase due to upgrade (see below)
- Rationale: The initial idea of this change was to represent the ironclad's dominance over wooden ships, particularly due to its ability to deflect cannonballs. The double shot also reflects the increase in cannon power of that age, as well as giving it a unique in-game usefulness beyond a simple strength increase.

Tank/Panzer/Modern Armor
- All tank variants receive a unique "Thick Armor" trait that increases both ranged and normal defense by 33%
- Tank/Panzer cost greatly reduced to 370 from 450
- Modern armor cost greatly reduced to 570 from 700
- Rationale: The idea here was to make tanks act like... well... tanks! Their combat strength is useful already, of course, but their lack of defensive abilities made them strangely weak compared to the infantry of their eras, while their great cost and reliance on oil further reduced their appeal. An all-terrain boost to defense is something no other unit has, and fills a unique role as a unit that can both hit-and-run and soak up damage for the units behind it.

Chariot Archer/War Chariot/War Elephant
- All chariots can now move after shooting, like other cavalry
- Rationale: There have been debates in the usefulness of chariot archers, but I thought they needed a little tiny boost to ever be considered over standard archers, and to reward players who have early access to horses. This gives them a hit-and-run tactic, making them especially dominant on flat land.

Upgrades: NOTE: UPGRADES ARE CURRENTLY NOT WORKING! WORKING ON IT AS WE SPEAK!
- All units should be upgradable, meaning you're no longer forced to keep or disband crossbowmen and lancers when jet fighters are in the sky. As always, all upgrades have a hefty cost and require strategic resources like any produced unit.
- Scouts can now upgrade to archers without goody huts! (They lose their fast-travel abilities, but can keep survival and visibility promotions)
- Crossbowmen (and unique variants) can upgrade to cannons.
- Ironclads can upgrade to battleships (they lose the double attack and iron armor advantages in this mod).
- Bombers (and the B17) can upgrade to stealth bombers
- Submarines can upgrade to nuclear submarines
- Lancers and Cavalry (and all unique variants) can become tanks.
- Many units go obsolete when their new replacements become available (they can still exist, but can not be produced in cities). This does not include the scout/archer upgrade.

Known Issues being worked on:
- Buying the upgrade from scout to archer is far too cheap

Possible future tweaks:
- Adjustments to the anti-tank unit to increase their usefulness when countering the tank's superior defense
- Adjustments to carriers to increase their usefulness
- Adjustments to catapults, and possibly all artillery, to increase usefulness in aggressive warfare
- Lots and lots of balancing.

HIGH IMPACT V0.0 (Pre-release)
V0.0 Not yet released!
I have not yet made the High Impact version of this mod, as there are several things I plan to do with it that may or may not be possible. Here are a few of the things I intend to try to add, in addition to all the Medium Impact changes:
- Hybrid promotions for chariot archers that increase both ranged combat and melee combat on open land, so they have a promotion that is useful immediately, as well as in the future (though not as powerful as shock, which can then be stacked).
- Major change of how anti-tank and helicopter units work, giving them ranged attacks to make them act like modern archers who require line-of-sight.
- Spearman defense bonuses on open land.
- The ability for naval units to stack on top of defenseless embarked military.

evanbgood
Oct 11, 2010, 10:08 PM
IMPORTANT: These mods were meant to be used one at a time! Pick only one version!

All mods should be available on the in-game mod browser, shortly after this post. Search for "Military Tweaks".

Feel free to edit this mod yourself but DO NOT REPOST it without my permission! Similarly, please ask before adding my mod to any mod collection releases. You can use my mod for XML reference and copy lines into your own mod, just be sure to give me a little 'thank you' in your credits :cool:

Special thanks to:
Thalassicus - For the awesome and inspiring balance mods that made me want to do this!
Brakara - Got many coding ideas for the upgrade system from their "Upgrade all units" mod.

Enjoy!

clearbeard
Oct 12, 2010, 07:43 PM
Lots of good ideas! Some feedback:

I really like the idea of giving anti-tank and choppers ranged attacks. I would suggest incorporating those into the archer upgrade line in that case, so your crossbowmen would upgrade to anti-tanks and keep their ranged promos. Makes more sense than turning them into artillery.

Not sure about lancers turning into tanks. I'd prefer to see a new modern recon unit introduced as the pinnacle of that upgrade line, but adding a new unit when the AI doesn't know how to use the ones it has might be a job for a different mod (and wouldn't be compatible with the base game, to boot).

Also not sure about the ironclad double attack rationale, from a historical standpoint. They were generally slower firing than their more nimble wooden counterparts. Resistance to cannon fire is a good addition, though.

I get the feeling horsemen/companion cav might be too nerfed in your version. But I've never seen them as vastly overpowered to begin with, so I might be in the minority.

I also take it that all "attribute" type promotions now do not carry over to upgrades in your mod? So I can't build caravels and upgrade to destroyers for +5 sight range like I can now? And mobile artillery doesn't have to set up when upgraded from regular artillery? And all the other little inconsistencies, including archers keeping scout mobility, like you mentioned?

evanbgood
Oct 12, 2010, 08:13 PM
Lots of good ideas! Some feedback:

I really like the idea of giving anti-tank and choppers ranged attacks. I would suggest incorporating those into the archer upgrade line in that case, so your crossbowmen would upgrade to anti-tanks and keep their ranged promos. Makes more sense than turning them into artillery.

Not sure about lancers turning into tanks. I'd prefer to see a new modern recon unit introduced as the pinnacle of that upgrade line, but adding a new unit when the AI doesn't know how to use the ones it has might be a job for a different mod (and wouldn't be compatible with the base game, to boot).

Also not sure about the ironclad double attack rationale, from a historical standpoint. They were generally slower firing than their more nimble wooden counterparts. Resistance to cannon fire is a good addition, though.

I get the feeling horsemen/companion cav might be too nerfed in your version. But I've never seen them as vastly overpowered to begin with, so I might be in the minority.

I also take it that all "attribute" type promotions now do not carry over to upgrades in your mod? So I can't build caravels and upgrade to destroyers for +5 sight range like I can now? And mobile artillery doesn't have to set up when upgraded from regular artillery? And all the other little inconsistencies, including archers keeping scout mobility, like you mentioned?

Thanks! I've been waiting for some feedback on this one. Like I said, it's still very much in progress. Here's a little further explanation on the things you mentioned.

Anti-tank units will mostly be in the "high impact" version, and yes, I'll probably switch the archer line over to include them. This does mess with the traditional archer role, however, since cavalry are typically anti-archer, and archers are often developed as light bombard units for cities or anti-infantry, meaning that an upgrade to anti-tank might be contrary to the way the unit was developed. The upgrade to cannons is to help them stay a little more in the 'attack' instead of 'counter' role.

As for lancers, I agree with the latter part of your statement. I'm not going to be adding any units with THIS mod (although as you might see in my sig, I have some ideas for a future project with scouts in particular). For now, lancers don't really have anywhere to go but tank. They could, I suppose, become anti-tanks to keep their anti-cavalry attributes, but again, the loss of mobility would be a major change in roles, which is something I'm trying to avoid.

Ironclads... yes, I agree with you. The only explanation I could give for two attacks is "more guns to fire". I'm definitely looking at this one for future versions. Unfortunately, a simple upgrade in defense isn't very well represented in Civ 5 due to the ranged nature of all ships. One thing I've considered (but haven't figured out how to program yet) is a massive boost of both damage and defense against wooden ships. This would probably be best, but it would require a code to identify "wooden" and "non-wooden" in a promotion, which I don't know how to do... yet.

I'm taking a look at horsemen. The major opinion I've seen on them is that their speed and strength allow them to run circles around everything of their era, including the spearmen than are supposed to be able to counter them. The reduced movement felt necessary to put them in line with other units of that time period, particularly because Knights have the same movement and, even with heavy armor in the equation, I can't imagine that horse riding was perfected right off the bat historically. I specifically didn't touch the combat ratings, as I think they should be a bit higher than everything else, but the lack of city attack power also felt necessary to prevent the tactic of just rolling hoards of these things through every nearby enemy city (which is currently quite possible).

And lastly, fortunately, I was able to mark only certain attributes as "LostWithUpgrade", so it's still definitely possible to upgrade a unique unit with its special abilities in tact, or (as you said) to carry over your classic era naval victory promotions to a modern day destroyer. In fact, that's the whole idea of the mod! To allow you to take advantage of Civ V's rewards for nurturing one powerful unit through all ages (which I thought was too cool of an idea to limit to infantry). The following are lost with upgrade in my mod (list doesn't include ones that are lost with the game's code):

PROMOTION_CITY_PENALTY - The penalty for attacking cities that I added to the horseman. Comes back for tanks.
PROMOTION_SECOND_ATTACK - The ironclad's double-fire technique. Also applies to the Chinese crossbow unique unit, as I figured a double-firing unpromoted cannon was a bit... much.
PROMOTION_IGNORE_TERRAIN_COST - The scout's terrain movement ability.
PROMOTION_MOUNTED_PENALTY - Cavalry have a weakness to mounted units. This is lost when they become tanks.
PROMOTION_DEFENSE_PENALTY - Lancers get a defense weakness. Since tanks in my mod have upgraded defense, obviously, this had to go when they upgraded.

Rocket artillery setting up is a bug that I haven't addressed yet, but now that you've reminded me, I might be able to tackle!

I hope that helps! Thanks again for your feedback!

clearbeard
Oct 13, 2010, 09:59 AM
Thanks! I've been waiting for some feedback on this one. Like I said, it's still very much in progress. Here's a little further explanation on the things you mentioned.

Anti-tank units will mostly be in the "high impact" version, and yes, I'll probably switch the archer line over to include them. This does mess with the traditional archer role, however, since cavalry are typically anti-archer, and archers are often developed as light bombard units for cities or anti-infantry, meaning that an upgrade to anti-tank might be contrary to the way the unit was developed. The upgrade to cannons is to help them stay a little more in the 'attack' instead of 'counter' role.


Actually, from a historical perspective, archers, or at least longbowmen and crossbowmen, were very much an anti-knight tool. And modern anti-tank weapons are just optimized to take out armor. They'd work just a swimmingly on lighter vehicles like mech infantry. So the line consistency isn't as out there as you seem to think!


And lastly, fortunately, I was able to mark only certain attributes as "LostWithUpgrade", so it's still definitely possible to upgrade a unique unit with its special abilities in tact, or (as you said) to carry over your classic era naval victory promotions to a modern day destroyer.

Actually, the caravel-->destroyer carryover isn't on victory promotions (which I agree should be always kept, regardless). The caravel has an innate +2 sight range for being a caravel. And the destroyer has an innate +3 sight range, which is given as a different promotion. So when you upgrade one to the other, you get +5 sight, potentially +1 more for the great lighthouse, and another +1 if you take the victory related sight promotion you mention. The end result is a destroyer sitting in New York harbor being able to watch U-Boats set sail from German harbors! Very useful, mind you, but a wee bit silly nonetheless.

evanbgood
Oct 13, 2010, 02:17 PM
Actually, from a historical perspective, archers, or at least longbowmen and crossbowmen, were very much an anti-knight tool. And modern anti-tank weapons are just optimized to take out armor. They'd work just a swimmingly on lighter vehicles like mech infantry. So the line consistency isn't as out there as you seem to think!



Actually, the caravel-->destroyer carryover isn't on victory promotions (which I agree should be always kept, regardless). The caravel has an innate +2 sight range for being a caravel. And the destroyer has an innate +3 sight range, which is given as a different promotion. So when you upgrade one to the other, you get +5 sight, potentially +1 more for the great lighthouse, and another +1 if you take the victory related sight promotion you mention. The end result is a destroyer sitting in New York harbor being able to watch U-Boats set sail from German harbors! Very useful, mind you, but a wee bit silly nonetheless.

That makes some sense, but keep in mind that anti-tank guns don't come with mech infantry, they come with plain infantry. Helicopters come with mech infantry. Consistency, in this context, isn't really a matter of realism or historical accuracy. After all, we're adjusting a mechanic that implies that the same soldiers survived over about 6000 years. So, yes, archers could be anti-knight tools in a historical sense, but in Civ V, that isn't really their primary role.

I didn't know about the super-sight promotions. Perhaps that's something I'll look into and fix, as well. Thanks for telling me!

jwallstone
Oct 13, 2010, 03:47 PM
Hey, this is an amazing mod. Good work! I'm using it already and looking forward to seeing it grow. Regarding the Artillery -> Rocket Artillery setup issue, you can fix that just by adding this:

<UnitPromotions>
<Update>
<Where Type="PROMOTION_MUST_SET_UP"/>
<Set LostWithUpgrade="true" />
</Update>
</UnitPromotions>

I tested it upgrading all the way from catapults. It gets "refreshed" on units that come with that attribute, and is only truly lost at rocket artillery. So it should work exactly as intended.

meznaric
Oct 14, 2010, 11:48 AM
I think you should make nuclear weapons way cheaper. Some people already commented in other threads where I suggested this that the AI would not be aware of MAD and would not behave realistically, but it still might be interesting to have a nuclear war towards the end of the game. As it stands, that's more or less impossible due to the cost of nuclear weapons (in reality, countries have built hundreds of thousands of nuclear missiles, which are very expensive in the game, compared to only 10s of aircraft carriers which are comparably cheap in the game).

clearbeard
Oct 14, 2010, 07:11 PM
I think you should make nuclear weapons way cheaper. Some people already commented in other threads where I suggested this that the AI would not be aware of MAD and would not behave realistically, but it still might be interesting to have a nuclear war towards the end of the game. As it stands, that's more or less impossible due to the cost of nuclear weapons (in reality, countries have built hundreds of thousands of nuclear missiles, which are very expensive in the game, compared to only 10s of aircraft carriers which are comparably cheap in the game).

I disagree, or at least have a different suggestion towards the same end. Nuclear weapons should be expensive, but uranium should be much more common, or at least in much higher quantities when it does occur. Your point about the AI not understanding MAD is well made though. I'd suggest 4-8x more uranium in the game, perhaps increasing the cost of the GDR so he's still rare and wonderful, but nukes can be plentiful, if you care to go that route and expend the :hammers: or :gold: to accumulate them.

evanbgood
Oct 15, 2010, 08:30 AM
Eh... I don't think either of those are really the aim for this mod. Again, this mod does not take AI limitations into account. It focuses purely on the "rock, paper, scissors" balance of the game, whether it was against a computer, hotseat, or multiplayer. It's to make as many player decisions as possible viable.

Nukes... well... they should be expensive, and I'm not prepared to tinker with them yet. A weapon that can cause that much damage isn't something that a player should be able to pump out, and, the one time I did use one in a game, it seemed easy enough to build one as a preventative measure, in case someone tried to run towards victory unexpectedly. The argument that it doesn't make sense compared to the actual real world production of these, unfortunately, doesn't translate well to the game. In the game, a single missile is a big deal, while aircraft carriers can't really change the tide of war that much (not to mention real aircraft carriers can handle more than three planes, typically). However, a "cheap nukes" mod would be super-simple to make if this is a change you'd like to play with!

I'm also going to have to disagree with the uranium thing, mostly because, again, this is a military unit mod, not a resource mod. But even then, if anything, I wish strategic resources were LESS common. Maybe not uranium, but horses and iron, definitely. Fighting over these things is a lot more fun than blind conquest, and certain non-military boosts (like the nuclear plant) make an interesting process of decision making and customization on just how you want to use your precious resource.

One thing that definitely IS part of my mod's aim is to represent the difficulty in acquiring certain resources in the strength of a unit. For example, I think a unit that costs 80 and iron should have a slight edge over something that costs 80. I do plan to look into the GDR eventually, as well. I understand the unit is supposed to be a "game ender", almost like building the Apollo project, but for conquest, but the cost of it may not reflect that well. We'll see!

Oh, and thank you jwall! I'll throw that in the next version, for sure!