View Full Version : keekerdc's "Promod"

Nov 08, 2010, 07:48 PM
Apologies if the title is a bit presumptuous, but wasn't sure what else to call it, and I come from a strong competitive gaming background, where 'promods' abound; the purpose of such mods is generally to try and bring a greater balance and difficulty to a game while remaining within the general spirit of the vanilla game.

If there's one thing we can all agree on, it's that CiV needs a LOT of work out of the box. This mod started as just an experimental foray into modding, and I've decided to share what I have so far. I'm open to well articulated suggestions and am very open to balance issues anybody finds through playtests, but I'm making no guarantees on how often I might update this, and particularly no guarantees on whether I will actually implement any given suggestion; I'm still going to act as a filter. :)

You can download this mod ( and view the full list of changes I've made to this point on my website.

I've posted the code to github (, so if there's a change you'd like to see made to this, or something cool you think would fit in, and have the chops to do it, then fork it!

I've also setup a Knowapp board for this mod ( to keep track of what I'm doing, and giving anybody interested in lending a hand with playtesting and tweaking this mod to perfection a general roadmap of what I'm up to. (Fellow modders - if you'd like an invite to this service, let me know, I have a handful of invites.)


Version 2 Notes:
General notes

Movement, sight, range, combat: yawn factor
While I generally found the hex grid and the one-unit-per-tile system to generally be a large step forward in the fundamental combat system, I think the decision to give units a minimum base movement of 2 and a minimum base sight range of 2 severely constricts the tactical and strategic possibilities of the game. Just one instance of this is the baffling choice of giving warriors and scouts the exact same sight range and movement range; these sorts of minimal differences between the capabilities of unit types makes the game seem really flat and presents players with less interesting choices when it comes to unit production, and only a few clearly defined optimal paths to military victory. The accelerated move rates of basic units make the standard map sizes seem quite small, and is completely out of whack with the nation-building side of the game. It also makes the exploration and conquest of entire continents quite possible before 1AD, even at some of the more strenuous difficulty levels.

The movement rates for units has been pulled back to one tile in this mod, and the base sight has been pulled back to one tile for a lot of units. It’s my hope that this will slow down the pace of war-based play, widen tactical options, and re-introduce the concept of forward strategic planning into this game.

I, quite frankly, could give a crap if these changes stretch the game outside some sort of fundamental design choice made at Firaxis. It’s bloody apparent to me that they didn’t playtest this very broad change to the unit mechanics enough.

For instance, this change alone applied to Warriors and Archers creates a more robust relationship between the two than what existed prior, and makes it more advantageous for Archers to place themselves on ‘high ground’ than it did before. In Vanilla, Archers are relatively viable as standalone units, which is silly – they’re able to see, fire, and move 2 tiles. By reducing their sight and movement to one tile while keeping their range at two, it becomes more of an imperative to use Archers in tandem with Warriors for mutual protection, and to augment the Archer’s sight line.

I also think that a large part of the late-game bordeom a lot of players experience is because the combat gets far LESS interesting as the game goes on – completely counterintuitive. The interesting melee/ranged/siege dynamic present in the early game actually flattens out in the later game, since tanks get lumped in with infantry as essentially melee units, and the dynamic flattens to just melee/siege. You could also argue that the only effective siege in late vanilla games comes from naval units; the most effective positions to fire siege volleys from are easily overrun due to vanilla movement rates. By adding a ranged attack to heavy armor and AT guns, it expands the late game dynamic back out to an interesting early game feel with more powerful units.

Enough about this, my rationale for this change goes much deeper than just the Warrior-Archer relationship; you can see the full list of movement/sight/ranged combat below.

The Horsemen problem
Mounted units were far too easy to abuse, so much so that I’ve read many players have forgone the use of horsemen simply to make the game more enjoyable.
To mitigate the effectiveness of a Horseman spam strategy, all mounted units now require two horses each instead of one; horse resources are just far too plentiful on most maps, but allows a horseman-heavy strategy to still be a possibility in the opening stages IF you have plentiful Horse resources around. It becomes more of a choice that becomes available based on immediate resources than a default e4-e5 sort of thing.
I’ve also increased the cost of building a Horseman by 50%.

Siege Iron
I found it backwards that Catapults and Trebuchets require Iron but Cannons didn’t. Siege weapons require no iron. Consequently, in playtesting I’ve seen some AI strategies make FULL use of the lifting of this requirement.

CIv V did away with the notion of health, making city growth a function of balancing happiness and keeping the food supply up.
However, the key ‘food’ buildings were so weak that growing large populations proved nearly impossible for most civilizations, which effectively kills off any thoughts towards specializing cities.
In order to have specialists, you need to have that excess food on hand to support them without needing them to tend farms.
This creates an opportunity to make the food buildings worthwhile, and attempt to reintroduce the concept of building healthy cities by providing food bonuses.
I tweaked the three food buildings to instead provide the familiar food reserve mechanic from the start in the Granary, with additional bonuses in this regard coming with the other two.
These buildings also provide larger bonuses directly to the food intakes for each city. I tried a % yield buff, but it seems this only applies to the food -not- consumed by citizens.
The last of these bulidings, the Medical Lab, provides a 100% yield bonus across ALL your cities.
Researching Biology and Penicillin will both provide a +1 Food bonus to farms.

The culture bonuses from Wonders are weak as hell in vanilla Civ V, and makes cultural victories nearly impossible without doing some really cheesy stuff with puppet cities and holding all policy spending until the Freedom tree has been unlocked. Most wonders have been tweaked to give larger cultural bonuses, and they get progressively larger as the game goes on, making them the big deals they should rightly be.

Bismark’s special ability paid off way too often to consider it balanced. Pruned this back to 30% to see if it doesn’t make Germany a bit more manageable as an opponent, or a bit more difficult while playing it, by bringing their opening back into balance with other Civs.

Point-by-point list of game modifications:

Movement and Sight

ALL units:
- movement decreased by 1 tile from vanilla rates.
- base sight modified to 1 tile.

Scouts, Helicopter Gunship, Tank, AT Gun, Panzer, Modern Armor, Frigate, Ship of the Line, Caravel, Ironclad, Destroyer, Battleship, Submarine, Nuclear Submarine, Missile Cruiser, Carrier
- base sight modified/reverted to 2 tiles.

Fighter, Bomber, Jet Fighter, Stealth Bomber
- base sight modified to 3 tiles.

Tank, AT Gun, Panzer, Modern Armor
- Added ranged attack of two tiles, attack power 66% of normal.


ALL ‘mounted’ units:
- require 2 available horses instead of 1.

- production cost increased to 120[H].

- No longer requires Iron.

- No longer requres Iron.


- Yields +4 food.
- Holds 25% of food in reserve when new citizen is born, for local city.

- Yields +8 food.
- Holds 15% of food in reserve when new citizen is born, for local city (stacks with Granary).

Medical Lab:
- Holds 10% of food in reserve when new citizen is born, for local city (stacks with Granary and Hospital).
- +100% food yield bonus (calculated on unconsumed food) for ALL cities.

- Yields +2 culture.


- Yields +4 culture.

- Yields +4 culture.

Great Lighthouse:
- Yields +3 culture.

Great Library:
- Yields +3 culture.

- Yields +3 culture.

Hanging Gardens:
- Yields +3 culture.

Great Wall:
- Yields +3 culture.

Chichen Itza:
- Yields + 6 culture.

Machu Pichu:
- Yields +6 culture.

Porcelain Tower:
- Yields +3 culture.

Sistine Chapel:
- Yields +8 culture.

Taj Majal:
- Yields +8 culture.

Statue of Liberty:
-Yields +10 culture.

Cristo Redentor:
-Yields +10 culture.

Eiffel Tower:
-Yields +6 culture.

Sydney Opera House:
-Yields +6 culture.

- Farms yield +1 food.

- Farms yield +1 food.

- Trading posts yield +1 gold.

- Trading posts yield +1 gold.

Steam Power:
- Mines yield +1 production.


- Trait in which Bismark has chance to convert a defeated barbarian unit in a camp reduced to 30% (from 50%).

Nov 09, 2010, 02:26 AM
I haven't tried this mod, just read the changelist, and most of the changes look pretty cool...particularly the range attack for tanks, which are a bit underpowered in vanilla, compared to mech inf.

However I have to disagree with the movement/sight penalties you've implemented. Especially for naval units (are embarked units affected too?). You're practically rendering them useless.

I doubt this was not tested, as you mentioned. The 2 tile movement on land seems like a fundamental design choice which helps players and the AI arrange troops around. And 50% of the time you do have only 1 mp, due to rough terrain. Just guessing now, but it might cause me some frustration having just 1 movement in clear terrain and limited sight. Guess I'll have to try it though, to see how it plays.

Nov 09, 2010, 06:29 AM
I may have forgotten to write it in the version notes, but if I remember right, all the naval units have their original sight radius, or larger. Good point regardless.

I'm just starting to explore the consequences of the 1 tile base movement/sight, so I'm unsure if that will be a permanent edition to the mod. Would definitely appreciate some more feedback based on playtesting regarding that change.

Nov 09, 2010, 07:46 AM
Added the version notes as a spoiler to the OP.

Also neglected to note the following change:

- +25% production for melee and infantry (gun) units.

Nov 09, 2010, 05:11 PM
Created a github respository for this mod, in the case anybody's interested in collaborating on this. Fork it and get in touch with me. Github link in the OP.

Nov 10, 2010, 04:27 PM
I love how in a game with unbelievably rubbish unique abilities like the Ottoman one (oh, have a free crap ship once per game) and unbelievably awesome ones like the Greek ones (oh look, every city state in the game is my friend and I get +64 food per city and 200 culture a turn) and the Chinese one (I always win because my great generals rock and I get 5 extra gold per city per turn) the only change to a unique ability is Bismarck's "Oh what a large army of crap I have".

Bismarck isn't unbalanced, and even if he was, other civs have FAR more unbalanced UAs.

Your other changes look interesting though.

Nov 10, 2010, 09:44 PM
I love how in a game with unbelievably rubbish unique abilities like the Ottoman one (oh, have a free crap ship once per game) and unbelievably awesome ones like the Greek ones (oh look, every city state in the game is my friend and I get +64 food per city and 200 culture a turn) and the Chinese one (I always win because my great generals rock and I get 5 extra gold per city per turn) the only change to a unique ability is Bismarck's "Oh what a large army of crap I have".

Bismarck isn't unbalanced, and even if he was, other civs have FAR more unbalanced UAs.

Your other changes look interesting though.

Heh, fair enough. I planned to get to tweaking some of the other civs a bit at a later point; I think that was actually the first thing I mucked with when I started the mod. Seeing how easy it was to tweak that, I just started messing with other stuff and it snowballed. :P

In other news, I've made what I think is an interesting tweak to the Scout unit. If you drop a unit's combat value to 0, the game treats it as a non-combat classed unit, like Workers and Settlers. Applied to the Scout, it brings it out of the 1UPT equation when it comes to other combat units. Playtesting it now to see just how tricky scouting becomes with essentially defenseless Scout units...but if it plays well it might be a solution to all the griping I've read of late about AI Scouts causing massive traffic jams...

Nov 13, 2010, 03:35 PM
The Scout tweak mentioned above turned out to work quite nicely, I think. You have to be a bit more careful with the unit during early exploration, and allow them to be useful support units during the later game, particularly buffed, since they can move amongst a large group of combat units and augment their line of sight.

I'm currently considering the application of the same tweak to siege units. It would allow them to exist on the same tile as other combat units, making them powerful in concert with other ground forces, while making them extremely vulnerable if isolated - makes sense to me.

I've also been doing some sketching regarding an overhaul to the policy system. The general idea is this:

Offer players a wider range of choice from the beginning of the game. The current setup offers only a few narrowly defined useful paths through the policy tree, regardless of what victory type you're planning to achieve. All trees will be available from the start, however the availability of leaves further down each branch will be tied heavily into technological progress.
Retool branches to each have a general theme of buffing a particular game mechanic, such as production, food, science, etc, to a greater degree than currently. Get rid of branches that seem to be there only because someone decided there needed to be a 'Liberty' AND a 'Freedom' branch. (Puts on Duyba voice) 'Merica! Heh heh heh.
Introduce a mechanism that will allow you to wipe your policy tree and reconfigure it.

My draft revised policy branch list looks as follows currently:

Barbarism: *Mutually exclusive with ALL other branches.* Use to wipe the policy board clean.
Order: Base policy is prerequisite for all other branches. Offers happiness buffs.
Imperialism: *Mutually exclusive with Nationalism.* Buffs for large empires.
Nationalism: *Mutually exclusive with Imperialism.* Buffs for small empires.
Growth: Buffs on Food.
Industrialism: Buffs on Production.
Militarism: Buffs for combat and army support.
Rationalism: Buffs on Science.
Patronage: Buffs regarding city-states.
Commerce: Buffs on Gold.

I think there's probably room in the new scheme for another branch or two, but I'll tackle that in a later version. The Social Policy window is coded in a rather...inflexible manner, and I'm not sure if that's out of necessity or just poor craftsmanship.

Otherwise, the above will be in v.3, I'll drop it here as soon as it's ready.