View Full Version : Dear Fixaris: In this tactical game, are we EVER going to get canals?!


vra379971
Feb 21, 2012, 04:38 AM
Why should we have canals?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canal#Ancient_canals

I rest my case.

====

Make them cost a lot of maintenance. Make them take plenty of turns to build/fix. Make them be only 1 hex at start and get possibly longer even....but give us canals!

It would add so much to the game to be able to do this, and teaching the AI how to do it either should not be overly difficult.

Thoughts?

tithin
Feb 21, 2012, 04:42 AM
Why should we have canals?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canal#Ancient_canals

I rest my case.

====

Make them cost a lot of maintenance. Make them take plenty of turns to build/fix. Make them be only 1 hex at start and get possibly longer even....but give us canals!

It would add so much to the game to be able to do this, and teaching the AI how to do it either should not be overly difficult.

Thoughts?

Aqueducts

steave435
Feb 21, 2012, 05:08 AM
How would this "add so much to the game"?

vra379971
Feb 21, 2012, 05:37 AM
The ability to make land squares traverse able by both sea and land at the cost of productivity, and possibly a gold bonus, is an innovation players have wanted for years.

Thorburne
Feb 21, 2012, 05:50 AM
How would this "add so much to the game"?

It would certainly add another strategic layer to the game. If you think in terms of the Panama Canal or the Suez, they have been very important in cutting short the travel time for ships when moving from one Ocean to another. They increase trade and maneuverability.

In game, they can give a base trade bonus, plus they would make it important for players who control them so that others are less likely to attack. Make it so that only friendly units can use them (during war, while an enemy can enter your territory, they would have to control the closest city in order to use the canal). Maybe they can even be tolled for non-enemy but friendly units (cost 1 gold for ship to cross which transfers from the friendly to the controlling player).

Camikaze
Feb 21, 2012, 05:51 AM
Wasn't there art from before vanilla release that showed the Panama Canal?

CivilizedPlayer
Feb 21, 2012, 05:53 AM
Agreed. Use them for trade routes and moving sea and land units. It would change the game, a lot, for the better.

Monthar
Feb 21, 2012, 05:54 AM
Just bring back the ability of forts allowing naval units to enter the tile like it was in Civ 4.

anandus
Feb 21, 2012, 05:58 AM
Canals could be an interesting idea as alternative trade routes (only in case of harbor to harbor) and as a means of transporting naval units.

But even more so, instead of canals I'd like to see rivers being used as trade routes. Maybe with some sort of 'river port'-building.

Just bring back the ability of forts allowing naval units to enter the tile like it was in Civ 4.I found that a really silly exploit, personally.

Monthar
Feb 21, 2012, 06:08 AM
If they limited that feature to only those tiles that touch coastal water tiles then at most we'd get 2 tile long canals linking one ocean to another. Using forts for this would be no different than adding a new canal tile improvement, because you're still sacrificing other improvements to build the fort on that tile.

Mu'min
Feb 21, 2012, 06:52 AM
I would like to see canals too, darn useful for linking up bodies of water, and allowing cities next to enclosed seas access to the wider ocean.
The trouble is there are two types of canal- the big sea vessel ones like Pamama and Suez and little ones that take narrow boats.

The little ones could be presented by a building, buildable only in river or lake side cities, this could give a little production boost and lots of gold.

The big ones could be a step between roads and railways, and allow naval movement over land, boost land movement, cost 2-3 gold per tile, take ages to build and only can be built on flat land next to a water tile.

The_J
Feb 21, 2012, 07:10 AM
Wasn't there art from before vanilla release that showed the Panama Canal?

:yup: here (http://taylorfischerconcepts.blogspot.com/2010/09/blog-post.html).



A damn expensive improvement for work boats, which needs at least two land tiles adjacent to it would probably be a good idea.

Rex_Mundi
Feb 21, 2012, 07:20 AM
How would you deal with combat:
If a ship ends it turn in a canal and is attacked by a mele unit?
If a ship ends it turn in a canal and is attacked by a ranged unit?
If a mele ship attacks a unit standing on the canal tile?

How would you deal with it in regards to embarked units, would they stay embarked or pass through?

How would you deal with 1UPT, would a ship block a millitary unit or civilian unit?
Can a worker replace the canal with a trade post while a ship is in the canal?

I would really love to get canals, but I see alot of issues that needs to be decided.

Louis XXIV
Feb 21, 2012, 07:57 AM
The Grand Canal of China was closer to a road system than a modern canal as far as game implementation goes (it was in-land, was for quicker transportation, and connected rivers, which, in civ terms, we can't navigate). However, that's not the point about whether there should be modern canals.

In previous games, I found it very easy to work around this by just building a city on a one tile gap between land and water. However, there are two things in Civ5 that make this more difficult. First, the switch from squares to hexes makes the number of times with a one tile gap much smaller. A lot of the time, it seems to be a two tile gap. Second, the minimum distances between cities means you can't string cities through in-land lakes to reach the other ocean.

That being said, what I don't want to see is something like a 5+ tile canal connecting distant landmasses. Canals connecting oceans have historically been on very narrow isthmuses (the equivalent of one tile connection), in which case a city would be sufficient.

I think the fair compromise is this. Allow canals to be built on grassland when there is no more than a two space gap between oceans (for these purposes allow lakes to count too). Make them expensive and don't let them get built until an industrial era tech (to represent modern canals like the Suez and Panama).
ETA: To address the logistics. I would say this. Any ship in a canal would become automatically very vulnerable to ground units (and, obviously, they could be attacked). Also, any ground unit can essentially "shut down" the canal, i.e., block ships from even passing them if the two sides are belligerents.

magzhi
Feb 21, 2012, 08:44 AM
How would you deal with combat:
If a ship ends it turn in a canal and is attacked by a mele unit?
If a ship ends it turn in a canal and is attacked by a ranged unit?
If a mele ship attacks a unit standing on the canal tile?

How would you deal with it in regards to embarked units, would they stay embarked or pass through?

How would you deal with 1UPT, would a ship block a millitary unit or civilian unit?
Can a worker replace the canal with a trade post while a ship is in the canal?

I would really love to get canals, but I see alot of issues that needs to be decided.

they just need to deal with it in the same way they did it in civ4.
If ship is attacked by melee unit it insta dies.
Melee ship cannot attack forts.


As of other problems u could automaticly disembark units.
Make a law that ship cannot finish its turn in a fort.

danieladler
Feb 21, 2012, 08:52 AM
There could be bridges as well, over lake and ocean tiles. lets say that a bridge could be constructed over max 2 water tiles. that would be something. they could even throw a special bridge in like a wonder.

steave435
Feb 21, 2012, 09:04 AM
It would certainly add another strategic layer to the game. If you think in terms of the Panama Canal or the Suez, they have been very important in cutting short the travel time for ships when moving from one Ocean to another. They increase trade and maneuverability.

In game, they can give a base trade bonus, plus they would make it important for players who control them so that others are less likely to attack. Make it so that only friendly units can use them (during war, while an enemy can enter your territory, they would have to control the closest city in order to use the canal). Maybe they can even be tolled for non-enemy but friendly units (cost 1 gold for ship to cross which transfers from the friendly to the controlling player).

Ah, he linked specifically ancient canals, described as being for irrigation to improve farm yields, so I thought that was what he was after. Canals actually use able by ships is more interesting, but I don't think canals for war ships are very realistic either (not that realism matters much, but he was trying to connect it with that). I could be wrong, but I think those early canals were generally only large enough for very small ships.

Snoopaloop
Feb 21, 2012, 10:46 AM
Would these canals be worker improvements that tie up your worker for x amount of turns? Maybe they could be worker wonders. At a certian tech (industrial era) the worker gets the ability to build a canal. First civ to complete it gets the 1 - 2 tile canal, the other civs get the dried up canal (pre-release art The_J linked).

Maybe to make it more even there could be the Panama canal as a 1 tile worker wonder, and the Suez as a 2 tile canal wonder. (I don't know which is longer I just chose names randomly there).

Maybe they could do that same and have a Worker Wonder tunnel through 1 - 2 mountain range tiles eventhough this is hardly ever a problem on most maps? (Can anyone send me a PM about what map has great large mountain ranges on it, I'm playing way to may flat worlds..thanks.)

Anyways, just thinking as I type...

EDIT: As Danieladler mentioned, there could be bridge improvments as well. I think those would make interesting worker wonders as well.

Revoran
Feb 21, 2012, 10:57 AM
I'm going to +1 this. This would make so many things so much better, especially for TSL games which is what I mostly play.

Louis XXIV
Feb 21, 2012, 12:16 PM
There could be bridges as well, over lake and ocean tiles. lets say that a bridge could be constructed over max 2 water tiles. that would be something. they could even throw a special bridge in like a wonder.

Bridges have been specifically mentioned. There are serious graphical concerns.

I know scale isn't something that's consistent, but you often see one tile gaps representing gaps between continents and islands, like the English Channel that would be bizarre to have a bridge. Plus, with embarkment, I don't think it's all that necessary.

Thorburne
Feb 21, 2012, 12:29 PM
The Grand Canal of China was closer to a road system than a modern canal as far as game implementation goes (it was in-land, was for quicker transportation, and connected rivers, which, in civ terms, we can't navigate). However, that's not the point about whether there should be modern canals.

In previous games, I found it very easy to work around this by just building a city on a one tile gap between land and water. However, there are two things in Civ5 that make this more difficult. First, the switch from squares to hexes makes the number of times with a one tile gap much smaller. A lot of the time, it seems to be a two tile gap. Second, the minimum distances between cities means you can't string cities through in-land lakes to reach the other ocean.

That being said, what I don't want to see is something like a 5+ tile canal connecting distant landmasses. Canals connecting oceans have historically been on very narrow isthmuses (the equivalent of one tile connection), in which case a city would be sufficient.

I think the fair compromise is this. Allow canals to be built on grassland when there is no more than a two space gap between oceans (for these purposes allow lakes to count too). Make them expensive and don't let them get built until an industrial era tech (to represent modern canals like the Suez and Panama).
ETA: To address the logistics. I would say this. Any ship in a canal would become automatically very vulnerable to ground units (and, obviously, they could be attacked). Also, any ground unit can essentially "shut down" the canal, i.e., block ships from even passing them if the two sides are belligerents.

I'd say that is a pretty fair implementation. I don't think that they necessarily have to be expenssive. There can also be earlier canals, but they would be more limited (i.e. only one tile sections, limit the ships that can go through, etc.)

Also, since they are on land, being pillaged by land units renders them useless until repaired.

Ah, he linked specifically ancient canals, described as being for irrigation to improve farm yields, so I thought that was what he was after. Canals actually use able by ships is more interesting, but I don't think canals for war ships are very realistic either (not that realism matters much, but he was trying to connect it with that). I could be wrong, but I think those early canals were generally only large enough for very small ships.

Trust me... even the largest of ships (Aircraft Carrier) can fit through the Suez. I've been through there on a Carrier, so I know.

vra379971
Feb 21, 2012, 01:02 PM
I'd say that is a pretty fair implementation. I don't think that they necessarily have to be expenssive. There can also be earlier canals, but they would be more limited (i.e. only one tile sections, limit the ships that can go through, etc.)

Also, since they are on land, being pillaged by land units renders them useless until repaired.



Trust me... even the largest of ships (Aircraft Carrier) can fit through the Suez. I've been through there on a Carrier, so I know.

Indeed. The 5th Fleet passed through the Suez recently. Seems realistic.

In terms of implementation, I'd say start with 1 hex with engineering, and then scale up to 3 hex max by modern age.

Revoran
Feb 21, 2012, 01:09 PM
Bridges have been specifically mentioned. There are serious graphical concerns.

I know scale isn't something that's consistent, but you often see one tile gaps representing gaps between continents and islands, like the English Channel that would be bizarre to have a bridge. Plus, with embarkment, I don't think it's all that necessary.

Actually, the shortest point between Great Britain and mainland Europe (France) is around 34 kilometers (21 miles). There are bridges over water in the world longer than this.

I'm not sure whether it would be practical to build a bridge across the strait of Dover due to ocean currents etc, but going by pure distance it's not that unbelievable.

dexters
Feb 21, 2012, 04:02 PM
Canal spam is a problem. I think having them keep it as a world wonder (Panama canal) with perhaps a small wonder (Suez Canal) would keep things limited. You dont want a human player using things like Canals to their advantage, and it's one of those late additions to the game that will most assuredly get very little AI testing, so it will be broken in favour of humans as is with many XP 'vanity' features that devs like to add as fanservice.

steave435
Feb 21, 2012, 05:15 PM
Trust me... even the largest of ships (Aircraft Carrier) can fit through the Suez. I've been through there on a Carrier, so I know.

I said early canals. The Suez is WAY bigger then it was even a hundred years ago when it was new, and that's still a few thousand years after the game starts.

vra379971
Feb 21, 2012, 05:31 PM
I said early canals. The Suez is WAY bigger then it was even a hundred years ago when it was new, and that's still a few thousand years after the game starts.

Early canals fit early boats. *shrug*

To keep things flexible, and address spam usage, you could have one per civ Canal project, which would give every civ X hexes based on the maptype and mapsize. Then, a late game wonder which would add more to one civ.

Thorburne
Feb 21, 2012, 06:22 PM
I said early canals. The Suez is WAY bigger then it was even a hundred years ago when it was new, and that's still a few thousand years after the game starts.

As vra379971 pointed out, earlier ships would not need "Big" canals... they can grow with the times.

I disagree with making them wonders. It just wouldn't make sense. I say make it an improvement that is limited to a single tile that must touch water. That way you couldn't canal across an entire continent (at the widest point).

Asderfut
Feb 21, 2012, 10:32 PM
i don't think making restrictions on the distance from water tiles is realistic. It would be more plausible to say that it needs to be built on flat land and has like 5 gpt maintenance.

Glassmage
Feb 22, 2012, 12:17 AM
I agree with the idea above. Doing that would give players advantage in mobility but a hit in the much needed gold. The wonders idea is too limited.

MARDUK80
Feb 22, 2012, 01:03 AM
A damn expensive improvement for work boats, which needs at least two land tiles adjacent to it would probably be a good idea.

This is very good idea! They should give work boats some terraforming abilities. So you could turn coastal water tiles into land tiles. Thus creating land bridges to nearby coastal islands and to other continents (SMAC style). This would give interesting new strategical opportunities and could be used to make new city spots on small land masses.

Though it should be very expensive and time consuming to do. At first I thought this would be one of Netherlands new abilities, but it seems it is ability to improve marsh tiles. Terraforming should be available to all Civs and work boats are the best way, I think. Earlier I suggested that perhaps in city screen you could select water tiles and then transform them to land tiles (much like you buy tiles with gold).

Canal improvement should also be a work boat terraforming ability. Loved the forts ability in Civ4 and have been missing something similar from CiV. Just make it very expensive, it takes a long time to build one and max. two tiles long. Could be connected with cities though: water-canal-city-canal-water or water-canal-canal-water. :)

Louis XXIV
Feb 22, 2012, 07:29 AM
i don't think making restrictions on the distance from water tiles is realistic. It would be more plausible to say that it needs to be built on flat land and has like 5 gpt maintenance.

While you might technically be right, I'm pretty typically conservative about adding new features out of fear that they'll be abused. While an artificial restriction is unrealistic, so is any result that features over-long canals (of ocean depth, I'm not talking about the Erie Canal).

forty2j
Feb 22, 2012, 08:12 AM
I like this idea.

When I was playing a conquer-everything (Total Domination, I guess) game on the Earth map, I built a city on the 1-hex isthmus where the Panama Canal would be for the express purpose of getting my east coast-based navy to Asia.

I'd go with high maintenance rather than national wonder as the limiting factor though.

What if maintenance = c * 2^n, where n is the length of the canal in tiles? Constant c could vary by map size.. say 16 for tiny, 0.5 for huge.

craig123
Feb 22, 2012, 08:20 AM
Just say that canals can only be built on tiles that are adjacent to the coast. It's not particularly "artificial" and would limit their length to two tiles.

Gedrin
Feb 22, 2012, 08:36 AM
Well... I play with mods... lots of mods... The CivV I play is vastly different from out of the box... and besides... IMO the base CiV is with the Unofficial Patch and VEM mod applied [I mean many of Firaxis' official patches come from this mod... I think it was part of the business model kinda like "well we cant balance it nearly as well as the player base can so lets wait for them to do it for us and...", but I digress]

Point is I have been playing of late with
UPDATE Defines SET Value = 0 WHERE name = 'MIN_CITY_RANGE';

Its fun and far more interesting when it comes time to attack a civ that has clustered 3 cities together. So many ranged attacks from those cities... losses are high that is for sure.

Louis XXIV
Feb 22, 2012, 09:34 AM
Just say that canals can only be built on tiles that are adjacent to the coast. It's not particularly "artificial" and would limit their length to two tiles.

That's an excellent way to do it.

forty2j
Feb 22, 2012, 10:46 AM
Just say that canals can only be built on tiles that are adjacent to the coast. It's not particularly "artificial" and would limit their length to two tiles.

Anyone know how many tiles across Panama is on a Huge earth map?

(Limiting it by tile size doesn't seem like it would scale terribly well. On one map you may not be able to cross Panama, and on another map you may be able to cut a vertical canal through Australia.)

craig123
Feb 22, 2012, 11:04 AM
Anyone know how many tiles across Panama is on a Huge earth map?

(Limiting it by tile size doesn't seem like it would scale terribly well. On one map you may not be able to cross Panama, and on another map you may be able to cut a vertical canal through Australia.)

But the same issue arises for ranged combat and city placement, and these don't scale with map size. I don't see it being a problem.

Louis XXIV
Feb 22, 2012, 11:10 AM
Anyone know how many tiles across Panama is on a Huge earth map?

Panama is one tile. As is the Suez. If we go both Earth Maps alone, Canals are unnecessary since they can be adequately represented by just building a city on the spot.

Thorburne
Feb 22, 2012, 08:05 PM
Panama is one tile. As is the Suez. If we go both Earth Maps alone, Canals are unnecessary since they can be adequately represented by just building a city on the spot.

Correct me if I am wrong, but in Civ 5, aren't cities limited to the city owner entering? I think in Civ 4 (been a while since I played that) you could enter a friendly city not owned by you, but I don't believe that is the case with Civ 5, making Cities as Canals only viable for the owner.

Louis XXIV
Feb 22, 2012, 08:13 PM
Can't you pass through the city with open borders? You certainly can't end your turn there, but I believe you can pass through.

stfoskey12
Feb 22, 2012, 08:26 PM
What if maintenance = c * 2^n, where n is the length of the canal in tiles? Constant c could vary by map size.. say 16 for tiny, 0.5 for huge.

I like that idea.

kurtkage
Feb 22, 2012, 08:46 PM
You can pass through with open boarders with a ship for sure been watching the AI do it with my canal in my current game, but Not an embarked land unit.

Louis XXIV
Feb 22, 2012, 08:55 PM
Interesting. I suppose that's one difference. Although they can always just disembark and reembark if possible (which it might not be).

vra379971
Feb 23, 2012, 08:30 AM
I like this idea.

When I was playing a conquer-everything (Total Domination, I guess) game on the Earth map, I built a city on the 1-hex isthmus where the Panama Canal would be for the express purpose of getting my east coast-based navy to Asia.

I'd go with high maintenance rather than national wonder as the limiting factor though.

What if maintenance = c * 2^n, where n is the length of the canal in tiles? Constant c could vary by map size.. say 16 for tiny, 0.5 for huge.

The challenge for that is you have to think about how the AI will handle it as well. Will the above work with humans? Oh yes. Will it work with AI......

forty2j
Feb 23, 2012, 11:51 AM
The challenge for that is you have to think about how the AI will handle it as well. Will the above work with humans? Oh yes. Will it work with AI......

I'd imagine that there would be two factors for the AI to consider:
- Economic - what trade route or toll opportunities does this open up?
- Military - how many movement points would this save from nearby coastal cities (where navies would be built) to a planned target?

If you could convert the movement points to an equivalent gold amount, then you can come up with a conclusion on whether building the canal is cost-effective. Getting it to a gold # would let it use the same decision tree it uses for deciding whether to build a road.

dexters
Feb 23, 2012, 12:49 PM
Panama is one tile. As is the Suez. If we go both Earth Maps alone, Canals are unnecessary since they can be adequately represented by just building a city on the spot.

There can still be value to a 1 tile canal just from the fact there are structural/empire wide costs to adding 1 more city to your empire. Oftentimes, you fan out and settle your cities and later discover the narrow strip of land next to one of your cities is actually a crucial shortcut if you could just turn it into a canal. It's not so easy to settle a new city if there's another one closeby. Not being able to amend that issue is what has caused the calls for canals.

Civ3 explored and abondoned the idea of colonies/outposts/radar towers that I think should be explored agian. Upgrades along those lines should be the next step for the franchise to take.

Cities should have a specific purpose - population centres, areas of commerce, research.

That doesn't mean some of its functionality - like allowing naval units to move into the tile it is sitting on, acting as a stationary bombardment tower, shouldn't be offloaded to other tile improvements. There is room for tile improvements to take some of the functionality of a city.

My idea is that Forts should have independent bombard capabilities, and along those lines, act like a city to allow ships to pass through them or dock inside them and heal when built next to water. This means if a fort is built on a choke area, you have a canal.

Granted they should COST something to maintain and limits placed on how many can be built to avoid abuse, but I just don't neccessarily agree with the 'just build a city to do X' argument because it discourages exploration of creative solutions to oft requested vanity features like canals, or oft ignored improvements, like forts.

MaximusK
Feb 23, 2012, 02:28 PM
But even more so, instead of canals I'd like to see rivers being used as trade routes. Maybe with some sort of 'river port'-building.


I think this could be solved simply by redesigning maps.

There needs to be a map out there that is scripted to include a series of snaky 1-2 tile across water tiles emptying into larger lakes or oceans. In this case the harbor should work as a river port. Of course this might lead to battleships and submarines up river, oh well.

dexters
Feb 23, 2012, 02:32 PM
I think this could be solved simply by redesigning maps.

There needs to be a map out there that is scripted to include a series of snaky 1-2 tile across water tiles emptying into larger lakes or oceans. In this case the harbor should work as a river port. Of course this might lead to battleships and submarines up river, oh well.

Wouldn't be a problem if my related suggestion (see the thread about navies) is adopted.

Just allow people to build ships in-land and ship them accross their road network to a port city.

It is not uncommon in pangea/larger maps to build an empire and never actually own a port that is your own (native) city or unpuppeted conquered one, due to the extra structural cost to the civ of adding +1 city, settled or unpuppeted.

This would also create more strategic choices in terms of warfare on in-land lakes, seas, where it would be unprofitable to dedicate a port just to build ships. In most cases, player controlled ports would be ocean facing to allow ships access to the largest body of water.

Venger
Feb 23, 2012, 09:14 PM
I see little use for Canals - want a canal? Build a city on the single tile that conjoins two bodies of water. I wouldn't object to a fort serving this purpose, as long as they couldn't be stringed together to make a 5 fort wide canal. That'd just be silly.

I have in many a Civ game moved a city a hex over in order to serve as a bridge between two water bodies. This still works, and is likely enough. Anything wider is not really sensible in this game.

Helmling
Feb 24, 2012, 12:14 AM
We can already do canals like the Panama canal: find isthmus, place city, canal.

forty2j
Feb 24, 2012, 08:41 AM
We can already do canals like the Panama canal: find isthmus, place city, canal.

RTFT :)

Problems with using cities instead of canals:
- Location may not be ideal. E.g. perhaps a 2-tile canal would be more beneficial 3 tiles closer than the 1-tile narrow isthmus location.
- Overhead associated with the city. City's location is likely to be suboptimal, making it a happiness, maintenance, and cultural/SP drain.
- Embarked units of friendly nations cannot pass though city, even with open borders.

Canals also open up new gameplay possibilities, as they could be a source of income (via "tolls" or some gpt formula based on usefulness, and/or used in trade routes).

vra379971
Feb 24, 2012, 09:05 AM
Not to mention the fact that cities cost polices.

Thorburne
Feb 24, 2012, 08:24 PM
RTFT :)

Problems with using cities instead of canals:
- Location may not be ideal. E.g. perhaps a 2-tile canal would be more beneficial 3 tiles closer than the 1-tile narrow isthmus location.
- Overhead associated with the city. City's location is likely to be suboptimal, making it a happiness, maintenance, and cultural/SP drain.
- Embarked units of friendly nations cannot pass though city, even with open borders.

Canals also open up new gameplay possibilities, as they could be a source of income (via "tolls" or some gpt formula based on usefulness, and/or used in trade routes).

Not to mention the fact that cities cost polices.

Excellent points!!!

Take that canal haters! :D