View Full Version : Ideas from an anthropologist:
Nov 15, 2001, 07:22 PM
You know what would rock? If each civilization had itís own technological tree, units, and structures. Iím talking not a few, but completely different civilizations. Like in the real world. Ok, given there will be similarities with European nations, but there also should be major differences. Like an Inca civilization based on a mita economy (a little to much maybe- Iím a dreamer) but still, something that doesnít orientate every civilization around a Western model. I love civ3 (and loved civ 1 and 2), but I thought, given the ridiculous amount of money this game has and will generate, I figured they could have made it a bit moreÖ I donít knowÖ maybe just more.
Just a thought.
Nov 16, 2001, 01:10 AM
From one anthropologist to another, here here. Civ 3 takes first steps in this direction with the differences in culture and special units, but there ought to be much vaster differences. Some civs ought to be able to run smoother under certain governments as well.
Nov 16, 2001, 01:57 AM
I tried to do that with CivII. I got fustrated with trying to think up names for things, though; and it didn't help that I had tons of homework.
It's surprising how much stuff should've been in the game, but wasn't.
Nov 16, 2001, 02:14 AM
Well, civilizations may have their special tech trees, abilities and so on but you should not forget their geographic starting points.
In the game now, I hate to see an Indian culture harrassing me with elephants while their country is ranging from Scandinavia to Poland !
I guess we will have to take care of these two issues with scenarios when we are EVENTUALLY able to identify starting locations with a defined civ. That is a MUST for scenarii.
For standard games, I do not thing anyone needs different tech trees for it would make the game real slow, as unfair as the real world is and difficult to play.
In a scenario, especially if played for the few first times, for older times, you will be able to be more surprised and to have real advantages with specific tech trees. But with instant communications, they all end up kind of the same, except for geographical reasons (ressources, climate) that begin to appear in Civ III and cultural variations which in the game must be up to you to make.
Still the same issue here :
History vs Playability
Should you use real civilizations with their specifics (already knowing how it ended) or create new civilizations from scratch.
Nov 16, 2001, 04:42 AM
This is great -- I thought I was the only anthropologist here. I'm currently writing a short article on Civ3's use of the term 'culture,' the discorses it invokes and its successes and failures at incorporating cultural concepts into the mechanics of gameplay. It's just for Joystick101.org, not publication or anything; perhaps I'll post it here as well. By the way, you sould check out joystick101.org if you haven't already -- it's a great place for academic/intellectual discussion of computer/videogames.
J Fred Muggs
Nov 16, 2001, 02:24 PM
My wife (who plays) has the degree in Anthro in the family. Me, I was an Archaeo-Whore (Archaeo-Whore is some one that got paid for doing Archaeology) for a bunch of years, in the NorthEast USA. Different week different state it seemed like. Being on the road got to me and I no longer do it, didn't mind it when she was working with me. Always amazed me they gave me money for something I would have done for free. :D
Nov 16, 2001, 04:18 PM
I agree with you, LouLong, about the elephants. I did a quick fix for that. Use the CivEditor and make Ivory required for War Elephants. There aren't many elephants on the tundra! :) As soon as someone figures out how to add units with new graphics, I am going to create "Camelry" (not as effective as cavalry), so that desert based civs can still get in the game and have units available based on the area of the world the are located in on the map (rather than a preconceived notion of how that civ function(s/ed) on Earth).
Nov 16, 2001, 04:29 PM
from a programmer to the anthropologists...
are you mofo crazy? that's a lot of work.
civ 6, 2012.
Nov 16, 2001, 05:30 PM
from a programmer to the anthropologists...
Nov 16, 2001, 07:48 PM
To the programmer
Ya, but come on, this game was a lot of money, and is making more money than Iíll see in a life time (ok, given Iím an anthropologists so thatís not saying much), I expect it to be a lot of work, I expect it to kick $ss!!! Also, with all the modification Iíve seen so far, it seems that if such a thing were more easily modable, half these guys would have already done it. I agree making the original foundation of the game would be a lot of work, but for a game thatís already made millions, it better be. But I, and Iím sure the other anthropologists or historians, could sit down and within an hour or two sketch out new technological trees for these civs. Within a weekend, sketch out unit development. Of course balancing the game would be a major challenge, but again ITíS WORTH MILLIONS, the game programming should be challenging. It should be a statement that makes people say Holy @#CK!!!
Again, let me say that I already love the game. And Iím sure the mods will make me love it more. But after all the wait, after playing civ1 and civ2 all night long when I was suppose to be studying for the GREs, I would have liked to have seen more in civ3 (something that would add a few years to my dissertation process). Then again, I havenít heard if there is an upcoming addition or patch that opens up the mod world a bit more. I hope so.
Nov 18, 2001, 10:56 PM
The Indians should have come riding "woolly Mammoths"...j/king
I think if people had the time and the knowledge that this idea could bear some truely juicy fruit!
Firaxis had enough on their plate justifying UU never mind building a tech tree for each civ...that is for devotees!
Nov 18, 2001, 11:01 PM
Basically, this is an artwork issue -- the rules are all there, and it's easy enough to add units -- we just need to be able to add new animations for units (or even just a single graphic, a la Civ2), and we could do this ourselves.
With city improvements, I think we could do it already, although there's less variation in terms of what abilities could be assigned to a given building. Still, a lot could be done here -- some civs could start out with the ability to build some library type improvement, while not getting the market place until medaeval times, or vice versa. Some could have 2 movement units that don't require horses, etc., but since there's only one tech ladder, it'd have to be done circuitously, with each civ reaping different benefits from the same tech.
I think most civs would remain fairly distinct (with exceptions) until the industrial era, when you'd start to see some convergence; by the modern era things would be pretty much the same as they are in the game now.
But I don't think any mod guy's going to take on as big a project as this unless it's us anthropologists. I agree that this game could have delivered a lot more, in this department and others, particularly considering they already had so much of the game mechanics already finished when they started -- you'd think they could have afforded the artwork on a few dozen more units.
Why don't we start thinking up alternative units for particular civs, and submitting them here, along with alternative city improvement ideas? Try to keep it balanced for gameplay (however artificially), and holistic, one civ at a time. We shouldn't be afraid to change the fundamentals -- I think some wonders should not be universally accessible (but perhaps by a few civs?), for example -- but instead see how far we can push the rules. There are many unit types that haven't even been tried, like a 0 defense unit that can attack normally, or something that can both bombard and attack on land. Sky's the limit.
Let me know what you think.
Nov 19, 2001, 01:17 AM
Well as a modmaker, I'd love to hear the ideas :)
I'd probably have added a unit with 0 defense but can attack, but with 13 new units I have alot of things to do so more new units are lower on the list than they were.
However, about the unique tech tree. I definately think it should have been a possability added to the game, but I'd settle for the civ-specific function to be on things like buildings and governments in addition to units.
But you could do it with the units reasonably easily. Just Copy the unit, make the two units civ-specific, but make one come available with one technology and the other available with a different technology.
It would be far easier than adding a new unit because you could just skimp and leave all the civilopedia entrys alone and stick with the same graphics.
The best idea would be that they all appear at once when the tech is researched (easier to do), but alter their stats. So for instance Japanese Swordman would have 4 attack while everyone else gets 3, the French get +1 and +1 attack gunpowder units...you could basically supplant the UU system entirely and make the game far more civilization-centric!
Hmm...you know, I really like that idea. Gotta have a good base to work off of first, so I'll just work entirely on the LWC mod until it's filled itself out nicely.
But hey, I'd love to hear what you anthropolgists think about which civ should have what specialtys. Example: America has additional attack on aircraft, England has additional attack and defense with ships (not applied on modern ships), France has a bonus on saltpeter using units, Germany gets a bonus on tanks, etc.
Nov 19, 2001, 05:03 PM
Been following your graphics thread with interest Armor. I'm hoping for big things from your discussions. I'll plop down $100 on a better graphics editor if needed (maybe firaxis should just market theirs?). I've already done some substantial "mod"ing and hope to release it soon. But, due to the graphics issue, there are no units :( On the plus side, the change I made are not designed to make the game easier (ala remove/lessen corruption) ;)
What might satisfy what some in this thread have suggested about Civ specific techs, would be to make tech selection completely random -- i.e. you can't choose what to research, it's luck of the draw. There was a function for that in Alpha Centauri I believe, which you could turn on or off. Other than that, buy a big book on C++, buy a case of coca-cola, and ... "hello world!"
Nov 19, 2001, 09:27 PM
It completely eliminates a very large portion of the game, which is trading for technology. Where do Iriquios forest fighters fit in with samurai? There wouldn't be any way to get advances save discovering them yourself.
Nov 20, 2001, 12:26 AM
I feel like 75% of my posting here is clearing up misinterpretations of previous posts, although I honestly don't know how to be any clearer in the first place.
Regarding reduction of corruption, it is a sadly common misconception that lower corruption levels for all players result in an easier game. By that argument, one could say that changing the points garnered for making a basket in basketball from one to two made basketball twice as easy. If anything, I find the game more challenging with lowered corruption, since the faster pace of the game leaves fewer opportunities to correct mistakes. But I understand that some prefer a slow and tedious game, and they can stick to the original rules with my blessing! I pray to God this topic doesn't come up again.
Regarding changing the tech tree, I don't know who proposed this, but as far as I can see it's impossible without severely hacking the program files themselves. Certainly, it was never on my agenda -- as I noted previously, since that isn't an option, the best way to go about this would be to have different units and improvements available to different cultures when they discover the 'same' technology, effectively allowing for real-world variations in the results of tech research without creating separate trees.
Thus the Chinese, who invented gunpowder, might at first only be allowed to make fireworks with the technology (which is what they, in fact, used it for). The Fireworks Festival could be an improvement or Small Wonder only available to the Chinese at that point, perhaps yielding culture and/or happiness. Europeans (specifically the Portugese/Spanish), on the other hand, invented muskets and cannons after appropriating the secrets of gunpowder from the Chinese, so they might be allowed slightly earlier access to these units (others might get them after one more step down the tech ladder). Likewise, the Chinese (or perhaps all East Asian civs?) might be allowed access to Sun Zu's and the Great Wall a little earlier than Western and Middle-Eastern civs. All of this would have to be balanced for equable gameplay, and would be relatively easy to do with the current editor.
And, of course, we should also do a lot of civ-specific units (not yet possible graphically, due to the unusual .flc animation format used by Fraxis) and city improvements, eliminating all the universal units that weren't really universal, and replacing them with cultural-historically specific alternatives. To make it less daunting a prospect, perhaps stopping at the level of cultural groupings (e.g. AmerIndian, GrecoRoman, European, etc.) would be appropriate, at least at first.
Nov 20, 2001, 04:48 PM
Am I wrong or didn't SMAC have different tech trees for each faction (with some common units), with some advances only acquirable through trade? If so, I don't think making a different tech tree for each civilization is that cumbersome -- or is it?
It would be neat to have even a few unique techs per Civilization, acquirable only through trade. It is a little silly to think that everyone will think of everything eventually given enough time, and it would make trade all the more necessary.
I should fire up my old copy of SMAC and have a look....I may be wrong...
Nov 20, 2001, 08:58 PM
You are wrong...maybe you are thinking of starcraft :)