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Old Jan 03, 2011, 09:13 PM   #1
DarkSchneider
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Does the Civ V tech tree even make sense?

I was just reading another post about the silliness, of the Civ V tech tree, and it got me to thinking about comparing the Civ V tech tree to the original Civ I. The most significant technological advancement in Civ I (and possibly Civ V) is the Railroad, so I thought I good place to start would be the advancements required to get that.

In Civ I, to get the Railroad, you needed (working backwards): Steam Engine, Bridge Building, Physics, Invention, Iron Working, Alphabet, Mathematics, Navigation, Engineering, Literacy, Bronze Working, Masonry, Mapmaking, Astronomy, The Wheel, Construction, Writing, Code of Laws, Mysticism, Currency, Ceremonial Burial.

Of those, only Astronomy, Mysticism and Ceremonial Burial feel out of place, since the eventual development of the Railroad could have occured without them.

In Civ V we have, as a requirement for Railroad, every Ancient, Classical, and Medieval Technology, in addition to every Renaissance Era technology with the exception of Fertilizer, Metallurgy, Rifling and Archaeology. Which means the following technologies are responsible for the Railroad in the Civ V tech tree: Acoustics, Astronomy, Gunpowder, Theology, Chivalry, Civil Service, Optics, Philosophy, Horseback Riding, Trapping, Calender, Sailing, Animal Husbandry and Archery.

Really does that even make sense? How do any of those contribute to the understanding needed to build a railroad? Why can't a railroad exist in a world without Religion, Weapons or Horses?

The other thing that bugs me about the Civ V is that I inevitably get to a point where the entire scientific advancement of my Civilization is bottlenecked at ... Acoustics.
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Old Jan 03, 2011, 10:40 PM   #2
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The biggest problem I have with the tech tree in Civ 5 aren't really the techs them self's, but how linear the tech tree is.

For example, it isn't possible to go straight for the nuclear techs to obtain nuclear weapons faster then normal at the expense of falling behind in other techs, you are pretty much just required to research every tech before you can advance to the more advanced ones and that takes away a lot of the strategy. Not to mention that it makes each civ feel more or less the same in terms of technology, you will rarely see armies with outdated infantry but advanced tanks or state of the art air forces supported by WW 2 era navies. Every civ is pretty much on the same level of tech unless it falls behind for whatever reason. It almost feels like you are researching era's Age of Empire's 2 style rather then individual techs.

Last edited by hardcore_gamer; Jan 03, 2011 at 10:44 PM.
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Old Jan 04, 2011, 12:14 AM   #3
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I agree with your thoughts, but I do wonder how odd prereqs can be totally avoided when you're talking about Ancient -> Modern techs. The tree is pretty long at that point.
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Old Jan 04, 2011, 01:30 AM   #4
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I kinda like that. I feel it simulates the actual path of nations, rather than being able to make massive leaps of logic and common sense (no, Hunting isn't strictly -necessary- to understand Nuclear Fission, but really, are you going to be able to understand the latter without being able to understand the former?). Plus, each tech is now useful-ish, so you don't have the Archery or Theology miss-outs like you did in CivIV.

Also, I never liked -having- to tech Alphabet as the Chinese.
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Old Jan 05, 2011, 08:44 PM   #5
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I think the best way to make the tech tree is to keep it completely logical in its interdependencies, but to keep the research times so that it is advantageous to research less complicated technology earlier. That way players can bee-line if they have a specific strategy, but are still encouraged to take a more well-rounded approach.
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Old Jan 05, 2011, 09:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkSchneider View Post
I think the best way to make the tech tree is to keep it completely logical in its interdependencies, but to keep the research times so that it is advantageous to research less complicated technology earlier. That way players can bee-line if they have a specific strategy, but are still encouraged to take a more well-rounded approach.
But then you'll need to balance the GS again! The easier you make it to beeline something, the more dangerously imbalanced the Great Scientists become.
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Old Jan 06, 2011, 05:48 AM   #7
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But then you'll need to balance the GS again! The easier you make it to beeline something, the more dangerously imbalanced the Great Scientists become.
I think I would make the great scientists do something completely different than they do now. Actually, I think I would do that for all of the great people. If the great scientist still researches things, there should be a cap on teh total number of beakers he can provide.
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Old Jan 06, 2011, 06:11 AM   #8
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I've never "liked" the Civ tech trees. I think any tech should be researchable at any time, but techs should give bonuses to research in order to make acquiring a tech feasible.

Like, 4000 BC, researching Satellites should take like 5,000 turns. But, by the time you have Rockets, you're getting a huge % bonus to research toward Satellites, bringing its generic research time somewhere around 12-20 turns.

This way, there's no path you MUST take. If you've just dusted off all the Classical techs and you want to get Gunpowder, you could go for it, though it might take 45-60 turns... making it a stupid choice when Renaissance techs have been reduced to a handful of turns by the bonuses from your Classical techs.

Great Scientists should add huge % bonuses to science research in the empire for 10-20 turns, simulating a lifelong influence on the nation's research. So, popping them could either give you a tile of +Science (like the GS in CiV) or a Scienctific Golden Age (we could call it a Paradigm Shift)

...hm... that was all off the cuff... extending the idea out, Generals could be popped for an empire-wide combat bonus, like a Military Golden Age (Age of Conquest). Merchants a gold boost (Economic Boom). Artists a Culture boost (Renaissance). Etc.
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Old Jan 06, 2011, 06:32 AM   #9
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Harvetsmoon, That is possibly the best idea ever for a tech tree. Kudos to you sir.
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Old Jan 06, 2011, 06:32 AM   #10
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You're going to build satellites without metal? I'm guessing you'll figure out a thing or two about mathematics on the way, too.
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Old Jan 06, 2011, 06:45 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hardcore_gamer View Post
The biggest problem I have with the tech tree in Civ 5 aren't really the techs them self's, but how linear the tech tree is.

For example, it isn't possible to go straight for the nuclear techs to obtain nuclear weapons faster then normal at the expense of falling behind in other techs, you are pretty much just required to research every tech before you can advance to the more advanced ones and that takes away a lot of the strategy. Not to mention that it makes each civ feel more or less the same in terms of technology, you will rarely see armies with outdated infantry but advanced tanks or state of the art air forces supported by WW 2 era navies. Every civ is pretty much on the same level of tech unless it falls behind for whatever reason. It almost feels like you are researching era's Age of Empire's 2 style rather then individual techs.
The problem derives from the fact that there just aren't enough techs. Too few techs made them have a very narrow tech tree, which made beelines very powerful and deep, which forced them to add dependencies, which made it so that you pretty much had to complete an era to move to the next, which gave everything a very linear feel.

More techs with less dependencies would go a long way to adding strategic depth to the game.
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Old Jan 06, 2011, 11:55 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harvestmoon View Post
I've never "liked" the Civ tech trees. I think any tech should be researchable at any time, but techs should give bonuses to research in order to make acquiring a tech feasible.

Like, 4000 BC, researching Satellites should take like 5,000 turns. But, by the time you have Rockets, you're getting a huge % bonus to research toward Satellites, bringing its generic research time somewhere around 12-20 turns.
This is something fundamental to civ games. All research is very teleological, a completely defined end goal and solution, and comes in discrete steps. Real world, it's pretty blind, you can have a goal, but the path reaching it is less than definite, there's always alternate ways of reaching it. Often research paths lead to deadends, but they can also become steps for other technologies
With the satellites example. Having that as a goal would mean that the caveman looking at the sky must know a priori what space is, and the significance or satellites. In going for this goal, you'd develop the interim technologies, rocketry, physics and all the interim techs on the typical civ tree. It's the same as setting a research goal, really. The steps in developing each interim tech add up to the 5000 turns
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Old Jan 06, 2011, 01:24 PM   #13
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It's really more of a tech ladder. You don't branch off; you simply climb it to the top by using each rung.

Although the game does have a tree in place, and that's social policies.

Maybe if the tech tree were more like that? Where you pick a concept and then further in is the applications of that concept? For example, let's say combustion is a concept. Well, you could then go to the next concept (Flight), or go further into combustion to get the tank units.

Something a bored modder could try on a rainy day, but I digress.
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Old Jan 06, 2011, 01:34 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Harvestmoon View Post
I've never "liked" the Civ tech trees. I think any tech should be researchable at any time, but techs should give bonuses to research in order to make acquiring a tech feasible.

Like, 4000 BC, researching Satellites should take like 5,000 turns. But, by the time you have Rockets, you're getting a huge % bonus to research toward Satellites, bringing its generic research time somewhere around 12-20 turns.

This way, there's no path you MUST take. If you've just dusted off all the Classical techs and you want to get Gunpowder, you could go for it, though it might take 45-60 turns... making it a stupid choice when Renaissance techs have been reduced to a handful of turns by the bonuses from your Classical techs.

Great Scientists should add huge % bonuses to science research in the empire for 10-20 turns, simulating a lifelong influence on the nation's research. So, popping them could either give you a tile of +Science (like the GS in CiV) or a Scienctific Golden Age (we could call it a Paradigm Shift)

...hm... that was all off the cuff... extending the idea out, Generals could be popped for an empire-wide combat bonus, like a Military Golden Age (Age of Conquest). Merchants a gold boost (Economic Boom). Artists a Culture boost (Renaissance). Etc.
I love the GP effects you mention. Something like:
Scientific GA: +25% science
Economic boom: each tile with 1 coin gets +1 coin (like the current GA)
Renaissance: +25% culture
Age of Conquest: +15% military boost
Industrial revolution (Great Engineer): each tile with 1 hammer gets +1 (like the current one)
Prosperity (?) (Happiness GA): +25% growth rate in all cities

As for the tech tree, that makes sense but there's too many techs to make it work (I mean, if Rocketry then Satelites would take 25 turns total, but Satelites alone takes 30, why not just keep the pre-req there?)
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Old Jan 06, 2011, 02:13 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poke View Post
This is something fundamental to civ games. All research is very teleological, a completely defined end goal and solution, and comes in discrete steps. Real world, it's pretty blind, you can have a goal, but the path reaching it is less than definite, there's always alternate ways of reaching it. Often research paths lead to deadends, but they can also become steps for other technologies
With the satellites example. Having that as a goal would mean that the caveman looking at the sky must know a priori what space is, and the significance or satellites. In going for this goal, you'd develop the interim technologies, rocketry, physics and all the interim techs on the typical civ tree. It's the same as setting a research goal, really. The steps in developing each interim tech add up to the 5000 turns
/agreed with this.

How silly would it be to know banking without currency? Or physics without mathematics? C'mon...
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Old Jan 07, 2011, 06:39 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by UWHabs View Post
I love the GP effects you mention. Something like:
Scientific GA: +25% science
Economic boom: each tile with 1 coin gets +1 coin (like the current GA)
Renaissance: +25% culture
Age of Conquest: +15% military boost
Industrial revolution (Great Engineer): each tile with 1 hammer gets +1 (like the current one)
Prosperity (?) (Happiness GA): +25% growth rate in all cities
Excellent, terrific, wonderful idea! I'm all for this. The great persons would become much more balanced - now it's imo only GE (for rushing wonders) and GS (for techs) that are valuable. Artists and Merchants are nice, but way below GE/GS.

EDIT: Created a separate thread for this idea:
http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=406982

Regarding the tech tree - one thing that stands out for me is that it's possible to build e.g. Great Lighthouse/Great Library - heck even Sistine Chapel - without knowing masonry.


EDIT: Speaking of Great persons - sorry for OT - but I do miss something like "Great entertainer". He/she should be able to build something like landmark/manufactory, only that the improved hex would provide additional happiness (+5 seems reasonable to me) when within borders.

Last edited by Renergy; Jan 07, 2011 at 06:03 PM.
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Old Jan 07, 2011, 07:27 AM   #17
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I recycle vast majority of my GP fo Gold Ages.
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Old Jan 07, 2011, 07:34 AM   #18
Harvestmoon
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Well, I had hoped to describe it being so prohibitive to research things without what we consider now as "prerequisite techs" that the game would end before you could accomplish it.

So, researching Satellites without Rockets would automatically take 5,000 turns. Researching Rocketry without Combustion would take a similarly exhaustive and prohibitive amount of time.

Basically, instead of making prerequisite techs compulsory, just make them EXTREMELY helpful, but allow for some thing to slide past.

For instance, you could develop Writing without Pottery, but it would take an extra 10 turns. If you have Pottery though, your research time on Writing is reduced by 10 turns. Extend the logic outward to Satellites, and it's 440 turns with none of the prerequisites, making it ridiculous to even consider, but with each of those prerequisite techs subtracting X turns from the research time.

So, if you have a high-science civilization and want to skip Radio, you could, but the research time for Satellites would be increased by X turns. Just adds a bit of depth and strategy to it, is all.
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Old Jan 07, 2011, 07:36 AM   #19
Harvestmoon
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Originally Posted by UWHabs View Post
I love the GP effects you mention. Something like:
Scientific GA: +25% science
Economic boom: each tile with 1 coin gets +1 coin (like the current GA)
Renaissance: +25% culture
Age of Conquest: +15% military boost
Industrial revolution (Great Engineer): each tile with 1 hammer gets +1 (like the current one)
Prosperity (?) (Happiness GA): +25% growth rate in all cities

As for the tech tree, that makes sense but there's too many techs to make it work (I mean, if Rocketry then Satelites would take 25 turns total, but Satelites alone takes 30, why not just keep the pre-req there?)
Thanks!

Yeah, something along those lines. If each Great Person sparked a unique sort of Golden Age benefit, it would be coolbeans.
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Old Jan 07, 2011, 07:40 AM   #20
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/agreed with this.

How silly would it be to know banking without currency? Or physics without mathematics? C'mon...
As silly as it is to build the Great Library without Masonry?
Seriously, though... let's say Banking has a base research time of 100 turns. Currency could subtract 50 from that, Chivalry (for whatever reason) could subtract 10, and Education could subtract 20. Now, if you have those techs, it only takes 20 turns for Banking, but you COULD have skipped them if you had the to handle the offset.
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