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Old Jul 09, 2004, 10:47 PM   #1
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Solar System Mod Project

I think there should be a solar system mod, about Earth civilizations going out and taking over the planets. So, I've been working on one.


The solar system is 100 tiles high, 360 tiles long. The sun is the left edge and the rightmost 100 or so tiles is interstellar space that you can't go into until the middle of the final Warp age. In between, are the nine planets, and the Asteroid belt and Kuiper belt and their moons. The planets are basically strung out in a row, childs model fashion, except staggered slightly. The map wraps in Y to represent solar orbits. And the planets are big. Earth is 5 tiles across, actually a tiny Earth map, with an atmosphere of "coast" 2 tiles thick. You need spaceplanes (sea units) to transport you across the "gravity well" moat of every planet. Asteroids are all over the place however, and of course you can set your factories and stuff up in any old empty space (which is better where there's solar energy).

The game starts in 2050 with 8 large nations on Earth and its orbital environs. There are also 2 tiny colonies on Mars, and one on the Moon that have declared independence, and up to 7 alien civs, some of whom might have actually reached the outer Kuiper belt. You must progress through the Fission Age, Fusion Age, Transmuter Age, and Warp Age to conquer them all, presumably, or maybe just make friends. (Transmuters come when you can convert energy to matter/antimatter in a ratio skewed to antimatter.)

What I've done actually plays, but since the Terrain set I lifted is incomplete and not totally adaptable to my purposes, it looks stupid. I haven't even done the units32 or the buildings files or tech icons or civilopedia, just blanked them out. Just the design and a bunch of patchwork, but it took me a week believe it or not. Darn, I wish somebody would do me a better terrain that would work. Its on corners isn't it? You aren't looking at the middle of the tile, what you see in the terrain file squares is intersections.

It is definitely a work in progress.

I stole almost everything visual from Daftpanzer's Spacewars and a little from NeoMegas Pentagenesis. I haven't looked at any of the Star Wars stuff, but I'm sure there's stuff I could steal there. And the resources is from Thamis's TAM mod.

Incidently, in an effort to keep the future final product under 3 mb, I cut all the extraneous matter out of the units, like sound. In space no-one can hear your engines scream.

Last edited by Tholish; Jul 16, 2004 at 05:20 PM.
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Old Jul 10, 2004, 12:09 AM   #2
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Oh, yeah, I'll include a couple of screenshots. Looking at these, obviously, the scale is wrong, but it is logarithmic, see. The important parts are larger. You are accelerating in space, so the first and last parts of your journey are larger time wise.

These are too big to upload as anything but PCX.
Attached Files
File Type: pcx solaria1.PCX (304.0 KB, 89 views)
File Type: pcx solaria2.PCX (238.6 KB, 53 views)

Last edited by Tholish; Jul 10, 2004 at 06:10 AM.
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Old Jul 10, 2004, 07:18 AM   #3
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This looks like a very interesting project: DL'd!

If I can help, I'd love to.
Why can't you be a non-conformist just like everybody else?

CivIII stuff: Hexette (16x16 World Map), The Classic Maya Scenario, Resource gfx, Other gfx, ACW C3C
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Old Jul 10, 2004, 10:25 AM   #4
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Well i think you have a lot work to do on the pcx's beacause the graphicks of the techs,units etc. are mising and you must fill the Civilopedia because i don know what those units, buildings etc. are...
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Old Jul 11, 2004, 08:30 PM   #5
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Here's the Science Advisors. Just unzip, take the folder, put it in
the folder Solaria, subfolder Art.
I did these an interesting way.
I got the grid coordinates the hard way, by drawing a grid on paper and typing the coordinates in using the editor. I thought it was going to be grisly having to do the arrows, and get them to go to the right places on the editor screen, but it was easy. On a hunch, I just opened up the game and took a screenshot of the science editor, then pasted that into my blank advisor screen, transparant. Then I drew lines where they should be. The screenshot wont show because the tech pictures are on top of the same locations anyway, which masks some erasing but who cares.

I'm working on the civiliopedia now. Its like writing a science fiction novel or something, except in sort of hypertext.

Thank you for your encouragement Deo and Last Conformist. As long as there is interest I will continue to add improvements. I will post improvements piecemeal as I complete them, until the whole thing is done, then post it in Completed Modpacks.

What I need is the terrain. I need
1. Flood plain that looks like ocean
2. Grassland/Coast interface that has a straight edge.
3. Tundra and Desert that segues gradually from coast color
to outer space black.
4. I need Jungle and Marsh that are red and orange.
5. I need Plains that looks like cratered grey rock and interfaces with everything with solid black. Thats rocky planets, some of which have gravity wells (coast) and some of which don't. I think that will work.
6. I need hills and mountains to be black with lots of tiny little grey dots and a few stars. Thats the asteroid belt and kuiper belt.
5. And I need yellow Sea. It has to serve for both gas giants and the Sun, so a simple solid color would be best.

I was using the Spacewars Units32, but didn't have it set to show the units and didn't include it because I didn't realize how much zipping would reduce size. I was playing with it set to show a blank pink square for everything so I didn't have to look at archers and knights when I was writing stats for spaceships, but without the 32 it's set on 3 man chariot I think. Now I realize all I have to do to know what icon goes with what spaceship is look in the bix for spacewars. Then I can make a tiny units 32 with just the units I use. So, my next upload will be a new units 32 of my own bundled with a new Bix to use it. Should I wait and include it with the Civilopedia or send it by itself? Should I include the civilopedia with just text and no links, or wait until a version that has links?

Also playtesting. Any glitches? How bad is the imbalance? I haven't even played it up into the Fusion era.

I know its got to be bad at this stage, but I will playtest once I'm done with some more playability enhancers, and fix the game play based on experience. What I do is simply note down changes to make as I play until I get so sick of it being messed up that I can't go on, then I make the fixes and start a new game. One thing at a time.

Last edited by Tholish; Jul 11, 2004 at 09:11 PM.
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Old Jul 11, 2004, 09:11 PM   #6
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ummm, you may want to check Smoking Mirror's project. It's basically the same idea nd has a lot of work done on it. The thread hovers at the top of C&C
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Old Jul 12, 2004, 10:45 AM   #7
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Actualy, this is quite an atractive idea. Originaly when I was discussing the idea of how to do a space mod this idea did pop up (to have the map as one solar system). It'll be interesting to see how it turns out. In the space armarda mod the whole map covers an area around 12 light years across, so just the imediate neighbouring starsystems, but quite a bit more than just the SOL system.
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Old Jul 13, 2004, 02:57 PM   #8
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Here's some more stuff for my mod.
A new bix that will let the other stuff work (in theory),
a new Units32, a BuildingsLarge and BuildingsSmall.
The Buildings files contain art lifted from a variety of sources and resized.
I will credit once I have time to go find the stuff.

The problem with a single solar system is that the planets move. You can't make a map that has the planets move, so people think you have to go a scale higher, to stars. (My thought was, you have a long map with the planets almost in a row, and wrap in the short dimension to represent solar orbits. There's always a long and short route between any two planets, and that's all that matters.)

As I see it, the problem with going instestellar is that it doesn't fit the Civ3 world of colonizing and developing very easily. I don't know how Smoking Mirror plans to make it work to have mining and farming and roads. By the time you are one tile away from a star, it is nothing but vast tracts of interestellar near-vacuum. (On a 12 light year wide Large map a tile would be about 1/10 of a light year.) To develop that in any meaningful way that you couldn't just do inside a solar system, ie using a huge volume of space, you would have to creating enormous projects, implying a truly vast economy. Unimaginably. You would have to be making things larger than the solar system, and what would you make them out of? Besides, all you could have would be a map of one square islands, each a star system, unless you used the same acceleration excus I am, ie, tiles represent travel time not distance, so near stars they represent smaller distances.
In an interestellar period you can't use superior solar energy as any kind of excuse for terrain to be superior. Maybe Oort cloud.

If you are going interstellar to get cool units and techs, you can have cool units and techs in the Solar System. I think we will be quite advanced before we leave it. If the idea is to reproduce a particular work of fiction, that's different.

Smoking Mirror, I wish you would post a map and terrain and bix.
Piecemeal the rest of it, not just the units. Give us what you've got.

What I see as a problem is that interstellar space is truly three dimensional, whereas the entire solar system is very conveniently laid out along the plane of the ecliptic--it is more two dimensional than Earth, perfect for a civ 3 map, except for the planet location problem.

Also, by the time we are messing with stars, I figure life will be so alien its hard to connect with what people will be doing. Normal resources will not even be a factor, since it will probably be possible to transmute hydrogen into platinum and harvest energy as a byproduct. The scale of things will be so vast.

In my mod in the works each population point represents 100 million people and each gold represents about 1 trillion dollars of GNP. How do you make a "building" have meaning if you scale that up to interstellar times, where each point of population would be trillions and each GNP probably equivalent to Quintillions?

Mine is quite a different project, Smoking Mirror. I eagerly anticipate yours. I doubt I can help--look how much I'm struggling with just getting PCX files to function. If somebody could open them and save them and post them so I can use them right.

My graphics program does something stupid with them that makes Civ not use them right, similar to looking at a Word file in a Text editor I'm sure, but it's all I've got.
Anyway, you can see the pretty pictures in the editor. Just unzip in Conquests or Scenarios (whereever you put the original Solaria and the science advisors), then :
replace the old Solaria3.biq with the new one, put the Dropship folder and Units 32 in Solaria/Art/Units; in Solaria/Art/, and put the Advisors and Cityscreen folders in Solaria/Art.

Last edited by Tholish; Jul 13, 2004 at 03:05 PM.
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Old Jul 16, 2004, 10:20 AM   #9
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Instructions: unzip NewSolaria in your Conquests or Scenario folder.
That creates a folder "NewSolaria." In it there is a folder "Art."
Unzip Terrain(solaria) in Art.
Also in your Conquests or Scenario folder unzip Solaria5, which is the mod itself. To play, start Civ3 Conquests, go to Conquests or Civ Content (depending on where you put the mod) and select Solaria5.

Last edited by Tholish; Jul 16, 2004 at 05:16 PM.
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Old Jul 16, 2004, 10:39 AM   #10
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Later I will use this post for credits. Right now it's just update.

Solaria is really shaping up. It might actually be playable, now, though its still not high calibre. I posted the above with a biq "Solaria4,", went back and playtested and it was full of garbage. Fixed most of that without changing anything but the biq, got it pretty fun, then posted Solaria5.

So how's the terrain? Crayon, huh? I am NOT an artist (in that sense--I think my mods reflect a certain artisticness of a different sort).

I changed all cultural stuff so that you get culture for buildings that enhance your industrial reach, rather than for traditional cultural stuff. So when you have a colony in lunar orbit and want to expand its reach to get the Heavy Ore down there, which do you build, a VR Outlet or a Mass Driver?

I think I've solved the problem of getting Earth to have random resources (there can only be one map, replay value must be gotten with multiple start positions and resource replacement, so I can't just place start goodies on
Earth) even though it is a small island in a vast world. Most Earth resources are simply assumed as Shields, and only Uranium is available on Earth, and it is available almost no where else. Therefore, there's a good chance you'll have uranium, so you can play the dilemma of whether to build a nuclear factory, or how to do it right. There are many other similar think throughs to solve, and that's just the first age.

I had wanted to have inner and outer solar system terrain, but found that I simply did not have enough types of terrain. Maybe a future version will have that using landmark. In fact, it could be done pretty easily, but right now I want to make it functional and a better game in other ways. There's just so much to do.

I just know I've got to playtest it more before I stick in a civilopedia (and all the icons that go with it). There will be many more techs, more units, more buildings, every tech will have a meaning. There will be custom population heads, alien leaderheads. When I am doing the civilopedia icons I will have to go back and get the art again, and at that time I will compile a list of credits.
Basically, I got everything from somewhere on the Civ3 Fanatics site, though some came from links that were here, such as Lukree's space terrain, which I used as the basis for mine (and the oceans). Since GIMP won't seem to let me use any color that is not already in the picture, and I'll be darned if I'll do all that terrain from scratch without a template, I found Lucree's terrain better than the civ terrain, which uses such a small number of colors and no white or black.

Right now many techs are just prerequisites, which I hate.
There will be many more techs in the future, providing for a variety of optional paths.
Ultimately, most of the techs will be stacked up like the Regional Plans. There will be a main tech and the various techs it allows stacked under it. There will be a factory for every unit, so you can either build a high maintenance factory that cranks them out regularly or you can hand craft each unit like a prototype. The idea is that the cost of maintaining the factory represents importation of raw materials, which excuses having production in empty space.

Ultimately, I will use cool units that have gee whiz effects. Right now all you see is two spaceships butting heads, vitality bars going down, and then one is dead. Functional but not fancy. I will also use some non stock infantry types. There will be more variety of cities, by era and nation. I will use a better picture for the Megahab. There will be future leaderheads of the classic Terran leaders instead of just the modern leaderhead over and over.
I'd like some of them to be wearing those old fishbowl space helmets, you know, just a transparant globe. It will just keep improving.

PS All that is very well and good but its ponderous. Same problem I had with Marz. Longish waits during the AI's turn. Maybe the AI is confused, like first move, constantly looking for good options. I'm trying some things, won't post the little changes. Like Space produces one gold, even undeveloped, Developers and better are 100 percent faster, aliens start in Transmuter age with 50 gold, rich colony resource gives 20 of everything instead of just 10. And I made gravity well produce one food so a terran city can survive at one pop with just the city square.

Last edited by Tholish; Jul 18, 2004 at 01:30 AM.
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Old Jul 21, 2004, 08:46 PM   #11
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I've been working on this mod nonstop. It looks really cool now with better cities, roads, mines, and irrigation, as well as some illogic fixes. I am using static alien leaderheads and game pllay goes pretty quick actually. I might get it in under 12 megabytes. Right now I'm doublechecking the civilopedia (which took about 4 days to write) so it matches the Pediaicons which matches the biq. After that all I will have left to post a 1.0 in finished modpacks will be the PCXs for the civilopedia and the credits. And getting Thunderfall to remove all the older stuff.
I will post an update if anyone is interested, but it will be full size since I have added graphics.
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