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A plan for 2020

Discussion in 'General Balance' started by tu_79, Feb 20, 2020.

  1. tu_79

    tu_79 Deity

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    Well, well.

    After some heated discussions, I think we could all benefit if we had a roadmap of where to place our efforts in pursuit of a polished game. I'll start a draft of what could be the development plan for this year, as if it were some New Year's resolutions.

    Let's begin with the rules.

    RULES

    No more features or content. The game is already complex as it is, let's not add more content, just work with what we already have, which is plenty.
    No more mechanics. For the same reason, the implemented mechanics are enough for dealing with almost any issue. Mechanics can be worked on, polished and maybe modified so they perform better, but not removed or new ones added.
    No new code. Unless some game breaking mechanic cannot be solved without the use of new code, it should be avoided. This does not apply to any optimizations, clarifications or code sanitation developers whish to make.
    Keep major modmods compatibility. Until the golden status is achieved, we'll try to prevent changes that affect popular modmods.

    It doesn't look that difficult to achieve, does it?
    Ok, then. So let's think about what we should keep in mind before proposing any changes in the Guiding Principles.

    GUIDING PRINCIPLES

    Balance first. We want many viable strategies, and to have equal chances to win with any civilization. Any winning strategy (a strategy that never fails) must be nerfed. Options that perform poorly must be boosted.
    Fun trumps Realism. If it ever comes to a choice, let's go for the most entertaining option.
    Balance should not be produced by homogenization. We want all civs and all play styles to have an equal chance of success, and all they must feel distinct.
    AI must not cheat. This means it cannot use database information on the other players in its advantage.
    AI should behave like humans. As long as possible, the AI should make the same decisions a human player would have made, including playing to win.
    Difficulty should feel constant throughout the game. Early, mid and late game should feel equally hard, taking into account the variability caused by each civ uniques and the terrain constraints.

    We could add a few more, but this is a good start.
    Right now, we have a few pressing issues. Since the change on city strength, city damage and unit strengths had to be rebalanced. Also, difficulty is out of whack, it will take a while to put it again in a good and steady place. So here's my idea for the plan...


    THE PLAN

    PHASE 1. REBALANCE.
    The city strength change was necessary, and now it is necessary to rebalance things again. Let's hope this is the last time. During the Rebalance phase we will be also testing HeathcliffWarrior changes on diplomacy, which don't affect difficulty directly, so it's ok to work on both things simultaneously.
    I would suggest to also take a look at combat as too strong a factor for victory. I feel that being proficient at combat is two times more important than being proficient at managing population and diplomacy, for humans at least. CIV is a game of economy AND warfare, so both things should matter.

    PHASE 2. BUG CHASING.
    Once things feel balanced again, and difficulty progressive, then we could just focus in bug chasing for a while. During this phase I encourage that we all refrain from making more suggestions, unless we find something truly game breaking. There will be plenty of time late, once Golden is released.

    PHASE 3. SELECT A GOLDEN CANDIDATE.
    Even if there is still some work running on the AI logic, diplomacy or fixing some mechanics, once we can declare balance restored, difficulty steady and most offensive bugs fixed, we will select next release for golden candidate. That would be Release Candidate #1. From then on, we will test it for 2-3 weeks, and if the amount of bugs is negligible, that would be the Golden One, even containing known bugs. Otherwise, we will proceed to Release Candidate #2 after the previous bugs are fixed and check the following 2-3 weeks. Even if there are still bugs, unless these are truly game breaking, this would be the final release.
    (Did you know that debugging never ends?)

    PHASE 4. DOCUMENTATION.
    Once we declare a Golden Release, it begins the boooring stuff. Courageous volunteers will produce documentation for the game mechanics, make sure the Wiki is updated, and hopefully make some commercial videos. (We want to see Gazebo playing!!)
    Simultaneously, while documentation is being made, we can go back to our usual suggestions, bug chasing and modding for Vox Populi make 2.


    So, does anyone with project management experience have any idea of what the schedule could be for each phase?
     
  2. Gazebo

    Gazebo Lord of the Community Patch Supporter

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    This sounds good to me. My thoughts:

    1. To expand upon this, numbers-only tweaks from here on out. I have no plans for any new mechanical shifts for any abilities or attributes.
    2. For this, github is king. Too many users are getting sloppy with bug posts.
    4. This a solid job for non-coding folks.
     
  3. Gidoza

    Gidoza Emperor

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    What's that proverb? Perfection comes not when you find nothing more to add, but when you find nothing more to remove.
     
  4. nmb93

    nmb93 Chieftain

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    Two questions:

    1. Was changing archer's range from 2 to 1 and/or granting the AI its difficulty bonuses on capital settlement (2-18 patch) considered a numbers only tweak?
    (I assume they were, but if you meant that these were the 'last' mechanical tweaks then that would be interesting.)

    2. As an average user, the least I could contribute is bug posts. What do you mean by sloppy and how can I not do that?
     
  5. Moi Magnus

    Moi Magnus Emperor

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    He probably means "too many players are using posts in Civfanatics to report bugs and crashes, instead of making a report on Github", see here for the adequate page https://github.com/LoneGazebo/Community-Patch-DLL/issues.
     
    nmb93 and tu_79 like this.
  6. Asterix Rage

    Asterix Rage Warlord

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    September 21th this year, Civ5 will be 10 years old.
    Vox Populi Gold, Silver, Wood or simply ver 1.0 on Steam could make the event...

    Edit:
    With a new thread, new visual (logo) and announcement on social media
     
    Maxxim69, Heinz_Guderian and tu_79 like this.
  7. azum4roll

    azum4roll Prince

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    Let's create Vox Populi Brazilwood version then.
     
    Rhys DeAnno and Bromar1 like this.
  8. Asterix Rage

    Asterix Rage Warlord

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    vyyt and tu_79 like this.
  9. azum4roll

    azum4roll Prince

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    Should we ever dive into balancing starting positions and resource amounts (aka everything in AssignStartingPlots.lua) or should that remain as modmod?
     
  10. amateurgamer88

    amateurgamer88 Emperor

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    I definitely appreciate all the help once we know what version we are using. This will be a fun and challenging experience for sure.
     
    tu_79 and Asterix Rage like this.
  11. Doormat123

    Doormat123 Chieftain

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    Totally agree with point 2. Github is designed for project management, so if we are wanting to move in that direction, we should focus on using Github rather than the forums, which are certainly not designed for project management.
     
    Asterix Rage likes this.
  12. Asterix Rage

    Asterix Rage Warlord

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    Nice to see you here. Feel free to imagine what you can do about tuto videos to ease the life of those how use to play Vanilla and come to VP, at least.
     
  13. amateurgamer88

    amateurgamer88 Emperor

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    For vid tutorials, I think these are some good categories for newcomers. Advanced stuff can be covered but usually the basics are best covered first. Part of the problem is that my experience with vanilla is limited as I kinda just dived into VP. These are the topics I have in mind so far (in no particular order):
    • Ancient era policy trees (strengths vs weaknesses)
    • Pantheons and religions
    • Settlers and expansion
    • Early game decisions (exploration, first couple of buildings, pantheons, policies)
    • Beginner friendly civs (UA, UU and UB)
    • War basics (defending and attacking ancient era)
     
  14. Asterix Rage

    Asterix Rage Warlord

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    Funny Fact #1

    Imagine a world where on a Ford-F serie, instead to have "Ford-F" writen on it you have 8 lines of acronyms for mechanics and mysterious expressions :
    (1) AICC v.13
    (2) Enhanced Coupling System EE v.27
    (3c) Nitrocelluose cel AICC extended v.6
    (4) Colored Polymere wheel v.11
    (5b) SBI-Reos v.19
    ...
    (7b) WM for SBI-eos v.2

    In this world, Toyota with "Toyota" written on it would be the most popular car...

    That's funny right?

    That's what Vox Populi is. A long list of confusing acronyms where Vox Populi is never mentioned. Vox Populi will exist when it will be written on it.

    On September 21th this year, let's fix that :
    vp.png
     
    Heinz_Guderian likes this.
  15. Asterix Rage

    Asterix Rage Warlord

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    • Ressources and monopoly
     
    amateurgamer88 likes this.
  16. Asterix Rage

    Asterix Rage Warlord

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    • The 40 first turns with Vox Populi explained
     
  17. Gidoza

    Gidoza Emperor

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    I think we absolutely should.
     
  18. Rekk

    Rekk Emperor

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    See this thread: Going for Gold: Start Locations.
     
  19. azum4roll

    azum4roll Prince

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    That title is misleading. It only discusses Start Bias.

    Start location should include start bias, available resources, proximity to other civs, etc. It also affects monopoly placements, city state starting positions, map resource settings, as well as Terra civ placements.
     

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