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?