A Soaring Spirit ToTPP conversion

McMonkey

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I converted A Soaring Spirit to Test of Time some time ago and have been planning to improve and expand it, taking advantage of the excellent ToTPP features. I intend this to be a PBEM only scenario for now as I'm not sure how to make the AI handle far flung trade and colonization. I have some other project ideas about scenarios for later periods, but right now I want to have a bit of a break and catch up with some Civ2 admin work - updating the Wiki, building the ToTPP bundle download website & promoting it on social media and just getting my old projects in order before I start work on Yugoslav Partisians again.

Changes will include:
-Fixing the known bugs
-Adding the maximum number of units
-Expanding the tech tree
-Slowing the pace of technological development
-Adding a whole new layer of early (Geometric) units
-Rebalancing the Civs to compensate for their starting positions
-Looking at the goody huts issue
-Adding more random events
-Expanding the Persian invasion
-Generally making the most of all the excellent ToTPP features

This should be a relatively quick and easy project as, apart from the Persians, I will not be compensating for the AI.

If anyone has any ideas please let me know.
 

Northerner

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Have you looked at the new fertility function? I don't know if any scenarios have yet incorporated it, and what good they'd do.

Edit: reading up on it again, I realize it would only help to make sure the Lydians don't build cities all over.
 
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McMonkey

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That is a possibility if I ever try and make a single player version. For the multiplayer update I plan to create more, historically accurate, colony sites. The major historical sites will have the best of resources placed around them, but the players will not be so limited in where they decide to settle.

I have also thought about randomly event created region specific units under certain cities with duplicate events for all civs. This way only the civ holding the city will receive these units (Thessalian Cavalry, Cretan Archers, Thracian Mercenaries etc...)
 

McMonkey

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Another idea I have included is three new large barbarian trade cities (which will be invulnerable to capture) in the NW, NE and SE corners of the map, these being Western Ports (Masallia, Iberia etc), Black Sea Ports and Egyptian Ports. This will need some consideration as it will mean some powers will be less effected by trade embargos, but I think it will help represent the wider world that the map does not cover (I'm not planning on starting from scratch with a new map!).
 

Prof. Garfield

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I don't know that your trading ports would actually see that much use (except maybe Egypt). The distances involved tend to max out payments anyway if at least one city has decent trade. They would, however, prevent the Phoenicians from playing "kingmaker" by allowing or forbidding access to Carthage.

I would recommend a few changes:

Increase the cost of wonders and/or make them expire. A player with a slight tech lead can pick up a lot of wonders when they only cost 8-1200 gold. Permanent Lighthouse for 800 gold is quite the bargain, especially when all ships must stay near land and you're flush with cash from raiding villages.

Make fortresses veteran and put more than 1 in minor cities. This should blunt the advantage of getting a Strategos really early. Or, give fortresses the low hp high fp that most other units have, to add some risk to attacking even with a Strategos.

Maybe put courthouses in the Minor cities so that it makes more sense to trade with them.

Make rich villages appear randomly instead of only at the start of the game (TOTPP has unlimited event space doesn't it?). This will slow down the acquisition of slaves and gold in the very early game and keep the desire to explore alive later in the game in order to check if there are new villages to plunder.

Reduce the number of goodie huts (which you mentioned).

Increase the number of years per turn so that the Persian invasion arrives sooner. I would actually recommend making the scenario as short as possible so that it can be finished in a few months while players are enthusiastic. It may make sense to have a large PBEM scenario, but I don't know why they have so many turns. Perhaps you can incorporate a "trunk" to the tech tree that is given out based on turn interval instead of researched. Then players research the particular "branches" that they really want. Perhaps make the tech rate such that it is infeasible to research the whole tech tree, so players must be careful what they research.
 

Northerner

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I'm quite sure you've thought about it already, but restricting some wonders from the Lydians might be interesting! Although they haven't been active at all in our playthrough.

I very much like the idea of rich villages appearing at random, but such things can go wrong in implement. I remember when we played (Harry Tuttles?) Gold Gulch over at the Civ Webring, and the first civ in the play order managed to snag up every unit ever formed by events. (Probably had a small army of US Cavalry at the end.) He quickly became quite unstoppable. That map was much smaller, though, so maybe it isn't comparable at all.
 

Prof. Garfield

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If events are done through lua, it would probably be possible to make rich villages appear with equal probability on each player's turn. Or, we could give the villages the submarine flag, so that the player must actually explore the tile to check if a village exists, rather than having 1 boat and 2 hoplites in the region ready to attack the village and sail away.

Consider moving Twin Monarchy further up the tech tree (or at least increase the communism palace distance so that the cities experience a decent amount of corruption). Aside from being quite powerful in the early game, it renders the courthouse more or less pointless.

I think Strategos need some sort of change, but I'm not sure what will work within the rules of civ 2. At the moment they are super mobile hit and run siege units, which kind of contradicts the point of a siege unit. Perhaps they can be the only really good defensive unit. Their offensive ability will be to protect stacks of units outside a city in a combat model where offence is usually better than defence.
 

Prof. Garfield

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Thanks to @gapetit I have a TOT version of this scenario.

There are a few changes that I want to make to this scenario, taking advantage of TOTPP and Lua.

The first category of changes are to simply use the features of TOTPP and Lua to integrate the house rules into game mechanics:

No pillaging of stackable terrain
No fortresses on mountain squares
Cities can only be founded on Colony Sites by Colonists
Only size 6 cities can build colonists
Use the 'Colony Sites List' in the Read me folder to name cities
New cities gained from goody huts must be disbanded asap
City walls must always be in place. If destroyed use CivCity to rebuild
Only Citizens are allowed to join a city to boost its size

City walls to prevent loss of population, and fortresses for stackable terrain can be handled by TOTPP features. Stack kills on mountains should be easy with Lua, and I'm pretty sure I can stop fortresses from being built (or, I just swap out the construction tech). Unit attack stats will have to be changed to reflect these differences.

I already have code to forbid construction of colonists for cities below size 6.

Forbidding the construction of cities was something we did in Over the Reich, and I should be able to do it here as well. An event to automatically use the prescribed city names should also not be that difficult. By changing fertility values of tiles, I should be able to make the AI build cities only on colony sites (or I could just teleport the city to a nearby site). I think this would prevent goody hut cities.

The onCityFounded event also runs for goody hut cities, so I could also prevent (or teleport to a colony site) goody hut cities from being created, rather than count on the player to disband them.

Maybe I could prevent non-citizens from joining cities, but I'm not sure.

The second category of changes would use the extra capabilities of Lua to make what I think are fairly obvious improvements:

Perhaps the most key change I would like to make would be to generate captured slaves at the location where they are captured, rather than having them sent directly to the capital. It might also make sense to generate a 'treasure' unit to be 'redeemed' for cash at the capital, rather than being immediately given that cash.

I also think that it makes sense to have events increase the military defences of cities/rich villages when nearby towns are plundered or conquered.

Furthermore, I'm inclined to think that the Strategos should offer some kind of bonus to other units, rather than simply being a monster attacker. However, I'm not sure what that bonus should be.

The last category of changes would change the game in order to make it shorter, so that a PBEM might be feasible, or just to improve multiplayer in general:

The game as it stands lasts 414 turns, and the Persian invasion starts around turn 210, I believe. This is obviously far too long for a PBEM. If turns represent 5 years, then the Persian invasion starts around turn 42, and the scenario is 83 turns long, which seems in the realm of feasibility. The 'problem' is that I don't really want to redesign the entire scenario, so I need mechanisms to accelerate the speed, while not changing the basis of the game too much. Here are my thoughts:

Allow ships to restore to full movement points 4 times in a turn, but only if they are adjacent to land, and there are no enemy warships nearby. This would allow the ships to have the same 'speed' as if the turns were 1 year long, but still force them to follow the same pattern of movement relatively near the coast, and allow for interception (or at least forcing an enemy to bring in a warship to kill yours). This would make land forces comparatively slow, but I'm not sure that is a huge issue. In the game I played, it seemed like exploring the interior was a bit too efficient. I guess the Etruscans would be most affected by this.

I might use Lua events to calculate the food surplus and give cities extra food each turn based on that, so they grow at the same rate they otherwise would. Perhaps I would also bestow shields to speed up production, though I'm not quite so sure about that.

I'm not sure what to do about technology acquisition. One possibility would be to cut the tech cost, so techs are researched more quickly. Another, which I lean towards, is to have, say, a 1/3 chance for each civ to transmit its technology to another civ with the prerequisites each turn (maybe 1/6 if at war). This would speed up technological progress (unless, I suppose, everyone followed the exact same tech path), and would act as a nice 'catch up' mechanic. Technologies from trade would still be reduced relative to the years passed, but I'm not so concerned about that, since trade is generally too powerful anyway.

Does anyone have any thoughts on any of this? Would there be interest in playing a PBEM of this if it were done relatively quickly? If there's little interest in a PBEM, I would focus on a 'feature showcase' rather than carefully considering balance.
 

JPetroski

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I would be interested in playing this. I agree that the scenario as it stands is entirely too long for a PBEM.

My caution to you: whatever you do, make as much as possible occur behind the scenes, without any true detriment to players not noticing them. If OTR taught me one thing, it's that are small community enjoys Civ2 more than "totally different, complicated game." I'd be cautious about too many complex features. The more intuitive you can make something, the better.

Now with that being said, if you do undertake to build a MP game, could I convince you to implement an in-game peer to peer diplomacy module that renders using cheat mode for treaties and transfers obsolete?

I would think you'd want bilateral and unilateral options. Bilateral would require offer and acceptance, unilateral would only require a player to decide to do it.

City transfer, unit transfer, tech transfer, money transfer, all from a menu system rather than cheat mode...

To enable SP games, unilateral might come with consequences (you buy a unit rather than one is gifted). In MP, perhaps players stack units on certain terrain that is a "mercenary field" and others can press a button, see a menu with the options and price, and have it transfer.

I'd love to make use of this for a Cold War scenario that is becoming my "pandemic build" at the moment and I think eliminating cheat mode in MP games (which is clunky at best) would be great.
 

Prof. Garfield

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I would be interested in playing this. I agree that the scenario as it stands is entirely too long for a PBEM.

My caution to you: whatever you do, make as much as possible occur behind the scenes, without any true detriment to players not noticing them. If OTR taught me one thing, it's that are small community enjoys Civ2 more than "totally different, complicated game." I'd be cautious about too many complex features. The more intuitive you can make something, the better.

Part of my reason for choosing this scenario is that I can move the scenario specific house rules 'behind the scenes'. I've already made it so that if a player tries to build a city outside of a colony site, or with something other than a colonist, they will be warned that the action won't work, and if they build the city anyway, it will be deleted immediately. The game will also choose the correct city name for the colony site, saving the trouble for the player to look it up themselves.

I think the only "different" thing that I've proposed is extending ship movement, which I don't think would be a deal breaker.

I really don't want to do that much work on this scenario.

Now with that being said, if you do undertake to build a MP game, could I convince you to implement an in-game peer to peer diplomacy module that renders using cheat mode for treaties and transfers obsolete?

I would think you'd want bilateral and unilateral options. Bilateral would require offer and acceptance, unilateral would only require a player to decide to do it.

City transfer, unit transfer, tech transfer, money transfer, all from a menu system rather than cheat mode...

To enable SP games, unilateral might come with consequences (you buy a unit rather than one is gifted). In MP, perhaps players stack units on certain terrain that is a "mercenary field" and others can press a button, see a menu with the options and price, and have it transfer.

I'd love to make use of this for a Cold War scenario that is becoming my "pandemic build" at the moment and I think eliminating cheat mode in MP games (which is clunky at best) would be great.

Eliminating cheat mode for diplomacy is something that I've thought about and had intended to introduce, at least in a basic form. It would probably be the most work I planned to do for this.
 

Prof. Garfield

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I've been having some 'interesting' difficulty with the events in this scenario.

Sometimes, but not always, the scenario will load old style macro events from a file named eventsToImport.txt, even while events.txt exists and is empty. This will happen both when I try to use lua events instead of the macro events (in which case, both versions of events will fire), and when I choose the option to load the old events instead. I've been starting a new scenario each time for the tests, so this isn't a case of events already saved into a game.

I seem to be able to fix it by not having events in a text file with a name that begins as 'events'. However, the odd thing is that I can't seem to re-create the same bug in the Imperialism II scenario that I've been using to test the can build module.
 

Prof. Garfield

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Well, I got the mechanic of restoring movement to ships working, for human players anyway. Basically, each ship starts the turn with 1/6 of a movement point expended (e.g. 19 5/6). The ship expends movement until it reaches a square where it wants to restore movement, say it has 2 5/6 mp left, and it wants to cross an expanse of water. The player presses K, and movement is set to 19 4/6. Points are eventually reset to 19 3/6, 19 2/6, 19 1/6, and, finally, 19, at which point, they can't be reset again until next turn. This seems simple, and the player can tell at a glance how many resets the ship can still get.

I'm a bit concerned that the increased movement will mean that getting to a 'plunder region' even one or two turns sooner than someone else will offer a much larger advantage than is warranted. This might be somewhat reduced by the fact that slaves must now be transported somewhere where they will be useful (I also implemented the mechanic that the slaves are created on the square where the attacking unit is).

I have a few ideas:

1. Make the rich villages veteran by default, and/or put defensive units on the squares. This should make small scale 'raids' of a transport and a hoplite or two less effective. This isn't entirely a good thing, since raiding is a big part of the scenario.

1a. Increase defences of nearby rich villages when one is plundered. So rather than getting all the plunder, the first to the region just gets a soft target.

2. Have rich villages spawn randomly over time. This would either really slow the early game (if the spawn rate is slow), or result in the same early arrival advantage after a while. Respawning villages might pick up the mid game a bit.

3. Have slaves disappear if they are too far from a military unit. This would mean that you can't just plunder a region and pick up the slaves later, you have to at least carry them to a location with a military unit. This seems reasonable, but might end up being heavy on the micromanagement.
 

Prof. Garfield

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Does anyone have a suitable city icon for a "Master Builder"? (Or, a different icon and name.)

Basically, the Master Builder improvement will control wonder building for human players (computer players can build wonders as normal). In order for a wonder to appear in the build list, the city must also have the "Master Builder" improvement. A Civ can only have one master builder improvement (building a new one deletes it from any other city that has it within that tribe), and the tribe can only build Master Builder if they own strictly fewer than 25% of all the wonders currently built. The idea is that the lead player(s) can't simply 'run away' with the game and grab all the good wonders. Players could still capture wonders, but that is a more hazardous undertaking.
 

Prof. Garfield

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Here are some changes that I've made.

Added 3 trading cities in the map corners, Black Sea Ports, Egyptian Ports, and Western Ports.

Humans can only build cities with Colonists (ai with any settler), and a suitable warning will be given when building, so the player can cancel the construction. If they persist, the city will disappear. Similarly, only Colonists and Citizens can join cities (for humans; ai can probably still join with anything, if it does that at all).

After each player's production, each colony site has a 1/90 (chance could change) chance to "upgrade." If the rich village has been destroyed, it is replaced. If a rich village exists already, two more are added. If three rich villages are on the square, a fortress is added. If a fortress is present, a barbarian city is placed on the square.

Strategos now have no attack and defence, but they have an impact when on the same square as an attacker or defender. Attackers are guaranteed to do 20% damage to the defender, so 5 units can be sacrificed to defeat anything. I think this is less powerful than a monster attacker. On the defensive side, if a unit can be killed in the next round of combat (i.e. remaining HP is less than attacker's firepower), it will automatically do 2x its firepower in damage to the attacker.

EDIT: Instead of the house rule (reminded in the bribery screen) that only barbarian and non-Persian Lydians can be bribed, I forbid bribery of a lot of units in the rules.txt. This means that if you bribed a unit, it can be bribed away from you (or a mercenary Hoplite can be bribed away also).

Defeating settler type units in combat also counts as 'capturing slaves', generating a slave unit for the winner.
 
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JPetroski

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Very interesting how you managed to give a defensive bonus to the strategos. When you get a little further along if you want to play 1v1 to try and play test it quickly to test for anything, I'm game.
 

Patine

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Does anyone have a suitable city icon for a "Master Builder"? (Or, a different icon and name.)

Basically, the Master Builder improvement will control wonder building for human players (computer players can build wonders as normal). In order for a wonder to appear in the build list, the city must also have the "Master Builder" improvement. A Civ can only have one master builder improvement (building a new one deletes it from any other city that has it within that tribe), and the tribe can only build Master Builder if they own strictly fewer than 25% of all the wonders currently built. The idea is that the lead player(s) can't simply 'run away' with the game and grab all the good wonders. Players could still capture wonders, but that is a more hazardous undertaking.

You mean like the character, "Baka," from Cecil B. DeMille's "The Ten Commandments," (the guy overseeing all the slave labour and construction in Goshen for the Pharaoh at the top organizational level the DeMille used to personify the nameless "Egyptian official beating a Hebrew that Moses killed, causing his flight into the desert," in Exodus? His title was "Master Builder."
 

Prof. Garfield

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You mean like the character, "Baka," from Cecil B. DeMille's "The Ten Commandments," (the guy overseeing all the slave labour and construction in Goshen for the Pharaoh at the top organizational level the DeMille used to personify the nameless "Egyptian official beating a Hebrew that Moses killed, causing his flight into the desert," in Exodus? His title was "Master Builder."

I wasn't thinking of him specifically (If I ever watched The Ten Commandments, it was a very long time ago.). For a Greek scenario, I probably don't want to use a picture of someone in Egyptian clothing anyway.

It is a title that has been used, according to Wikipedia:
A master builder or master mason is a central figure leading construction projects in pre-modern times (a precursor to the modern architect and engineer).

Historically, the term has generally referred to "the head of a construction project in the Middle Ages or Renaissance period",[1] with an 1887 source describing the status as follows:
 
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