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actual post-apocalyptic tech development

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Fury Road Modpack' started by davidlallen, Aug 17, 2008.

  1. davidlallen

    davidlallen Deity

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    The last twenty or so posts on the "new art" thread have been involved with what actual post-apocalpytic tech development would actually be. Let us move that thread here.
     
  2. Deon

    Deon Lt. of Mordor

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  3. arkham4269

    arkham4269 Court Writer - Orbis Mod

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    Well Cavalry during the American Civil War (ACW) when they acted as infantry would have a ratio of 3 fighting and 1 to hold the horses.

    Depending on the terrain, Cavalry has an advantage over Ute's because they can go where vehicles can't. Plus, game mechanics assume you can always find enough fodder for your cavalry, which isn't exactly accurate, but perfectly okay for the nature of the game. Plus, dragoons have the advantage of they have what ever weapon available for the rider as opposed to UTE's which generally are going to require larger weapons be fabricated. On the down side, while it takes some work to create them, UTE's are 'cheap' in the fact that vehicles are all over the place and just need to be dragged into a place where they can be made as opposed to horses that still have to be 'made' the old fashion way. Plus, I'm not sure of the game mechanics of maintenance for units, but Cavalry would also be expensive in the sense of just keeping them around doing 'nothing' - A UTE's with a full tank of gas will still have a full tank of gas in a week if not used; horses eat every day.

    davidlallen has proposed a mechanic unit that I heartily endorse. Since the scale of Fury Road is of very small units, it is much more critical to the strength of a unit when it loses a vehicle or two compared to brigade or divisional-sized units of modern armies.

    I'm not sure if this could be done, but the best way would be that going off road would result either in a small bit of damage that could be repaired in a city or by a mechanic (similar to who the dwarves repair their golems in FfH) or use the old algorithm from Civ II (pretty sure it was Civ II) where certain ships out in the ocean had a chance to sink; in this case vehicles have a chance to get 'injured'. This game mechanic might be used as a trade off on maintenance of units. As mentioned above, a group of UTE's (not sure how many a unit would have, 2-3 - 10-20?) Isn't a lot of men to feed as opposed to a group of dragoons or a infantry unit. So when they are not in use, they are much cheaper to maintain; but when they're put into combat, they should be very expensive due to wear & tear as well as combat damage.

    As I've said before, driving without roads and the like really tears up vehicles. Even driving on crappy roads is really rough on vehicles. When I was in Afghanistan, we'd see the toll it took on our military vehicles as well as civilian cars and trucks. Plus, to make a vehicle more armored, like added plates to your SUV, will cause it to be heavy and that breaks axle's and damages tires.

    I don't want to sound like I'm nit-picking, but basic Civ doesn't assign any sort of maintenance cost for repairs and the like because of the scale of the game and the fact that your armies have an entire civilization backing them up. There is a lot of what might call 'fat' that allows a civ to go to war for awhile since there is plenty of men, material, and supplies to back them up. In Fury Road, that isn't the case; every military unit is a trade off on something that you might have made for civilian use. To me, that's one of the big decisions of the game: home much safety do I need versus what I need to grow my Civ. This maintenance problem, of having enough parts, gas and the like for your units also explains stuff you see in films like the "Road Warrior" - the Bandit Kings don't feel the need (or have the people) to want to build up the necessary infrastructure to actually support their troops; they'd rather take it.
     
  4. Refar

    Refar Deity

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    The game does have Maintenace cost for units. It does not give a detailed report what the maintenance is used for - but the repair/resupply/provisions cost are accounted via maintenance.

    Giving some units higher maintenace cost might be a good idea, but i dont think it is possible without SDK work, which for onw is off limits.

    Overall, i do not see that Cavalry fits the setting too well - food is scarse in postapocalyptic desert, and Horses are quite sensitive to bad food on top of it, getting sick/dying if not fed properly.

    Right now Cavalry is kind of a gap-filler - allowing to mount up some offensive power without having access to vehilces (be it due to lack of oil or the pecularities of the tech path). I think it should stay this way.
     
  5. arkham4269

    arkham4269 Court Writer - Orbis Mod

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    See that's where that's the part of the mod I most disagree with (which of course doesn't have to mean anything) is that it is too easy to find military grade weaponry. Even if you do break into a National Guard armory, you're not going to find many heavy weapons (they just don't keep them at the armories) and even if you have access to a large military installation (which in the grand scheme of things there aren't that many) you'd find either so much stuff as to unbalanced the game and/or you find lots of stuff but not enough ammo to last you very long.

    So to me I think there is where the player comes in; which tech line are they going to take? Go for low tech weapons that are easy to make (good if you have cities with lots of food potential), try to go for more of a gunpowder model, or go like hell in trying to make your own copies of stuff for more modern weapons. I mean if you can recreate a way to mass produce stuff like 5.56mm ball ammo and .50cal ammo (and the belts, don't forget those) then you are really ahead of the game...assuming while you were pursuing that tech some other Civ rolls over you with guys with crossbows riding in steam powered cars.

    In a way, it's too bad you couldn't make it, in the early game where units would be built and would have a promotion "Pre-Apocalypse" weapons to show they people have limited ammo for weapons. If they so choose, they can use the promotion (similar to FfH spells) for a big combat increase and couldn't get it back until they are resupplied or go back to a city. Then you'd just have to figure out a way to simulate a way to have count how many times you can use this promotion before that Civ runs out of their stock of old ammo. Depending on your Civilization would have a bearing on how many of these 'ammo' promotions you'd have. Obviously finding goody huts and the like might restock your Civ's supply.
     
  6. Refar

    Refar Deity

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    Limited Ammo supply does sound interesting, but it is a huge undertaking to make this feature balanced, not too tedious in MM and understood by the AI, since a concept like this does not exist in the game, it would have to be coded from scratch.

    While it might be cool to see it done at some point, right now i prefer seeing features that are easier and safer to implement and add a lot more to the gameplay done.
     
  7. arkham4269

    arkham4269 Court Writer - Orbis Mod

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    See that's the problem, a lot of these problems probably aren't that hard...if you know how to code, very good with mathematical models and the like. I mean that was the hardest thing about a lot of analytical models; you know what you'd like to do, but actually getting it to work and be accurate if it's even possible is another. =[ I need to win a big lottery so I can pay people to do this type of research! :crazyeye:
     
  8. arkham4269

    arkham4269 Court Writer - Orbis Mod

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    One thing that I was thinking about this mod was that if the game starts 20 years after the Apocalypse and we don't know how long things were going down hill prior to that, then roads shouldn't be so easily built as they are in the game.

    First off, in basic Civ IV, the roads early workers are building are more of paths cut through the underbrush/woods. I mean there is a big time gap between 4000 BC and the first Roman roads.

    Now, in the modern world, there are roads everywhere. However, after 20 years of weather and no maintenance, these roads will disintegrate. In the popular series, "Earth Without Humans" they show how most 'standard' roads are gone in 20 years and main roads are in rotten shape. So what you'd be left with are the main highways and they would be in serious decay by turn 120. (50 years of no maintenance)

    So I'm thinking that at first, workers shouldn't be able to build roads because to make the 'classic 4000 BC' is already done for you. While the asphalt roads aren't a road as we'd think of it, it's still a cleared path. I doubt they'd have the asphalt or the machines (or the inclination) do do much more.

    I think this would slow movement down, which is how it should be. This allows for more time for animals or bandits to attack you as well as slows up the aggressive Civs from just pumping out combat units and blithely going through a hostile world to attack you.
     
  9. arkham4269

    arkham4269 Court Writer - Orbis Mod

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    So roads as we know them would be thrashed by the beginning of the game and even the highways would start to fade by turn 120. (Perhaps there could be a game mechanic similar to the FfH mod where the world can change from a cold clime to a warmer one. So instead of tundra changing to plains, you'd have roads randomly disappearing with most of them gone by turn 150 or so).

    So how is a young Civ going to move around? The answer is an easy one, both historically & technologically: Railroads.

    Railroad technology is very easy. First off, there are tracks in existence all over the world currently being used and unlike roads, they last a lot longer without maintenance. Unlike roads, even if they are unusable, the tracks can be taken out, melted down and recast. Since the ground has already been leveled, there isn't a lot of in the need of blasting or earth-moving to done.

    Rail cars and engines can be fabricated easily, either from existing ones or just fabricating rail wheels for the thousands of cars laying around.

    So a typical game starts out with few road options. You'd have highways (few and far between) as well as some existing rail lines (that if the map maker was working right, would probably not be as useful since they generally connect two radioactive ruins sites). Somewhat early in the tech tree you'd either have a Railroad tech or have smelting or something that would allow railroads to be build by workers. I would make creating a rail tile to be expensive and take some time so the board isn't covered with rail tiles. Thus you'd probably end up with the historically accurate city that is a rail hub and thus militarily important. Warlike civs that neglect this tech would be at at disadvantage since the defender could bring in supplies quicker than the attacker can move up units overland. Plus, if there are few/no roads, linking land-locked cities with rail lines should add a bigger than normal 'connected to capital' bonus.

    Again, this is sort of a big change of ideas from the normal Civ, but it also I think is needed because we forget how quickly a lot of man-made things fall apart with time and no maintenance and we just can't realistically expect asphalt roads to stay in perfect condition for the 100 year span of time of the mod. Railroads, on the other hand, are a proven technology and one well within the reach of a post-Apocalyptic society.
     
  10. davidlallen

    davidlallen Deity

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    Roads in Fury Road actually work exactly this way. If you look carefully at an early game, you can see the graphical difference between the "pre-apocalypse highway" and the roads you build. Roads you build give slightly faster movement for everybody. Highways give very fast movement to vehicles, but you can't build them. If you view the whole map, you will see that a highway rarely goes more than 3-4 plots before there is a gap of one plot in the highway. This represents the decay that you were mentioning. Fast movement breaks when it hits this gap.

    In the late game, there is a tech "highways". Once you have this tech, then you can build highways. The way this should be used is to send highway workers to those gaps and fill them in; that represents repairing the decayed part of the highway and restoring them to work for long distance, fast movement.
     
  11. davidlallen

    davidlallen Deity

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    Good point. In my earliest posts about Fury Road in the dev thread, that is what I wanted to do. But I ran into a snag. Railroads in vanilla allow all units to move along the rail at high speed. This means the locomotives and rail cars are "abstracted"; we assume that there are enough locomotives and rail cars to move any number of units. That doesn't fit with the limited resources theme of Fury Road. So I wanted to make locomotives as specific units, exactly a "land transport".

    Sadly, the game AI is known to be unable to use "land transport" effectively. So I gave up on that, and used the railroad mechanic to implement highways instead.
     
  12. arkham4269

    arkham4269 Court Writer - Orbis Mod

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    Yes, I did notice that. However, the fact remains is that it would take a long time to get the tech to fix or create new roads or even roads equivalent to Roman Roads, whereas you could start cranking out Railroads pretty fast. It's easy tech and with all the roads out there, you'd have lots of pre-made right-of-ways already graded for you to use.
     
  13. arkham4269

    arkham4269 Court Writer - Orbis Mod

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    Well from a lot of the reading I've done, making locomotives is not that hard. It is a piston-lever action that is old, old tech. Steam locomotives are 'easy' to make and like I said, you can make trains out of cars, so I don't think the availability of the trains is the issue. To me, what would slow you down is actually building the track. Making railroad ties is easy for a forge, but you have to make a lot of them and then you have to have your worker gang out there doing the laying of the line and that takes time, increasing the danger for the workers. However the payoff is you have a reliable transport that can run off coal, wood or gas and your units wouldn't get banged up in traveling.

    Plus, I hate to say it, but by not having boats, you are penalizing coastal cities by not being able to move units up and down the coast quickly. I mean while deep ocean transport is out, just going up and down the coast isn't that hard. As previously mentioned, it's too bad the AI doesn't do land transport well so some way of having "Paddleboats" (which is just a river locomotive) so you could move troops up and down rivers fast.
     
  14. Zeikko

    Zeikko Chieftain

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    Are you saying that it would be harder to build plain roads without pavement than railroads? Think about it again. If you're making a railroad you must prepare the soil much more than when making a normal road. Even that is a huge undertaking compared to building a road without a pavement. Not to mention the amount of steel and concrete you need. I've watched railroad constructing few times and they put 20 meters long poles to the ground every 0.5 meters. And if you compare that to making roads for cars etc it's totally different business.
     
  15. arkham4269

    arkham4269 Court Writer - Orbis Mod

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    First off, I'm not talking about modern railroads. Those have to withstand tremendous weights that early railroads didn't have to take. Secondly, if you are using small steam engines or multiple cars as engines, you're not going to be hauling a lot of stuff, which is fine for the average size of a Fury Road unit.

    The big problem with rails is getting a level ground. While the asphalt has disintegrated, the basic leveling for a modern road still exists so primarily you are just laying down the rail lines and not having to move a lot of earth down. Certainly you'll want some sort of steamroller to make sure things are packed down, but that's not that hard of a machine to build.

    And who said steel would be hard to get? The amount of steel from the Two Towers after 9-11 was equivalent to 2 years of the entire steel output of the entire world. There is plenty of it around in ruins, in buildings, not to mention all the trashed vehicles. Plus, while the roads are thrashed, it is estimated that it would take 150-200 years before concrete bridges would begin to fail so you'd be able to use existing structures for the 100 span of the game without much problem.

    Another thing to remember is that while this mod is nominally based in Australia so I can't be 100% but here in the US there are miles and miles of unused tracks. You go up into mining country and you can find mines that have rails going up to them and if you break past the boarded entrance, you'll find old carts and the like that where to expensive at the time to cart away. All these could be reused.

    I mean in a choice of having to not only having to make/use macadam cement, you'd also need to create the asphalt from oil by-products. Then you need to heat it, spread it and the like. So much simpler to just tear up existing rails or lay down track of your own making. Plus, in WW I, they had a 'tactical' track that was designed to be put down quickly so you could quickly get supplies to the front lines. These tracks could be laid down and extended very quickly. Sure you couldn't put a lot of weight on it, but then again, in the scale of Fury Road, the heaviest thing initially you'd be hauling would vehicles on flat beds, which in railroad terms not that heavy.

    Plus, from a historical perspective, after a year in Afghanistan I can tell you from direct experience that a road that hasn't been fixed in 20 years is not a road in the sense of the modern term: it is merely less onerous terrain to drive over. The develop massive sink-holes and the like and often times it doesn't seem like there is much difference between the road and the off-road, and we where in military vehicles with advanced suspension and we'd still get banged up and break axles and the like. If the US had it's way, we'd be building more rail lines in Afghanistan but unfortunately rail lines are to easy for insurgents to blow up.
     
  16. davidlallen

    davidlallen Deity

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    In Fury Road today, the unit you build to go attack cities is a catapult. This is a vanilla unit which has a wood/stone look, so it is not very post-apocalyptic.

    If you had to attack a city with walls, and you want to make openings in the walls so your foot troops and trucks can get in, how would you do it? I bet the first answer will be something steam powered :)

    If we can get a good concept, I am sure one of the unit artists :)rockon: refar) can design it.
     
  17. arkham4269

    arkham4269 Court Writer - Orbis Mod

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    The bigger question is not how to get past the walls, but what are the walls made of? Chances are, most cities walls are going to be a big abatis of all sorts of crap laid in a ring around the city. Much of it could be rubble from destroyed buildings and much of it would probably be bits of destroyed heavy things like rail cars, CONEX'es and other big pieces of metal. I'm sure these crude structures would also have some sort of trench as well as wire obstacles. With all the destroyed buildings around, steel girders could be used to make dragon's teeth of the sort you see at the beginning of the movie "Saving Private Ryan".

    So, instead of blocks of stone that have been set in over time, refined and had engineers plan it out, you are instead going to have pretty much just a intense debris field build up to a certain height. Now as someone who got to learn a lot about IED's, I can tell you that often times the blast affect of a weapon isn't the killer, but that it creates secondary shrapnel affects.

    Crude walls of this type would be very good at keeping ground troops, as was seen in "The Road Warrior" but they would be vulnerable to explosives. So, as I've said before, you take a junker vehicle, load it with lots of gunpowder or what ever explosive you have. Clear a lane for the vehicle and drive it into the wall. The detonation will not only weaken and/or destroy the wall, but the blast will create shrapnel from the wall it kill a lot of people.

    The steam engine that might be used would be in conjunction with the bomb car. You'd take a big vehicle like a dump truck or some form of Dozer and "hillbilly armor" it up and then use it to ram the point where the bomb car detonated. Actually, this is where having access to old military tanks would come in handy since they don't need a gun to help push through the wreckage if they have the proper attachment. An old M-60 tank or better yet a M88 tank recovery vehicle would be the best. However, there are plenty of big construction vehicles that would work here. Actually, on YouTube there is a 'tank' that was made from a small steam locomotive where the wheels where replaced with tracks. If you don't have railroads, using locomotives like this would be a good idea.

    So the big thing would be clear the lane of wire, obstacles and bridge any trench or moat. Then drive in the bomb car to be detonated remotely or by suicide bomber. After that weakens or mostly destroys that section, send in the dozer-mobile to clear the breach of debris so the ground troops could get in.

    Obviously bomb cars would be great, but would be like cruise missiles in that you only get one shot out of them So perhaps after explosives become available you could build bomb cars to go with the "Steam ram" which is basically all the Dozer Truck would be.

    I would think that after a while, when a Civ could afford the effort, real walls could be make, but in my opinion, it is not worth the labor in a post-apocalyptic world compared to the amount of safety you'd get in return. Walls just are not effective against explosive shells which is not that hard to make, being a late 17th century invention. If you have the technology to quarry and move stone enough to build a classic castle, you probably have enough of a base to build explosive shells which render those walls mostly useless.

    You'd be better off building mines which are easy to make, easy to use, easy to replace and can be made to be command detonated. Not sure how you could simulate them unless there was a way to have all units attack a certain square take a certain amount of damage on their way in or make the 'mines' a unit like a plane that automatically attacks units attacking. Once the mine unit dies, that part of the minefield is cleared. Multiple mines could show a deeper field though I'd think you'd need to make a cap on how many a city could have.
     
  18. arkham4269

    arkham4269 Court Writer - Orbis Mod

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    Just wanted to point out that while a Mega-Dozer would probably work against the sort of barricade I describe, the problem is that like anything with heavy equipment, you'd probably need multiple passes. I mean if you had access to those claws on boom machines that destroy buildings, that would work as well but it wouldn't work quickly. So while a barricade isn't as strong as castle walls, they delay the attacker and gives the defender that much more time to attack the siege vehicle. I mean I don't want to be in the cab of such vehicle if the defenders are hitting me with flame throwers like they did in "The Road Warrior."

    That's why the bomb car is the important first point of attack. Not only does the bomb attack the wall, but fragments from the wall and probably from the vehicle itself (added to make it more dangerous) would help clear the area around the breach of defenders to that not only would it give the Mega-Dozer time to make a few attacks against the wall, it would give the attackers ground troops enough time to get in close for cover. I mean look what happened at the Battle of Helms Deep in The Two Towers?
     
  19. davidlallen

    davidlallen Deity

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    So the idea is a car bomb, basically. I would like to find a name which doesn't get anti-terrorism people mad at me. It would be a one time unit, requiring machinery and combustion, which does significant damage to walls.

    For graphics, it could be a variant ute with a truck bed full of explosives. Hopefully, it could look different enough from the current ute that people wouldn't get them confused. In version 9, the variant utes all serve basically the same role. If somebody mistakes a starting ute for one with antitank, it doesn't make that much difference. But if somebody overlooks some car bombs in a stack with other attackers, that is more of a problem.

    I have thought about minefields before, but I have to investigate how to make objects selectively visible: if I have the technology to make minefields, I can see my own minefields but not somebody else's. Minefields and car bombs go together somehow.
     
  20. arkham4269

    arkham4269 Court Writer - Orbis Mod

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    Well Bomb Car seems to work or maybe Land Spar-Torpedo which is a apt description but a stupid name. :crazyeye: That being said, in some ways that is exactly what you'd want: the explosives to in front of the vehicles so as it comes in contact with the wall, the vehicle itself acts to channel the blast into the wall, similar to how you put sandbags over dynamite when making road craters. (you spend 4 years in Engineer units and you learn these sorts things! :) )

    Actually you'd want a van if you can get it because one of the whole point of a VBIED (Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device) is to haul lots of explosives as well as have more of the vehicle become part of the secondary shrapnel effect. In a Van, you could load lots of ball bearing type pieces of metal on top of the explosives to increase the shrapnel effect. Of course you'd want to back the vehicle into the wall so that the engine and cab aren't in the way otherwise you'd channel the explosion up and backward which isn't what you want. Plus it would make it easier for the driver to get out...if that is possible.

    Of course the whole point of a bomb car would be to be sort of nondescript so it wouldn't be easily seen till the last minute. The Mega-Dozer, on the other hand, would be really hard to miss!

    Well the thing about minefields is that while you might have some command detonated mines, the problems is that the vast majority are going to be simple pressure plate mines. So while attacks are rare, people have to go on with live every day so you'd have to CLEARLY mark your minefields so you own people wouldn't go there. Remember, in the case of defense, the fact that your enemy knows you have mines works as a deterrent in that the enemy may decide your too hard of a target to crack. Even if the know where your mines are, you either force them to clear them and you ALWAYS cover your mines with direct and indirect fire, or you channel them to the areas where people travel on a day to day basis between mine fields and again making your enemy have to attack in a column which is the worst way to attack into a defensible works since the defender can concentrate their firepower on a small frontage and the attacker cannot reply in kind.

    Plus, while anti-mine technology isn't hard, it takes time, and time tends to work for the Defender and not the attacker...well it use to since disease would screw up the attackers and I don't think there is an easy way to show this.
     

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