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BeBa - Beyond Balance

Discussion in 'CivBE - Released Mods' started by albie_123, Oct 25, 2014.

  1. solinda

    solinda Chieftain

    Oct 26, 2014
    #Make Covert Operations Cost Energy#

    I just had an inspired thought. Make covert operations cost energy, and remove the siphon energy operation (or have it siphon production instead). This change would create an important money sink that would both buff external trade routes as well as the production virtue tree. Also, based on how easy a fix it would be, you should probably only start with 1 or 2 spies.

    1) Fixes Covert Operations and AI passivity and inability to cope with satellites is a major issue.
    2) Creates an end game money sink and limits the spamming of operations.
    3) Innately increases the power of the production virtue tree energy choices.
    4) Links Spy Agency to energy production as a less-war oriented victory condition.
    5) External Trade Routes are also made more powerful by this change.
    6) ARC becomes a true corporation.

    1) AI, may need re-balancing, since it likely can't handle energy costs.
    2) AI will not put more emphasis on energy production through trade, so it may need energy production innate buffs across all levels.
    3) The power of the production virtue is currently unknown, it may unbalance this tree.
    4) This change may crimp early covert ops, since energy is a limited resource until mid-game.
    5) This innately increases the power of poly-asia to conduct covert operations.

    That said, thanks for your work on this mod. I understand that there are a number of issues that need fixing, and I would be more than willing to contribute time to help implement and test any changes that were made.

    Once I have more experience with the game, I will start working on the AI personality differentiation. Yang and Miriam were so memorable, because they had a style of unit spamming and were ruthless. I need to think critically about what each AI needs to prioritize and how to give them signature techniques. My only ideas so far would fix each faction to a specific affinities (e.g. have china focus on purity improvements), so I need to think more about how to fix them. At the very least all AI(s) need to spam many more units, and declare war immediately when it's ahead or offended.

    Aliens need work. The 'raging horde' option should probably be the default level of alien activity. The real fix is to link their activity to some form of pollution as was the case in Alpha Centauri and give them powerups late game, but that would require a DLC. I'm going to look into ways to buff alien raptors and wasps, and to increase wurm frequency in mid-late game.

    Lastly here is a list of known issues, that I might add to, as I read forums.

    Known Exploits:
    Miasmic Condensers (needs to be removed or replaced, or perhaps should cost energy)
    Covert Operations Steal Tech (needs to be removed or replaced, or perhaps should cost energy)
    Alien Farming (Raptors and Flyers power should be increased, or science gain should be halved until Firaxis fixes)
    Farming Alien Nests for Science (science should be halved, or replaced until Firaxis fixes)
    Internal Trade Routes give bonuses (should only provide resource movement until AI is improved)
    Spy Agency Operations (certain operations should be removed, operations should cost energy)
    Spy Agency Agent Count (start with 1 spy or 2 if energy nerf is applied)
    Negative Health needs to be worse (No new colonies at -10)

    Huge Issues that aren't fixed:
    Purity Nerf (Purity provides too many bonuses and is too easy to access)
    Faction Bonuses
    Wonders (most are useless)
    Secret Building Bonuses (Should be listed, and balanced)
    Balancing Start Options (Aristocrats, Reactor, etc.)
    Buffing Gunboats (they get instantly killed by native life)
    Affinity Lvl 15 needed for end-game

    Major AI Issues:
    All Leaders should attack more (decrease alien like factor, increase offense factor)
    All Leaders should backstab more (easier to declare war)
    All Leaders should spam units (decrease unit cost, maintance priority)
    All Leaders should get extra colony pods at later start times (1 for each 20 turns)
    All Leaders should conduct ruthless operations against you (nukes, wurms)
    All Leaders should prioritize internal trade routes until they are changed

    AI Differentiation:
    Certain leaders should be less trust-worthy and always attack you
    Certain Leaders should prioritize certain unit spams
    Certain Leaders should build tall or wide
    Certain Leaders should pursue certain tech options
    Certain Leaders may need to prefer certain affinities

    Aliens and Scripting:
    Aliens should not spawn in choke points
    Aliens should not block AI attack pathing
    Aliens mid-game power unit adjustment
    Alien scale-up factor (hate, pollution?)
    Alien nests should not respawn as quickly
    Aliens need to target sea trade units
    Aliens should target naval ships less or be weaker when attacking them

    Wide vs Tall:
    Bonuses for Tall needs to be established (extra energy used for?)
    Energy should be required for covert ops
    Energy should be used satellite launches?


    Trade Routes count
    Extra Trade Routes through buildings
    Faction bonus Slavic
    Faction weakness Africa
    Affinity Gains
    Planet Carver
  2. GreenShyGuy

    GreenShyGuy Chieftain

    Oct 26, 2014
    A few things that I'd liked to see fixed:

    Buff the strength of the early Gunboats. For the first two tiers, it's a very one sided battle towards who strikes first. It's not so bad once you start getting to lvl 3 or 4, but it's still a bit annoying.

    Remove the +1 health bonus from Aristocrats and Artists. At this point, I'm always selecting these because I'm always in negative health, and if you're going to make negative health worse, removing these should help.

    Switch The SABR and CARVR on the tech web. I'm utterly confused as two why these two are situated where they are. The SABR is far too easy to get to for it's strength, and the CARVR is all the way back on the tech web for basically being a stronger CNDR. Switching these two, as well as maybe differentiating the CARVR from the CNDR, would be appreciated.
  3. CyanideCowboy

    CyanideCowboy Chieftain

    Oct 26, 2014
    Played a game, I like the balance on the trading, I played on the second highest difficulty as was surprisingly pleased by the diplomacy/aggression of the AI.

    One quick question though, how about getting the mod to work in multiplayer. I didn't see an easy way to do it in game, but i found this thread:

    Anyone get the mod running in multiplayer?

  4. Lanth

    Lanth Chieftain

    Sep 16, 2007
    I'm not in favour of lengthening them, because often when one finishes, if you take the time to look at them, you'll see there are now better options available. Also if you're building a wonder, you could redirect your trade routes there and add production. If you get 5-6 extra trade-routes going there, it could be enough to shave off a turn of building.

    I didn't realise you could get all that on a farm. In my last play-through I focussed on harmony techs, so didn't get all of the possible upgrades for all of the tiles. And I think that's the point - if you get *everything*, then yes things might be unbalanced. It seems to me that the tech-web is structured with the cost of leaf techs vs branch techs so that you don't *want* to get everything. Having said that, putting +1 science on generators instead would be a good change (no idea what tech unlocks that, so thematically it might not fit).

    This is a good idea, although personally I just leave the computer to manage the population for me and it seems to use specialists as they are, especially if I focus on something.

    Health in general needs some bigger penalties, something like -20% trade yield for -10 health, and -50% trade yield for -20 health would help.

    When you have only 1 trade route per city, stations seem completely worthless. One thing would be to give them health, so an investment into the long-term. One option would be +1 health / +3 health / +5 health for the three tiers.

    Normal trade route length is 20 turns isn't it? I don't think that's "too quickly" to upgrade between tiers.

    I agree. A good mechanic might be that the aliens pacify themselves by killing your units in return (as well as some natural decay if you leave them alone).

    Yip, this should be increased to +1 or +1.25. Or it should be rebalanced into something different, because it's pretty crappy compared to some of the other health virtues, effectively boiling down to +1.5 health per city in stock BE, compared to others that give health per 6 pop or per basic resource etc.

    So 4 growers would be +40% food? That's way too powerful. Perhaps 5%, and even then if there were small caps on the numbers available. Actually even 3% seems reasonable.

    Having just played through a Quick game on BeBa, 1 trade route per city is good, but it means stations are very-much left out in the cold. Having 3 TR in the capital would make stations much more viable.

    I did wonder why my explorers suddenly seemed to have 2 expeditions when I didn't have any of the other bonuses yet.

    A compromise might be to re-generate an expedition module in the field if you fortify for 5 turns (and heal back some of that miasma damage while you're at it!), or similarly allow you to perform expeditions at +100% turn penalty if you don't have modules, since I think with the fortification scheme you'd end up just fortifying on top of the expedition site before beginning the expedition.

    Pathfinder virtue is pretty un-interesting at the moment, it could add +3 strength to explorers as well.
    Yes, although once you got to purity 3 you probably don't care about aliens killing your explorers anymore. Also Might has +25% strength against aliens, so moving purity 3 to purity 1 would directly compete with that in terms of early-game decision making - then again maybe that's not a bad thing. Another option would be to move the purity 1 bonus to Pathfinding virtue (solving the 'weak explorer' problem) and come up with something else for Purity 1.

    Definitely agree. you're probably right about the AI though :/

    Also weird that the harmony UU are damaged by miasma if you haven't reached harmony 6.

    I had the same idea.

    Yeah, bonus to ranged units would make sense, although possibly be a little too warmongery.

    One of the main unhealths is +1.25 per pop. So this would be way way overpowered. I like the +2 food to plantations; just played my BeBa game with this and I didn't feel it was overpowered.
  5. Lanth

    Lanth Chieftain

    Sep 16, 2007
    Sorry for double-post, but someone was discussing miasma and how it doesn't seem to be much of a penalty, I had some ideas that would be worth throwing into the mix here (around making Health more important on gameplay).

  6. MasterDinadan

    MasterDinadan Chieftain

    Mar 2, 2008
    Bonus food from plantation worries me somewhat because it is dependent on very specific resources being near your start.

    A health-related sponsor ability seems like a reasonable idea, especially one that might encourage taller play, like Civ5 Gandhi.

    I really like the idea of percentage based specialists. Really, the lack of percentage based bonuses (and national wonders) makes tall cities pointless, and food is somewhat irrelevant as a result. Putting percentage-based specialists makes food important again and makes a lot of useless buildings less useless.
  7. MasterDinadan

    MasterDinadan Chieftain

    Mar 2, 2008
    Any way to prevent orbitals from attacking the turn they are launched? It creates some broken tactics where you can launch an orbital, use it to attack, and then delete it so that you can repeat the process, resulting in multiple orbital attacks in one turn which is just devastating.

    It could be especially problematic with Kozlov's doubled resources - he can build up a huge number of orbital attacks and unleash them all at once.
  8. Lanth

    Lanth Chieftain

    Sep 16, 2007
    Wouldn't seem fair to prevent attacking on the same turn - other units can be 'deployed' and attack on the same turn. I guess orbitals are a little different in that they ignore terrain and aren't vulnerable until they're in the air.

    Still, a fairer approach might be that you can't delete an orbital after it's attacked - it's already "done" it's action so you should be stuck with it until you get a chance to do another action.
  9. Baleur

    Baleur Chieftain

    Jul 9, 2010
    Qingdao, China
    "Because We're All Experts on Balance After 24 Hours of Gameplay"
  10. Lanth

    Lanth Chieftain

    Sep 16, 2007
    Trade routes are very obviously unbalanced, and also not actually fun with the interface they designed for it.

    For other things, sure, more experience will be more informative. But don't forget we already have a good idea about the things that do and don't work in these games.
  11. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

    Aug 30, 2013
    That was a quote from the mod author himself. ;)
    And I found I kind of funny, too, because yeah, we know trade routes etc. are imbalanced, but finding a sweet spot after such a short time seems more like a guessing game. But still, a "somewhat imbalanced" game is still better than what the unmodded game looks like right now. ;)
  12. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

    Dec 31, 2005
    I did a lot of work on Thal's Civ 5 mod, and the Communitas mod that is being worked on now.

    I thought I would offer a few pieces of advise from my experience.

    1) You need to decide right up front if this is going to be a balance mod...or a gameplay altering mod. They are not the same, and going the latter involves a lot more changes than the former.

    I will give you a couple of quick examples:

    Adjusting the yields of TRs, or how many you get - Balancing
    Changing TRs to move resources around instead of "generating resource" - Gameplay

    Adjusting the effectiveness of covert ops missions - Balancing
    Creating new missions to "fill in missing gaps" - Gameplay

    It comes down to recognizing what are true balance issues...and what are simply preferences in gameplay, and that line can be a fine one at times.

    2) Less is more. It can be so easy to want to fiddle with everything to create the "perfect" version of the game. Avoid that temptation. It is amazing with a few key changes can do to gameplay. In other words....the game is not as broken as you think it is. Assume the game is right...unless you have a very strong case that its wrong (the trade route area is one that I think you have a good case for).

    3) Use scalpels when you can, and avoid hammers. If you have to use a hammer, test it first before changing more.

    If the problem is with a specific unit, change the unit. Don't make a change to combat. If the issue is with a building, change the building, not the tech that the building comes from.

    Sometimes you have to use a hammer (the TR change is one of those). These are cases where your change has a lot of impact to the other areas of the game. Realize that fact, and test it out for a while before changing other things. Respect that when you apply a hammer to the game...you are no longer playing the same game, and a lot of other issues you might have had will be addressed (or potentially made worse) than what you thought.

    Hope that is useful, and good luck!
  13. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

    Dec 31, 2005
    As far as Trade Routes go, I have been playing with another TR mod called "Weaker Trade routes", and wanted to give my feedback.

    I have found the 1 TR per city to work just fine. Trade Routes are still great, I still always get them, but they no longer dominate the game.

    In that mod they did a -25% to external and internal TRs (but left stations alone). I found those numbers to work very well. Again, TRs were still useful, still strong, but no longer dominant.

    My main worry was that the economy would get messed up by the removal of TRs. While the pace of the game is slower, I find it is still working well. Units and buildings still build in a reasonable timeframe, I can get techs in a reasonable timeframe. I would say the only area I've had some concerns is with growth. After pop 10, a cities growth rate slows down quite a bit without that extra food...so it might require a small adjustment.
  14. Duffman3005

    Duffman3005 Chieftain

    Oct 26, 2014
  15. TwistAU

    TwistAU Chieftain

    Oct 26, 2014
    The initial spacecraft choices are all relatively minor bonuses, so I don't see any balance change required for them. Although I would like to see them influence initial capital placement, like the lifeform scanner favouring capital spawn near xenomass.

    On Cargo -

    Hydroponics - probably the weakest, maybe starting pop 3 would be more in line with the other choices.
    Laboratory - the best pick for any tech rush strategy, is fine.
    Raw Materials - Maybe a little weak, add 50 energy maybe.
    Weapon Arsenal - Would love it to be a unity... combat rover instead of a soldier unit.
    Machinery - good general purpose choice, is fine.
  16. lordrune

    lordrune Chieftain

    Jan 1, 2008
    The city growth is a really interesting issue for me. Civ BE made the growth exponent really high - much higher than in Civ 5 - meaning that you need about twice as much surplus to grow from 12 to 14, as you do from 10 to 12, which is already a fair bit. I imagine they did that to stop people including the AI getting too unhealthy too fast, due to there being no luxury resources (a design change which they may have preferred for thematic reasons, but has been detrimental to gameplay), but the growth cost also makes tall cities really hard to build - without stacking up multiple broken internal trade routes, forcing a deal of micro-management and not a lot of fun :rolleyes:

    edit - it turns out I was wrong, the growth exponent is actually lower in Civ Be, but growth is more limited for other reasons. Changing the exponent is a workaround of sorts, maybe not the best one though.
    edit x2 - no, I was right the first time. The growth exponent is 1.5 in Civ 5. It's 2.0 in Civ BE. The exponential component of city growth doubles every time you add one to the pop, by default...

    I've played around a bit with the global constants and got my cities growing much better. I'm still musing about the idea of changing unhealthiness even further, by significantly increasing the amount of unhealthiness per city, and lowering the amount of unhealthiness per pop point. I did a couple more tweaks (increasing research cost slightly, slightly increasing culture expansion) in the 'Tall Empires In Space' tweak mod that I put on the workshop.

    I have a few more ideas about how I'd like to tweak the game. This is all beyond the realm of balance, and toward the realm of changing the gameplay, of course. And I'll be totally upfront of that, and why I think it's a good thing to do (although I wouldn't expect BeBA to necessarily go down that path). I think Civ BE gameplay, in the base game, as much as there are cool things in Civ BE, is a significant step backwards from Civ 5. Making the optimal strategy one that involves a great deal of trade route micromanagement and city spam is a game of sorts, but it's not a fun game. One City Challenge - or at the less extreme a win with two to three cities - was viable in Civ 5, at most difficulty settings. It's no longer remotely viable in Civ BE.

    But mods mean that it's not all a lost cause.
  17. Acken

    Acken Chieftain

    Sep 13, 2013
    QC, Canada
    Is that really the case that the formula is different or a consequence of having no aqueducts and less growth bonus.
  18. lordrune

    lordrune Chieftain

    Jan 1, 2008
    Let's talk unhealthiness some more. The way they do it in BE is really strange. There's a base unhealthiness per city, 4 if I recall correctly, so if you smack down a couple of cities very quickly, your unhealthy will drop to zero. But because unhealthiness per pop is below 1 - 0.75 or something - you can build healthiness buildings like clinics etc, and if you carefully micromanage growth, your cities can become net contributors to happiness in the mid game.

    Does it all feel natural? No, it doesn't really. The removal of the luxury resources in Civ 5 made happiness a really natural mechanic - more happiness fed in as you developed, expanded and traded. Healthiness in BE doesn't feel natural, yes it can be kept positive, but mainly due to some strange 'wide game' policies and micromanagement.

    They would have done better IMHO by changing the term 'healthiness' to something generic like 'welfare', something which could take both healthiness and happiness into account. And put some luxury resources into the equation - be creative. Way beyond the scope of this balance mod, and way beyond my own knowledge and ability to do, but it would potentially fix a lot of problems with the game.

    This may all be something that they decide to fix properly with the first expansion, and I really hope they do.

    As an alternative quick fix, maybe dripping more base 'global healthiness' into the game with certain branch techs as you unlock them would help.

    On a slightly different note, anyone know exactly why Civ BE doesn't have the equivalent of national wonders? They were one of the best things in Civ 5...
  19. lordrune

    lordrune Chieftain

    Jan 1, 2008
    Hmm that's a good question. Civ BE uses a growth exponent of 1.4. I knocked it down to 1.2. It doesn't seem to break the game, although it might in the late game with farms improved by tech and/or the farm wonder.

    Civ 5 actually has an exponent of 1.5 - I could have sworn it was less than that, and assumed it was. I'm underestimating the effect of 'tradition' growth and aqueducts I guess - not to mention the many buildings Civ 5 throws on that boost growth.
  20. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

    Dec 31, 2005

    The way I see it, health is too hard to come by in the early game, but can be too plentiful in the late game. Recommendations:

    1) One of the various early health buildings (cytonursury, pharmalab) should get more health.

    2) Eudamonia should be reduced, maybe 15% instead of 25%.

    That is the basics, I'm sure there is more tweaking to do but those to me are the two primary points to start hitting.

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