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Civ:BE needs a major overhaul.

Discussion in 'CivBE - Ideas and Suggestions' started by Catbus, Feb 7, 2015.

  1. Catbus

    Catbus Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2013
    Messages:
    25
    According to Steam, I've played -- no joke -- 1,485 hours of Civilization V. I've lost interest in Civilization: Beyond Earth after 59 hours.

    At a minimum, these are the fixes I think are necessary before I'll get drawn back into playing Civ:BE:

    - Revamp the color scheme. It always looks like nighttime on the planet, and the faction colors are barely distinguishable. Playing this game gives me a squint-headache. The terrain needs to be daylit. Faction colors need to be brighter and more differentiated from one another. I know the holographic haptic display is all the rage in SF art design, but it's no good for taking in visual information at a glance.

    - The AI factions need personalities. As far as I can discern, they all behave exactly the same way. The leaders in Civ V varied in their belligerence, trust level, inclination toward expansion, tech emphasis and many other factors. I want to see Suzanne Fielding behave in ways that make her clearly a different person from Hutama.

    - Speaking of the AI factions, "Favors" seemed like a great idea until I discovered that you can never cash them in. If the AI players -- even the friendly ones -- won't give you anything for the favor they owe you, what's the point? Either remove them or give them some actual value.

    - The Prosperity virtue tree is the only one with any value, because it's the only one that allows you to have more than one city and keep your health above 0. The other three virtue trees might as well not exist. The health mechanic needs to be adjusted so that it's not such an expansion-killer. Then the other virtue trees might have some appeal.

    - If the Emancipation and Promised Land victories are going to drag out so much at the end, it should be possible to set them on autopilot so that you don't have to keep clicking on your wonder again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again . . . or worse, accidentally screw yourself by not clicking on it before auto-advance yanks you into the next turn.

    - Terraforming is a curse. If you make the mistake of choosing it, forget ever automating your workers again, because they'll replace everything, everywhere, with economy-killing terrascapes. The worker AI needs to know to stop doing that once you can't afford anymore of it.

    - I play on a laptop with a 1,366-by-768 monitor. If I'm looking at the tech web, I can't see anything but the innermost ring of techs when zoomed in all the way. But if I zoom out even one stop, all the words and leaf techs vanish, and the icons that remain aren't obvious enough for me to identify any of them. Couldn't the words just be made smaller? The tech web filters are a good thing, but they're not enough.

    I know that's a lot to ask the developers for, but I see it as a bare minimum. I'm simply not going to play the game anymore -- let alone drop money on DLC -- as long as these problems remain. Ball's in their court.
     
  2. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2014
    Messages:
    4,090
    Location:
    UK
    They're not going to lose sleep over one person making a set of demands. Economics, yo.

    You make a number of decent suggestions, and others that are more arguable (colour scheme, what). But you need to realise that time spent playing a game has little correlation on how good the game is, or the worth of your opinion.
     
  3. Catbus

    Catbus Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2013
    Messages:
    25
    You must be loads of fun at parties.

    Moderator Action: Please refrain from getting personal. Comment on the subject of the thread, not other posters.
     
  4. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2013
    Messages:
    9,395
    "- Revamp the color scheme. It always looks like nighttime on the planet, and the faction colors are barely distinguishable. Playing this game gives me a squint-headache. The terrain needs to be daylit. Faction colors need to be brighter and more differentiated from one another. I know the holographic haptic display is all the rage in SF art design, but it's no good for taking in visual information at a glance."
    Personal opinion. I actually like it the way it is. Coming back to Civ 5 I find it WAY too colorful (just like I did when it was first released).

    "- The AI factions need personalities. As far as I can discern, they all behave exactly the same way. The leaders in Civ V varied in their belligerence, trust level, inclination toward expansion, tech emphasis and many other factors. I want to see Suzanne Fielding behave in ways that make her clearly a different person from Hutama."
    They still do. Here's an overview about who does what: http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=541742
    But I agree that the personalities don't really "shine through".

    "- Speaking of the AI factions, "Favors" seemed like a great idea until I discovered that you can never cash them in. If the AI players -- even the friendly ones -- won't give you anything for the favor they owe you, what's the point? Either remove them or give them some actual value."
    I could tell you that you're wrong, but because of the laziness you're showing I won't. :> There are ways to make good use with favors, although they're certainly not as "cool" and useful as they could have been.

    "- The Prosperity virtue tree is the only one with any value, because it's the only one that allows you to have more than one city and keep your health above 0. The other three virtue trees might as well not exist. The health mechanic needs to be adjusted so that it's not such an expansion-killer. Then the other virtue trees might have some appeal."
    This is just flat-out wrong. Take a look in the strategy forums and you'll find that most people use industry instead. This is also not Civ 5 where you get -50% growth when you drop to -1, the penalties until -20 are very mild and the bonuses outweigh the negatives - so you don't need to (nor should you) stay in positive health all the time. Coming back to Virtues: Prosperity has some uses, as well as might. The only tree that doesn't really work right now is Knowledge, mainly because the game is just too short (which is also an issue for Prosperity, but not as much).

    "- If the Emancipation and Promised Land victories are going to drag out so much at the end, it should be possible to set them on autopilot so that you don't have to keep clicking on your wonder again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again . . . or worse, accidentally screw yourself by not clicking on it before auto-advance yanks you into the next turn."
    Yes, that I agree with. The victories are tedious and boring.

    "- Terraforming is a curse. If you make the mistake of choosing it, forget ever automating your workers again, because they'll replace everything, everywhere, with economy-killing terrascapes. The worker AI needs to know to stop doing that once you can't afford anymore of it."
    Yes, the worker AI is extremely bad. But I don't think this is really needs too much work as most experienced players will use them manually anyway. An easy solution would probably be a drop menu where you can choose which improvements NOT to build.
     
  5. Funababbitt

    Funababbitt Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    Messages:
    43
    I agree CIV BE is in need of an overhaul but I think the flaws go too deep to be amenable to superficial remedies.

    While I often wonder why the same people seem to dismiss every new Civ as "crap," "not worth the price," Civ BE surely is the most boring - if not outright tedious Civ game I've played.

    I came on board with Civ II - considered Civ III one of the major game disappointments of all time, loved IV and V and extensions, never played Civ AC

    I applaud the fact that finally the developers of BE lifted the stupid penalties from Civ V, for players who want to play wide. But after a dozen starts on BE - all on Supremacy, I have finished but one game. I've lost interest in the rest. The game designers seem to have been obsessed with creating a click fest through a none-too-interesting "tech web" which really offers few real breakthroughs or Eureka moments, "OK - I've made it to level 10 - now it's 19 and 25 clicks to make it through two more techs to get to level 11." All this is leading up to the Emancipation Gate (is it that the right name?) - where I take my units, at a maximum rate of one per turn and dump them into this stupid "gate" so that by the time I've dumped about a dozen or so - I have won the game.

    I think too much of the game play has been invested in the failed hope that the Tech Web would make for intriguing game play, and therefore doubt that a lot can be done to save BE. I've decided the only way this game is playable and to spare myself from a significant waste of cash, is to go for conquest by making war with the other Civs.

    This ain't the Sid Meier whose games have been a delight all the way back to "Gettyburg," "F-19," and the first release of "Pirates."
     
  6. nimling

    nimling Prince

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2007
    Messages:
    351
    I agree with the core idea of OP - primarily, Civ BE should move away from being like Civ V, because Civ V has deep flaws that have been expounded upon. I don't think the matter can be fixed by tweaks until the core of the game is fixed, and the biggest problem with Civ BE - beyond everything else - is that it's based too much on Civ V mechanics.

    I can say though that there are paths other than Prosperity, though Prosperity is the only really good one, excepting maps where the player cannot expand to useful city sites. More cities, bigger cities, and broken trade routes with free resources is too good. Then again, trade routes popping food and hammers out their ass is a Civ V problem, BE just amped that to 11.
     
  7. Fins

    Fins Warlord

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2014
    Messages:
    129
    Civ:BE doesn't need a "major overhaul", i'd rather say, that Civ:BE 2 needs to be a major re-design. Civ:BE has its appeals as "Civ5 in space", i'd say, let it be that way, and instead create "proper Civ:BE" as "Civ:BE 2". IMHO, of course.

    Few bits which i think could be considered for OP's "major overhaul" or my "Civ:BE 2" thingie are those:

    1. Using same tiles for combat and for terrain/satellites/improvements - is wrong. For purposes of 1UPT rule, unit movement range, attack range of ranged units - a grid where all tiles are of the same size and shape is the only proper choice, since the time Chess was invented. And those "combat tiles" - must be rather small to create truly rich tactical/strategic combat possible; unit speed/range must be not in some "1...4 tiles" range for majority of units, but some "3...15" or so, which is easily doable if combat tiles are ~25% in size (area) of current Civ:BE tiles.

    On the other hand, forests, lakes, marshes etc all being the same size - grows old, don't they? I mean, it's the feature we have since Civ 1, and frankly, i imagine modern gamedev allows to improve this. How about using "civilian tile grid" where said and other features _differ_ in size and shape from each other quite much, eh? Make roads/magrails to be buildable within _combat_ tiles, and other improvements - within "civilian" tiles, with work speeds depending on the size of the feature. How cool it would be, if instead of having a city with, say, 15 exactly same "plains" tiles, we'd have 15 "plains" tiles which differ in shape and size somewhat, some of them giving a bit larger than "standard" output when worked, some others - nearly standard output, and some - a but lower than standard output, eh? I mean here fractional outputs, of course; at the start of the game, having _all_ grassland tiles doing exactly 2.0 food units (without a farm) when worked - is simply dull. But if some give 2,5 food, some 2.4, some 2.3, some 2.2, some 2.1, some 2.0 - and some others similarly less (down to 1,5 food per smallest grassland tiles) - then suddenly city managing becomes much more interesting! Same with shields, beakers, culture, etc. Could simply be calculated as propotional to the specific tile's size, with sizes limited by, say, from 70% to 130% of the "normal Civ:BE 1 tile size".

    Borders of every city's "workable" area could be then defined in "combat tiles" range (since those "combat tiles" are all of the same - presumably hexagonal - shape), and "civilizan" features which are only partially within those borders - would provide only partial output to the city, proportional to the part of the feature within the city's workable area. Etc etc; presense of two grids - one grid being "combat tiles", all same shape and size, - used where it makes sense (combat, movement, defining ranges); another tile grid, being "civilian tiles", - all shapes and forms possible, workable areas, improvements (other than roads).

    Plus, how neat it would be if marshes would follow rivers somewhat, have elongated shapes instead of all being hexagonal? How cool it would be to have rivers flowing in more than just three (horizontal, 60 degrees "left" and 60 degrees "right") direction? How about naturally-looking chains of mountains, hills and proper canyons?

    2. Units health is another old concept since Civ 1. 20+ years of complete predictability in combat. To me, this is extremely old and boring. How about keeping "combat power" and "ranged power" stats for units, while replacing health with "condition", which changes upon damage to the unit in non-linear way? For example, when i have a cruiser which gets attacked by a tactjet, i don't want to see completely predictable small chunk of the cruiser's health being taken off - instead, i want much more realistic _pattern_ of possible changes to the cruiser's condition. Something like this (simplified, of course): small chance that the jet will damage the cruiser much (and so the cruiser becomes "badly damaged"), some chances the jet will damage the cruiser significantly (so it becomes "moderately damaged"), good chances it'd be small damage (so cruiser gets "slightly damaged"), and some chances the cruiser would dodge the attack completely, remaining at "fully operational" condition. Probably more conditions and detailed table of probabilities to cause damage of different scales depending on combat/ranged power of units involved would be needed. This would represent realistic warfare much better - in reality, when a jet attacks a cruiser, it can indeed be anything from no damage (when, for example, the cruiser managed to destroy incoming from the jet missile before it could hit it) to severe damage, if the jet manages to hit the cruiser with an anti-ship missile some place near the bridge.

    3. The "experience" cap for units is another thing irritating me. Especially in BE, where units "morph" into later, more powerful, varieties while keeping their combat experience. I do like the +power% upgrades they get; and i understand the balance issues about it, too. But why not to make those experience bonuses to have diminishing returns? I mean, how about removing experience cap entirely, keep the formula of "every next exp level takes 10 more experience points than the previous one", and simply alter amount of +power% units get to be "+10% at level 1, and then 2% less per every level, but never less than +4%", for example? This way, level 4 unit could end up being 10+8+6+4 = +28% combat/ranged power (as opposed to being +50% for +10% +10% +10% +20% it gets), but then there would be "open road" to higher and higher exp levels each giving +4% power to the unit; and so, if the player manages to keep some units both alive and doing war for hundreds of turns, they could end up being some level 10 (with the total of +52% power) or even higher.

    4. Personalities of leaders sure need to be... I mean, they need to _be_, yeah. ;) More than that, - how about developing this great Civ5 feature further? I mean randomizing some features of those personalities. Civ5 has several "stats" for each leader; some are bloodthirsty, others are easily convinced via diplomatics (and some can't be), etc; but it gets old when every leader/sponsor is exactly the same. A little randomization - within reason, carefully made to preserve "cornerstone" quirks of each leader, - would be very nice here. Like, Catherine would still remain eager to stomp her neighbours with her cavalry whenever she feels it's beneficial - but, say, her dpilomatic strength could change quite much from game to game. Etc. Can't make example based on Civ:BE, because personalities in Civ:BE are... not. You know. :)

    5. For Christ's sake, add some mechanics to _make_ AIs to "forget" things. Favors? Neat, can be done with favors alright! I really want to be able to bribe 'em AIs - if there is no better way, - to stop treating me as a warmonger some 50+ turns after i took out a single outpost, and not even their own outpost - but an outpost of another AI which was half a map away from the AI's own territory... %)

    6. Add more tile types, please. I want high platoues. I want jungle, rain forest and taiga on top of normal "forest" tile. I want savannas, i want "arid" tiles - semi-desert ones. That's for Earth-like terrains. But this is _beyond_ Earth, you know? And so i want even more tiles of entirely alien nature! How about "hiveland", where harmless alien insect forms are swarming? How about tiles like "Crystalline fjords", "Radioactive valleys", "Acidic growth", "Gravitation anomalies", "Hostile biomes", "Lush deserts", "Solid ocean", "Intelligent lake" (hey ho, Solaris!), etc etc? I am sure any Sci-fi fan can remember tons and tons of unusual environments present in Sci-Fi literature, and make dozens bright ideas about new unusual terrain types for Civ:BE 2. Yields and availability of improvements can all be varied and tuned, this is no problem. My point here is: if we settle another world - why it has all terrain types being exactly Earth-like, you know? Local wild life is sure alien enough, but the planet itself - in Civ:BE 1, - sadly is not... And no, it's not enough to _paint_ Earth-like terrain into unusual colors (like it's done in Civ:BE "fungus" biome set) for the land to become "alien"; it becomes "alien-looking" alright with this, - but as long as there are only normal traditional Civilization-like terrains and their yields, it'd remain "alien-looking _Earth_ landscape", you know...


    I could go on and on, but i think above is enough already. So i'll just sum up by saying once again: IMHO, it's not overhaul; IMHO, it's Civ:BE 2 made very differently from the start, which is needed. NO less.

    Will we get it? Of course, most likely we won't. But - i am a dreamer, i guess... Plus, hope dies last - as usual. :)
     

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