Discussion in 'Civ5 - Creation & Customization' started by Afforess, Apr 11, 2011.
Prove it right now or forever be silenced by the upcoming flood in your ingame browser(s).
I'm giving up. Modifying graphics in this game is impossible. I can't even create a custom unit with my custom graphic.
Nexus tools doesn't work. Nexusbuddy converted the thing to .gr2 and it looks alright in the granny viewer but it doesn't appear in the game. I took one of the working mod - the german knight unit mod and replace one of the knight with my graphic.gr2 file and rename my file. nothing shows up.
Zombie mod attack! run for the hills!
Seconded. I stopped all my efforts when dicovering that adding building art is impossible. As this meant that I stopped working - better said I never really started - on the Hungary mod and as noone else seems to work on it, there is no Hungary mod around, at least none in an adequate quality. As there is no Hungary mod around, I don't even play civ5. And before anyone gets bad ideas: I'd never take a Hungary DLC...
Seriously, this is a big and fundamental mistake they did. And there's not even an excusion for this. People can lament on that civ4 modding wasn't what is now after the same short time after its release, adding unique art should have been possible already. At least buildings. We could have done that for civ4 after the same time if we'd only have the tools to work on the art itself, which is not the problem with civ5 it seems. We could create the granny files it seems, but we can't add it to the game properly. Taking the Hungary mod as example, we would be quite far with modding in a rather short time. We could add quite a lot building art already. Next step would be to add units which is a bit harder due to the animations. I guess that a vast of modders would already be satisfied - not lucky, but satisfied - if they would be able to do this. This would allow us to add civs in an adequate manner. But nope... Not enough, it's said that adding art is actually possible as they also do it with DLC packages, they only don't tell us how. It seems that they don't want us to be able to do this. I guess because they couldn't sell their DLC sh nobody cares for anyways. So please, don't protect them, this basic modding should have been possible already. At least, there is a prominent supporter of this view considering Afforess. I just doubt that will be enough... Hmmm... maybe if civ5 sells will drop.
Nope, not dead, just gravely ill. Once Firaxis fixes the mod tools, things'll be better.
Still, I can't fault their priorities. Fix the base game first, then fix the modding tools. If you have to pick one or the other, fix the base game. Worse comes to worst, modders can jury rig their own tools. It's a data driven engine, so at least it's possible to change these things (even if right now we haven't figured out how to do it).
If they fix the modding tools, we could fix the base game much faster than they're doing.
I'd be interested in AI access (we don't really have that, right?).
Having the AI not know new features exist is a major roadblock imo.
I don't think CiV modding is dead though. Granted, I'm new here, but we do have plenty of people with plenty of interest in and ideas for CiV.
If it weren't for all the people saying it's dead compared to cIV, I wouldn't have known.
I have no clue what you're talking about.
Sure, their financial plan is to make money with DLC bringing new civs, so they limited the modding capability in this regard.
Yes, the released game is undone, the wonder splash images showing just concept arts ("WonderConceptPyramids.dds") says it all.
But you must be blind to not see what raw gem Civ 5 really is. After hexagons and limited stacks aka 1UpT there is no way back to Civ 4 - that's the course of history.
Some missing modding options aren't at the core of the problem of the current vanilla game. It's lying somewhere completely else; it's the game design which is afraid to make feel losers like what they are: losers. Instead of letting the loser make faults, learn by trial&error and then improve and become a real winner, the vanilla game is cheating the lazy player into believing that his brainless course of action was a giant epic demonstration of human skillz dominating over the AI.
That's why I wasn't able to play through more than 2 games in the unmodded game.
You just hit enter, you win. You get attacked by the AI, you win. You attack the AI, you win.
Win, win, win?
No: time lost, time killed, time wasted.
Adjusting the difficulty slider won't solve the issue, since it just does what Mercedes did with its A class after tests showed that the car had stability issues when trying to evade an obstacle: it just put an electronic stabilization system in every new A class car, a system meant to enhance security of already stable cars, and not to cure an inherent instability.
In CiV it means that the AI boni (lat. plural of bonus) just make you feel inferior when trying to compete with the AI in areas where it's good at (economy), forcing you onto a path where the AI is lacking most (combat).
But maybe it's just my delusion after having seen from mod game testing how awfully the AI is playing, things you don't notice normally. Like AIs not building improvements they desperately need, not repairing improvements just a tile from their capital, or AI not healing their military units - I still wonder how latter was even possible, probably a half-dead unit just stepping from one tile to another for dozens of rounds (aka "scouting") instead of healing up in 3.
I am not saying that the designers and coders are dumb, they just haven't finished their job yet. The ground for a superb game is already laid, and the AI has its brillant moments. I am not one of those who isn't able to understand the logic of AI diplomacy - that one makes perfectly sense to me and is solved really well.
Some strategic decisions by the AI are splendid. I my last domination test game I got attacked twice right after I realized I may need more military units. The AI was really good at anticipating my moves and acted accordingly and well timed, using many different means (war, commerce, diplomacy, ...); and I am sure the average player will never figure out how deep this really goes. Actually I guess that most rants about CiV do come from latter type of player.
Oh, I forgot I wanted to answer this question: Wrong.
You can adjust building, unit, tech, grand strategy flavors with real simple XML lines. Can't get easier than that.
Beyond this you can change City Focus, production orders, give direct commands to workers or military units and so on using Lua. The access to military strategy is limited indeed (even though you can modify the database entries), so it makes not much sense to try to fix the AI combat behaviour.
But be patient, the basics are already there, it just needs some finetuning, like right assessment of enemies strength by the AI. A single variable in the hardcoded game part can change the outcome drastically, and turn a kamikaze AI destined to lose into a serious opponent.
Lol, sometimes even the Civ3 C&C forums have more viewers than the Civ5 ones.
In civ4, we didn't need mod tools. I figured something just like this was going to happen the moment it was announced that civ5 would use mod tools. I'm actually (pleasantly) surprised that civ5 is more moddable than civ3!
1upt is also the reason for gameplay issues like the return of ICS and the low tile yields. IMO, it is impossible to put tactical combat on a strategic map without breaking something. I guess that doesn't mean much if you hate stacks though (oddly, people that hate stacks became a lot more vocal after 1upt was announced - ditto for people that hate tiles).
What he meant by "don't really have" is we lack the capability to code the AI to recognize new concepts. Very often I think, gosh something would be a cool effect to have! Then I realize there's no way the AI could know about it.
A simple example was the damage effect around cities in Afforess's active city defense mod. It's a great concept to reduce tedious micro of attacking things with cities, but we can't program the AI to recognize the effect, so we can't really use the concept.
Yep, this is the big problem with truly unique mods. No matter how elegant your system is, teaching the AI to use it is nearly impossible, and that invariably means huge balance issues. You can fudge this somewhat, depending on the specific system used, through Flavor entries. But even that's limited in utility, because the game's AI is inherently stupid; it has no ability to plan ahead, and almost no memory at all, so each decision is based purely on the situation at that moment. (There are a couple minor exceptions, like the production of new Worker units. But in general this applies.)
For instance, let's say there's a building that uses Uranium, and let's call it a "Nuclear Plant". Then there's a unit that also uses Uranium, called a "Nuclear Missile". You only have a limited amount of uranium to allocate between the two.
A player, at the tech where Uranium appears on the map, would know to immediately try to grab some; if none is in your current territory, then make a settler to go get some unclaimed uranium, or bribe a city-state that has some, or conquer an AI that has some. Then, the decision of how many uranium to use for power plants would depend on how much total uranium the empire has, how likely a war is in the near future, and whether or not you think you can get any more.
The AI, on the other hand, just tosses a coin; heads it makes a plant, tails it makes a nuke, and when all of the uranium in the empire is used up then it stops making any more of either. It has no consideration for scarcity, no way to decide whether a plant is a better long-term investment. And even if it DOES make a nuke plant, there's no guarantee it'd place it in the largest cities; the decision would be made each time a city's production queue empties, and the only limitation is that the AI won't build something that would take longer than ~50 turns to complete.
So if the AI already can't handle the existing systems with any kind of depth or intelligence, then it's REALLY going to be clueless when confronted with a brand-new mechanism. Even flavors are too crude to use for moderately complex behaviors. For instance, an AI should make any available +production buildings BEFORE starting big Wonders. But the Flavors system has no way to do this, because they're purely probabilistic. You can make an AI very likely to make a +production building by giving it a large flavor (see Factory), but that then makes it produce that before doing ANYTHING else, and that's not always what you want.
Or consider the Barracks. The military training buildings are generally best when all built in a small number of designated "unit production" cities, generally those with local iron for the Forge/Arsenal combo. The AI has absolutely no clue how to do that; it'll put Barracks in every city, and the only way to keep it from doing that right away is to set the Barracks flavor low enough that other things are given higher priority.
So no, Amylion, the Flavors system doesn't even come close to the level of AI adjustability we'd need for any real modding. In my mod I've tried to "improve" the AI by inverting the problem, and finding ways to encourage the player to play the same way the AI already does. And that just wouldn't work for an entirely new system like some people have proposed for governments, religions, etc.
For instance, here's a simple one to consider: I want AIs to not use nukes so often, because doing so would cause everyone to hate you. This fails because:
> Currently, you can't change empire-on-empire relationships beyond the crude War/Peace setting, just empire-on-citystate.
> Even if you could do the above, the AI would have no idea that using the nuke would be a bad thing.
Flavors could be used to make the AI choose to nuke less often, but it wouldn't be doing so because it would know there's a consequence. And that means that you can't make it adjustable, where the AI would know not to use nukes when there are 10+ friendly empires on the map but that it'd be okay if it's down to a 1-on-1 fight. (A player would know this.)
Ultimately what we need is "groups" of actions instead of just pure probabilistic flavor values.
Like in an RTS such as Starcraft the AI knows... build X building, and from it train Y ranged units and Z melee. Group them together and attack A, B, or C targets, to build an expansion at some location. All this stuff is coordinated in attack plans that involve chains of events and groups of items.
Wasn't that what the multi-layered AI was supposed to be designed for? Making a strategic decision on a higher level, then breaking it down to the necessary dependent decisions on the lower levels? Sorry if that's a stupid question, I haven't played Civ5 for months - but it seems that you're requesting something that the game was advertised to have already?
This post is so uninformed, it's almost like you were intentionally...participating in the popular internet pastime that shall not be named out of fear of overbearing moderator wrath.
To everyone else, thanks for the replies. I think the real lack of people flaming me, or claiming that I'm dead wrong is a huge indicator that Firaxis at least has a huge modding problem.
To highlight how a different popular game is handling Modding, I present subject B, "Minecraft". If you haven't heard of Minecraft, go check it out. Here's what the author of the indie game decided to do with mods today:
^That is doing modding right.
is it dead or just not very popular? or is there even a difference
could it have anything to do with the reception civ5 got? i remember general discussion being negative central for weeks on weeks after release, although most games nowadays are always like that
and while its going to be interesting to see what the source/dll released is going to be all about, if it ever comes about, i remember how exciting the lua was and how much neat stuff that potentially could of been scripted, if you had the time for it anyway
Quoted as pars pro toto since posting quote walls is really bad style. xD
First, of course you're right, the flavors model is simplicistic. But it's not THAT simple you could say we have no access at all. Check out the "CitySpecializations" table; seems like the AI is choosing a specific city for the special purpose of military unit training. And it's really simple to modify. That's all I said, and these tools make it really easy to integrate a building into game which will be used by the AI too - in a way that makes sense.
If you go beyond what I said - like implementing completely new game concepts, then we are talking about a different issue.
And even for that I gave the answer: It's possible to completely modify / override the way the AI is choosing its buildings. The problem is, and even that point was mentioned by me already: The problem is, that it's not our job!
That means, we could theoretically do it, but of course not with such an ease as the AI coders with direct access to code and proper documentation could.
Next point is that AI code is time consuming and should not be done with a realtime interpreter (like Lua).
I mean I haven't tried it but it's probably even possible to rewrite the combat behaviour on a strategic level, by implementing a lua based strategic assessment and either disabling the original AI strategy scheme or bypassing it by overwriting each of its decisions (resp. giving the commands to units before the original AI can do it).
No really, you can't expect a game developer to create an infinitely moddable world simulator. I don't know if you have any experience in software project managment, but as you can see from the buggy state CiV is in : It's already really hard to deliver a bugfree product that in core is much simpler than what you are asking for. And that's not because Firaxis is dumb but because it gets exponentially harder to bug test the more options you leave to the modder - yeah, and bug testing modding is as important as bug testing the game, because imagine how pissed you would be if you would realize after months of coding that your mod is crashing because of an untested, buggy "feature" of the modding environment.
Actually there are such "features" already in CiV SDK like the buggy MaxPlayerInstances for BuildingClasses to mention a prominent one. Left open to modders, but not used in the original - and not working as intended.
Lua commands give us already much freedom. I already had a total revamp of the city manager in mind, which would determine the value of a building depending on situation, like making the simple math of e.g. how much cost vs. gain till expected end of the game.
But the result will be wasting resources, my time and maybe even more important computer time, the AI would think about 10 times as long as before, rendering the game unplayable.
So that leads to the conclusion: Open mods for multiplayer!
Where is the problem?
Check each AI city each round if there is some a-bomb order running, and if you find one replace it with something you think is more adequate in that situation.
I hope this stuff is working cause that's almost exactly the thing I am doing in my mod...
(It was funny though because of bad documentation I used the Game.PushCityOrder(pCity, ...) command first, and that one takes the City pointer but applies only its City ID to the active player (aka "me"). Oh, funny test games, and quite eerie... It felt like the revenge of the AI for messing with their "Grand Strategy" TM xD)
yes it's possible, and the same for the buildings, or just about anything else having to do with the AI behavior... and even though lua is very fast and really incredible complex scripts would probably barely affect the gameplay, the problem is finding the time to write these AI scripts.
i mean, there are the tools to make the AI better. once you start writing down (mentally or on paper for example) a plan on how to implement, it becomes quite obvious that it's a monumental task involving so many different situational variables that would take a lot of time and effort.
should a unit move on the hill? does it need the defense, what about support units, or improvements to pillage, or overall strategic goal? is a peace deal looking good in say 5 turns from the current one? and during these next 5 turns, what about the movement of all the other units. btw, what should it build in the capital, the coastal city, this newly captured one. and on and on
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