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Civilization 5 Modding Dead.

Discussion in 'Civ5 - Creation & Customization' started by Afforess, Apr 11, 2011.

  1. takkyon

    takkyon Chieftain

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    I played Civ2 so long ago I don't really remember how I felt about it. But losing an entire stack from one combat would be even more frustrating. I mean, I just played with multiple units per tile before Civ5 without really thinking about the problems with it and how to fix them. But once I've played 1upt, I will never go back to previous CiV's, despite any other problems, because I find 1upt is just so much better. Anyway, I don't think you should provide 'incentive' not to do something, like stack units, to discourage people. As a player, then you have to worry about when you should and shouldn't do it, and you invariably won't find the right combination, which is frustrating. It's better to just not allow it. That's kind of the whole theme for changes to CiV5. There were so many things to do in Civ4, with sliders and espionage and corporations and everything. I always felt kind of frustrated by it, because I only ever had my sliders on gold and research, and I always had to put the minimum amount into the gold slider so that I wouldn't be losing gold per turn. I essentially just ignored espionage completely, so the whole mechanic was pretty much just wasted on me. And I always felt like I was doing it wrong. I guess, on the harder difficulties, the computer is probably going to be beating you in multiple areas just from the bonuses it gets, but with all the sliders, I felt like it was my fault it was beating me in the different areas. I like the fewer options you have in Civ5, because then I don't feel like I'm just balancing everything totally the wrong way.

     
  2. Psyringe

    Psyringe Scout

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    Thanks, you just pinned down one of the main reasons why Civ5, for so many people, fails to be a Civ game. The formula of "Fun equals making interesting decisions per time" (that was the hallmark of previous Civ development) has been replaced by "Let's not allow the player to make these decisions because not finding an optimal solution might frustrate him". This is basically the essence of what I _don't_ want in a Civ game. ;)

    Anyway, since the thread is about _modding_: What (that's a question to the more experienced Civ5 modders here) are the chances of successfully modding the "Fun equals making interesting decisions per time" approach back into Civ5? :) Diverging from the question whether features are good or bad - where we probably won't find a consensus anyway -, let's say _if_ I want a game that allows many interesting decisions per time, instead of either forcing the player to make one decision and then sticking to it (policies), or outright disallowing things (stacks, hard caps), what the the chances of modding Civ5 so it becomes one, realistically?
     
  3. takkyon

    takkyon Chieftain

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    I think you missed the point. For many of the really dedicated players who come on this forum to complain, that is the problem they have with this game. But for the majority of people who play who don't want to dedicate the time to learn a bunch of complicated mechanics, and who will never care enough to come here and comment, that is why they like Civ5. It simplified things so you don't have so many conflicting things that are impossible for the average player to deal with. And, of course, you can't make everyone happy.
     
  4. Afforess

    Afforess The White Wizard

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    Of course, the dedicated fanbase is what truly drives hype and demand long term. Where would Starcraft, Halo, or Half Life be without the fanboys? They'd be in the bargain bin. ;)

    Civ5 is destined to be the stocking stuffer for this X-Mas's bargain hunters, and a far away memory for 2012.
     
  5. Valkrionn

    Valkrionn The Hamster King

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    I actually mostly agree with your assessment.

    The prime difference between the two games is that Civ4 offers you many, generally inconsequential, choices each turn... Whereas Civ5 offers a few large, important, choices each turn. Or at least, the goal would be for them to be important; Policy choices, building choices, etc. Not quite there yet, but the patches have helped make more of them into valid choices.

    What Civ5 needs (desperately, IMO) are more of the inconsequential choices. I love having game-altering choice... But when they happen so rarely, you need the detailed decisions to hold the player's attention, in between significant choices.

    As for the odds... That depends on how you want to do it. Right now, you can add new mechanics; Sometimes easily, sometimes not so much (all depends on what you want to do, and if you can accomplish it with current lua hooks). A good mechanic doesn't have to be complex, afterall. Changing existing mechanics is usually more complicated, though...


    One place you could likely accomplish some of what you seem to want: Policies. You can make different policies within the same branch conflict with each other, so you should be able to dismantle it entirely and repurpose them as civics. There would still be a culture cost, but if you make this low enough (and fiddle with global defines so it doesn't climb quickly), it's not a big issue.
     
  6. Psyringe

    Psyringe Scout

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    I don't think I missed your point, actually I partly agree with your analysis; Civ5 indeed did simplify things. I also agree that you can't make everyone happy. However, I disagree with your assessment that this simplification was a) a good idea (subjectively, because it creates gameplay that I perceive as boring, though I can understand that you see that differently if you _want_ simpler gameplay), that b ) the majority of customers likes Civ5, and c) that this was a good business decision. Discussing that in detail might be interesting (and I'm tempted to respond in much more detail ;) ), but it certainly isn't on-topic in this thread, so I'll point to the question in my previous post instead.

    Edit: Ah, and I see Valkrionn has already provided an answer - thanks! :)
     
  7. takkyon

    takkyon Chieftain

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    I don't really think that's true. You only see the game from one side, the dedicated fanbase. It's easy to make grim predictions when you don't like the game, but the average fanbase doesn't really interact with the much smaller dedicated fanbase. And, you seem to be someone very set in your ways, so there's really no reason arguing with you.
     
  8. Afforess

    Afforess The White Wizard

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    So you're advocating Spore's route? That turned out real well. What were it's rating on Amazon.com? Oh. 1 star. Out of 4000+ reviews.

    Or perhaps you're advocating game designer be like Micheal Bay, and "Transformer 3: I'm in it for the money, baby!" or "Pirates of Carribean 4: It's a job!"

    Yeah, I guess totally selling out makes you money in the short term, but long term, it hurts your image. For instance, I will never ever buy a game from 2k or Firaxis until I wait 2 months for reviews. Clearly that's a positive for their balances.

    Spoken like a true debater. Just ignore the person, their arguments are invalid.

    You do realize I was a huge fan pre-release and thought Civ5 was going to be awesome? Bah, I shouldn't let little things like facts get in the way.
     
  9. deanej

    deanej Deity

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    I believe Spore's rating was caused by SecuROM.
     
  10. PinkRose

    PinkRose Warlord

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    Beautiful idea, Valkrionn.
    I whole-heartedly approve.
     
  11. Afforess

    Afforess The White Wizard

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    Spore did not use Securom. It was through Steam. That was not the complaint.
     
  12. rezaf

    rezaf Warlord

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    I'm not too fond of the civilian-mode idea, but it's moot, because nothing like that will or can be implemented in Civ5 anyway.
    For a possible sequel, I like your idea of armies far better. Just make combat rules that mave stacking a large count of solitary units a bad idea. That's why I brought up the Civ2 example - it could be annoying, it definately wasn't optimal, but as a result nobody used SoDs in Civ2, especially not in single player.
    Of course, armies would come with their own set of problems.

    I listened to a podcast recently where they discussed the original Panzer General.
    They name it a wargame for people that don't like wargames, which has some truth to it. Civ5 is similar - it's a Civ game made for people who don't like to play Civ.
    Like PG<->wargames, Civ5 did away with many of the more complicated systems and caters to people who like to play a game with the "theme", but are content having a swordsman beating the sh*t out of an archer or something, and who want most systems to be shallow, so they can either give some number or the other an arbitary glance and have some simple, straight forward ways (but not too many ways please!) to change these numbers or have systems that aren't really that important in the end so they can more or less be safely ignored alltogether.

    Isn't it a bit sad that civ5 modding is so dead that we're discussing stuff like that in this thread because there isn't really much to say about civ5 modding without beating the literal dead horse? :(
    _____
    rezaf
     
  13. Lord Tirian

    Lord Tirian Erratic Poster

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    Oh, boy, I *do* remember... wish it was still the case (your DLL-based modcomps were amazing, I really hoped to see stuff like that for Civ5 as well). :sad:

    Cheers, LT.
     
  14. CPTblackadder

    CPTblackadder Chieftain

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    i had to post, but your wrong, it obviously only uses steam if you buy it from there. most negative reviews were actually from securom
     
  15. Seven05

    Seven05 Warmonger

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    Boring "facts" ... I played Civ 4 for about a month after it was released, got bored quickly despite being one of the few people that didn't have problems running it. I guess Civ 5 made everybody forget about MAFs even though they still haunt Civ 4. Anyway, after that first month I didn't come back to it until BtS, skipped Warlords entirely. I know that Civ 4 became something really good full of great mods but I won't lie to myself about how long it took to get there.

    So... along comes Civ 5, amazingly enough, I played it for about a month before taking a break. I have no idea what version I played last but I decided to pick up Ged-somethinglongIcan'tspell's mod with an even longer name I can't remember, well except the "not" part and the funny thing was it ran fine along side a personal mod I made back in November that was never updated. Granted it wasn't a particularly fancy mod, just some SQL to change some basic combat rules, AI flavors and other simple things. But, it ran without me even opening up the mod buddy.

    Anyway, the point is that Civ 5 modding is different than what most people are used to. Historically a "mod" has always involved changing game files be it xml, txt or some goofey proprietary datafile. Civ 5 uses a sequel database and saddly few gamers understand what that means. So people get upset that they can't just edit a file like they always have in the past even though they see files that look identical to what they edited for Civ 4. It's frustrating when you expect things to work like you're used to. While I don't think modding is "dead" and I disagree with many points made to that effect I certainly understand why a lot of people have given up.

    Oh, and on the topic of AI, if you want to have some fun with the Civ 5 AI all you need to do is stop thinking like a strategy game developer for a little bit. For years strategy games have been tackling AI backwards and Civ 5 isn't any different. The problem is that you can't think like a person when trying to design the AI, what's easy for us to decide by simply looking at something, like a map for one example, is extremely complex to program an AI to do. Programming 101- complex != good.

    You need to program and treat the AI like it's a small child, for example consider a simple situation where you have a tank close to an enemy city with some artillery nearby.

    The "traditional" strategy AI approach is to have the computer player look at the tank and then look around the tank and try to evaluate everything within a set range. It's really easy for you and I to see that threat and the best place to move the tank to/flee/attack/etc, especially since we can think a few turns in advance taking terrain movement costs into account and finding a path to our goal faster than the enemy can pursue us. Now, try to come up with a way to exaplain that to the AI.

    The "non-traditional" approach is to tackle the same situation from a complately different perspective. Instead of looking at a specific unit and trying to figure out what, if anything, can harm it you have each unit (and city in this example) check to see what it can harm and pass the information to the target, essentially saying "I can hit you and do about this much damage." This may sound more complicate at first but it's actually much simpler. It's also easy to extend so it includes things like medics telling nearby units "I can heal you" or a ranged unit saying "I can support you."

    This is how I used to program bot AI back in the day when Quake didn't have a numbers in the name. It's effective and you can typically rely on existing methods for LoS, pathfinding, combat odds and so on. It's also efficient because you don't have to scan as often as you do when you try it the other way around. I think ideally in a game like Civ 5 each unit/city would simply "tag" their surrounding hexes at the end of their player's turn then all subsequent units would merely have to check the tags on their current hex (to avoid seeing what they shouldn't see). You could very easily handle things like basic commands to "wait here until healed" or "get away from this city because it hurts."

    So when you're struggling with getting the AI to grasp your changes just take a step back, remember that the AI is like a deaf, dumb and blind kid then see if you can't come up with something that works.

    As for the DLL... I'll wait for it just because I prefer C++ over LUA, I'm old and senile, if I have to learn LUA I'll have to forget something else first.
     
  16. Sync

    Sync Warlord

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    The Civ3 C&C forum still gets more viewers than the Civ5 one, that's pretty embarrassing.

    I really hate being negative, but I just don't like Civ5. I want to, but I just can't get immersed into it. There's a lot that I would like to mod about this game to make it playable for me, but the lack of the DLL makes it impossible. Honestly, I've really been let down by this game.
     
  17. SamBC

    SamBC Emperor

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    Firaxis are trying to breathe more life into it, gradually, like with the new GameEvents added in the last patch, but I do worry that it's too late - the spark that comes with a new release isn't there any more, so there's not much drive to do anything with them. They do seem to have been chosen based on requests I collated (at least they coincide with them), so they do listen to (workable) requests in that department.
     
  18. Thorburne

    Thorburne Centurion

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    @Seven05 - You make some excellent points that many tend to ignore... specifically about the differences from Civ IV modding and Civ V, as well as the difference in the playability of the games when they both came out.

    Personally, what bothers me the most is that they force you to use XML still even though they have nothing to do with the game. Now you have this mundane syntax to use whenever you want to make a change or add something new. It gets really confusing and cumbersome. And yet they still refuse to make a GUI based editor when that can do, essentially, the same thing that they created the XML files for.
     
  19. The_J

    The_J Say No 2 Net Validations Super Moderator Supporter

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    Moderator Action: Not again that crap!
    Every following discussion about XML, direct editing and GUI based editors will be deleted.
     
  20. Seven05

    Seven05 Warmonger

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    That wasn't specifically for Civ though. Civ 5 is the first game I've modded that used an actual SQL database for most of the game data rather than reading directly from datafiles that you would modify. It took me some time to get used to it despite my extensive background in database development. :)
     

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