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Civilization: Beyond Earth's creators are fixing their biggest mistakes

Discussion in 'CivBE - General Discussions' started by Ari Rahikkala, Mar 12, 2015.

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  1. Ari Rahikkala

    Ari Rahikkala Chieftain

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    http://www.polygon.com/2015/3/12/81...earth-patch-creators-fixing-mistakes-gdc-2015

    This is mostly the same material as in the "We should have been more audacious" thread, but through a different source, and besides I think we could use a new thread on it without difficultychat anyway.

    The most notable new thing here is probably this "2.0" that's planned to be shipped "within the next few months". GDC was only a week ago, and the winter patch just landed recently. Expansion in the works? We'll see reasonably soon, I guess.

    Also, their angle on leaders is badly misguided. You don't need reams of fiction to paint an interesting personality, and considering SMAC's lack of reams of fiction (outside of the interludes, perhaps), they should be well aware of this. Or for a more recent Firaxis game, consider X-Com - how much fiction did you need to write for each soldier in order for the player to feel attached to them, again? Make it worthwhile to interact with those leaders, and just drop the constantly repeated catchphrases, and maybe the players in fact will be more willing to fill in the gaps than you thought.
     
  2. SupremacyKing2

    SupremacyKing2 Warlord

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    Maybe a spring or summer patch is being planned that makes some big improvements to the game?
     
  3. liv

    liv Warlord

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    Good news of the plans to fix and expand for sure.

    I agree that the fiction is not what is needed
    But I think they are saying that they made a game too close to CIV and that did not work as CIV has built in fiction that makes that system work great.
    If you create a fictional planet you may need radical factions or other aspects to make it work.
     
  4. Victus75

    Victus75 Chieftain

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    I'm hoping they learn from their mistakes and plan to Beta test some of the more "audacious" changes.
     
  5. JokerJace

    JokerJace Chieftain

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    I think it's very impertinent of them to connect every confession about the shortcommings of the game to "radical changes in the atmosphere". No, that is not the problem!!! If CiV played on an alien planet with all the names of resources and leaders changed, it would still be the far superior game.
     
  6. Barathor

    Barathor Chieftain

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    THIS. Public Beta please. :D

    EDIT: Or where do I sign up for a chance to join this "small team"? (Is it still referred to as Frankenstein for Beyond Earth?)
     
  7. SupremacyKing2

    SupremacyKing2 Warlord

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    The problem with BE's diplomacy is not a lack of faction backstory but the system itself is "empty". The faction leaders repeat the same line every time and the AI just offers bad deals over and over again. The reason SMAC's diplo was so good was because the diplomacy had character. The leaders would actually respond differently based on your SE choices. If you were playing as Zacharov, Santiago would rail against your "unethical experiments", Morgan would applaud you if you picked a free market economy but Deirdre would hate you for it. And the diplo was more conversational. The text had flavor. When Miriam threatened you, she would request a "tithe" to avoid trouble, Lal would ask for a humanitarian contribution. And the player had several options ranging from confrontational refusal to begging for mercy. That is what BE needs.
     
  8. legalizefreedom

    legalizefreedom Inefficiency Expert

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    Excellent news!
    :)
     
  9. GeoModder

    GeoModder Chieftain

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    In a way, that's what the affinities do: giving the player the choice on how to continue the social evolution of its colony.

    On the article, I feel the developers were pretty bold with the creation of the orbital layer and the use of affinity levels and promotion to shape the outlook and capabilities of ones army. Giving us the choice between free basic improvements and pretty expensive high(er) yield improvements is close to genius in my book. The extra yield choice for city buildings is a nice kicker as well, and espionage has the start of something promising.
    There's downsides as well, of course. ;)
     
  10. liv

    liv Warlord

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    Kind of but it apparently fell short. Most people (it seems like) see the affinities only as points to win a science victory and the story makes no impression on them.
     
  11. GenyaArikado

    GenyaArikado Judge of Love

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    SMAC leader approach was different, i feel. They represented their respectives archetypes hard, the factions really felt like the extensions of themselves, the diplomacy screen showed their past deeds, the tech quotes showed the progression in planet and the actions of X leader affecting the others (ie Lal and Yang or Deirdre and the Spartans) and last but no least (in fact probably the most important point) the AIs had programmed "paths" that gave further insight on the kind of societies that the factions canonically should be (Democratic eudamonic green gaians, mind control hive, fundamentalist believers, etc)

    You dont have that in BE. No mention inter-factional relationships, near zero mention of progression in the planet (I can only think of Kavitha quote about Cynosure and Elodie's quote about growing titanium), No defined "AI" personalities nor leaders highly defined by archetypes (something i liked at first since that's not how real people are, but sadly in practice it doesnt quite work in this kind of game)

    In fact i already consider the Starship leader select screen a progress because it's ramming the leaders into an specific role (Elodie the charismatic, Bolivar the Warrior, Hutama the Diplomat, etc)

    If it depended on me, i'd get the tech quotes rewritten (although this probably is out of the question) and give each leader a "canon" affinity
     
  12. Barathor

    Barathor Chieftain

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    I don't know if I fully agree with the part about attachment and immersion to the fictional leaders versus the historical leaders. Perhaps it's because I read all of their Civilopedia entries and logs, but I'm quite fond of all the Beyond Earth leaders and their unique personalities. Even more than some of the historical ones from Civ that I've never heard of until they were introduced.

    Part of the problem, as mentioned above, is that there simply isn't much to do (yet) during diplomacy with each leader, not much to benefit from. (And hearing the same same thing over and over, since many of them speak English, breaks things a bit too! Please, just make them silent and rely on the text -- or go through the trouble of adding many more audio files.)

    - - - - -

    Good news, though, is that perhaps something new seems to be in the works, as the PersonalitySystem Lua file has been modified with the last patch and emptied of data. The folder with each leader's personality file still remains too.
     
  13. GenyaArikado

    GenyaArikado Judge of Love

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    exactly. Adding to "personalities not translating to GP well" problem I think that making the factions ambiguous, the leaders motives ambiguous and the path that they would take ambiguous was too much to the player imagination
     
  14. lilgamefreek

    lilgamefreek Chieftain

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    There was a large shift in my attitude towards the BE leaders after reading through their civilopedia entries. I think many in this thread are over estimating the dexterity of the Diplomacy in Civ5. The only real interesting addition Civ5 has over BE in that respect is the world congress and subsequent diplomatic victory.

    But ultimately the way you interact with the AI diplomatically is not different at all. It IS however much cooler to have Shaka wailing on Dondolo or have Elizabeth (Would you be interested in a trade agreement with England?) calling you up than Barre (No village was ever hurt through trade!). There's a more immediate connection, more backstory, and it's much easier to fill in the holes with hilarious consequences as to how a poland, german alliance formed to take down a radical india.

    But at Barathor. I didn't notice any changes to the PersonalitySystem when inspecting yesterday. That is going to be super cool if their still developing that!
     
  15. GeoModder

    GeoModder Chieftain

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    Its kinda hard to put a strong affinity emphasis to the colony leaders when basically they choose again their path each new game. The SMAC(X) leaders were limited in their choices, which made them combined with their faction benefits come over pretty strong. The same emphasis simply couldn't be achieved in BE. The game is alot more sandbox-style compared to its 'predecessor'.

    BE should perhaps be changed so more affinity points can be earned based on quest decisions instead of the tech web. But I guess this kind of 'forced' story involvement wouldn't be for those playets who like to rush an as straight path to victory as possible.
     
  16. GenyaArikado

    GenyaArikado Judge of Love

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    Make the ai have resource based biased landing places would help (since that's how generally affinity is picked). I feel like the true total wildcard should be the player faction. Ofc the AI should be able to pick any affinity they want but make one common enough to make a pattern.
     
  17. Fins

    Fins Chieftain

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    Me, i laughed when that quote in the 1st post mentioned wonders. Sure there is a point there, so many people were "catched" by that old Civilization's habit of "selling" you a bunch of pixels as "pyramids", "hanging gardens" and the sort! And indeed, in CivBE, wonders don't have that "i just made me a virtual world wonder" thing attached.

    But come on, who exactly were those fooled by that old Civ's feature (fooled to some degree, just subconciously, subtly)? Quite few millions of kids? Sure, that's probably so. Quite some adults who are, let me be polite, are a little more simple-minded than us old-school PC gamers bunch (to which i belong)? I guess so. Even some romantics and lots of players with rich imagination, too - nothing wrong about, mind you!

    Yet, my point here is (laughing aside): if some small part of general Civilization-series popularity is in fact attributable to _imagined_ feature, if not to say to feature which fools players to think they are doing something which in fact they do not (how much "Ghandi" essence is actually there in the sequence of colored pixels and some sound files, huh?), - then i say it is GOOD that such features go away. Civilization family of games was never a "story" - it merely pretended to be. Why it's important: because within some good story - sure, it makes sense to put character and spirit into sequences of pixels, sounds and/or letters. This is what world literature, cinema, etc do. But Civilization games don't make a story - only an illusion of. Good illusion for some players, yet very thin and transparent for others. I guess i'm with the latter bunch... I see the mechanics.

    Notably, CivBE tries to become a story, though. I've been writing about it somewhere - was it in some subreddit? CivBE does quite good job about it, even. And wonders are quite alright part of that story. It is simply that vast majority do not read most things in the game. They skip most parts of the story - and often descriptions of wonders themselves. It is, unfortunately, not the problem of the game; rather, it is the problem of majority of players. CivBE creators were making their game for people like themselves - for ones who would in fact read everything there is to read in CivBE. Yet, such people are small minority nowadays. I am positive that if there could be a way to reliably find out how many CivBE players ever read all wonders' descriptions at least once, - the percentage would be surprisingly small. Perhaps, 10%... 15% at best, i think. Call me optimist, if you want... %)

    Really, to me, CivBE's wonders are _better_ in their "what this thing is anyways?"ness than old Civ's "normal" pyramids and colosses. Yep, sir, sure are. And anyone who says otherwise - is probably one of people described above. Creators of that article in the 1st post? Probably too.

    And still, they _did_ that article, and this is exactly what is funny to me. See?

    If you don't... Well, i'm known to often be hard to understand, so i guess that's why i am not writing those articles, leaving a comment here and there sometimes, instead. But i hope at least some few folks here will get my drift and so will smile too. This would sure suffice, to me. :)

    P.S. Did i mention anywhere i consider CivBE to be the best Civilization game ever much because - exactly! - it is more a good story than all other Civ games combined? No? Well, here i do. In the choir of voices saying CivBE was not made right, my voice will sure be lost, as are few voices of people like me. But still, for what it's worth, here i am saying: CivBE is alright, people. It is, basically, we players who are not. ;)
     
  18. zomg

    zomg Chieftain

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    Well they got a lot right on whats so wrong with the game. Lack of personality kills it largely for me. I dont feel any immersion hence its just a reskinned watered-down civ5. Ive heard this echoed a lot. There needs to be a story line. I know its not alpha centuri but that game did it well, as the techs were discovered it felt like a story unraveling everytime. Also it had some different play with designing units, not just a slightly altered civ. Doesnt need to copy AC but it needs to stand out from civ5 more.
     
  19. Manannan

    Manannan Chieftain

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    While I'm happy that they understand large reasons why the game ended up not being very good, and I'm quite happy to hear they're working on improving it I can't help but be pessimistic about this. It took them how many months to change trade routes twice (still need a third change to get them entirely right, although baby steps I guess), make boring wonders equally boring but in different ways, turn the AI's aggression flavour up, ruin affinity units, and some other stuff I don't remember? I have my fingers crossed the last patch was so inconsequential because they're working on a much bigger patch to be released in a few months, but I think promising v2.0 of the game might be a bit much at this point. Maybe promise that closer to 2016 with v1.5 in a couple months.
     
  20. GoodSarmatian

    GoodSarmatian Blackpilled Idealist

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    I don't really see it as a big problem. The bigger issue is that there isn't enough benefit from diplomacy and too many ways to piss them off. "Stop investigating ruins that are closer to your capital than to mine", "stop kiling aliens that threaten your workers", "stop removing miasma inside your city radius", "oh, I think I'm going to destroy this station and kill all the civilians even though it's too far away and I have a lot of better expansion near my landing site", "You put up a Tacnet Hub after I backstabbed you, how dare you?"

    It takes so little to set them off, and sometimes it doesn't even matter. If you start on the same continent as Kozlov and build an expedition he'll denounce you and declare war in 50 turns. if you start on the same continent as Kozlov, only build expeditions far away, expand in the opposite direction, and send him trade convoys, he'll be "feigning friendship" for 50 turns and declare war on you.

    Glad they acknowledged this. There would be some pretty simple ways to improve diplomacy and make it worthwile. Increase trade route energy with civs that you have open borders with, increase trade route science with civs that you have a cooperation agreement with. I hope they do that and more.
    On a side note, why does Firaxis neglect diplomacy so much ? Civ V was much worse than Civ IV, and BE is even worse than vanilla Civ V. If this trend continues you'll start a game of Civ VI at war with everybody and won't be able to make a truce until you research Writing and any kind of trade agreement will require the Economics tech.
     
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