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Colonization Mod for Civ IV

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Creation & Customization' started by jhsveli, May 18, 2006.

  1. jhsveli

    jhsveli Chieftain

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    Greetings

    As a devout fan of all things sid, I would love to see Colonization reborn. I am not a civ IV modder, so I don't know how much is possible, but I imagine making a Colonization remake as a mod for Civ IV is feasible.

    I'm wondering if there is already an ongoing project regarding this, or if not, if there are any modders with similar ideas swirling in their heads.

    Jorgen
     
  2. dalek master

    dalek master Prince

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    there is a huge colonization o fthe MOON mod going, but Im not sure.....
    anyway weclome to the boards....:)
     
  3. Padmewan

    Padmewan King

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    Are you suggesting something like the Age of Discovery scenario from C3C?

    The Europa Europa mod features colonization as a core game mechanic.
     
  4. Padmewan

    Padmewan King

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    Ah, just googled for it and found out what you're talking about. I hate getting more ideas because now I'm starting to rethink some of my premises for Roanoke. (Just kidding... sort of). Since it's a Sid game, seems like the basic mechanisms will not be too hard to replicate. My readup of a review indicates that in some ways it might be quite simple to do, since the number of units is very restricted, and it's a lot easier to implement bonuses than units (in terms of graphics).
     
  5. Belizan

    Belizan Emperor

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    Colonization is probably my all time favorite of Sid's games, and yes, it is feasible to make a colonization scenario for Civ4. Not that that gets you anywhere. Generally speaking, if you want to see a mod happen, you need to work on it yourself, even if your efforts are just organizing ideas and plans and people and keeping them motivated. Put another way, if I had a nickle for every post I've seen that started out with, "I don't know anything about modding, but I have this great idea for a mod..."... 8).
     
  6. jhsveli

    jhsveli Chieftain

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    Well, I haven't got any experience modding civ4, but I am an experienced programmer in object oriented java. As we speak, or rather as I am typing, I'm familiarizing myeself with python.

    I have two brothers that are huge fans of the games as well, and might be sources of ideas and/or content, though they haven't got any modding experience neither.

    I guess this is sort of an invitation to any with enough interest and perhaps a little experience to try and make a Colonization Remake Mod.

    It appears that Belizan and Padmewan are good candiadates if they are intersted?

    Cheers
    Jørgen
     
  7. Padmewan

    Padmewan King

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    Belizan is doing Colonization of the Moon and I am doing Colonization of a hypothetical distant planet in the medium-future.

    However, after reading up on Colonization I do want to incorporate some of its ideas into our mod. I am thinking of using fictional space colonization as an allegory of European colonization, specifically of America (as that's the instance I'm most familiar with).

    Two aspects that I think we can collaborate on:

    1. Economic model. The Civ4 economic model is better than Civ3, but still naive. The calculated trade routes are great, but in a colonization mod I suspect you want more control about who trades with whom and how. In our mod, trading partners will not even exist on the map but be in nearby systems and Earth. Not sure if Colonization has the Old World on the map or not, and whether you want it. If not, then we both need to find a way to change the economic model.

    2. Diplomacy. SM's Colonization, from what I've read, involves diplomacy among the colonies with the ultimate aim of overthrowing the colonial power. I would like to mod the UN to function more like a federation among our colonies. Not sure how you are thinking about diplomacy in yours.

    As we are attempting a "remix" of SMAC, it would be really interesting to throw in some elements of SM's C as well...
     
  8. NikG

    NikG SDK Lover

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    Hey jhsveli, may I ask where you are from?
     
  9. Arne

    Arne King

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    I would be happy, if there will be a Colonize mod for Civ4. Colonize was one of my favorite games. May I help with some 2D-Artwork for icons etc.?
     
  10. jhsveli

    jhsveli Chieftain

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    @Padmewan

    When or if it is decided to go forward with a Colonization mod, it must be agreed upon either to try and copy colonization's gameplay as much as technically feasible, or try to do a colonization mod with Civ4's updated gameplay style. I think this is a decision that has to be made early on, not necessarily before anything else, but before moving on from prototype stages.

    As far as the economy goes, In Colonization this was almost absent. There was no building upkeep or tax income. Income was made primarily through trade and pillaging indian settlements. Most rewarding was sacking Inca and Aztec cities. Trading was done by moving ships carrying cargo into indian settlements, foreign colonies or to the european home port. In Colonization you start with a ship, a soldier and a pioneer, in special ocean squares called 'high seas', which ships used to travel back to europe. So, you had trading partners on the map, and in your home port. The home port was simply a screen where you could buy/sell commodities, recruit colonists with specialities and purchase ships/artillery.

    One of the main reasons for me wanting to se Colonization remade is the trading system. Specializing colonies to either be raw materials supplyer or producer, or both, was very much fun. The main challenge here would be to make resources yield. In civ4 squares yield food, hammers or gold. It must be possible to add whatever raw materials "we" decide to put in. For example in colonization, grassland yields a certain amount of tobacco as well as food. A grassland tile with prime tobacco yields +2 in addition. And finally plowing that field yields a further +1 tobacco in addition to that. Then there is the case of specialist workers, which double the total output of the square.

    Another challenge is making ships able to carry cargo, as well as units. A ship had 1-6 cargo holds that could be used for troops, or 1-100 units (tons) of cargo each.

    The trade system, cargo/goods system (raw materials and end products), are what I see as one of the most important parts of a Colonization Mod, as well as being the main challenges.

    As far as the diplomacy goes, I haven't really given it much thought. In Colonize you could have war, peace, accuse of piracy, demand tribute. To me there never seemed to be much to gain from eradicating the fellow europeans, unless they had a colony in a particularily good location. The game was won ultimately by winning the war of independence.

    @NikG

    I'm from Norway, or more precisely Moss.

    @Arne

    Great, Ill keep this in mind
     
  11. Padmewan

    Padmewan King

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    Having plunged into a mod doing less of the gameplay planning than I thought I had done, I agree fully. You should chart out the fundamental game mechanisms -- what you want the player to be able to do -- before anything else!

    From your description, it sounds like there WAS an economy, just a one-dimensional one...

    IMHO one of the big shortfalls of the Civ games I've played is the simple economy model. Civ4 does a better job than previous installments, but the big thing missing is the possibility of a player to specialize, capture a niche, and otherwise engage in "competitive advantage."

    There are some SDK mods which allow multiple yields, but before digging yourself into a morass there, I would take a step back (per the first point above) and ask: what is the core dynamic you (or I) want to achieve here?

    Sounds like you could break it down into:

    1) Sacking / raiding / pirating. An activity that provides an immediate hit but isn't sustainable. The strategy would be to plunder enough gold to lift yourself up to the next ledge while pushing everyone else down.

    2) Harvest raw materials. More long-term value, but you still lose your margins to the refiner. (The difference between dirt and cotton is less than the difference between cotton and cloth).

    3) Refine raw materials. Takes a huge investment of time and expertise, but generates the most value of all of these activities.

    (I think this reflects economic development today: nations are all struggling to go from raw materials to manufacturing to services to innovation).

    In terms of these 3 levels, Civ4 captures this in a fairly abstract way in commerce improvements in the later eras. A watermill gives a good mix of yields, but it's static; a cottage is very poor at first, but becomes incredibly powerful if you give it time to mature.

    The problem with the Civ4 model is that it's too abstract. You can't tell if the cottage-town is specializing in creating widgets or gadgets. You just presume that it's found its own competitive advantage. But that would be abstracting away the exact mechanism you are trying to capture.

    So, a few tentative ideas:

    1. Don't resort to new yields. Find a way to leverage the existing bonus system.

    2. Find a way to make bonuses gradated rather than binary. E.g. having 10 cotton is different than having 1 cotton.

    3. Following on 2, terrain bonuses can produce more than 1 of that bonus. (This erases the line between yields and bonuses)

    4. Following on 3, perhaps different terrain improvements lead to different results on that bonus. A cotton plantation will always generate 3 cotton. But a textile plant will start by generating 1 cloth for a very long time, but eventually generate 5 cloth (or something like that). This represents your decision to forgo shipping the cotton elsewhere.

    4b. More realistically, a cotton resource from a trading partner is needed for you to create cloth, but there needs to be some way of capturing the need to invest in infrastructure with delayed payoff.

    5. After all of this, there needs to be a functional market where you can sell your cotton so someone else can create cloth. Like a real market, there should be the potential to have a cotton or cloth glut that drives down prices.

    6. Then you need an AI that will be able to make decisions intelligently vis-a-vis #5...

    I think I might just post this as a new idea thread...
     
  12. C~G

    C~G Untouchable

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    Colonzation mod is something that I would like to see also.

    I tried something similar with Civ 3 but I never got it really ready.
    Here are some observations that I did along ago and my suggestions:

    Firstly I would suggest that you always could start with random map instead of ready made map of Americas.

    Secondly I think the whole idea of using units as trade with Europe should be discarded. I would rather suggest making improvements to cities that give certain commercial bonus when you have certain resource. I think there should be more abstract model of trade than in colonization so the squares normally necessarily wouldn't yield any resources.
    I also liked the economical system of colonization but I think it requires too much work to add into CivIV. I rather would see some kind of compromise that would still give sense accomplishment when you find new resource and build up trade network. Though one hard thing to implement is then piracy. Making a mod like this you have to understand your limits and try not to overdo things. It should go into basics and understand the possible limitations. It's best to win some battles by concentrating into them rather than try to win them all and eventually lose them all.


    Technology should be founding fathers. With Civ IV Civicks you are able to create all kinds of effects. Wonders such as Manifest Destiny/Standard Oil add new dimension to the mod.

    I would also suggest that the natives couldn't be played at all. They would start with more than one settler and couldn't create more settlers until later time. Europeans (Portuguese, Dutch, French, English, Spanish) would start with one settler but could create more settlers but their start would be slow. Natives could hardly create any culture while Europeans could quite a lot over time.

    Apollo program could work as the declaration of independency and different parts of the space ship could be the different "battles of war of independence".

    One of the things to consider is whether the units upgrade during the course of history or not. I think they should. However the difference between units should be quite minimal. So the player could concentrate into other issues rather than try to develop just new units and take over the continent.

    I would suggest time line of 1492-1892? From Columbus to first Pan-American congress.

    There were just some ideas that I wanted to throw out.
     
  13. Padmewan

    Padmewan King

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    I agree about eliminating the need to actually move units representing "treasure" back to Europe, despite the fact that this opened up the possibility of piracy.
    The main thing I'm thinking through for Roanoke is how to represent the maturation of an economy. In the context of Colonization... perhaps the idea of hamlet to cottage captures it all, and the difference between a "hamlet" built to harvest tobacco vs. one to trap furs is just in the graphics? So dump the idea of specialization, etc.? IMHO that would abstract away too much of the core fun of starting a new colony, but you're certainly right that there would be a lot of work involved otherwise...
     
  14. jhsveli

    jhsveli Chieftain

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    Okay, I am very much akeen to Padmewans idea of adapting the civ4 mechanics to implement a more involving economy (and later, world market?), instead of trying to carbon copy that of colonization.

    Tile imporvements
    Depending on how many different raw materials should be added, should there be several types of plantations, or should one terrain type yield one kind of resource when built a plantation on, and so on? I'm not sure what is possible regarding this.

    A refining improvement that evolves gradually over time is a good idea imo. But its evolvement should be limited by the "demand", if such a thing can be implemented.

    Specialization

    I imagine that religion could be adapted for this. In colonization the specialization in growing tobacco, cotton and sugar could only be obtained by visiting the indians. Settling close to an indian settlement with specialization in sugar-planting would result in that specialization eventually spreading to your city. You could then spread the specialization to a different colony, that is ideally suited for producing sugar, by building a teacher (missionary). This conversion appears easy.

    having read through your ideas, I might be more inclined to scrap the idea of making a carbon copy of colonization, and instead make a economy/market mod. The time frame would be about the same, as would the setting, colonizing a new continent.

    Any thoughts?
     
  15. C~G

    C~G Untouchable

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    I think you shouldn't throw the specialization out of window. I think hamlet and such could represent rather just the colonial housing. I think the improvements made into the tiles that have special resources should serve the purpose. They wouldn't change over time but once you have build tile improvement you could build city building that would change the raw material into the finished product. So the player would get commercial bonus from the tile improvement and possibly city building if he decides to build it. And after this you could place citizen to work there giving commercial bonus.

    One option would be that you could build improvement into a tile yielding resource, then you could build "X cargo"-building/national wonder into city representing the trade of this resource to the old world, and you could build working building which would give chance to change citizen into this special worker and after you have enough these working buildings in your colonies you could build another "X-cargo" for the end product. The later could be even great wonder giving kind of monopoly over that product in the continent.

    Example
    "Tobacco" (resource in tile, no commercial bonus) => worker action ("Tobacco plantation" giving small commercial bonus) => Tobacco Cargo (national wonder in city which has port and access to resource giving commercial bonus) / Tobacco Shop (building in city that has access to tobacco/ Changes the Tobacco to Cigars/ Tobacconist can be hired for commercial bonus) => Cigar Cargo (Wonder in city that has port and can be build when the nation has at least 3? tobacco shops/ Greater commercial bonus)

    There should be sugar/tobacco plantation etc.
    The demand is very hard to implent I would imagine even though I'm not programmer. Streamlining factor could be giving them limit how many such buildings you can build little bit like national wonders now.
    That is very good and interesting idea. Different native tribes having different specializations (religions) that would spread to colonies.Of course then the question remains how to imitate the actual missionary work like in colonization but this could happen with missionary units that act like spies?

    Just want to ask are you going to follow colonization theme otherwise, meaning when it comes to Founding Fathers etc. ? IMO the whole idea of technology tree working as continental congress is great and should be used that way.

    Is there anyone else interested about this?
     
  16. Padmewan

    Padmewan King

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    I'm happy to help as I can, but just to be clear, my main focus is on developing our scifi-skinned colonization game (the main difference being that the storyline outcomes for the natives could be quite different!).

    Some preliminary questions around specialization / resources:

    1. Are resources (tobacco, cotton -- actually cotton is anachronous) restricted by some natural property of the geography, or a choice that is made by the player? Or something in the middle (religion is a creative way to think about it!).

    2. What are the barriers to entry for generating either raw or refined resources? Is the barrier dynamic (sliding costs) or fixed (binary rules)?

    I think you need to answer these 2 questions before getting into mechanisms. For example, once you decide (1) specialization is choice, and (2) specialization is enforced in a binary way, your implementation might be a unique Wonder that generates the bonus.

    So, mechanism brainstorming (these are all options, some exclusive of others, some not)

    1. Building-generated bonuses
    a) Tied to "religion"
    b) Tied to bonus availability
    c) Restricted by Wonder

    2. Tile-generated bonuses
    a) Occur naturally
    b) "Discovered" (by XML or Python)
    c) Planted (by Python)
    d) Restricted to terrain types

    3. Worker-limited bonuses (Hybrid of 1 and 2)
    a) Bonus tied to special workers
    b) Workers tied to other restriction (availability of bonus, religion)
    c) (AI will be a big problem here!)

    Just some initial thoughts -- I suggest keeping the discussion open for more brainstorming.

    Thanks guys, this is all helpful for Roanoke, too :)
     
  17. C~G

    C~G Untouchable

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    Surely, I just think that there would be more interested about Colonization-mod as I know there a lot of fans of the original game.

    I myself won't be around too much in the near future so I try to just give some ideas and convince what kind of mod I would like to see. This kind of mod requires lot of work and it shouldn't be taken lightheartedly.

    Have to ponder through that economic thing. It's a pity we cannot test it yet. One of the main problems in my opinion is how to make AI use it efficiently. Even though we would concentrate into player experience of the mod it would suffer greatly if AI doesn't seem to know what it is doing.
     
  18. C~G

    C~G Untouchable

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    Just thought bumping this thread up and ask whether anyone is up to making this mod?

    I could share some creation ideas but I'm not up to doing any modding I'm afraid unless it's some simple graphics etc.
    Don't simply have enough time, energy nor talent to do so.

    I'm quite surprised how few people are interested about such mod after all I thought Colonization was once quite popular game and could fit quite well to the Civ IV theme IMO.

    If at least some people could come up with ideas and have will to mod we could start with small steps and continue as time allow us and eventually see where it is going from there.
     
  19. Arne

    Arne King

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    I also think, making it as a mod for Civ4 based on Civ4 mechanics will be much more easy to do then rewriting nearly everything. Like I'm wrote, I would be very happy if this mod will be done. And I like to help in some things. For example some time ago I allready made a new galleon skin and caled it "treasure galleon". Since capturing goods from ships probably will be impossible, this leads to the idea, instad of this make it possible to get money from capturing Treasure Galleons.
     
  20. C~G

    C~G Untouchable

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    I agree.
    I would start the whole process of making it myself if there would be as easy to use editor as there was with last version of the game. I'm totally lost with XML and Python and all that really. Have to see whether I find time to learn to mod Civ IV so I could end up making this mod after all.
    With Civ 3 I almost pulled it through but I didn't have enough time and also Civ 3 didn't have enough options to make it really interesting in the long run.
    Basically I was worn out by testing the mod but I don't think this would be the case with Civ IV.
    It has much more potential to give the theme a fresh and inspirational look.
    That is good to hear. With this thread I thought people could call in that are interested and maybe give some ideas and if enough people are interested we could start real modding thread later on.
    I loved the pirates in colonization and it's unfortunate that it would be very difficult to mod it in.
    Even though some sort of implication for pirates would be that they could be the only units cabaple of making amphibious attacks from pirate ships.
    We have to probably little strech imagination and reality in order to capture the spirit of colonization for Civ IV.
    But I'm looking forward for a colonization mod that would be easy, replayable, exciting and fun to play.
    Realism shouldn't be too big of issue.
     

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