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Coming soon: Phoenicia for VP

Discussion in 'Community Patch Project' started by pineappledan, Feb 9, 2020.

  1. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

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    Hello everyone,

    This is my first attempt at a custom civ, built from the ground up. The civ is more or less code-complete, but I'd love to get some feedback on the design before the last few art assets get finished.

    upload_2020-2-8_22-12-24.png
    Phoenicia - led by Ithobaal I

    upload_2020-2-8_22-12-41.png
    UA - Metropolis
    Settled and Captured Non-:c5capital:Capital Cities are converted to City-States with 65 resting :c5influence:Influence towards Phoenicia. Ignores National Wonder :c5citizen: Population requirements..

    upload_2020-2-8_22-15-0.png
    UB - Beit Melqart:
    Available at Trade (1 tech earlier)
    :c5production:Production cost scales with number of cities
    3:c5food:3:c5faith:3:c5culture:
    +1:c5greatperson: GDiplomat Points
    1 Civil Servant Specialist Slots
    +10%:c5production:Production towards Diplomatic Units in this City
    +25%:c5strength:Defense in this City
    Receive a free Merchant Prince on construction
    +10% :c5greatperson: Merchant Prince Rate for every Active:trade:Trade Route on Empire
    2:c5food:Food in City for Every City-State Friend
    2:c5food:Food and 2:c5faith:Faith in City for Every City-State Ally
    upload_2020-2-8_22-20-19.png
    UGP - Merchant Prince (replaces Great Diplomat)
    Can Construct Embassies
    Can Perform a :c5influence:Diplomatic Action, Greatly increasing you influence with a target City-State, and reducing the influence of all other Civilizations with that City-State
    500:c5gold: Gold when performing a :c5influence:Diplomatic Action
    +2:c5war:Military Supply and +1:trade:Trade Route Slot when expended
    Spoiler 4UC Compatibility :

    upload_2020-2-8_22-23-41.png
    UU1 - Habiru (replaces Spearman):
    available at Animal Husbandry (1 Tech earlier)
    55 :c5production: Production Cost (15:c5production: cheaper)

    2:c5moves:Moves
    13:c5strength:CS
    "Anti-Mounted"
    "Habiru" (+25% vs Barbarians. Heals Fully from Pillage)​

    UU2 - Bireme (replaces Trireme)
    Available at Fishing (1 tech earlier)
    80:c5production: (-10:c5production: cheaper)
    14:c5strength:CS
    "Thalamian and Thranite" (+1:c5moves:Moves. Transfers movement to embarked units stacked with Bireme)​
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 1, 2020
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  2. kenneth1221

    kenneth1221 Warlord

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    How did you end up deciding to handle double-capturing a city i.e. capture once to turn into a city-state capital, then capture again to keep a capital/farm yields?

    I think I recall you mentioning somewhere that this would be a sort of super-Venice, and I can definitely see the appeal. It's a cool idea, but since you wanted feedback, I'm going to anticipate possible problems. Disclaimer: since I haven't played the Civ, these are just spitballing, and you can probably disregard these concerns until they become real concerns.

    Spoiler :

    At first glance, the Civ seems heavily biased towards Tradition. However, the only way to have cities under your direct control is to take enemy capitals (unless they're forcefully puppeted?). So I think there's actually an incentive to go all-in with Domination, but most of Authority's unlocks are still pretty useless for Phoenicia as long as Imperium's bonus doesn't trigger multiple times for capturing the same city. Settler-spam might actually be a strong option, as that would all but guarantee you the ability to forward settle everyone without diplo penalties and immediately net you city state allies and their respective yields. It's unlikely that anyone will be dislodging your alliance for at least a few eras, at which point the bonus culture will have long since unlocked Statecraft for you. Having allies with full yields basically means you get a massive power boost, and that your best play might be to go pathfinder-settler-settler or settler spam at 4 pop, since if there are player slots left in the game, it's basically a lootbox for which yield you get. Maybe make it deterministic at first i.e. your first 'colony' will always be food, then gold, then faith, then science, then culture (in vague order of potency)?

    Fealty is worthless. Artistry could be okay. But Statecraft is incredible, even if this civ already has a third of the tree built into its kit.

    Might be a toss-up between Industry and Rationalism for a normal game. I might lean towards Industry, since for an effective one-city-challenge you'll need to do a good amount of purchasing. If you're going for the incredibly niche challenge Domination run, Imperialism would be a must for unit upgrading in allied city-state lands, but that's niche.

    As for ideology, Freedom for peaceful games, Autocracy for those incredibly niche war games.

    A problem I foresee is that unless you go all-in with military, the AI will consider you weak throughout the game especially since you're relying on City-State militaries to project force and hold land. Luckily city-states will be a tad more resilient in future versions. There's enough in the kit to prevent getting annihilated by an early rush, not so much for anything past classical/ancient. Better hope the city states are a good buffer. Still, with a military that seems poised to defend the capital, not project force, you probably won't be getting too many pledges of protection.

    If you settler-spam or go on late-game conquering sprees, you might eventually run into a situation where the land nearest to your capital is a patchwork of unique city states, while everything further away becomes blobs of mega-city-states, once you run out of unique city states and city state names. Then again, there are only 43 (22? 63?) civ slots in the dll and 72 city states, so that might happen sooner rather than later on larger maps.

    Final random thoughts: You also get indirect nerfs such as not holding natural wonders, etc. You'll probably need to do some tuning of exactly when the 3/4UC unlocks because as of now the Civ is getting a lot of power much earlier than its contemporaries but that might be entirely necessary for a one city challenge to snowball/keep up.
     
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  3. Der_Zorn_gottes

    Der_Zorn_gottes King

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    What happens if the game runs out of city state names?
     
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  4. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    Lets take a look. First of all, here is a list of general questions I don't know the answer to, but would definitely influence the power of this civ, so its good to get answers to these.

    1) Do new CS affect the required number of votes for DV, or the benefits policies (such as the 1 vote per 8 CS in the game benefits).
    2) Is there a maximum number of CS you can make?
    3) Can enemy Great Diplomats reduce you below your minimum 65 influence level.
    4) Unless I am mistaken, a true OCC (which is basically what this civ is with the exception of capitals) would never have the pop needed to get National Wonders, or does that scale in a way that a single city could get them?
    5) What happens if I conquer a CS that I make? Does it turn into a new CS....does it count as a capital city that I get to keep? Would I get Authority bonuses on founding AND on conquest?
    6) Does the minimum CS level mean you start with that much, or you get 1 CS each round until you hit the minimum? Aka when a plant a city, I won't actually have a CS friend for 35 turns? (****This is probably the number 1 question is it really effects the early game power of this civ).

    Ok, so let me dig in to some notes:

    1) Currently, I don't think religious founding is possible with this civ at higher difficulties unless your early CS are faith ones, so that's a note.

    2) Seems the default way to play this civ would be to ring your capital with CS. You gain all the advantages of OCC without having to provide your own military. You have a super strong line of defense that AIs are going to have a lot of trouble cracking.

    3) Trade Wide, its an interesting difference between Venice and this Civ. Ultimately this civ will have more TRs than Venice (I would imagine), but Venice scales quicker imo. Also Venice doesn't have trade restrictions, so I could see situations where this civ could run out of places to trade.

    4) There is a big RNG factor in which CS you get. Bagging a culture or faith CS on your first founding is huge, whereas a food CS are much weaker, as the normal wide benefit they offer is muted. I do think you may want some kind of established order when they are founded.

    5) As a fan of super cities, this seems like a fun civ concept. I do like the uniqueness of the idea.

    6) In terms of balance:

    a) Early Game you are invincible. You will have the benefits of OCC play combined with an invincible wall of CS and all of the yields that offers you (aka Siam but even better because the yields will keep going). This civ should take off like a shot in the early game. Further, since all of your TRs will be going to allied CS...you will get even more science and culture.

    b) Your diplomatic ability is better than Austrias overall. You will spam GDs left and right, and so you will have a circle of allied CS that all have your embassies. The +10% Great Diplomat bonus per trade route is going to scale very strongly.

    c) Mid Game is when things get interesting. The question will be, can you actually maintain control of all of those CS against high level AIs that spam diplomatic units like candy? Could your strength actually become a weakness? Having neighbors like Mongolia or Venice might actually be a nightmare for this civ.

    d) This civ is tailored made for corporations. You will have a ton of TRs and ready to go trade partners in your backyard to build those franchises. So I would expect a spike in the late game.

    e) Late Game, it comes down to how well you can defend yourself. At this point, CS defense is not what it used to be, and you don't have the flexibility of stabilizing citadel lines with your CS like you do your own cities. Paratroopers and Planes also make your capital more vulnerable. That said, there is no reason every single square of your capital should not have a troop on it by the late game, so I don't think you could ever really be invaded.

    f) The civ definitely has a fixed social policy scheme: Tradition -> Statecraft -> Rationalism. That's not necessarily a bad thing, plenty of Civs I feel are that way, just something to note.

    My general opinion is that this Civ gets too many strengths from other civs, but also manages to cover for their weaknesses:

    1) Similar diplomatic power to Austria, but less vulnerable to invasion and CS taking because your core CS will be close to home.
    2) Trade power of Venice but with true raw OCC power.
    3) Siam's early game surge with CS....but with greater power (allied vs friend) and the longevity of alliances until the AI actually starts building diplomatic units.
    4) The only weakness I see are the complete lack of a religious game (unless you get faith CS allies), and the possible erosion of your CS core in the mid to late game. Historically though I have always found I can keep control of the CS that are closest to me...but you are literally dealing with 1 city here in most cases.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2020
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  5. CppMaster

    CppMaster King

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    Why isn't this post in mods subforum? Is it going to the core of VP mod?
     
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  6. JamesNinelives

    JamesNinelives King

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    I'm not sure, but I would guess it just goes 'New A', 'New B' like it does with normal cities?
     
  7. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

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    I dide come up with a solution to this: You can't.

    Phoenicia is completely incapable of attacking city-state cities, but they can still go to war and kill their units. City-states are technically capitals, so they would be annex-able unless I made a hard rule about disabling that. Otherwise you could settle a city then conquer it for a double imperium bonus in addition to other silliness.

    The thing I haven't tested is liberating. What if Barbs take a city? What if a civ captures one and you conquer it back later? I suspect that you will be able to liberate/puppet/annex them as if they are capitals in this case.
    I think the civ actually hews more authority than Tradition. Even if you worked those specialist slots, where would you put the GP tiles? You simply don't have the space to do anything but bulb.

    Phoenicia only really cares about making more Merchant Princes, and Civil Servant is the only slot that Tradition doesn't give you.
    Autocracy Tyranny seems ideal if you can pull it off. We will see i guess.
    I dunno how @Gazebo fills empty player slots at the beginning of the game. The answer will depend on how he has coded it.
    There are 64 player slots. Major Civs take the first 22 slots (max major civs) and barbarians occupy the last slot.
    That leaves 41 minor civ slots. A standard-sized game starts with 16 city-states by default, so that leaves 25 additional slots. In a standard 8-player game, that might actually go up to 39 if G gives major civ slots away to make more city-states.
    I'll explain how this works. You can't just set a resting influence for specific CSs; you have to check each city-state and add influence manually. The resting influence of 65 is more accurately a minimum influence. Currently the code checks every settled CS and tops them up to 65 if they are below it every turn.

    When you settle a new city, it is immediately given (35+(30*Current Era)):c5influence:Influence with you. You also gain permanent vision of their city tile. In addition to this, you will "meet" that CS on that CS's turn, and be given the standard meeting bonus of a few yields and 5-10 additional :c5influence: influence, so you tend to start around at least 70.
    When you settle a city, but there are no more player slots available, the code gives away the new city to the nearest existing CS and gives you that (35+(30*Current Era)):c5influence:Influence dump with that CS.

    So if an Enemy GDiplomat tries to degrade your influence with one of your own daughter cities, it will be below 65 for 1 turn and then it will bounce back up to 65:c5influence:.
    I definitely wan't Phoenicia to be viable for founding; Ithobaal I was a high priest before he became king after all. I made the Beit Melqart specifically to accomplish that goal. It comes much earlier than a standard scrivener and gives 2:c5faith: for every CS you settle. In addition to the possibility of spawning a religious ally, I figured Ithobaal probably has a good shot at founding as long as he takes the right pantheon.

    If it's not enough I will look at boosting Melqart to 3:c5faith:3:c5food: per ally
    Venice also can't just MAKE himself more trade partners though.
    NNnnnnope! Can't do that. The city-states that are available are based off of what is left over after the map populates, so I can't make a firm order for what would be left behind without forcing the game to somehow spawn the exact same city-states in every game.
    That's the core tension of the civ I hoped to accomplish. If another civ can swoop in and compete on city-states with you, you only have a 1 city, so a purchase cooldown of 5 turns on envoys, and not that much spare :c5production:production. If a bigger Austrian empire starts marrying up all your city states you could become a caged bird, and just helped someone else on their victory.
    About that. Tyrian Purple currently unlocks Giorgio Armeier, but that's a pretty useless corp for Phoenicia since he can't even put up those extra guilds unless he conquers. I was thinking of switching Tyrian Purple to Centaurus
    When it is released it will go to the repository, but it's not a mod yet, so general discussion seemed like a better place.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2020
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  8. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    Considering I still expect this Civ to rely on Tradition (Authority can be fun but OCC screams tradition play to me especially that I will get a +25% production bonus to my UU), that is another +3 faith. That is probably enough to make the difference, at least worth a playtest to see. The civ will definitely be faith weak overall, but I think that's good, it needs some weaknesses.

    My personal reaction is that this civ is still too strong at base, but its what playtesting is for. If it is, my first play would be to remove the extra TRs. Its super fun I agree, but it seems the civs is trying to "have it all" by being an ultra Trade civ AND an ultra diplomatic civ. Reducing the TRs will do a lot of secondary nerfing of the civ's yields and prevent some possible corporation abuse in the late game.

    Well the goal here would be every single space of your capital would be a GPTI, and then yes you would bulb bulb bulb. This civ should have like 100% happiness all the time and big food bonuses, so I expect the city to grow incredibly fast, I don't think your GPTI would outpace your population. So you do what every tradition civ tends to do, make their capital look the most baller it can be, and then bulb.
     
  9. Snipergw

    Snipergw Chieftain

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    This UA is super flavorful and fits perfectly with some of the top-tier VP civ designs. The UB and the UGP is not really interesting, but they are there to support the unique playstyle of the UA, so that's fine. Although I am worried if it's going to play well, it's not something that's very useful to theorycraft. The idea is going to work or it's not going to work, and I assume you've already playtested the concept, so I'll be optimistic. It really is a fun and unique UA though, this is definitely going to dethrone Sumer as the best VP-like custom civ.
     
  10. kenneth1221

    kenneth1221 Warlord

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    Hypothetically, can't you add ~5 city states that can only be created by Phoenicia, giving you some control over the order of early bonuses? Or would that be too technically complicated?

    I suppose Authority vs Tradition will be highly situational depending on availability of nearest neighbors. My instinct is that Tradition would get you to Statecraft faster, while Authority would really only give you the benefits of Production, Imperium, and Honor at least until the mid-late game, when buying mercenary units becomes a good idea. Tradition gets you about the same amount of production but with 2 policy unlocks instead of 6.

    But @Snipergw is right, this isn't something that can be fully theorycrafted without actual experience.
     
  11. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

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    No way to do that until all the code is written and at that point I may as well kick it out the door and ask other people to playtest. I just try to make sure it's playable. All of VP is technically in beta, so there's no reason I should guarantee more polish on my modmods before releasing them.
    ...Maybe? Sounds difficult and, frankly, uninteresting. I would rather not have every Phoenicia game start the exact same way like that. You're still going to get something useful no matter what the city-state type turns out to be.
    Eh?
    Honor opener combines very well with the Habiru, which gives you a major edge on early barb hunting. Culture on kills doesn't care if you have 1 city or 6.
    Dominance, likewise, works exactly as well as it ever will, regardless of how many cities you have.
    Tribute will lose out on more yields from tile claims since you only have 1 city, but you can bully city-states you didn't settle just as well as any other civ could. Once again, Habiru and Biremes will help a ton here.
    Imperium is absolute bread and butter. You can pump out as many city-states as fast as your population will allow because you don't particularly care about placement or happiness constraints (but coast is nice, since it gives you more Tyrian dye)
    Discipline is pretty wasted on Phoenicia. The only benefit is the unit maintenance reduction. It's not like Tradition doesn't have any benefits that are wasted on an OCC though.
    Honor is pretty okay. It would be nice to have more units spawning from more cities, but a broad +10%CS is very useful
    Faith purchasing GGenerals is huge for you because it's one of the best ways to snag more land for your capital and shore up your defenses in the mid-game.
    Finisher is, once again, great. You can tribute just the same as any other civ.
    Sankore would be a lot more beneficial than Alhambra. No question.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2020
  12. Rekk

    Rekk Emperor

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    Does Tyrian Purple provide any yields?
     
  13. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

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  14. CrazyG

    CrazyG Deity

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    What is the population requirement for the UB? Same as scrivener's office? Religion could actually very doable if the CS spawn religious CS. Is there a pattern to what type of CS spawns? The 2 faith per ally is very relevant, but you won't be able to build it for a long time if you can only get population in your capital to count towards the minimum population.

    Very unique and it does seem fun to play. Probably overall extremely strong, overall its mostly superior to Venice.
     
  15. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

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    Population requirement is set at 5 right now. Between pumping out new city-states and saving up :c5citizen:pops for your UNW, you would be in a serious bind if I set it any higher. Making new city-states is losing pop you never get back. Compare to Israel for instance, who requires 7:c5citizen: pop, and whose UNW unlocks at the same level.

    There is no way of predicting order for what CSs will spawn because there's no way of knowing what CSs are already in the game. Cities pull from the Phoenician city list (36 city names total). Conquered cities also keep their names. However, if you click in, the city-state's player name will still be Prague, Malacca, etc. So that's a bit frustrating. I'm not aware of a method to change a civilization's ShortDescription and Adjective text
    Spoiler Here's what it looks like :
    upload_2020-2-9_9-27-36.png
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2020
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  16. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

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    Update:

    I made some poopy placeholder art for the stuff that still is missing (diplo scene, map, and DOM screen splashes). None of these are final, but I don't have the talent or time to learn how to make them nice. So until someone does them for me, here is a passable mockup for it. The mechanics should be as is.

    Have fun!

    Edit: at 3:30 MT, i re-uploaded. Caught an error in the Beit Melqart code.
    Edit: at 4:40 i re-re-uploaded.... I think that should do it...
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Feb 9, 2020
  17. JamesNinelives

    JamesNinelives King

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    Personally I'm really impressed with all the work that must have gone into this. It seems like a really cool and well-researched civ with a unique mechanic. You seem to have covered all the details!
     
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  18. CrazyG

    CrazyG Deity

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    Does this mean you won't be able to build stuff such as Oxford until you get the normal requirement (40 pop?). That's a tough downside, though the rest might be strong enough to overcome it.
     
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  19. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

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    Captured a Greek city the same turn Sur finished the last thing in its queue. I couldn't queue up any new things to build. Reloaded and got a CTD.
    Yeah, there's a serious downside to trying to balance a true OCC. You will have to conquer at least 1 other capital in order to make it there.

    That being said, I am upping the yields on Melqart to 3:c5food:3:c5faith: per ally, so that should help pump Sur up reasonably fast. Just not 40:c5citizen: in medieval fast.
     
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  20. TranceBlossom

    TranceBlossom Warlord

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    yikes lol
     

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