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Crazy Spatz's Alpha Centauri Mod

Discussion in 'Crazy Spatz's Alpha Centauri Mod' started by Spatzimaus, Oct 30, 2010.

  1. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    Update:

    The Mythology mod is making good progress, and I still might be able to get something functional done by the end of the weekend. Note I said "functional" and not "playable"; most of the buildings, myth units, etc. will have none of their bonuses, even though I've planned out on paper what many of them will do, and there's only one generic "Event" to test out the balance on that sort of thing. But as long as the storage variables work and the UI windows are at least intelligible, it's something I can work with.

    This leads to an issue I'm having. There are basically two possible paths I can take, and I'm honestly not sure which I'd prefer. The question deals with Major Gods, the guys who can be picked as your central deity, the gods with two Foci instead of just one.

    OPTION A: (the current setup)
    Each of the four Major Gods in a pantheon has a distinct Primary and a distinct Secondary focus. When you pick you main god, the Primary will unlock first and the Secondary a bit later and weaker. While you can add any of the other three Major Gods to your pantheon, you only get their Primary focus that way, and their Secondaries remain off-limits. This means seven banned foci for each god: the four your pantheon lacks, and the three other secondaries.
    So if I'm going Greek and pick Zeus (Air/Justice), then I get Air abilities before Justice abiltiies, and Hades' secondary (Wealth), Poseidon's secondary (Earth), and Hephaestus' secondary (Fire) join the four banned foci (Healing, Darkness, Storms, Balance) as being off-limits to me from the start. This list of seven wouldn't change from game to game.

    OPTION B:
    Each of the four Major Gods in a pantheon has two foci, but there's no explicit precedence. When you pick the god at creation time, YOU decide which of their two foci is the Primary and which is the Secondary. Both foci of the other major gods are still available to take as minor deities. (I COULD make them lock each other out, to where adding Water for Poseidon locks out Earth and vice-versa, but that has its own issues, like adding an additional UI category to deal with.)
    Obviously, this is more flexibility for the player, both in terms of which foci you care most about and which ones are off-limits. And it does fit history a bit better, where certain gods were worshipped with very different specialties in different cities/nations. But it has a few downsides:
    1> There are several gods that "mirror" each other. Tezcatlipoca is Darkness/Death, while Anu is Death/Darkness; Thor is Air/Storms, Enlil is Storms/Air. If order no longer matters, then those pairs are effectively the same. And if the secondary foci of the other major gods are now fair game, then you go from seven off-limits foci to four. There'd still be a few differences in the banned foci and the Favor generation methods for their pantheons, but it makes the pantheons a bit less defined, less unique in their gameplay.
    2> It makes it harder to add god-specific abilities that fit with their themes. If only Zeus and Thor could have Air as a primary focus, then it made sense for the level 4 ability to be throwing lightning bolts. But if Enlil and Quetzalcoatl can have Air as their primary as well, it seems less appropriate; okay, Enlil was a storm god so it still works for him, but not for Q. Likewise, if Water's level 4 ability allowed you to summon Scylla, it made sense when Poseidon was the only one with Water as a primary. But if Osiris and Enki can now have Water primaries as well...
    2A> And in the other direction, it means possibly picking Poseidon as the Earth god (his secondary focus, since he was god of earthquakes and horses) before taking him as a Water god.
    3> It makes the foci a bit less balanced. Right now, every focus has either one or two major gods with it as his Primary (except Death has three). But the number with each as a Secondary ranges from 0 (Knowledge, Beauty, Arts, Healing, Seasons) to three (Storms, Justice). If order doesn't matter, then it'd mean FIVE gods with access to Storms and only one with Beauty, Knowledge, etc. One of the balance points right now is that the fact that Storms is nearly always tied to a major god means that it won't appear very often; four of the seven pantheons have it either as a secondary or on the banned list. So foci like Storms and Justice would be locked out more often than not, which allowed me to give them more complex abilities, while Beauty (which is nearly always given to a minor god) is much more accessible. Making this change undoes that distinction.

    So there's the issue. I'd like some feedback on it, because I'm almost to the point where I'd have to make a more-or-less final decision on it. I can rework the foci for certain gods a bit if necessary, but there isn't a lot of room for adjustment there.
     
  2. CivOasis

    CivOasis Ahuizotl

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    Well, I'd say more foci, but that's probably not an option.
    Could you make a building that is unique for each primary, for the special abilities?
     
  3. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    More or less. 21 foci is a lot; besides just being more buildings and such that I'd need to generate, it's also a general problem with trying to match existing mythology to the lists. The Greek pantheon is the perfect example: 12 Olympians, plus Hades, makes an obvious 13-god set. If four of these gods have two foci apiece, then that's 17 foci available to players of that pantheon. Sure, I can add minor gods from Greek mythology to cover additional domains (like adding Aesclepius for the Healing focus), but I just don't want to stretch things that far. It gets worse with the other pantheons; while the Greeks, Aztecs and Egyptians had tons of minor gods to work with, the Shinto, Sumerian, and Hindu pantheons really don't have many more deities than what I've already included, and I'm not sure I COULD add more even if I wanted to. (Technically I've already gone too far with the Hindu, in that one of my deities is actually just an aspect of one of the others, and one is an avatar of another. Hindu theology doesn't really lend itself to a one-being-one-focus approach.)

    What it comes down to, really, is just how big the average player's pantheon should be, how many minor gods you expect to add before reaching the end of the mythological age. With the current setup, there'll be 12 foci available to be added after you've picked your primary god; given the geometry of the grid, it'd be unlikely that you'd be able to add more than half of these. So I'm aiming the balance around adding about four minor gods in a typical game. (This isn't to say your PEOPLE wouldn't worship other members of the pantheon, but these'd be the minor gods that have a real presence throughout your empire, with enough support to actually give you part of their power.) If I were to expand the number of foci available, then that'd increase the number of gods you could add before running out of options. But that's not necessarily a good thing, because it effectively removes a big part of what makes each pantheon distinct.

    I could. That's been one of the things I've been considering for a while now, but it's got several major issues, not the least of which is the sheer amount of work it'd take to add another twenty-eight unique structures, most of which would never exist in a given game. Also, there's the tech-dependence issue; if I wanted your god's trademark ability to be a single powerful "monster" unit, then I wouldn't want you to be able to build it on turn 1, but the prerequisites get a bit convoluted if you try to avoid that.

    The current design is fairly simple: each focus has four levels of buildings, 1 through 4, with all mythological units and special abilities depending purely on the level of these buildings in each city. But because of how I've structured the tech increases (shown previously), you can only ever reach level 4 in your capital, only with your primary and secondary foci (minor gods peak at 3), and the Primary gets a somewhat wider window with that level 4 structure while the Secondary won't reach level 4 until just before the Enlightenment (if it ever does). Level 4 buildings are Wonder-level structures, because of this.
    So I can still effectively link the trademark god abilities to the appropriate level 4 buildings, without ACTUALLY linking the abilities to your choice of god directly. Now, at one point I was considering adding a "Statue of Zeus" building to your capital, to enable explicitly god-specific abilities, but that had the problems I mentioned above. I'd rather not do this if it can be avoided, but I'm willing to accept that it might not be avoidable. (It does have the advantage of being a "permanent" indicator of your choice, instead of being purely stored in the save/load functionality that I don't trust.)

    This sort of goes back to the mythological units discussion a few pages back. It'd be a much bigger time investment for me to try to make pantheon-specific units, so I'm simply not looking to do that, at least at first. And if that means the Egyptians can summon a Hydra or the Greeks a Kraken, so be it. But if I know that only the Norse and Shinto pantheons can ever reach Fire 4, then I can try to put a "monster" unit at that slot that fits with at least one of those two thematically. Since nearly every mythology had some form of "dragon" some kind of sphinx/chimaera beast (mixing heads and bodies from various predators), "Dire" versions of various animals (giant man-eating boar, giant lions, etc.), or Minotaur-like creatures (humanoid body, animal head), I've at least got a starting point.
    This also has the added advantage that there's not nearly as much to work with, monster-wise, in some of the pantheons. Trying to add heroes, monsters, etc. explicitly from the Sumerian mythology would not be easy, since so little of it has survived.

    The only question I'm still trying to resolve is a simple one: the Unit_Buildings table. Is it an AND syntax or an OR? That is, can a unit require two distinct buildings to be present in a city before it unlocks, or does it unlock if either building is present? (Either way kind of sucks for me for various reasons.)
     
  4. dinobot386

    dinobot386 Prince

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    A seems like the better option, honestly

    Also, just out of curiousity, what exactly does the Death foci give you?
     
  5. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    There's no question that it'd be a more POPULAR option, because players always want more control. I'm just worried that it makes certain gods and certain pantheons just a bit too similar in practice. Pantheons will still differ in what Favor generation method they can add, but I'm concerned that that won't be enough to really differentiate.

    This is one of the things I'm really going to need help playtesting. I just don't want it to get too simple, to where you'll ALWAYS decide to pick Odin or something.

    You had to ask about one of the few I hadn't finalized, didn't you. I might as well give basic ideas for all 21; obviously, these are subject to change. The thing to remember here is that there are four levels of building within each focus, with 1-3 acting like non-Wonder buildings (local effects only, with level 2 being about as good as a normal building) and level 4 is generally a Wonder-level effect, empire-wide bonuses or one-of-a-kind creatures.

    By group:

    Water: Naval bonus, bonus to fishing boats, improved relations with Maritime CSs, a couple naval units. (Level 4 WAS going to be a naval unit, but then I realized that I can't do that since you can only reach L4 in your capital, and there's no guarantee it'd be coastal. So back to the drawing board. I'll probably end up making a Nile-ish effect that boosts the yields of flood plains, river tiles, lake tiles, oasis tiles, and ocean tiles. Since the only pantheons that can reach L4 in Water are Greece, Egypt, and Sumerian, this fits pretty well.)
    Fire: City siege bonuses and damage bonuses. (Level 4: All units you own now deal 1 additional point in every combat.)
    Earth: City defense bonuses (i.e., extra Walls) and a unit defense promotion. (Level 4: the Kremlin.)
    Air: Ranged attack promotions and a couple flying Myth units. (Level 4: Lightning Bolt, an orbital weapon)

    Fertility: Food.
    Beauty: Happiness and a Wonder production boost.
    Crafts: Production, and a Colossus myth unit
    Wealth: Gold.
    These all follow the same pattern: a flat +2 to a yield or +1 Happiness for the first level, a more unusual resource-oriented bonus to the yield at the second level (like "+1 production per Iron deposit and produces 1 unit of iron" for Crafts 2), a doubling of the level 1 effect for #3, and the fourth is generally a UU and a "+2 Production per Engineer in your empire" style specialst bonus. Since you won't have a huge number of each non-Priest specialist slot type, I can afford to make the bonus big.

    Death: Quite a few Myth units, and a promotion that heals your units when you attack. (Level 4: the Phoenix, a powerful flying unit that, when killed, respawns for free in your capital.)
    Healing: Healing promotions (Medic and the Immortal's double-heal), a healing aura around your cities, and Food Storage. Level 4 is that all of your units get March, which combined with the other promotions I mentioned means a lot of healing.
    Knowledge: Research and espionage (as in Nethack Terminus and KGB style "espionage")
    War: XP boosts and free promotions, plus better relations with Militaristic CSs. (Level 4: all of your units get one extra attack per turn.)

    Animals: LOTS of Myth units, nothing else. Sphinx, Chimera, Hydra, Manticore, Minotaur, Nemean Lion, and so on.
    Plants: Bonuses to Forests, Jungles, and certain resources. Level 4: a "Daughter of Gaia" unit that can plant forests and jungles. (Why yes, I DO like recycling my existing code, thanks for asking.)
    Travel: Lots of different unit movement boosts. (Level 4: all units get +1 move.)
    Art: Culture, better relations with Cultural CSs.

    Justice: A promotion that hurts units that hurt you, reduced Unrest lengths and bonuses to Courthouses, and an extra Hero unit. (This one's still being adjusted.)
    Seasons: A rotating bonus, where every 4 turns you get a couple different types of boost in all cities. (So "Spring" might add Production and Research, Summer Food and Production, Fall Food and Gold, Winter Gold and Research.)
    Darkness: Effects that reduce the range and visibility of any enemy units that enter your territory, a couple Myth units, and boosts to the strength of all Myth units in your empire.
    Storms: Enemy units take damage just for being near your cities. Level 4 is a "Tiamat" UU, basically a weak area-effect orbital attack. (Seriously, in Sumerian mythology Tiamat wasn't a dragon, but I KNOW someone's going to ask. It was just a primal force of chaos.)

    Balance: A set of bonuses that add to whichever yield in a city is lowest, plus a Psi-like promotion that makes your units' strengths adjust up or down to match your opponent. (The level 4 ability removes the "or down" part of that last sentence.)

    -------------------
    The idea is that the first two groups of four are the universally useful brute force stuff, and these reward you for going far from (0,0) on the grid (i.e., picking all Chaos gods and Chaos choices in events, that sort of thing, which really limits the kinds of gods you can add down the road). Note that every pantheon has gods for all four of the elemental foci. (Also, every pantheon has gods of Fertility, War, and Death. This shouldn't surprise anyone who has read the old myths.) But the Greeks are REALLY heavily invested into this group of foci, which is why they're the perfect starter pantheon, and the Norse and Aztec aren't too far behind.

    The second two groups of four are all pretty useful stuff, even if a couple of them are a bit specialized. These reward you for staying a bit closer to the center, but even far away you'll be able to get a few of these. Egypt really focuses on these ones.

    The last two groups (4+1) are the really wierd stuff. Which is strange, since as I mentioned earlier, Storms is the most heavily represented focus among the major gods, with five out of the seven pantheons having a major god with that one, and Justice (4) isn't far behind, tying Fire, Air, and Death for second most common. And these really reward you for staying close to (0,0), by mixing lawful answers with chaotic ones and so on. The Hindu and Shinto pantheons focus a lot on these kinds of things, making them the more "finesse"-style choices, while the Greeks only have access to two of the five.
     
  6. CivOasis

    CivOasis Ahuizotl

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    The reason I asked about buildings is because, if each primary has its own unique ability (make the building locked until they'd reach T4 by techs), then option B would be more viable.
    By the way, who ended up being the seventh pantheon?
     
  7. LetMyPeopleGo

    LetMyPeopleGo Prince

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    Hi spatzimouse, regarding Neutronium, is it possible to grant each player who discovers the right tech, a one time building, like a national wonder, for free, or for the cost of one production and happiness will be granted through that building if you have access to Neutronium?

    I thought of getting the building for free, automatically, in your capital, but when the capital is lost in war, there might be a problem, or the building will be placed in your next capital automatically, but that should require some extra CPU time I guess.
     
  8. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    That's the problem, though; your primary focus unlocks T4 at one tech, while your secondary reaches T4 at a different tech. So if I allow the player to pick which of the two foci will be his primary, then I have less control over when he'd reach that threshold.

    Also, unlocking the ability to reach T4 doesn't mean you'll immediately reach it; you still have to generate the Favor needed to move up, and that'll take a bit of time depending on your pantheon.

    Shinto; I'd wanted a second Native American option, but none of them had enough clearly-defined deities, so I instead went with the Okami. The post on page 63 with all of the deities has been updated to include them, as well as a few changes I'd made in the other pantheons to make room for them. I'd looked into quite a few alternatives, with the Navajo and Yoruba (Nigeria) coming closest to working, but Shinto ended up fitting best and it filled a niche that I'd wanted.

    The seven pantheons each have a bit of unique flavor to them right now:

    Easy:
    The Greek pantheon is the most straightforward; lots of raw power, balanced Favor generation, few of the really complex abilities. The fact that everyone knows who these guys are makes things a lot simpler.

    Moderate:
    The Egyptian pantheon is heavy on Myth units and really benefits developing your best cities vertically.
    The Norse pantheon's very combat-oriented, obviously, and is a bit less about Myth units and more about boosting your normal units' attacks.
    The Sumerian pantheon's aimed more for the folks who like expanding their empires. Good on defense, bad with Myth units.

    Hard:
    The Aztec pantheon's a Norse-like combat specialty, but heavier on the Myth units.
    The Hindu pantheon's focus is on tile yields and empire-building, with much less access to Myth units.
    The Shinto pantheon's all about the strange, complex foci. Bad for developing cities and doing battle, in general, but some VERY interesting combinations.

    Obviously, a lot of the above will depend on exactly which primary deity you select. If you want all-out war, the best choice is clearly Huitzilopochtli (War/Fire) in the Aztec pantheon (x3 Battle Favor), although Loki and Thor do pretty well there too. But within the same pantheon is Quetzalcoatl (Art/Air), who because of the pantheon's x2 in Building Favor is an excellent choice for building towards a Cultural victory since he's the only major deity in any pantheon to have Art as a focus.

    And this is part of why I don't just want to give up the idea of each god having a set primary and secondary focus if I don't have to; one of the things that made the Aztec focus unique was that it was "inverted", with most of the raw-power foci (Fire, Air, Fertility, Death) being secondary to the more exotic primaries (War, Art, Darkness, Storms), while the Norse had the much simpler Fire, Earth, Air, and Knowldge as the primaries and Travel, Darkness, Storms, and Balance as secondaries. Since all but one of the secondaries would be added to your "banned" list, this made those two pantheons VERY different in practice, despite both being combat-oriented.

    I might, as a compromise, allow you to still pick which order for your central god's foci, but keep the primary/secondary split for the OTHER three major gods in your pantheon. So if you picked Zeus, then you could only add Poseidon as a Water god, and his Earth focus would be forever out of reach. This'd still have the 7-banned-foci effect I liked, but give the players more flexibility.
     
  9. CivOasis

    CivOasis Ahuizotl

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    Well, in that case, A sounds better. More diversity's always a good thing.
     
  10. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    It's possible, although there's no "if you have access to", there's only "if there's a local supply" or "if you're willing to consume one unit", unless you want to just add the Happiness directly through a Lua function. And yes, you'd need a Lua function to make sure you had one each turn.

    But if you mean do that instead of having the Neutronium add its Happiness directly, that's not going to happen. Yes, its dual status causes some issues, but I'd rather fix the base problems directly. And for every stub that fails to work (like the doubled strategics in Autocracy) there's another that would fail the other way (like the extra Happiness for luxuries in Commerce). Neutronium isn't a strategic that just happens to add some Happiness, it's a half-Luxury, half-Strategic resource, so if half the stubs for strategics fail and half the stubs for luxuries fail, then it's working as planned.
     
  11. dinobot386

    dinobot386 Prince

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    Actually, when I said A was the best option, I was refering to the clearly set major foci, as in not really getting a choice other than what god to pick

    Are you going to make myth units that work like some units in your SMAC mod do? Like a Troll unit that also functions like an early era Troll (SMAC)?
     
  12. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    Up to a point. The reason I brought this whole thing up in the first place is that I don't want things to be TOO limiting, to where there'll be a couple pantheons you'd never even consider taking because you didn't like any of the combinations. Allowing you to "invert" your central god (take his current secondary as the primary) would effectively double the number of choices in each pantheon from 4 to 8, albeit with a lot of redundancy, and I'm trying to see if that would be enough in practice.

    Now, I'd always kept this discussion in mind; I was very careful to make sure that the deities who have similar foci are placed in pantheons with very different Favor generation and banned focus lists. For instance, take the Death/Darkness pairing I'd mentioned before under the current rules:

    Tezcatlipoca (Darkness/Death) is in the Aztec pantheon, which is x3 Battle, x2 Buildings, x1 Priests. Banned foci: Fire, Air, Fertility, Crafts, Knowledge, Travel, Justice. (Losing Fertility, Crafts, AND Knowledge kills your city yields.)
    Anu (Death/Darkness) is in the Sumerian pantheon, which is x3 Priests, x2 Buildings, and only x1 Battle. Banned foci: Water, Air, Wealth, War, Animals, Art, Seasons. (Losing War and Animals hurts a lot for warmongers.)

    If I allowed you to pick between the two foci for your central god, they'd still be very different choices; Tez would use those foci for offensive uses, while Anu would be very defensive and build up his empire. But if I also allowed you to pick between the two foci for the other major gods, then Tez gets back access to Fire, Air, and Fertility, while Anu gets back Water, Air, and War. That makes them a lot less different, which is why I mentioned the "compromise" idea in the last post.
     
  13. dinobot386

    dinobot386 Prince

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    Now, when the AI chooses gods, is it at random or are there some flavor factors involved, for example making an AI more or less likely to choose Water depending on wether theres a coast nearby or not?
     
  14. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    Basically yes, although I probably won't add a Troll since it'd confuse things too much to have two units with the same name, regardless of how separated they are. I'm recycling a lot of other bits; the Rakshasa will use the Doppelganger's promotion-stealing mechanism, Tiamat's area effect is from the Graviton Missile, the Lightning Bolt is just an Orbital Death Ray toned down, the Hydra uses something very close to the Psi units' randomly-set promotions (adding a free promotion from a list every time it kills an enemy), Fire 3 gives units the Ranger's "Critical Strike" ability, the Colossus unit takes the Titan units' damage reduction, Knowledge takes the espionage logic from the Nethack Terminus and KGB, Darkness recycles the Hunter-Seeker Algorithm logic, Travel recycles the Planetary Transit System and paradrop logic, Balance uses the Psi promotion's strength adjustment logic, Healing 4 is basically giving all units Regeneration I... you get the idea. This extends well beyond units; the Priest specialists are functionally nearly identical to Empaths (but no great people points).

    There WILL be a lot of new stuff, of course. This isn't just going to be SMAC by another name; I've learned enough since developing the AC content to add quite a few entirely new types of mechanisms, and the framework around it (the gods and how you add them) is completely new. And in some of the cases I'd mentioned above, the recycled logic is a semi-placeholder until I code up something better.
     
  15. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    At the moment, purely random. For testing purposes, I reserved the Greek pantheon for the human player, but the other 24 are distributed randomly among the AIs. (Note: city-states do not have religions. This is actually a significant bonus for them, early on.)

    Eventually it WILL depend on Flavor ratings, with aggressive AIs favoring the Norse and Aztec pantheons and such. And for fairly obvious reasons, I'd want some "historical" biases, where the Greeks and Romans take the Greek pantheon more often, while the Egyptians take theirs, India takes Hindu, Japan takes Shinto, and so on. I'm mostly trying to do that through the Flavors, where the Hindu pantheon's playstyle matches best with India and so on, but it looks like I'll have to make something more explicit (like having Arabia, Persia, and the Ottomans all favor Sumerian gods). There'll still be a few "unaffiliated" civs, like America or most of the DLCs.

    In terms of geography, that's a bigger problem. It's the reason why, a couple pages back, I asked whether gods should be chosen at game start or whether the decision should wait until you unlock the first religious tech (Mysticism); if I want players to be able to adapt to the situation like that, taking gods based on your surroundings, then that'll heavily favor the human. The downside is that on higher difficulties, the AI WILL reach this tech before you do, and that'll substantially reduce your possible choices. By putting it at game start, I can allow the human player to always pick first, but it kills your ability to assess the situation beforehand.
     
  16. LetMyPeopleGo

    LetMyPeopleGo Prince

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    @Spatzimaus, may each pantheon be chosen only once? Maybe I didn't read all your posts very carefully, but from your last post it seems that each player must choose a pantheon at game start as an alternative to picking one with Mysticism and the first to research Mysticism will get to choose the "good" one, the most fitting?

    Why limit each pantheon for one player? Is it like forcing me to adopt a game style that fits that one pantheon best?
     
  17. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    No. Four times, one per major god, for 28 possible choices. So if I pick Zeus, then you can still pick Hades, Poseidon, or Hephaestus as your primary god, and you'd be able to still add Zeus as a minor deity in your personal pantheon (and vice versa). But you wouldn't ALSO be able to pick Zeus as your primary god, because he likes me better than you.

    That's still plenty of choices; if you want to be a warmonger, then each pantheon generally has at least one god oriented for that, and two pantheons (Norse and Aztec) are also skewed towards that playstyle through their Favor generation. (So even a "peaceful" focus pair like Quetzalcoatl's Art/Air combo, can still encourage an aggressive playstyle.)

    What I was getting at was that it's substantially different to pick a pantheon "blind" than to choose one after you already have a rough idea of how the game is laid out. It's like how you pick a civ before seeing the map; if you take Elizabeth and then it turns out you're not a coastal civ, then you're at a significant disadvantage. But what would happen if you allowed players to pick their civ AFTER they saw their starting area and who was around them? If you knew that you're in a cramped start and that war is likely, wouldn't you prefer a military-heavy civ?

    So a later pick would be a significant advantage for the human player, who can better evaluate his surroundings. That's my first worry about delaying the decision.

    It's a conceptual thing, mostly. If I follow Zeus, then I'm not just praying to him, he's actually bestowed his divine favor on my empire. He's not just MY god, we're HIS chosen people. That's why he's willing to throw lightning bolts at my request; I'm his High Priest now, the one mortal with a direct line to him. In fact, I've been trying to tweak the diplomacy system like this, so that when you contact someone it'll now say "Darius the Pious, High Priest of Inanna" or "Lord Montezuma the Wise, Chosen of Zeus".

    That's why I added the one-civ-per-god rule, at least theme-wise. There's also a game design reason, which is that god choice affects your other decisions, and I didn't want two or more AIs to try following exactly the same path.

    So the first person to pick has 28 choices, the second has 27, and so on down the line. Even on a huge map, you won't completely run out of choices, but if you're 15th in line to pick, half of the choices will be gone by the time it gets to you.

    If I have the choice occur at the game's start, then I can guarantee that the human picks first. The AI wouldn't really care that much about what it chooses anyway, so if its first choice is gone then there's not a problem with AIs dropping to the second or even third choice. Even if I pull Flavor ratings into it, they're imprecise enough to still leave quite a bit of room for adjustment later on. A Human might have his heart set on taking some specific god because he likes the focus combo, the favor ratios, or even just the picture I used, but the AI doesn't bother with that.

    But if I wait until Mysticism to have people pick their gods, then it'll heavily depend on the difficulty level and such, where on higher levels the human player is invariably the last to pick their central deity. I'd guess that this'd be unpopular.
     
  18. nathanglevy

    nathanglevy Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2011
    Messages:
    51
    Location:
    Israel
    Hi Spatz, I wanted to give you more feedback for version 1.08 :).

    I played another standard size pangea map, Immortal level, played as Egypt. The game felt much harder this time, the AI seemed more adept at science this time around. The Iroqouis are the runaway civ this time with high tech + HUGE culture lead + HUGE happiness lead (smth like 80 happiness at all times) + 2000 gold per turn. I beat him at the space race though, HAH. It was very close this time though. It's very clear the AI seems to value the space parts much more this time around.

    I haven't finished the game yet, but there's one thing that's bothering me. The KGB tech stealing mechanism - How exactly does it work? I tried to "test" it by steamrolling germany and leaving them a tiny city to themselves, keeping an eye on them. Using infoaddict I could tell when more or less they finally reached the KGB tech. At this point in the game, everyone had 900+ tech, and he had only 70 tech (!!!). Every civ was leading Germany by at least 30-40 techs (he was WAY behind). Then suddenly, he apparently completed the KGB, and over the course of something like 30 turns he caught up to the rest of the civs (so the gap was only 10 techs or so). Now I'm all for the gap closing, but seriously? He went from pikemen to TANKS and MOBILE ARTILLERY in approximately 30 turns!!! The info addict shows the obvious spike in techs completed, it seems he was completing something like 1-2 techs PER TURN! Is it supposed to work this way?

    In the mean time, the game seems much more challenging, though I don't feel that the +10% from the magna carta is really helping the AI keep from being steamrolled, I feel it's too easy (but then again, that's my opinion...).

    That's my two cents for now... I'm gonna try and finish the game, I'll let you know how it went.

    One final question though... How many policy trees do you have to complete? Iroquois completed 5 already, but hasn't won...?
     
  19. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2005
    Messages:
    3,063
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    The next version should be a bit better. Previously, the SS parts had a Spaceship Flavor of 150, which'd make them top priority for an AI on the space path but worthless for everyone else. In the version you're playing, I gave them another 50 Wonder flavor, so any AI that values wonders should also make them. What I'm going to do in the next version is drop the spaceship flavor entirely, and just give them 50 Wonder, 50 Science, 50 Growth, and 50 Culture. That way, every player values them heavily.

    Basically, like this.
    1> Build the National Wonder.
    2> Count how many civs, other than you, have the tech in question. This includes City-States (1 per) and the Barbarian civ. On a Small map, there are 6 players, 12 city-states, and the Barbarians, so that'd be 18 others who can potentially have it.
    3> If EVERY other nation has the tech, you have a 3% chance per turn of stealing it (divided by any gamespeed adjustments; that means 4.5% for Quick, 2% for Epic, 1% for Marathon.) If half have it, then it's 1.5%, and so on. So it scales to map size, automatically.
    4> The only limit at that point is that you can't steal more than 1 tech per turn through this mechanism. although I've seen the AI get multiples so I'm looking into this one.

    Because the city-states are 2/3rds of the civs in the game, and they tend to get techs in a clump, what'll really happen is that you'll have a 0-1% chance of stealing a tech normally, which'll suddenly jump up to a 2-3% chance if you're so far behind that the city-states get ahead of you. So what happens is exactly what you described: if Germany had only one piddly city left and he built KGB, then he'd be getting a 3% chance per turn, PER TECH. That means if he's more than 30 techs behind, he'll average one stolen tech per turn, but it'll slow down as he gets closer and the number of available techs decreases.

    The idea is that with KGB, it should basically be impossible to fall more than 10-15 techs behind the leader. You just saw the extreme case for that; if his little city had the KGB from the start, then he'd have been grabbing a few random techs here and there, but not the massive rush you saw. This effect is there to prevent the Tank-vs-Spearmen type fights, and keeps the tech leader from easily sweeping all of the Wonders. So if you were to keep going for a few more turns, you'd have seen Germany's tech gains taper off and they'd end up hovering about 10 or so techs behind you.

    Now, in the future eras it gets worse. Get the Planetary Datalinks (4%) and the Nethack Terminus (1% but does other stuff as well) and you're now at an 8% peak chance. At that point, it's hard to fall even 5 or 6 techs behind, which means anyone who beelines up the bottom of the tree to get the new units quickly will lose out on the growth-boosting Wonders along the top of the tree. And the Nethack Terminus' other main effect is that if 50% or more of the other civs have the tech, you get it on the spot, period (but again, city-states will be the majority of civs, and they tend to get theirs all at once), so by the time you're in the Fusion everyone should be more or less even on techs.

    No, I get that. The +10/20% from Magna Carta is supposed to be like the +10/20% for the Home Field Advantage promotion I give at the start: just enough to swing the balance a little bit in favor of defense. If you've got a clear advantage then it won't really change much, but it'll help mitigate the effects of those mid-game skirmishes between AI empires where a fringe city would get passed back and forth several times. It won't stop an all-out conquest, but it should keep the AI from wasting too much effort on attritional brush wars.

    At least, that's the idea. The human player will do the whole combined-arms thing, with bombers and artillery softening a target up before the melees attack, but the AI doesn't do that very well. So I also wanted to give the AIs something that'd help nerf the bomber swarms that a good player will use, hence the ranged defense bonus.

    It's five trees AND reach the Homo Superior tech (late Fusion). The Utopia Project is now explictly dependent on that tech, which is why it shows up in the tech tree now. (It should say this if you mouse over the Utopia Project icon in the policy window.)

    I did this for a couple reasons. First, because it punishes the AI less for taking my Super-Finisher policies; anyone going for a culture win should have enough room to spare to take a few of those before reaching Homo Superior. Second, because I needed to ensure that you couldn't win a culture win before reaching my future eras in general.
     
  20. ainwood

    ainwood Consultant. Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2001
    Messages:
    30,068

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