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[Col] David's Colonization recreation project

Blake00

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New fan project detected! While FreeCol is an excellent recreation of the Colonization experience that we highly recommend due to it's many features, enhancements & modability there are some that still wish for a 1:1 recreation of the original Colonization and it's classic 2D graphics that works on modern machines, allows modern viewing resolutions (like Col for Windows does), and has easy modability. One of the Col fans FB group community members David has announced that he's working on such a thing, so we wish him all the best! Here's some info he shared with us:

"[A faithful recreation of the original] is already in progress, it's been in active development for about five years now by myself, currently sitting at around 150k LOC. It is not associated with any of the existing versions of the game nor their developers. It is a faithful remake of the original in terms of rules and gameplay, all the way down to things like replicating the original prime resource distribution algorithm and the same market price fluctuation mechanics. Graphics wise, it will return to the original style, namely 2D tile-based pixel art graphics, MIDI soundtrack with re-arranged versions of the original tunes, etc. But will also have some modern features, like scriptability/modability in Lua, and supporting different monitor resolutions and aspect ratios while preserving original look. Pre-pre alpha screenshot attached (note, still with some placeholder graphics). Realistically, it will probably be another two years until it reaches the alpha stage. Get ready for a true modern Col DOS revival in the not-too-distant future!"

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Hey guys, I asked David how things were going with his cool project and he told me this:
Going well, last week I finished the feature that will allow you to load and save games in the original game's SAV file format in addition to a more modern human-readable format. This will allow you to e.g. start a game with Col1 DOS, then save it, then load it and resume it in the new game. This is possible because the new game is a faithful remake of the original, with only a few exceptions.

He's also asked quite a few questions (likely a result of him playtesting & analyzing the original game for replication) over in the Col fans Facebook group over the last year or so if anyone wants to give him feedback either there or here (& I'll send it to him). @AyCe you might know some of this stuff?

Anyone experienced a bug in Col1 (DOS) where native tribes refuse to breed horses after being given them?

The Colonization Official Strategy guide as well as in-game help either state or allude to the fact that it takes longer to travel to Europe from the west edge of the map than from the east side (four turns vs. two?). Moreover, getting Magellan is supposed to shorten travel time from the west edge.
But my experiments with the game don't bear that out... for me it always takes two turns either from the east or west, and with or without Magellan.
Do others have a similar experience and if so would you consider it a bug to be fixed? Or do you think that was an intentional last-minute change to the game?

Community survey [reposted from a comment for increased visibility]:
If Col were to allow ships to sail into inland lakes, what would be the preferred response of the game to these situations:
1. A ship on a tile with sea lane access is damaged, and there is a friendly colony with a Dry Dock but which only has inland lake access. Should such a colony be allowed to build a Dry Dock?
2. A ship in an inland lake is damaged in battle, and there are no colonies along the lake shore that have Dry Docks, meaning that it'd have to be either sunk or taken to Europe for repair, which begs the question of where it goes when it returns (keep in mind here that some inland lakes can be very small and/or occupied by enemy ships).
3. During the war of independence, the player only has one colony left, and it is on an inland lake, without sea lane access. Should the player lose if the REF has captured all colonies with sea lane access, ignoring those even on large inland lakes?
4. Normally, the "Boston Tea Party" events (in response to tax increases) are only allowed in colonies with sea lane access; if there are no colonies with sea lane access, the player is forced to accept the tax hike. Should this be expanded to inland lakes?
5. Do the answers to any of the above change depending on the size of the inland lake?

[Col1 DOS] Just encountered a situation where a mounted brave attacked one of my colonies containing an artillery unit. Apparently the mounted brave won the battle because the artillery became "damaged artillery," and I got a message saying so, and also got a message saying "Incas ambush English artillery near Roanoke."
However, the mounted brave also de-pixelated away and disappeared as if it had lost the battle, which was strange. Has anyone seen this before? Is it a bug or an unpublished rule of some kind?
I've been able to reproduce it as well with both a brave and a mounted brave.

In turn based 4X games such as Col, Civ, etc., how important is multiplayer? How many people play them in multiplayer mode (where available) vs. single player mode? Are they as fun in multiplayer as single player?

Survey: For those of you who opt to play Colonization 1 instead of FreeCol or "Civ IV: Colonization," what are your reasons?

[Col1 DOS] Is anyone aware of any references that describe the skills taught by the various native tribes (statistically)? I did some experimentation but can't seem to figure out what determines the probability that a village teaching the "Seasoned Scout" skill, and also can't figure out what determines the probabilities of a village teaching the "Expert Farmer" skill vs the "Expert Fur Trapper" skill when it is surrounded by forest (when there is no forest around it then it won't teach fur trapping, which makes sense).

Wondering if anyone is aware of anyone that has done any detailed investigation of the precise mechanics of naval combat in Col1?
The manual doesn't say much about it, and the strategy guide basically says that there are three outcomes (evade, sink, damaged). I've done some experiments (using cheat mode) of repeated running battles between two types of ships 50-100 times and collecting statistics. I found some interesting facts:
1. Non-war ships can never be sunk, only damaged.
2. When a privateer attacks a frigate, there is never an "evade" outcome. You might say that is because the privateer has more movement points than the frigate, but when a privateer attacks a caravel or merchantman there is an evade outcome periodically.
3. When a privateer attacks a privateer, or when a frigate attacks a frigate, the "evade" outcome seems to never happen.
4. When a defending ship loses combat, all war ships on that square are sunk and all non-war ships on the square are damaged (and cargo units get destroyed). But, when an attacking ship loses combat, only that ship goes away + and cargo units on the square.
Generally, the probability for the "evade" outcome is determined by the difference in total movements points of the attacker vs. defender (the strategy guide mentions this, and I've confirmed it). However, there are clear exceptions to that noted above in #2 and #3.
I wonder if there are any resources out there where someone has made sense of this?

[Col1 DOS] Is anyone aware of any references that describe the skills taught by the various native tribes (statistically)? I did some experimentation but can't seem to figure out what determines the probability that a village teaching the "Seasoned Scout" skill, and also can't figure out what determines the probabilities of a village teaching the "Expert Farmer" skill vs the "Expert Fur Trapper" skill when it is surrounded by forest (when there is no forest around it then it won't teach fur trapping, which makes sense).

[col1 DOS] Question regarding price movement model for the four processed goods (rum, cigars, cloth, coats): in my experience their prices clearly evolve according to a different process than most other goods (and the official strategy guide seems to confirm this, but mentioning that they form a kind of "price group").
Has anyone managed to understand the algorithm used in any detail and/or have an idea why that was done?
From what I've read, the other col clones don't have that mechanism.

Has anyone figured out how the original Col game deducts movement points as units move? I've done some experimentation and it seems very non-trivial and strange. The official mechanic as I understand it dictates that a unit has a fixed number of movement points, and the unit can continue moving until the run out, and on each move, the target square dictates how many points are subtracted (let's ignore roads, rivers, and colonies for now). But, it seems that this is not actually how it works precisely. Sometimes the unit is allowed to significantly "overdraw" on its movement points, even on the Viceroy level, but not consistently.
For example, I just succeeded (in a single turn) in moving a scout (4 pts) onto a rain forest square (-3), then onto a mountain square (-3), which technically shouldn't have been allowed, since it requires 6 movement points. Then I reload that same save game and repeated the exact same experiment on the same tiles with the same unit, and I couldn't reproduce it; the scout moves onto the rain forest square, then is unable to move onto the mountain square (its turn just seems to end and it forfeights its one remaining movement point).
Something really strange is happening here...

Colonization 1 does not appear to have "back propagation" (not sure what the right word is for it) when computing production in a colony. In other words, if an ore miner produces three ore, then the blacksmith (producing three tools) will produce those tools even if there is no room in the warehouse for them (in which case they will silently be discarded), with the end result that there will be neither an increase in tools or ore in the colony. If the game had incorporated back-propagation then the blacksmith would not have made the tools to begin with, and would have returned the ore to the warehouse, with the end result that there is an increase in ore.
Would the game be better with/without that back pressure?

In the version of Col 1 that I have (DOS version 3,), it appears that a free colonist cannot produce any silver on mountain squares unless it has a special silver resource (whereas an expert produces one). But I don't see this in any of the docs or online resources for the game... was this a late addition?
Also am I mistaken in remembering that the silver resources can be "depleted" (smaller) after some time? I also don't see that in the docs but I'm pretty sure I've seen it in the game.

In Col 1 the bid/ask spread for for food is 8, i.e. at the start of the game the bid price is 1 and the ask price is 9. Most of the other goods have a smaller spread. I'd like to pose two questions regarding this:
1. How/why would it make sense economically for something to have such a large bid/ask spread? I.e., if food is worth so much to the europeans that they would sell it at 9 then why would they only buy it at a price of 1?
2. Why do you think the game has that particular spread for food? It seems like they are trying to both discourage the selling of food and prevent the buying of food, but why?

Request for comment: there are two common features of modern civ-like games that are not present in Colonization 1:
1. "Zones of control": typically represented visually by a colored border around cities/colonies that grows as the empire grows, and into which foreign powers cannot enter without breaking a treaty.
2. Visual depiction of "fog of war": squares that are visible but which have not been visited recently by the player are rendered with a shadowed overlay indicating that recent developments on those tiles are no longer being reflected, despite the tile having been visited in the past. Col 1 may have such a mechanism, but it is not visually represented.
Question: do you think that Colonization 1 would have benefited from the above two features features? Or not? Why? Please consider effects on both game play and visuals.

Quick survey: When playing Colonization 1, what is your preferred input method for moving a unit to an adjacent square?
1. Mouse
2. Keyboard numpad
3. Keyboard arrow keys/page up/page down/etc
4. Other?
Followup: if your ideal method is not listed above, what would it be?
.
 
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I'm loving the screenshot. Definitely easier on the eyes than the ColDos version.
 
I have some knowledge and experience to share on a few of these questions:
  • In turn based 4X games such as Col, Civ, etc., how important is multiplayer? How many people play them in multiplayer mode (where available) vs. single player mode? Are they as fun in multiplayer as single player?
    • In my experience if a Turn-Based Strategy game is going to be multiplayer, it should be designed to be multiplayer from the start. Multiplayer demands a very different pacing than Single-Player does. In SP, it doesn't really matter how many turns an action takes, or who gets to move first in what situations, and you can take as long as you want to plan out moves or balance your resources. Colonization, since it focuses so heavily on management, and doesn't make any efforts to balance starting locations, I don't think is a good candidate for multiplayer. A multiplayer version of it would need to be effectively designed from the ground up, and the game shouldn't last more than 200 turns. Multiplayer TBS 4X games often sound much cooler in theory than they turn out to be in practice.
    • Multiplayer is however useful for testing and debugging, since other players can create very unusual and absurd situations and find exploits.
  • Has anyone figured out how the original Col game deducts movement points as units move? I've done some experimentation and it seems very non-trivial and strange. The official mechanic as I understand it dictates that a unit has a fixed number of movement points, and the unit can continue moving until the run out, and on each move, the target square dictates how many points are subtracted (let's ignore roads, rivers, and colonies for now). But, it seems that this is not actually how it works precisely. Sometimes the unit is allowed to significantly "overdraw" on its movement points, even on the Viceroy level, but not consistently.
    For example, I just succeeded (in a single turn) in moving a scout (4 pts) onto a rain forest square (-3), then onto a mountain square (-3), which technically shouldn't have been allowed, since it requires 6 movement points. Then I reload that same save game and repeated the exact same experiment on the same tiles with the same unit, and I couldn't reproduce it; the scout moves onto the rain forest square, then is unable to move onto the mountain square (its turn just seems to end and it forfeights its one remaining movement point).
    Something really strange is happening here...

    • Probability. That's the secret. I actually learned the answer to this as a kid reading the Civilization 2 manual, and I believe the same system was used in Civ1, Col, Civ2, and AC.
    • If a unit has insufficient movement points to enter a square, then attempting the movement has a chance of success. A unit with 3MP remaining entering a tile with a cost of 4MP will have a 3/4 chance of succeeding in the move, and a 1/4 chance of the move failing. In either case, the unit's turn is finished, with no further actions possible.
    • A unit at full MP will always succeed in its movement. A wagon can climb a mountain or push into dense jungle even though it only has 2 movement. All units are guaranteed to be able to move at least 1 square per turn.
  • Colonization 1 does not appear to have "back propagation" (not sure what the right word is for it) when computing production in a colony. In other words, if an ore miner produces three ore, then the blacksmith (producing three tools) will produce those tools even if there is no room in the warehouse for them (in which case they will silently be discarded), with the end result that there will be neither an increase in tools or ore in the colony. If the game had incorporated back-propagation then the blacksmith would not have made the tools to begin with, and would have returned the ore to the warehouse, with the end result that there is an increase in ore.
    Would the game be better with/without that back pressure?

    • I see no reason why this shouldn't be done, except for the potential complexity (and opportunity for weird bugs) it could open up for the logic of production. It's a clear win in terms of gameplay, since it's the sort of adjustment a player might want to make if they were aware it was going to happen (though you could argue it's still less slightly less optimal than re-assigning the blacksmith to a different role for the turn).
  • In the version of Col 1 that I have (DOS version 3,), it appears that a free colonist cannot produce any silver on mountain squares unless it has a special silver resource (whereas an expert produces one). But I don't see this in any of the docs or online resources for the game... was this a late addition?
    Also am I mistaken in remembering that the silver resources can be "depleted" (smaller) after some time? I also don't see that in the docs but I'm pretty sure I've seen it in the game.

    • I think non-specialists attempting to mine silver fail due to some sort of rounding. As far as I know, only Indians and Silver Miners can extract silver from mountains without a specific silver bonus.
    • Mineral resources will deplete. I don't know what time scale controls this, but bonus resources can vanish after being exploited for a long time. I don't think they get weaker, I think it's a binary "present/absent".
  • In Col 1 the bid/ask spread for for food is 8, i.e. at the start of the game the bid price is 1 and the ask price is 9. Most of the other goods have a smaller spread. I'd like to pose two questions regarding this:
    1. How/why would it make sense economically for something to have such a large bid/ask spread? I.e., if food is worth so much to the europeans that they would sell it at 9 then why would they only buy it at a price of 1?
    2. Why do you think the game has that particular spread for food? It seems like they are trying to both discourage the selling of food and prevent the buying of food, but why?

    • I'm honestly not sure why there's such a large difference. I can make up a reason, but I think it's nothing more than "they didn't want people to buy and sell food".
    • Food was never exported commercially back to Europe by the colonies. It just wouldn't be economical to ship food such long distances. Keeping the bid price in Europe low reflects this.
    • But why no shipping food from Europe? Food can be converted into Colonists, and if food is too cheap, it's cheaper to just ship raw food home than to recruit European colonists. So there has to be a minimum ask price for food, but 8 seems excessive. 4 would do. It was not unheard of for ships to carry provisions to the new-world colonies.
  • Request for comment: there are two common features of modern civ-like games that are not present in Colonization 1:
    1. "Zones of control": typically represented visually by a colored border around cities/colonies that grows as the empire grows, and into which foreign powers cannot enter without breaking a treaty.
    2. Visual depiction of "fog of war": squares that are visible but which have not been visited recently by the player are rendered with a shadowed overlay indicating that recent developments on those tiles are no longer being reflected, despite the tile having been visited in the past. Col 1 may have such a mechanism, but it is not visually represented.
    Question: do you think that Colonization 1 would have benefited from the above two features features? Or not? Why? Please consider effects on both game play and visuals.
    • Zone of control has a special meaning in early Civ games. It is not "territorial borders" like we are accustomed to, but rather a way to prevent military units from "sliding past" each other, allowing for solid front lines to be established.
    • In early Civ games, there was a "territory" system of a sort, but it was more that the map got "painted" by whichever nation last stepped on a tile, since that gave a crude approximation of which nation truly owned what.
    • I think that some sort of Territorial Borders would be welcome by modern players, especially if it prevents the incredibly annoying behavior of AI units just walking into your land and sitting there. A clear demarcation of what is "yours" vs. "not yours" is nice. I think that a simple colored outline around the edges of border tiles is sufficient for this. Could be dashed or dithered as needed to look good in pixel art.
    • Fog of War is complicated. The early games just adopted the policy of "The map looks like how things were the last time you saw it" but without any distinction as to what you can see right now, or how old your news is. Foreign units would actually remain visible for a long time until they finally moved. Explicit indications of "vision range" is useful, but the down-side is that most common depictions leave the world kind of dark and gloomy, with your cluster of units and cities being the only source of light in the world of darkness. Indicating what can be "seen right now" without compromising the artistic integrity of the map is a challenge. You need something that indicated a difference, but which has an easily distinguishable boundary, and also doesn't make the out-of-range terrain look bad.
    • My vision would be that a light pixelated dark texture be applied over the "out of sight" tiles of the map. I'm not sure if "alpha blending" was a thing back in the day, but it is now!
  • Quick survey: When playing Colonization 1, what is your preferred input method for moving a unit to an adjacent square?
    1. Mouse
    2. Keyboard numpad
    3. Keyboard arrow keys/page up/page down/etc
    4. Other?
    Followup: if your ideal method is not listed above, what would it be?

    • Numpad is classic and powerful, but unfortunately not all computers can be assumed to have a numpad available. Most laptops don't.
    • Mouse Control is the name of the game these days. A standard scheme is Left click to select, Right-click to move. This can cause some challenge if you also want right-click to yield tile information or select from multiple units there (like Civ3), but there are ways around this. Civ2 would switch you to "info" view when you left-clicked on empty terrain. You could also have a "query tool" that can be selected from the UI. There are a lot of options. Colonization purists who imprinted on the original game like baby birds will hate it, but I believe focusing on the Mouse as the primary control interface is the best path forwards for a modern UI.
 
Hi, I can give some input for these points: (Col1 DOS version only)

Anyone experienced a bug in Col1 (DOS) where native tribes refuse to breed horses after being given them?
In my experience native horse breeding is not a reliably process and more depends on luck.

The Colonization Official Strategy guide as well as in-game help either state or allude to the fact that it takes longer to travel to Europe from the west edge of the map than from the east side (four turns vs. two?). Moreover, getting Magellan is supposed to shorten travel time from the west edge.
But my experiments with the game don't bear that out... for me it always takes two turns either from the east or west, and with or without Magellan.
Do others have a similar experience and if so would you consider it a bug to be fixed? Or do you think that was an intentional last-minute change to the game?
Never actually noticed that. I thought it takes longer in the west.

Community survey [reposted from a comment for increased visibility]:
If Col were to allow ships to sail into inland lakes, what would be the preferred response of the game to these situations:
1. A ship on a tile with sea lane access is damaged, and there is a friendly colony with a Dry Dock but which only has inland lake access. Should such a colony be allowed to build a Dry Dock?
2. A ship in an inland lake is damaged in battle, and there are no colonies along the lake shore that have Dry Docks, meaning that it'd have to be either sunk or taken to Europe for repair, which begs the question of where it goes when it returns (keep in mind here that some inland lakes can be very small and/or occupied by enemy ships).
3. During the war of independence, the player only has one colony left, and it is on an inland lake, without sea lane access. Should the player lose if the REF has captured all colonies with sea lane access, ignoring those even on large inland lakes?
4. Normally, the "Boston Tea Party" events (in response to tax increases) are only allowed in colonies with sea lane access; if there are no colonies with sea lane access, the player is forced to accept the tax hike. Should this be expanded to inland lakes?
5. Do the answers to any of the above change depending on the size of the inland lake?
Haha, interesting! Even worse problems when you allow river colonies that can be visited by ships - now suddenly the ships can be attacked by land units!
Generally I would say go with the option can allows the players to shoot themselves in the foot the least.

[Col1 DOS] Just encountered a situation where a mounted brave attacked one of my colonies containing an artillery unit. Apparently the mounted brave won the battle because the artillery became "damaged artillery," and I got a message saying so, and also got a message saying "Incas ambush English artillery near Roanoke."
However, the mounted brave also de-pixelated away and disappeared as if it had lost the battle, which was strange. Has anyone seen this before? Is it a bug or an unpublished rule of some kind?
I've been able to reproduce it as well with both a brave and a mounted brave.
I'm not sure, but I think braves always "evaporate" after a battle. There is a bug in DOS col where units that lose simply get deleted, but in this case that would have been you.

In turn based 4X games such as Col, Civ, etc., how important is multiplayer? How many people play them in multiplayer mode (where available) vs. single player mode? Are they as fun in multiplayer as single player?
I like to play multiplayer Col/Civ/Stellaris and so on, but only cooperatively. I tried a free for all lobby in Civ 6 once, it was way too stressful. Generally, make sure AI in these games are as interesting as possible, as the players will probably be facing it a lot more than human opponents, even if you have MP.

Survey: For those of you who opt to play Colonization 1 instead of FreeCol or "Civ IV: Colonization," what are your reasons?
I like the good readability and simplicity of original Col (btw, your colors look a bit dull in the screenshots). Freecol doesn't have that at all for me. The Civ4 variant is too different from the original for me.

[Col1 DOS] Is anyone aware of any references that describe the skills taught by the various native tribes (statistically)? I did some experimentation but can't seem to figure out what determines the probability that a village teaching the "Seasoned Scout" skill, and also can't figure out what determines the probabilities of a village teaching the "Expert Farmer" skill vs the "Expert Fur Trapper" skill when it is surrounded by forest (when there is no forest around it then it won't teach fur trapping, which makes sense).
There has been a bit of discussion here recently about that topic. The skill seems to depend somewhat randomly on the surrounding terrain of the tile, as it changes with the RNG fixed EXE between visits and also when deforesting adjacent squares. Since I don't want to clone classic col 1:1, I would probably just come up with a list of skills per-tribe, influenced by surrounding terrain (more primitive = higher chance for expert scout and so on).

Wondering if anyone is aware of anyone that has done any detailed investigation of the precise mechanics of naval combat in Col1?
The manual doesn't say much about it, and the strategy guide basically says that there are three outcomes (evade, sink, damaged). I've done some experiments (using cheat mode) of repeated running battles between two types of ships 50-100 times and collecting statistics. I found some interesting facts:
1. Non-war ships can never be sunk, only damaged.
2. When a privateer attacks a frigate, there is never an "evade" outcome. You might say that is because the privateer has more movement points than the frigate, but when a privateer attacks a caravel or merchantman there is an evade outcome periodically.
3. When a privateer attacks a privateer, or when a frigate attacks a frigate, the "evade" outcome seems to never happen.
4. When a defending ship loses combat, all war ships on that square are sunk and all non-war ships on the square are damaged (and cargo units get destroyed). But, when an attacking ship loses combat, only that ship goes away + and cargo units on the square.
Generally, the probability for the "evade" outcome is determined by the difference in total movements points of the attacker vs. defender (the strategy guide mentions this, and I've confirmed it). However, there are clear exceptions to that noted above in #2 and #3.
I wonder if there are any resources out there where someone has made sense of this?
1. Is not true. I've sunk many a caravel. I think it might be related to the remaining ships a nation has.
2. I'm also not sure how evasion is done. I guess there never is evasion when attacking a ship that has more strength than the attacker, otherwise depending on movement. But ship size may also play a role: Try attacking a caravel with a man-o-war - it seems to be impossible to catch.
3. Because they have the same base movement I guess?
4. Yeah, it kind of makes sense, as a victorious attacking ship moves into the square it has attacked.
BTW, the "Cargo" modifier in DOS col seems to do almost nothing. It's supposed to subtract a percentage (like -75%), but it actually subtracts combat points (-0.75). You can see this in the cheat combat evaluation (which is a bit tricky to parse at first). There you can also clearly see the difficulty-dependent modifers the human player gets on their combat scores.

[col1 DOS] Question regarding price movement model for the four processed goods (rum, cigars, cloth, coats): in my experience their prices clearly evolve according to a different process than most other goods (and the official strategy guide seems to confirm this, but mentioning that they form a kind of "price group").
Has anyone managed to understand the algorithm used in any detail and/or have an idea why that was done?
From what I've read, the other col clones don't have that mechanism.
This has been a bit of a topic lately too. There is some info about it in here: https://github.com/pavelbel/smcol_saves_utility/pull/3
Basically, if you bring down the price of one good too much, the prices of the other goods rise again, so it's always best to produce all 4 and always sell the highest one.

Has anyone figured out how the original Col game deducts movement points as units move? I've done some experimentation and it seems very non-trivial and strange. The official mechanic as I understand it dictates that a unit has a fixed number of movement points, and the unit can continue moving until the run out, and on each move, the target square dictates how many points are subtracted (let's ignore roads, rivers, and colonies for now). But, it seems that this is not actually how it works precisely. Sometimes the unit is allowed to significantly "overdraw" on its movement points, even on the Viceroy level, but not consistently.
For example, I just succeeded (in a single turn) in moving a scout (4 pts) onto a rain forest square (-3), then onto a mountain square (-3), which technically shouldn't have been allowed, since it requires 6 movement points. Then I reload that same save game and repeated the exact same experiment on the same tiles with the same unit, and I couldn't reproduce it; the scout moves onto the rain forest square, then is unable to move onto the mountain square (its turn just seems to end and it forfeights its one remaining movement point).
Something really strange is happening here...
Nothing strange, just basic classic civ movement rules. Your first move always works. If you have points remaining after that, you may move again, but if the attempted move costs more points that you have, there is only a likelihood of RemainingPoints/PointCost of actually moving. So if you have a base movement of 1 but lost 1/3 due to river movement, you now have a 2/3 chance of moving to a 1-move tile next, or a 2/9 chance of moving onto a 3 movement tile.

Colonization 1 does not appear to have "back propagation" (not sure what the right word is for it) when computing production in a colony. In other words, if an ore miner produces three ore, then the blacksmith (producing three tools) will produce those tools even if there is no room in the warehouse for them (in which case they will silently be discarded), with the end result that there will be neither an increase in tools or ore in the colony. If the game had incorporated back-propagation then the blacksmith would not have made the tools to begin with, and would have returned the ore to the warehouse, with the end result that there is an increase in ore.
Would the game be better with/without that back pressure?
In my view, the game would definitely be better if goods did not get lost. It's enough punishment for me that the blacksmith was eating food and being useless instead of making bells or crosses.

In the version of Col 1 that I have (DOS version 3,), it appears that a free colonist cannot produce any silver on mountain squares unless it has a special silver resource (whereas an expert produces one). But I don't see this in any of the docs or online resources for the game... was this a late addition?
Also am I mistaken in remembering that the silver resources can be "depleted" (smaller) after some time? I also don't see that in the docs but I'm pretty sure I've seen it in the game.
Exactly. Free colonists can only make silver from minerals or silver resources. Expert silver miners can also make silver from plain mountains.
And after about 120t of silver, the resources depeletes and only gives reduced silver (as much as a plain mountain? not sure). Though I don't know how it counts that internally.

In Col 1 the bid/ask spread for for food is 8, i.e. at the start of the game the bid price is 1 and the ask price is 9. Most of the other goods have a smaller spread. I'd like to pose two questions regarding this:
1. How/why would it make sense economically for something to have such a large bid/ask spread? I.e., if food is worth so much to the europeans that they would sell it at 9 then why would they only buy it at a price of 1?
2. Why do you think the game has that particular spread for food? It seems like they are trying to both discourage the selling of food and prevent the buying of food, but why?
Game design. If you could just buy food cheaply, there would be less need to recruit/train colonists in Europe (200 food=free colonist). At the same time they didn't want food to be better for cash than all the other crops.

Request for comment: there are two common features of modern civ-like games that are not present in Colonization 1:
1. "Zones of control": typically represented visually by a colored border around cities/colonies that grows as the empire grows, and into which foreign powers cannot enter without breaking a treaty.
2. Visual depiction of "fog of war": squares that are visible but which have not been visited recently by the player are rendered with a shadowed overlay indicating that recent developments on those tiles are no longer being reflected, despite the tile having been visited in the past. Col 1 may have such a mechanism, but it is not visually represented.
Question: do you think that Colonization 1 would have benefited from the above two features features? Or not? Why? Please consider effects on both game play and visuals.
1. According to the official strategy guide, it's fully intended that treaties don't mean much in Col and that foreign powers annoy you with their troops in front of your colonies. But so can you.
2. As the original Col does not display FoW, it's hard to judge how exatly its rules in that regard behave, but I believe it has something like that. But it seems to be "sticky" in some aspects, as you can sometimes see moves that you shouldn't be able to.
I can see the game design idea behind changing 1 in newer games, but I'm not sure it would be good for col. 2 should be present and implemented transparently to the player (literally, in my version I draw land you cannot fully see with a dark overlay).

Quick survey: When playing Colonization 1, what is your preferred input method for moving a unit to an adjacent square?
1. Mouse
2. Keyboard numpad
3. Keyboard arrow keys/page up/page down/etc
4. Other?
Followup: if your ideal method is not listed above, what would it be?
I always use numpad. Mouse GOTO is too unreliable in classic col. In my version, I always show the GOTO path to the player so no unexpected moves happen.
 
David has posted a new update over in the Col FB group..

"Here is a very early in-progress rendering of the harbor for the upcoming Col remake, as it is being developed at this moment. This is just a rough sketch, but still you can see a few of the unit sprites (dragoon, treasure, veteran soldier, artillery, cloth, food, galleon) together with the commodities and rough sketches for the dock and land still to be drawn. The boxes around the units are there to aid in planning of the overall composition of the harbor to make sure that it fits enough units on the dock and in the cargo of the selected ship. This is just a rough sketch; as in the original game, a treasure would occupy all six cargo slots, so in that sense this sketch is unrealistic."

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