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(Dynamic) natural disasters

Discussion in 'Civ - Ideas & Suggestions' started by Inlex, Feb 20, 2018.

  1. Inlex

    Inlex Chieftain

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    After reading about a volcanic eruption, I wondered how feasible it would be to add elements to the game which would resemble natural disasters, or the risk thereof.

    I believe it should be subtle, like a mountain tile with a 'volcano' subtype, which could be represented by an increased fertility/food yield, but which might also erupt occasionally. This could cause a (temporary) decrease in fertility or even an increase for tiles further away (fertile ash dropping)

    Earthquakes, meteors, etc could form mountains, chasms or craters; making tiles impassable. Possibly creating a new natural wonder in the process (Grand Canyon, Mount Everest, Crater Lake etc.)

    Similarly, maybe there could be climate changes; creating more viable settling options in the late game, when snow turns to tundra or grassland, or rainforest into deserts.

    Again, I think this all should be very subtle, as to not completely shift the balance of the game. But I think it would make the game a bit more dynamic and create more interesting options througout the game. I'm curious what you guys think of this idea. Would it make the game more interesting? Is it technically possible in the game engine? Would you like to see more features like this?
     
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  2. Equilin

    Equilin Chieftain

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    I like it to be impactful. Natural disasters have a lot of impact to a civilization that was hit. Japan for example get so much they are used to it and handle earthquakes and Tsunamis without much problem (even if losses are unavoidable), the Minoan was drowned and disappeared from history by a Tsunami for example, or Pompeii, or the Mongol invasion of Japan.
    Of course it should be an option which can be toggled on/off so people who don't like it don't need to face it, but those who do will feel the difference.
    On the other hand stuff like a pandemic catches me more. A widespread plague killing off people and inspires human to come up with a cure, boosting scientific discovery, though it would probably does not fit Civ.
     
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  3. Xmonger

    Xmonger Chieftain

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    One of the nat wonders has a volcano, I’m next to it in one of my games but don’t have it handy. Anyhow that’s an interesting idea, kind of a Natural Wonder debuff. It would work into the playing against the map which has been the focus of VI. However you have to ask yourself is that something better suited to world simulation or the Civ franchise concept? Meaning Civ is perhaps mainly a historical simulation strategy game - do natural disasters enhance that? Offhand I can't think of any natural disasters that fundamentally changed or shaped a civilization. I mean certainly Japan had to deal with tsunami's and earthquakes, but what makes the them Japanese doesn't seem to be predicated on that.

    My son had an idea of disasters like the plague, which seem more historically tied. That is plague in Europe was due to human/livestock density increasing and the state of science and such. Finally it led to the power switch from Capital to Labor (e.g. lack of peasants working the land which meant they could demand higher wages and freemen status, which then led to the Knight system). So there are concepts which are relevant such as the plague, but natural disasters simple seem to add RNG.

    Edit: Of course, the Volcano in Civ is "Eyjafjalöjokull"

    Enjoy ...
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2018
  4. awesome

    awesome Chieftain

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    Nukes have changed the landscape in past games, so I wouldn't really say that it doesn't fit.
     
  5. Xmonger

    Xmonger Chieftain

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    Nukes are a direct player action, the result of the warfare system, which isn't what is being discussed here which is a dynamic environment outside of player control.
     
  6. Inlex

    Inlex Chieftain

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    Actually, I believe we are shaped more by these things than we might think. The Dutch, for example, have battled water and floods for hundreds of years and water management/sea faring is a very big part of the Dutch cultural identity. Not just the polders, but the floods of 1953 spawned gigantic water management projects to battle the power of the sea and rivers. (The Delta Works are even considered to be one of the modern World Wonders: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delta_Works )
    Obviously, since it's a small country, these disasters are more likely to impact the entire nation. As opposed to the floods in New Orleans, for instance. Which was more of a dent than anything else, on a national scale.

    Many countries/regions have grown to co-exist with the dangers that their home brings. Low countries form their culture and science around water, peoples on fault lines develop into mining powerhouses, while developing construction techniques. Saharan countries developed into brilliant scientists and engineers to deal with the inhospitable land and frequent droughts (which i would consider natural disasters as well).

    There are tons of other examples, which might not be as 'spectacluar' as Pompeii or the 2004 tsunamis, which have had a much more longlasting effect than anything else.

    This is one of the reasons I feel it needs to change; I have never settled anywhere near Eyjafjalöjokull. It's just not worth the surrounding snow. If there were to be volcanoes in Italy or Indonesia, though. I might be more incentivised to settle those areas, which usually have too few land tiles to be prime settling locations.
     
  7. Thibaulthc

    Thibaulthc Chieftain

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    There is already a quite good mod introducing vaious natural disasters (floods, volcano, earthquakes, tsunamis, wild fire, tornados,...) into the game, it's called Real Natural Disasters, by Infixo.

    Random events affecting random areas, killing or hurting units and destroying buildings, depending on the strenght
     
  8. dunkleosteus

    dunkleosteus Lieutenant Commander

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    Maybe volcanoes give +1 faith to adjacent tiles? Volcanoes often played into religious beliefs. I think you'd have to make them uncommon though, maybe they'd only spawn on small islands or on mountain ranges that fall on the boundary between two continents (representing fault lines).

    Then you'd have to decide what kind of volcano it was. Some volcanoes just leak lava constantly. They're not as dangerous because they don't have explosive eruptions as the pressure doesn't build up. Hawaii has some of these and they're a popular tourist attraction. Some types of volcanoes have more violent eruptions though. Depending on how long since the last eruption, it could pillage every tile in a 1 or 2 tile radius. Maybe it removes improvements?

    Would be interesting to give a science bonus later, but there isn't any sort of geology tech so I don't know how that'd work.
     
  9. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Warlord

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    Here we go again...

    I've argued before, all the way back to Civ V, that to introduce 'Natural Disasters' into the game two things are Absolutely Required:
    1. They cannot be All Bad - there has to be something positive available from each potential 'disaster'
    2. There has to be an option to Turn Them Off when setting up a game: competitive gamers will not be happy playing a game that randomly smacks down their 'Perfect Scheme to win a Science Victory in 128.6 Turns'.

    Examples of the first point:
    Volcanoes - If within X tiles of an Active Volcano, there is a random chance of getting 1 or more tiles Pillaged by an Eruption, or even losing a Population Point. BUT the tiles around a volcano all have +1 basic Food because of the rich volcanic soil, and Volcanoes provide access to Resources like Obsidian and Tephra, both of which provide extra Production and Obsidian a potential Amenity (Obsidian Blades are as sharp as modern razor blades, makes it easy to do personal grooming and Very Easy to ct u hides, leather, furs, and such for luxury clothing and equipment)
    Earthquakes - centered on land or coastal tiles, like an Eruption can Pillage tiles, cost Population Points. BUT any Tile hit by an Earthquake can be Rebuilt: Involuntary Urban Renewal. Instead of Repairing the Tile, your Builder Clears it, gathering resources similar to a Harvest of the tile, and anything new built in the tile has a bonus to its construction from all the material 'salvaged' - and the rebuilding can include Districts as well as Improvements, so this could be the One Way to get rid of a District you misplaced earlier in the game.
    Flood - either from the Coast or a River. It should not be Permanent (we'll save that for Climate Change!) but like the Earthquake, it Pillages X number of tiles which you can Repair or Rebuild as for Earthquakes. A Flood Event also gives a Bonus for researching Techs like Irrigation, Sanitation, and any others the could involve Flood Management/Control.
    Conflagration - Pre-Modern Cities were subject to Burning Down: Rome, London, Chicago and many others were hit by fires not directly related to any other Disaster (like an Earthquake, which is almost always accompanied by Fires). This Pillages tiles AND can affect the City Center as well, requiring Repair or Rebuilding of Buildings and Districts. The positive side is that once rebuilt, Fire doesn't ever happen again (what was wood is now brick, stone, or other non-flammable construction) AND if it affected the City Center, after RebuldingRepair the city gets +1 Amenity (shiny new stone buildings!) for X Turns. This Event would only affect the Ancient through Renaissance Eras. Starting in the Atomic Era, it is replaced by:
    Forest/Brush Fire Event, which affects Improvements and Districts only, provides no Amenity bonus afterwards, but does provide a Bonus for Food in any 'burned' tile (soil enriched with ash and land cleared)

    Volcanoes are the only ones that would be permanent Map Features (Although a river surrounded by March and Flood Plain Tiles is a pretty sure bet for a Flood Event sooner or later!) and, as stated earlier, almost all Volcanoes have some kind of religious significance to the local population. They are also Iconic and attract Tourists (Fuji in Japan, Mount Rainier/Tahoma in the USA, etc) and including them in a National Park would also give Bonuses. Volcanoes can also become Inactive or Dormant - within the span of the game, Mount Rainier in my backyard has erupted, but not in the equivalent of the Medieval to Information Eras...
     
  10. Greywulf

    Greywulf Chieftain

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    Natural disasters have been a significant feature throughout history.
     
  11. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Warlord

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    Even in the scale of a game like Civilization, they have been significant features: the near-destruction of cities like Lisbon, Rome, London, San Francisco, Chicago, Pompeii, Akrothera, and others were all due to natural or 'man-enabled' disasters, while plagues and 'micro-climate' changes have affected whole empires. We need something like them in the game, but as I stated, for game purposes there have to be two sides, a Positive and a Negative, to every such 'semi-random' event in the game or they will simply not be played.

    Don't put an option to turn 'Disasters' off, and I guarantee the very first subsequent Mod will be to add that 'delete' feature!
     
  12. dunkleosteus

    dunkleosteus Lieutenant Commander

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    What of my suggestion, where disaster-prone areas may provide minor passive benefits? (as I said, volcanoes could provide faith or something). Similarly, floodplains are very prone to flooding (in fact, people expected them to) but sometimes, they'd flood much more than expected and cause widespread damage. Rather than positive 'disasters', what if the trade-off was slight bonuses throughout the normal game?
     
  13. Karpius

    Karpius Chieftain

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    I agree there should be an option to turn off such a game mechanic. (I can just hear the hew and cry now!)

    It should, however, be something the player has no way to prepare for - at least not for the first occurance. There could be a learned response in consequent events that might mitigate the affects.
     
  14. dunkleosteus

    dunkleosteus Lieutenant Commander

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    pssst "affect" is a verb!

    I think it depends on the type of natural disaster. For volcanoes and earthquakes, I think there needs to be something terrain-related that determines whether you get one.

    Maybe some of the "benefit" of the natural disaster is how negative it is? The Abrahamic flood myth can be traced to an early Mesopotamian version. Mesopotamia was incredibly prone to flooding around the Euphrates, and the culture and belief of the people formed around this, converting the "natural" disaster into a "divine" disaster. Maybe serious disasters result in an equally serious reaction from your people in the form of a boon for you.

    Example: In response to a flood, you get a chance at discovering a great work of writing in the form of a flood myth (or maybe it counts as a relic). Maybe your people interpret a volcano, flood, or fire as divine retribution, and in response become more pious (bonus faith generation or extra religious pressure for X turns). Maybe the response you make to the disaster gives you an opportunity to earn an effect (the Vox Populi mod implemented this) and if you respond well and save your people from destruction, you get increased loyalty or free era score. All sorts of interesting things can happen in the wake of a disaster.

    As far as balance goes though, I don't think we need to have expressly "positive" natural disasters. A disaster to your enemy is a boon for you! The Japanese talk about the kamikaze (divine wind) which wiped out a Mongol fleet that was trying to invade by sinking all of their ships. Sure, the Japanese islands are prone to monsoons, tsunamis, volcanoes and earthquakes, but your enemies could be equally screwed by disasters as well.
     
  15. orasis

    orasis Chieftain

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    I thought natural disasters were going to be part of the 'emergencies' system. I'm sort of bummed that they're not. 3/4 both had disasters...
     
  16. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Warlord

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    Sorry, I thought I was including such mechanisms - for instance, in that Volcanic soil around a volcano is very rich, so settling next to a volcano gets you extra For production on X tiles, but an occasional Eruption that Pillages one of those tiles. Floodplains are notoriously rich soil (already reflected by the factors in the game on that terrain-type), but occasionally the flood gets out of hand. That could give you a Eureka for Irrigation, and in the Industrial Era, the ability to 'canalize' the rivers, building levees and otherwise improving the banks s that they don't flood as often. This was done to almost every river in Europe and North America, and it also had the benefit of improving navigation on the rivers, so (in game terms) giving, perhaps, a bonus to Trade Routes/roads along rivers, or Gold from the traffic.

    Even catastrophic single Events, like the Bubonic (Black) Plague that drastically reduced the population in Europe in the 14th century CE had a 'positive' side: labor became so scarce that even the lowest members of society, peasants and serfs, were able to demand higher wages and improve their living conditions. It has been argued that this realization by 'the lower classes' that they had some economic power led them to start demanding political power as well - like Guilds and Associations. Potentially, then, Plague 'disaster' Events could give Bonuses for certain Civics, or even Technologies - Machinery to replace the recently-deceased labor, for instance.



    In fact, quite a number of Great Works can be considered as 'inspired' by Disasters: the writings of Boccacio by the Plague Years and the paintings of Bosch by the famines and pestilence of the Middle Ages. So, in addition to potential Religious Bonuses from Volcanic activity, Floods, Earthquakes, etc. there might even be a potential for a 'free' Great Work inspired by what your Civilization just went through. This could even be extended to In Game Events producing Great Works: bomb a city and possibly produce Picasso's "Guernica" or "The Leningrad Symphony", for instance...

    I'm sorry, this won't fly. To the gamer, the 'disaster' that hits his AI or Human enemy doesn't matter: what he notices and remembers are all the 'random' disasters that hit Him!
    As an example, years and years ago there was a 4X game based on Star Trek called "Birth of the Federation". It had a lot of faults, but the worst was that all of the Random Events were Completely Disastrous: A Borg Ship wipes out your Fleet, a star system you are exploring is home to an Isolationist Master Race that destroys your ship and your nearest base, etc., etc. The fact that all this might happen to another faction in the game didn't matter at all: after a couple of attempts at playing, Everybody turned off Random Events - and left them off.

    Having wasted time and money on that game, I say again that the answer is to have both negative and positive aspects to any 'Natural Disasters' included in the game, and I think we are on the way to coming up with an interesting set of 'positives' to the 'negatives': better tiles near a danger spot that partly compensate for occasional destruction/damage caused b Earthquake, Flood, Volcano, etc. a positive reaction from your Cv in the face of Disaster in the form of Eurekas or Bonuses to Loyalty, Production, Civics and Technologies, even "Disaster Inspired" Great Works...

    In every case, there has to be some element of Decision by the Gamer - do I risk settling on/near the Floodplain, Volcano, Disease-Infested Swamp? Do I respond to Disaster by ignoring it or making a major effort at recovery that may give me extra Benefits from the population to offset all the resources I throw into the recovery effort? - It is always a better game if you Feel you have some control over what happens as opposed to merely suffering through what happens with no possibility of affecting the severity or frequency of the event.
     
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  17. dunkleosteus

    dunkleosteus Lieutenant Commander

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    I'm not sure if that would be balanced. Civ already represents the fertile volcanic ash around volcanoes with Kilimanjaro and Eyjafjalljokull, so giving every volcano that generates a similar ability would be unbalanced. These wonders will have to be updated to account for the new effects of volcanoes though. If every volcano gave +1 faith to adjacent tiles, maybe Kilimanjaro could give their current bonuses and extra faith (with the caveat that they might erupt).
     
  18. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Warlord

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    Natural Wonders should by definition be Something Special, so of course if we add some of their features to another terrain feature they would have to be buffed. Possibly - and I think all this would have to be intensely discussed and possibly Play Tested - the Wonders would have some general or very specific Faith bonuses, while 'generic' volcanoes would have Food Bonuses on their tiles and access to Volcanic Resources like Obsidian and Tephra (volcanic ash for concrete and other waterproof construction).
    Again possibly and needing more thought, perhaps the Wonder Bonuses should be much more specific than they are now: giving a Bonus/Eureka for certain Social Policies or Civics, or 'automatic' National Parks (I'm thinking here of the Mount Fuji Pilgrimages or Mount Rainier National Park in the USA) after, say, the Industrial Era. The point would be to make each Natural Wonder Unique In The World, rather than a 'generic' volcano. That would fit much better, I think, with the 'Wonder' designation.
     
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  19. EgonSpengler

    EgonSpengler Warlord

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    Some natural disasters would be global. I'm thinking of the eruption of Mount Tambora in 1815 that led to "the year without Summer" in North America and Europe, and the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic. There was also the "Little Ice Age" in the 16th-17th centuries. Lately of course, here in the U.S., we've had outrageous droughts and floods, and South Africa may be about to find out what happens when a major metropolis literally runs out of water.
     
  20. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Warlord

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    Also Jordan, where an entire country is on the verge of running out of water, or the countries of Micronesia, who are being slowly drowned by Too Much Water.

    Much of that is Climate Change, which is a separate mechanic, I think: is the game going to try to represent 'natural' or Man-Made Changes in the terrain or climate and their effects? This is not just a modern phenomena, since the eruption of Thera in the 16th century BCE may have disrupted the climate of the entire eastern Mediterranean, and 'cyclic' climate change affected Europe in the late Middle Ages and earlier, may have contributed to the Germanic/Gothic migrations into the Roman Empire and the Viking explosion' of the 9th century CE.

    Global, long term, multi-country Disasters are, I think, a lot more problematic to include in the game: who wants to play a game in which the conditions may change for the worse almost everywhere in the game and there is Nothing You Can Do to prevent it, just 'muddle through' until it's over? I confess, I'm a confirmed Historian by vocation and avocation, and even I wouldn't be happy playing that kind of a game!
     

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