Escape from Dune

CD Light

Creative Cartographer
Jan 5, 2002
Wisconsin, USA
This is a new scenario with character and place names based on the new Dune books, but with an entirely original plotline. In the scenario, the leaders of five Great Houses of the Imperium have crash-landed on Dune, and must escape before being destroyed by the desert, the Fremen.........and each other.

The major characteristics are the map, which is all desert with patches of plains, and the resources. Horses are not present, and there are only two luxury resources: the Water of Life and Melange. The latter is the only way to get commerce, and thus will be the cause of many wars between the Houses.


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And this is the readme. Please read it; it's only a few lines, and it has some useful information.


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Didn't play map yet, but the idea sounds good. You gonna continue working on it? Just redo the tech tree, buildings, units, etc, and it'll be perfect :D
Originally posted by Lord Thorium
Just redo the tech tree, buildings, units, etc, and it'll be perfect :D

"Just" indeed!:lol: I don't know if I have the time (or patience) to undertake something of that magnitude, but it's certainly an intriguing idea. The units idea is good; I could change things to orinthopters and Fedaykin and such. If I get some time, I'll definitely upgrade this scenario to make it more Dune-ish. Thanks for the idea!
Originally posted by Lord Thorium
A thought on the barbarian thingy, might be the number of letters..

You mean there may be a certain number of letters needed for the game to read a tribe of civilization (A Barbarian Chiefdom) name? That could be right.....I'll test it out.

(For those reading this who are confused, Lord Thorium is referring to a minor glitch in the scenario that causes the game to refer to Barbarians, renamed by me Fremen, as "interfa". This was mentioned in the readme.)
There is no way to place buildings and set alliances before the game even starts, is there?
Cause what I was thinking is, you have house attreides and house harkonnen set against each other at the beginning, with a couple of minor houses, like the tleilaxu and house vernius, each allied to someone, and house corrino sitting somewhere in a well defended area, neutral at the beginning.

Anyway, besides that, I really think the tech tree should be entirely scrapped, and each side be basically given its own tech tree, with many similarities, but some differences... So if you don't trade with the ixians or tleilaxu, you will have a big dissadvantage....
Those are great ideas, but I don't think there's really a way to implement them well. First of all, you can't set tech trees for different civs. Second, you can't set alliances before the game begins. Bummer, huh? I could, though, if I had a lot of time, redo the tech tree for all civilizations to something that makes more sense. I could maybe make a new civ called the Tleilaxu and cripple them in every way except scientifically so they're only good for trading techs with. I'll try these ideas and see if they're feasible.

Thanks a lot for your ideas!:goodjob:
I think it can be possible to make different tech trees for different civs. It would take a lot of screwing around, but you can do it thanks to the fact that you can select the starting techs for each civ. You could make each civ start in its own Era or something like that. The problem is to stop the sides from continuing along the tree of another civ once they trade one tech or two techs.
What a great idea! The games created so far based on Dune have been shallow disappointments when compared to the novels. I don't expect much from a 22KB mod, but this should be a nice starting point. Civ3 has the complexity to allow a deep and involving Dune-mod. Another good reason for me to stop playing and learn to mod right. I imagine not only civ-specific units, but tech trees that will be easier and more essential for one civ than the others, likely all in one Era. Just imagine the barbarians replaced by loads of sand-trout, which will disable units a bit, and by rarely-seen but devastating and fast-moving Sand Worms!
After ruminating on the other suggestions here, I have an idea for the tech-tree coalescing.
As before, all Techs are within one Era. The civ-specificity would be served by each civ startting out with one or several early techs.
for example, Fremen would start out with three pre-collector techs. Those techs would be costly and time-consuming for the other 'houses' to work on, and would give no new units, wonders, or improvements to the other civs. (ok, maybe they can get one goodie for completing the second tech.)
Fremen could choose to start work on the fourth tech in that line, which would give them the city improvement of "Moisture Collector", which will give each square in its city one more food production. Thus, an irrigated square of desert can really help a Fremen city to grow.
(continuing) - - Going back to that tech the fremen already have. Let's call the tech "Still-suit". It will be the third tech in the "Fremen" branch of the tech tree, and will give the new unit of "Stillsuiter", a tough early unit. The Fremen already have it, of course. It easily avoids detection by Sand Worms, and since the Fremen are do-it-all kind of folks, it can also do slow build of roads and irrigation. Thus, the Fremen get off to an early start building many small cities in deserts where others cannot build.
The Moisture Collector will not replace "Aqueduct", which will still be in a 'neutral' branch of the TechTree.
Down the Fremen branch you can develope "giver hooks", "thumpers", etc.
Atreides will start with techs that give "diplomatic" advantages, which can be used to deflect aggression from Harkonnen, etc., and to build an alliance with the Fremen once they are found. When these two civ's trade techs (thus filling out both of their 'branches') they will finally (or eventually) get to a Great Wonder, "Muad-dibb".
"Muad-dibb" is thus equally likely to be built by Fremen or Atreides, but very unlikely to be completed by any other faction. It should give its nation a strong tactical advantage.
An "Expert" question: Can a resource be re-spawned in a random square after one visible source is depleted?
I have read of Iron and such "appearing" anew after a source is used up, even appearing in the same square that it had just disappeared from. Does each location for a resource need to be assigned in the map before play starts, or can the game select new locations based on a list of parameters?

I ask for help from a more experienced Modder again. Can the Collector be built and then 'automatically' send the resource to the Capital city?

I suspect not, so here's my next concept -- "Fixing" the Collector to a Spice-blow instantly creates a road to the nearest city. It's up to that city to be connected to the Capitol. This might even be an "invisible road" associated with non-displaying tiles in the grapohics set. A road that just pops out of nowhere might be too much for some players, being far outside the concepts of both normal Civ3 and the worlds of Dune.

I do feel strongly about these ideas regarding Spice. It is essential to success in Dune. It is the most important resource, and has a profound effect on the economy in Dune. It should be costly, risky, and difficult to secure at first, then that first supply should make it much less difficult to establish subsequent supplies. The sources always run out in a short time, no more than twenty turns.
There will be a constant search for the next Spice-blow, as well as the struggles of politics and battles with other factions. Oh, yeah. And Sand Worms.
The Deep Desert will viciously resist domestication, so the Worms will have a home long into the game, unlike the barbarians you're used to, who go belly-up at the sight of a pointy stick. The Deep Desert is an equatorial ocean of sand, more than a mile deep in most places and broken only by the barren tops of mountains. If you found a square of plain old desert out there, you would treasure it like a luxurious oasis.
Although Spice occurs infrequently in the desert, it is most abundant in the Deep Desert. Collectors and forts may be built out there, and you may want to build roads to your stake. Be aware that the Deep Desert does not know you or care for you. If its sands shift, sink, or rise, your roads may be gone in the morning.
My mental visualization of the tech-tree is getting more complex.
Muad-dibb also requires some techs from the Bene-gesserit. Thus, there are three branches that need to be developed to lead to build "him". It will be tricky to get the four or five needed B-g techs through trades without giving the B-g's enough to let them build "M-d" before Atreides or Fremen.
"Muad-dibb" could also be a name for an Atreides hero/general, but his influence in the novel is so much more than that. In civ3, the extent of that influence seems best expressed as a Wonder.

In the earlier techs there is a line shared by the "Houses", but unknown to Fremen (until Atreides trades it to them). There is a 'warrior' with 2,1,1 attributes, then a faster 2,1,2 unit. Harkonnen and Atreides have both to start with, other houses only have the 2,1,1 unit for free.
The Atreides branch goes off from there to build melange-collecting and diplomatic strengths. They get the light ornithopter(1,1,4) free [or as a first 'earned' tech, after two techs they get free, but which are unrewarding to other factions} so they can find Spice fast. This lets them explore faster, too, making their world map a valuable trade item. This 'L-o' should become immobile after 20 spaces moved. It thus needs to return to base (city or airport) or risk sitting in the desert until refueled by a carrier or such. It won't blow up after 20 spaces, but could be Wormfood or get attacked.
The Harkonnen get two free techs down their branch [which are unrewarding to other factions] and the first tech they complete will give them a very hard unit, valued about 3,4,1. Another tech or two will give them a 3,4,2 unit. Thus they will be building a tough and punishing armed force, but lacking in city-building and diplomatic skills.

The Bene-gesserit are not really a 'House' in the novels, nor do they build cities as such. They should be relieved of those bonds in this scenario, I believe, because they do have a compelling and distinctive 'Tech tree' in the novels that makes for a compelling civ, to play as or to play against. They would not be expansive or militarised, but would have arcane strengths and influences that other civ's could not acquire simply by taking over their cities. Their 'Wonders" would become "White Elephants" to a conquering military force, expensive in upkeep and providing no benefit beyond braggin rights. How could this be? The loss of a B-g Wonder to a non-B-g civ would be a trigger event that would replace the "Good" Wonder with a 'counterfeit' that has an upkeep cost of 10 to 20 gold per turn, cannot be destroyed, and confers no ability to the conqueror. The "real" wonder and its conferred blessing become unavailable to any civ after such a conquest. So other civ's won't want to mess with the B-g, yet they will want to barter for the influence, techs, and such they can provide. The Bene-gesserit would be a Religious/Scientific culture. They may require two or three branches in the tech tree, with two "placeholder" techs that they get free in each line (no earned units or wonders attached, just expensive for others to research). After those first two or three easily attained techs, which establish the B-g's position of influence, the other tech's in their branch become dependant on techs more specific to the other Houses, requiring the B-g's to co-operate (or at least peddle influence) with the other civ's. One of the B-g's early techs should be a very influential city improvement, maybe "Cloister" to replace "Cathedral", with a cultural influence of as much as ten per turn. In the novels the Bene-gesserit associate with all factions, though in different ways. In this mod, their cities will be "scattered among the nations". They will need contact with all civs to complete all their techs and to reach the apex of their ultimate developement. Being remote from their sister cities, they will need that high culture rating to avoid being consumed by one of the Houses. BTW, if a B-g city with one of their special Wonders does capitulate to the cultural influence of another civ, that Wonder stays intact with its blessings going to its new master, at the normal upkeep, unlike the military conquest described earlier.
One of the tricky things about adapting these novels to a Civ3 mod will be the acquisition and management of Spice (melange). {{The variations of Spice used for special occassions in the novels will become 'Wonders" in the mod.}} Spice really should be both a strategic and a Luxury resource. I doubt that will be possible in the mod, so I expect it would be better dealt with as Strategic. It will allow most units above tech level three to be built, including Carriers, large collectors, etc. So, you can't get any Spice if you don't have any Spice. ((Just like the 21st Century economy. :D))
Your first Spice-Mine will have to be within the influence of a city, connected by a road, just like Iron in regular Civ3. Trouble is, Spice only occurs in Deep-Desert (maybe a new type terrain, replacing Ocean, which would never occur on Arrakis anyway, not until way late in the novels.) That's going to be at least two spaces of regular desert away from any Plains square. In Deep-Desert the Sand Worms move at 3 to 4 spaces per turn. They are attracted by steady-paced movement, although they may come across your units by chance even when standing still. Sand Worms rate 5,3,2(x2) {maybe even higher, have to reconsider after more advanced units for the Houses are designed}. So they are not like the woosie Barbarians you may be used to. They're even nastier than the Allosaurs in the Dino-barb mod. They will mess up any early units, and take a major toll on cities in lost 'gold', even destroyed improvements. Even a group of advanced armored units will have a time of it when a Worm comes by. When it moves at up to four spaces per turn, your units may not even get a chance to return fire. Do you want to try, knowing that more Worms may be attracted by the fracass?
Worms usually sit quietly in the deep desert, enjoying the dry heat. Several things draw their attention, though. Spice does. A new upwelling of Spice may draw in nearby Worms, so harvest with caution. Machines draw them, too, because the noise and metal and electro-magnetics irritate the Worms. Large Collectors, tanks, carriers, all will draw a nearby Worm. Regularly paced movement also attracts them. That puts almost any unit at risk. When sending units to colonise a new city, you can try skipping one turn in three, or moving zig-zag. The Worm may go by or turn away from you. It's worth a try, but it may just come through your square and eat you anyway. I told you to be careful.

Only the early Fremen units are (nearly) safe from Worms. The Fremen know to falter their pace, so even when they move straight across the Deep Desert, the Worms will not stir. Of course, even a Fremen may cross into a square where a Worm is resting. Bye-bye, Fremen unit! At least your comrades know to avoid that square now. If it is the Worm that is moving and the Fremen is still, he has a 75% chance of going unnoticed. whew!
Later, the Fremen discover Maker Hooks. In the novels they always had them. In the mod they should be about an eighth-level tech. When a Fremen Hookman (civ-specific, maybe Atreides can get them, too, if they have built "Muad-dibb") comes across a Worm, the two turn into a Rider (8,4,2(x2)). This will be about the strongest Fremen unit. Atreides will have some stronger units to develope later, as well as abilities such as prescience, which will be hard to beat.
But I was talking about Spice. You've seen that your first acquisition will be costly. You may need to send many settlers into the D-D, only to watch them get eaten. Building a city right on top of a Spice-blow is probably dumb. There's likely a Worm right next to the Spice square, if not in it. Construction is going to rile the Worm, so there you go. Worms are rare, though, so maybe you can plop down your tent and bingo, you've got a city with Spice in the Mayor's Office!
Until it runs out. I always hate that message in Civ3, "This supply of Iron has been depleted". Well, on Arrakis, the Spice don't last for long. It will likely be gone in 20 turns or less, which includes the time since you found it and lost sixteen units trying to claim it.
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