Events system brainstorm

Tekamthi

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Congress this round may end up disabling events by default, on basis that the events as implemented are really just stubs or demos of the event system itself, and often amount to just extra clickery as far as gameplay goes. After years, nothing's ever been done with it, so why not just turn it off?

Whether this occurs or not, there is something to be said for the effort that was put in to designing this system, and its potential to add depth to the game; many who support turning it off seem to take such a position reluctantly. It is a civ-franchise staple, being modeled on civ 4 iirc, and in this respect represents one of the prime purposes of VP mod.

So what can be done with it to actually IMPROVE the events? I am not super familiar with how it all works, but enough to say it's probably not the system itself that is inherently flawed, but rather the limited implementation of very simplistic events.

We could start by answering some questions
  1. What's the best of the current offerings (including community events mod, for those familiar)? Do any existing events stand out as particularly worthwhile? What makes them such?
  2. What important historical events or global concerns might be generalized and adapted into an event? Specific ideas and implementation details are good for sake of sparking discussion, even if they stretch what's actually possible
  3. What other games do this style of event system really well? And what are the core characteristics that make them most enjoyable?
 
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I'm currently working on trying to make events better and more diverse. I've modified the default events that come with VP and have started integrating the various events from the community events mod. I'm working on a few particular areas so far:

  • Re-balancing events so there is a more evenly distributed range of good/neutral/bad events and so the yields are aligned.
  • Setting more events to expire to remove yield bloat. No more +/- 1 yields forever from an event. You can have 30 turns instead.
  • Diversifying the different kinds of events so you don't see the same thing over and over. A lot of this is just coming up with new events and making sure the events cover all the eras in a well distributed fashion. As such, I've got a couple spreadsheets where I'm tracking "my" new events by era, type, etc. and seeing where there are holes.
  • Making events more dynamic. For example, I've modified the city fire event so that, once you get the appropriate tech, you might have a chance to establish a permanent fire brigade. It's gonna cost you but it greatly reduces the chance of a city fire happening again. Another example is allowing a player the option to build hurricane levees. To make this more realistic, I've also broken the hurricane disaster into major and minor hurricanes. The levee prevents minor hurricanes from causing much damage and significantly reduces the chance of damage from a major hurricane.

  • One of the ideas I'm mapping out right now is having a group of events chain where the options on link 2 are dependent on link 1, link 3 on 1 and 2, etc. I've also got it plotted out where the options available will be dependent on which policies you go with. Kind of a build-you-own-adventure function in the events category. I've kind of got it mapped out through the Renaissance era but haven't started actually writing the events yet.
 
I like the trade-off events. I think the Ice Age one has you pick between losing gold or production, and I like that approach. Obviously that one specifically is a Bad event with no upside, but more where you choose "double down on X by paying with Y" is the space I'd explore.

I think the Choose Your Own Adventure style is the right approach. Right now it feels like a scattering of random +/- yields, with little control. Things are just happening to you, there isn't a sense that your choices influence your future choices or outcomes. Having event chains where options in later events are unlocked by having chosen specific options in previous events is good. This is different than the "pay to have better odds" events, which in my opinion don't really hit the right spot for a number of reasons, one being they'll show up the turn after you've just invested in all your buildings and you're just out of luck.

This would also be extendable into having sort of "event packs", akin to card decks, represented by game-long (or era-long) chains, that are selected randomly with a kind of init event. So you get some kind of vague messaging that "this next event chain focuses on this sort of thing", and it will have a smaller subset of possible events to worry about and plan around. And you would be able to have this event pack have cohesive events, while also being able to have a different theme between games, so it doesn't get same-y. But this is very ambitious, and obviously you would start with just a single pack to prove the concept (which is arguably what the initial event system was supposed to be).

I don't really like the options where it incorporates what tech or policies you have because the current implementation has a lot of feeling like "you're right game, if only I had build those train stations in Classical I could have avoided all this". But it also has a sense of showing you how to "avoid" the problem in the future, so maybe there's a needle to thread with these ones.
 
Aye, this talk of event chains relates to something else that I thought about saying. One game that has a good events system is Endless Legend. And in that game the events are good because they are the start of small quests. Having event chains is similar to that.


I don't really like the options where it incorporates what tech or policies you have because the current implementation has a lot of feeling like "you're right game, if only I had build those train stations in Classical I could have avoided all this". But it also has a sense of showing you how to "avoid" the problem in the future, so maybe there's a needle to thread with these ones.
Events that have results based on tech level are lame because you may as well just have the event obsolete at X tech and not trigger anymore at all. I suppose there's still a little bit of flavor, and it might be nice on your first playthrough where you can say "oh hoh! this event can no longer hurt me", but it's ultimately just a text popup that does nothing at that point.
 
some good thoughts here so far.. i am digesting for now, no specific responses. Very encouraging to hear you're looking into things here, @rsc2a

I'll share one general idea i think might improve the existing events, though I have yet to investigate the extent to which its possible:

they should be interactive between players:​
for example, the event where the wandering nomads show up, it should be a regional thing, they show up between two or even three civ's cities, and each's choices combine to determine where they settle and what they do... some kind of prisoner's dilemma, possibly. So the event might be the same every game, but the outcome and interaction, its implication for diplomacy etc., this might be somewhat unique to each playthrough.​

most immediately, I've got a basic implementation in TreeSuccession (this mod has forests "grow", and wildfires burn them down) -- I am still testing (unpublished), but I've hooked into the forest fire event -- when this fires off and the bad choices chosen, they will spawn an actual fire on the map.... eventually I'd like to make the event itself more interesting, perhaps with opportunities for neighbors to provide (or withhold) mutual aid, etc.

One game that has a good events system is Endless Legend.

Can you give a specific example of one of these? i haven't played it.. just some details on the narrative it creates, the choices involved, etc.
 
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I like the trade-off events. I think the Ice Age one has you pick between losing gold or production, and I like that approach. Obviously that one specifically is a Bad event with no upside, but more where you choose "double down on X by paying with Y" is the space I'd explore.

Yes, I like these because it provides interaction and choice. That's why I kept them in my updates. I'm just wanting to make sure they are balanced by a comparable opposite (in this case, good) event or group of events.

With that said, I do have several one-off, no-choice events because I feel that it helps create some of that diversity that I was looking for. Just trying to keep these balanced as well categorically.

I think the Choose Your Own Adventure style is the right approach. Right now it feels like a scattering of random +/- yields, with little control. Things are just happening to you, there isn't a sense that your choices influence your future choices or outcomes. Having event chains where options in later events are unlocked by having chosen specific options in previous events is good. This is different than the "pay to have better odds" events, which in my opinion don't really hit the right spot for a number of reasons, one being they'll show up the turn after you've just invested in all your buildings and you're just out of luck.

The "pay" events are also to provide more choice and interaction. And, I've set them so the pay event can always reappear if you choose not to use it. It's not a final "no" if you select no; it's a "not right now".

This would also be extendable into having sort of "event packs", akin to card decks, represented by game-long (or era-long) chains, that are selected randomly with a kind of init event. So you get some kind of vague messaging that "this next event chain focuses on this sort of thing", and it will have a smaller subset of possible events to worry about and plan around. And you would be able to have this event pack have cohesive events, while also being able to have a different theme between games, so it doesn't get same-y. But this is very ambitious, and obviously you would start with just a single pack to prove the concept (which is arguably what the initial event system was supposed to be).

I've got a combination of these types: one type where one initial event sets off a range of possible no-choice events (currently integrated into what I've got) and types where the initial event has choices and these choices determine what future choices are available (what I'm currently mapping in my spreadsheet / head).

I don't really like the options where it incorporates what tech or policies you have because the current implementation has a lot of feeling like "you're right game, if only I had build those train stations in Classical I could have avoided all this". But it also has a sense of showing you how to "avoid" the problem in the future, so maybe there's a needle to thread with these ones.

Here's an example of what I'm working on and why the policy choices matter (after all, that's just another event choice the player made):

Capture.JPG

In the attachment I've included, it kind of shows my first BYOA event chain I'm working out and is very rough right now. What I'm thinking of as tradition-minded is purple, progress is blue, and authority is red. I want the good and bad to balance (as a way to avoid bloat), and I need a way to expire certain events so I'm also thinking though that. I also want each chain to balance with the others (number of choices, yields, etc), and I want the good to be good and the bad to be bad.

For example, where I'm at right now, the feudalism choice isn't available to tradition because it doesn't really fit in my mind as a tradition type of play whereas the central government choice isn't available to progress. Authority can get either one but one will cancel the other. As far as good and bad (one example), as I've got it mapped, feudalism gives you +2 Food to farms and pastures. That's pretty sweet! But I want there to be a regular stream of revolts (with barbarian spawns) on a city level with a major revolt in all cities ending feudalism. That really sucks. Pretty much like history.

I'll have to figure out (or ask) how to get certain things to code with my choices, but it's kind of where I'm at right now.
 
@rsc2a are there any from main mod that you've eliminated completely via your roster? My approach to this issue overall will be to find individual cases to work on, develop further, test ideas for etc. If you've abandonned any in particular for whatever reason, I might pick up one of these to start testing with... no sense overlapping with multiple redesigns of the same events
 
That's interesting, I look forward to seeing where it goes.

The kinds of trade-off payments I'm thinking of are like:
  • Event: City Investments
    1. Invest in research: -2 gold, +1 science
    2. Invest in industry: -2 gold, +1 production
    3. Invest in artistry: -2 gold, +1 culture
    4. Invest in health: -2 gold, +2 food
    5. Let the markets decide: No change.
So balanced to be value-neutral, such that No Change is a valid option. And then you can make follow-up choices contingent on having invested in a particular sector, for example.

I'd also generally favor neutral events, over bad/good events. It helps prevent yield bloat, and leads to less randomness where one person high-rolls several good events, someone else low-rolls several bad events, and for the most part everyone else is on average exactly where they were to begin with. Only now, the game has randomly chosen someone to be ahead. No choice led to their benefit, other than chance.


A final separate but related aspect of Events: I think there needs to (eventually) be a class of "Tutorial" event, which can be 100% trigger chance events that serve to explain a little bit of what's going on behind the scenes with Events. Using the current events as an example, when you build a certain threshold of farms, it would popup an event like "Your people are farming! As time goes on, they may face hardships and successes as they learn more about the world around them." This way, when the player is met with "Everything of type X is pillaged!", they can reflect back and think "Ah yes, I have a lot of farms now, that's what caused this bad/good event to trigger".
 
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Can you give a specific example of one of these? i haven't played it.. just some details on the narrative it creates, the choices involved, etc.
here is a list of some of them:
The things that the player has to actually do are in the New Objectives section of each box. Also it's missing some of the text that happens in between each step. And there are also a few things that are unstated, like the fact that the Conflict Resolution quest spawns two armies, though it's kind of implied since the objective is to defeat one of them.
I think the ones that are closest to the events VP has are probably the global events https://endlesslegend.fandom.com/wiki/Global_Events#World_Effects or the assimilation quests: https://endlesslegend.fandom.com/wiki/Side_Quests#Assimilation

Though now that I'm thinking about it more, there is a major difference in that, in general instead of presenting you with a choice they present you with something that you can do, and the choice is in how/when to do it, or whether or not to do it at all.
 
Could look for inspiration from Crusader kings or Old World. Also, I think 2 gold is worth more than one of a different yield.
 
Damage or profit from events must take into account the base profitability of the city/empire.

Once, relatively early in the game, there was a plague - two caravans with food had to be sent to the city just so that the population did not die out of hunger. It was a very expensive decision.

Or an event offering to make a choice which resource will be reduced for the city - food, gold (-3), hammers (-2). Usually, at this time the maximum productivity of the city is 20 hammers. Gold may even be less than 20. Receiving a 10% production penalty in a poorly developed city will further slow down its development. Plus, this decrease also affects the happiness of citizens.

Or an event causing the destruction of a newly constructed building.

After several games with such huge fines, I lost the desire to play with events.
 
rough valuation of yields for me:
:c5production: 1
:c5food: 0.8
:c5gold: 0.5
:c5culture: 2.0
:c5science: 1.8

others may disagree
It differs between game progress and how much you already have. Food, production and gold all have diminishing returns.

Many of the event types are undesirable for me:
Free yields per turn/free instant yields/free whatever: speeds up the game for everyone, while the game is already fast enough
Random pillaged improvements: no way to prevent other than not building the improvements at all
Big bad events like Cold Age, Hurricane and Drought: no way to prevent until a certain tech, random destruction of buildings and population feels extremely bad
"Pay certain yields or suffer" events: you don't always have the yields to pay

Events that I actually want to keep and expand on:
Events that are triggered if you settle around certain Natural Wonders: you made the choice while settling. The base yields of the NW need to be rebalanced accordingly though.
Quests that you can complete to get certain rewards: essentially CS quests, but not repeatable, not affecting relationships and may have choices. The quests should require you to actually go out of your way to complete, OR you pay in terms of yields/units/etc.
 
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I think Paradox games have a good event system in place (in some ways), namely EU4.

You have general stuff like Comet Sighted and Bountiful Harvest that anyone can get, then there’s stuff like religion specific events where you have Muslim ones, Catholic ones and Orthodox ones, which I think we could tie to specific beliefs.

Then there’s Idea specific events, where if you pick Offensive Ideas you get stuff like Nobles are Worried and Glory to Us, which we could maybe tie to specific policies and ideologies. Stuff like collectivisation for Order, patronage for a specific type of specialist for Artistry or a group of superb soldiers for Honour or whatever the ancient military tradition is.

Then there’s historical events, which are tied to certain nations like the Trial of Jeanne d’ Arc for France and Cristopher Columbus for colonial nations. That’s already a part of the more events mod though, right? We could try and design our own version though.

Another thing I thought of is tile specific stuff. forests could lead to bushfires while jungles could hide exotic animals or hidden resources, while plains could become drought stricken, reducing food output and floodplains could well… flood.

I could try my hand at writing idea concepts at the moment, cause I got a lot of free time if you guys want, but I have no understanding of Civ V’s limitations or how hard it is to code them though. Let me know what you guys think.
 
I think the Choose Your Own Adventure style is the right approach. Right now it feels like a scattering of random +/- yields, with little control. Things are just happening to you, there isn't a sense that your choices influence your future choices or outcomes. Having event chains where options in later events are unlocked by having chosen specific options in previous events is good. This is different than the "pay to have better odds" events, which in my opinion don't really hit the right spot for a number of reasons, one being they'll show up the turn after you've just invested in all your buildings and you're just out of luck.

I agree. Feels too much like you just get random penalties and yields at the moment. Nothing else. We need them to feel more unique. I might try drafting up a table of all potential rewards an event could give besides just giving some more yields.
 
rough valuation of yields for me:
:c5production: 1
:c5food: 0.8
:c5gold: 0.5
:c5culture: 2.0
:c5science: 1.8

others may disagree

For balancing, I've been using 2:c5gold: = 1 :c5production: / :c5food: / :c5faith: = 0.5 :c5culture: / :c5science:.

For longer range events, I also apply a reversed scaling factor based on era with :c5faith: getting a larger boost prior to the Medieval era.
 
@rsc2a are there any from main mod that you've eliminated completely via your roster? My approach to this issue overall will be to find individual cases to work on, develop further, test ideas for etc. If you've abandonned any in particular for whatever reason, I might pick up one of these to start testing with... no sense overlapping with multiple redesigns of the same events

I haven't abandoned any yet although there are some duplicate ideas when you use the Community Events mod that I've merged into one. More what I've done thus far is started a classification system and started working through that. For example, I have "Natural Disasters", "Signs and Wonders", and generalized era-specific events (breaking them down by two era blocks..."Ancient/Classical" is in my test mod right now). There are several from the base VP that I haven't developed because I was thinking they leaned more towards the BYOA model with how I had classified them (loosely "Political Events").

I also want to look at Hokath's natural wonder events, religious events, and civilization events and make sure they are still balanced. (I've also got a working text edit file that corrects typos in those already.)

I like the deck of card analogy...we have a religion expansion pack, a natural wonder expansion pack, and a civilization expansion pack from the Community Events mod. I want to look them over and see if I can get rid of some yield bloat and keep them balanced. I've got a natural disaster expansion pack and "signs and wonders" expansion pack along with some era-specific expansion pack that I've put together, mostly by incorporating existing events. I want to build BYOA political expansion packs and corporation expansion packs along with a few others I've considered (e.g. "Age of Discovery").
 
okay well i think i'm gonna just hook into the fire event for TreeSuccession but otherwise not touch the event -- can I assume you've retained the same event & choice names for already-existing events?

the one i'm most interested in experimenting with is the nomads event, as i described above. probably will require a lot of lua but thats where i'll start
 
Mostly...I'd be happy to share what I've got so far if other people want to give things a run.
 
I've completed a collection of thoughts on what events should give, both in terms of punishments and rewards, feel free to provide thoughts.
 

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