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Feedback: Maps and Terrain

Discussion in '[MAC+WIN] Civ4 - History Rewritten' started by Xyth, Jul 16, 2011.

  1. Howard Mahler

    Howard Mahler Since Civ 1

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    While this is a fun idea, I do not like it for this game.

    All a player has to do is draw a paper map as the game goes along.
    (Xerox a whole bunch of blank grids to fill in, would make it a little easier.
    Many of us remembering making such maps when dungeon crawling in D&D.)

    Players who do not go through that effort are penalized.

    I do not want or need extra make work for this computer game.


     
  2. Simon_Jester

    Simon_Jester Prince

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    Agreed. It's a cool feature for a game that is set mostly in ancient Europe and which deliberately tries to hem your civilization into a small space in a vast, barbarian-haunted wilderness, which PAE is meant to do.

    But History Rewritten is supposed to be a substitute for a normal game of Civ- details change, but the bulk of the game takes place in the classical era and later. The scope of civilizations is large, sending out colony expeditions to the other side of an uninhabited continent is meant to be possible. Adding a map-darkening system just so it can be implemented for the first fifty turns of the game or something isn't a good idea.
     
  3. Xyth

    Xyth History Rewritten

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    I had a look at the code that does this in PAE. The big issue for me is that it involves scanning the entire map for every player at the end of their every turn (until the appropriate tech is researched). This would increase turn times noticeably, especially on larger maps with many civs. It's an interesting concept but I think the cons outweigh the pros for a full game mod like HR.

    That said, it might be (in a more limited fashion) be something to explore in the future via the event system: you civilization could 'forget' about the existence or details of a particular island, continent, or region that they have minimal contact with. 'Lands that pass into legend', or something. I'm not very familiar with the event system yet, so I'm not sure how possible a trigger like this would be to implement, but such an approach would avoid the performance problem.
     
  4. Eucalyptus

    Eucalyptus Warlord

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    My experience with PAE on huge, densely populated maps isn't that the game is particularly slowed by this mechanic. But yes, that's a whole other mod.

    I play HR-BTS on the slowest speed available (Odyssey right now, thanks Xyth!), so there are not fifty but hundreds of turns before map making would begin to affect the darkening. PAE uses it partly to address the criticism that BTS permits historically unrealistic exploration of enormous continents in the Iron Age. (In contrast, I don't find its use of abundant wildlife to be a realistic mechanism!) One other thing that PAE does well is to allow Warriors 200% city defence --- this stops trivial early rushes.
     
  5. Eucalyptus

    Eucalyptus Warlord

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    A side effect of the need for Stone to build a Paved Road:

    Long after discovering Engineering and building many Paved Roads, I found a new city in the middle of an empty desert, next to a Stone resource (but isolated from the trade network). OK, so on the Stone I build a Quarry. Then I try to build a Paved Road.

    Not possible! "Requires Stone".

    Sire, a Paved Road on this developed Stone resource requires Stone.
     
  6. Xyth

    Xyth History Rewritten

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    Currently, every civ in HR begins with a Scout, and Scouts have no technology requirement. Something I've been pondering for a while now is whether to give each civ a Warrior instead of a Scout, and make Scouts require Hunting (and shift Camps to Archery). Obviously this is very minor compared to re-concealing parts of the map but I think it will make early exploration more of a planned choice, and allow a little more time for cities and their cultural borders to create obstacles (at least until Open Border agreements are available - I've considered making them available later but that will probably slow economic growth too much).

    In the end though I'm not sure there's a lot we can do to slow continental exploration that isn't also frustrating or unrealistic

    Well in this instance you can build normal Roads to the Stone resource (or another city), and Paved Roads after that. Makes sense in my opinion, a similar situation can happen later with Railroads and Highways too. I'm still thinking through whether to keep the Stone requirement or not.
     
  7. Simon_Jester

    Simon_Jester Prince

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    Eucalyptus, while a lot of people play the game on the extended settings, that isn't a universal preference of the user-base. For myself, if I played on Epic/Legend/Odyssey/whatever setting, I'd never complete a game. I'm usually only good for a few dozen hours of play at a time (over a period of a few weeks) before I lose interest in the game and stay away from it for a while.

    I don't think ahistorically fast exploration is that big of a problem in the game- remember that by late classical times there was trade from Rome to China and vice versa- Roman coins showing up in Vietnam, and Roman authors decrying the popularity of (Chinese) silk clothing among the elite.

    For that matter, entire armies and forces that, in game, almost have to be modeled as civilizations (like the Huns) migrated much or all the length of Eurasia during the same period.

    So no, I don't think it's unreasonable that your scouts can reach diplomatic conduct (and therefore begin trading relations, or fight wars in theory) with nations on the other end of a large continent in the Iron Age. That's exactly what happened in real life.
     
  8. Eucalyptus

    Eucalyptus Warlord

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    Map darkening

    These things are all true, but route finding is quite different to accurately mapping a large area. In those times, pathfinders existed but usable large-scale maps didn't.

    Extensive mapping in game terms facilitates an early resources-grab, which is fun but could be made more challenging.

    Furthermore, the dark-ages of PAE don't last forever. In HR 1.16 terms, coasts and rivers could be made mappable with Navigation (beginning of the Classical Era), and all other areas with (surprise!) Cartography. A version of the system could allow the mapping of regions within (say) 4 tiles of territory, in a simple extension of the current system that allows the viewing of tiles around it.

    Yes, Scouts should require Hunting!

    Whilst Camps for Deer might need Archery, those for Furs perhaps not. Were Seals hunted with spears (Hunting) or with bows and arrows (Archery)? Camps in forests without resources are presumably doing forestry, so shouldn't need Archery at all.

    However, if I initially don't have Scouts and there are goody huts, I would be motivated to initially build Warriors to use as scouts, so the exploration issue remains.



    Stone for Paved Roads

    Despite my criticism, I support the requirement of Stone for building Paved Roads.

    I would also be happy to have the resource requirement as Stone or Marble. A Quarry that creates quality Marble will generate enough secondary material to use for paving roads (or building Walls, for that matter).

    Another thing that I would like to see is it that a Paved Road built on top of an ordinary Road get a cost discount (both gold and worker turns), to indicate that no surveying is required. This is not the same situation as that of Railroads, which historically were not built on top of existing roads.

    Whilst I am supporting PAE, I mention that it implements costs for all Worker tasks, not just road building. Sometimes, Workers can't build anything because there is no cash in the treasury! This is playable and satisfying.

    Something else PAE does well is to replace the Wine resource with Grapes. You work the Grapes with a Winery to get the Wine.
     
  9. Hotimenhumeis

    Hotimenhumeis Chieftain

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    I don't endorse a defensive bonus for warriors. It could be maybe useful at lower levels but at monarch and above would make early rushes almost impossible.

    Also I think PAE and History Rewritten are quite different mods and I don't see the necessity in HR to implement a building system similar to PAE (with costs for every single improvement).

    Having said that, Xyth the new version is quite good (and still very addictive). I'm playing a game I will finish in the weekend and then I will post some of my thoughts.

    My only problem about improvements, specifically roads, is that I really have a hard time with the colors of paved/railroads. They are so similar I can't distinguish between the two and sometimes it could be very annoying.
     
  10. Xyth

    Xyth History Rewritten

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    I do most of my testing on Normal speed, but when I do get time to play a game I generally like Epic or Saga most. It's cool that everyone has different preferences for gamespeed and we just have to ensure that all changes we make don't negatively impact slower or faster speeds disproportionately.

    Exploration on slower gamespeeds is always going to be easier and more extensive than on faster gamespeeds. There's just so many more turns to move scouts around before borders expand and such. So this is possibly a case where we want any proposed change to have minimal or no effect on Normal speed because the issue only becomes contentious on, say, Saga and above.

    This is true, but most such trade was done via intermediary civilizations rather than direct contact. This is something that's not very well emulated in BTS unfortunately.

    Something to note is that darkened tiles could disconnect trade networks with other civs.

    Such checks and conditions would hit performance even harder unfortunately. The code that handles tile visibility by borders is either in the DLL or BTS itself and not something I can change directly so it would have to be done via scans of the entire map.

    Because of this, for any sort of map darkening to work in HR it's going to need to happen only occasionally, at some appropriate trigger, rather than every turn. This is the crucial factor that needs to be worked out if we want to progress the idea any further.

    It's more that I want to keep the four starting techs reasonably balanced; if Hunting gains Scouts, it needs to lose Camps.

    Yeah but Warriors are slower and aren't as likely to get good benefits from huts as Scouts. So it will slow exploration a little, to allow more time for cities to be founded and borders to expand, potentially creating some impassable areas. I realize this will have little effect on slower gamespeeds though.

    I did consider allowing Marble but I thought I'd be inundated with "no-one made roads out of marble!" complaints. Given some people think that the Stone requirement is already unrealistic, Marble would certainly be pushing it.

    I experimented with that but I couldn't find an implementation that displayed in the UI properly or that the AI would comprehend.

    I'd like some more opinions and thoughts on this please. I'm in two minds about it.

    Hmm, I'll see if I can tweak that at all.
     
  11. Simon_Jester

    Simon_Jester Prince

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    I wouldn't criticize making Marble an acceptable substitute for Stone in roads (or anywhere else, really).


    I still don't see a reason to implement this feature that justifies the costs- increased processor time and nuisance factor. What, exactly, is wrong with the early resource grab? Remember that History Rewritten isn't necessarily intended to make the game "more challenging;" there are perfectly good mods that do that already. We shouldn't automatically include features from other mods purely because they are "challenging" and make certain strategies impractical, when those strategies have little or no impact on the bulk of the game.

    Also, Eucalyptus, I'm not sure you really addressed what i was getting at about maps- without map permanency you can't trade with foreign nations, and trade should definitely be a factor in the classical age and on.

    This change has costs, but no corresponding benefits, except to make one relatively unoffensive and minor strategy more difficult.

    It depends. When you zoom out to the scale of a Civ IV map, rail and road routes often parallel each other closely- especially in hill country, where there are only so many passes through a given range.

    ...Why?

    I mean, I don't understand why you consider this more fun, or why I should consider it a desirable feature. To me it feels annoying- I have to make an ongoing choice between infrastructure development and research/espionage/treasury. I've never felt any sense that vanilla Civ IV suffers from not having that feature.

    We already considered that feature for this mod. The problem with doing it here is that we can't teach the AI to consider Grapes (or any other resource which does not directly yield happiness/health/strategic resources) valuable. So the AI will stupidly and freely trade away all its Grapes to someone else, unless we give Grapes a happiness value of their own. But if we do that we end up with a lot of extra happiness resources and city max populations go through the roof.
     
  12. Eucalyptus

    Eucalyptus Warlord

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    I don't understand: If it's so computationally expensive, then why does it run efficiently in PAE?

    This I hadn't counted on! Perhaps it is fair that in the earliest times we can only trade with those who are really close to us? Perhaps trade routes could `light up' (which could be interpreted on land as illustrating a chain of caravanserais). That sounds like a lot of coding ...

    As I have no ideas on how to implement this anew, I'm willing to drop the idea for now.
     
  13. Eucalyptus

    Eucalyptus Warlord

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    When my galleys are exploring, I cannot easily see the difference between Coast and Ocean. Is it possible to colour Coast tiles a lighter shade of blue than Ocean tiles?
     
  14. Simon_Jester

    Simon_Jester Prince

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    Is PAE a Mac-compatible mod? If not, then the author may have edited the underlying code in ways that cannot be done for a Mac, but which are more efficient than the workarounds Xyth can devise.
     
  15. Xyth

    Xyth History Rewritten

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    I had another look at the code in PAE and realized that it only applies to the human player and doesn't trigger for the AI at all. The comment added at the top of the code is:

    # AI wird wieder rausgenommen -> zuviel Einheitenbewegung -> MAFs​

    Which translates (via my poor German) as:

    # AI taken out again -> too much unit movement -> MAFs​

    So yeah, this will be why there's little performance degradation and it seems that Pie had significant problems with applying map darkening universally.

    The idea has merit but yeah, we'd have to rethink it considerably to make it plausible.

    Looking into this.

    Yep, PAE is a Mac mod.
     
  16. Simon_Jester

    Simon_Jester Prince

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    And I'm not sure I want it to apply only to the human player in HR, either- it gives the AI a big advantage in linking up and trading in the ancient and classical age. Without some of the other barriers to exploration in PAE (like the hordes of ravenous bears) I don't think it would work well on its own.

    Also, cool, maybe I'll play PAE some day.
     
  17. Eucalyptus

    Eucalyptus Warlord

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    Well that certainly stymies the whole idea of borrowing it.
     
  18. Jarlaxe Baenre

    Jarlaxe Baenre Emperor

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    If you play on the 128x64 Earth Map and set one of the new world civs (Anasazi, Iroquois, Sioux or Maya - crashes are too annoying for me to find out which) as an AI, the game crashes on the start.
     
  19. Nightstar

    Nightstar Prince

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    Probably the Anasazi since were only just added in 1.17. I would guess that they may not have a starting location set for that map. If so, then the Kongo (also new) might have the same problem.
     
  20. Jarlaxe Baenre

    Jarlaxe Baenre Emperor

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    Nope - I saw the Kongo.
     

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