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Freeform civs

T_F

Reynardine the Great
Joined
Jul 31, 2007
Messages
1,163
Since Civilisation always starts off on a randomly generated map, it's always bugged me that the civilisations themselves are just ports of real Earth civilisations - they ought to adapt to their environment and expand on their experiences like real civilisations do. For example, England will still get a Ship of the Line as a unique unit even if you've been playing on a Pangaia map and they haven't built a single ship the whole game.

So it would be great if there was a system that would let you get unique units and abilities based on a combination of your location and your previous actions. Maybe if you spawn by the sea you can get an early ship unique unit, and later in the game if you find yourself building large amounts of riflemen you could get a better rifleman as a UU (or maybe a better infantry so you don't have a tiny window to use it in). If you spawn in a jungle, you could get a productivity bonus from jungle tiles.

For unique units (and perhaps abilities as well) you would likely need one per era - your first being based on your spawn environment, and after that you would be awarded with a UU for the next era based on your actions in the era you just finished (or something). Maybe with abilities, you'd have one based off of your spawn environment to begin with but if you do something epic you could get an option to change it to something more appropriate.

I suppose the obvious problem with this is that it rewards players who are already doing well by making their already-working strategy yet more effective, but perhaps there could be bonuses based on combating other bonuses? Say, if you get spammed by spearmen, when they get their upgraded pikeman UU you could get a UU that has a bonus against that pikeman.

Also I can't say how the AI would deal with this system.

What do people think?
 
its a magnificent idea, perhaps tricky to implement, but I hope somebody takes it on.
 
Thank you ^_^
I have no modding skills at all (just an imagination), so I don't have the least idea how to do it. I'm sure it's possible if someone who knows how decides to do it.
 
I'll take a look at the XML and see whats possible. I read that Kael made that legions mod with XML only, and it changes the game back from 1upt, to civ4 style. So it appears there are quite a few more possibilities with XML only than there was with civ4. It would probably still require some lua work though.

In my mind, it would basically go like this; Each civilization starts with no UA, UB, or UU's. Easy enough. Perhaps on game start we could determine what type of start certain civs had, if they're on the coast maybe so naval or coastal bonuses, if they're in the desert some desert bonuses and so on. Perhaps have that trigger around turns 10-20 so that all civs will gain a UA based on start location alone in the ancient era.

Then you could keep track of what types of units or buildings the civ is building or has built. Maybe if they're building tons of archers, later on they could get a bonus to xbows or something along those lines. Whatever choices you have made perhaps take effect when you reach the classical era. And then so on for the UB, perhaps taking effect when you reach the Renaissance.

You could even base it off of culture levels instead of era, or whatever sounds best, just reiterating what you've said basically. I'll look into it, it may not be as hard as it sounds.
 
I'll take a look at the XML and see whats possible. I read that Kael made that legions mod with XML only, and it changes the game back from 1upt, to civ4 style. So it appears there are quite a few more possibilities with XML only than there was with civ4. It would probably still require some lua work though.
Wow.
(it might have to wait until the SDK comes out though.)

As for the rest, that's pretty much exactly what I was thinking.

I think doing it by era rather than culture is better, since you could gain yourself a big boost by pumping a lot of culture otherwise.

UBs would have to have to upgrade all existing buildings of the original type, since buildings don't obsolete and upgrade like units do.

There should probably be 2-3 UAs for each kind of start to give some variety (and a way to check so that if one person already has one, anyone else fulfilling the requirements gets the others).

With UUs and UBs, perhaps each civ would have its own unique version of each? That does seem like a lot of work - initially you could have 'improved rifleman' or something, and after all of that is working the rest could be added. I don't think the UU/UB bonuses should change by civ, just the names (and graphics only if it's feasibly easy, and it's probably not).

Not entirely sure what other triggers for non-start-location UAs would be - maybe an offensive one if you defeat another civ early or quickly, a defensive one if you get invaded and survive intact, a science one if you consistently have the highest science rate, etc. These should probably also be triggered at the start of each era, and should all be mutually exclusive.
UUs at least shouldn't be mutually exclusive (but odds are by the time you get a new one the old one will be useless), but UBs probably ought to be - maybe with UBs you have a choice of pick one now and live with it forever or wait for another opportunity.
 
yea i tried to post about an hour ago, had it all typed up and then the server timed out when i hit post reply..... this is a bit shorter

Having unique names and art for the units sounds easy enough, this was done with UnitArtStyles.xml for civ4. Something similar is probable, though i haven't looked at any files yet.

I would probably keep it limited at perhaps at max of 5 unique things, be it 2 UU's, 2 UA's, and 1 UB, or whatever combination. Maybe even make it so some civs could have 3 UA's and 2 UU's but no UB's, depending on the situation, that would be really cool actually... just some, any combination, depending on what the player did with a max of 5 unique things.
 
just to add... it would need to be done with some type of thresholds.. say you build 3 monments, you get some cultural UA or UB... build 3 archers, so forth. Whatever thresholds you reach first will be your unique abilities, units, or buildings.

We'd have to get creative for certain ones, but it could be done. Really some of the abilities need reworked anyways, like for example the ottomans getting 50% chance to capture barbaians galleys?!?!? what a joke of an ability.

edit: and another last thought for now, it would need to scale with map size maybe.
 
A completely agree with you.

For me the thing that makes Civ fun is replay value and emergence. The more that is decided after the game starts, the better.
 
just thinking about this even more, it would actually be best in my mind to add the initial UA maybe like turn 5, surely by then everyone will have settled even if they moved their capitol. Before/after (either way) turn 5 it will do a check for each player and read their capitol city's surrounding terrain, features, and resources, and any of those that are in abundance (say at least 3 similar hexes) will be *enabled to possibly be chosen. Each terrain, feature, and resources would have to be linked with certain UA's this way. If there are multiple possibilities then it will generate a random number 0 to X, (X being the amount of enabled possibilities -1) and will choose one randomly.

Then after all this has taken place under the hood, the player will get a pop up telling them that they have adapted to their surroundings and received a new UA. you get the just of it I'm sure.

that of course will require lua, so it may be awhile
 
Having unique names and art for the units sounds easy enough, this was done with UnitArtStyles.xml for civ4. Something similar is probable, though i haven't looked at any files yet.
Yeah, I was just concerned about having to make a whole separate model for each UU for each civ. Implementation should be easy.

I would probably keep it limited at perhaps at max of 5 unique things, be it 2 UU's, 2 UA's, and 1 UB, or whatever combination. Maybe even make it so some civs could have 3 UA's and 2 UU's but no UB's, depending on the situation, that would be really cool actually... just some, any combination, depending on what the player did with a max of 5 unique things.
Maybe something along the lines of you have 5 slots, only one of which may be a UA? And once you fill those up, every time you fulfil a criteria for a new UX it brings up a dialog box about 'do you wish to exchange any of these for your new option?'.

just to add... it would need to be done with some type of thresholds.. say you build 3 monments, you get some cultural UA or UB... build 3 archers, so forth. Whatever thresholds you reach first will be your unique abilities, units, or buildings.
edit: and another last thought for now, it would need to scale with map size maybe.
Should scale by size, speed probably (at least for units), and era. It's fine to get a UB after 3 monuments, but when you have 20 cities in your empire and still only have to build three of a building it's just too easy.

Also, buildings built by puppet states should not count towards the threshold, since you have no control over that.

just thinking about this even more, it would actually be best in my mind to add the initial UA maybe like turn 5, surely by then everyone will have settled even if they moved their capitol. Before/after (either way) turn 5 it will do a check for each player and read their capitol city's surrounding terrain, features, and resources, and any of those that are in abundance (say at least 3 similar hexes) will be *enabled to possibly be chosen. Each terrain, feature, and resources would have to be linked with certain UA's this way. If there are multiple possibilities then it will generate a random number 0 to X, (X being the amount of enabled possibilities -1) and will choose one randomly.

Then after all this has taken place under the hood, the player will get a pop up telling them that they have adapted to their surroundings and received a new UA. you get the just of it I'm sure.
That sounds perfect. I think 3 tiles is a bit too few, maybe say it'll look at a 9x9 area centred on the capital and if enough of that is similar (say, if 20% is hills) you get that bonus. Tiles can count for more than one total - a desert hill would count for both desert and hill.
Not sure what % would be best, but the smaller it is the more options you're likely to have. IDK if it's better to just be given a random available one or be allowed to pick from all available ones (that would at least prevent situations like I'VE GOTTEN THIS SAME BONUS EVERY TIME I PLAY).

Some really unique ones should be ocean and mountains - if you have too much ocean, your ships can sail on it to 2 or 3 tiles beyond cultural borders; or if you have too many mountains they become productive like for RFC's Inca (they get +2 food and +1 production off of mountains).

A completely agree with you.

For me the thing that makes Civ fun is replay value and emergence. The more that is decided after the game starts, the better.
Thank you!
Never thought about the replay value it would add - you're right.

I suppose far in the future the goal of something like this would be to have everything dynamic - you start off with environment-determined bonuses and a random culture (which would define civ name, leader name and city names), but all of that can change. You might find yourself being influenced by a nearby nation that has far more culture than yours, and over time your nation would become more like theirs - if it goes on indefinitely, your leader name and city names would start being taken from their list rather than your original one, and any flavour unit and building models would take on their graphics instead of yours. (This could even happen if you conquer a nation that has significantly more culture than yours, like what happened when the Manchu conquered China.)

Actually, a lot of this seems more easily done in CivIV than CivV, especially the culture shift; and the whole Revolutions modcomp would benefit greatly from this.
 
yea, actually implementing this is civ4 would be quite easy. Yea 3 might be too much, it would hinder the choices, perhaps even end up with no valid options sometimes.

Don't you start with a city with only 7 workable tiles though? where do you get this 9x9? I only count the 1 the city is on, and the 6 surrounding tiles, because remember on turn 5 your culture would not have spread at all, so it would be about impossible (or at least a major pain) to check the cities future hexes that are not currently within the cultural borders.
 
One way to make traits (and probably units too) dependent on your actions in game could be the Social Policy trees. This might be a bit jury-rigged, though, and not an ideal solution.
 
Don't you start with a city with only 7 workable tiles though? where do you get this 9x9? I only count the 1 the city is on, and the 6 surrounding tiles, because remember on turn 5 your culture would not have spread at all, so it would be about impossible (or at least a major pain) to check the cities future hexes that are not currently within the cultural borders.
I was figuring that it would ignore cultural borders and just look at the general area around your capital.

One way to make traits (and probably units too) dependent on your actions in game could be the Social Policy trees. This might be a bit jury-rigged, though, and not an ideal solution.
Social policy choices could very well be a good trigger. Say, if you have three or four options in one social policy tree active before you have any other trees active at all, you'd get some bonus related to that tree.
 
yea, that would be fairly difficult to code though, I dunno we'll see once we get some tools and/or access to the sdk.
 
I think Social Policies would be the easiest way to code it. Granted, I'm not a programmer, but could you possibly have IF Social Policy THEN unit access or THEN trait ability (the latter is already in the game, actually). Or perhaps program from the other end and take the unit and say IF tech and social policy THEN can build or something like that. While I'm not going to pretend this is easy, I would argue the bigger problem is making an intuitive system to implement this. You have to make enough for the effects to be gradual, but I'd argue that there has to be at least some initially in order to encourage you to consider not specializing in order to get some effect, while the effect has to increase exponentially to encourage specialization so you become more unique. You also would probably have to rebalance the culture mechanism overall.
 
Social policies should definitely be part of it of course. Ideally almost anything and everything could be able to affect which unique abilities, units, or buildings you get.
 
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