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Game balance

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by Jheronimus, Apr 20, 2006.

  1. CaptainMidnight

    CaptainMidnight Warlord

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    • Some really interesting ideas , here my opinion on some of them:

      3. (I’ve number your list) I think an espionage is the way to go. I’ve put my ideas in a post a couple of post above this plus links to other ideas. It basically mimics cold war nuke counting and proliferation.
      4. Isn’t this already in the game? I think that perhaps resources should perhaps alther in value as the game progressive, a bit like the Whaling and furs. Trading relations aren’t that important in the late game.
      5 & 8. I may be wrong but are you suggesting and interconnection between the type of civilisation, the buildings, whether religion and culture is important, the number of units, diplomatic position, to whether civics are available to you? For example, to get the “State Property”, “Universal Suffrage” and “Free Religion” could only be accessed once a few turns of “ferment” passed whilst using say, “Monarchy”, “Theocracy”, “Serfdom” in conjunction with poor health rating and too much emphasis on finance and production. Only after the “ferment” can you revolt to the new set of civics. Another example could be that a “police state” could not exist without the necessary number of military units / population within a civilisation. This seems like an intriguing but extremely complicated idea. It would certainly mimic reality more accurately.
      6. Cultural borders are usually pretty stable in the late game unless you've totally neglected culture. I don't think any alteration is necessary to be honest.
      7. It would be extremely insensitive, although inevitable due to modding, to introduce a ‘terror’ and its derivative ‘insurgency’ into a fun computer game like Civ 4. I’m sure the game developers agree with me. I don’t wish to offend anyone, but “terror”, which is barbaric and horrendous on a personal level, could be seen as defined as much by the victim state as well as the perpetrators. Anyone who has read ORwell’s ‘1984’ knows full well the use of ‘terror’ and fear by the totalitarian government, therefore terror could easily be interpretted as civic related. For this reason I think it should be kept well out of the game. And also, not to be corny, one mans terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter would become especially apparent. On the otherhand, my proposed ideas for espionage would in many ways function in terroristic way whilst maintaining soveriegn status of the perpertrators e.g. a weakened civ might use Bio, nuclear or sabotage as the only recourse left to themselves to win the game.
     
  2. Olleus

    Olleus Deity

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    its true that the later ages are easier than the early ages. At the moment the only remedy is too play on a difficulty which is too hard at the begining or too easy at the end. Maybe the AI should have a bigger bonus on the later ages...
     
  3. mjs0

    mjs0 The 4th X

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    Thanks for taking the time to comment on my ramblings.
    My thoughts on your thoughts, using your numbers...

    3. Yes, I had read your post on espionage and I think that would be a big step in the right direction. I particularly like the idea (if I read it right) of having to explore (whether on auto or manual) enemy territory with spies to locate enemy silos and other 'secret' improvements. This could lead to all sorts of interesting game features such as the advent of satellites providing hints at the areas to explore for those hidden improvements. Even the concept of mutually assured destruction between large well-armed empires could be implemented and affected by these features. The deeper point I was trying to make related to a broader theme of evolving capabilities (which applies to more than just espionage, see more on point 8 below). So perhaps initially spies would be used for short term tactical goals but as the world becomes more complex and diplomacy more important then strategic uses (such as point 7 below) would become available.

    4. Actually I was thinking more along the lines of improving the model of economy and trade by introducing the concept of large and small scale reserves of resources. This would mean that you would have the same probability as today of access to small scale resources in your territory for strategic use such as military construction and these would appear on the map when you get the appropriate tech as they do today. However, for large scale resources which really need to be traded for economic and social reasons you would have to prospect and explore promising regions (some in your territory and some in what for want of a better word I will call 3rd world territory) and would be forced into trading for them if you do not own them.

    5+8. Your ideas here are very interesting and would certainly add realism but are at somewhat of a tangent to (although 100% compatible with) what I had in mind. In point 5 I was thinking more along the lines of your choice of civics having a much more profound effect on diplomacy. In the 20th century most nations aligned with one of the two superpowers (even if they were historically enemies) resulting in political and economic trading blocks, these relationships were not based on who you did or did not declare war on in 200BC (or even 1939!) but more on a common view of the world, human rights, the free market, etc.
    The primary thrust of point 8 is that the world today is different (doh!) than it was in the time of, say, the Roman Empire especially in the volume and timeliness of information available for decision support. This improved access to information could be modeled by both more and different choices (as well as a more information rich interface when making those choices) in later eras. (Note that a good interface to a model of a complex system does not in itself have to be complex, but in the case of civics the difference between the ancient and modern world is surely more than just a couple of extra choices in the same civic areas.) Now I think about it I would say that for civics something as simple as adding additional columns over time as well as the current system of allowing more choices in existing columns would better represent not just more choices but different choices in the modern eras, oh and only some of those civics areas should cause anarchy when they are changed!

    6. I guess I have to agree with you here the game probably does not need this feature . It just seems that in RL there came a time around the rise of the nation state that borders became fixed and actually became a strong impediment to the spread of 'culture' in most cases. I would also observe that there is in a sense a 'shared regional culture' which ties the nations within a region together and conflicts within regions are primarily nationalistic rather than cultural. OK, now I'm rambling and I know the inherent complexities of modeling some of this would not lead to fun game elements, so I'll stop. :)

    7. And so we come to the minefield...:crazyeye:. Let me start by saying that I agree completely with your analysis on terror and related subjects and I can see why the wording I used might have led you to believe that was what I was suggesting. In fact my intent was to introduce a layer in the game that mimiced a lot of what went on during the cold war where super powers would fight each other in other countries often by funding insurgents and they only commited small numbers of troops to the battlefield in a small number of regional power struggles, never fighting directly with other nuclear powers. Minor nations in effect became pawns and often proxies of the superpowers. Perhaps you would enter the 20th century in a position of dominance but if you were not careful your conquered territories would be susceptible to foreign interference encouraging them to rise up and demand independence. Religion could be a powerful factor in this also. The fact is that dominance in the 20th and 21st century is not guaranteed by military might, invading and subduing one small country is a tough nut for even a superpower, being able to seamlessly absorb that country into a monolithic empire after a short period of instability simply defies belief. A strong military is essential for deterrence and defense primarily, but diplomacy, economic dominance, subversion and other tools are also important. This really leads into point 9...the definition of victory in Civilization has always bothered me, in a sense I have always felt that for me the journey was more important than the destination. I can enjoy the early stages of a game I am losing just as much as one I am winning the same cannot be said for the latter stages. An alternate victory system that accounts for how well you cope with the challenges of each era given your position when entering that era rather than an overall objective of world dominance would be my ideal.
    (Interestingly the very thought of bio-weapons raises for me the same feelings as terror, I can't use those feelings to logically justify keeping them out of the game but for some reason it just feels wrong :cringe:. What really makes me question my sanity is that nuclear weapons do not elicit the same response. Go figure!)

    Finally, I want to stress two things,
    • Firstly, I would not claim to have all the ideas above fleshed out and 'ready to mod', I am just throwing them out for discussion just like I'm sure Firaxis will have discussed many approaches to introducing religion before arriving at the simple, elegant (and yet still imperfect) implementation we see now.
    • Secondly let me reiterate a point I made above...a good interface to a model of a complex system does not in itself have to be complex. So, even though the ideas discussed can sound complex the final interface that abstracts and presents control over the model of that complexity can end up simple and clear -- if it is well designed.
     
  4. Jheronimus

    Jheronimus Warlord

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    I'd say make the late game era more intresting (ideas should be taken from the real world ofcourse);

    A) When you're on top in techs the others should be able to follow, no big gaps in progress concerning techs, this'll make conquering a lot more difficult. Especially your friends should be getting reasearch bonussus so they won't fall behind and are almost equel to there allies. Think of this like the European Union All members are on the same tech level when they don't they will benefit from their allies, for example Poland benifits clearly from his EU partners. But this should not only accur in the late game but from the early beginning when the civs make contact with eachother.
    By doing the above the game would be far more intresting because opponents will always be on the lure and if they'll get the slightest chanche they'll grab it and become your superior. This way you'll get diffrent civs in front at diffrent times, making the game more dynamic and intresting.
    Not only Allies, but also enemies should be able to get techs all the time wich are allready invented by superior civs, al-Qaeda for instances uses modern techs from the west in their war against it. In the game this would mean it'll be more difficult to conquer such a civ, like in the real world.
    B) There should be more challanges in the late game to make it more intresting.
     
  5. CaptainMidnight

    CaptainMidnight Warlord

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    I hear you, I should definately learn to mod all this stuff on civ 4. Here are some responses to your responses:

    4. This is a good idea because I think the trading items become of minor importance very quickly in civ 4. I think substantially larger blocks of exchange and the benefits one reaps from them should be increased in this manor. Perhaps almost to an “Elite” (if you remember that golden oldie) style stock market scenario with value and tradable quantity informed by your civs production and civic selection? Perhaps non-renewable sources of fuel should actually only be available for a certain number of turns depending on the quantity leading to a progressive movement towards new sources and trade. This would be an awesome idea and not that differcult to implement and use at all.

    5. Although civics do have an effect on diplomancy already I think its based on which civic a leader prefers, which is a bit too simple. The last centuries disputes, coldwar, second world war, were ideological. Diplomatic relations, especially among more state controlled civic options, should inform the stockmarket system proposed in point 4 leading to trading blocks along civic lines.

    8. Perhaps an increase in information from the advisor about rival civs tech research, wonders being built, trade relations and stuff. I don’t know if you played civ II but they had a diplomat unit that could establish an embassy in rival civ city and get loads of info.

    7. Yes, okay I see what you mean now, the words you use initially weren’t neutral. There is already a factor in Civ 4 that could be used for the idea of influencing smaller groups within a large empire. That is the ethnicity percentage bar of each city. Maybe a spy could enter a city and cause revolutionary ferment directly into an ethnic group, establish financial funding and offer arms to the revolutionary groups. Whether a “group” becomes available could be calculated by your current civics, the rival city’s civics and the civics previous ruler of the city that has now become part of the another empire. Religion could have an effect too.

    9. At the end of the day, the objective is to become the most powerful and successful civ on the planet. Just because you are successful at the medieval era and then fall behind by the industrial era and lose is a reflection for failing to capitalise on your advantage. Also, the point system is only really valid once the game has come to an end. During the early to late mid game it is misguiding. I often push forward for a particular technology, such as Literature, into a new era whilst neglecting loads of Ancient tech. This doesn’t mean I’m not making the right moves to win the game, I’m just biding my time, waiting for the moment. The score system cannot account for these sorts of decisions so it would hardly appropiate to grant an extra victory for each era. Maybe a more subtle breakdown of the game on the score board or the ability to only play up to a particular era if you choose.
     
  6. KrikkitTwo

    KrikkitTwo Immortal

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    Well for the issue of invading a country with a superpower... it is actually a Very easy thing. The ancients also had guerilla warfare/local rebellions, as well as an effective military solution to it.. genocide.

    The only reason we have the 'minor proxy wars' in the modern world is because of
    1. the Pax Atomica... no one for the forseeable future will invade the US, UK, France, Russia, China, India, etc.

    2. homeland sensibilities
    If the two world nuclear superpowers had ended up being the Third Reich and Imperial Japan, they would struggle with proxies, /guerilla warfare, but it would be much more limited as the well known anceint solution to the problem would probably be used.


    To really model the modern age you need the same things that you need to model the ancient age, disintegration of empires from within. Nationalism would be a great tech that would allow you to prevent rebellion among 'core' cities while making new ones more likely to rebel.
     
  7. Archbob

    Archbob Ancient CFC Guardian

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    Play Emperor or above on a huge map, victory is not guaranteed when you reach the modern era. In fact alot of times, its a race to spaceship or a race to beat the AI before they build the spaceship.

    You won't be capturing cities with obsolete military, the AI is usually ahead of you in research.

    If your playing standard map or smaller on Noble or less, yes then the game can become boring in the later stages. But on a huge islands or Arch map on emperor or higher, its rather challenging all the way through the game.
     
  8. acidsatyr

    acidsatyr be water my friend...

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    Simple solution, yet quite effective would be to simply add more techs, in on other words stretch out the whole research tree, horizontally, rather then vertically. This would allow for more civics to be added, especially in the late modern age. This would also allow
    more civs, and very much different UUs, instead of having 7 versions of swordsmen or archers...
     
  9. mjs0

    mjs0 The 4th X

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    4. Yes :thumbsup:
    5. Yes :thumbsup:
    8. Yes :thumbsup:
    7. Cool :cool:
    9. Uh... :hmm:

    Seriously...

    4. I think we seem to agree so far and I suspect what we are really talking about here (and yes I do remember Elite!) is a global commodities exchange. This could be an example of an additional dimension to trade and the global economy that really only comes into play when the population of your empire reaches industrial era levels.
    This is not a case of "Are my people happy? No, then get them luxuries", or, "Do I have iron and coal to build ironclads? No, OK I'd better trade for them." This would represent the fundamental requirement for large quantities of certain raw materials in order that an industrial or modern era society can even function.
    Some model (remember complex idea but simple model) of global trade that allows civs to specialise in areas such as production of natural resoruces (if they are lucky), manufactured goods, skilled workforce, etc. would allow for strategic choices, new civics might encourage particular industries/markets. The possibilities are huge, it might even allow the introduction of an economic victory condition.
    Examples of commodities are mostly the obvious such as oil, iron, copper, and aluminium but also include depending on the era others such as timber, wool, rubber, cotton and rare metals . Some nations will be producers, others will be consumers and produce intermediate (refined petroleum, plastics, synthetic rubber, cement, etc) or finished goods (did I mention beer :beer: ) for export to other civs. Hey, a trade embargo on a rogue nation might actually mean something. (Bad country! No Civ4 for you!).
    I am also a big fan of resources being exhausted by long term use (a great example of this is Cornwall in SW England where ancient tin mines provided tin for much of Europe but were all closed long ago due either due to exhaustion or lack of economic viability).

    5. Again, lots of agreement here...civics should definitely have a greater impact on diplomacy than they do now. The idea on trading blocks sounds appropriate but I'm having trouble envisioning how it might work in the game (though that is clearly me at fault not the idea :hammer2: ).

    8.Yup, embassies in Civ2 were a good idea. In addition to the information increases you describe others might be better intelligence about, some foreign troop deployments, foreign city locations and sizes, natural resources of other civs, all of which would become available over time. In addition I would like to see the interface used to run the game become more efficient over time:
    • maybe in later eras you can build two things at once in a city
    • maybe workers get replaced by a public works system after a certain tech
    • maybe research is always directed but your scientists follow directions better in modern eras whereas in earlier eras research points leak to other techs.
    • maybe the scores of opposing civs are hidden in early eras to represent the poor intelligence available.
    Note: these were examples only and there are obviously many more, less controversial, examples also.

    7. Now I think we understand each other though, I am not sure if the bar you are talking about really represents ethnicity, I think it represents cultural influence. Ethnicity and/or nationality are really a different thing, many people who consider themselves American prefix the word with another that indicates a particular cultural heritage, but I'm pretty sure that doesn't mean Boston is likely to culture flip to Ireland! :lol: (Off-topic: Of course I still want to know why nobody refers to themselves as English-Americans?!?!) I guess for the purposes of the game it may be a pointless distinction and simplicity will dictate I should just keep quiet and follow orders! :salute:

    9. This is unfortunately where our opinions seem to diverge. It is clear that in ancient classical and to a lesser extent medieval times that power and success were defined in terms of the size and military strength of your civilization. My issue is that power and strength come from different sources today, we are more likely to measure power based on economic strength and diplomatic influence, backed by a military deterrent, and success based on similar intangibles such as the economy and standard of living. On the subject of intermediate victory conditions per era...the point would be to introduce more interesting choices...should I go for the classical era victory or invest in my overall position to prepare for victories in later eras. Many civs through history lost their empires because they overstretched as they dominated one era and were not prepared for the new realities as times changed. So you are right, your beeline to literature might lose you the ancient era lead but it would be your choice to sacrifice that battle in order to win the war. Personally I love tough decisions.:aargh:
     
  10. mjs0

    mjs0 The 4th X

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    I do agree that some way of balancing techs in the late game would keep things competitive. I believe that in late eras there should be a bonus for getting to a tech first but that the advantages should be very short lived and you should have to grab that advantage fast or lose it. The current system of making techs cheaper as more civs get them helps but does not go far enough. Perhaps certain techs could be designated as state secrets ( rocketry anyone?) and the spread would be inhibited but other unprotected techs would disseminate rapidly.
    I'm not sure I agree with having this happen in earlier ages though, as I quite like the tech race and differences that develop back then. I guess if the equality was just with races with whom you have close contact in the form of trade that it would be OK.
     
  11. mjs0

    mjs0 The 4th X

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    All good points and ideas.
    Of course in the past many people have pointed at the disintegration of empires as a 'non-fun' thing for the game, but now with the totally open Civ4 SDK and other modding tools anyone who likes the idea can add it (or at least encourage the technically able to consider adding it!.)
     
  12. mjs0

    mjs0 The 4th X

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    I guess everyone has different preferences...
    I have tried this (having beaten the game all the way up to immortal) and I found the early game suffered, becoming less fun as it was basically always a scramble just to survive unless I used certain exploits that I preferred to avoid. Plus the challenges I was facing in the late game seemed to always be the same challenges, in other words the later game was still too cookie cutter and lacked the mystery and unpredictability of the early eras.
    I know I'm picky...glad it works for you though.:thumbsup:
     
  13. joethreeblah

    joethreeblah King

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    Maybe they need to just increase the cost of late units a great deal, but make them about 10 times stronger, to make them as precious as a single early unit or two. You shouldn't be building 1 tank at a time.
     
  14. DrJambo

    DrJambo Crash-test dummy

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    The boring late stages is something I've always associated with strategy games in which the Civ titles are not alone. In fact the Total War series is arguably far worse in this respect.

    I find Civ IV is actually quite a bit better in this department, but to really get the most of this one is best advised not to use vanilla or standard game settings. There are a few but very necessary custom settings that I recommend for helping to alleviate late-game boredom and assuming you've got a difficulty level selected to match your own ability, then these settings work wonders. They are:

    Aggressive Civs. Standard settings are far too peaceful and it's possible to go through an entire game without one war. Ad nauseum.

    Permanent Alliances. In my last three games, just as I've finally managed to gain the score lead over the other AI civs, two of them have decided to form a permanent alliance. This alliance, in which the civs' scores and tech rate get combined, represents quite a different and unexpected mid-late game challenge.

    Terra maps. These maps are great because the close quarters of all civs on one continent immediately leads to tense relations. Forget your military at your peril. Come Astonomy, there's still plenty to discover on the new world continent and the race with the AI to settle and deal with the now advanced barbarians can be quite a challenge.

    So far I've not wanted to stop any of my last 3 games.
     
  15. DrewBledsoe

    DrewBledsoe Veteran QB

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    Very true, even on a pangea map with many different religions, monarch and above with aggressive AIs, I still find its me starting most of the wars..I would love the option of making AIs even more aggressive than this..the last map Persia managed 6000 years without a war...

    If anyone knows how this can be simply changed let me know..
     
  16. DrJambo

    DrJambo Crash-test dummy

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    I strongly believe the problem is related to the map types being played. On all maps other than Terra it's usually possible for the AI (and human) to create an "ideal" number of cities without ever having to use military action. They are in effect satisfied with their expansion and the need to further expand isn't too great.

    In contrast, terra maps force all the civs onto one of two continents and at most some civs will only be able to settle 3-5 cities before expansion is compromised by the borders of others. Because they haven't reached an "ideal" city number, there's a much greater necessity for the AI civs to go to war to achieve this. The reason for this is because pre-Astronomy there's no way to populate the "new world" continent. Once the AI discovers the other continent and Astronomy the random declarations of war lessen to certain extent as the AI turns its attention to populating the foreign lands.
     

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