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Gamedesign logic: Culture

Discussion in 'Civ5 - Strategy & Tips' started by stealth_nsk, Sep 4, 2010.

  1. stealth_nsk

    stealth_nsk Chieftain

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    There are a lot of threads about why feature X was removed or why feature Y was implemented this way. Tried to present the whole set of decisions, but the list grew too much, so starting with culture only. WARNING: little realism taken in assumption.

    ---General---

    1. Assumption. We want to implement 1UPT rule to eliminate SOD and provide richer tactic.

    2. Assumption. We want hexes, because they make landscape look more realistic and make distance calculations easier.

    3. Consequence. We need units to move further, at least 2 tiles, otherwise with point 1 they'll be stuck.

    4. Consequence. We need battlefields to be larger, due to points 1 and 3.

    5. Consequence. We need cities to have 3-tile radius, due to point 4. This gives us a bonus ability to allow more decisions on city placement.

    6. Bonus. Point 5 gives us an ability to have more placement-dependent features for cities, giving further city specialization.

    ---Culture---

    7. Weak system. Civ 4 culture wars lost their value, because with point 5 the distance between cities will be 5-6, so enemy cities will rarely be pushed. Ability to claim enemy tiles disabled.

    8. Assumption. We want system to claim enemy tiles to peacefully fight for resources. But this system needs to be pointed and controllable.

    9. Consequence. With points 7 and 8 we decide to give culture bomb a chance.

    10. Consequence. Point 7 has the following consequences:
    - Less importance of city culture.
    - Together with point 5, "ring" city expansion would give too much tiles to a city.
    So we need to claim tiles one by one.

    11. Bonus. With 10 we could add an ability to buy tiles, adding additional money drainer and pointed strategy focus.

    12. Consequence. With point 7 we also lost value of empire-wide culture. So we need to invent empire-wide culture-drainer.

    13. Bonus. Social policy system as bonus to point 12.

    14. Weak system. With point 7, the only system with culture percentage left is city assimilation.

    15. Consequence. With point 14, since the whole reason for assimilation is to delay rapid conquest, we could safely replace it with building something what can't be rushed.

    16. Consequence. With point 1 and 15 it's safe to remove city unrest period after conquest, suppressable by units. It can't stop more than 1 unit with 1UPT and there's already a system for stopping conquest as a whole.

    ---Correlation with other systems---

    17. Empire-wide happiness provides perfect system for implementing point 15, so the not assimilated cities affect the whole empire.

    18. Limited resources and resource demand system increase the importance of points 10 and 11.

    19. Individual Great Person counters make point 9 calculatable, increasing its strategic value.


    P.S. The decisions here are not the only possible ones, but they are synchronized between each other, so it's impossible to fit any new feature without rebuilding a large part of other features.

    P.P.S. Will try to make another post about economics (including removal of sliders and foreign trade routes) next.
    Will try to make another post about economics (including removal of sliders and foreign trade routes) next.
     
  2. Polobo

    Polobo Chieftain

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    Excellent write-up; though I am unclear on what you mean by "Weak System" as a type of statement.
     
  3. Szpilman

    Szpilman Void Co. Chairman

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    I take he means those systems from Civ IV that didn't go well with the new features as they designed, thus having to be rethought or entirely scrapped.
     
  4. GigaNerd

    GigaNerd His Nerdiness

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    You've got some AWESOME logic skills! Have you ever considered planning mods? :mischief:
     
  5. Szpilman

    Szpilman Void Co. Chairman

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    Indeed, he makes it seem as credible as reading into what was going on in Jon Shafer's head at design time :)
     
  6. remko

    remko Chieftain

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    great insight!!
     
  7. r_rolo1

    r_rolo1 King of myself

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    Your point 4 is flawed based in what we seen so far. The battlefield in previews does not seem to be more open than in Civ IV.

    I do agree that this might have been the line of thought of the game designer... just pointing a aplication flaw. Not sure if point #4 non-appliance makes the thing fall like a castle of cards , but ...
     
  8. Thyrwyn

    Thyrwyn Guardian at the Gate

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    7a. Weak System. Culture wars in Civ IV actually encouraged warmongering. The workable tiles around conquered cities were severely limited by the strength of the original culture. Consequence - in order to make a conquered city productive, the next city would have to be conquered. That city would then face the same problem, encouraging the conquest of yet another city. . .
     
  9. Elenhil

    Elenhil Chieftain

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    I fail to see how p. 7 could inevitably lead to abandoning city-culture spread. There are no reasons given for not simply making culture spread faster across the hexes (reflecting the overall scaling up of gamespace), producing culture wars similar to civ iv.

    Also, p. 10 is partially arbitrary. Why would ring expansion give cities "too much tiles"? Too much for what? By what standard?

    Likewise, pp. 8, 9 & 11 actually contradict each other because culture-bombing to capture a tile cannot be a viable way of fighting for resources when at the same time this very tile can be simply bought. It made sense when a great artist could replace dozend of turns of regular culture spreading. Instant money-driven tile capturing need not be offset by equally instant culturebomb-driven tile capturing.
     
  10. Polobo

    Polobo Chieftain

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    It encouraged large-scale wars as opposed to territory skirmishes. I do think it would be nice to acquire territory at the per-tile level and not just the per-city level but am not utterly despondant because we cannot.

    Larger battlefields should be in place since cities are likely to be farther apart on average. More resources could dampen this effect somewhat. Since only first maybe 9 tiles are going to be readily available without spending gold - and also city bombardment means you don't necessarily want to have large gaps between cities (especially on the frontier).
     
  11. Polobo

    Polobo Chieftain

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    #7 deals more with the added distance between cities which make city-oriented culture wars less effective - arguably to the point where they might just as well be discarded all-together. I guess the false assumption is that you care about culture-flipping cities at all and are more concerned with flipping individual tiles.

    In proportion to how quickly cities grow population would be one decent measure. With rings the second expansion gives 18 tiles on top of 19 already owned and you likely have fewer than 5 population when it happens.

    Admittedly 8-11 seem to flow somewhat uneasily from one to the other. Seems better to say:

    Assumption: Ringed expansion is undesireable given 3-rings of control for cities
    Consequence: Hybrid but mostly acquire tiles individually

    Consequence: Constantly-Applied-Culture mechanics become unnecessary

    Assumption: Want a non-military method to switch tiles
    Consequence: Use a great-artist

    One odd consequence of the Civ4 method was that simply by expanding a ring the effective total culture output of a city increased substantially; whereas now the amount of culture output is directly proportional to the culture produced.

    A more complex system would be required in Civ 5 such that you could specify, for each tile, how much of the city's cultural output should go toward each tile - with a minimum acculuated culture required to actually own the tile. You could maybe get a discount/bonus if you have a citized actively working the tile - and maybe even military. Then, whoever owns the tile would have to have their accumulated culture overtaken but some amount in order for the tile to switch ownership. I'd also want to factor military tile acquisition into the system. Oh, and it would have to be "city" ownership in order for this to work when the city were to change hands. Whichever city has the most culture would keep/get the tile upon conquest.

    As described the revised city-tile-culture mechanics could readily be implemented on top of the existing system where the only culture wars are due to great artists and city conquest. It does add a considerable amount of GUI and gameplay complexity on top of the major changes already decided upon (especially 1UPT) and it doesn't surprise me that such a system, while desireable and adding depth to the game, didn't make it into Vanilla.
     
  12. Louis XXIV

    Louis XXIV Le Roi Soleil

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    stealth_nsk, good post, very well-thought through. I don't know if I agree that every one of their conclusions followed the same path, but those are good reasons for the changes.
     
  13. SalmonSoil

    SalmonSoil Chieftain

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    I thought the increased city radius was more to encourage city placement based on the actual spot instead of just trying to get all your tiles workable.
     
  14. Polobo

    Polobo Chieftain

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    Not all effects (in fact few) have a single cause. ;)
     
  15. Aussie_Lurker

    Aussie_Lurker Chieftain

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    Actually, I find points 7 & 8 to be utterly arbitrary & lacking in any logic whatsoever. As has been pointed out, just because cities are farther apart, doesn't *automatically* make the Civ4 culture wars system incompatible. It just requires a bit of tweaking to make it work. I've certainly never said that the Cultural Assimilation mechanic of Civ4 couldn't be improved. Once you lose arguments 7 & 8, the rest of the argument really falls into a heap. The reality is that the Culture Bomb is the most horrible game exploit I've ever seen in Civ4 (even more so than the arbitrary diplomacy bonuses from religion) & point 19 is actually going to make even *more* exploitable IMO. As much as some people go through logical contortions to defend the decisions of Civ5's designers, the fact I'm left with is that they've abolished more nuanced mechanics in favor of a much more simplified, war-game based design (after all, a unit-based mechanic for "peacefully" obtaining foreign tiles-the Great Artist-is entirely in line with a simplistic war-game system). Similarly, rolling several mechanics into a single, totally nonsensical global happiness system is also in line with a more war-game style. Now, if thats the kind of game I wanted to play, then I'd be off playing Rise of Nations, not Civilization!

    Aussie.
     
  16. stealth_nsk

    stealth_nsk Chieftain

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    The idea behind point 7 and 8 is what big system should play big role.
    Culture wars system in Civ 4 was big system, and it allowed city pushing and flipping.
    But if we could only flip some tiles at our borders, we don't need that big system, we need something small like unit special ability.
     
  17. Thormodr

    Thormodr Servant of Civ

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    I just found a copy of Rise of Nations gold for $8 in the bargain bin at Office Depot. I'll have to fire that up again. Love those Russians with "General Winter" :D

    Well designed game from an excellent game designer.

    I do expect more from Civ though, I agree.
     
  18. Aussie_Lurker

    Aussie_Lurker Chieftain

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    First of all, there was no reason-except their own personal preference-why Culture Wars couldn't have been *adapted* to fit into Civ5 as the new "Big System"-particularly if the ability to "infect" cities with your culture was based on factors like: Open Borders, Social Policy, Foreign Trade with bordering Civs, distance between the empires, physical linkages between the two empires &-of course-the *total* culture of the two empires. This interplay of cultures could then have worked its way into the Happiness, Tile Buying & Diplomacy Mechanisms. Instead, with no GOOD reason, they instead decided to scrap the entire thing & instead retain just a single element-The Culture Bomb-which is almost impossible to defend against, thus making it an EXPLOIT.

    Secondly, there is nothing SMALL about the Culture Bomb-it was probably the single most unbalanced aspect of Civ4, & the one I most hoped they'd drop in the transition to Civ5. Not only that, but they've broken it even further by making it a lot easier to plan which Great People you get-thus turning it into the MOST EXPLOITABLE part of the game. Now, I understand that *you* might enjoy over-simplified Game Exploits, but many of us enjoyed the more nuanced mixing of cultures that occurred in Civ4-albeit with some improvements & modifications in the transition to Civ5. That they've abandoned this nuanced route in favor of a simple, single-unit exploit really highlights how this game is being targeted towards a war-gamer audience. Nothing in your opening post suggests the contrary!

    Aussie.
     
  19. stealth_nsk

    stealth_nsk Chieftain

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    There's no gameplay need in this system, unless you're going to rebuild half of the game. I wrote it several times, and I presented logic to show it.

    I understand what you personally like the nationality feature, but try to separate your personal preferences from the gamedesign logic. There are some things I'll miss too, but I understand why they were removed and I'll try to mod them in if I found how to do it without gameplay damage.

    Culture bombs in Civ 4 and Civ 5 are very different. They have different effect and different purposes.
     
  20. Aussie_Lurker

    Aussie_Lurker Chieftain

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    From Arioch's Analyst site

    Sounds like exactly the same, uber-lame Culture Bomb mechanism from Civ4-except now you have greater control over your ability to build them. That's not *logical* game design, that's bad, uber-gamey game design. Thats the kind of thing I'd expect in-say-a First Person Shooter, but not a supposedly deep & intricate game like Civ.

    Aussie.
     

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