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Discussion in 'Communitas Expansion Pack' started by Thalassicus, Sep 30, 2010.

  1. Kadath

    Kadath Chieftain

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2004
    Messages:
    42
    Yep Burrito, that's my issue here: this collection of mods makes the game definitely more balanced to the player, you can and should build a more varied web of improvements around your city (smarter, more fun, not to mention nicer to the eyes, especially 'cause of the horrible TP art), while you'll still gain some advantages at specializing a city towards a certain goal. But the AI can't keep up, so it would probably need one level of difficulty higher than what one is used to play at to even the field a bit. Fact is, as I stated, I hate when the AI is able to counter me only thanks to cheating, and when I conquer one of their cities it suddenly shows it was crunching out units out of thin air... this is a game's fault, though, not the mod's, the latter just happens to have the side effect of making it a bit more evident in certain instances..


    I did some experiments messing only with the unique resources, and yeah, it's another way to spice up things a bit, but it has its downsides too. While in some cities your production, gold and food income is slightly improved by the boosted resources (letting you be more free when building generic improvements), most map scripts tend to "specialize" a territory: aka, you might start surrounded by food resources while another player is surrounded mostly by production ones. Not all AIs seem able to really exploit their particular advantage (especially since a certain civ might be focused on exploiting gold resources and still end up spawning in tundra surrounded only by deers), but that was foreseeable. Probably works better on large and huge maps, since there each player usually has access to more varied resources, and there's more time for a CIV to survive a starting disadvantage before being conquered.
    Another downside of beefing up resources, strategic in particular, is that this way you are devaluating certain unique abilities such as Russia's. In vanilla Catherine is usually a VERY effective AI, often the one winning its continent if you're not sharing it with her; with such modifications I noticed her being much less effective and more often than not on the losing side. Which is obvious, that +1 hammer per resource becomes pretty trivial when it's no more a 100% advantage but a 50% one.
    As such, more than +1 per resource seems a big no-no, unless you adapt the relative civ abilities accordingly, and maybe use strategic balance for resource spawn when creating a map (didn't really experiment a lot on that setting though).

    Another general "issue" of improving in any way the production - be it through resources, improvements, game speed pacing etc - is that it gives a HUGE advantage to civilizations whose AI favors unit training: civs such as Rome who love to field vast armies are now more effective than ever. This is fun for you, in one of such games I finally had the chance to see a real army going after me, much less fun for the other civs that might be on Rome's continent.


    In any case, this game needs A LOT of balancing, tuning, and additions (slower research, for instance, even linear and not increasingly slower as Thalassicus did, pointed out to me the late eras have too few meat to play with: up to the renaissance each tech usually unlocks several things to build and train, you always have some choice to make, later on most techs unlock a single thing, if anything, and you may find yourself grinding the end turn button with most of your cities with everything useful already built and working on research). Game's good, allright, but... meh. :undecide:

    (and BTW, completely OT, how in hell can the AI still be so stupid about crossing the seas, when now there are no more transports but each and every unit can just plainly "walk" over water freely? It's... disturbing :p)
     
  2. Thalassicus

    Thalassicus Bytes and Nibblers

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    I've released an experimental mod designed to enhance the AI's evaluation of plot improvements, in combination with the farm/mine/lumbermill mods. If you have a chance to test it feedback would be greatly appreciated.

    The name is Balance - AI, and it's available now in the Mod Browser.
     
  3. Kadath

    Kadath Chieftain

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2004
    Messages:
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    Ok, I tested it a bit, with these settings:

    MODS
    Balance - AI
    Balance - Farms
    Balance - Forts
    Balance - Great Persons
    Balance - Less Rancid Resources
    Balance - Mine and Lumbermill
    Balance - Wealth

    Level Prince, Marathon, Continents map - small size

    It's 1562, and I'm two techs away from entering the Industrial era, I own half of my continent while Russia owns the other half after conquering India (I could have wiped out both but I just left 'em grow to see how their workers would behave). The other continent is split between Siam and China, with Germany left with only 3 cities.

    As such, it's everything but an extensive testing, so it has little value per se, yet I've got to say I like what I'm seeing. As a general pattern, it seems the AI now definitely prefers farms on grassland and trading posts on plains (though there are a bunch of exceptions, naturally). This can be debatable as being really the best choice for exploiting golden ages, however the result is visually believable and gameplay wise seems nice: the AI is making good money and I'm finally seeing big cities around, especially for China with its focus on growth (Guangzhou is at 17, being built on a river crossing, with farms on the river tiles and a bunch of trading posts behind 'em as it is the best choice). Here and there there are "choices" I wouldn't have made, like TPs on river tiles, but it's generally varied and most often seems to work nice.
    There are some lumbermills around, not too many but neither too few, even near some capitals, which means the AI didn't go on an excessive forest killing spree early on before being able to build them.
    I can't really say how's the behaviour for hills on river, as the only area really rich with hills is in my own empire. I see 3 of 'em and the AI each time has chosen to build a mine instead than a farm.

    Only strange thing I've noticed (might be completely unrelated, since it's just the first time I constantly kept attention at what they were doing) was a russian worker near a conquered Monaco building a farm, then changing idea a few turns later building a TP over it, then changing idea once again.

    Overall, this game is proceeding really nicely. Other than being visually pleasant and more believable, the AI is keeping up, something I very rarely experienced before. I'm still first, at 1249 points, but China isn't too far behind at 927 even if it had to waste lots of resources in its long war against Siam, while I still have to fight my first battle. I've also seen Siam strike back at China freeing a couple of their cities not very long after losing 'em, something which is usually quite rare (when a civ begins to lose ground, it usually gets smashed without having the time to strike back), which could have been a complete coincidence, or also partially a side effect of a more active, vital economy with more production all around.

    Anyway, as much statistic value a small, single game as this can have, so far so good, no borg empires mindlessly spawning cybernetic trading posts all around :)
     
  4. Dhaeman

    Dhaeman Chieftain

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2001
    Messages:
    57
    Thanks for putting all of these together. Your mod is much preferred due to your taking a holistic approach to balance. It does seem like Great Scientists need to be tuned down slightly with the gradual science increases.

    I'm excited to see if you can make the AI figure out how to use a navy. As many flaws as the AI has I think cutting out over half of the gamemap from usage is the worst among them.
     
  5. Thalassicus

    Thalassicus Bytes and Nibblers

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    @Kadath
    Thank you for the testing assistance, your perspective is valuable in this. In regards to the worker switching improvements, that's a vanilla gameplay bug. I recall seeing a post about that a week ago, after they set a few of their workers on automate. I think it's because of threshold issues - a worker detects a city doesn't have enough of resource X so builds an improvement, but the city is then deficient in resource Y so changes back, flipping endlessly. This would likely require access to the c++ to fix, I haven't seen anything that might be able to fix it through xml alone.

    @Dhaeman
    You have a point about great scientists. I feel they've been overpowered since the start to be honest, even in the vanilla game. Being able to get any tech, for free, even into the modern era is a dramatic change from previous versions of Civ. Great engineers are still limited (fixed :hammers: value) and great artists were nerfed (cannot end city unrest, cities cannot culture flip). I'm not certain if the differing value of GP's is intentional however, so I've left their immediate-use abilities alone for now.


    Unfortunately, I appear to have run into a critical bug in ModBuddy that has rendered the update service unusable:

    ModBuddy Crash

    I'm not entirely certain what's caused this, but I have noticed the Online Services mod list does not handle updates well (scrollbar is broken, among other things), and this might be a related issue. I can still upload new mods through a new account I registered, which is the odd thing (Thalassicus2, the Thalassicus1 crashes ModBuddy). Maybe the data for me got corrupted on the server wherever the mod-list database is stored? I hope that isn't the case, would be even worse than a ModBuddy bug. Until this is fixed, I will have to make updates to existing mods solely through CivFanatics.


    I ran into this when attempting to upload some consolidated mods. I'm combining these mods, though each one will still have the files individually included so specific ones can be deleted if desired. These combined versions will be replacing the ones they include:

    Balance - Fixes
    • Ancient Ruins
    • Wealth
    • Free Thought tooltip

    Balance - Improvements
    • Forts
    • Mines & Lumbermills
    • Farms
    • Great Person Improvements
    • AI enhancement
    • Less Rancid Resources, with bonus now moved onto the Granary building instead of always active

    I've got to head off for now, but will finish testing these and upload them here later today.
     
  6. DrunkenPirate

    DrunkenPirate Chieftain

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    Location:
    Norfolk, England
    Thalassicus, thank you for these mods, they have improved my gaming experience with Civ V immensely.
     
  7. Feyd Rautha

    Feyd Rautha Chieftain

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    Would a change to Great Scientists and Research agreements to give like 1000 research instead of an automatically free tech be possible?
     
  8. The Boz

    The Boz Nooblet

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    Uncanny Valley
    That's the way it works in Civ IV, and I don't know why they changed GS but not GE, who still only outputs like 900 or so hammers...
     
  9. Feyd Rautha

    Feyd Rautha Chieftain

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    Most of the broken tactics and 1100 BC Medieval era stuff I've seen isn't research time benefits, it's great scientist slingshots. Ideally, I'd like it if a great scientist/research agreement could give you 50% of the required research at all eras, but I'm not sure that can be coded.
     
  10. Gorey

    Gorey Chieftain

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    Yeah great scientists are rediculous.

    Should be a flat # of beakers. Currently great scientists are opposite what they were in Civ4. Bulbing gets stronger as the game goes by instead of weaker. But then again, the modern era techs are too cheap already and can easily be researched without much need of scientists.

    Currently i just use them early/mid game to get expensive techs that aren't on my current research path. Later on when they become slower to get i use them on academies as i start pulling off my specialists.
     
  11. omglazers

    omglazers Chieftain

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    Orlando, FL
    I know this sounds silly, but is there any chance of an RSS feed or some way of a single thread which shows when new updates come out? I have to constantly search through the mods to find Balance mods and pray and hope I don't miss an update or new one

    Plus some other people have named things 'Balance -'
     
  12. omglazers

    omglazers Chieftain

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    By the by, in the mod browser 'Balance - Civilizations' is listed as v3 whereas on your list it's v1.
    :)
     
  13. MasterDinadan

    MasterDinadan Chieftain

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    Mar 2, 2008
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    Going through the XML, some changes which have been suggested would require more advanced modding. I can't see any way to make an XML change that will cause the great scientist to give a percentage of a tech or a certain number of beakers

    There are some easy ways we can tweak it though. Here are the problems I see:
    -Great scientists are too powerful / too easy to get.
    -Great artists are too situational, rarely preferred over any other GP type
    -Great engineers and merchants rarely appear (primarily because of the first point, but also because engineer specialists suck and very few wonders give merchant points).

    Here are my suggestions:
    -Science specialists should only give 2 GPP. They are already arguably the best and easiest to use specialist. If they have to be linked to arguably the best great person, the rate should be much lower than other specialists.
    -Great artists should produce slightly longer golden ages, making them more viable for general use when a culture bomb won't do any good.
    -Engineer and Merchant points could be given in small amounts by certain buildings, to make them appear more often without having to resort to using relatively poor specialists.
    -Engineer specialists should probably be two hammers. They are the worst specialist by far and only worth using with a lot of the right policies (and even then, only after the rest of the slots have been filled).

    This might do too much to shift balance away from Scientists and towards Engineers, so maybe only a handful of these should be used.
     
  14. The Boz

    The Boz Nooblet

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    The problem is, you can have Science GPP since the start of the game. There is pretty much no way at all to spawn any GP other than a science wiz before getting to the late medieval period.
    Engie specialist should be two hammers, and early buildings need to get a few artist slots. Merchants are pretty much good as it is.
     
  15. Thalassicus

    Thalassicus Bytes and Nibblers

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    @omglazers
    It's not silly at all, you have a very valid point I hadn't thought of. I'll include an overall update history on the main page when I get home from work today. It'd be so much easier if the online ModBrowser simply notified of updates... or had automatic update options. And longer mod descriptions! 1024 characters may seem like a lot, but that limit is far too short.

    @MasterDinadan & The Boz
    I'm not at home so I can't check, but if the Temple does not already have artist spots it might be a reasonable place to put one. Much early art of all types - written, oral, drawn - was sacred in nature, revolving around rituals of life and death, or even organized directly by spiritual institutions. With great prophets gone, it seems like a logical place to have early artist specialists.

    There'd need to be some way to compensate for the added culture, however, to maintain the overall pace of cultural games. Any ideas?

    Changing the length of a great artist golden age would be easy, if I correctly remember there's a field for that. This change alone might be enough to improve the value of great artists. Possibly improve the culture bomb as well, as I've never heard of anyone actually using it now that it's been drastically nerfed (radius, city culture flipping, city unrest cancellation).

    Changing engineer specialists to 2:hammers: seems reasonable.

    I could also improve the merchant points on a few wonders.
     
  16. Gorey

    Gorey Chieftain

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    Yeah, as of right now, they are no better than an unworked citizen in output. That just seems comical. Only difference is they generate points to GE's.
     
  17. MasterDinadan

    MasterDinadan Chieftain

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    Disable culture victories. They are kind of broken anyway :p
     
  18. Thalassicus

    Thalassicus Bytes and Nibblers

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    If I do anything to change cultural victories, people would be screaming bloody murder. :lol:

    I could do it as a separate non-balance mod though, like the gradual research thing.

    ---

    Drawmeus brought up an interesting question in a PM that I'd been thinking about a while.

    As the Dutch (my all-time favorite civ in the Civ series!) water tiles could be 4:commerce: pre-industrial, or 1:hammers:3:commerce: after. Now average cities will always be 1:commerce:, a third of a riverside TP tile. Even as a non-financial, non-Dutch civ yields were still twice that before. It's a much bigger change than any of the other plot yields.

    Does anyone know a reasonable point why this might be? I've really been trying to figure out the perspective taken here, because something feels a little off and I've been trying to figure out a way to address it, at least for my personal gameplay. I've been considering some change to the Commerce tree perhaps, to give civs a Financial-like policy to choose from so oceans feel less like desert, and more like the vital hub of the world they are. It wouldn't be a balance mod obviously, but possibly an offshoot.
     
  19. Panda_Power

    Panda_Power Chieftain

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    Just wanted to say a big "thanks!" for the work you're doing on these mods and keeping them updated and making them available as 1 zip package! I find it easy enough to just see when you last edited your first post and then I know I need to download and overwrite the older files.

    I'm finally starting to get somewhere in the game and it is making the whole experience so much more enjoyable, so thank you!:)
     
  20. Feyd Rautha

    Feyd Rautha Chieftain

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    I think there are two things at work here.

    The Dutch were imbalanced in Civ IV given a heavy water map, and comparing anything balanced and especially "toned down" as it is in Civ V is not a proper comparison. The other thing to note is that the Financial trait was straight OP. The sheer weight of this trait made any civ that had it one of the better civs.

    That said, I agree that the oceans are much more vital to our world than represented in the game. How one fixes that is difficult, however. If you give the water tiles +1 :food: then you make them equivalent to a river grassland without modification. Add a lighthouse and you have a pre-civil service irrigated grassland. I don't think it is beyond reason therefore to add +1:food:.

    Where you get into possible is when you add gold. Commerce is so vitally important in this game that adding a gold to the water changes the game for coastal civs more than adding a food would be. Perhaps not (the tile with a lighthouse is 2 food and 2 gold the same as a TPd grassland), but extra gold for free early in the game would lead to some interesting options.
     

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