1. We have added a Gift Upgrades feature that allows you to gift an account upgrade to another member, just in time for the holiday season. You can see the gift option when going to the Account Upgrades screen, or on any user profile screen.
    Dismiss Notice

Greetings to all!

Discussion in 'Communitas Expansion Pack' started by Thalassicus, Jul 7, 2013.

  1. Thalassicus

    Thalassicus Bytes and Nibblers

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2005
    Messages:
    11,057
    Location:
    Texas
    It's good to see yall again. :)

    I'm excited about the new expansion! I made plans over the past half year for how to transition the project to BWN. I like the developer's goals with this expansion. I feel it's much better than G&K. I especially like how they interconnected the different systems (trade, espionage, religion, world congress, etc).

    I'm somewhat nervous coming back after being away so long. I apologize for my distance these past months. I was going through some difficult things with my career. My boss went on a tirade of insults over a week, and it shook my confidence. I felt I couldn't leave with the economy this bad. I eventually worked up the courage to find a new job, but I needed time to get back on my feet. It didn't help that my boss reneged on our work agreement and refused to pay me for the last month of work I completed, robbing me of a sense of closure to the bad experience. I thought I'd be over it and back to modding Civilization in just a few weeks. It it took me longer than expected to recover my confidence.

    In the past, I read each and every post made by everyone in the forums. There's probably been too many conversations for me to catch up though! I'm going to start fresh today as day 1. I will read things going forward from here. :)

    I'm going to use the name Communitas Expansion Pack or "CEP" for this project from now on. We discussed that name together on the forum about a year ago, and I like the sound of it.


    I plan on having several versions of the project. You can see them here:
    communitas.wikia.com

    If you wish to help improve the project, it is here:
    github.com/Thalassicus
     
  2. xInVicTuSx

    xInVicTuSx Chieftain

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2013
    Messages:
    75
    Welcome back!

    I am excited to hear that you like the direction of the new expansion, it sounds like fertile ground for a good transition. I've had BNW preordered and i think it comes out tomorrow?

    It will be weird playing Civ V without your mods for a bit before you get the transition going. :p

    Anyways, as to the current state of affairs... I kinda stopped playing GEM cause i think there was either a bug or failed change that crippled the happiness of AI civs.. Its trivial to whip everyone even on top difficulty so something is quite wrong.

    Otherwise I've just been waiting for you to get back to start playing your awesome mods again. :)
     
  3. mitsho

    mitsho Deity

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2003
    Messages:
    7,318
    Location:
    Europe, more or less
    Hey again ;)

    Yeah, work can be a b...

    Just happy to see you back.
     
  4. ggalindo001

    ggalindo001 Warlord

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Messages:
    240
    Thal,

    Add me to the list that is glad you are back. Looking forward to any mods that you may drive with the new release -- but more importantly, glad you have your confidence back.

    I had a similar situation happen in my career about 20 years ago -- and I was forced into finding a new job because of a boss who was completely demeaning and insulting (amongst other things). Over time, you will look back at this experience with a lot of pride and learning - you took control over your destiny vs. allowing someone else to do that for you. In my case, I learned that if I am not happy and confident in what I am doing, it isn't worth me doing it -- and used my experience to really help dictate my future work career. Hopefully you will do the same. If your commitment to quality, communication, and teamwork in the workplace is anything like what you have shown in this community, you will have no problem growing your career in the future. Even in bad times, good and high quality people are ALWAYS in demand -- and will be even more so going forward (esp. in a high growth state like Texas).

    If you ever need your confidence restored -- always come back to this community. You have created a significant amount of happiness and enjoyment to this game -- and I hope you look back and reflect on how you have been able to do this in the future.

    Look forward to the next iteration!

    :goodjob:
     
  5. Seek

    Seek Deity Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2010
    Messages:
    3,410
    Welcome back Thal!

    You have no reason to apologize, I'm happy you were able to move on from that terrible work environment. As ggalindo said, you have a great commitment to quality, hard work and communication as evidenced by your actions here - and as General Stillwell said, "Don't let the bastards grind you down!"

    Something I've been meditating on recently is to not take anything personally (especially negative comments), it's almost always about where *they* are coming from and nothing to do with you. If you make a mistake, own up to it and try to fix it (and try to learn from it), and if the other person refuses to recognize it it's on them and it is often better to leave the relationship. So well done my friend.:) Confidence can be a tricky thing, I know all too well.

    Very much looking forward to the coming months making BNW reach its full potential!:D
     
  6. Thalassicus

    Thalassicus Bytes and Nibblers

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2005
    Messages:
    11,057
    Location:
    Texas
    I sat back and did a lot of thinking this morning. I realized it might be best to do things in the same order I started the project years ago. I could do basic balance changes first, then get into the more difficult code later. It's a lot easier and more fun to make a few data edits here or there to improve balance of the game. Creating whole new systems for things like leader bonuses is more challenging and more likely to cause problems.

    This would mean we'd go without some Civup stuff for a while (like promotion icons over units), but we'd have a more fun and balanced game to play while waiting on the bigger things.

    The big code overhaul I mentioned is very intimidating and daunting to tackle. It'd probably be better to ease into things, by starting with simple stuff again. I think I'll do that. :)
     
  7. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2008
    Messages:
    13,266
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    Welcome back! I hope you've managed to find some other job stuff that isn't run by asses.

    I'll try and drop in and offer suggestions, I still miss many of the GEM features when I try to play vanilla or mods, Civ5 just isn't that much fun without all your improvements.
     
  8. ExpiredReign

    ExpiredReign Deity

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2013
    Messages:
    2,450
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Tasmania
    Good to have you back Thal!

    Whatever path you decide to take with CEP, rest assured you have many, many supporters right there with you.

    After all, with the amount of users of CiVUp/GEM,VEM you have shown yourself to be a skilled modder and project leader. I for one have no doubts CEP will be fantastic!
     
  9. Hawawaa

    Hawawaa Prime

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2012
    Messages:
    549
    Location:
    Michigan
    Welcome back! Civ 5 with out mods its so painful I can't live without them luckily the new expansion is looking really good.

    That sucks about your job, ya I have run into some jerk bosses in my life. Forget them quality of life is more important. The fact is you manned up and moved on. Learn from what went wrong and you will be better off down the road. Hopefully you can find another job quickly.

    You do great work and your mods are amazing! :goodjob:
     
  10. void_genesis

    void_genesis Prince

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2011
    Messages:
    429
    Great to hear you are back. The last thing any of us fans want is for you to push yourself with modding to the point that you don't want to continue. A proper break only helps us appreciate the incredible work you do to make a good game great.
     
  11. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2005
    Messages:
    6,311
    Well Thal, you knew you wouldn't feel truly back until you got into a debate!:)

    I actually think the exact opposite of what you noted here.

    The balance isn't something we are going to agree on until we all have gotten lots of games under our belt. However, i think the visual improvements we can all agree gave us a better gaming experience.

    So I personally would rather start with those while we all blow through the initial balance discussions.

    And....welcome back:)
     
  12. jacktannery

    jacktannery Prince

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2006
    Messages:
    446
    Location:
    Dublin
    Great to have you back again Thal and very good timing!

    I agree that we should start again from scratch, take it slowly and gently, and start with the simple stuff. I really think it would be best to keep this mod as simple as possible, simpler than CIVUP/GEM got at the end. Tweaking what needs to be tweaked, rebalancing what needs to be rebalanced, and not adding new systems: leave game overhaul to the big bug-ridden overhaul mods and focus here on perfecting the vanilla game. I also agree with Stalker 0 that the UI improvements, if easy to implement, are just a win-win.
     
  13. Puer

    Puer Warlord

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2005
    Messages:
    275
    Location:
    Estonia
    Welcome back Thal!
     
  14. Seek

    Seek Deity Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2010
    Messages:
    3,410
    I agree with this. However, Thal, as long as you're enjoying the modding process I'll be happy, it will all get done eventually.:)
     
  15. Tomice

    Tomice Passionate Smart-Ass

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2009
    Messages:
    2,320
    Location:
    Austria, EU, no kangaroos ;)
    Stalker has a point here. Starting with balance changes only a few days after release might be problematic. I'm not sure how much extra insight you have into the gameplay as "VIP"-community member, but it might be worth waiting for at least a few days of feedback on vanilla BNW.

    Then again, we could just have a look at the vanilla forum. Most people play without mods anyway, so the issues would show up there no matter what we change here.
     
  16. Thalassicus

    Thalassicus Bytes and Nibblers

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2005
    Messages:
    11,057
    Location:
    Texas
    I like playing Civ, and mod it because I like making the game even better. It's easy to get motivated to do a quick and fun 30-second edit somewhere in the game files, then go back to my game. It's much harder to spend a week working on something when I won't see results until the end. The interface stuff, like showing promotion icons over units, takes 50-100 hours of work per feature. I want to reorganize and clean up the code for each main interface feature before including it back in the project. That will take weeks, so I'm going to pace myself this time, and do it gradually.

    I feel that's why my progress stalled often on GEM. I tried doing all the hard stuff right away and burned out. It took half a year of starts and breaks to get all the parts of VEM finally transitioned over for the first expansion, and even then it had stubborn bugs I couldn't locate. I'm learning from those mistakes.

    I approach tasks by asking myself two questions: how long will it take, and how big an impact will it have? It takes just minutes of work to improve gameplay with simple data edits. I started modding Civ 5 there for that reason. In contrast, Civup interface stuff is done in a complex programming language. It takes ten times as long to accomplish interface stuff, it makes the project incompatible with other mods & patches, and causes the majority of bugs.


    The strategy for Civ 5's original release worked out better than what I did after G&K, so I'm going to try the original approach again.

    I started by balancing buildings and terrain. In the unmodded game, I usually have half a dozen buildings per city I don't want to get, but build anyway, just because there's nothing else to do. I feel the fun diminishes without challenging decisions. Building balance is the first thing I focused on with Civ 5 originally released. I doubt BNW will have perfect balance, so I'll likely start there. Another feature of the Communitas early game is barbarians. I like challenging and rewarding barbs. Vem and Gem spawn them a little more densely, while allowing us to earn one extra promotion from barb combat. I'll probably do the same in BNW.

    There are a few other gameplay features of CEP which likely did not make it into BNW. Civ 5 tends to include fewer things from mods than Civ 4. The second expansion for Civ 4 included a lot of features from community projects. I don't know the reasons for this difference in Civ 5, but I've accepted it. Civ 5 has the best support for making mods of any game I've ever played, so I'm okay if not much from those mods actually gets into the core game. I will work on a simple & stable version of the project focusing on the most important gameplay innovations of CEP. I will maximize simplicity and compatibility so we make the game as fun as possible, with as few bugs and issues as possible.
     
  17. mitsho

    mitsho Deity

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2003
    Messages:
    7,318
    Location:
    Europe, more or less
    I say that sounds promising. Doing the things that offer the best cost-effect ratio, and - very important - that are fun to do. Otherwise I'd add also "Don't do things twice".

    I like the barbs from VEM and GEM also more than the vanilla ones, though the pendulum might have swung a bit too far. They sometimes feel like they are culture/experience point factories. Factories which the human understands to use and the AI don't (see 240 :c5gold: per luxury as well). I'd lower the general level a bit, but add "spikes" of barbs, maybe even a "warlord" unit for them at those times.
     
  18. Thalassicus

    Thalassicus Bytes and Nibblers

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2005
    Messages:
    11,057
    Location:
    Texas
    Combat with barbarians doesn't give great general points in G&K or BNW. It's not really useful to kill barbs with max-xp units. The culture income becomes an unimportant trickle by the classical era.

    BNW requires an alliance to trade lump sums of gold, so most early resource trades will be for gold-per-turn, which is much harder for humans to exploit. I like it.
     
  19. ExpiredReign

    ExpiredReign Deity

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2013
    Messages:
    2,450
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Tasmania
    I'm torn over this.

    On the one hand I really want the UI modded. I find the 'TopPanel', 'Notifications', 'Tooltips' and the other stuff fantastic and essential. But I also understand these changes are more complex and time-consuming and thus mentally taxing and draining. The last thing I want to see is the mod die because of burnout.:sad:

    Also I feel gameplay balance can only be discussed properly after extensive play of the unmodded game. Give us a chance to experience what Firaxis did right/wrong first.

    So where do we focus first?:confused:

    All I know for sure is playing G&K unmodded is just not a fun experience anymore.
     
  20. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2005
    Messages:
    6,311
    Bottom line Thal, the work has to be fun for you. So while i stick to my statement about what would be optimal to start, i would rather have you happy and motivated.

    But i warn you, until i get some games under my belt i will fight on those balance changes!:lol:
     

Share This Page