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How about crowdbuilding a version of Civ?

Discussion in 'Civ - Ideas & Suggestions' started by 12tn2, Oct 24, 2016.

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Your opinion on this large scale project?

  1. Hell yeah!! I volunteer to be in the core team!

  2. Yes! I'll contribute my part, be it additional game making or money donation.

  3. Good one, I think it will have more than 50% of success.

  4. While I like it a lot, I don't think it's practically feasible.

  5. I absolutely love Civ6 and want the developers to make other games, not you all.

Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. 12tn2

    12tn2 Prince

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    OK, Civ6 is out for several days and we've all experienced the frustration. Combine with the general disappointment with Civ5 in the past, I guess that once you've made a wonderful game, all the subsequent releases will get overshadowed. Considering the game-pumping rate of Firaxis, we will have to wait until 2021 to actually hope for another brand with improved quality. In reality, it's pretty likely that that game will not meet the expectation, one more time.
    Is there any way for us to experience the emotions of the Civilization series again? The glory of Civ2, the legacy of Civ3, the peak of Civ4, the... um, hexes of Civ5 and graphics of Civ6? With the advent of crowdsourcing and crowdfunding, I think it's possible. Look at things like Rhye's and FfH (and a load more), you might agree that small and mid scale prototypes are already out there, and they're high quality contents. The time is ripe for the community to build a large scale project - a game.
    It may sound big, but it's more like a mod in my vision. We just collect parts that we like the best in the series and put it in this new game, all are decided based on a democracy voting process <= those are the 2 core principles. For example, we voted that we like this newest graphics in Civ6 the most, then the game will use Civ6 engine. Or there will be discussion about how many units can be in a tile, so there will be a poll with options like A.1; B. Limited but >1; C. Unlimited. And so on.
    Now the hard part is always how to run the whole thing. Though everyone will contribute within their ability, we'll still need a core team, just like in any game development company. The differences are that these people are volunteers, working not for the money in mind (though it might not be unpaid at all, but later on this). Each one is talented in one aspect or another of game making; open enough to receive and consider all the ideas from the community, and put the vote results above their own biases. They're in charge of creating new contents, in case it's not in any previous Civ game to collect from (though I doubt there will be much of new stuffs. Instead it can be more of connecting the different parts). It's crowdsourcing with a hub of actions. I think the team should consists of 8-9 member, also got voted by the community if there are more volunteers than that.
    As said above, we won't let them contribute the bulk without paying back. Crowdfunding platforms are in their mature stage. We can raise money for the project, and the first priority of spending would be on how to make it run. What's left can be used to pay the core team for their work. As money is a sensitive issue, concerning the interest of everyone, the very process of spending should also be the subject of discussion and voting, as the core principles have stated. The power of the community is not something to be taken lightly, and I'm sensing one of the most successful campaigns ever. At the current rate, at least you can give the would-be-to-buy-Civ-6 money to a better use.
    I know that all of you are not entirely happy with any game in the franchise. Be it even Civ2 or Civ4, there were always some flaws that you wish to get changed. Unfortunately, all our contributions in the ideas and suggestions forum seem to be in vain, as we have noted from time to time that the developers don't care about listening to the fans. Heck, maybe what they really care is to manipulate the media in order to get high scored reviews and get everyone tricked by the advertising campaign.
    We can change this. The golden era of company-developed games in the 2000s has gone, now it's time for community-developed masterpieces. Of course, this is an ambitious project, and the unforeseen difficulties may be overwhelming that it may not come to fruition. That's why I need you to have your say on the subject. What do you think of its feasibility? Can the number get above 50%? What are your suggestions to the principles, i.e. the way this project will work? What are the obstacles we have to overcome to realize a best Civ game ever?
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2016
  2. TehJumpingJawa

    TehJumpingJawa Warlord

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    It'll never happen; developing a game of that scale requires collaboration from many different skill sets over a prolonged time period.

    That said, a task that one individual could undertake, would be a top to bottom design of the game mechanics.

    With a fully realised design doc (something I doubt any commercial Civ game has had the luxury of), you not only increase the likely success rate of a crowd sourced solution, but also open up other avenues of development.
    If it's good enough, you might even influence Firaxis' own development direction (or land yourself a job)
     
  3. Potenzo

    Potenzo Chieftain

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    You can't crowd-source decision-making at that micro level.
    1. Most basically, the majority is not necessarily right.
    2. You can't pick decisions in isolation, have them voted on, and expect the sum of those decisions to work as a coherent viable whole.

    A crowd-funded 4X could certainly work, if led by a capable designer with strong experience in the 4X genre, backed by experienced and talented programmers and artists, and supported (in later execution) by experienced project managers. Such a team could certainly consult the community on what they most feel is lacking, the gap they exist to fill. But they must have their own vision, a very strong vision, and be able to execute it.

    Look at what has happened with Star Citizen (and yes, I am fully aware of the criticisms of that project, which has yet to truly deliver). That worked by selling people on a vision of "the perfect" genre-defining game, and persuading them to crowd-fund in order to 1) keep the publisher at bay, prioritising huge scope over delivery deadlines and 2) outsource most of the marketing to the crowd, so that cash that would normally be required for traditional marketing could be spent on game development (of course, some is needed for community relations: those Star Citizen visuals, videos etc don't come for free. But they're not buying ad space like a regular AAA game does).

    I think this genre probably has space for two or three such mega crowd-funded projects: one historical land-based tech-tree, in the Civ/Europa Universalis/Endless Legend/Age of Empires category, and one in the supply-chains category inhabited by Settlers/Caesar/Anno/Banished/Clockwork Empires. And possibly, another space-based in the MOO/GalCiv/Endless Space milieu. Personally, I would absolutely back such an effort.

    Indeed, if you look at Clockwork Empires, with the incredibly long time its been in Early Access and the incredible community-relations communications it has managed during this time, and you've pretty much got an example of the above. They just haven't given people the opportunity to gift them huge support donations in the way Star Citizen did (or that the F2P crowd do).

    So, yes to crowd-funding. But a truly democratically-managed game development project would be a total nightmare fail.
     
    Quoth the Raven likes this.
  4. jozef57

    jozef57 Warlord

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    i think it is far fetched but i love the idear
     
  5. 12tn2

    12tn2 Prince

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    All of you emphasized a need for a strong design vision, and I fully agree. Just wondering that, would you like to entrust your chance of playing a marvelous game to a group with a vision you don't even know, or would you like to at least have your say in choosing who's who?
    Given the choice, I think everyone would prefer the latter. To love Civ enough to volunteer into the core team, one must be a hardcore member on Civfanatics already, who contributed a lot to the community. We can deduce pretty accurately his vision, ethics and ability from his works here on the forum. In fact, I think a lot of guys here know more about game making than those who made Civ6, so it definitely is a better bet for me.
     
  6. Browd

    Browd Dilettante Administrator

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    Leaving aside the governance issues with a community effort, just take a look at the credits for Civ VI. You're gonna need a big team of programmers, artists, designers, composers, performers and production staff to do anything that would qualify as a quality game, before you get to marketing, promotion, and sales. (Just think how much work, even with modern 3D design tools, goes into making sure that a leader's clothing moves correctly when the leader draws his sword or waves his or her hand.) A group of part-time amateurs, no matter how dedicated, isn't going to get a major game done in any span of time that is relevant.
     
  7. Kid R

    Kid R Emperor

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    There are a couple of different independent civ-likes posting development progress in the "Other Civ-related Games" sub-forum here, both looking pretty good with only one developer (AFAIK).

    All the realistically-moving clothing and correct biomechanical hand-waving take up far more dev resources than they should for the benefit they bring. OK yes there are as many views on what's most important in a civ game as there are players, but I doubt if tooooo many would rate that stuff higher than good gameplay. Nice graphics definitely *sell* a game, hence big commercial devs shovel plenty of it on top, but they're not necessary to make a good game.

    I think the biggest problem would be getting any kind of agreement about what to put in when everyone wants something different.
     
    Mizar likes this.
  8. Browd

    Browd Dilettante Administrator

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    Oh, I would agree. But even if you could find a way of resolving the "governance/decision-making" issue, there remains the formidable effort and investment required to build a complex game from scratch (even if you license an existing game engine), which was the point I was trying to make. It's not like we're talking about building "Pong."
     
  9. Pepo

    Pepo Prince

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    The only thing I what is Civ IV HD with 64 -bit support to run truly huge maps & some tweaks. I think that's a fairly realistic wish. I hope that eventually there will be a new Civ that I like, but I think that what you are proposing is impossible
     
    Nordic Civ likes this.
  10. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    "Give us money and we'll build the perfect game for you!" has never worked and will probably continue to not work. Especially in a target audience that is so split about what "the perfect game" even is. The type of successful crowdfunding is the type where people have put work into a project, pushed it far enough to give potential founders an idea of what they can expect. The team for such a project must already exist.

    So what would I expect the outcome of the proposed project to be? A mess. Tons of people would try to drag the project into the direction they want it to go, who would yell and kick if the democratic vote goes against their personal wishes or goals, and because most people have no idea how game development - or even time- and resource-management in general - works the democratic votes would constantly set totally unrealistic and unobtainable expectations.
     
  11. Nordic Civ

    Nordic Civ Chieftain

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    Right, modern HD graphics and a few new gameplay tweaks, basically a 'best of' mod of already existing mods.

    Nothing else needs to be done. Some new techs, some new buildings, better AI upgraded to 2016 graphics.
     
  12. Imp. Knoedel

    Imp. Knoedel Stalin and Starlight, Stalling a Stallion

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    That moment when you are the only one volunteering for being part of the core team.

    Well, as long as you give me full dictatorial power to decide what to implement and what to ignore we can get around this whole democracy nonsense slowing things down. :lol:

    Let's see, I don't care about graphics and for music we can just use all the classical stuff that hasn't been copyright protected for decades, so that's some big aspects we don't have to worry about. There are two things that I am really passionate about that have to be made clear from the very beginning: Moddability and no 1UPT. Things have to be easily accessible to modders, and as much as possible should be at the discretion of the player, letting them choose whether to turn this or that feature on or off. 1UPT is non negotiable, it has no place in a grand 4X game and leads to all sorts of contrived nonsense. That said, I am not opposed to some sort of tactics or limits to stack of dooms. Flanking should give you a combat bonus, having many units concentrated on one tile should give you a combat penalty, but I don't want any hard contrived limits on how many units you can put on one tile. Just make it so that you can indefinitely stack units for easy logistics but you want them spread out once you get close to the frontline. Apart from that I am relatively open to tiles vs hexes, social policies vs civics etc., as long as we can agree on a decision relatively early in development and then stick with it until the end.
     
  13. 12tn2

    12tn2 Prince

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    Browd, I assume that you didn't read my post thoroughly. Scratch what? We'll collect most materials from existing games, the real problem should be how to connect them and make it a working whole. Anyhow, it's going to be a lot easier to be arrangers than to be creators. And you don't need to advertise. Right from the idea of the core team willing to work unpaid, the game is meant to be free of charge. Kid R made a very good point about the "hand waving" graphics before I can post. Some mods and games out there with very limited developers have reached near-Civ level, so a bigger scale project can be expected to produce a wonderful game.
    What to vote should be decided by the core team, whose vision we entrusted in. To restrict spam accounts and such, we can apply certain simply rules, by limiting voting right to members with xx posts or joined for x months, or even only to those who donated.
    While I wholeheartedly agree with you about Civ4 being the peak, let's be objective and acknowledge that people may want Civ2 or others. However, I'm confident that being the majority, we'll be able to steer the game toward Civ4. There'll be a poll addressing this issue 1st hand, like "Which Civ should we based the new game on?" or "Which Civ's philosophy do you desire to imply?"...
    Ryika, your arguments are spot on and worth finding solutions. While I agree that there must be a team and some kind of progress to show before people believe & money can pour in, this proposal is not about demanding cash. Everything starts from an idea, right? What I'm doing here is to spread that idea and discuss with enthusiasts to build a working concept. Then things will work as all successful kick-started projects have done: the core team do some frameworks to convince members, and then help in form of money or additional game making will start to flow.
    The second point is somewhat hard to overcome. I think the core team members should make clear of their own expectations right from the candidate run process, and then again once the team is formed. That will help prevent unrealistic things. What do you think? Oh, and BTW, I like your way of reason. Are you a girl? :)
    Hell yeah! Thanks Imp. Knoedel, your pioneering may inspire other talents. Though I have a feeling that you tend to be a dictator, given the power ;) Hitler lost the war, you know.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2016
  14. vincentz

    vincentz Programmer

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    I think this is totally doable, BUT it would have to be component based.
    So there is a simple core with the very elemental things, and then (preferably within the game) things can be added/changed.
    That way people pulling in different directions can keep on pulling their own way without obstructing others.

    I have seen this in a open source game called Oolite (http://www.oolite.org/http://www.oolite.org/)
     
  15. Imp. Knoedel

    Imp. Knoedel Stalin and Starlight, Stalling a Stallion

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    What a random thing to ask. :crazyeye:

    And Stalin won it. ;)
     
  16. 12tn2

    12tn2 Prince

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    Looks like we have another one who volunteer to be in the core team! Thanks Vincentz. Your description sounds like Civ4 in some way, though I think that game is still not mod-friendly enough.
    True. That makes it 50/50, huh? But I think his people were not happy with him, & they died a lot.
     
  17. Imp. Knoedel

    Imp. Knoedel Stalin and Starlight, Stalling a Stallion

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    Actually it was mostly the people who were not happy with him who died a lot, so that worked out nicely. :lol: This is getting into weird territory though.

    Now then, back to this crowdbuilded version of Civ: I think it's fair to assume that it will be most similar to Civ4, but that doesn't mean we should just copy it wholesale. There are several innovative and clever ideas to be found in 5 and 6 we could implement, as well as entirely new features. One thing I would like to take a hybrid approach to would be sliders. In 4 there are three yieds on the map, of which commerce gets divided into four subyields depending on your sliders. In 5 and 6 there are no sliders and no commerce yield, instead gold and research and culture etc. can appear directly on the map. I want a commerce (or we can call it taxes) yield that appears on the map just the same as the subyields you can turn it into via sliders. A gold mine for instance would give the gold yield while a town improvement would give the commerce/tax yield. This would hopefully better differentiate between urbanized core and exploited plantation based colony. The idea being that cities with lots of towns are highly flexible in what they do with them whereas cities surrounded by resources are only good for whatever the resources are good for.

    One thing I am unsure about: Should city borders expand in a circular fashion or from tile to tile? On one hand I like 5's approach of city borders expanding along natural priorities, on the other hand I want culturally induced city and tile flipping like in 4.
     
  18. Kid R

    Kid R Emperor

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    What about culture spreads out concentrically around worked tiles? So you have control over the direction your culture spreads. After all the worked tiles are where the people like farmers and miners live, and the people are the repositories of culture. In Civ 4 there's a kind of hybrid model under the covers where both cities and tiles accumulate culture. You could get rid of the part that's explicitly at city level and just have the "city culture" being the total of the culture on all the tiles in its cultural radius.

    Re. actually building this game, I'd suggest using something fairly simple that's been knocked up from scratch, maybe contact one of those one-man-bands mentioned earlier in the thread, or look into something like the freeciv engine. Basically not reusing any actual Civ version engine. That way it won't be multigig in size, run slowly for no apparent reason, and place restrictions on what can be achieved that can't be worked round. Also tablet civ :goodjob: which needs to happen :)
     
  19. Imp. Knoedel

    Imp. Knoedel Stalin and Starlight, Stalling a Stallion

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    I like this idea, but what about specialists working in cities though, especially artists? I still think culture should spread all around a city, even if it prioritizes certain tiles.

    Let's see, assume any tile requires a standard value of 1 culture to flip from belonging to nobody to flip to belonging to you (flipping tiles from other players is a whole different ballgame, basically you just have to surpass their culture). Culture a city produces is shared between every tile that belongs to you as well as all tiles bordering them, be they unclaimed or under rival control. E.g. if you (assuming quadratic tiles for easier math) only own the initial circle around the city and thus have 16 tiles bordering your terrain of 9 tiles (city plus 8 tiles around it) any one point of culture the city produces is turned into 1/25th culture per turn per tile, so barring other factors it will take 25 turns for you to gain control over an additional tile if your city produces 1 culture per turn. The moment that happens you now have (assuming it's not one of the edge tiles that flipped) 27 tiles to share culture between, so it will take another turn for the next tile (which now only receives 1/27th in addition to the 24/25 culture it already has) to flip, and so on.

    There are several factors that influence how fast a given tile actually flips: If a tile is bordering a tile or several that is/are being worked culture on the tile receives a +50% modifier for every neighboring worked tile. This means if you work the bottom left and bottom right tiles in our hypothetical first circle city the tile below the bottom middle now effectively receives 2/25 culture for every one culture the city produces, while all other tiles except for above the top row plus right of top right and left of top left receive 1.5/25. If culture has to cross a river and/or the tile contains a forest/jungle and/or hill and/or fallout and/or is tundra, ocean, desert, mountain or ice, culture on the tile receives a negative modifier; if it contains a resource and/or flood plains and/or is on the same side of a river, a positive modifier.

    But wait, there is more! Any citizen working in the city itself (i.e. as specialist) counts as extra modifier for culture on the city tile, and every worked tile also receives a positive modifier for culture on itself. Both of these are only relevant once we get into rival cultures trying to flip your territory of course. Basically if you experience rival culture pressure on your border you can help fight it by working border tiles and the tiles bordering the border tiles, if your city itself is in danger of flipping employing specialists and working tiles next to your city helps fight that.

    Thoughts?
     
  20. Kid R

    Kid R Emperor

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    Probably getting a bit detailed on one feature at this stage but OK :)
    I was thinking specialists and culture buildings would place culture onto the city tile, and hence it would naturally spread out around that.

    Re. terrain, I think culture should not be linked to it. In terms of difficulty of people moving through terrain I'd say that should be adequately abstracted by the effort to set up the infrastructure to work the tile (e.g. workers building farms or mines), then after that the people are there and living their lives and generating culture without further reference to terrain. It could become awfully complicated otherwise.

    Considering roads and rivers as potential accelerators then made me think of a completely different way of doing culture, i.e. have it work a bit like trade routes. Scrap *everything* about how Civ culture has ever worked. Culture would come entirely from interaction with other cities, and more rapidly with better connections.

    And rambling even more that idea then kind of raises the question about how similar to existing Civ this project would want to be. If Sid's guideline is "keep a third, modify a third, and replace a third with new" of an existing Civ, I'd be more inclined to like keep 10%, modify 10%, replace 30% with new, scrap 50% entirely. So making a tighter more focused game and not really just a Civ riff. It would be interesting to hear what breakdowns of that kind other people would be thinking in terms of?
     

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