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How to Fix BE (Why AC is a classic game and BE is not)

Discussion in 'CivBE - General Discussions' started by dwcole78, Apr 24, 2017.

  1. HEF

    HEF Warlord

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    I'm still relatively new to Beyond Earth, Rising Tide, experimenting with different Affinity choices , and Victory Conditions found it rather odd that Supremacy is connected to the Emancipation Victory.

    After completing a few Emancipation Victories, grew indifferent that my Colony Leader becomes "...more machine than man." as Hutama implies when interacting with him. Each Supreme City's appearance is a dark citadel.

    Is this the impression that I would like to give each human once my Colony decides to return to Earth?

    I'm going to try a different Affinity choice, just for appearances' sake: a Harmonious/Supreme approach.

    So far my progress has been satisfactory. My Colony Leader no longer seems like a robot. :borg: :lol:
     
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  2. Galgus

    Galgus Emperor

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    I had an old alternate idea for a Supremacy victory called Endless Voyage.

    It involved sending off a massive ship with uploaded citizens on it to harvest resources for construction and improving itself, with absolutely no reliance on outside support or the planet.
    _____________________

    Emancipation generally fits, it is mostly odd that a Supremacy faction would care about Earth when a core part of the philosophy is being unbound to any world.

    Emancipation shows a logical conclusion from Supremacy's outlook on neural uploading: If uploading saves someone from death and lets them live forever in an ideal world without suffering, shouldn't we share this gift?

    And wouldn't it be tragic if, due to misplaced fears, people died forever? Therefore we have a moral duty to bring them into the machine regardless of whether they want it now - they'll thank us for saving them once they see the truth.

    That's all sort of implied in the wonderfully propagandist Emancipation victory line, and it leads to basically a robot apocalypse invasion of Earth with the Supremacists being fully convinced that they are the good guys. Of course it's open to interpretation, and one could say that their colony is only offering aid to those who accept with a peacekeeping force - a force that other affinities would be understandably wary about getting to Earth.

    The quasi-religious naming scheme of some of their units also ties into the moral duty bit in my opinion.
    ____________________

    I personally like how sleek and futuristic Supremacy's aesthetic is, and how it somehow reinforces the "robot apocalypse" theme to me.

    Though personally I nearly always play Purity or Purity/ Supremacy, and I really wish the hybrids had city and leader art.
     
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  3. HEF

    HEF Warlord

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    Interesting...




    This great read is what dreams are made of.
    :thumbsup:

    Personally, really like the chassis design of Supremacy's submarine, the Shroud.

    Although Harmony has a submarine that reminds me of the vessel the hand-drawn, animated music group the Beetles made as a temporary home in the motion picture, 'The Yellow Submarine'. :band::king:


    ...and that's a good thing!
     
  4. beetle

    beetle Deity

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    @Galgus, that is a pretty thoughtful write-up. Thanks for that!

    I do not agree, but totally I understand and appreciate the perspective that the factions in SMAC are so extreme as to be caricatures rather than archetypes. And certainly the BERT UI and core game mechanics are more polished. OTOH, the AI personalities and storyline are all but totally absent from gameplay. I respectfully disagree that it fair to characterize BERT as being a “much more mature version” of SMAC.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2017
  5. HEF

    HEF Warlord

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    Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri contained gameplay elements of bribery, racketeering, rigging democratic elections, and all sorts of unsavory actions in addition to the Factions being extreme caricatures of Old Earth. It was entertaining back in th' day but in 2017...? In this day and age, that kind of characterization from Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri becomes more and more self evident... it's immature.

    What I found more fascinating about Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri than the Faction leaders themselves was how the player actions directly affected the floura & the fauna, the sea levels, how much ecological damage is dealt to Planet.
    Thankfully, players can longer vote in rigged elections nor deal ecological damage to any Planet in Beyond Earth, Rising Tide but can ponder the political and sometimes moral consequences of their actions and/or decisions in accordance to their Traits, Virtues and Affinity choices... or maybe the player just doesn't like what the other Colony Leaders are wearing...

    ... or maybe the player does appreciate what the other Colony Leaders are wearing...

    Sid Meier's Beyond Earth, Rising Tide oozes strong characterization and personality which is what Alpha Centauri was weak at.

    That's why I believe Sid Meier's Beyond Earth, Rising Tide is a much more mature version of Alpha Centauri.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2017
  6. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    I wouldn't call them "immature", they're just "over the top". Like they're figures played by political satirists. That works as an act, but playing against those characters takes away so much of the serious nature of the game.

    The characters of Beyond Earth are more "down to earth". And a bit too much so I would say, bit between the two they're certainly my preferred choice.
     
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  7. Bandobras Took

    Bandobras Took Emperor

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    Actually, given some of the leaders we've got today in the real world, SMAC seems closer to reality than ever. :)
     
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  8. HEF

    HEF Warlord

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    Heh.:lol:


    The gameplay elements in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri would be a hard sell in today's industry.

    In comparison, given the inclimate weather and celestial events happening around the globe and how some world leaders are reacting to the planet's natural disasters, Sid Meier's Beyond Earth, Rising Tide seems more prophetic.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2017
  9. beetle

    beetle Deity

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    I don’t think that is true at all. Firstly, what percentage of Civ5/BE players played SMAC? The untapped market is huge! It is too bad it seems the licensing cannot be worked out, and now with BE poising the well, another fifteen years will have to pass... Such a shame, as the core game play really deserves updated mechanics.

    Secondly, all those over-the-top archetypes are still around. I do not see that as being a blocker in today’s industry. If the developer were concerned, they could keep the personality-inspired agendas, but have them randomly assigned. I agree that the characters of BE are more fleshed out and plausible and the backgrounds well written -- but I also think any one of them could fill the role of Miriam or Zakharov equally well as any other character!

    My biggest disappointment with BE was that there was nothing that replicated the tension between factions stemming from their SE choices. With Civ5, a similar tension comes from Ideologies, and it is a very engaging game mechanic. I had assumed that Affinities would be in that vein, but it just does have enough of a game effect. I think the simplest fix would be for the faction Virtue choices to (1) be prominent displayed, and (2) have at least as much impact on diplomatic relations as Affinity choices (especially in the early game, before the Affinity units unlock).
     
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  10. HEF

    HEF Warlord

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    I don't understand this question.





    We are in agreement here!

    Indeed, the core gameplay in Sid Meier's Beyond Earth, Rising Tide is the improved version of Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri.




    The characters in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri can, indeed, be brought back in another edition of Beyond Earth, Rising Tide. I'd love to see a full-throated, animated version of Morgan or Santiago... especially Deidre! :hug:

    ---but that's not my issue, is it?

    My issue is that there are gameplay elements in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri such as rigging an election to become Planetary Governor or going to war with another Faction that causes irreparable harm to a Planet's eco-system isn't the kind of video game to promote to a 'rated E for Everyone' in today's market. Maybe to trump supporters, if they are able to hold their short attention span long enough to acknowledge such a video game even exists. Mind you, that crowd is an extremely small percentage compared to the rest of Planet Earth who would prefer to play Beyond Earth, Rising Tide that has a much more optimistic & plausible setting.
    Affinity choices in Beyond earth, Rising Tide is a much more flexible indicator to gauge another Colony Leader's motivation for the decisions they make when interacting with the player than what a rigid ideology that Faction Leaders in Alpha Centauri are bound to. For example, in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri the Morganites will never get along with the Spartans.

    Why?

    Because the Morganites & the Spartans have absolutely nothing in common with each other unless one is made to surrender to a Pact in War.

    However, in Sid Meier's Beyond Earth, Rising Tide... Kavitha can Cooperate with Jama Barre because both of them share an Affinity in Harmony which is the belief that both Colonies can adapt with the Aliens and the Planet environment they now live in thus Agree to Trade goods & services in Peace.



    See the difference? :coffee:

    The player can choose if they want to go to War or Peace by paying close attention to their Affinity choices instead of being automatic eternal enemies by way of a redundant ideology.

    Sid Meier's Beyond Earth, Rising Tide is the kind of game I believe a new player or even an experienced player would appreciate in today's market.
     
  11. Galgus

    Galgus Emperor

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    I tried SMAC, and mechanically I had a similar problem with it that I had to Civ 6: there isn't nearly enough cost to expand, meaning constantly expanding until one has filled up all available tiles seems optimal.

    When expansion doesn't require any sort of rationing or investment it heavily waters down the tactics of the game for me, and ironically makes expansion boring by trivializing decisions on where to expand.

    The comically dystopian theme was also a turn-off, personally.
    ____________________________________________________________

    Thematically, there is huge potential for tension between Beyond Earth's affinities.

    If I had my way a typical late game would have multiple large-scale world wars along affinity lines, with hybrids/core affinities next to one's own being potential allies. It would be possible, but difficult to maintain decent relations with rival affinities.

    And I'd like to see different sponsors be split between leave the aliens alone/ kill them early on as a starting political issue: those that left them alone could be future Harmonists or just leaders who are concerned about a backlash from the planet.

    Harmony factions, and ideally the planet, may also take offense to clearing Miasma and forests.

    I prefer Virtues to be kept mostly vague, and to not weigh on international relations to not take the spotlight away from Affinities.

    With some work I think Traits could be good at setting what angers/ pleases a sponsor: as-is they tend to be "hates you if you are behind, loves you if you are ahead."
     
  12. HEF

    HEF Warlord

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    re: How to Fix BE

    Allow me to offer suggestions that answers part of the question in this topic; the only discrepancies in Sid Meier's Beyond Earth, Rising Tide that I've noticed that may need fixing is, perhaps, misspellings, grammatical errors, an issue with notifications that intersect other game events and maybe... just maybe, a Quest Decision (or two) that needs clarification, however, I may need to play more sessions to really understand what's being asked of me.

    Other than that, Sid Meier's Beyond Earth, Rising Tide is well on its way to be an instant classic.
     
  13. beetle

    beetle Deity

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    It seems to me that Firaxis was reluctant to just reuse the SMAC plot for BE because the story was too familiar? I do not think that is the case. I don’t have the numbers, but Civ5 was a great commercial success, SMAC not so much. Plus, I played the heck out of SMAC/X and never did get bored with the backstory!
    That would have been sweet!
    I am sorry to say I do not remember the election rigging aspect. The warring (or just building) causing rising sea levels is off the table since apparently that was too much for the graphics engine, but I doubt that would impact the E for Everyone rating! You agreed that you missed Planet being an actor to contend with. One of the less commented upon features was that Planet hated players using the over powered “X” weapons.
    People say this, but the fate of Earth in BE is dystopian. Earth is blank slate in SMAC. Sure, some of the wonders in SMAC are dystopian, and the mood music sure is spooky, but I found the game course optimistic and all the details plausible. (Well, except for the leaders being such perfect archetypes, but it worked well in the context of a game.)
    Affinities are okay, but not enough IMHO. They are much less important, for example, than Ideologies in Civ5. And with Civ5 diplomacy intersects with religion, WC voting, and lux/resource trades. BE has no corresponding features for any of those. It seems to me that having Virtue choices strongly impact diplomacy would be a pretty easy way to add some substance to the game.
    I would argue that some of that predictability was a feature. The BE leaders, in comparison, have no significant personality, and follow no pattern from game-to-game.
    Yes, one lends itself to a game with nearly unlimited appeal for replay and characters that people remember 15 years later. The other, not so much.
    It is okay if you can pick it up cheap, and only expect to play a few times.

    Yes, and my understanding is that Civ3 and Civ4 also suffered from this defect. OTOH, and unlike 3/4, one could play SMAC/X at the highest difficulty level as a builder and still win. It was great fun!
    The whole mood was brooding and dark, but I would usually aim for the Transcendence VC and forests were OP. At the time, it never occurred to me to characterize the theme as dystopian.
    Sure. And I agree the tension is only weakly implemented
    This pretty much describes my BE games.
    This would be an improvement.
    I am quite disappointed they they did not include a mechanic for Miasma spawning on its own.
    With Civ5, the non-idealogy SP not impacting diplomacy is fine. BE probably would require a total overhaul to have decent replay potential, but doing something more with Virtues is low hanging fruit.
    What do you mean by Traits? The starting buffs? I only have BE and not BERT. Is Sponsor love/hate a BERT feature?

    Sorry, but that is nonsense. (1) The time window for BERT to be an “instant” anything has come and gone. (2) BERT clearly missed the mark for being a “classic” game, the title and substance of this thread is but the tip of the iceberg of evidence against that hope!
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2017
  14. HEF

    HEF Warlord

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    Oh, I just remembered another gameplay rule that was discarded from Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri that Sid Meier's Beyond Earth, Rising Tide improved on:

    No stacking of unlimited units within a single tile.

    Now, Sid Meier's Beyond Earth, Rising Tide has taken on a more Chess-like approach.

    Genius!:goodjob:
     
  15. Galgus

    Galgus Emperor

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    SMAC was far more dyystopian and cynical than BE.

    The former has a future that seems extremely bleak, especislly I then outright evil transcendance victory put front and center. I really wish Beyond Earth didn't pay homage to that. Sinply directly communicating with the planet after waking it up would have been fine, or keeping it as a partial hive mind that's doesn't eclipse individuality like the Protoss Khala.

    Beyond Earth's theme is, generally, about progress from the tragedy of the Great Mistake to distinct and increasingly incompatible visions for a bright future.
    _______

    Beyond Earth's problems are mechanical mosltly: the core themes of the game are solid.

    Affinity has the ability to be far more game changing and interesting than ideology ever was if it is allowed to shine.
    _____________

    I would really like leaders to have some more personality in how they play, and for the AI to be more competent, competitive, and actually useful as an ally generally.
    _____________

    It isn't core to this discussion, but I'd say that SMAC's ICS mechanics show their age if Civ 6 handn't taken a bizzare huge step back from health/ happiness.

    That's kept me from ever getting into Civ 6.
    _______________

    As I said I view transcendance as outright evil: the sacrificial destruction of many to create some dangerous, borg-like monstrosity.
    _______________

    Agreed that the t nation is implemented weakly.

    With world wars I meant actual alliances of competent AIs, with the player and their allies, fighting where there is a real threat to the player.

    Civ game wars generally feel a bit trivial to me with how poorly the AI fights and how ridiculously self-defending cities are. That and melee units feel very weak relative to ranged often.
    ________

    There is a mod that spawns Miasma around Alien Nests, which seems like a good way of doing it.

    With more Alien Nest spawning when the planet is angry.
    ______________

    To improve BE and it's replayabilty I'd overhaul the Affinity's mechanics first and foremost.

    Just doing that would go a long way to making the game more replayable, since every affinity and hybrid would play drastically differently.

    After that I'd make Aliens a real city-killing threat when hostile, withe the Colossal Aliens taking longer to anger, and lower flat combat strength increases from unit upgrades so that Aliens don't fall of as much.

    Make them angered by clearing forests and Miasma, and attracted to expeditions and outposts and likely to attack both if they are undefined don't. And either remove or greatly lower the chance of artifact rewards from resources pods, and guarantee them from expeditions.

    I'd also generally overhaul artifacts so that each artifact has a specific bonus and recipe card for it, and that very bonus would be meaningful, but that's a different topic.

    Ideally an early military should be important for expanding and securing artifacts, adding depth in choosing to expand early to a safe location, build up the capital, or push the wilds back for more expansion options and artifacts bonuses. Ideally Nests and Miasma should be gathered in such a way that there is small "safe" zone around the player's landing site, wilds that the player can push back with a reasonable army, and wilds that are very dangerous and difficult to try to push back.
    ___________

    Traits are a feature where young cannot pick and upgrade traits in four categories and pick up to five agreements based on the traits of other colonies.

    They are a Rising Tide feature alongside artifacts. You should a text least consider getting that expansion on sale: it is a major improvement.

    And you'd be able to try the Codex and Echoes of Earth overhauls.

    I've always thought that Beyond Earth is a game with amazing themes, ideas, and potential which aren't pushed far enough in the implementation.
     
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  16. HEF

    HEF Warlord

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    Haven't explored the Transcendence Victory yet so I cannot comment on it, however, the Great Mistake on Old Earth is a mystery that is mentioned in each Sponsor/Colony Leader's backstory repeatedly that no one has been able to address.





    Try changing how you play... you'll see how dynamic the Colony Leaders really are; I have picked up on behaviors of jealousy, rage and/or anger, and confidence.
    The Communique Log is what gives the Colony Leaders that extra layer of personality considering the advent and influence of today's online social media services.








    I've always felt that the real star of Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri was Planet itself because the player can deform the terrain by way of construction (or destruction). There were metrics for height and depth for each squared tile whereas, in Sid Meier's Beyond Earth, Rising Tide there are broad layers inside the game world (Coast height , Ocean depth, Normal height and Orbital Layer).

    In Sid Meier's Beyond Earth, Rising Tide the player doesn't have the opportunity to deform the terrain in any way like in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri and I believe I understand why.
    Leaving out the terrain deformation gives the player time and space dedicated to meaningful decision making and interactions with the other Colony Leaders.

    That's a fair trade-off I can accept. So, it's all good! :goodjob:
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2017
  17. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    That's just your imagination. The leaders are not at all dynamic and all act the same. Most of what decides how an AI acts towards you is based purely on Respect and Fear, the code can be found in DiplomacyAI.lua. While there is code that suggests that they wanted to make leaders act differently, it was never implemented.

    That's just window dressing though. And leaders will often say things that are completely against their actual ideologies because the texts depend on perks that are chosen (with biases, but mostly) randomly. When the Kavithan Protectorate tells you that they're unhappy with your lack of offensive military activity, something fishy is going on...
     
  18. HEF

    HEF Warlord

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    Which is a requirement to play video games. :thumbsup:

    I'll take that as a compliment.

    Video games are supposed to be fun, first & foremost. Everything else is secondary.
     
  19. Galgus

    Galgus Emperor

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    In my opinion the Great Mistake is best kept kind of vague, though from what I've read I think it may have been a nuclear exchange that especially damaged a part of Asia and somehow caused severe climate damage.

    Somebody form of super weapon causing to would explain the absence of nuclear missiles in Beyond Earth, aside the in my opinion ill-fitting dirty bomb operation for Purity. That memory may have left such a scar that every faction wants to avoid a second Great Mistake.
    _________

    The communique log can give them more character, though it feels a bit bizzarely like them tweeting at me.

    Mostly I wish they had more solidness rules on what the player can do to befriend or anger them.
    _____

    I personally prefer to not be able to shape the terrain like that because I think it makes adapting to the existing terrain less important.
     
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  20. Galgus

    Galgus Emperor

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    @Valessa

    I didn't know they literally didn't have differences, though they always felt samey.

    @HEF

    Beyond Earth would be a much better game mechanics that did a better job of tying into its themes and that kind of imagination.

    Sponsors with real differences in behavior would certainly make the game more fun for me.
     

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