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Humankind Game by Amplitude

Discussion in 'Humankind by Amplitude' started by AtlantisAuthor, Aug 19, 2019.

  1. heinous_hat

    heinous_hat Prince

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    In Endless Legend, region size is something you can select in the map setup (tiny through huge). So you can create a variety of scenarios (e.g. smaller maps with huge regions generally leads to earlier conflict, due to scarcity and nearness).

    When playing big maps, selecting huge regions was a must. More regions = more units and pathfinding performance is terrible (still) in Endless Legend, even on a fast machine.

    EDIT: I just checked, and region size is somewhat limited by map size (no huge map with tiny regions, or vice versa). Regardless, I'd expect there to be some variety presented in map setup for HK, given the developer's prior approach.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2019
  2. Mathias Rex

    Mathias Rex Chieftain

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    These are not the most important questions, but I'm curious about:
    1. Will there be geographical names (for mountains, deserts, rivers, plains, etc.) on the maps?
    2. Will be any kind of veterancy system for units?
    Never played any of Amplitude's games, so maybe you have clue about these.
     
  3. PhilBowles

    PhilBowles Deity

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    I liked it, but it's a flavour gem, not really a strong strategy game. I've played the Endless games a few times and bounced off (not really sure why in the case of ES2 - I just never made time for it, but it seems their best to date. EL I found rather repetitive and ES1 was just bland and not terribly good). The competition is welcome and hopefully it will succeed, but Humankind is likely to have its own niche.

    At the very least, if Endless Legend is any guide people will start playing Humankind and think "Hey, turns out Civ's AI isn't all that bad after all".

    This, for instance, is likely to be divisive. Many community players have wanted this, but a huge part of Civ's lasting appeal is that you are Civ X from start to finish and can imagine an alternate world in which the Aztecs became a nuclear superpower, rather than just morphed into a later real-world superpower as you progressed. Firaxis has spent years publicising expansions and building hype on the back of the civs they include or that people hope for. I suspect you're overestimating how much demand there is for the 'build-your-own-civ' approach.

    Technically Civ has this in score victory, though the weighting between different areas has never been great. It's become less and less important to the game as time's gone on - in the first two entries the arcade-like high score board was a somewhat meaningful measure of achievement (though you still usually won with science or domination), but now it's all but disregarded and the game adds ever more discrete victory conditions. In this Humankind may be aiming more at a nostalgic hardcore than Civ's primary playerbase.
     
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  4. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    Most of Civ 6's victory conditions are contingent on opposition not trying. I'm not sure Humankind will be different in practice. I can envision a scenario where people talk about how big the difference is between the two games even as most competitive MP games are decided militarily in both regardless. The chance of that outcome is not remote, either.
     
  5. j51

    j51 Blue Star Cadet

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    1. In EL the regions have (fantasy) names that come from a randomized list. I'm hoping in HK that they're unnamed at first until settled, then it picks the regional name from that civ. This regional name would hopefully also determine the names of the city, rivers, etc. in that region (e.g. Brandenburg - Berlin - Spree).
    2. There is a veterancy system in EL with a quite detailed promotion tree. I like it!
     
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  6. Mathias Rex

    Mathias Rex Chieftain

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    Thank you! It sounds amazing!
     
  7. Lord Shadow

    Lord Shadow General

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    It's hard to tell but there's definitely a demand for it. And in the end, as divisive as it might be, it's not particularly weirder than having ancient Rome reach the Information Age completely unfazed and unchanged, or the United States existing in its 18th century (or even later) form from the dawn of the Bronze Age.

    Over time the Civ community perhaps developed a fondness for the saga's weird handling of civilizations and their immortal god-leaders, but it's definitely an acquired as opposed to natural taste. Humankind's alternative could be questionable to traditionalists as well in the beginning, but it's likely to grow on the community if the gameplay's good.

    Personally, I'm really excited and hopeful about Humankind and its innovation potential. Its "unfolding" armies approach to 1UPT is bound to help the AI considerably, since pure 1UPT is one of the primary reasons Civ AI is as imperfect as it is in the post-Civ4 era. I'm also interested in seeing what a fresh design philosophy, with much less previous baggage, can bring to the table. Clearly Civ needs more than merely another iterative sequel.
     
  8. Elhoim

    Elhoim Iron Tower Studio Dev

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    Except they are not? Lost count the amount of times we made that clear.
     
  9. kaspergm

    kaspergm Deity

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    For me, the only part of the game I'm not super excited about as I've heard it, is the morphing of Civs. I would rather have it be an ability you pick each era - inspired by real life civs - rather than the actual Civilization name, which just feels weird. But I suppose that can be modded, or maybe one will get used to it.
     
  10. PhilBowles

    PhilBowles Deity

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    I agree that there's a demand for it, and as I say I'm happy Humankind will exist - but I suspect it's a minority interest. Firaxis has gone as far as associating civs with named leaders and animating them (something to which I personally am indifferent, though I prefer to lead a single civ) because people seem to relate to specific civs as characters, and it adds civs to the game that represent major markets - it's cynical, but they presumably wouldn't do it if they didn't think it helped sales in, say, Brazil or Canada.

    Personally I think there's a pull to single civs that may be overlooked: city names. Probably because a lot of players customise their city names anyway. But personally I enjoy building up an empire of cities from a single civ, and sometimes placing them in approximately the right places on a TSL map (renaming as needed in Civ VI where the name order of cities is randomised). The feature names (ironically, essentially inspired by Endless Legend's region naming) for rivers, mountain ranges etc. based on civ identity were to my mind a big advance in giving Civ VI flavour it had previously largely lacked.

    Evolving societies is fine when they evolve in a way that mirrors actual history (for instance turning from assorted Nordic invaders into the English over the course of a Crusader Kings game), but for those who want to relate to their faction's development over time I don't think turning from one civ into another unrelated one will satisfy.

    I'm doubtful that that's true. At the very least people come from a single culture of their own and the majority of the audience still likely comes from America, which has always been in the series. Single factions have been the norm for pretty much every 4x out there historically, even when there's no intrinsic association fictional factions like - say - Klackons or any reason to remain a Klackon forever instead of transitioning to an Alkari over time.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2019
  11. Trav'ling Canuck

    Trav'ling Canuck Deity

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    I think the fame system = score victory analogy will be wrong, though we need more details to confirm. It appears there will be a set number of fame points available, equally spread out across the eras. As such, it will be different from Civ's score system, where you first build an engine and then steamroll to most of your points in the late game. It looks to be closer to Civ 6's era score.

    As a negative, it means that two-thirds of the way through the game you may have accumulated enough fame, or failed to accumulate enough fame, that the game is already won or lost. As a positive, each era should be equally important, although how HK handles the snowballing that undermines late game interest in the 4x genre as a whole remains to be seen.
     
  12. PhilBowles

    PhilBowles Deity

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    I didn't mean the system would work identically, just that Civ already has a 'combined' victory type in principle and it isn't widely popular (though that may be simply because by definition it takes longest to achieve).
     
  13. Eagle Pursuit

    Eagle Pursuit Scir-Gerefa

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    Another benefit is that you actually play the whole game. I so rarely see the Future Era in Civ 6.
     
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  14. PhilBowles

    PhilBowles Deity

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    I haven't seen the demo, but from the RPS summary (units unstacking onto the existing terrain) it sounds like the Endless Legend combat system, which ended up being repetitive and tedious (albeit in part because of stereotyped AI behaviour, but the size of the maps and units' movement and combat options tended to make everything play out basically the same way every time for a given army configuration).

    Firaxis might be the reason it took so long. There are also the Total War games and assorted Paradox titles - they aren't 4x games but do scratch the historical strategy game itch and often do so in a structured setting that appeals more to fans of the actual historical period being treated than a randomised world sandbox.

    Fantasy 4xes have always been a bit thin on the ground for whatever reason. There are a million space 4xes but no big names that ever conquered the market - Master of Orion fizzled out in the '90s where Civ kept going and nothing since filled the void. Galactic Civilizations is probably the closest a game came to establishing itself as *the* space 4x since, but no series has ever really got there while at the same time it's a popular enough genre that there have been half a million series and standalone space 4x games.

    I hope in the final version there are algorithms to limit repetition to make it less obvious the tileset is rather limited - in the image shown on the first page, the same street layout (the leftmost block of streets, leading to St Basils) is repeated on the tile immediately below.

    In my relatively limited experience with Endless games, this runs into the same issue it does with Total War - autoresolving tends to kill or excessively damage units that you wouldn't lose when not autoresolving, and with the rates of unit production in Endless Legend that's not a worthwhile cost to incur.

    Sorry, catching up with the thread so a lot of comments to track!

    1) Endless games also seem pitched at a relatively low difficulty level, and are less strategically complex/exploitable than Civ VI. This is a general philosophy of modern game design that you aren't going to depart from by switching to a different studio, particularly for long games (I suspect they want to avoid the frustration of players spending hours on a session only to lose late in the day) - try going back to games from the '90s and they're far harder than those now. Even XCOM from the '90s, and the new XCOM was explicitly designed to be hard because that's one of the characteristic features of the 'brand' as the Firaxis devs described it at the time.

    Paradox games aren't particularly challenging at a strategic level if the example I'm most familiar with - Crusader Kings - is typical (and BattleTech is no harder than Firaxis XCOM and generally easier): once you understand the systems it's a lot of rinse and repeat and navigating random events and trait assignments in fairly stereotyped ways. Total War, I'd agree, has got harder in recent iterations, after dialing down the difficulty much too far in Rome 2. Warhammer II was a little too easy (but I was playing Lizardmen and having the game's most powerful character as your default general made everything too easy), but I haven't yet completed Warhammer I's final invasion and certain characters in Three Kingdoms seem to be a significant challenge.

    All that said I've ranted about Civ VI's lack of differentation between its many difficulty levels before - I just think you're overstating how different it is from the rest of the field, and I'd be fine with its current Deity difficulty being the default or even Emperor as long as significantly harder levels exist.

    3) Again we only have their past games as precedent, and these may or may not be reflected in Humankind, but Endless Legend in particular was very "gamey". It was as much an RPG as a 4x, with game progression fundamentally linked to following story quests and whole branches of the tech tree devoted to upgrading the special items your heroes could carry. Personally I consider it a far better RPG than a 4x game.

    I know it was popular, and it was a fun system to play around with a kid, but in retrospect - both as a design principle and having gone back and played AC over the last few years - I consider the unit system a weakness of SMAC. Even at the time I only ever made the same units anyway - a buggy chassis with whatever my best weapon at the time happened to be.

    I did however adore unit customisation in Master of Orion and miss it in most of its clones - but that was far more thorough than in anything since and required a combat system that no one now would have the patience for (the latest MOO's attempt to replicate the customisation but use - to most intents and purposes - automated combat shows that it really isn't the same when you don't get to control the units in game. Distant Worlds had the same issue).

    I wouldn't be surprised if it's similar to 40k Gladius, where you can settle where you want but can expand the city to a new tile as a 'build' action. This seems to be basically the new default, based on the EL burroughs - Civ VI's districts obviously draw on that as their inspiration.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2019
  15. PhilBowles

    PhilBowles Deity

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    I think it's possible it's Borobudur, and what looks like a pagoda roof is just an artefact of low resolution.

    Civ VI's city states were inspired by Civ V's city states, which themselves seem to have inspired the minor faction mechanics that are now common in 4x games from Endless Legend to Stellaris. Endless Space 2 postdates Civ VI so can hardly have inspired one of the base game mechanics.

    My favourite take on minor factions is Distant Worlds, where they start off as static native races on planets akin to those that act as a settlement bonus in Master of Orion 2, but if left alone for long enough will actually progress technologically into proper AI empires that play by the same rules as every major faction.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2019
  16. Lord Shadow

    Lord Shadow General

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    I'm not sure I adhere to your logic. What you're saying is that just because Civ has handled its civilizations in a very specific fashion, and the community has gotten used to that, that's the only way the majority will forever welcome.

    We're talking about a very specific pseudo-historical 4X game here, which is basically a single-series subgenre. The other (space) 4X examples aren't all that relevant, since the concept that's being proposed here is the evolution and melding of human cultures across human history. Yes, in an abstract, perhaps gamey fashion, but no less than what we're used to. And it's not a concept that couldn't be adapted to a fantasy/space context, but it likely wouldn't involve hamfisted mutations between entirely different species like the Klackon-Alkari example.

    Personally, I've always found it jarring that America can exist in basically its modern form in Civ in 4000 BC. I'm sure some would find it jarring to have a some civilization transition from an Egyptian to Japanese culture, but I find it no less bizarre.

    How do you explain a modern America existing in the Bronze Age anyway? Does it imply Sioux, Cherokee, Apache and the like can somehow culturally mutate into British pioneers and then modern Americans, and simultaneously that those original Native Americans could've somehow envisioned modern America to maintain such an unchanging monolith through the ages? And how is England as a civilization entirely irrelevant to its existence? It just plain doesn't make sense, and I strongly doubt that many people are really that fixed on such a ridiculous idea.

    America is probably one of the easier cases to poke at, but ultimately what Civ does is take a very reduced historical snapshot of a civilization and stretches it 6000 years. Often to the breaking point. America can exist without England and England without the Romans nor the Celts nor the Vikings, whereas civilizations which did exist in ancient times can somehow remain culturally intact for millennia. And I'm not even getting into the immortal god-rulers.

    But in the end, I don't think either of us can single-handedly determine what the community wants in this regard. From my point of view, it's a worthy concept to explore, just as much as the traditional path, and doesn't require any further suspension of disbelief.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2019
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  17. Krajzen

    Krajzen Deity

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    Personally I don't think civilizations (cultures) morphing and changing across eras is much stranger than the same exact culture (country, empire) existing for 6000 years. And Humankind isn't going to have immortal god rulers!

    In Humankind system it looks like this:
    Celts -> Rome -> England -> Great Britain > America -> America
    In Civ: HELLO BRONZE NEIGHBOR IT IS YEAR 4000BC AND I AM TEDDY ROOSEVELT WITH MY GLASSES AND SUIT, WELCOME IN THE UNITED STATES OF NORTH AMERICA

    (I can also already imagine obligatory mod "limits civ switches to those making historical sense")
     
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  18. PhilBowles

    PhilBowles Deity

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    Yes, it's bizarre. My point is that given two equally arbitrary and fantastic options, the continuous civ has flavour on its side - it's a consistent entity the player can identify with/appreciate the aesthetics, city names, real world culture, civ-related abilities etc. The notion of civs morphing into one another is anthropologically interesting, but as others have suggested on the thread it doesn't make a lot of sense in that context to name them as individual real-world civs (conversely, if you don't you lose a lot of the point of the historical setting as opposed to being Settlers: The 4x).

    As I say, this isn't a Civ phenomenon or something this particular community has been trained to accept - it's a constant through the genre across historical, fantasy and sci-fi alike, and through historical games in repertoires like Paradox's (where the culture you belong to may get a name change, but if you start out a Viking and stay in Scandanavia, you're never going to become France or China).

    You see the same thing in board games: My all-time favourite board game is Britannia, which was the game that pioneered the idea of successive factions through time - for a few turns a player may have the Romans or the Picts, and then as they would have departed or been replaced in history they're removed and one of the more recent invading factions arrives under that player's control. The game accrues victory points based on historically-appropriate actions for each faction, and the player with the highest total ultimately wins, but no individual faction wins and no one faction survives the entire game.

    I love that game and it's spawned some number of imitators - it's also among the top 100 games on Boardgamegeek. But it wasn't until Britannia's release in the early 1980s that anyone had made games that weren't single-faction based and the vast majority of subsequent historical board games stick with the continuous faction model.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2019
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  19. Lord Shadow

    Lord Shadow General

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    My first reaction to the cultural melding concept was "Hey, perhaps it'd be good to keep shifts within rough cultural macro-groups".

    But then I realized it's easier said than done. What are the medieval nations of Europe if not the result of the significant cultural clash between the largely Roman south and the barbarian north?

    You'd have to extend the groups to encompass entire continents, but where could you really draw the lines? And you'd have to make exceptions like so that Aztecs can't become Americans or Canadians or Brazilians because the latter are mainly a product of another continent's culture. You'd also have to do a lot of research on plausible cultural mutability in areas of the world you're less familiar with (i.e. for most of us Westerners, the Far East).

    If you gave up on general cultural grouping and just went for "historical sense", perhaps you'd be robbing the concept of much of its versatility. And what is our history in a Civ-like game anyway? The Chinese could've settled the Americas in some parallel universe, or the Japanese, and produced weird cultural mixes with Aztecs, Incas, Mayans and northern Native Americans.

    In the end you'd be basically left with tinkering with the earliest ages, trying to prevent mutation between cultures too far apart too soon. And you might end up asking yourself why you were bothering with all this in the first place.

    I don't think that particular form of flavour has all that weight, and the thing about this concept is that it hasn't been tried before on this scale. Your argument still rests on the notion that it's not preferable because it's not the way it's been done so far. That people necessarily want a uniform identity in factions to the exclusion of everything else, even basic plausibility (see, again, Bronze Age Teddy's America).

    Neither sci-fi nor fantasy have tried it nor really proven something like this can't work, so they're still irrelevant. I'm not sure Paradox games apply to constitute the paradigm you're trying to present either, since those games are far more grounded in history (and geography) than Civ ever was. Obviously a Viking will never become Chinese in EU4, but that's because they're always necessarily half a world apart. Could any PDX game reject crazy cultural melding if any civilization could randomly neighbour any other? Because that's how Civ rolls by default.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2019
  20. acluewithout

    acluewithout Deity

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    For those interest, StrategyGamer has an article on HumanKind here.

    There's some discussion around the Culture mechanic.

    "...in each era, you have the option to change your culture to something else (and the number of potential combinations is staggering across all six eras). History tells us that different culture types did evolve and change over time into something else, but it does stretch the suspension of belief somewhat when you have, say, the Egyptians suddenly morph into the Romans, and then the Ming after that.

    “It’s a normal reaction,” Romain told me, “and it’s why we’ll probably offer a more historical mode or constraint in choices so that it makes more sense.
    " [emphasis in original]
     
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