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Humankind Game by Amplitude

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

  1. Trav'ling Canuck

    Trav'ling Canuck Deity

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    If the Amplitude design team nails that, I'd be amazed. Extremely pleased, but amazed. As great as Civ 1 was, this was a major design issue. For all the tinkering that later versions of Civ have experienced, this is one of a number of problems with that first game that has never been addressed. When people say they find the first part of 4x games fun and the late game tedious, a lot of that traces back to the number of mouse clicks increasing while the importance of each click is declining.
     
  2. Elhoim

    Elhoim Iron Tower Studio Dev

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    This.So.Much.

    And Civ VI is worse in that aspect, with district placement becoming more of a chore in the late game due to lack of space, and the benefits becoming lower. And let's not go into the building choices for each and every city. It's fun to decide to build a granary in your early cities, but in the modern era? It's definitely a chore.

    My prediction based on what they said* is that in the late game you will "fuse" cities and keep the number of them you have to manage at a fun level.

    *"You will be able to have cities span across regions in Humankind. Where Endless Legend had hard region borders, Humankind's will be "soft". For an analogy, this is the difference between the city limits in the last SimCity and those in Cities Skylines."
     
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  3. mitsho

    mitsho Deity

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    Yes, I know that desire is utopian and many current civ players do not even want this. But every time there's a new edition out and some magazines/sites do let's plays I am reminded that there are a lot of other players out there. These plays never seem to go farther than just building and moving things around. And yes, that's a very subjective view right here, but I feel there's a niche for the more "let's experience history" rather than the "I want to win this board game" fan. And that requires reducing complexity. I also would f.e. find it very interesting if ships acted like airplanes with the additions of currents and so on. It never feels right to "farm" a fish tile either. Ha, so many ideas :).
     
  4. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

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    It's not the amount of 'work' in the game, it's the significance of the effort you're putting into it. Micromanaging a city when it's the only city you have is one thing: micromanaging 30 cities is a game designed as Torture and should be banned by the Geneva Convention (assuming another Civ hasn't conquered Geneva by then, which it usually has).
    To my (limited) knowledge, it's a problem that has never been adequately solved in any 4X game. I think that a big part of the solution would be a workable 'intermediate' layer of Governor/Mayor/Minister between the player and the individual decisions. This has been tried in previous Civ games, and found wanting.
    The trick to it, I think, would be to limit the decisions to what the AI is capable of while focusing the decisions on the type of outcome the gamer desires.

    For example, in Endless Legend, population points can be shifted at will within the city to emphasize output in Food, Science, Production, Influence, or 'Dust' (Gold in Civ terms). Almost every time the city grows, a good player will want to check that the distribution and outcome from the city is still what is desired. Do this for 10+ cities, and you have a Definition of Micromanagement.
    IF instead, a 'Governor' in the city could be simply given a Template for desired outcome and let the individual decisions be made by the AI afterwards, it would reduce the Click Boredom immensely. Something like the following matrix for each of Food, Science, Production, Influence, Gold or whatever other outcome (Culture, Religion?) the city could provide:
    Minimum Emphasis: as in, enough Food to maintain the population but not grow, enough 'Gold' so as not to cost the Empire money to maintain the city.
    Build and Grow: population shifted to Food and Production
    Learn and Enlighten: population shifted to Science and Influence
    Maximum: All population to this factor except for the minimum requirements (see above) for Food and Gold.

    This set of 'Decisions' could even be extended to Build Choices, but that would be more difficult: in the Amplitude model, at least, all 'Improvements' are also built in the city, so there is a wide variety of Build Decisions that do not fit into a single category of Desirable Outcomes.

    Just for basic Population Management, though, this is a fairly simple set of Decision Trees that even a mediocre AI should be able to handle. Add in a Query Feature where the 'Governor/AI' occasionally asks you something like:
    "In the city of Twittering Halt we are now producing more Gold than any other city in the Empire. Do you want us to scale back on that?"
    "The city of Zebra Muscle is menaced by an enemy army. Should we shift =everything to Production to build more defensive units?"

    A system similar to this would vastly reduce the individual decisions required on a turn-by-turn basis in the game. IF you desire absolute Maximum Efficiency from each city/tile on each and every turn, you can still make every decision yourself and maximize your OCD to your hearts content, but it would no longer be required to play the game past Turn 100.
     
  5. Shadowhal

    Shadowhal Warlord

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    I completely agree with the discussion around escalating number of decisions with each being less and less impactful. Its my no 1 hindrance to enjoying 4x games more, directly and indirectly.

    I was wondering whether the solution is to change the default of what players can influence. So, by default you can only give general orders to a city, eg focus on gold, recruit an army. And in order to give exact orders you'd have to place a governor. Governors would come from a small pool of special royal advisors of which you only have few and they would double up with other functions, such as generals, diplomats, researchers etc. This way you'd have a thematically justified way to limit player agency which also presents interesting strategic choices: do I go to war and accept than my control over the economy will decrease somewhat? Do I want to send my governor to a newer city to help it establish itself or do I focus more on mature cities where impacts are bigger? Do I switch my advisors to empire wide activities together?

    A different, more radical idea is inspired by polytopia: abolish city level build queues altogether. All production goes to a common pool and you decide globally what is produced. Maybe in combination with city focus so that you don't need to care as much about where that factory goes and more about what it will yield.

    It's definitely a problem over ripe for a new solution
     
  6. ButtBillionaire

    ButtBillionaire Warlord

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    I really hope the historian they hired wasn't the one who suggested the "Viking" culture.
     
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  7. God of Kings

    God of Kings Ruler of all heads of state

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    What credentials does this historian have?
     
  8. Trav'ling Canuck

    Trav'ling Canuck Deity

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    I agree with both your solutions. Both could be teamed with an expansion of Endless Legend's Influence system: you can only make so many political decisions per turn, each costs a certain amount of points (less if there's a Governor, possibly, but placing a Governor has a cost, etc.). Over time, your ability to manage your empire increases (commands are executed at the provincial level, rather than city by city, for example), allowing you to grow bigger and more powerful, but without a significant change to the number of decisions you make each turn.


    The dev team has included the Harrapa in the game. Please allow them to give the marketing team Vikings. :)
     
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  9. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    The problem with "experience history" is that history had casual interactions.

    Games also have casual interactions, but they necessarily must be different from history's (both in complexity and in time scale).

    Inevitably, you get a situation where internally consistent game casuality conflicts with events that happened in actual history, which had different casual relations. Players will then try to claim the historical events should happen in the game regardless, which is itself inherently ahistorical (events required their causes in history).

    Devs try for some middle ground here sometimes, usually to the game's detriment. Usually you're best off with mechanics inspired by history, but not consistently following it.

    Hotkeys/methods to manage multiple cities easily help tremendously. Another thing that helps is a mechanism to end the game more quickly, once someone pulls ahead, rather than knowing the outcome of your 4x game 40 turns before the outcome is reached.

    Two strong examples of this:

    • Civ 4 city list --> sort by yield, change/queue builds from one screen even for 40+ cities, can avoid being prompted by them dozens of turns (or forever if you pick wealth/research/culture)
    • Warlords 2 vectoring units after production and AI surrender offers. This game was so far ahead of its time in design conventions it's disgusting. Still does numerous UI/game interactions better than Civ 6 does today.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2019
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  10. OmegaDestroyer

    OmegaDestroyer King

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    I am really looking forward to trying out Humankind. After 1200 hours of Civ VI, I'm a bit burned out.
     
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  11. Alexander's Hetaroi

    Alexander's Hetaroi Deity

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    Calling them the Norse would have been a little better, but I can understand using the term Viking for marketing/familiarity reasons.
     
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  12. Trav'ling Canuck

    Trav'ling Canuck Deity

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    I loved Warlord and Warlords II. "You are being attacked!"
     
  13. Lord Shadow

    Lord Shadow General

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    Can't stress this enough.

    Let me put it another way: history turned out the way it did because it turned out the way it did. It's not a logical chain of events but rather myriad interactions between human beings which in many cases could've been entirely different and therefore had vastly different consequences.

    Pretty much the only way to "experience history" is to watch a documentary or play a very scripted, narrow scope game in which meaningful player choice is basically non-existent.
     
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  14. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    You can avoid scripting by narrowing the scope. For example one could make a WW2 game where you just get access to tanks/planes/ships/guns based on the year they were available, and the only possible difference maker in outcome are players deployment locations and tactical choices. This would make it very different from HOI 4, where you must research equipment before producing it, and also research industrial efficiency techs etc...but the narrower scope would mean that a larger % of the things you see in the game are historical.

    However while games that do narrow scopes can be anywhere from bad to amazing, they're very different from anything in the Civ franchise. There's basically no way to implement something like that on a 6,000 year scale unless you make it some kind of diplo/econ simulator lol.
     
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  15. Trav'ling Canuck

    Trav'ling Canuck Deity

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    It's a challenge, but I wouldn't say it's impossible. One approach could be to break that 6,000 year period into eras, which is what HK is doing. Now, within that era, you can identify things that happened in some places and not in others, and allow game play around those events. Then as you move into the next era, a different set of potential actions become available, again based on events that happened, but where, if and how they happen can still be game driven, and layered on top of where and how things happened in the prior era, you start to build up an alternate history.

    This approach ignores a whole set of events that could have happened but didn't, but then so does the Civ franchise. I think that's what most players want, and distinguishes historical games from fantasy / sci-fi. You could build the Pyramids, or maybe the Pyramids get built in China, but you can't build the Great Orb because the genius who would have otherwise built it in real life died of smallpox as a child.
     
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  16. Lord Shadow

    Lord Shadow General

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    It comes down to just how beaten up you want historical accuracy to be. Even such a rigid format produces ahistorical results because you can play with the accurate elements in many different, inaccurate ways.

    And obviously, yes, that model can't be stretched 6,000 years in any case, because one minor decision in 3500 BC may end up producing a significantly different world in 2000 AD. Who could judge to what extent the resulting combination of events is historically plausible? And to what extent is such plausibility relevant or meaningful when this history has evolved entirely differently?
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2019
  17. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    You'd still wind up having to sharply narrow scope, so much so that a game comprising multiple eras would literally turn into a different minigame each era.

    That's possible, but it's also possible to make 3-4 games instead.

    I think we're underestimating the scope of "things that could have happened, but didn't" by orders of magnitude, to the point where drawing a clear line between "plausible" and "fantasy" is non-trivial.

    Dude leading an army gets arrow'd through an eye slit in armor and it changes the course of history drastically. Games don't usually even bother with this degree of fluke because it would be annoying.

    Of course. You won't get an accurate depiction in a game. Maybe in a documentary, if it's a good one. You can get closer though, or an emphasis on the historical aspects you care about at some expense of ones you don't.

    Not a single person who has ever lived could do it. The sheer number of variables is mind boggling.
     
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  18. mitsho

    mitsho Deity

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    By "experiencing history" versus "boardgame" , I was not arguing for a rigid simulation. I agree that would be pointless, you're better of watching a documentary there. I was arguing where the focus should lie for a Civ like game. And where Civ6 has gone very far into the "a game needs to have a win condition" route (that is needed for example for multi-player), there is also the "the way is the goal" route. It matters less whether you win in the end, but at least you had fun along the way. You experienced a story! That can be very ahistorical, but you've experienced it.

    I hope that my point has become clearer to you now and I still hold that there's quite a reservoir for such players compared to the nirvana for micromanagement maniacs that civilization has become.
     
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  19. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    What mechanical incentives are there to play though? Players still want a way to broadly determine they're doing well.

    EU 4 and HOI 4 technically don't have a VC, but watch how players approach those games.
     
  20. Lord Shadow

    Lord Shadow General

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    To be frank, all Civ victories have always been optional, and you've always been able to play after the end (unless you were wiped out).

    So in singleplayer, you only need to obsess about victory if you want to.
     
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