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[GS] IDEA: Autonomy and Realism Mod Package

Discussion in 'Civ6 - Requests & Ideas' started by bcbarrett, Jun 23, 2019.

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Would you be interested in collaborating or contributing to this package?

  1. Yes

    66.7%
  2. No

    33.3%
  3. If it gains support

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. bcbarrett

    bcbarrett Chieftain

    Joined:
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    This is a long post, and as my first post to these forums, perhaps I'm biting off more than I can chew. Regardless, I hope that my ideas are worth sharing and it sparks interest in a few of you!

    Introduction
    There are many things I enjoy immensely about Civilization VI, but there’s also a few things I find tedious or monotonous about the gameplay. As a programmer by trade, my mind tends to wander towards solutions, and this mod package is my attempt at implementing changes that address the deficiencies. Some of you may find that what I consider a deficiency, you consider the opposite, and that’s to be expected, so let’s just acknowledge that and move on!

    I hope that each of the suggestions I outline below can be distilled into a few unique changes to the game which can all be turned on independently without breaking the others, but I suspect this won’t be entirely possible. I haven’t begun any implementation yet, a mod of this magnitude is far beyond my capability at the moment. I’d like to first get some feedback and ideas from the community, especially if some of what I mention has been done before. As this is my first post, I hope you’ll forgive my ignorance!

    So, to begin, I’ve focused on two primary areas of Civilization that I think could be improved.

    Autonomy
    I’m not a very good micro-manager…I never did well in games like WC III or Age of Empires, and even though the turn based style of Civ makes it less tense, I usually get bogged down and bored of a lot of the micromanaging. To address this, there are few things that I believe can be abstracted out a level to alleviate some of the micromanaging.

    Realism
    I know, Civilization is a game, it’s not meant to be a hyper-realistic simulation, but hear me out and I think you might find yourself agreeing. There’s a few areas I think ripe for improvement, but one aspect of the game that’s always bugged me is the “instantaneous communication” between leaders.

    Imagine this common scenario: you’re in the ancient era, you have a scout which has made its way to the opposite side of the really long continent, and there you meet a scout from the great Japanese empire! Somehow, instantaneously, you can begin talking and trading through all kinds of various means. Yea…okay…that’s definitely how it worked.

    Anyway, trade and diplomacy are just two of the areas where I have an issue with realism. Where I think the game does a good job is in warfare, so most likely, this mod package will include only minor changes to warfare.

    Gameplay Modifications
    Anyway, without further ado, I’m going to dig right in and start discussing each aspect of the game I think could use some rework, and then also introduce my proposed solution, as well as open the floor for suggestions.

    Empire Expansion
    Expanding your empire is a big deal, especially at the higher difficulties. If you don’t claim your territory, you’ll get shut out and shut down. Generally, this requires making sure you spend time on settlers. Well, I have a better idea. It combines a few different aspects of the game in a new way to automatically add settlements as your empire grows. I came up with this idea trying to find a better way to incorporate roads and trade routes into empire expansion.

    City Levels
    Essentially, the idea is something like this. Cities are now classified at different levels, perhaps Village, Township, City, Metropolis, I don’t know, maybe others. When you establish your city in the Ancient era, it’s a village. When you research a certain tech (either a new one or a current one), your capital will automatically become a Township when it reaches a certain population. Then, similarly, it will become a City at another population threshold, and lastly a Metropolis. I think it might be interesting if the city bounds could also expand to additional tiles instead of just the one, but these decisions are reserved for implementation.

    Population
    The first major change to accomplish this is that the property “Population” should no longer be applied only to cities, but instead be a sort of tile yield, though better yet it would just be a property of a tile (which programmatically might just be represented as a yield, though the idea isn’t to stockpile it as a resource). Having each tile with a population is the basis for determining when a tile automatically becomes a village and can begin climbing the tiers to a metropolis. It might be pertinent to have some range limits, (i.e. a tile can only become a village if it’s three tiles or further from a current city, though this too is an implementation decision.)

    Automatic Development
    Okay, tiles now have population, and when a tile reaches a certain population, it becomes a village, cool. So, how is population calculated? There's a lot that could potentially impact the population of a tile, but I'll list off a few things just to get the conversation started.
    1. Roads are critical. A tiles population growth should heavily depend on its proximity to a road. If the tile contains a road, that tile has maximum population growth from roads. (also, better roads increase population growth.
      1. This means trade route placement is also critical, as you might want to pick the first city state or other civ’s city not on how much gold you get, but the resources and locations that the road will travel through, as most likely that’s where your second city will end up.
      2. Intersecting roads should add bonus population growth
      3. Builders should gain the ability to build roads, that way if you have a spot you really want a city to spawn, you can build a road to the location if you cant make a trade route pass over it.
    2. Access to fresh water also increases population growth on a tile, obviously...
    3. Adjacent farms or plantations increase growth, while adjacent mines or quarries reduce it.
    4. Working a tile grows the population
      • Conversely, not working a tile could result in a population decline
      • Perhaps a tile can only grow in population if it’s being worked.
    Settlers
    So, now the question might be, what to do with Settlers? Well, I’m not sure exactly. I think increasing their cost or reducing their movement speed might be effective, but essentially the point of settlers now would sort of be as tactical land acquisition units. Did you discover a valley which is critical for holding a defensive position? Grab it with a settler. Want to make sure you setup some distance between you and a nearby civ? Use a settler…In general, I think as long as the role of the settler is no longer “move five tiles away and grab as many resources as possible before your neighbor does,” then I’ll be happy…

    Population Capping
    I think that it would also make sense for each city level to be sort of “capped” at a particular population, and if it continues to produce extra food, then the population can spill-over into nearby tiles, perhaps doing things like spawning “sister-cities” (sort of like Washington and Baltimore, or the five boroughs of New York City)

    Questions and Comments
    What are your thoughts on a change like this?
    • Is it possible in the current version of Civ VI?
    • Are there practical limitations I haven’t considered?
    • Do you have any better ways to accomplish the same effect in a simpler manner?
    • Do you think it would improve the game’s realism and/or autonomy?

    Exploration
    Exploring the map is where some players have the most fun, so I’m sure many of you will disagree with most of what I say here. So, to be clear, exploration is part of the “realism” improvements, but should also improve autonomy as well. It sort of goes along with Trade and Diplomacy too, but I’ll address them all independently, then tie them together after.

    So, I think let me just play out a scenario to illustrate what I envision for exploration.

    You settle your city where the game placed you, and select the scout you started with (if you don’t use a mod which does that, you’re doing it wrong.) You can move the scout anywhere in your visible territory, but you’re not allowed to move it beyond. In order to do that, you have to select an ability each scout now has called “Explore” (Not automate exploration, that’s implicit now.) When you do, you’re first prompted with a scouting duration (in turn count), and you’re also prompted to select an adjacent unexplored tile.

    The tile you select will do two things, first it establishes the direction you want the scout to explore in, and second, it will be the first tile the scout moves into. Once the scout leaves your territory on it’s exploration mission, you no longer have control of it. It will now perform an automatic scouting mission, and if the scout survives to return home, then it will bring back a map of the area, and all the terrain it explored will now become known.

    Additionally, lets say the scout finds a barbarian camp, or even encounters a barbarian, it will immediately return home and reveal the location so your warriors can go take care of it.

    Some other interesting things are how you could automate the exploration, let me list a few here.
    • Explore until the scout meets a new civilization or city state, then return.
    • Explore until it finds a new or specific resource. (Say you need iron, tell a scout to go find some)
    • Patrol the vicinity or a specific area for barbarians or enemy incursions
    Now, without vision or control of your scout, this would significantly change how you meet with a new civilization, and I will discuss this further in the Diplomacy section.

    This significantly alters the pace of the game, since now the scout has to return home to share the exploration. Because of this, the movement speed of the scout should also be increased. Additionally, mounted scouts should become a thing, and would obviously significantly increase the rate at which they get around. I think this would put a lot more emphasis on utilizing horses if they happen to be nearby, and elevate their utility in the early part of the game.

    This type of movement and exploration also brings into question whether military units should be capable of exploring the map, and my preliminary answer to this is no, they cannot, but I’ll address in the section on Warfare.

    Obviously, as technology improves, vision will increase and communication speeds will improve. I think it could be interesting if maybe there could be an improvement in the industrial era called “telegraph wire” which can be used to link cities together and speed up communication between leaders. Obviously radio would further improve this. But I think this would fall into a different category, so I'll ignore such things for now.

    Questions to consider on exploration:
    • How much would this type of change stifle the progress of the game?
      • It seems like it might be only practical to us it if on a slower game speed.
    • How difficult is it to automate player units?
    • Can units be configured so that they don’t reveal fog of war for the owner?
      • I’ve looked through some of the code and didn’t see an easy way to do this, but I’m not the most knowledgeable on Civ modding, so I’ll leave it to those who are.
    • Should all units be allowed to occupy the same tile? (unless at war)
      • I suggest this because a change like this would probably prompt the production of additional units to account for the reduced rate of exploration.
      • Upkeep costs would also need to be lowered to account for this
    Trade
    One change I would make to the trade system is moving the trade route cap from a global value per civilization, to a city limit. For instance, a village supports 1 route, a township 2, a city 3, etc. Certain buildings like a commercial hub still add trade routes, but only for the city in which it’s located.

    Traders would still be a unit, and they still make roads as they travel, you can still reassign traders to new cities, for the most part they remain the same. I also think trading of resources should be shifted to traders as well, and removed from the diplomacy menu.

    Trading resources through the diplomacy menu is a little silly when there’s a physical system of trade in place…I think that all resource trading between civilizations should be transferred to traders, this really only makes sense. The diplomacy menu should be reserved for things like declaring war, making allies, denouncing, etc, etc.

    So…

    Diplomacy
    I think policies will play a huge factor here. When you send a scout out for an exploration mission, you should probably first be required to set an “agenda” for him upon meeting a new civilization.

    Example agendas
    • Whether or not to share the location of your capital with a new civ
    • Act as an automatic delegate to their capital if the new civ accepts
    • Attempt to kill any scout encountered from another civilization
    As a second part to this, there will also be interactions when you as the player encounter a scout from another civilization in or near your territory. These interactions could either be automated through a policy, or maybe just dealt with on an independent basis.

    Anyway, when the scout or whatever unit you’ve sent to explore returns home, that is when you become introduced to the new leader. The difference will be that you’re unable to send a message back immediately, but instead must send an envoy, which should now also be a real unit, not just a thing to assign. To send an envoy, you can either send it alone, or let a military unit escort it, and then you wait for it to return from it’s mission with a response from the leader you sent it to. Like with the scout, you’d send the envoy with an agenda, and it would do its best to carry out said agenda.

    Questions on Diplomacy:
    • I’m torn as to whether this would actually improve the game.
    Warfare
    With the changes to sight and fog of war, I think there’s one huge change would could make a significant impact, and two simple things, well, simple from an idea perspective, but probably not from a modding one.
    1. Standard military units in the early eras do not implicitly reveal fog of war. If they end up inside fog of war, they become automated.
      • You can send warriors at the beginning of the game to take out a barbarian camp, but you can’t control them unless the camp is within your revealed land.
    2. Great Generals and Admirals now reveal fog of war and allow you to control your units on campaign.
      • This makes both types of great people significantly more important, as well as high valued targets.
      • Both should also be capable of being captured.
    3. Units can be assigned to a Great General or Admiral, then grouped and moved together.
    I’ll let you think on the possibilities a change like this introduces to the game.

    Now, in addition to these changes, there could be new directives which tell a unit what to do should it find itself on its own in the fog.
    1. Raid and pillage surrounding area
      • Note: Pillaging should require that the unit return to a city with the loot for it to count
      • To that effect, it seems like Units should have resource counts associated with them
      • This would imply that by killing the unit which pillaged your tile, you can gain your resources back from the *******.
      • Units should also only be able to carry a certain amount of resources.
    2. Head for home
    3. Find allied troops and link up
    4. Fight to the death
    Tile Improvements
    I’m not a huge fan of builders in this game, so here’s how I might change the system for improving tiles. First off, when a tile is worked (and therefore generating population on the tile), it also begins incrementally improving the tile as well. So, if you have a citizen working a tile which has a copper resource, eventually, if it continues to work there, a mine will become an automatic improvement after a certain amount of time (or maybe when it reaches a certain population below the village threshold).

    Side note: Instead of the “village”, perhaps each improvement could just be the first stage of becoming a city. So, maybe at the beginning of the game the Capital is just a “Village Green” improvement, which then becomes a Township, then a City, etc. A Mine also becomes a township, same with a plantation, etc.

    Anyway, builders would still be able to automatically create these improvements, which just add housing and population potential for that tile and increase the likelihood that it turns into a village/township in the future.

    Builders should still be important for something, similar to Settlers, but I don’t have an concrete ideas on how to work builders in. Maybe they’re more important for building wonders? This would encroach on China’s ability…but I think there’s some ways to accomplish this and keep China unique.


    Closing Statements
    So, I've said a lot here, and if you made it all the way here I'm impressed by your ability to focus! I'd love to here your comments and suggestion on ways to tackle some of the different ideas, as well as whether they're even possible with the current modding capabilities in the game. I touch on many different aspects of the game, and despite my best attempts at keeping them relatively tame, I suspect that more than a few of them will be mostly impossible.

    If you have any additional ideas or changes that might fall under the "Autonomy" or "Realism" subjects, please share them and I'll update this main post!

    If this leads to significant interest, I'll probably setup a code repository to use for collaboration, or if someone feels so inclined feel free to set one up for me.

    Anyway, I'll leave things here and see where it goes, thanks for reading!
     

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