Idea thread: non-combat conflict?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Creation & Customization' started by Padmewan, Apr 13, 2006.

  1. Padmewan

    Padmewan King

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    Premise 1: A core aspect of the Civ4 game engine is "hot" conflict (combat).

    Premise 2: Fighting (in the game) is fun.

    Premise 3: "Hot" conflict between real-world civilizations is episodic and rare.

    Query: Can we model other forms of inter-civ conflict that does not involve "hot" war?

    Example 1: Espionage. But for some reason, this isn't as fun as combat, maybe because of Premise 2? In SMAC, spies could kill each other, which at least exploited the core combat engine.

    Example 2: Privateers. See Civ3 Conquests. Though technically, this is combat.

    Example 3: Bad People Mod. Pure genius, esp. if the AI knows how to use and respond to Bad People showing up.


    Are there ways to leverage the Civ4 engine for other forms of conflict that aren't about swords and bullets? One nascent idea was the Conspiramod, in which the units of attack would be corrupt lawyers, bankers, clergy, and other nefarious people. In a Cold War setting, can you "attack" your rival civ using such weapons as propaganda, which can only be countered by similar units?

    I imagine this can be modeled by having different units with appropriate "invisible" tags and be able to attack each other, but can it be done without triggering hot war (while at the same time not exactly improving your relations)?

    Can "cold war" be a different diplomatic status than "war"?

    Would implementing such ideas be fun, or yet another thing to micromanage?

    :nuke: :nuke: :nuke:

    And flipping this around, can different levels of alliances be modeled as well? For example, imagine if the Trade Mission carried out by the Great Merchant gave you 1,000 gold but ALSO gave the recipient civ 250 gold. This would be much more realistic -- and you would suddenly choose your "trade partners" much more carefully! (If this mechanic were implemented, the AI could run through a balance-of-benefit equation that weights the greater payoff of a far-away mission against the AI's "feelings" about the target civ).
     
  2. Padmewan

    Padmewan King

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    * bump *

    I will give this one more chance...
     
  3. woodelf

    woodelf Bard Retired Moderator

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    You meant to hit :bump:

    I wonder why they went away from SMAC spy warfare...
     
  4. Padmewan

    Padmewan King

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    Another thing I remember from SMAC: Turning your mindworms loose. It's like creating barbarians: a passive-aggressive way to hurt your opponents, assuming you let it loose somewhere where it wouldn't go after you.

    Still, I guess I was thinking something not really "combat" related -- like, is there a way to model economic "warfare" in this game using the war engine, or is that best handled at the abstract layer it's captured in now? Perhaps, Caravans (small merchants) that can be attacked with, dunno, lawyers...?
     
  5. Figaro

    Figaro Tywysog

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    Something religious perhaps?
     
  6. RogerBacon

    RogerBacon King

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    (Doing best Elvis impression) Thank you, thank you very much.

    Yes, the AI does know how to use them. I gave them the "investigate city" setting and once they go in to the city they activate. The AI "sort of" knows how to defend against them in the sense that defence comes in two parts: building a building and keeping defensive units in the city. The AI already does both of these things on its own. I guess I could add a python check to force it to build a gallows if it has bad people infesting its city.

    You might also like my Assassin mod if you like the bad people mod. Assassins cause unrest in cities and can cause a city to go into unrest.

    Roger Bacon
     
  7. Padmewan

    Padmewan King

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    If it ain't broke, don't fix it...

    ... but I wonder how people like the current diplomacy system, and if there are any ideas for how to improve or spice it up.

    One thought is the idea of diplomacy units (like the Great Statesman mod. In medieval times, nations would trade "hostages" (a/k/a princes and princesses) as a way to keep the peace. I could see diplomacy units as serving a similar function -- you get a few (perhaps limited by civic or tech) and stationing them in another civ's capital will increase your relations by some small but meaningful amount. Losing the unit would cause some kind of harm to the donor nation, so the exchange is meaningful -- the hostage is lost if war erupts.

    Other nations could also attempt to assassinate the diplomat / hostage.

    A unit like this would make a lot more sense for MP than for SP. It would be an interesting way to seal a pact between two players. Watching a diplomat evacuate your capital would be a sure sign of impending trouble!

    Perhaps the diplomat could merge with or supplement the trade system. The diplomat (presumably busy negotiating economic deals) increases trade between the two nations. Losing that unit would smash the trade route and cause other penalties.
     
  8. dh_epic

    dh_epic Cold War Veteran

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    I think culture wars could be really fun. To me, Great Artists are part of it, but are insufficient since they're only one mechanism and makes culture war an extremely narrow (and frustrating) strategy -- for both the winner and the loser.

    I thought that a culture spreading model would be an interesting way to do this. And I thought it would end up making a much bigger impact on gameplay than religion. But alas, Firaxis made their choice (and the wrong one, IMO).

    http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=102134

    That might give you some ideas. The idea developed significantly from the original post.
     
  9. Aussie_Lurker

    Aussie_Lurker Deity

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    I still say that it didn't have to be a zero-sum game DH (as anyone can tell from my sig ;) ).
    I also don't think that this marks a final, irrevocable direction for Firaxis. My hope is that future expansions will add further depth to Religion and the Culture system. Adopting elements of the Mylon mod would be a start (culture spread via trade routes) and perhaps building it into the Resource trade system (relative culture strength effecting demand for your goods and the spread of your culture to other nations).
    Something else which could be done is to tweak existing Great People slightly-so that they can be 'added' to foreign cities. For instancce, a Great Merchant from France could be sent to an English City and joined to it to form a 'Super Specialist'. Only problem is that many of the benefits go to the French. The income generated goes into the FRENCH treasury OUT of the English city's commerce (though the English get SOME of the money based on the current Tax settings). Basically you have formed a 'Franchise' or 'Subsidiary' in a foreign nation.
    A similar thing could work with Artists and Prophets, effectively 'planting' a foreign culture in the city, and possibly siphoning money and/or hammers away from that city. Obviously it should have potential benefits for the recipient city, but should definitely be like a sugar-coated poison pill ;).

    On another note, I seriously hope that espionage is improved in the XP, with spies able to perform many more missions, and with success and failure having much greater impact on long-term espionage-i.e. Spy units should have their own XP and promotion pathways based on successful missions.

    Anyway, these are just some thoughts but, with all the great mods coming out in this kind of area, I doubt it will be long before we see some-if not all-of them taken in and tweaked for future Expansions!

    Aussie_Lurker.
     
  10. Padmewan

    Padmewan King

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    The hard part about any of these ideas is modeling it in a way that is fun to play. I have to admit there is definitely a thrill to "culture bombing," as unrealistic as it may be. I also think Firaxis walked a very tight rope regarding religion and personally felt they pulled it off, or at least, most of it. It was probably wiser to let Sevo do Faces of God as a separate, still-PC mod than to include it and have some mischief-makers purposefull pair up Islam with terrorism, take some screenshots, and next thing you know, no Danishes in Dubai.

    The nice thing about the way religion was implemented is that there finally is some modeling of how we basically see the trajectory of human history: early on neighbors warred with each other regardless of sharing religion, but as time moved on and the world expanded (as it does in the game), conflict grew with it.

    Anyway, enough praise. I'd be interested in spinning that idea around, Aussie -- is there a way to model economy in a way that is not just accurate but also exciting? Or am I really talking about a different game (e.g. one in which the late-game board shifts to being one of corporations fighting it out over market share?)
     
  11. dh_epic

    dh_epic Cold War Veteran

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    On the topic of non-violent competition...

    I actually brainstormed with a few friends the idea for an econonomic competition. It's semi-realistic, but sacrifices a significant amount of realism to focus on gameplay: namely, cutting all the intricate BS out and going straight for competition.

    The idea is a simple analogy.

    In Civilization, you traditionally explore territory, use settlers to colonize it, then try to take over each others' cities.

    This economic model involves exploring new "markets", making "investments" to "acquire" a market segment, and then trying to take over each others' international markets.

    There's more information in the PDF in this thread. And by no means is this set in stone. But I think it actually has the right combination of being simple enough to implement and learn quickly, but complex enough that it could even support its own victory condition.
     
  12. jenks

    jenks Prince

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    possible use for something like this in Roanoke Pad ?


    set to investigate cities, initial designs

    Probe Team : invisible with the ability to randomly either:

    build a comm jammer in enemy cities (-50% control per turn, -50% trade route yield, -1 happiness in base). Comm Jammers are then made obsolete by a 'Frequency Sweeper' building being built in the city
     
  13. dh_epic

    dh_epic Cold War Veteran

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    That's a good start, but speaking for myself personally, I'd go beyond a single unit with a single function. Why not have something that has even a fraction of the intricasies of combat -- but non-violent? (Be that espionage, trade, or culture.)
     
  14. Starship

    Starship Warlord

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    I think the big trick is the combat....when you take out the noncombat unit would you take it out with another noncombat unit? Would that cause war?

    For example. You could have a line of units travelling minstrels, courtesans, Vizier...etc... But when the time came would you attack them with other courtesans? Perhaps you could have a violent and nonviolent covert ops line.

    Maybe the different types actually gave benefits to the host city. Exp: Travelling Minstrel can go to any civ w/ open borders, and spy, but would give the host city culture. A vizier science, a courtesan money. Abilities and types of units would grow and change over the different time periods.

    Along the violent line you could have true spies, police, assassins, and special forces for the different ages that increase in ability. These units wouldn't be restricted to open borders agreements, and could take out the above non violent covert ops unit line without repercussion.

    Just my .02
     
  15. dh_epic

    dh_epic Cold War Veteran

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    The nonviolent units would have to function in a fundamentally different way from military units. At least, that's how I imagined it. But really, it was a nugget that offered some potential for someone to run with -- and you did :) A lot of these things, you don't know how fun they'll be until you try them out.
     
  16. Ranbir

    Ranbir Civ junkie

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    Financial dependancy.

    Wasn't the Cold War on two different economic models? No real conflicts, but one side crippled the other economically. Sort of.

    Maybe funding 'rebels' in other civs, and if you got them freedom. Such as, a Civ in civil war, you help the rebel sides and they win. But then they could decide to become your problem with all that weaponary and such you supplied them!
     

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