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Increasing "Range of Vision" on Ocean?

Discussion in 'Civ4Col - We The People' started by raystuttgart, Nov 18, 2020.

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Increasing Range of Vision on Ocean Plots?

  1. Sounds interesting and might be fun for gameplay.

    61.1%
  2. Sounds completely unbalanced and aweful for gameplay.

    38.9%
  1. raystuttgart

    raystuttgart Civ4Col Modder

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    Hi guys,

    in my games I have often felt that the range of vision on Ocean is too low.
    (E.g. if you compare it to range of vision on Peaks.)

    Thus I suggest to increase (base) range of vision on Ocean by +1.
    (Not on Coast Plots though, to ensure that Ships can not look too deep into the land.)

    Considering Immersion:

    Basically there are no obstacles - except maybe Storms - that should prevent a ship to see quite far.
    (e.g. Enemy Ships or Land should be relatively easy to spot.)

    Considering Gameplay:

    Would it play quite differently than now?
    Of course it would, otherwise the change would be pointless.
    • Spotting Land would become easier.
    • Spotting and hunting other Ships would become easier for Pirates.
    • But at the same time it would become easier for Combat Ships to hunt Pirates as well.
    • Storms would become more useful as "hiding places".
    • Finding good Fishing / Whaling places for Fishing Boats / Whaling Ships would become easier.
    • Scouting for Water Goodies would become a bit easier.
    • Navigating through Storms and Unfavourable Winds would become a bit easier.
    Considering AI:
    • AI should actually also really profit from this.
    Considering Effort and Risk:
    • Basically almost 0.
    -----

    Actually I wonder why we have not yet already done that. :think:
    (I currently can not find a good reason that speaks against it.)

    Especially for "Gigantic Maps" this seems to be quite reasonable.

    -----

    Feedback? :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2021
    Schmiddie likes this.
  2. Mr. ZorG

    Mr. ZorG Prince

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    I support. however, will this change the promotions?
     
  3. raystuttgart

    raystuttgart Civ4Col Modder

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    The Promotions can stay unchanged and will still be valid and useful to my opinion.
    Naval Unit Promotions that give +1 Vision Range, will thus simply increase Vision Range from 2 Plots (new default on Ocean) to 3 Plots (with Promotion).

    The same thing happens on Peaks for Land Unit Promotion that give +1 Vision Range.
    (A Land Unit on a Peak with such a Promotion can then also see 3 Plots.)
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2020
  4. ConjurerDragon

    ConjurerDragon Prince Supporter

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    There are not many mountains on the ocean that a ship could climb, so how do you compare that? Sure the view from a mountain is far - after all you are very high up and gain an unobstructed vision into all adjacent valleys, if you are lucky until the next mountain range.. But on the ocean? Even the crow´s nest on the highest mast is nowhere as high as a hill, much less a mountain.

    That contradicts your own suggestion - if someone from the crow´s nest can look farther on flat ocan (so not through storms), then he would be able to look just as far over flat coast, plains etc. and his line of sight only be blocked by mountains, hills or forests.

    I agree on that no ship should be able to draw a line of sight through a storm.

    On the contrary with easy to spot stuff. If we look at it historically the best vision aid is a spyglass which first was invented around 1608
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_telescope

    Which means before 1608 you had a guy with the best eyes in the crow´s nest and the range he could see would be minimal depending on map scale.
    Considering that even on a gigantic map one square is hundred miles if I´m not mistaken (please correct me if someone knows the exact size of a square on the various map scales), even more on maps of smaller scale before 1608 the range of vision of ships and units should be *0* - they should be only able to see the square they are right in, because if they are in the center of that square normal eyes vision would not be able to see anything in the next square.

    And the first used spyglasses had a magnification only of 3X so even then the range of sight should be limited to *1* for ships.
    Only Galileo a few years later improved them to have 8X magnification to actually be useful in determining what ship would be sailing a few miles away and only because of the shape of the ship and a large flag of more than a squaremeter or a coat of arms sewn on the sail.

    A stupid question here: In my games when I have not yet discovered the whole ocean and use the function to automatically fish / whale the fishing boat / whaler ship seems to go straight to the next, unocupied fish resource / whale rescource, regardless if discovered or still under fog of war. If fog of war is still there and no discovered fishing/whaling resource is visible then the automatic version should be doing nothing.

    Only for the largest map sizes it makes any sense at all. On smaller scale maps a square represents an always larger area that no land or sea unit should be able to explore from several squares away.

    I object it. Ships are already fast and become faster with faster ships and promotions for ships that enhance speed or vision range over time, so that a player can uncover the whole ocean midgame if he puts some effort to it and that would be unhistorically fast for one colonizing nation to discover it all.
     
  5. raystuttgart

    raystuttgart Civ4Col Modder

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    I am talking about vision range only. :confused:
    I was not suggesting to change movement speed or anything else.

    I am not comparing it because of "height". :)

    The reason you can see very far from a mountain is that there are no obstacles that hinder your sight.
    It is similar on the ocean because it is flat - you can really see very far on it - much further than on land with hills, moutains and forrests.

    As I said, storms will become "hiding places" that obscure your vision. :thumbsup:

    ---

    By the way:

    I am mostly suggesting this because I am convinced it will improve gameplay. :)

    Well it will be most noteable for gameplay on "Gigantic Maps" of course.
    (And yes, that is my prefered MapSize.)

    But I feel it will not damage gameplay of other MapSizes either.
    (Becaue you will usually also not have as many Ships as on "Gigantic Maps".)

    ---
    That is completely ok. :thumbsup:
    (I wanted to get honest feedback on this.)

    It is like always a matter of personal taste. :dunno:
    (And I completely know that everybody has a different personal taste.)
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2021
  6. ConjurerDragon

    ConjurerDragon Prince Supporter

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    I understand that you did not suggest to change movement speed.

    But the time to explore the ocean depends on speed of the ship (how many squares can it sail in a turn) and vision range and even the cost of movement through a sqaure, all together.

    As ships become faster with better ships available during the course of the game the higher speed (and speed gained from promotions) and vision range gained from promotions and lower movement cost from promotions allows to cover more ground than early ships without that can do.
     
  7. Nightinggale

    Nightinggale Deity

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    I played around with this for a bit and it looks like the code is ready for it. Just add a +1 vision promotion to all ships. However I will propose implementing this a more clean way. Add visual range to UnitInfo. That's one more number to add in CvUnit::visibilityRange() though. For this reason I will propose adding this in big merge as I changed how promotion effects are stored in memory. This way we can have one cached value, which is the combined value of 3 values from xml. More clean code and faster (though I don't think it will make a huge performance difference in this specific case).

    As for the feature itself, from a gameplay perspective I like it. The high speed of ships means warships (or pirates) chasing ships will lose where they go between turns due to the fog of war. That's a really poor simulation of ships chasing each other and it makes ships less interesting. It also makes it harder to patrol an area to keep enemy ships out.

    One issue though. Large rivers are treated as ocean in terms of line of sight for ships. Ideally ships should treat them as land when considering line of sight. We already have an issue here, but increasing line of sight makes it worse.
     
  8. raystuttgart

    raystuttgart Civ4Col Modder

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    It is much much much easier than that. :)

    It is a simple single setting in the XML of Terrain Ocean - the change will not affect Larger Rivers or Coast.
    (There would even already exist a XML setting in GlobalDefines - but I do not want to use it because it would trigger for all Water Plots thus also Large Rivers and Coasts.)

    ---

    No Promotion changes, no Units changes, no Terrain Feature changes, ...

    We just need to change 1 single XML tag in Terrain Ocean from 0 to 1 and it is all done.
    (Not one single line of code needs to be changed.)

    And AI would not need to be adjuted either - it could perfectly handle it and even benefit from that change.
    (Checked the AI code as well.)

    No effort, no risk of bugs, no AI problems, ...
    This is probably the easiest to implement change I ever suggested.

    It will definitely have effects on gameplay though.
    That is why I wanted to ask first, before I commit it to WTP core mod.

    Cool. :thumbsup:
    Until now all team members seem to like it.

    But I would still like to collect more feedback from community first. :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2020
  9. lethiel

    lethiel Streaming Col at https://www.twitch.tv/lethiel01

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    There are already (too) many promotions that give vision range. Fog of war is a good thing for a game. In general you should not get to know easily what your opponent is doing. You must 'scout' what they are doing. Low vision adds risk = more challenge (and imo more excitement).
    I object.
     
  10. RayCorps

    RayCorps Chieftain

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    I like the idea.

    Being able to spot the merchant ships easier would encourage buying and using pirate ships. This also encourages planning for safer trade routes which leads to more war ships to patrol these routes.
    Is it possible to have this feature as an option in the custom game menu?
     
  11. devolution

    devolution Prince

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    @raystuttgart

    My reasons for voting "no":

    I disagree that this is a benefit to the AI.

    Consider the following issues:
    - We already have several naval promotions (at least 2) that extend the vision range. At least one of these should have the vision range removed for balancing purposes. (unless we want ships with an "unrealistic" sight range)
    - There will be a slight performance hit due to the search range for visibility computations (unless we do what I propose above, in which case the change will be performance neutral - no net increase in max visibility range)
    - Pirates and privateers will benefit as well, so you could just as well argue that this is a benefit for piracy / war-mongers.

    An alternative would be to introduce a (better?) automation for scouting, guarding and escorting the merchant fleet. This is high on my TODO list anyhow :crazyeye:
    Even if we don't expose this functionality to the human player, it surely is needed by the AI!
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2020
  12. raystuttgart

    raystuttgart Civ4Col Modder

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    Accepted. :thumbsup:
    I will not commit it, no problem.

    Like so often this is basically a matter of personal taste and all of us have a different one.
    (I can always just use it in my private version of WTP - that I rebalance for my own personal taste and play with.)

    Fully agree, I also wrote that myself. :)
    (But "Hunting Pirates" would also become easier.)

    Not necessairly "war-mongers" - but yes it would favour a "faster and more aggressive" gameplay on Ocean. :yup:
    (And yes, that is what I intended with that suggestion - because I still feel it would be more interesting.)

    True, but it should really hardly be noticable.
    (Especially if you compare it to other stuff that heavily impact pathfinding.)

    -----

    It is definitely a really good idea and it will be great to get your AI improvements for that. :thumbsup:
    (It is not "an alternative" to my suggestion though.)
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2020
  13. raystuttgart

    raystuttgart Civ4Col Modder

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    Sure, but as a "Game Option" it would require writing code - which will impact performance more. :(
    But I feel it is unnecessary because there is already an XML setting for Terrain Ocean and every player can easily change it for himself.

    Also I do not want to have 1000 Game Options for every small balancing change already possible in XML.
    (It is a really bad design decision to do that - we would clutter the mod with Game Options.)

    Just wanted to know if I should / could set it as "Standard" in WTP core mod. :dunno:
    This has however been answered with "No" now.

    -------

    Summary:

    Players can simply adjust this in XML to their own personal taste. (As I will do as well.)
    But it will not become standard setting in WTP core mod and there will also be no Game Option for it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2020
  14. Nightinggale

    Nightinggale Deity

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    Depends on how creative we get.
    That's the main reason why I won't start coding it. Not performance, but rather we would flood the players with settings and then most people will give up figuring out the important settings.
     
  15. raystuttgart

    raystuttgart Civ4Col Modder

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    A team member veto is a team member veto. :thumbsup:
    (It is one of my "golden rules" from lessons I learned in modding.)
    • Setting it as "standard setting" in XML is dead
    • Making it a Game Option is a bad design idea
    I also saw that too many community members do not like it anyways. (Currently 40%)
    (But since it is so easy to use, each of us can apply it in his private "play version".)

    Summary:

    Thus the idea has died for me. :dunno:
     
  16. raystuttgart

    raystuttgart Civ4Col Modder

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    @team:

    There were 2 team members that voted against this change.
    (3 team members supported it.)

    I still accept the "team member veto" of course. :thumbsup:
    I simply ask again if this is the case because it was implemented in V's Sub Mod and discussion was started about integrating parts of it.

    Since it is just a single XML tag there is also 0 risk and effort involved in case we want to revert again in a later release.

    Sorry for asking again. :blush:
    (I promise it is the last time I ask about this change.)

    By the way:


    There is no point for me to discuss all the pros and cons of this change again.
    We would just waste our time if we repeat our arguments and opinions.

    Like most of the time it simply comes down to personal taste in the end.
    There is also no obligation to answer to this post - I take "a non-answer" as "I still reject".
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2021
  17. Nightinggale

    Nightinggale Deity

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    I do note that 2/3 of the votes wants this. Now I'm thinking of the idea where a game option can grant a CivEffect. If we add that, then we can add a CivEffect, which grants a free promotion to all ships using pure xml, hence creating a game option, which grants +1 visibility range for ships.

    I won't touch this for the time being as I want to focus on the OOS issue until it is fixed. However given how the votes have turned out, a game option is worth considering. My main concern is game balance, but since the option applies to everybody or nobody, it is allowed to make ships more powerful. The game can still be balanced, just differently balanced.
     
  18. raystuttgart

    raystuttgart Civ4Col Modder

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    We need a consense in the team.
    We have to implement one way or the other, not both.

    An Game Option does not really work, since it has impacts on other balancing in game.
    (And I want my balancing to feel nicely integrated. Thus I do not want a patch work of optional features.)

    e.g.
    - I will balance the Promotions accordingly.
    - I will balance the amount of Exploration Points from Exploring accordingly.
    ...

    If we follow this path we will end up with endless game options and endless wasted work and huge amouns of pointless code to maintain.
    Simply because we could not decide on a simple XML setting to be 1 or 0 ...

    --------

    I promise I will not be angry if any team member says no. :)
    I simply want to get a clear answer (see options below).

    --------

    I ask again because my suggestion was implemented in V's SubMod and we started discussion about integrating those changes.
    Now we have to ask for every single of these changes: "Are we going to adapt it or not."

    Team has to learn to make such decisions and to find a consense. Otherwise we will never be able to change balancing efficiently.
    (The only alternative will be that I start changing balancing without asking and risk disagreements afterwards ...)

    It is either:
    • Yes, I like it. (It is a great idea and I will also support if needed.)
    • I do not really care.. (I will accept what majority wants but am not interested to support.)
    • No, I really do not want it. (I put a hard team member veto to it because I do not accept the consequences.)
    And again, a "No" of any team member is supposed to be final.
    Ignoring such "No's" usually leads to team members leaving the team and we do not want that.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2021
  19. Mr. ZorG

    Mr. ZorG Prince

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    playing with the sub-mod, I reconsidered my view on this. however, this change, if accepted, will need to rework the promotions. Ray, you seem to be doing this already)
     
  20. raystuttgart

    raystuttgart Civ4Col Modder

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    It is always the same. :mischief:

    I propose a change and players always get scared to simply try something new (even if there is 0 risk and 0 effort involved) and thus directly reject the idea without even giving it a chance.
    Players ofthe simply have so little trust in their modders and additionally often really lack the imagination that some features can become really good and fun. :(

    Then somebody else comes along and implements exactly what I suggest, players accidently stumble over it and then suddenly everybody likes it ... :confused:
    Other times I really had to almost force a new feature into the mod because at first everybody was afraid of (e.g. Happiness) and then later on everybody loved it.

    Well there is this old saying which is true so often: "A prophet is worth nothing in his own lands". :lol:

    Yes, I already started completely rebuilding the Promotion System (for Ships) from scratch.
    The old one was really simply completely outdated since it was Vanilla and it was awefully balanced and unsystematically designed.

    And yes, the question I ask in this thread has impact on the Promotions I will design - even though it is just a small detail and a just simple XML flag.
    That is also why I would like to have my question answered (once and for all). :)
     

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