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late game tech tree

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Dune Wars' started by davidlallen, Dec 16, 2009.

  1. davidlallen

    davidlallen Chieftain

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    This thread is for discussion of a redesign for the late game tech tree.

    Some recent changes and discussion at this post.

    Some previous issues mentioned in the issue spreadsheet:

    AHR84. Its still way too easy to buy units far ahead of your tech; beelining a single tech suddenly lets you purchase a ton of advanced units.

    AHR85. Low energy vehicle should probably require desert industry (too easy to beeline otherwise).

    DA186. What is the point of the Sand Farms tech? It is a dead end that is not a prereq for anything and its bonus is (in my opinion) of limited value. Could it maybe be made a prereq for Arrakis Transformation or Planetary Ecology (seems thematic) and have its bonus made +1 commerce on insect farms, dewtraps and plantations instead of +2 commerce on plantations (a bit more generally useful instead of a large concentrated bonus)? Stochastic, succession game 2 thread #74

    DA191. Remove line crossings on tech tree near Mentat Logic

    DV2. One of the things that is important in a tech tree is that the techs are conceptually different and clearly defined. A couple of examples of this not being the case are Spice Industry/Desert Industry/Industrialism and Water Conservation/Water Discipline. I think there is not an obvious distinction between these techs. When you are trying to find art for things, items where there is not a clear conceptual distinction tend to stand out.

    There are probably some other recent comments in random threads to be collected.

    One project I had planned, but never executed, is to study the difference between the x position of a tech on the tech tree, and the number of total prereq techs. This is the basis of comment AH84 above. For example, tech A is at x coordinate 10, but there is empty space to the left of it, and you only need 6 techs in total to be able to research A. While tech B is at x coordinate 8, but it has several OR prerequisites and those have prerequisites, so you need 15 techs before you can research B. You can get this information by starting a game and clicking on any tech in the tech chooser. The game will compute the path of techs you need to research to get there, and number them for you. So the number displayed on the tech, after you click, is the total number of prereq techs (modulo your civ starting techs).

    Today the era changes based strictly on X position, and your access to homeworld reinforcements is based strictly on era. So there is an unusual possibility that a tech like A (which may have nothing to do with weapons in the first place) may grant access to very advanced homeworld units.
     
  2. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    There was a whole other discussion somewhere, where we were throwing some ideas down, for a "spritual/religious/weirding" tech line vs a mechanical/technological techline. I'll link it here when I find it.
     
  3. davidlallen

    davidlallen Chieftain

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    Possibly this post and subsequent? I searched for "late" in the forum.
     
  4. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    Thanks! Yes, that post and the stuff around it. I will index.
     
  5. Deliverator

    Deliverator Graphical Hackificator

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    I was close to starting up this thread, so you just beat me to it. :)

    I think this can also serve the purpose of a "Stuff from the novels that is not yet in the mod, but could be good" thread.

    Re-quoting the old discussion where still relevant:

    1. We should make Atomics something exciting to race for to get a strategic advantage in the late stages. Doesn't feel like that now - probably because I get bored before I get to Atomics.


    2. Not sure about Cooling Systems as a concept. Maybe it's just the fridge icon. The +1 Extra Moves on Deep Desert seems a bit weird. I get that this could represent better cooling systems for engines, but maybe there is something more Dune-themed.

    3. I think more techs representing the mystical/religious side of the Duniverse would be good later on. I think that side of things is under-represented in the late game techs which maybe why it starts to lose flavour. Having a least two broad late game branches would make things more interesting perhaps. Perhaps one for the mystical/religious type stuff, Weirding Way, Golden Path, Kwizatz Haderach, that kind of thing, and another for technological stuff, Atomics, Thinking Machines, etc. So a choice between power through prescience and other paranormal type powers, or power through conventional technology.

    4. Miniaturization might be good late game tech. Hunter seekers and extra transport capacity.

    5. The Research Labs tech seems to come when there is not too much of interest left to research. Consider moving it earlier or filling out the late tech tree with some more interesting and thematic techs.

    6. Artificial Spice should probably be later game (and have some effect - I know there is a Wonder pending). That would free up room for 2 or 3 techs leading off Genetic Manipulation beneath Industrialism and Cybernetics.

    In general, I think a fairly extensive reworking of the late tech tree would be good. We reworked the early to mid techs quite a bit to get what we have now, so a similar process would be good. I guess testing how the late game plays might be trickier, but you can always run autoplays until the lategame and then switch leaders to one who is in an interesting position to play from.

    ------------

    I have several things I have thought about regarding Dune things that we don't yet have, or are only represented in a small way, but I will write a separate post for them.
     
  6. Deliverator

    Deliverator Graphical Hackificator

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    I have made the following local changes to the Adapted Agriculture (formerly Sand Farms) tech:
    1. Now gives +1 commerce on insect farms, dewtraps and plantations (remove 1 commerce from insect farms to compensate)
    2. made Adapted Agriculture a prereq for Planetary Ecology

    I would still like this tech to have at least one building associated with it. A tech that just boosts improvements feels too thin.

    A rough idea:

    (That's "ass" as in donkey folks.)

    I thought it might be good to represent use of kulons as beasts of burden and working animals. Given our post-apocalyptic backstory there would be a period where working animals would still be useful, before industrial production levels make them obsolete.

    Perhaps we could have a building Kulon Breeder at Adapted Agriculture that would add +1 commerce to Desert Plantation and perhaps +1 hammer to mines in the city radius.

    At the moment you can't have a building that boosts local improvements. The closest thing I could find is the National Park / Forest Preserve mechanic. The National Park building gives free specialists per instance of a particular improvement (Forest Preserve) inside the city radius. Perhaps this could be adapted in the SDK to allow a building to provide, for example, +1 hammer per local mine.

    Just an idea...
     
  7. keldath

    keldath LivE LonG AnD PrOsPeR

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    hey guys,

    glad you guys are re doing the late tech tree.

    if theres anything i can do to help ,
    just say so.
     
  8. Deliverator

    Deliverator Graphical Hackificator

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    General Tech Tree points

    The religious/mystical techs seem to fizzle out after Jihad, apart from a couple on the Sand Worms branch (Water of Life, Desert Rites, Golden Path)

    In general, I think everything from Sand Worms onwards could be re-organised and expanded.

    Perhaps if we make Water of Life require Sand Worms and Academies we could move Reverend Mothers back there since Academies is pretty crowded? There is room for this by moving Adapted Agriculture up a little, then move Benevolence, Academies, Way of Liet and Planetary Ecology all to the left. This might help free up space for sorting out the tangle around Mentat Logic.

    Spoiler :

    Perhaps a Prescience tech following Water of Life tech that allows the Chamber of Visions wonder and something else.

    Can we bring Weirding Way earlier and have it enable Sayyadinas?

    Perhaps Academies should require Law of Arrakis or Culture of Dune?

    Perhaps rename Suspensor Devices to Holtzmann Generators just to have the name in there? It never really made sense coming *after* all the shield and suspensor technologies.

    Also, Distrans was another culled late game tech, but is hard to think of a suitable effect for improved communications. Perhaps make a Distrans Network wonder providing greater visibility around cities?

    Jacuruta/The Cast-Out/Water Stealers

    I would like to represent these, but I'm not sure exactly how.
    Vague ideas:
    1) Have Jacurutu/The Cast-Out appear as a Minor Civ towards the late game somewhere around the edge of the map. Those who can contact and win good relations with them get some benefit perhaps represented as a bonus good that lets them build certain buildings (e.g. Sandtrout Farms) or units (e.g. Worm Hunter).
    2) Turning killed units into water is possible using similar code the tsentom1's Terracotta Army wonder. The problem is that Culture is culmulative in the sense that once added to a city it can't be taken away again, whereas water needs to provide a permanent uplift if it is going to support a permanent increase in population. Therefore, turning killed units into water in this way probably doesn't work.

    Worm Capture

    Another thing that the Cast-Out do is capture worms to sell them off world. I've thought about a worm capture mechanic for a while. The worms feel like a minor irritation in the mod right now and it might be good to give them more of a role. But even though it should be possible to write a simple worm capturing AI, I don't know how fun capturing worms for gold would actually be. It might just suffer from the same tedious micromanagement that the RTS-style spice harvesting experiment suffered from.

    Human-Worm Hybrids

    Leto II's combination with the sandtrout gives him "tremendous strength and speed, acting as a living powered exoskeleton and also protection from mature sandworms, who mistake his sandtrout-covered body for a lethal mass of water". The requirement for the sandtrout merging in the book is a body completely saturated with spice, Leto II is the first to achieve this level of saturation.

    Perhaps a Sandtrout Farm which allows for a limited number of tough Hybrid units, and later a single powerful God-Emperor unit.

    Monitor Warcraft

    This jumped out at me recently as another late game idea. You could have a multi-part spacecraft that has to be constructed in a similar way to the vanilla spaceship with components at different techs, but instead of winning on completion you get an enormously powerful warship that can fly around bombarding cities and generally destroying everything in its path. It should not be impossible to defeat - just very difficult. We don't have to use the name Monitor since that is a bit dull.

    Other Dune concepts that might be worked into the mod

    The Bene Gesserit Observation - True Human-hood - the Gom-Jabbar

    The Hajj of the Dune Messiah era - the massive influx of interplanetary pilgrims to Arrakis - relics of Muad'dib etc. Could perhaps be tied in with the Qizarate religion somehow or perhaps just a commercial wonder.

    "POLING THE SAND - the art of placing plastic and fiber poles in the open desert wastes of Arrakis and reading the patterns etched on the poles by sandstorms as a clue to weather prediction" - Perhaps give the Fremen have advanced warning of Sandstorms through this technique - but Sandstorms are a minor factor really so this is probably not interesting.

    Moisture Seals - I would find this a more convincing thematic +% water technology than Greenhouses.

    A Sietch UB for the Fremen replacing Guard Station? I think Ahriman has proposed an effect before.

    That's it for now...
     
  9. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    I'm not sure that insect farms are too strong and need a nerf, but I am relatively indifferent.
    I think that +1 commerce to windtraps is more important here (we've knocked their commerce down by 2)
    And I don't think plantations need a nerf either (they currently get +2 commerce).

    Hmm. I'm not sure that even in the very early game physical beasts of burden make sense.
    Certainly not as late as Adapted Agriculture, which is an early midgame tech, and by this stage you have ornithopters and suspensors and quads. I think that's a bit too low-tech for our purposes.

    I agree that something else is needed at this tech.

    Did we end up with a Wonder here? Perhaaps we should move the greenhouse building here (+15% water). That would significantly increase the value of this tech, while delaying city growth somewhat, and decreasing the (very high) value of the arrakis plantation tech (or whatever it is called?) that is currently probably too strong.

    If we're going back to adjusting improvement yields, we should think again about my proposal some time ago, to make mines mesa-only, turbines mesa and flat, and solar farms (and cottages) sink and flat. However, this means that we would have to adjust mine yields somehow to avoid them being dominated by turbines.
    And removnig the -1 water from solar farms, to get rid of the AI's reluctance to build them (even on 0-water plots).

    I do think though that adjusting mine yield through an Agriculture/ecological tech would feel wrong.

    I hope to have some time to throw together some late-game ideas this weekend, but more suggestions and brainstorm ideas are very welcome.
    Keldath, any thoughts?

    We should also think about more units we might be able to put here. We might need 1 more melee unit, and another missile guardsman unit. We have a vehicle (the heavy scorpion) and some suspensors and aircraft.
    What else could go here?
     
  10. Deliverator

    Deliverator Graphical Hackificator

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    OK, I'll revise to +2 commerce on Insect Farms/Desert Plantations and +1 on Wind Traps with the Adapted Agriculture tech. That should at least make it pretty attractive.

    I've dumped out some more ideas above.
     
  11. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    I do not think delaying Reverend Mothers will work well. Reverend Mothers are a key part of Bene Gesserit faction gameplay; the faction design is pretty heavily built around their special diplomacy missions (other than Reverend mothers and the Kwizatz Haderach line, Reverend Mothers don't have anything).

    So shifting the unit later weakens the faction significantly. They can beeline Academies and then start getting some tier2 military units, but they can't really feasibly beeline water of life before getting tier2 military.

    I will make another call for a Missionaria Protectiva BG UB at Faith tech or Religious Mandate tech that gives ~+2 espionage points and +1 happy per non-state religion present in the city (to emphasize BG role as religious manipulators, they want lots of religions).

    Maybe.... but what woudl it do for non Bene-Gesserit factions?
    I would think that this probably works better as a very late-game tech that allows a mystic/mentalist melee unit.
    I think Sayyadinas can fit fine on one of the existing religious techs, these techs don't do much else if you don't get them first to found their religion.

    I have no particular problem with this, but what is the problem you are trying to solve here? In practice Academies is much more expensive and has much more expensive pre-requisites than either of these.

    It could give a passive benefit of +2 sight range over "water" (= desert). That would be pretty useful at increasing the ability to spot incoming super-stacks.

    I am tempted to make these guys into the Barbarian faction. I think that makes more sense than smugglers.
    We have IMO three options for Barbarians; they can represent Houses Minor, Smugglers, or Renegade Natives (Jacuruta works well for that).

    Currently, barbarians perform a very minor role, they almost never appear beyond the early game.
    I suspect this is because they only really spawn on land tiles, and only outside line of sight of players. And even then all they do is act as free cities, particularly for Fremen players racing around with Crysknife fighters.

    Is there a way we could make barbarians a bit more interesting and more important, and a bit more of a threat?

    I don't think we want to go back to the patch where they could build Crysknife fighters (4 movement in desert, from 2 moves + sandrider) and they went racing around destroying workers and transprots with settlers in the early game. But perhaps there is something else we could do here.

    By the late-game there is no decent terrain left that could support cities of other players, so I don't think that would work very well.

    One-off water is still valuable in that it helps you reach a higher population faster. Cities are in disequilibrium (water income != water consumed) for much of the game.
    I would like to tie this affect into Deathstills. Its a standard Fremen thing to render the dead for water, it wouldnt' need to be tied to Jacuratu. Also, it would be nice to play up some of the alien culture and weird savage customs of the Fremen. Their culture is somewhat horrific to an offworlder.
    However: an affect that only gives water for units killed *in* cities is not very helpful. Mostly you only lose a lot of units in a city right before that city is captured. It would only really be useful if you could get water for units killed *nearby* the city (eg within 3 tile radius, or within BFC).

    I think this hybridization is a very specific thing to Leto II. I don't think it would feel right to spread this to other factions or other units. It also takes a very long time, no?

    Interesting. I quite like it. I assume there is a Not missing. "It should be impossible to defeat - just very difficult."

    I could imagine:
    a) Higher defensive bonus
    b) Water bonus (if we remove the bonus water from deathstill, and give them a water from uniit death affect).
    c) Free promotion (we used to have a stillsuit bonus promotion from units built in Sietch - maybe it should be a thumper bonus?)

    I like this. The name is evocative, I'd like to work it in somehow. Switching it for greenhouses seems feasible.

    Yes, I've been thinking about this. Maybe this should be the Quizarate shrine? A huge trade route bonus or something?
    It would be nice to have it be a general wonder, but it doesn't seem to make logical sense except with Quizarate.
    Religion-specific wonders otherwise seem strange - unless we have one for every religion?

    Some good stuff here to think about, thanks Deliverator.
     
  12. Deliverator

    Deliverator Graphical Hackificator

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    Well, I'm proposing moving the Water of Life tech earlier than it is now, as shown in the screenshot - but I do get that RMs need to be quite early to have a benefit.

    I like this, but I think it needs some custom code.

    Correct. I seem to missing a lot of nots recently. Should read: "It should NOT be impossible to defeat - just very difficult."

    It takes a long time for him to mutate into a full worm, but the initial phase of getting the special hardened skin is pretty rapid. You could well argue that only Leto could handle such intense spice saturation without going insane due to his special pre-born abilities, but we could fudge the fiction slightly. This is just one way to try and get other aspects of the worm cycle into the mod.
     
  13. davidlallen

    davidlallen Chieftain

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    Big thread! Redesigning the upper tech tree and adding more interesting stuff is definitely worthwhile. For the next week or two I will try to stick inside the sdk, and not make any xml / python changes. I will update the issue spreadsheet with the current status of all the stuff outside this thread, and mark some as "possibly easy xml / python change, may need some discussion".

    One point which came up in another thread is how to slightly nerf Ecaz. It was suggested to move the Sculptor's Garden later in the tech tree. This is a UB of Mushtamel. I am not quite sure where the name "Mushtamel" came from, it didn't show on a google search. The building's name in the XML is "Qanat" and its effect is vanilla reservoir, that is +2 health.

    I think +2 health at such an early tech is too strong. Locally, I have moved it to Adaptive Agriculture, to add a building there and make it "slightly" later. I cannot think of how to weaken the Ecaz effect; it gives +1 trade route, and there is no way to use a fractional trade route. You may want to consider this while moving things.
     
  14. davidlallen

    davidlallen Chieftain

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    We used to have some pieces of the spice lifecycle, but never assembled the puzzle. You may recall the "little maker" and "sandtrout" deep desert resources, and improvement to harvest them. The graphics were the vanilla whale and fish, which looked odd on desert, but the surface/dive animation was cool.

    Possibly we could put a line of advanced spice techs which allow one hero character, similar to the kwisatz haderach line for BG. Or to be really mean, make it a line of promotions (sdk change to limit to one promotion) so that it can be *added* to KH if the BG beelines it.
     
  15. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    I am here for the next week, then I will be travelling for the next 3 weeks after that and won't be on the forums.

    I think it has different spellings.

    I think the origin is some kind of Muslim/Arabic term for a basin of water. eg: http://www.dinimizislam.com/detay.asp?Aid=4132

    I presume the term and spellnig we have came from the Dune Encyclopedia or something.

    This is a significant change. I think we should discuss this and the general issue of health more broadly.
    Currently, I find that health works as follows: in the early game, unhealth is pretty unavoidable, because territory is small, and resources may not be linked (before trade techs researched). Mushtamals significantly increase early population growth, for a large hammer investment. I think this is actually pretty good, its a tradeoff, because its quite an expensive building in the early game, so you have to really decide if its worth the hammers.
    Remember that it is harder to connect resources in the very early game relative to vanilla; in vanilla you can do it immediately with roads, but here you have to wait until trade techs, an then everything is connected.

    In the early midgame, withuot many buidlings, health can still bind.
    But then from the midgame, there are extra buildings that give more health (the grocer-replacemetn building for eg), and health becomes unbinding, and tends to never bind again.

    I don't think this is a great model. We should want health to be a realistic concern for more of the game.

    There are a number of buildigns that give extra health bonuses from resources, without any particular logical reason; basically, they are leftovers from the granary, grocer etc. buildings they came from. The Mushtamal/aqueduct buildind is the only direct health building that realyl gets built (and eventulaly the hospital?).

    My suggestion would be, remove the bonus health from resources given by most buildings.
    The greenhouse/moisture seals is valuable enough as just a water booster.
    The granary is valuable enough as just a water conserver.
    The grocer (water souk??) is valuable enoguh as a gold booster (maybe a slight increase in its gold bonus).

    And so require health bonuses to come more from infrastructure that you must construct in each city. Make it so you can't just satisfy your health needs with a few health resources, and then a bunch of other buildings that you were going to construct anyway.

    I suggest that we have an early game health booster at water transportation or something similar, a midgame health booster (maybe at adaptive agriculture) and a lategame health booster (the hospital).
    I'm relatively agnostic as to what we call these. I think a qanat was an open channel of water, like an aqueduct, which we felt was inappropriate for Arrakis (you lose too much to evaporation).

    Less ready access to health will also help nerf down terraforming a little, because it will be harder to keep super-cities healthy (and then we can boost terraforming a little by allownig forests to grow in sinks for a small hammer bonus).

    +1 trade route is not too strong per se, it is just that it is quite strong in the very early game.
    The reason why I like + traderoutes, is that it encourages you to have open borders with more civs. It encourages a different playstyle.
    Also note: I think the BUG changes that allowed fractional trade route revenue may have made a difference to trade route power (or did they just improve the interface?). Before, trade routes that gave +1.4 would be displayed as (and presumably rounded down to 1), but now I think they actually give the fractional value.

    We might want to have the sculptor's garden be a UB of a different building. Maybe the gold booster from protective trade tech (the grocer replacement).
     
  16. davidlallen

    davidlallen Chieftain

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    Since BUG stands for BTS *unaltered* gameplay, we can be sure it did not change the actual effect.
     
  17. Deliverator

    Deliverator Graphical Hackificator

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    As defined in the Dune Appendix. This Indopedia site is one of the few places that reproduces the full appendix word-for-word - other sources such as the Wikipedia page have some omissions, for example, Razzia.

    If you prefer your appendix white on black instead there is another reproduction here.

    I've said it before, but re-reading this always seems to yield at least a couple of ideas.
     
  18. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    Missed this one. Its possible. I guess it depends; how hard is it to make a generator, and do we really think that you're making the generators from scratch in the early game? Or just adapting leftover ones? I have no objection if others like this.

    Why should this give a health bonus?

    I would probably use Qanat as one of our health buildings, it has a nice sound and is roughly appropriate. Not sure what another should be.
     
  19. Deliverator

    Deliverator Graphical Hackificator

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    OK, perhaps the first tech should be Holtzmann Effect rather than generators.

    Fruit and vegetables make you big and strong.

    Having Qanat back for some purpose probably makes sense, but surely canals are more water related than health related. It's a real shame that the Aqueduct graphic pathfinding crashes the mod.
     
  20. davidlallen

    davidlallen Chieftain

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    Clearly, none of the original devs foresaw the case that hills are lower than plains.
     

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