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making two fremen civs different

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Dune Wars' started by davidlallen, Jul 25, 2009.

  1. Lord Tirian

    Lord Tirian Erratic Poster

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    I think it may be interesting to put it as a Fremen-only promotion - and if Fremen get less vehicles, it may be nice to have some way to differentiate the infantry units more - perhaps with a couple of Fremen-only promos. Theme-wise, I think it may even be sort of nice, because Fremen then have the "shtick" of having unique trained soldiers.

    Cheers, LT.
     
  2. Deliverator

    Deliverator Graphical Hackificator

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    I like the idea of civ unique promotions - maybe Keldath can think about in his promotions redesign.

    If we make some civ unique techs using that modcomp, then promotions could be one of the things enabled by them.

    We can resurrect the Naib's Chosen unit as less-than-Fedaykin melee unit, I really like the name.
     
  3. davidlallen

    davidlallen Deity

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    The Naib's Chosen *art* is there as Fremen Infantry (now Worm Rider). If we find good opportunities for Fremen UU, we can certainly use the name.
     
  4. keldath

    keldath LivE LonG AnD PrOsPeR

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    unique promotions?

    i can do this, yeah, i have a modcomp inside the dune code that can work this.
     
  5. davidlallen

    davidlallen Deity

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    (redirected from offworld trade thread)

    Thanks for the feedback. In 1.4.4, I did tone down the spawn rate a lot. But let's take that as a "first draft" and decide what to do differently. One possibility is to move the unit generation to the Fremen instead of Atreides. However, Fremen already get double move in desert for all their early units. (In 1.4.7 this will actually work, because I have added UU for these units which can move onto deep desert and desert waste.) If we give Fremen some variant of the unit spawning mechanic, that may make them too powerful.

    As usual one of the handicaps for "medium sized" mods is teaching the AI to use it. The advantage of having units spawn completely automatically is that we do not need to teach the AI anything. If the spawned units come at the expense of something else, then the core AI needs to know how to trade off the spawned units against that. As a small example, suppose we simply make this spawn happen when a building is built. We can give this unit a high AI weight so the AI is interested in building it, but it still won't know why. If there is any strategic tradeoff a player would find interesting, it will be hard to have the AI make the same tradeoff.

    My thought was that the interesting tactical decision is how to *use* the larger armies you get, rather than asking the player to control when/where these armies appear. Can you suggest something which doesn't have too strong an impact on the core AI, but may be more interesting than just having units appear automatically?
     
  6. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    I don't understand why Fremen should automatically get more military units than anyone else, but if this is what you wanted, then just give them a UB that gives a +% military production bonus, either a buildable building or a "Fremen population" building that appears automatically in all their cities (ie give Fremen a UB Palace that gives a Fremen Population building in every city they control).

    Thats better than free units, because it lets you choose when and where the units show up, and what type of units you get. So there is much more player input. And the AI could easily use that.

    But I think that greater water efficiency, greater desert strength and mobility and potentially better infantry but worse mechanization suit Fremen much better than just "more units". There is nothing very Fremeny about "more units".
     
  7. davidlallen

    davidlallen Deity

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    Your original suggestion was to give the Chouhada Fremen cheap jihadi warriors that did not cause war weariness. We could address that with a generic UU, I was trying to find some mechanic which is more interesting than just a UU. Any suggestions?
     
  8. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    Something that FFH uses (and Warhammer) is a "racial" slot. Dwarven units are dwarves, and come with the dwarf promotion that gives double moves in hills. Elves have double moves in forests. Undead and demons have various effects.

    Rather than doing these things through, why not have all Fremen infantry get a built in "Fremen" promotion, that gives them can enter deep desert, +20% combat strength in deep desert/desert waste/dunes, and double moves in deep desert/desert waste/dunes. You could also make them invisible in deep desert (though not desert waste) - there is code in Fall Further that allows that.
    So they still use mostly the same infantry units as everyone else, but theirs have a racial promotion that gives all these desert extras.

    And then remove their ability to build most mechanized units and aircraft, or replace those mechanized units with Infantry UUs.
    For example, you could replace the light carryall with a Worm transport unit.
    So, no scorptions, thopters, hornets, siege units above mortar.

    That would make them play *very* differently.

    I still like the idea of cheap Jihadis that have no war weariness, but why don't we make this attached to the Messianism religion, rather than the Fremen civ?
     
  9. davidlallen

    davidlallen Deity

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    They currently get double move in desert. Adding +20% combat in desert is easy, but it is unlikely that they will find any combat units there. If I make them invisible, what unit should detect them?

    I can easily prevent them from building any unit except infantry. Then their highest strength unit will be Fedaykin, which will get chewed up by late game strength 40 tanks. So if they haven't won by the middle game, they are screwed. Is there something else we should do? Or did you mean that for each of the high strength late game units, there should be an equivalent Fremen UU which is the same strength except it has an infantry unit art? That does not seem to "play" very differently, it just "looks" different.
     
  10. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    Thopters should detect invisible units.
    In desert they can ambush incoming transports, and are less vulnerable to being picked off by thopters.

    Instead of the heavy tank, give them an anti-tank infantry unit in the same tech slot; this is what I meant by "replacing some of the mechanized units with UUs".
    Not just something with the same stats and a different art; as you say, that wouldn't make them play differently.

    It plays different because:
    a) they won't have the mobile armor units. They will have very poor mobility on land.
    b) They won't have the really high strength of the highest power tank unit, though that is very late game indeed. They'll should have a unit that can defend against it (some kind of anti-tank trooper) but not one with the same offensive power.
    c) They won't have aircraft, and the ability to soften units up with those, and their general utility.
    d) They won't have decent siege units, but lots of their good infantry ignores city walls.

    However, they will have larger cities (water bonus from buildings), and better infantry, and a much greater ability to act as raiders. Pillage enemy stuff, then retreat into the desert, where the enemy can't follow (or where you at least have an advantage).
    They shouldn't be able to match in sheer on-land brute force strength, thats the point.

    You could add a base 10% combat strength onto the Fremen promotion too to signify their general superior training.
     
  11. davidlallen

    davidlallen Deity

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    I don't think there is a way for a unit to be visible on one terrain type but invisible on another. That is a critical point for your suggestion, correct?
     
  12. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    There is in Fall Further, Xienwolf coded a means of doing it, but not normally. Up to you to decide whether or not it is worth trying to import their method. Its a reasonably low priority I think in this design, its not critical to generally making the Fremen racial promotion give bonuses in deserts.

    The point of the racial promotion is that it lets you add these benefits to the normal units for just the one faction, without having to make UUs for all of them.
     
  13. Deliverator

    Deliverator Graphical Hackificator

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    In the book, the Harkonnens and Emporer initially believe that there are only thousands of Fremen, but there are actually 10 million or more. It is partly the suprise in their strength of numbers that helps them win the battle for Dune. I suppose with our vague post-apocalyptic backstory you could argue that they would all have been wiped out, but is reasonable to say that the Fremen would be able multiply in number more quickly given their desert knowledge and be able to field more units sooner. Granted, it is not especially huge additional Fremen flavour, but I'd argue that a numeric advantage fits them more than it would fit anyone else.

    The invisibility ideas sound good - if they are achievable.

    I still maintain that they should only be able to get vehicles by capturing them. That is entirely thematically consistent with what happens in the book, and would make them more interesting. If you could do the invisibility too then you could ambush units and capture them, just like happens in Dune with the Sardaukar's ornithopter or Gurney Halleck's smuggler group.
     
  14. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    But when you think "Fremen", do you think "high numbers and vehicle capturing"? I'd argue that superior melee infantry, cultural water efficiency, worm riding and desert mobility and strength are much more central to Fremen flavor.

    Yeah, there are lots of Fremen in the book. But they don't win through Soviet-style human waves. They are a quality, not quantity army.

    I have no particular issue with a Fremen-only promotion that have stiff requirements (combat 2 or 3?) say gives them a 50% chance of capturing a defeated vehicle, but this should be a minor thing for flavor, not a major strategic design. Slippery slope mechanics are bad; if you kill the enemy unit, you're already a unit up. If you kill their unit *and* capture it for yourself, you're 2 unit up.
     
  15. Deliverator

    Deliverator Graphical Hackificator

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    When I think 'Fremen' from a military point of view, I think "desert power" and guerilla tactics. A major part of that is desert mobility, strength, worm riding, best melee units as you describe, but I think capturing vehicle units even at a low chance adds to the guerilla feel. "Fremen do not like to abandon equipment, Muad'Dib" - Dune, pg523.
     
  16. Anathema

    Anathema Chieftain

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    My 2 cents:

    Removing most vehicle units for Fremen and replacing them with infantry UUs would be a great move, even if those UUs have similar stats to the vehicles they replace, if only because it would give them a much more "Fremen" appearance. Similar, but not identical stats - i.e. lower mobility on Fremen units, but lower cost and/or percent bonuses vs. vehicles. To be clear they should all get the double desert movement/desert invisibility on top of that, this'd give them mobility comparable to vehicles in the desert but a disadvantage on land. The invisibility also has the great side effect of allowing Fremen troops to evade sandworms, I think it's worth adding in for that reason if no other. If invisibility on desert-only is too difficult to code, could you make them invisible everywhere but allow any infantry to see invisibility? So basically they'd have desert invisibility and be able to avoid sandworms, but get anywhere near a city or any piece of land with a foot soldier guarding it and invisibility no longer works. This even makes sense as far as the books - a Fremen in the desert is difficult for a thopter to spot, but if he walks right up next to a Sardaukar he'll probably get spotted.

    Of course most civs have infantry and vehicles to choose from, if you just go and replace every vehicle with an infantry, the Fremen wind up with a bunch of similar infantry to pick from. But there are ways to differentiate two infantry of similar strength; the "raider" might have a +25% or so vs. vehicles, i.e. he's trained to ambush thopters and such like in the book, give him speed 2 as well; while the "bladesman" might have a +30% vs. melee fighters, i.e. he's trained in straight up killing folks with daggers, plus 1 base strength higher than the "raider" but only speed 1. Put the bladesman where normal infantry are for other civs or where Fremen infantry UUs already are in the tech tree, put the raider in place of a vehicle. Your idea of specific stats may vary, my point is there are ways to give the Fremen more infantry units that feel as different from each other as infantry vs. vehicles do for other civs. Although I strongly feel basic Fremen infantry should get that bonus vs. melees, they are supposed to be without a doubt better than Sardaukar or anyone else, and a specific bonus vs. melee gives them that without making them overpowered (you can still counter them with thopters, suspensors, etc).

    It may sound like a stretch to have two different infantry at every tier of the tech tree, but you do want players to have choices instead of just one good infantry unit (or the Fremen suddenly become simpler than every other civ), and it's better flavor-wise to have two different infantry than infantry + Fremen suspensor destroyers.

    On a similar note Fremen should really get something to represent the offensive power of a sandworm, which they use to great effect at least once in the books - this could be their replacement for str40+ lategame tanks. So currently a heavy scorpion is str45/speed2, 25% penalty in cities and 25% bonus vs. suspensors, while a suspensor cruiser is 40/6 with collateral damage/bombard. I'd replace either one with a sandworm (presumably being ridden by a Fremen, but you could just use the existing sandworm graphic), 50/2 with 3x movement in desert, -50% city strength, higher cost than the suspensor/scorpion. The idea is that the Fremen rule the sands with a more powerful and faster unit than anything else - but up on the rocks the worm moves more slowly and gets a huge disadvantage trying to attack a city (sandworms could be coaxed onto rock, Leto II did it at least once in the books, but they sure don't like it and they'd be at a disadvantage fighting/moving on rock, and especially at a disadvantage in the confines of a city). [Yes, Fremen didn't directly train and keep sandworms like pets, they sent infantry out to capture them, and could only control one for a short time - but honestly I feel that makes things too complicated for the AI and player both, it's easier to just have a lategame "sandworm" unit you can build, think of it as a specialized infantry team that can grab a sandworm whenever they need it.]

    Edit: The bonus strength in desert for Fremen units also wouldn't hurt - it's not terribly likely that they'll find a lot of units to fight in the deep desert, but if they do encounter the occasional thopter or suspensor out there, it makes sense that they'd be able to ambush it and have an advantage. It's a small thing, but together with added desert mobility/invisibility, it adds into the whole theme of "Fremen are pretty good on land, but you really don't want to run across them in the desert."
     
  17. davidlallen

    davidlallen Deity

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    Regarding worms as late stage tanks, we have tried a few different directions on this in this slightly older thread. One problem is that there is no logical reason to make it a late game unit, and it is too powerful as an early game unit.

    In the next couple of days, once 1.4.6 is out, we should have a thread on the design of UU/UB for all the civs.
     
  18. Anathema

    Anathema Chieftain

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    On another, completely unrelated note - I really think all infantry should be able to move across desert. Consider:
    1.) Logically, there's no reason my Sardaukar or whatever shouldn't be able to march across a single tile of desert waste to reach a neighboring "island". This is my biggest reason, I can't describe how frustrating (and micro-intensive) it is to need thopters/caryalls to ferry infantry across 1-2 tiles of desert.
    2.) They won't move terribly fast, 1 speed isn't much across a big desert with no roads, so caryalls are still useful.
    3.) If Fremen get the proposed double desert movement speed/desert invisibility, Fremen will still have that unique "desert power" theme even if all infantry can cross desert. Even moreso if Fremen get a strength bonus in desert, they can then ambush those Sardaukar trying to cross the sands and have a natural advantage. This actually happens in the book, it seems strange ingame that infantry can't fight on the dunes.
    4.) It should help the AI - no more single thopters killing off entire invading armies by hitting a caryall enroute, no more suspensors/thopter raiders picking off single infantry or pillaging improvements then retreating 1 tile into the desert waste for effective immunity to the AI's infantry defenders (I know I do both of those way too much, even though it feels so evil to pick on the AI's weaknesses).
     
  19. Anathema

    Anathema Chieftain

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    Well, really, there's no logical reason for a lot of the things that are reserved for the lategame - these guys shouldn't have to reinvent the proverbial wheel, they should already know these things. I don't see that as a reason to leave out something that would fit gameplay-wise, but up to you.
     
  20. davidlallen

    davidlallen Deity

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    This is a key design point from May. Do you play vanilla archipelago maps? Same problem. If we make the entire map land, then the AI will fail to use the transport units.
     

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