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Malakim Desert Mechanics

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Fall from Heaven' started by ophite, Oct 18, 2007.

  1. fuzzy_bunnies

    fuzzy_bunnies Prince

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    Would be cool if you couldn't destroy deserts. Otherwise, again, you end up with one desert city that produces units and everything else is plains.

    Neat idea! But it seems like it'd be micromanagement hell... also, these nomads would have to be unrealistically powerful (like huge resources) in order to compete with simply transforming everything to plains.

    I like the nomad camp, esp. when I wrote about the spring oases like 8 posts up ;) But yea... doesn't have to be Oasis, just some sort of super improvement with spacing requirements.

    I'm not sure about the living desert though.. the idea with deep jungles or forests is that they can actually provide for survival in the form of food and building materials etc. Deserts generally don't... and deep deserts should be even more barren than normal ones.
     
  2. [to_xp]Gekko

    [to_xp]Gekko QCT junkie

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    lol just don't call them deep deserts :D I had the same idea a couple posts above. make them something like "travelled deserts" that give a bonus to commerce or something.
     
  3. JeffSteel

    JeffSteel Warlord

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    Emerges from the shadows......

    .... just a random thought on the matter I just had, how about making deserts be impassable terrain for anyone but the malakim? Deserts producing extra yields dose not seems logical to me, as its barren wasteland. The only real advantage a desert people would have is knowing how to travel it without dying and where to settle down when settling needs to be done. Just my two cents.....

    .... returns to the shadows.
     
  4. [to_xp]Gekko

    [to_xp]Gekko QCT junkie

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    that SOUNDS nice but it wouldn't help the malakim and it would make them almost impossible to kill cuz you possibly can't reach some of their cities :D
     
  5. MikeJep

    MikeJep Chieftain

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    you are right the caravans would be pretty loaded especially if a camp only produces one caravan per 10 or so turns.

    I was thinking that we could get rid of settlers for the Malakim and have them be radical different then the rest of the other civs in only having one city but still the power of an empire via nomad camps.
    I was thinking you could use a modified Automate button to make nomads simply run to resource tile and set up shop.

    It would be a trade off--
    no improving tiles/building buildings/setting citizens to farm or mine because you only have one city
    but you would have to send and escort your caravans to either your capital for yeild/commerce or to other camps for special units.


    As for how powerful the caravans should be...
    :food: :hammers: :commerce: and :science: :gold: an average city produces per turn

    divide by

    average number of resources found on a BFC

    times the number of turns it takes to spawn a caravan

    minus

    the cost of each camps spawn unit relative to the turns it takes to spawn a unit vs. a caravan.


    I don't know it would defiantly set them apart.



    I really don't think it would be any more micromanagement then it is already with cities.
     
  6. fuzzy_bunnies

    fuzzy_bunnies Prince

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    Yea, thats what I mean though... it wouldn't be feasibly realistic for a camp of nomads (which, if you think about it, is really one fortified unit) to produce anything. Even if you draw a parallel with Arabian nomads, it was the cities that developed culture and science, the nomads just survived. In fact, you can find nomads in the desert of Arabia today that live exactly the same as they did hundreds of years ago. Having a single nomad camp produce more or equal resources compared to a farm over the same amount of time blows believability out of the water and I think you're talking about having a few camps produce the equivalent of a fully worked city.

    Although I like the overall concept being presented, it seems to incorporate some of the most "challenging" aspects of the Kurioates and make them even worse. IE. the main city would have to produce triple the amount of production/research/gold as a 3-ring Kurio city just to break even. And most people seem to admit that its already difficult for the Kurio to keep up with other civs that have 5 or 10 productive cities.

    And back to the point I keep harping on... unless there's a concrete reason not to allow terraforming, all the desert will go away pretty fast. Most of the ideas presented here want to keep spring but offer a single high production tile to make up for surrounding deserts. Unfortunately, anything that relies on that mechanic will be abused when that lonely desert tile is sitting in the middle of a ring of worked plains.
     
  7. MikeJep

    MikeJep Chieftain

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    Too True. I just like to throw ideas out there ;)
     
  8. Jules.lt

    Jules.lt Prince

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    That's why I think there should be several buildings with effects scaling to the number of desert tiles in your empire or in your BFC.

    Then you need to have Malakims NOT want to turn deserts into plains. That means having the desert bonus be better than the +2F extra you'd get from a plain farm. What about making the merchant specialists give food instead of gold? That would make it a better use of your pop point than working a plains farm. And you'd probably reach your happiness limit before needing to convert your deserts into plains. Especially with all the great merchants coming in.

    Watever the desert improvement you design, it should have the "not within 3 tiles of another desert improvement" limitation, IMHO.
    If you remove the vast emptiness of the desert, you might as well convert it into plains, flavor-wise...
     
  9. Witzzard

    Witzzard Chieftain

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    The problem is we need something that adds for the deserts - so giving them some Resources for every desert tile seems to be a good solution.

    -Buildings are good as they aren't there from the beginning and would give certain amount. The problem is, when it's something like a caravan-stop, or such, the desert feels crowded, wich is simply wrong.
    Using non-visual buildings is a problem in visuability (game-mechanics should be visible).

    -Resources (Spice and so on) have have the same problem as buildings, sure they are not accesible from the beginning, but too much and the desert looks strange (especially if you need a building/road to gather it).

    -Buildings in cities giving resources.
    Overall good, but might be a bit costy, if you have to built this buildings. Not very diverse...
    It's more or less the 'Lanun' idea..

    -That leaves something like the Elves-Mechanic.
    The problem is, what bonus should a desert give and how is that diverse from the Elves-mechanic? Because Keal and so on try to keep the civs diverse.

    I thought of trade-points wich they could change for commerce, food, production points. 3 Trade-points might be better than a field that wields 2 food-points 1 commerce and 1 hammer, simply because you can choose what it is... (might be wrong with that).
    A problem with that is, it doesn't look very much logical, at least not when you've no contact with another civilization or better two. And you don't have special resources (why sending trade routes to cities in desert that doesn't have anything you want to have?). And might be a lot to script, not to speak of micro-management.

    ------------
    If not using one of the 'resource'-methods we got still the problem that the desert themselves aren't very usefull for cities, so it might still be better to built cities somwhere on plains.

    -The desert damaging enemie units idea:
    Nice idea, but the problem is, why should i have desert near my central cities (the ones far from my borders)? I still would start making plains around that city, and only keep a 'small' (relative) belt of desert-tiles near my borders, otherwise i would cripple my cities where not acutally need.

    -Desert giving combat boni to your units
    Not bad, but the problem is, that only helps you if the map is pretty much covered in desert, and even then it's now very easy for enemies to change deserts into plains. So it would pretty soon only be a defensive thing.
    So this idea really depends on the number of desert tiles.... if there's no desert tile at all you could rip the mechanic straight off...

    -Spawning Sand-Lions/Free Units
    Hard to balance, i mean upkeep costs can't be in, because then you would cripple a non-existant (because of the desert tiles) economy.
    Then you would have to look at the chances for a spawn, what sounds for me like a pain in the ass.
    Also what units should get spawned? What strength should it have? Should it be upgradable later in the game?
    Because at the time this units becomes more or less useless the players will change the deserts into plains. And every game you would think about how many desert tiles are good, and when you reach the 'break-even'-point between producing units yourself or counting on random-spawned units.

    -Impassable desert for everyone else
    Yeah... nice if you use pre-generated maps. But as soon as you start a custom game you might start in a unplayable region with the others civs, wich would ruin the game for you.
    And again why should i keep big deserts when a small belt would do what i need?

    ----
    As you might have noticed i would prefer 'trade-points'... but then again, not a very smooth solution...
     
  10. fuzzy_bunnies

    fuzzy_bunnies Prince

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    Hrmm I see your point, maybe being able to work the desert isn't that great an idea. I still favor the spring-placed Oasis though, seems like a fit with the theme and with a 3 tile restriction it should be relatively uncrowded. Another side benefit of that 3 tile restriction is that if you want to max out each city with 2 Oasis you have to space your cities further apart than normal building patterns which sort of fits with the desert nomad theme... cities far apart with wide stretches of desert between them.

    As far as theme goes, merchants providing extra food actually sorta makes sense too... they're importing food... but this seems like it'd be pretty open to abuse. If they run the civic that allows unlimited merchants (I think this is how it works, I've never actually used it), this would allow the Malakim to have an infinitely large city with infinite GP points and infinite gold so long as a single tile provides more than 2 food. This also will allow the Malakim to do the same thing on the tundra which is thematically incorrect.

    Its a tricky puzzle....
    1. The Malakim need to be balanced so that they get bonuses to allow them to survive/thrive in deserts, but whatever ability they have can't give them an overwhelming edge outside of deserts either.
    2. The theme of the desert should be maintained... without an oasis or trading post or resource on every tile.
    3. The tile bonus / incentive for desert tiles must be greater than all the possibilities of an equivalent plains tile. (ie plains with farm OR mine OR town)
    4. Alternately, the aggregate bonuses should be approximately equal to a city built on all plains.

    Was going to quote more of what you said but I think it was generally covered above and we agree on a lot of things. I'm not sure the trade points thing is possible though.... seems like a lot of micro because you have to select what to change the trade points to... plus its the addition of a whole new tile resource which may be too massive to handle on the back end.

    I was thinking that maybe switching the Malakim to a civ that favors another resource type would be a good idea also... trade is sort of natural since major desert cities were often the center of trade and learning for the region. If you incorporate some sort of 3-tile-restricted resource then you also have cities that are further spread apart than other civs which reinforces this theme.

    I 100% agree that the logic seems faulty for any desert to be producing or allowing the production of resources beyond what a carefully tended plain would produce. It just doesn't make any sense. This was sort of why I was suggesting 0/1/1 deserts to start then allowing them to be worked. You would still have a fairly empty desert because each city would/should have a ring of at least 3 empty tiles between cities. The theme would be a city being sort of a natural oasis/center of life but still surrounded by desert.

    For your consideration:

    1. No terraforming of deserts.
    2. Spring can create a verdant oasis (takes 30 turns to fully grow) spaced 3 tiles apart min which provides a lot of food/trade/some shields.
    3. Deserts start as 0/1/1 tiles that can be worked. So, 1/1/1 with irrigation, 0/2/1 with a mine, 0/1/6 with a grown town. Although yields are less than plains, they're flexible since you don't need a hill to mine but its moderately realistic since you CAN grow some crops in arid climates but you just can't grow a lot and is effective if you combo it with other food producing tiles.
    4. #2 and #3 above should encourage the wide spacing of cities since a city that's founded without a verdant oasis or floodplain will only be a size 2 or 3 even with irrigation. The definite limit to this civ would be food, which sorta fits the theme, while the bonus would be increased trade points.
    5. New building, Deep Well that allows irrigation of surrounding tiles.
    6. New building, Nomad Trading Post that gives say, a 2% bonus to commerce for every WORKED DESERT tile in the BFC. This represents the fact that workers who are working in the desert are going to tend to rely on trade to supply their needs. A fully worked city would get a 40% commerce bonus.

    To look at it from a min/maxer's view, #2 can be abused because they can build a city in farmland then use scorch to create 2 verdant oases around every other city. 3 & 4 are negated outside of deserts. 5 allows landlocked cities to irrigate but I think I'm ok with that... digging a deep hole is a universal technology. 6 is negated without deserts.

    If we also go so far as removing the ability for scorch to create deserts, then the major abuse point is gone.... but thats the adjustment of 2 spells and I'm not sure I want to push that point.

    Thoughts?
     
  11. Ekolite

    Ekolite The Mighty Jungle

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    Or you could not allow improvements on desert (keeping the yield 0,1,1) but make the trading post provide 2,3,4 (or other amount) for each worked desert tile. You could even make it 2,1,4 and make it so that the slavery civic adds an amount of production/tile to the trading post. This would give the Malakim an interesting synergy with the AV (sac the weak would allow for bigger cities from the trading post) and slavery giving them a fun, dark interpretation. It would be great for an evil decius malakim.
     
  12. MagisterCultuum

    MagisterCultuum Great Sage

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    Hmm...what would you think if the Desert Shrine UB didn't give a flat 2 free xp to disciple units, but gave 1 xp per desert tile in the city's radius? This wouldn't be too hard in do do in python.
     
  13. Witzzard

    Witzzard Chieftain

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    As i allready said my idea is micromanagement and also a lot of programming work, that's a big downside... but i think it comes down to what the team likes so now and then listing the things might not be to bad...

    I don't know if spring and scorch should be changed.... Might be okay, but than again normal civs who start near deserts got a more serious problem i think...

    The idea from Kol. 7 sounds good, but it could be hard to decide what bonus to give...

    Xp for every desert tile? Might be abusable by only having two full-desert cities (giving a lot of xp), while the rest is heavy commercial. But overall sounds not to bad.
     
  14. deadliver

    deadliver Loud Mouth Amateur

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    Maybe we are looking at this wrong. I mean people don't really want to live in a desert do they? i suppose nomads in RL do pass through the desert in their neverending cycle of chasing water and pasturage for their livestock and yes they do live in the desert but just about everything they need they carry with them. Maybe the strategy should be creating desert zones surrounding but not in your BFC and use that zone for combat instead of waiting for the guys to park outside your cities. That seems like alot of prep work though not to mention you lose the use of an adept.

    Perhaps the Malakim nomad trait needs to be changed.
     
  15. scaramouche

    scaramouche Chieftain

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    Maybe we can combine a few of the ideas presented here. A few of us mentioned a Lanun pirate-cove type mechanic, and also there was mention of leveraging oases somehow. So how's this?

    The Malakim can sacrifice a worker to find an oasis, with the usual rules for pirate coves (not within 3 tiles of another oasis, etc). To differentiate it from regular oases, let's call it a Verdant Oasis or something. Have it grow like pirate coves as it matures and is purified and cultivated by the admittedly spiritual Malakim. Now ,that's neat but it doesn't solve the 'I want to terraform my deserts away' problem.

    But what if we say that any desert square adjacent to an oasis gets the 'Secret Cache' terrain improvement/resource. Or workers can build secret caches there. That'd give us worked desert tiles that retain their desertiness (new words!) and with, I think, a flavor that still makes sense. The nomadic Malakim are collecting resources from the oasis and storing them in secret supply stores in the nearby desert. That feels very much like something a desert people would do.

    And we can even give them an ancient forest/treant type effect and say that there's a chance that an Angry Bedouin spawns whenever enemies enter tiles with a secret cache.
     
  16. fuzzy_bunnies

    fuzzy_bunnies Prince

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    Interesting re: synergy with AV except that this would give every single tile 2/1/4 or 2/3/4 which is a little overpowered. Thats like a farm a mine AND a town on every tile. The idea with allowing them to work tiles would be that players would still have to choose what they want each tile to do since a non-irrigated tile would put the city into a food deficit (ie gain 1 food but worker eats 2). This food deficit mechanic also makes non-oasis cities unviable which helps to keep the sparse desert theme. You'd have close-together cities along rivers (like the Nile Delta) but everywhere else would rely on a couple verdant oases to survive.

    Not bad, but probably would only result in one unit producing city in the desert. One second thought, this really isn't that bad... because you'd have floodplains or non-desert cities as the cultural/commercial hubs but the desert cities would be primarily military training camps.

    I was sorta getting at this before which is why I was trying to avoid suggesting just giving desert tiles some giant production bonus. It doesn't really make sense. The idea of using "Spring" to create a Verdant Oasis would allow a city to be established near 2 water sources which makes it "believable" as a city location. The city could then use that water to work the areas immediately nearby for a little more food but primarily they would rely on the oasis to support them.

    I think "Spring" is probably a slightly more appropriate mechanic... only because a worker can't really make water appear where it doesn't already exist. Maybe instead of growing automatically, once the spring is summoned, the mechanic to improve oasis yields could require the "sacrifice" of workers to "tend" the oasis to make it better instead of just growing automatically over time... so the final could be a "cultivated oasis" instead of a "verdant oasis"

    Overall, interesting idea with the desert caches but you'd have the same issue in that you'd just get an oasis surrounded by a ring of secret cashes surrounded by plains.

    Also, desert caches that close together seem a little unrealistic. BUT... I like the idea of having desert caches appear as found resources like mushrooms.
     
  17. QES

    QES Court Jester

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    Deserts are a burden. The reason the desert princes exist is simple and i think easily representable via this Civilization.


    Roads.


    Roads are the key to deserts. Desert civilizations maintain excellent road systems - while those unucustomed get lost easily in the dunes and die. Desert kingdoms are also paragons of trade (historically).

    How to best represent this? The simple - non-micromanaging answer is to modify roads.


    Let the Malakim Build roads at 400% the speed that other civilizations can through deserts. This would be most easily done by using a new "road" mechanic that only Malakim workers (or whatever desert races we wish to see) possess. Normal roads should take "forever" to build on desert tiles. But the Malakim roads would take "Normal" amounts of time. Also - perhaps only "Nomad" units can use these roads - so only Nomadic peoples benefit from their existance at all.


    Finally, give the roads a blatant Trade bonus on their tiles. +1 Food +2 Trade.

    If the graphic for this "malakim road" was feint - not as bold as common roads - then deserts around major desert cities - would not look "particularly" cluttered.


    The consequences of "special roads" are thus:

    Malakim would have impetus to build along deserts for protection and raw trade. Other civs would be hard pressed to make use of deserts at all. And overland through deserts - Malakim would be able to establish international trade routes that only could pass through them. Given that the pillaging of roads through deserts would be a painful cost in time to everyone but the Malakim.

    Perhaps the Malakim could also have a "upgradeable" road structure.

    Goat Path - Invisible to all but the Malakim, Standard bonus
    Silk Road - Standard Bonus - every turn a non-malakim unit spends it's turn on one, the Malakim Gain +1 Gold. (Representing trade with the military units, not from the unit's kingdom's coffers -just the soliders themselves)
    Gold Road - +3 Food, +3 Gold.

    Just thoughts,
    -Qes
     
  18. xienwolf

    xienwolf Deity

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  19. eerr

    eerr Emperor

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    desert effect(20%, or triggered by malakim)

    sandstorm(randomly, -10% health, lost, ambush)
    heatwave(randomly, -10% health, disoriented,
    monsoon(+10% health, randomly moved to a nearby tile near water.
     
  20. [to_xp]Gekko

    [to_xp]Gekko QCT junkie

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    I really like QES' idea, sounds flavourful, fun, and even realistic ( as far as realism can get in a fantasy setting of course :D )
     

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