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More builder scenarios please!

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Creation & Customization' started by Basket Case, Jun 28, 2006.

  1. Basket Case

    Basket Case Chieftain

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    It would be nice if there were more "builder scenarios" like 1000 AD. Most scenarios are very limited "always war" scenarios that mostly consist of building units and fighting - I do not like such scenarios because frankly Civilization has never been a good wargame IMO. I know many other people like these scenarios. I just want scenario makers to realize that other types of scenarios can be fun, too. Instead of trying to simulate one historic war by restricting the options of the player to almost nil you can just as well model a historic situation but leave the course of history open to the player. The 1000 AD scenario is the only scenario I have found so far that does this. Well, Ghengi_Kai's series is also "open" but it is a little unpolished (i.e. Judaism spreading through the entire world because it's the only religion in the game, wrong unique units - King David and his mighty Praetorians etc.).
     
  2. dh_epic

    dh_epic Cold War Veteran

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    I think this is a good request. I agree that Civilization is always at its worst when it tries to be a turn based war game -- since there's other games that focus exclusively on war and there's a much more focused payoff.

    I think the best scenarios create a situation and leave it open.
     
  3. strategyonly

    strategyonly C2C Supreme Commander

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    Might then i suggest that you download the MOD "Throughout the Ages", its was made "almost" strictly for building and not warfare.
     
  4. Kushan

    Kushan Warlord

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    I'm working on a few different Medieval scenerios. There mainly focused on warfare but theres I hope to have a fare amount of building as well.

    Kushan
     
  5. Olleus

    Olleus Deity

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    The problem is that war is much more exiting and everyone remembers WW2 and not the economic boom of the 1920's
     
  6. dh_epic

    dh_epic Cold War Veteran

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    WW2 is pretty serious, but I wouldn't say that every war is more interesting than every peaceful movement.

    I think the reason why wars come up so much on Civilization forums is because so much emphasis is put on units -- the game really does focus mostly on war. If nobody ever builds a unit the game moves pretty fast. The most interesting part of the game for a builder is settling those cities, maybe fiddling with missionaries and workers, and racing for those early wonders.

    A scenario or mod could still offer the enjoyment most people get from the regular single player game. You could easily add a cultural victory to a lot of situations... and coming up with a diplomatic or space race victory might just take a bit of creativity.
     
  7. Kushan

    Kushan Warlord

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    For most people I think they would rather go for the domination or extermination victory over the poeacefull route. I know I do myself, one because its a chalenge to me, and two its gives me a sense of accomplishment in many ways. If I win peacefully I think to myself I didnt really accomplish anything I just built the key wonders first. were as if I win militarily I have massive armies roving through enemy territory and having a challenge of keeping the assault going forward without getting bogged down garrising cities, leaving enemy units behind my lines, etc.

    In my scenarios I try to set the stage at a key point in history and let the player make there own decision fromn there. I try to keep it as historical as possible in terms of units, buildingd, etc, but the choices I try to leave up to the player on how they want to shape there game.

    Kushan
     
  8. Padmewan

    Padmewan King

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    For all builders out there (that includes me), the crucial question is how to make peace equally if not more exciting than war. dh_epic is right that the Civ4 game engine's emphasis is so heavy on units that it is perhaps inherently biased towards war, but I don't think that has to be the case. Can units be made and used for peaceful purposes?

    Or let me reword the question: What do you consider a "Builder" game?

    If you stripped all the units out of Civ4 except workers, settlers, and great people, would it be the uber-builder game, because all you can do is "build"? (Obviously I'm describing an extreme here, but I am posing it to gain clarity).

    Or is it a matter of war/conflict? In other words, if units could "fight," but the fighting is not about blowing things up but, for example, battling for, erm, market share (???) would that still be a "builder" game?

    Is it the mechanism of the builder game that we builders like, or the "flavor" of building?
     
  9. Head Serf

    Head Serf Emperor

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    I think the mechanism is preferable to flavor when it comes to builder scenarios.
     
  10. dh_epic

    dh_epic Cold War Veteran

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    For me, I think a builder game is when there are multiple strategies for victory besides military-war. A builder game doesn't preclude competition. It doesn't even preclude war. There just needs to be other things to compete over besides land, or other ways besides military units to acquire land.
     
  11. dh_epic

    dh_epic Cold War Veteran

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    (Sorry, double post)
     
  12. Tholish

    Tholish Emperor

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    If war exists it will be an important means to power and thus power over the means to victory. Whether you choose to use it in your own path to victory, others will and that must be taken into account. No matter what you do war will be an important element.

    To focus the games center away from war exaggerate the importance of things that improve war capability. Exaggerate the effects of other aspects of the game on war itself and you make them the real means of struggle.

    When you can just research a better fighter and spend hammers on it to build a stack you have a wargame. When you have to build a mine and a road and defend them and keep your people happy while they do this work and a building to refine the ore and so on you have a builder game. When building is what gets you a better combat value it will be the core of the game.

    What we like is MORE. If it is just fighting that isn't very much. If it is just building that isn't very much. When it's building and fighting and religion and research and economics that's much more.

    To focus on something other than land acquisition, by whatever means, is to focus on what's IN the cities. That's what the game IS: one map. Currently these microscopic buildings and abstract faces. Submaps would go a long way to opening up more possibilities.
     
  13. dh_epic

    dh_epic Cold War Veteran

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    Let me expand on what Tholish said: multiple dimensions of gameplay is good :) It's cooler to have many dimensions towards a prosperous nation, rather than just military.
     
  14. Padmewan

    Padmewan King

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    Tholish, I think you are saying that by making the infrastructure that supports war more complex, you have a builder game. I would disagree with that approach. To me, a builder game rests fundamentally on something other than war. That something could be power (not the same as war), economy, culture, etc. Earlier Civ incarnations over-emphasized war because military might begot more military might... OR economic might begot more military might... but either way the best way to win was to dominate more land than others.

    This bias towards physical domination is ameliorated in Civ4 (a smaller civ is a lot more viable in 4 than in 3), but one of the most obvious non-war victories, Diplomatic, still functions as a "soft domination" victory. This is really too bad. You could imagine a much richer game that turned on how to befriend other nations, defuse conflict, and otherwise bringing global peace that would be its own victory condition. Yes, you might need to have some muscle to back up your diplomacy, but in this case the military would be a means to an end, not an end in itself. Of course, such a victory would require significantly enhanced AI, but, we're just brainstorming right?
     
  15. dh_epic

    dh_epic Cold War Veteran

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    I enjoy a good brainstorm :)

    I think the question of a 'builder game' is relative.

    Compared to most scenarios, the Civilization 4 Epic Game IS a builder game. Many scenarios usually start you off with most of the territory settled, and the only real victory condition is to win the war. Compare this to single player, where you spend a significant amount of time building up, and those early game decisions (building your first library, your first wonder, founding a religion) can make a huge impact... and how you CAN win the entire thing without once conquering a city.

    Compared to Civilization games of the past, too, Civilization 4 is definitely more builderish. You only have to look at the performance of the Financial Civs to realize that you can have the strongest economy without the biggest empire.

    But still, if you look in the most absolute terms... yeah, Civilization 4 is still basically a warmonger's game. This is because a successful conquest is twice as valuable as anything else in the game. If you build a wonder, you take one step ahead of the competition. If you CONQUER a wonder, you take TWO steps ahead of the competition: because they lose a step, and you gain a step!
     
  16. Olleus

    Olleus Deity

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    That would only be true if it was a 2 player game. If you play with many civs and you conquer a wonder, you gain a step, one civ looses a step, and all the others stay where they are.
    I think that the only way to make civ more builderish is for combat to be risky. In civ, it is virtualy impossible to loose an aggressive war against another AI civ. If you put even the minimum amount of planing into your attack you are garanteed to win, or at the very least loose nothing.

    Make a better war AI and people will be less able/willing to conquer the world.
     
  17. dh_epic

    dh_epic Cold War Veteran

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    That's a good point, Lord Olleus. War hurts your competition, and propels you forward at the same time. But if it's costly enough, the people NOT involved in the war can get ahead.

    The problem, is, I find, that most games, my strategy to win is to always pound on my closest rival. Whereas Civilization 3 would implore me to pick on the weak to feed my empire, Civ 4 is all about isolating and hurting your competition. Once you pull that off, it's clear sailing.
     
  18. Seven05

    Seven05 Warmonger

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    For me the "building game" is less interesting because it requires less action from me. There is planning and decision making but very little interraction between me and the game. Warfare, on the other hand, is interesting because there is so much more to do. You still have to build infrastructure, maintain your economy and deal with diplomacy just like a builder does but at the same time you get to move a lot of units around, attack cities and thwart your opponents attacks.

    Maybe all you need to do is make the "builder's game" more interractive. For example, why is there only one generic worker? If there was only one generic "army" unit war would probably be no more interesting. It wouldn't take much to make different types of workers such as "farmers" who can only build farms and pastures or lumberjacks who can only clear forest and jungle tiles, maybe even an option between slow moving workers with higher work rates and faster moving workers with lower work rates. If you needed more workers to accomplish the same tasks it would require more interraction, a few more decisions and some new limitations to overcome.

    Other possibilities would be improvements that don't auto-upgrade. An example of this could be farms that initially don't spread irrigation but when you discover irrigation you can build an irrigated farm which produces more food and spreads irrigation. The same could be done with mines, windmills, lumbermills and watermills. Perhaps these wouldn't be buildable by the same worker you've been using all game so you'd have to upgrade them just like you do your military units.

    Getting away from units you have the cities themselves. Some changes to allow larger cities without making them too much more powerful would give you more options with specialists (which could also be less potent). Building limits per city would give you more to consider rather than simply building everything that is available and buildings that cancelled out or prevented the construction of other buildings would create more "strategic" options.

    You can also "cripple" conquest by doing something as simple as increasing the number of national wonders and using some of them to replace world wonders. If everybody can create their own Stonehenge then capturing or destroying an opposing civ's city with Stonehenge has less of a long term impact on the game and no impact on other civs.

    A few relatively minor changes to the AI leaders can go a long way as well. For example you could increase the negative effect of declaring war on a civ and decrease the negative effect of trading with an enemy. There are a lot of small changes here than can make warfare much more of a strain on relations than anything else and if this would cause more AI players to cut off current deals with you or declare war on you it can make it substantially more difficult to wage war.

    Just some random thoughts that wouldn't require much more than some xml changes :)
     
  19. Shqype

    Shqype Shqyptar

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    Excellent ideas, Seven05! I'm surprised nobody came up with them sooner!
     
  20. dh_epic

    dh_epic Cold War Veteran

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    I think this thread focuses more on the fact that the Civ 4 full-game is more builderish than a WW2 scenario. Hence, a request for stuff at least as builder-friendly as the regular game.

    Without getting into your specific suggestions -- I think your diagnosis is correct. War IS more interesting than peace. But I'd go beyond having more stuff to do.

    What makes war great is that you're interacting with an opponent. When you're doing peaceful stuff, you're just interacting with a set of game rules. It's solitaire. (Okay, so Artificial Intelligence is really just a set of game rules -- but it's enough game rules that, if done properly, can give the illusion of an opponent.) The key is having a dynamic opponent that you are interacting with on a regular basis.

    To me, what would make peace more interesting is if there were more 'peaceful interactions' -- not just the violent interactions of military units.

    The diplomacy window is one example. It's not necessarily an issue of having more options, but more subtlety. Even something as simple as "Endorsing" another leader could really change things. I endorse Khan, which pisses off Caesar, but my trade revenue with Khan goes up, and perhaps my citizen moods are changed. Khan asks me to "condemn" Caesar. Or we negotiate a "non-aggression pact" -- rather than agreeing to defend one another from any threat, we decide to contain the aggression of Caesar should he decide to attack anyone.

    Peaceful units are another possibility. Missionaries were a decent start, but are too straight-forward in their function to be as interesting as combat units. "Installing a corporate branch" was something from CTP2, and although I never played it, I think it has some potential. But it would require some re-thinking -- again, it would need to be somewhat more complex.

    And finally, there can be other planes of competition besides just land. It's all good and fun to have settlers trying to grab the sweet spots, and units trying to capture each others' cities. But why not have an entirely economic plane -- a virtual space that players compete with each other to occupy and dominate?

    All of the above suggestions don't just give you more actions at peace... but more *inter*action, with other players. Part of the excitement is guessing what your opponent will do.
     

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