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Natural Wonders brainstorming

Discussion in 'Rhye's and Fall - Dawn of Civilization' started by Steb, Aug 2, 2019.

  1. Steb

    Steb King

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    If art is available, Yellowstone could be represented by the prismatic spring. A geyser wonder would be nice for Iceland (Geysir).

    Here are a few other ideas I had besides what is in the lists above. They would require new art, but maybe some would be relatively easy to model, like the forests.
    - Redwood forests of California
    - Monarch butterfly forest in Mexico
    - Great blue hole in Belize
    - Grand Canyon in Arizona
    - Niagara Falls in Ontario/NY
    - Percé Rock in Quebec (this one is in the list for sentimental reasons but maybe it’s worth mentioning it)
    - Geysir in Iceland
    - Jökulsárlón in Iceland
    - Socotra island in Yemen
    - Sundarbans in Bangladesh/India
    - Wulingyuan in China
    - Iguaçu falls in Brazil/Argentina
    - Valle de la Luna in Argentina
    - Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia
    - Okavango Delta in Botswana
    - Mauna Loa in Hawaii
    - Rock islands in Palau
    - Phoenix islands in Kiribati

    There are also several nice caves in the world but they would be kind of boring since they would be underground and not visible on the map.

    Civ 5 also had a few that have not been mentioned yet: Grand Mesa, Rock of Gibraltar, Mount Kailash, Sri Pada, Cerro de Potosí, Lake Victoria. Edit: never mind, they were mentioned and I missed that
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2019
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  2. Publicola

    Publicola Prince

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    Perhaps we could turn Lake Titicaca into a natural wonder as well? Something like a mountain tile with a lake midway up its slope? Or just represent it as a one-tile lake that's elevated above normal coast/lake tiles, and surround it with hills and mountains? If we go with the second option, we should make sure to represent 'Isla del Sol' at the center of the lake, given its importance.

    Also, would it be possible to place a natural wonder on a tile after the start of the game? I'm wondering if it'd be possible to include Paricutin, the massive volcano that popped up in a farmer's cornfield in Mexico and grew 100 meters tall in a single week in 1943?


    Finally, a question for @merijn_v1 or other modders -- do you know if it is possible to create a natural-wonder feature that affects the appearance of a land tile's coastline? Or would that need to be a new terrain type entirely, since it's terrain (land v. coast) that seems to affect how coastlines are generated? I'm wondering how we might represent Natural Wonders that affect the coast, such as the 'White Cliffs of Dover', or the 'Sundarbans' (a seriously impressive mangrove forest/tidal delta on the coast of Bangladesh), or Shark Bay in Australia.
     
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  3. 1SDAN

    1SDAN Brother Lady

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  4. merijn_v1

    merijn_v1 Black Belt

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    I don't know if I like lakes that are already presented on the map by lake terrain should also be a natural wonder.

    From a coding perspective, that is easy. It is the same as spawning resources. From a game design perspective, I quite like it that some NW appear later in the game.

    This is not possible. This requires creating a new heightmap. Creating the heightmap is not hard, but it is not possible to let the graphics engine use that. Modifying the current heightmap will include these graphical features on every coastal tile, which is obviously not desirable. For the same reason, we cannot have both straits and isthmuses.
     
  5. Enyavar

    Enyavar Prince

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    I can't help but notice that the list of proposed wonders is really long, and that several of them are either hidden (rare species in a forest) or are dangerous to get to (like the South Pole or the Mount Everest) or even both (like some deep hidden caves right under the middle of Europe's civilization).
    And the idea of "Natural Wonder" is something of our modern times. In ancient and medieval times, "nature" was what killed you. The swamp with the rare species of butterflies? Was drained, not protected. Weird lakes that are red or dark blue or very deep or very salty? You better avoid them. they're likely cursed. A jungle forest with snakes and tigers? Chop it down! A beautiful waterfall: darn, a hazard in river navigation. And of course, people didn't risk their lifes to climb a stupid 8000m peak. You better stayed away from those, for fear of gods and avalanches.
    So I think that we shouldn't let sailing ships discover the secrets of Galapagos Isles, or the Great Barrier Reef, at a first glance.
    That's a task for the explorer unit: once the world is mostly cartographed and discovered, these units get a second use in wonder exploration. So, with that reasoning:

    The explorer has to have a prereq tech, and they have to stand right on top of some wondrous tile during a turn change (no discovery in passing, but also no need for a player to actively trigger the discovery process). If the wonder is hidden, the explorer has a chance to not see the wonder (then, he can only check again for the same wonder after a few turns cooldown). If the wonder is dangerous, the explorer has a chance to die in the attempt of discovering: People died in the line of exploring, and many of the heroes that are on the "First to"-lists, were preceded by the corpses of less lucky fellows.

    The prerequisite techs could be, for example:
    * Pneumatics (for wonders that require diving, like the Great Barrier Reef, the Mariana Trench, the Eisriesenwelt). Also for ingame peaks, like Kilimanjaro or Everest. This would require explorers to stand on top of peaks, with Pneumatics?
    * Geology for mountains that are no ingame peaks (like Sri Pada, etc.)
    * Biology for Galapagos Islands
    * Ecology for more advanced natural wonders that are based on biodiversity - like Shark Bay or the various Tepui suggestions.
    * Global Age in general, for the race towards North Pole and the South Pole (those should be represented by random tiles at the north/south border of the map, and you might have to launch several expeditions to find something)
    * Nationalism for wonders that are in plain sight and seen today more as national symbols (like Fuji, or Dover Cliffs)
    * Journalism for a few wonders that got big media coverage, like Eyjafjallajoküll or Uluru.
    * Flight for stuff like Nördlinger Ries or the Nazca Lines.
    * Satellites for discoveries like the Eye of the Sahara
    * Heritage for stone-age remnants like Gobustan or Göbekli Tepe. Maybe the spots of old city ruins could also be spots on the map where an Explorer might find something? Like, have an Explorer sitting on the tile of "Troja", and he finds something.
    * Physics for stuff like the Aurora (yes, even old Vikings "discovered" the Aurora, but they couldn't explain it or study it scientifically.

    Then, about the rewards. I think those could be dependant on the wonder: Big rewards for record-breaking wonders: climbing Mount Everest, reaching the poles, exploring the Mariana Trench. Smaller rewards for other discoveries - sometimes as money, other times a few research beakers. Cultural points if the explored wonder is in the explorer's own territory.
    Those are the immediate rewards - the touristic rewards for having a natural wonder in the territory could be +1 to +3 culture depending on the impact of the wonder, and +4 commerce for a Hotel in the city.

    In total, this suggestion makes Natural Wonders into a nice-to-have gimmick. They are not essentials of the game, and shouldn't be game-changers.
     
  6. Leoreth

    Leoreth 心の怪盗団 Moderator

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    Yeah, I like this, having tech requirements for natural wonders is a nice idea. I also like the requirement of spending an entire turn on the tile to look for it. Both combined with the fact that the natural wonder might not even be there in this game could further emphasise the proactive aspect of finding them. From a technical POV this makes natural wonders more like a resource type though because then we can utilise the revealed/unrevealed properties of resources. I also agree that the benefits should not be essential.

    On your comment on natural wonders being exploited instead of recognised, I was also thinking about an interaction with the Nature/Marine Preserve improvement and National Park wonder.
     
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  7. Steb

    Steb King

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    I’m not sure I like this, because it makes exploration more like a treasure hunt and less like actual exploration, mapping a new poorly known territory, etc. But it could work. I do agree that besides a few mountains that have been seen as sacred for a long time, the idea of a natural wonder is recent and it would make sense to reflect this in the game with tech requirements.
     
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  8. Publicola

    Publicola Prince

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    Agreed. There are so many tiles in the map (even the current one, let alone the new Big Map) that requiring an Explorer to stand on the special tile would make it nearly impossible to discover more than one Natural Wonder per game. Not to mention that this rule would basically exclude the AI from ever discovering any Natural Wonders at all. As a compromise, perhaps we could require that explorers stand next to a Natural Wonder to discover it, rather than merely having it in their field of view. (This would also ensure that Mount Everest is discovered from the Tibetan side of the Himalayas, for instance).

    I also strongly support the idea that Natural Wonders should be 'gated' behind certain technologies. This rule would also allow the early discovery of religious sites like Uluru and Mount Sinai and Mount Kailash and Sri Pada, by gating them behind the same techs as pagan temples and Judaism and Hinduism and Buddhism, respectively. We could also allow them to be discovered by Great Prophets or missionaries, rather than explorers.

    I do think it should be possible to discover at least a few Natural Wonders in the pre-modern era with scouts rather than explorers -- sites like Pamukkale were widely recognized as special even in ancient times, and volcanoes like Vesuvius and Krakatoa had a significant impact on their surroundings long before the modern age. There should still be a tech prerequisite, but something like 'Medicine' would allow Pamukkale to be discovered and exploited in the classical era. Perhaps the volcanoes could be 'discovered' by a pre-determined 'eruption' event set to a specific year.
     
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  9. merijn_v1

    merijn_v1 Black Belt

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    I think that the mountain natural wonders shouldn't even be passable at all, like regular peaks.
     
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  10. Leoreth

    Leoreth 心の怪盗団 Moderator

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    That's true. Preferably they should just be features that provide a different texture to existing peak tiles.
     
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  11. merijn_v1

    merijn_v1 Black Belt

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    The game already has a peak feature. (IIRC this is already used for the Mount Everest) They can be placed on peak tiles so they cover them up. (Maybe it requires a small modification in the model file though)
     

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  12. ozqar

    ozqar King

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    On a related note, would it be possible to change the peak tile graphics so that it doesn't show a single peak, but rather several peaks, like a mountain range? (just how the hills terrain actually shows many hills). I think that distinction (and making them look not so tall) would make special mountains (like Everest or Fuji) much more noticeable. It would also look better, because at the map scale we use, those mountain tiles almost always represent (small or large) mountain ranges, not single peaks.
     
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  13. merijn_v1

    merijn_v1 Black Belt

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    That is certainly possible.
     
  14. Publicola

    Publicola Prince

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    Because I love maps, I decided to load a game with the Big Map and try to label all of the possible Natural Wonder sites for North and South America (screenshots are below). I noticed that some areas are light, while others have a particularly heavy distribution of Natural Wonders. Obviously we shouldn't and won't try to include them all, but we may want to preserve some of the imbalanced distribution.

    In RFCE, the map is divided into specific regions, and when a new game begins, the map rolls to determine which independent city appears in that region. So:
    We might consider doing something similar here; for instance:
    - Pacific Northwest: 30% Crater Lake, 40% Redwood Forest, 30% Yosemite
    - American Southwest: 80% Grand Canyon, 20% Barringer Crater
    - Rocky Mountains: 30% Yellowstone, 30% Grand Mesa, 20% Devil's Tower, 20% Delicate Arch
    The exact percentages (and extent of each region) is up for grab, but I think this would be a good way to encourage exploration of specific regions, while preserving the element of randomness in each game.

    Finally, for Natural Wonders that occupy more than one tile -- if we're able to create 'variants' for each Natural Wonder feature, then it should be possible to designate specific 'variant' features for specific tiles. I suggest we design each tile of the Grand Canyon individually, so they mesh together seamlessly and fit with the river that runs between them. Likewise for the Pantanal. (This ability to create variants would also allow us to include two versions for each volcano: one full-sized, the other reflecting its appearance after a major eruption).
    Spoiler North America :




    Spoiler Central America :

    Spoiler South America :


     

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    Last edited: Aug 5, 2019
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  15. Steb

    Steb King

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    Nice job. I think you have missed (at least) one suggestion in Mesoamerica: the Ik Kil cenote in Yucatán.

    There are also two Valles de la Luna, and I was going for the one in Argentina, not the one in Chile, but in any case I don’t know much about either.

    Also, are there no natural wonders in Eastern North America at all? Maybe the Percé Rock idea I had would make sense then. Also the Niagara Falls, even though they’re probably much less impressive than the Victoria or Iguazu falls.



    On a different note, I was thinking that there should be another mechanism to discover the wonders besides explorers: culture. When some substantial amount of culture is accumulated on a natural wonder, it should be revealed. This represents the idea that a civilization would eventually become aware of a special geographical feature in their area and ascribe some cultural or religious significance to it. The mechanism would be independent of the explorer one, so the wonder can still be discovered by a foreign civilization and provide a reward, for instance Europeans ´discovering’ Mt. Everest even though it has been known to Tibetans for centuries.

    I suggest there is a cultural threshold so it requires some long term presence in the area. You can’t just found a colonial outpost and immediately know everything interesting there is close by, but after a few decades or centuries of creating culture, there will be stories and songs about this impressive mountain or weird geological formation that’s right there.

    I also feel there should be a mechanism for knowledge about natural wonders to spread between civilizations, but I’m not sure what it should be. An idea is that a late game tech (Journalism? Film? Television?) could reveal your own natural wonders to the rest of the world. At some point, you should know about Mt. Fuji even if you haven’t sent explorers there.
     
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  16. Publicola

    Publicola Prince

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    Thanks for the feedback; I fixed the South and Central America maps, and added a second North America map with the Niagara Falls and Perce Rock.

    I also went through and added every other Natural Wonder that's been suggested as landmarks. I wasn't sure how to save it under 'worldbuilder', but here's a save with the full world map (using the most recent 'map' git branch, 3000 BC scenario).
     

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  17. Publicola

    Publicola Prince

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    All right, here's another round of Natural Wonder maps, this time for Europe, Africa, and the Middle East:

    Spoiler Europe :




    Spoiler Africa/Middle East :



     

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  18. Publicola

    Publicola Prince

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    And here's the last round of Natural Wonder maps, this time spanning all of Asia:

    (For the record: on the new map, an accurate Great Barrier Reef would need to be 9 tiles big.)

    Spoiler East Asia :





    Spoiler India :



    Spoiler Australia :



    Spoiler Oceania :


     

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  19. Krieger-FS

    Krieger-FS Chieftain

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    Some few suggestions about South American natural wonders not yet mentioned:
    - Aconcagua (Argentina)
    - Angel Falls (Venezuela)
    - Caño Cristales (Colombia)
    - Chapada da Diamantina (Brazil)
    - Colca Canyon (Peru)
    - Kaieteur Falls (Guyana)
    - Laguna Colorada (Bolivia)
    - Lençóis Maranhenses (Brazil)
    - Perito Moreno Glacier (Argentina)

    Anyone suggested Mount Olympus before? Given that we are listing some holy mountains as possible natural wonders, it could be a nice addition.
     
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  20. 1SDAN

    1SDAN Brother Lady

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    I was wondering why no Mount Olympus wasn't listed
     

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