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Naval Promotion System Overhaul - Work in Progress

Discussion in 'Civ4Col - We The People' started by raystuttgart, Apr 17, 2021.

?

How many UnitCombatType Categories do you want for the new Naval Promotion System ?

  1. Simple and clean variant (5 UnitCombatType Categories - adding 2 more to the original 3)

    36.4%
  2. Complex and diverse variant (9 UnitCombatType Categories - trippling the original amout of 3)

    63.6%
  1. raystuttgart

    raystuttgart Civ4Col Modder

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    Hi guys,

    I just started detalling my concept and technical concept for the Naval Promotion System Overhaul.
    • taking notes and making todo lists
    • preparing spreadsheets
    • changing first balancing in XML
    • doing first prototyping in code

    Please let me first create a draft version / prototype of my new "Naval Promotion System Overhaul" because I am planning a total rebuild from scratch and it would take too long to explain all my ideas for changes and improvements ahead of time.
    It will be much easier to discuss once the first draf of my rebuild has been implemented. Then we can discuss and change details.
    Please have some patience and a little trust. :thumbsup:

    ---------

    @Schmiddie:

    As I said already, I want to introduce 2 new Naval Combat Types.

    * Coastal Trade (UNITCOMBAT_NAVAL_COASTAL)
    * Fishing and Whaling (UNITCOMBAT_NAVAL_GATHER)

    This will allow me better fine tuning of the Promotion Trees for specific Unit Categories.
    (They can get thus specific promotions that do not affect other categories of ships.)

    I need to get Buttons for these Combat Types however. (Visible in Colopedia.)
    The buttons should be placed in colonization_promotions_atlas.dds

    For comparison you can check the file:
    ...\Assets\XML\BasicInfos\CIV4UnitCombatInfos.xml

    ---------

    I was thinking of an even more detailed / differentiated system but I figured there is no real point in it.
    (We do not have enough ships to justify such a detailed differentiation for Promotions.)
    • Heavy War Ships (exists: current "War Ships")
    • Medium War Ships (not sure if we need it ???)
    • Interception Ships (not sure if we need it ???)
    • Heavy Trade Ships (not sure if we need it ???)
    • Medium Trade Ships (more or less exisrcurrent "Trade Ships")
    • Small Trade Ships (not sure if we need it ???)
    • Pirate Ships and Privateers (more or less current "Pirate Ships")
    • Coastal Ships (my new requested category above)
    • Fishing Boats and Whaling Ships (my new requested category above)
    It would only make sense if we e.g. want to give a
    • "Ship of the Line" other Promotions than e.g. a "Corvette"
    • "West Indiaman" other Promotions that e.g. a "Caravel"
    • ...
    Currently I do not think so, but please take the time to think about it a bit as well. :think:
    (Several brains are smarter than one.)

    Maybe it would open up really interesting ideas for very deep and varied Promotion Trees of the Ships. :dunno:

    ---------

    @team:

    While I overhaul / rebuild the complete Naval Promotion System, I will most likely also touch other balancing aspects of the Ships.
    So if you have ideas to change the balancing of Ships, let them collect and discuss them here.

    e.g. this idea of @Fürstbischof I really like. :)

    ---------

    @Schmiddie:

    If you have ideas of introducing one or two more Ships I really do not mind.
    I leave the choice completely up to you and take whatever you have. :thumbsup:

    I could e.g. imagine that we split "Frigate" in "Heavy Frigate" and "Medium Frigate". :dunno:
    (I lack the correct terms for Ship names so please excuse my clumsiness here.)

    It would kind of match the idea of "Ship of the Line" and "Man-o-War". :dunno:

    But as I said, you are absolutely free to realize whatever you like and I will take and integrate it. :)
    Just have fun modding and creating graphics again. :thumbsup:

    ---------

    @Vaeringjar

    You are invited to join this discussion and welcome to cooperate. :thumbsup:
    As I said, I am going to shamelessly steal some of your ideas anyways ...;)
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2021
  2. raystuttgart

    raystuttgart Civ4Col Modder

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    General Goals of the Naval System Overhaul:

    Major Goals:

    1. Creating a systematically designed system that follows clear rules and is thus easy to understand
    2. Creating a diverse system that offers different Promotion Trees for each Category of Ship Types
    3. Creating interesting but on the same hand only meaningful Promotions that serve a purpose for gameplay
    4. Closing the gap of lacking Promotion modifiers for new features we introduced (Coastal Ships, Gather Boats, Large Rivers, ...)

    Expected Side Effects:

    1. Cleaning up and removing unnecessary waste (or at least transforming them into something meaningful again)
    2. Ensuring adaptablility and scalablility in case we introduce new features or further Ships (maybe already considering transformation to "Civ Effects")
    3. Checking dependencies again (e.g. Game Concepts, Founding Fathers, Exploration Points, Combat Strength, ...) to adjust where necessary
     
  3. raystuttgart

    raystuttgart Civ4Col Modder

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    @Nightinggale

    While I was working on the concept and checking Colopedia I remember that somehwere in a Civ4BTS mod I saw a "Promotion Screen" in Civilopedia that could:
    (It is a long time ago though so I can not remembe which mod it was.)
    • draw Promotion Trees
    • filter Promotions by UnitCombatTypes
    Do you think that we could find somebody to help us adapt it to Civ4Col Colopedia ?
    Something like that would also be extremely cool if we ever get a "Tech Tree" ... ;)

    I know that adjusting / adapting such a screen is not a minor change and major effort.
    But if we work on redoing the Promotions already, we could also try to visualize the concept more nicely ... :)
     
  4. Nightinggale

    Nightinggale Deity

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    If we are going to overhaul anything related to promotions, then I will point to a system I made for Medieval Conquest. Units/professions and promotions have a list of unitcombats. A promotion is valid if there is a match on the two lists. This means a unit can end up with both UNITCOMBAT_MOUNTED and UNITCOMBAT_GUNPOWDER at the same time. In fact we could take it one step further and unlink it from UnitCombat and make our own UnitCategory instead just for this purpose. This way we can even assign promotions to non-combat units and add promotions like boosting pioneer building speed.

    No I'm not rushing out to code this, but it is a concept to consider before making some promotion overhaul.

    I can't remember seeing such a tree, but I know I can code one from scratch if needed. I have been considering doing that for a tech tree. Maybe I can do reusable code for this :think:
     
  5. raystuttgart

    raystuttgart Civ4Col Modder

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    I am almost certain that such a "Promotion Tree" (in Civilopedia) exists in one of the big Civ4Mods ... :think:
    Maybe we can ask some of the experienced Civ4BTS modders if they know something like that. :dunno:
    It could save us a lot of time if we find a good Screen example we can reuse at least some parts of the python code from. :)
     
  6. raystuttgart

    raystuttgart Civ4Col Modder

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    I really can not imagine a use case for that. :undecide:

    A Ship is either a Combat Ship or a Trade Ship or ...
    Mixing several Combat Types into one Unit Type will one confuse the players.

    Let us please stick to this design principal. :thumbsup:
    Let us keep the system technically simple and avoid unnecessary code complexity.
    It will be much easier to use and maintain that way.

    We can not always make systems that only expert modders like you and me can use.
    We need to make system that beginner modders can understand and use as well.
     
  7. Schmiddie

    Schmiddie Emperor

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    I generally like the idea very much, but there is one thing I like to think about and what I have in mind since I started RaR modding long time ago - It was always a dream of me to consider eras in the mod, e.g. that in the early game only carrack, caravel and a few other ship types are available but for example no frigates or ships of the line and vice versa in late game. I assume this would be a lot more accurate. However, maybe this aspect does not affect your system so much, because carrack would be a medium war ship and caravel a small one - as frigates and ships of the line would be in late game. :think:
     
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  8. raystuttgart

    raystuttgart Civ4Col Modder

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    Tech System is not conflicting with the Promotion Systems at all. :)
    (If anything they should enhance and add to each other once Tech System will get implemented.)

    1. Techs unlock Units (that have a UnitCombatType) that might replace other existing Units (of the same UnitCombatType)
    2. Techs could also unlock Promotions for UnitCombatTypes and could theoretically also deactivate old outdated Promotions for UnitCombatTypes (if we really want that althoug I currently have no use case for deactivating a Promotion ...)
    3. Promotions are not assigned to Units, they are assigned to UnitCombatTypes
    4. "Eras as Progress System" will probably not get implemented if we implement "Techs". Having both would conflict. (We can use only 1 System that unlocks Units, Promotions, Buildings, Features, ...)
    5. I am planning to keep the names of Promotions neutral (o avod conflicts with later naming of Techs.(Similar to now they will be called: "Mobility", "Veteran", "Navigation", "Naval Warfare", "Naval Trade", ...)

    Summary:

    UnitCombatTypes link Units to Promotions.
    Thus the two systems (Units and Promotions) are relatively flexible and adaptable.
    Adding another system to it like "Techs" should also work very well using another "linker object" like e.g. "CivEffects".

    The Promotion System should be easy to adapt to Techs once we introduce it.
    Do not worry there really should not be any conflicts.

    I usually think about such side effects to other concepts when I create further concepts.
    Thanks for checking / reminding me though. :thumbsup:
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2021
  9. Nightinggale

    Nightinggale Deity

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    I think it's the opposite. Right now a unit can't be gunpowder and mounted at the same time even though the yield requirements clearly indicate that.

    For ships we could have categories like "can enter large rivers", "hidden nationality/pirates", "coastal ships", "ocean going" etc. For now I propose including this when considering which promotions we want in the game and if we end up with intuitive categories, which adds something, then we can add this. If it turns out to be unused, then we can skip it. I don't think it's a good idea to drop it before having explored the idea.

    That's the plan of CivEffects. It's a powerful concept, which can do that in the code with minimal or no performance loss (will likely be faster than vanilla). We are however back to the unanswered question of how to unlock new units in the game. The eras in the game aren't particularly useful as they change seemingly randomly relative to player actions and also seems fairly invisible.
     
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  10. raystuttgart

    raystuttgart Civ4Col Modder

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    I do not need differentiation for every single type of modifier.
    The general classification I now have for creating Promotion Trees for Ships is absolutely sufficient.

    Unit --- clearly mapped to one single --> UnitCombatType --- clearly mapped to one specific ---> Promotion Tree
    • Easy to understand for Users.
    • Easy to maintain for modders.
    I really have absolutely no need for more complexity.
    Simply trust me with this. :)

    -------

    Trust me with that, for now this "simple variant" is all that I need:
    (It is simple and easy to maintain.)
    • War Ships [old]
    • Trade Ships [old]
    • Pirate Ships [old]
    • Coastal Ships [new]
    • Gather Ships [new]
    -------

    At most, I could imagine this more "complex variant", which I currently do not yet feel is necessary.
    (It is still easy to understand but I would need enough variation of Promotions to justify it, which I currently do not have in my concept.)
    • Heavy War Ships (exists: current "War Ships")
    • Medium War Ships (not sure if we need it ???)
    • Interception Ships (not sure if we need it ???)
    • Heavy Trade Ships (not sure if we need it ???)
    • Medium Trade Ships (more or less exisrcurrent "Trade Ships")
    • Small Trade Ships (not sure if we need it ???)
    • Pirate Ships and Privateers (more or less current "Pirate Ships")
    • Coastal Ships (my new requested category above)
    • Fishing Boats and Whaling Ships (my new requested category above)
    -------

    Summary:

    Please
    let us not mix "Unit Modifiers" with "Unit Combat Types".
    Please let us keep the system simple and easy to understand for beginner modders.

    ----------

    My offer:

    I do now offer the 2 variants (described above) to community from the discussion with @Nightinggale who seems to feel we need a more complex system.

    If team and community really wants me to implement the "complex variant", then I will. :thumbsup:

    Reminder though:

    The original Promotion Sytem worked with only 3 Unit Combat Types for Ships.

    Words of warning:

    Be warned !!!
    Choosing the complex system has consequences.

    1. It will take much longer to discuss and create such a granularly differentiating system with all the according Promitions.
    2. I will be bugging @Schmiddie a lot for creating all the Buttons for Promotions I will need for the Complex Variant of the Promotion System !
    3. I will be annoying the hell out of the supporters helping me to test the prototype all the Promotions and give me feedback

    --------

    Choose wisely young Padawans ! :old:
    (This decision will not be reverted later on !!!)

    Is it going to be the light, simple and good ways of 5 simple categories for ships?
    Or is your heat tempted by the dark, chaotic and evil ways of the 9 complex categories of ships.

    See poll on top of the thread ! :bump:
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2021
  11. Mr. ZorG

    Mr. ZorG Prince

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    why new? we already have the Large and Small Coastal Ships, as well as the Fishing Boat and the Whaling Boat ...

    never against tests)))
     
  12. raystuttgart

    raystuttgart Civ4Col Modder

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    I am talking about UnitCombatTypes (a technical concept used for Promotion Trees) not the Units.
    This is difficult to explain for a non-modder since most of it is invisible / not transparent for a player but has quite some technical impact.

    The old System has 3 Categories of UnitCombatTypes and looks like this:
    • War Ships [old]
    • Trade Ships [old]
    • Pirate Ships [old]
    My new simple and clean variant A will make it look like this:
    • War Ships [old]
    • Trade Ships [old]
    • Pirate Ships [old]
    • Coastal Ships [new]
    • Gather Ships [new
    The new alternative complex and diverse variant B will make it look like this:
    • Heavy War Ships (exists: current "War Ships")
    • Medium War Ships (not sure if we need it ???)
    • Interception Ships (not sure if we need it ???)
    • Heavy Trade Ships (not sure if we need it ???)
    • Medium Trade Ships (more or less exisrcurrent "Trade Ships")
    • Small Trade Ships (not sure if we need it ???)
    • Pirate Ships and Privateers (more or less current "Pirate Ships")
    • Coastal Ships (my new requested category above)
    • Fishing Boats and Whaling Ships (my new requested category above)
    -----

    It is hard to imagine all the consequences of such a design decision for a player.
    But a modder should see the dramatic differences in basic design and thus impact on aspects of modding and vastly different possiblities to create a Promotion System.

    To simplify it:


    We will either end up with

    A) 5 Promotion Trees that are clean
    , with little overlap and thus more differntiated and distiguishable.
    (e.g. Warships, Tradeships, Pirates, Gather Boats and Coastal Ships.)

    B) 9 Promotion Trees that are complex, confusing, much more overlapping considering single Promotions but more subtled differences between the sub-categorie.
    (e.g. the categories mentioned above + their sub-categories "Heavy", "Medium" and "Light")
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2021
  13. Mr. ZorG

    Mr. ZorG Prince

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    oops, I worked too hard today) sorry, I thought it was about ships.
     
  14. raystuttgart

    raystuttgart Civ4Col Modder

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    It is. :)

    But it is about the UnitCombatTypes for the Ships.
    And these UnitCombatTypes need to be clarified for the Promotion System for the Ships.

    Do not worry, if you do not know what we modders are talking about right now. :thumbsup:
    But I need to clarify it to find the basic structure that I can build the Promotions for the Ships around.

    I am sorry, but we are already in "Modding Territory" that is only understandable if you know how the XMLs for Promotions and Units work.
    (Usually Players are never confronted with these concepts.)
     
  15. Schmiddie

    Schmiddie Emperor

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    I think this is such a complex feature that we maybe need a separate thread (or maybe we have one that can be reactivated). However, I do not insist on the existing eras. Maybe some new eras could be introduced and the trigger is related to development of the nation (amount of colonies, settler, production, military etc.) and if a concrete trigger is met a new era will be unlocked. Ups, I'm highjacking this thread already...
    =======================

    I currently tend to the simpler system - a lot of buttons would not frighten me, but I'm not sure if we have so many ships that we need the complex system - in particular if in future the amount will be spread over different periods:
    • War Ships [old]
    • Trade Ships [old]
    • Pirate Ships [old]
    • Coastal Ships [new]
    • Fishing Boats and Whaling Ships
    I also have some ideas for new ships. Maybe also one or two new ships per class.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2021
  16. raystuttgart

    raystuttgart Civ4Col Modder

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    I am not sure anymore because my brain started working yesterday ... :think: :crazyeye:
    Let us take a look at this Complex Variant again:

    I came up with more than 20 new Promotions that would make the "Complex Naval Promotion System" worthwile ...
    (By the way, I am only listing stuff that does not exist in WTP yet. - List below is not complete.)
    • Heavy Broadside
    • Wall in the Waves
    • Combat Maneuvering
    • Tactical Anchor Turn
    • Tailwind Tactics
    • Boarding Tactics
    • Executioner
    • Pirate Hunter
    • Escort Ship
    • War Fleet Ship
    • Experienced Gather Ships (already planned in old Simple Variant)
    • Bounty Hunter
    • Trade Ship Looter
    • Chainball Shots
    • Triangle Trade Ship
    • ...
    This here we could already do with the "Complex variant" without DLL additions:
    • + 20% Combat Bonus vs. "Heavy Warships"
    • + 20% Combat Bonus vs. "Medium Warships"
    • + 20% Combat Bonus vs. "Interception Ships"
    • ...
    • +20% Combat Bonus on Coasts
    • +20% Combat Bonus on Large Rivers (already part of Large Rivers)
    • Double Movement on Large Rivers (already part of Large Rivers)
    But many of my new Promotions would be getting new XML flags with new DLL functionality ...
    • + 20% Combat Bonus vs. Ships with are at least 50% weaker (Combat Chances)
    • + 20% Combat Bonus vs. Ships that are at least 50% stronger (Combat Chances)
    • + 20% Combat Bonus vs. Ships that are slower
    • + 20% Combat Bonus vs. Ships that are faster
    • + 20% Combat Bonus vs. Ships of the same UnitType
    • + 20% Combat Bonus vs. Ships with hidden Nationality
    • + 20% Combat Bonus (defensive) if defending (on the same plot) as an unarmed Trade Ship
    • + 20% Combat Bonus (defensive) if defending (on the same plot) as another War Ships
    • + 50% chances of actually capturing the Ship after a fight
    • + 20% gather speed for Gather Boats
    • bounty (gold) for sinking Ships with Hidden Nationality
    • loot (gold) when sinking Trade Ships
    • +1 additional attack per turn (not <bBlitz> !!! which allows several)
    • - 1 turn to travel between colonies and Europe / Africa / Portugal
    • ...
    By the way:
    The number Combat Bonus Promotions can be doubled if we want to differentiate in the examples above between:
    (But that also means that I will need more XML flags and more code in DLL.)
    • + 20% Attack Combat Bonus vs. ...
    • + 20% Defense Combat Bonus vs. ...
    ----

    About AI and the Complex Naval Promotion System:
    (By the way, this will also impact normal Unit balancing of Ships.)

    If we do something like that the different "UnitCombatTypes" for Ships could become "heavily specialized". (Stone - Cissor - Paper System)
    Every "UnitCombatType" will be able to fill specific Roles in gameplay. (Normally 2 roles / specializatons per UnitCombatType)
    Thus there will additionally be a lot of "XOR" decisions. (UnitCombatTypes will offer to further choose between specializations.)

    Since the "Promotion Trees" of the "UnitCombatTypes" are also so specific for each, AI can hardly go wrong completely.
    However, AI will never ever be able to specialize its Ships for certain tasks as good as the Human Player can.
    The System is more difficult to use for AI than the current one. (Due to the strong possibilities for specialization.)

    ----

    You see where this is going ...
    (Once I get working on a concept it gets crazy ... :shifty:)

    ----

    Summary:

    Take your time and think about the 2 alternative Naval Promotion Systems again. :thumbsup:

    Do you want something that feels "known" and similar to what we have? --> Simple and clean variant (Straight forward power increase - more is simply better)
    (Very systematic, strongly cleaned up and still easy to undersand.)

    Do you want something that feels "new" and much more complex? --> Complex and diverse variant (Stone, cissor, paper principal - offering heavy specialization within Trees)
    (Much more complex, specialized and diverse thus needing more thinking.)
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2021
  17. raystuttgart

    raystuttgart Civ4Col Modder

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    Another important remark:

    If I implement all the new XML modifiers with their DLL functionality for the Promotions mentioned above these XML modifiers will not only be available for Ships.
    They would be available for Land Unit Promotion System as well. (Do not worry, I will program them flexible enough to work for both.)

    Ships and Land Units share the same Promotion System.
    (The UnitCombatTypes just have different Promotion Trees.)
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2021
  18. Schmiddie

    Schmiddie Emperor

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    Aren't these "promotions":

    • Heavy Broadside
    • Wall in the Waves
    • Combat Maneuvering
    • Tactical Anchor Turn
    • Tailwind Tactics
    • Boarding Tactics
    • Executioner
    • Pirate Hunter
    • Escort Ship
    • War Fleet Ship
    • Experienced Gather Ships (already planned in old Simple Variant)
    • Bounty Hunter
    • Trade Ship Looter
    • Chainball Shots
    • Triangle Trade Ship
    right to be promotions? Isn't this something for a tech tree instead of promotions?
     
  19. raystuttgart

    raystuttgart Civ4Col Modder

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    No, they really are Promotions. :)
    But again the connection between Promotions and Techs:
    • The Promotion gives the effect, but the Unit needs to choose it when levelling up (when having enough XP).
    • In order to become available in Promotion Tree, we can use Techs to unlock them (once we implement Techs.)
    • Additionally a Tech could give a Promotion to a UnitCombatType or a UnitType for free (so all Units of that kind get it automatically)
    ----

    Just to clarify again:
    • The effect itself is not attached to the Tech.
    • The effect itself is attached to the Promotion.
    • A Tech can however unlock a Promotion and it can also directly give a Promotion for free (if wanted).
    ----

    No matter what, I first need to implement the Promotion if you want to give it to something.
    (At least in the current system that does not have "CivEffects".)

    Later (once we have Techs) we can unlock and give these Promotions (for free if wanted) when these Techs are researched.
    Please do not worry, there is no technical conflict. :thumbsup:

    ----

    Simply always think like this:
    • Promotions == Effects (selectable at levelup or automatically given for free)
    • Techs == Unlocking / Giving for Free (Promotions, Units, Buildings, ...)
    • Founding Fathers = Giving for Free (Promotions, Units, Buildings, ...) --> stripped down version of Civ4 Techs
    The chain currently looks like this:
    • Promotion -- give --> Effect

    In the future the chain can look like this:
    • Tech -- unlock / give --> Promotion -- give --> Effect

    This is "Object Oriented Thinking" like a programmer. :)
    ----

    If we had "CivEffects" thinks might be different. :dunno:
    But we do not have them and I need to work with what I have now.

    ----

    I hope I could explain it. :) If not please ask again. :thumbsup:
    This is important to understand for everybody in the team who wants to work on this.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2021
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  20. Schmiddie

    Schmiddie Emperor

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    Nevertheless, I still think that also these 20 or more (we would need similar ones for land units) new promotions could be achieved with the simple version and the complex alternative is not required.
     
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