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Naval Suggestion

snaphance

Chieftain
Joined
Aug 14, 2011
Messages
68
One of the biggest weaknesses with Civ games is that the devs tend to have absolutely no clue about naval warfare. Case in point: ironclads. Ironclads were historically capital ships, forerunners to battleships. Frigates were more akin to cruisers, and I guess you could say that destroyers were successors to corvettes and sloops of the mid-late 19th Century. I think that we need to isolate a class called "capital ships." These would be expensive, very powerful, and available only to civs. City states would be incapable of building them. Ideally it should go ironclad >> battleship >> dreadnought >> superdreadnought.
We then can have a cruiser line: frigate >> protected cruiser >> heavy cruiser >> missile cruiser (I'm mostly trying to diversify industrial/early modern navies.
Melee line could be corvette/sloop >> destroyer (still thinking out this line)
Might also be worth adding an Industrial era commerce raider unit. I'm also thinking over some potential coastal naval units for the Industrial era onwards. Monitors, minelayers, torpedo boats, gunboats, littoral combat ships, etc. These would also be useful to city states, and useful for exerting pressure on city states. I'm also thinking about seaplanes and seaplane carriers, but that's less of an immediate concern for me.

This is just me doing a bit of stream-of-consciousness for Civ's lackluster naval trees. On land we have a variety of units with different specialties and abilities; we should have such on the waters, too.
 
I might also add "leap-frogging" for units. For example: ironclads didn't become completely obsolete when the first battleships were created. They still had a place in the battle line, and only gradually became fully obsolete. So battleships and ironclads could be on the waters together, and then ironclads become fully obsolete with dreadnoughts, with battleships still being viable, and then battleships become fully obsolete with superdreads. Basically represent the historical nature of naval tech. For example, the Greek Hydra-class battleships were definitely past their prime in the early 20th Century, but still saw service in war next to the cruiser Georgios Averof which clearly outclassed them.
 
I've had the same or very similar thoughts, never got around to implementing anything though. Probably a few posts from me and others from years back, suggesting something along these lines. Community response has never been strong. We lack art files for going back into the wooden ships, which I think would also be desirable.

IMO lately I'm thinking we'd wanna overhaul the strategic resources somewhat for this to work. Maybe not entirely necessary but if we're going for realistic representation, there'd be significant industrial capacity to account for in order to achieve the capital ships in particular. The AI is capable when it comes to buildings, if perhaps not the most discriminating when it comes to building queues, but my best thought here would be to have a good amount of varied inputs required for these types of units to achieve their high cost -- not every player was historically able, nor should be required in game, to build these sophisticated navies. Would be nice to hit that historical flavor
 
Well,
I've had the same or very similar thoughts, never got around to implementing anything though. Probably a few posts from me and others from years back, suggesting something along these lines. Community response has never been strong. We lack art files for going back into the wooden ships, which I think would also be desirable.

IMO lately I'm thinking we'd wanna overhaul the strategic resources somewhat for this to work. Maybe not entirely necessary but if we're going for realistic representation, there'd be significant industrial capacity to account for in order to achieve the capital ships in particular. The AI is capable when it comes to buildings, if perhaps not the most discriminating when it comes to building queues, but my best thought here would be to have a good amount of varied inputs required for these types of units to achieve their high cost -- not every player was historically able, nor should be required in game, to build these sophisticated navies. Would be nice to hit that historical flavor
If anyone is interested in working with me on this sort of thing, there are various available unit models from other mods and such, it wouldn't be too difficult.
 
Naval combat is rare for much of the game. Having highly nuanced unit differentiation doesn't strike me as very useful for a relatively small component of combat. For comparison, on land the foot soldiers are literally only bows, spears and swords, until they all get guns and two of them consolidate into the same unit. So I don't buy the idea that navies need more different unit types than land. For the style of strategy game that is Civ, that's just not an important thing to which to devote resources (both dev time and player mind share).

The only piece I think is missing is a commerce raiding style of unit that would complete the melee/ranged/skirmisher triangle for naval combat (pre-submarines). Something as simple as adding privateers and maybe some kind of torpedo boat, which work their way into subs. Right now that tries to get picked up solely by promotions on melee vessels (Hull vs. Boarding Party), which is better than nothing but I think could be better. For the rest of your custom ships, I do think promotions are the better way to handle the difference between a minelayer or a monitor or a scout.

The notion of capital ships being a distinct unit line from melee seems like it could have legs as well, but then wouldn't those be upgrading into carriers, not dreadnaughts/superdreadnaughts? This doesn't seem to mesh well with the current unit scheme we added with enhanced naval warfare, but with some work it might make sense.

Overall I think the way upgrades and obsolescence works currently precludes the nuance you're looking for regarding "old units still having relevance against contemporary units". At minimum you would need most units to obsolete one upgrade later than usual, and then you'd have the option to have "the lancer effect", where a unit sticks around long enough to be both a heavy-hitter when it first shows up, then slowly dies back into a cheap and spammy throw-away unit that exists beside stronger contemporaries.
 
Naval combat is rare for much of the game. Having highly nuanced unit differentiation doesn't strike me as very useful for a relatively small component of combat. For comparison, on land the foot soldiers are literally only bows, spears and swords, until they all get guns and two of them consolidate into the same unit. So I don't buy the idea that navies need more different unit types than land. For the style of strategy game that is Civ, that's just not an important thing to which to devote resources (both dev time and player mind share).

The only piece I think is missing is a commerce raiding style of unit that would complete the melee/ranged/skirmisher triangle for naval combat (pre-submarines). Something as simple as adding privateers and maybe some kind of torpedo boat, which work their way into subs. Right now that tries to get picked up solely by promotions on melee vessels (Hull vs. Boarding Party), which is better than nothing but I think could be better. For the rest of your custom ships, I do think promotions are the better way to handle the difference between a minelayer or a monitor or a scout.

The notion of capital ships being a distinct unit line from melee seems like it could have legs as well, but then wouldn't those be upgrading into carriers, not dreadnaughts/superdreadnaughts? This doesn't seem to mesh well with the current unit scheme we added with enhanced naval warfare, but with some work it might make sense.

Overall I think the way upgrades and obsolescence works currently precludes the nuance you're looking for regarding "old units still having relevance against contemporary units". At minimum you would need most units to obsolete one upgrade later than usual, and then you'd have the option to have "the lancer effect", where a unit sticks around long enough to be both a heavy-hitter when it first shows up, then slowly dies back into a cheap and spammy throw-away unit that exists beside stronger
Carriers would remain a different unit type. Superdreads were still used alongside carriers, and were used up to the '90s. Think Big Mo lobbing Tomahawks at Saddam. Missile Dreadnought could definitely be added.
I don't think lancer effect would be that big of an issue, since I'm basically replicating how quickly naval tech advanced ca. 1860-1900. And I've definitely seen the VP ai do more with ships than the default ai, so it might be worthwhile. At any rate, if anyone is interested in at least figuring out some coastal units with me, that would be a start.
 
Naval combat is rare for much of the game. Having highly nuanced unit differentiation doesn't strike me as very useful for a relatively small component of combat. For comparison, on land the foot soldiers are literally only bows, spears and swords, until they all get guns and two of them consolidate into the same unit. So I don't buy the idea that navies need more different unit types than land. For the style of strategy game that is Civ, that's just not an important thing to which to devote resources (both dev time and player mind share).
It all depends on the map. Play on a map where it can generate unique lands and islands, then you might switch your opinion.

I think that we need to isolate a class called "capital ships."
I already have some ideas for extending the Carrier class back into the Industrial/Renaissance era and turning it into the Capital Ship class.
We could also have a heavy melee and light melee naval class. Heavy melee is like the Melee line for naval, and Light melee is like the Recon line for naval.

Naval units have this problem where they move too fast in a single turn, making it too quick to make naval warfare interesting.
 
It all depends on the map. Play on a map where it can generate unique lands and islands, then you might switch your opinion.
It certainly does depend on the map, but for several reasons (in my opinion) naval combat is destined to be secondary.

For one, most civs have unique land units, not naval units, so most players will want some element of land combat. Not all civs want some element of naval combat. This isn't to say that all non-naval-UU civs should want no naval combat, but not everyone "cares" if there's nuanced battle mechanics for the sea.

Secondly, I'd argue sea resources are also much less interesting to fight over, and less varied overall (see: (Fish, Atoll) vs. (Deer, Cattle, Wheat, Oasis, ...etc.). This is certainly solvable, but isn't where we currently find ourselves. In essence, I don't think you need robust combat mechanics before having robust economy mechanics to fight over.

Finally, even if you setup a map where sea resources are interesting to fight over (which is a good thing! I applaud any maps that do this well), is the solution filling the seas with 3 variations of melee units: "spearman boats" vs. "horseman boats" vs "swordman boats", in addition to as many (or more) ranged boats? I would say it is not. As I mentioned, I think a simple melee-ranged-skirmisher triangle is all that's required for interesting combat, with two promo paths that can cover most of the additional desired flexibility.

Naval units have this problem where they move too fast in a single turn, making it too quick to make naval warfare interesting.
I'll strongly agree that in-combat mobility for ships is exceptionally high once the ocean opens up. I understand the desire to cut down on inter-continental travel time though, so this one is a little tricky to solve. Maybe something like applying a speed debuff once any naval unit becomes damaged would be a good shift. But we also already have Boarded as a plague.
 
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I've finally figured out some of the issue. First, let me ask you a question: how many cavalry, ranged, siege, and naval units are unlocked when the game begins?
None.
We gradually unlock these with tech advances, and we accept this from the base game, but every time someone tries adding a new unit line, the inevitable question is "how are you gonna implement it, what ancient/medieval, etc. units will there be," and so on.
But I don't need this. Looking at naval warfare, from the ancient era to the medieval/renn. it was pretty much entirely ramming attacks and boarding actions. The only "ranged" action was marines lobbing arrows or javelins at other marines. Piracy/raiding was also a big factor. So I would cut all ranged naval units until the late medieval with the advent of gunpowder, because that is what changed naval warfare. You could have two melee and a raider unit for ancient/classical navies, with maybe slightly different advantages, but ranged wouldn't unlock until gunpowder.
From gunpowder you add galleass, which is the first unit of the cruiser line, and galleons, which would be the first unit of the capital ship line.
Galleass >> frigate >> early cruisers >> advanced cruisers >> missile cruisers

Galleon >> first rate >> ironclad >> battleship >> dreadnought >> missile battleship (might just roll dread and super dread into one unit)

I would also change up unit models to have two ships shown per unit. Early cruisers, for example, would have a protected cruiser and an armored cruiser, representing the usual tactic of having naval squadrons.
At any rate, I think this can trim down the naval trees and gradually introduce naval lines in an orderly fashion.
 
I've finally figured out some of the issue. First, let me ask you a question: how many cavalry, ranged, siege, and naval units are unlocked when the game begins?
None.
We gradually unlock these with tech advances, and we accept this from the base game, but every time someone tries adding a new unit line, the inevitable question is "how are you gonna implement it, what ancient/medieval, etc. units will there be," and so on.
But I don't need this. Looking at naval warfare, from the ancient era to the medieval/renn. it was pretty much entirely ramming attacks and boarding actions. The only "ranged" action was marines lobbing arrows or javelins at other marines. Piracy/raiding was also a big factor. So I would cut all ranged naval units until the late medieval with the advent of gunpowder, because that is what changed naval warfare. You could have two melee and a raider unit for ancient/classical navies, with maybe slightly different advantages, but ranged wouldn't unlock until gunpowder.
From gunpowder you add galleass, which is the first unit of the cruiser line, and galleons, which would be the first unit of the capital ship line.
Galleass >> frigate >> early cruisers >> advanced cruisers >> missile cruisers

Galleon >> first rate >> ironclad >> battleship >> dreadnought >> missile battleship (might just roll dread and super dread into one unit)

I would also change up unit models to have two ships shown per unit. Early cruisers, for example, would have a protected cruiser and an armored cruiser, representing the usual tactic of having naval squadrons.
At any rate, I think this can trim down the naval trees and gradually introduce naval lines in an orderly fashion.
I like the idea of unlocking capabilities/new types of units. Makes eras more interesting and provides a sense of progress.
 
how many cavalry, ranged, siege, and naval units are unlocked when the game begins?
Scout, melee and ranged are immediately available.
Mounted ranged is available after 1 tech. Mounted melee is available after 3 techs.
Siege is available in Classical.

but every time someone tries adding a new unit line, the inevitable question is "how are you gonna implement it
This is the only important question. There's a reason why Mounted Ranged is actually in the Ranged UnitCombat class.
 
This is the only important question. There's a reason why Mounted Ranged is actually in the Ranged UnitCombat class.
We can actually extend the naval UnitCombat class by repurposing the Submarine and Carrier combat classes.
We can turn the Submarine class into a Recon naval class and the Carrier class into a Capital Ship class.
There's also one more UNITCOMBAT_NAVAL class that is also working in the base game (without DLC). But it requires re-implementing it back into the DLL.
The limitation of using the existing Combat class is to make the units have a working attacking animation as the game won't recognize any custom Combat classes that are added into the game.

Here's what I would envision:
Naval Melee: Regular melee mainly for attacking cities. Slow but strong.
Naval Recon: Light naval melee that can move after attack. It's sort of like a hit-and-run for naval warfare. Weak but fast.
Naval Ranged: Regular ranged and also for destroying runaway Naval recon.
Capital Ship: Naval ranged line meant for bombarding cities with a higher range than regular Naval ranged.
 
Here's what I would envision:
Naval Melee: Regular melee mainly for attacking cities. Slow but strong.
Naval Recon: Light naval melee that can move after attack. It's sort of like a hit-and-run for naval warfare. Weak but fast.
Naval Ranged: Regular ranged and also for destroying runaway Naval recon.
Capital Ship: Naval ranged line meant for bombarding cities with a higher range than regular Naval ranged.

This is close to my take, but with different stated roles for each group:

Naval Melee: Melee ships. Promo lines specialize in tanking damage during blockades or protecting ranged units (by applying Boarded, for example). Later these are interceptors.
Naval Skirmisher: Fast ships with a bonus towards naval ranged units. Range 1 and can move after attacking. Promo lines specializing in either gold from kills, or gold from harassing cities. Eventually gains access to Wolfpack for more damage-oriented units.
Naval Ranged: Ranged ships. Range 2. Promo lines specialize in city bombardment or targeting land units. When protected from skirmishers, used to weaken cities or provide support for land units. Decent CS so they stand up to naval melee units better than skirmishers.
(I think Capital Ships are still not necessary, but if you include Carriers or other specialty units, they would go here)

Skirmisher line would include units like the Privateer and Torpedo Boat, before becoming the submarines we already have. Whether you bring it all the way back to the Liburna is another question, the leap-frogging for ships is more drastic in the early game.
 
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Naval Skirmisher: Fast ships with a bonus towards naval ranged units. Range 1 and can move after attacking. Promo lines specializing in either gold from kills, or gold from harassing cities. Eventually gains access to Wolfpack for more damage-oriented units.
That would be very unfair if you made them Ranged. Logistics on naval is already powerful since they have a lot of movement points. That's why I make them as a melee so they must heal eventually. Land skirmishers have terrain constraints, they can't move just as freely as naval on sea.
 
Just remove Logistics from all naval. Submarines already don't have that.
 
Just remove Logistics from all naval. Submarines already don't have that.
I agree with this

The minute I get logistics (usually ~frigates, definitely by the next upgrade) on some ships is the minute wars get an order of magnitude easier as it guarantees coastal city captures which usually has a profound snowball effect in collapsing your enemies' empire.
 
What I like about Range 1 raiding ships: you can attack shoreline land units, which gives you more play with the on-kill promos; and it mirrors their eventual form of submarines (even if they lose the land-attack at that point).

What I like about melee raiding ships: they suffer health loss when attacking, which means they eventually must retreat (unless they have heal-on-kill or are pillaging); and it means that proper defensive melee ship placement is easier because of how ZOC works for melee attacks.

Both approaches have advantages. To me the main thing is tuning the damage so that melee wards off raiders, raiders sink ranged, and ranged take out cities (with a melee buffer). Raiders can farm gold off of cities but aren't intended to actually capture/destroy them, at least without land support.


As a side note, if you gave Raider ships "Ranged Support Fire" as melee units, would they be able to ranged attack land units without a baseline ranged attack? Might be a good compromise (with the side-effect of letting them level up faster than normal [or just remove double-XP already]).


I wouldn't mind removing Logistics from the promo lineup. If nothing else, it cuts down on the total clicks you're making during mid-game+ combat.
 
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There are many cases when I wish certain aspects of the mod were more historically correct. But most of the time I digress because the devs have usually made the correct decision in terms of gameplay nuances. If everything was historically correct the game would probably be an unbalanced mess.

I brought something like this up referring to cavalry. In reality during medieval warfare if you didn't have heavy cavalry, you lost. But that is definitely not the case in vp.
 
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