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Original Thread Discussion (Continued)

Discussion in 'Civ4 - MongooseMod' started by LunarMongoose, Jul 5, 2010.

  1. LunarMongoose

    LunarMongoose Chieftain

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    Yep, that's standard vanilla barb spawning rules: they try to get up to the target total number worldwide each turn, and can spawn in any tiles that no players have active vision of to try and achieve that. MM actually has some of the normal spawn restrictions removed; in vanilla (and in other mods), they also can't spawn near other barb units (because barb vision itself counted as active sight), and there was something else too I removed, I forget atm.

    Anyway, large wilderness has to do with the mapscript, and its placements of player starting locations. Because large jungles and deserts have lower desirability values (among many other complicated factors in the starting location code), players can frequently be placed in ways that aren't distributed evenly geographically, and this can create large wildernesses.

    I'm willing to consider modifying the barb spawn rules, but I don't see any good alternative solutions. If active vision is supposed to block it, then you have to respect all players equally and say anyone's active vision blocks them from spawning. And if you do that, you're stuck with random levels of barbs each game depending on player placement (which is really, really complicated and takes dozens of different things into consideration, believe it or not, heh).

    That random geographical level is then modified by the target density value in the difficulty settings, and by things like the Raging Barbs option, but those are just scale factors; 400% of 5% is still only 20%. :)

    So like I said, I'm open to suggestions if you want to propose a way to manage large wilderness, and lack thereof, but I don't see how without eliminating the active vision restriction (which I think a lot of people would find unsettling in-game). You'd basically have to say they're allowed to spawn anywhere that's not within x tiles of a city, or something. That would even out the spawns globally, but it would also keep them coming, from land, for the whole game. (The idea in MM was that they switch over to naval warfare, and drop raiding parties for land assaults, later on heh.)

    Edit - I suppose you could just count the barb units on each landmass and pick the lowest one on each successive spawn, rather than picking a landmass randomly (by picking a tile randomly, so the larger landmasses get picked more often). I'm not so sure this is a good idea though... variety in the player experience is a good thing (low barbs means freedom to put lots of tile improvements up early), and conceptually, large unexplored, uncivilized wilderness really should result in large barbarian hordes. Just saying. :p
     
  2. LunarMongoose

    LunarMongoose Chieftain

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    Come to think of it, it's also a consequence of my removing barb sight as a blocker of barb spawns. With that rule in place, once a fogged area fills up with barbs to a sufficient extent, they're forced to spawn in smaller fogged areas elsewhere that aren't as filled up yet.

    The problem is the whole reason I made that change in the first place: the rule also prevents barbs from getting anywhere near the density levels they're supposed to (both in a single wilderness and worldwide) with the custom difficulty and Raging Barbs settings, which we wanted for how fun they are, heh.

    It might be possible to reinstate a more limited version of the rule, with barb sight blocking but not by as much (say only one tile out in all cases, or even just not on the same tile), but I'd have to look into it, and like I said, I like it being proportional to wilderness size without modification anyway.
     
  3. AIAndy

    AIAndy Chieftain

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    Hmm, my suggestion would be the following:
    - Calculate a wildness factor for each continent from number of tiles within cultural borders, number of tiles within sight of non barbarian players and total number of tiles of the continent
    - Whenever you try to spawn a barbarian, choose a random continent with wildness factor counting as relative probability
    - Don't spawn right away but instead spawn into a kind of buffer/list (one for each continent). Whenever the buffer exceeds a threshold (or maybe a chance is involved) and there is a spawning spot outside of sight of both players and barbarians, spawn a horde from that buffer
    - If there is no spawning spot on that continent but there are cities on that continent, have a small chance that the buffer spawns as an uprising within cultural borders (and in sight)
    - The buffer decays if it exceeds a certain threshold and there is no spawning spot (meaning there is a random chance that a unit is removed from the buffer each turn) to prevent excessive buffer sizes on full continents which would spawn the moment a spawning spot gets available
     
  4. LunarMongoose

    LunarMongoose Chieftain

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    I'll think about that. I might put it in as a game option rather than just changing the rules flat-out, since we like the continuous, relentless, mindless assault with Raging, too. :)

    Oh I remember the other thing I was trying to remember. Doesn't actually affect barb spawns directly, it was that barbs suicidally attack immediately regardless of combat odds in MM, rather than building up to unmanageable numbers outside your cities first, THEN trying to attack, like they do normally. This was discussed a long time ago in this thread already, my argument being that I thought barbs should be zombies - weak, stupid and endless - rather than thoughtful, organized military units. I thought that should be the job of AI players' armies only, which makes barbs more fun, if a bit less realistic.

    The original reason I did that was a practical one though - with the ability to spawn to their full target numbers freely in fog (no barb vision blocking other barb spawns inside the fog), if they didn't attack immediately the whole "build up to unmanageable numbers first" thing happened to a completely disastrous level that players could never survive. So I had to make them lemmings. But I like them better that way anyway. :)

    Your solution would be back in the old vanilla style of barb behavior... sort of. I like it, I just hate making major overhauls to basic core vanilla rules when I don't have to. I tweak vanilla rules a lot, but I've only really had to redesign the whole system on Religion, Siege and Global Warming so far, as far as existing vanilla mechanics are concerned.

    Still, it'd probably work well as an optional option. Sorry for throwing up big walls of text btw; I'm just thinking out loud, and it's all useful information. ;)
     
  5. LunarMongoose

    LunarMongoose Chieftain

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    I know, I know, I know.

    I've been really busy the last couple months.

    ... Sorry, heh.

    I said I'd do the next version before Diablo 3 came out, and I'm going to, darnit! I'm hoping to get into full-time programming mode on this in another week or two, but we'll see.
     
  6. LunarMongoose

    LunarMongoose Chieftain

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    If you're curious about the delay, the most recent problem has been that, for the last month I've been working full-time on getting my MGO clan going again.

    Anyway, the current plan is to resume work on 3.6.2 in the next couple days. Thanks, btw, for the minor burst of MM downloads this past week, guys. :)
     
  7. stolenrays

    stolenrays Chieftain

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    I like your mod and like to include the Great General Progression Bar, but can't figure out how to incorporate it into my BTS 3.19 MOD. I'm not using BUG so it seems as though the python code would be different after I compared your CvMainInterface with my own that has the non-bug Great Person Progression Bar. Any suggestion?
     
  8. LunarMongoose

    LunarMongoose Chieftain

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    My GP and GG bars are similar to the BUG ones, but different in terms of size, placement, the exact text that is shown, etc. My GP bar also uses much better percent values that are based on the final result if points continue coming in as they are currently, vs normal bars that show the exact percents as they are now, which is much less useful. So there are some key differences.

    As far as the Python code goes, the relevant sections are clearly marked with comment blocks. There's about 4 places in MainInterface.py that implement each one. The GG bar is the simpler of the two, and doesn't reference the functions in the helper file iirc.
     
  9. stolenrays

    stolenrays Chieftain

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  10. Rakete4

    Rakete4 Chieftain

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    Hey LunarMongoose,

    as announced in the other thread, here is my input for the development of Version 3.6.2. As mentioned, we are a group of 3 and we have played around 15-20 matches with Version 3.6.1 over the last half year, some matches including AIs.
    So what I am writing now is based on quite a lot of practice.

    I have briefly read throught the change log, and - sorry to say that :mischief: - you are too much focused on detail instead of the big picture, and you put too much emphasis on the later ages, but few games last longer than to the industrial age.

    The following three things are crucial for improving the gameplay and balance:

    I. Make earning trade points easier for continental cities at the start of the game. Except for some tiles beside rivers and a few resources, there is no way to earn trade points away from the coast at the start of the game. This slows down tech invention too much for players that do not have access to a good coast line. A good coast line means that there are good land tiles beside the coast, not just tundra, plain and peaks. In addition, The Great Lighthouse and the Colossus benefit Coastal Cities, but there is no wonder for continental cities.

    So here is what we have changed on our own via XML (except for no. 4):
    1. Advanced tools allows to Chop down forest
    2. Cottages require Pottery instead of Monarchy
    3. Corals only +1 trade point instead of +3
    4. Avoid starting locastions in the jungle in the map script.


    II. War wearines is much too high, even without the Zeus Statue. See what AIAndy has written in the other thread. He is one of our group. We did not fully understand the mechanics of war weariness, but in any case:

    1. Reduce war weariness by at least 50%.
    2. Reduce the effect of the Zeus Statue


    III. The Silk road is too powerful. It can be built after only 40-50 turns in a fast game and allows for Communism and Environmentalism. These two civis are too powerful in the eary game, and double the changes of the player, who has built the Silk road, to win the game.

    our new effect for the Silk road:
    +1 Silk, +1 trade route in the city that has built it, +1 trade rout in all continental cities (easy way to implement that in XML: +1 trade rourte for all cities and -1 trade route for coastal cities).
     
  11. Rakete4

    Rakete4 Chieftain

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    Here are some more suggestions that you should consider. These are less crucial, though. We have implemented all of them in our own version of Mongoose Mod via XML.


    1. ICBMs should require composites. Makes longer games more likely.

    2. Cultural win requires 3 cities with legendary culture. Makes longer games more likely.

    3. Remove or reduce terrain damage. Terrain damage is funny in the beginning, but becomes annoying over time.

    4. Reduce time of anarchy. This is interconnected with the game speed, though. With fast speed, anarchy definitley takes too many turns.

    5. Change the timer: More base time, less time for units.

    6. Move the slinger to military training. Makes early defense more difficult. And to fight like the slinger obviously requires a lot of training...

    7. Assembly line should require Electricity instead of Steam Power. This means, that one additional tech is required to build the Dreadnought. The balance coal/ Dreadnought vs. oil/Destroyer will be better than. These two ships are sometimes deceisive in the game. Assembly line also allows to build the coal plant which naturally requires the invention of Electricity.

    8. Increase research costs for all stonge age technologies by ~50%. This makes some special strategies more difficult that are based on World Wonders. One such strategy for example is to go for the Great Library as quick as possible and then give birth to a lot of Great Scientists in that city. With 7-8 early Academies that can be build with the Great Scientists, the game is won.

    9. We have increased maintenance costs for the number of cities, and lowered maintenance costs for colonies and distance from Palace. I don't remember the exact reason right now, though....but there was one.

    10. Tribes should require higher built points, also setters should require slightly more.

    11. Reduce costs for improvements by ~50%.
     
  12. AbsintheRed

    AbsintheRed Chieftain

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    All these seem reasonable, I second them

    I agree with 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10
    Not sure about 7, 9 and 11 yet, haven't played that much games to see the exact balance on these
    Can't really say anything about 5, I guess you guys are right but I never played multiplayer
     
  13. LunarMongoose

    LunarMongoose Chieftain

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    Details are one reason I'm a good game designer... imo other people aren't nearly focused enough on them lol. But yeah I wasn't really TRYING to put too much emphasis on the modern ages, I just kept finding stuff I knew I wanted to change there. Whereas I thought the mod's early ages were okay as-is b/c I'd played them a bunch myself, and no one else had really complained about them before.

    To be clear though, when I play MM it's always cooperatively with one other person, against an army of ridiculously-hard AIs. (Which usually makes the final eras matter a lot, btw.) So that's the background I'm coming from. I was actually hoping I'd get some serious feedback from the competitive side at some point, so this is great! :)

    Fully agreed, I'm just used to playing on PM with meteors, and even with very large map sizes most cities seem to wind up being coastal for every player, especially early on. There's just a lot of readily-accessable coastline everywhere, so I guess I hadn't put a ton of thought into landlocked locations since the old pre-BTS / pre-PerfectWorld days, heh.

    1. Hmm. On a related note, I was actually considering removing the river commerce penalty for Forest and Jungle... but for Forest which is NOT on a river, I don't really see why you'd need to chop them so early.

    2. I see why you want this, yeah. I just hate leaving Monarchy as such a thin tech at that point, heh.

    3. I already reduced Coral to 2 commerce, which is in the 3.6.2 in-progress patch notes. :p Additionally, I reworked how they spawn to be more realistic: instead of not spawning in the tropics at all, I now have them there and at a slightly higher frequency (that's where they are in real-life), plus I have them in the temperate and polar latitudes but only in Ocean tiles and at half frequency (to simulate the "deep water coral" from real-life). The higher concentrations of Coral will thus be in the Jungle-heavy areas, which is further compensation for the, well, jungle. Hopefully this design works out for ya, but it's something new worth testing in 3.6.2.

    4. I'd really prefer not to do that for multiple reasons, but what I HAVE also done already in the 3.6.2 patch notes is changed Marsh over to be a significant map presence compared to before, and changed it to being a beneficial feature. It showed up in the Jungle areas almost exclusively when I set it to be strictly rainfall-based, so I actually had to partition the PM rainfall thresholds into categories to avoid losing huge amounts of Jungle to Marsh conversion. It currently forces equal amounts of Jungle, non-Jungle Grassland, and Tundra to convert their highest rainfall tiles into Marsh.

    Okay, I can make these changes. I was kinda just going by feel in terms of setting war weariness intensity. You can actually reduce it to zero later on by running Police State plus having Burial Mounds and a Royal Tomb (or Jails and Mt. Rushmore), so I wanted it to be something that was felt if you didn't do that, but I certainly don't need it to be extremely strong. It seemed okay to us at the current level, but I never had enough data to feel extremely confident about that.

    Plus we never tested the Zeus effect at all, since high-difficulty AIs don't suffer from war weariness nearly as much so there wasn't much point to using the Zeus against them. Thus I just went with my best-guess value when setting its effect. I'll be happy to rely on your testing experience here. :)

    Yup! As you may have noticed, I've been saying how I KNOW this wonder is overpowered for many months now. I just hadn't stopped to figure out how to nerf it yet, heh. Your idea for an alternative effect is actually terrific, so I'll probably even use it. :) Hopefully I can find something to put the old effect on, maybe a new wonder, that's available a little later and doesn't have other positive effects going on at the same time.
     
  14. LunarMongoose

    LunarMongoose Chieftain

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    We haven't actually gotten this far in a long time, b/c we keep eventually starting over to apply new mod changes when we do try to play a full game, heh. I'll look into this proposed change.

    Umm... wouldn't that make games shorter? I assume it currently requires Transcendent, which is the highest one, but I'll have to double-check.

    We love it, and the amounts are already pretty low... For the most part they just cancel out basic Friendly/Neutral/Enemy territory healing, and reduce the effects of medics. But having a unit with Medic3 in most of your troop stacks and frontier cities is bordering on overpowered I thought, and terrain damage was put in partially to counteract that. (Plus the March promotion nicely counters the counter.)

    It's ALSO useful for making Raging Barbarians a bit more survivable, by having them come in wounded when they've just walked across a desert to reach you. ;) We always use the RB setting in our games, so this was a neat side-effect.

    You're free to keep modding the mod on your end of course, but I don't think I want to reduce terrain damage, and I definitely don't want to remove it.

    It's already substantially reduced from vanilla BTS. I mean DRASTICALLY lower. I can't lower it much further without taking it to zero b/c of how the gamespeed and worldsize modifiers work, and I need the Spiritual trait and Cristo wonder to still have enough effect to be worth using.

    Anarchy times are definitely fine on Eternal speed + Huge size, but I may need to adjust the modifiers for the faster speeds... I can take a look at that.

    I'm pretty sure I never touched this, so what you're seeing is probably a vanilla BTS setting. My friend and I don't use the timer obviously, but I can see how it'd be relevant in a competitive setting. So yeah I can change it - no problem slash don't care either way. ;)

    I like this idea. I'll have to take a look later, but I'll probably do it. :)

    Yep, I like this idea too... I'll take a look as soon as I can.

    Interesting... I actually was going to increase the costs in the earlier Prehistoric columns a little, but nothing like +50% across the board. I'll have to think about this one.

    Well... with the Forbidden Palace, and especially the FP plus the Versailles, the distance maintenance was never very high for us, and as it is there was always a nice sharp penalty for expanding too quickly, so I would've thought these settings were okay, but I could be talked into making this change...

    Hmm. Possibly. :) One of the very next things I was going to do, but hadn't quite gotten to yet, was increase both Settler cost and effect, as well as the cost of old techs, as you move up in eras. But I probably would've left the initial Settler cost alone since he technically unlocks in Ancient... so yeah, I'll consider increasing them both slightly.

    Honestly I like these the way they are, but that might be another gamespeed-slash-mapsize scaling issue... For us on big long games, we typically train up to 12 Workers by late Classical, aim for 24 of them by Rennaissance, and keep them deployed in packs of 3 or 4 each. Improvements get done reasonably quickly this way, but I don't know how it'd play out on faster speeds.

    Edit - Unless you mean the gold costs, which, again, are definitely fine for us, but may not be scaling very well... Actually, just going from memory, they MAY not be scaling at all, in which case yeah you'd have a problem on your settings, lol. I'll definitely check this.
     
  15. Rakete4

    Rakete4 Chieftain

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    Thanks for considering my ideas, Lunarmongoose :)

    It's of course good that you pay much attention to details, I just wanted to highlight some things that we felt were quite imbalanced in human vs. human multiplayer games. Since you usually play versus the AI as you say, it is natural that you did not take note of these problems yet.

    I'm not going to write much again, because I see that we already agree on the three things that I had highlighted to be crucial to change them (coastal vs. continental starting locations, war weariness and the Silk Road). There are different ways to improve these three points and it up to you to choose the solution that you think is best. Please read also what AIAndy had written about war weariness.


    Just a few notes:

    - The new proposed Silk Road effect was an idea from AIAndy actually! A new world wonder, that can be build only at a later age, and that rewards the player with the Economy civics would definitely be a good idea. At a later time it would not be so powerful any more.

    - I meant of course the transcendent culture level to be required for the cultural victory, not the legendary, that was a typo. The more culture points required, the better.

    - I meant to reduce gold costs for improvements, not to reduce building time. But that is actually something that AIAndy has changed on his own, I never really cared about that, I was fine with the gold costs as they were.

    - leave the terrain damage as is it, then. That's not really something worth to discuss for a long time. We will probably mod our own version of Mongoose mod 3.6.2 anyway :D

    -Same for the city maintenance costs: not that important to change them. I remember now why we made the chane, though. When you ease the development for continental cities versus coastal cities, like we did it, it will benefit players on large islands/continents over players located on small islands. Therefore we increased maintenance for the number of cities and decreased colony maintenance.
     
  16. LunarMongoose

    LunarMongoose Chieftain

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    I'm still curious why you wanted to make Forest Chopping available sooner... Was it just to get the commerce from rivers?

    Ahhh... very interesting. :)
     
  17. Rakete4

    Rakete4 Chieftain

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    To be able to build cottages earlier. :D The one commerce point from rivers does not help much, because sea tiles reward "coastline civilizations" with 2 commerce. And with a lighthouse, sea tiles do not slow down growth.
     
  18. LunarMongoose

    LunarMongoose Chieftain

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    Btw, I'm interested in any feedback you have on the leader traits and how well they're balanced, as well as the sequence of traits each different civ has, and how balanced you think they are (factoring in unique units and buildings).

    Since my last update pass on those things in one of the recent previous versions I've been quite happy with how things stand, but we've only played as a handfull of civs ourselves so I don't know anything for sure. :)

    Thanks... once again that makes perfect sense, lol.
     
  19. LunarMongoose

    LunarMongoose Chieftain

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    Spoke too soon while going from vague memory again, heh. Realistically, you can drive assembly lines, and factories in general, with just steam power, and coal plants can be used to directly generate steam power. In the context of manufacturing, all electricity does is provide a way to extend that capability over distance. This is why it's required for Industrialism; that tech implies a widespread adoption of the industrial revolution across your whole empire.

    As far as game balance goes, in looking at it closely just now I remembered how and why I set it up this way originally: you can actually rush straight to Combustion a lot faster than you can rush straight to Assembly Line already as it is, so I wouldn't want to make that worse. I also don't want to decrease the current amount of seperation between the WW1 and WW2 columns.

    I could reduce the Dreadnaught to 28 str, but the idea was to keep it semi-viable against later ships even if you don't upgrade it for a long time (and as a pre-Battleship, 30 str seems reasonable, especially with the Submarine penalty...). I could also add Coal as an option to power the Destroyer, or remove it as an option from the Dreadnaught; it ended up the way it is b/c the DN is a bridge unit between ironclads and modern warships, and some of them were actually steam-powered IRL iirc.

    I also like being allowed to skip BOTH military routes (Assembly and Combustion) and go down the Electricity branch first instead to try for the wonders if I'm not feeling too vulnerable... But if I make your change, that won't be as distinct an option.
     
  20. Rakete4

    Rakete4 Chieftain

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    I didn't pay that much attention to the strengh of the traits, because we usually choose random civs in the game start. I then just check what I have got and try to find a strategy that fits the traits.
    Scientific and Philiosophical are quite strong, financial becomes strong when you build the Colossus so that you get 4 economy-points from any coast.

    But in my opinion the traits do not need to be totally balanced, that's simply not a prerequisite for a good game in general. Of course, the differences may not become too big, but they aren't that big i would say.
    For example in multiplayer games, choosing civs is another option to solve the problem that not all players are equally strong, in addition to changing difficulty level and building teams. And in the start of the game, there is always luck in the sense that not every starting location is equally good, so it doesn't matter that there is some more luck about the civ you get when you choose random. It does not make the game less fun.

    Same also for unique buildings and units. The Rathaus (unique building of the Holy Roman empire) is probably the strongest building of all, but again: you needn't change that in my view.
     

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