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Pacal the scientist?

Discussion in 'Civ 4 - Advanced Civ' started by Lanstro, Jul 29, 2020.

  1. Lanstro

    Lanstro Prince

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    Thanks for the comment. However until I improve my play, it'll just be repeated short threads like this one where either I was too greedy as usual, or failed axe/sword rushes.
     
  2. Leoreth

    Leoreth Vampire of the Blue Moon Moderator

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    I think Triremes could go to Bronze Working if Slavery is no longer at Bronze Working. The combination of metal/Axemen AND Slavery AND chopping makes Bronze Working a must get tech already, so splitting one of those off should make for a tougher choice and more varied early tech paths. It's kind of insane that both early game avenues for rapid production and the best combat unit (provided copper is near) and the knowledge IF copper is near are all on the same tech. I think moving Slavery to Masonry makes the most sense flavour wise, and Masonry is usually not an early game priority unless you start near stone and want to rush Pyramids, but even then right now you still want Bronze first because it still opens more production. So this is arguably even a balance change and not just a flavour one.

    The downside I can see here is that making Masonry more valuable makes Mysticism starts more valuable, but that tech is usually not the best anyway compared to the others. Speaking of starting tech values, Hunting is rather worthless at the moment, especially if no livestock is nearby. I know the connection is somewhat strenuous, but how about making Hunting a secondary prereq for Bronze Working? I read somewhere that ancient metalworking professions derived from tanning (tools and processes wise) so I made Leatherworking a prereq for Copper/Bronze, and you could conceivably draw the same connection from Bronze, plus it makes sense to have some kind of hunting tradition before you can field military units like Axemen.

    On the other hand, that would make nearly any military dependent on Hunting and maybe restrict the early tree too much. But it would also provide some value to starting with the tech. As you can tell, I really think that Bronze Working needs a nerf.
     
  3. f1rpo

    f1rpo plastics

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    I'm not really at a point where I want to start shuffling things around, especially not in the early game – unless there's a really convincing change to be made. I'd like to rearrange the tech tree at a later time, but that time may never come. I don't want to end up with a set of balance and historicity changes that are neither easy to learn nor comprehensive. I would be willing to move Trireme to BW right away and Slavery elsewhere if there was a good elsewhere. (For additional context, Warlords had originally placed Trireme at Saling with BW as an additional requirement. BtS moved Trireme to MC, perhaps, mainly, because space was needed at Sailing for Moai Statues and the river trade ability.)
    Only brings to mind enslaved Hebrews pulling stone blocks in "The Ten Commandments." Building the Pyramids through slave labor doesn't even work well in the game because of the hurry penalty for wonders. Maybe if Archery were renamed to become some sort of social stratification tech ("Warrior Code" in Civ 2). But, then, Archery enabling Archer just makes a lot of sense.
    I like to think that it's already better in AdvCiv. Of course much depends on whether goody huts are enabled. I've tried to make that option more palatable by awarding only partial progress toward any expensive techs. With huts, given the changes to Barbarian activity (and Scout having +100% defense against Barbarians), starting with a Scout is a significant advantage in my estimation. Also, scouting in rival territory is more useful in the mod because cities need to be revealed for trade routes and because AI military build-up is less predictable. That said, Hunting is still unlikely to get researched by human players just for Scout or Archery.
    Hunting could be required just for Axeman – but neither "Bronze Working: requires Hunting" nor "Axeman: requires Hunting" quite have the ring of truth to them.
    I don't think Slavery contributes much to BW being discovered very early most of the time. Can't normally use Slavery efficiently that early. Revealing Copper is a big deal for early defense and city placement, and chopping can also be of immediate use. In my draft of unlikely-to-be-realized changes, I've (lately) been trying to move MC before BW, letting MC reveal Copper and enable Spearman and Workshop with -1:food:+2:hammers:, but not Forge (-> IW).
    Not the date necessarily, but the tech should have some connection with the effect. Trireme at IW is a head-scratcher. Wouldn't be the first one obviously, but I'm not willing to add another for the sake of a minor balance change. Making the game strictly worse in some regard is usually a bad move for this type of mod; players don't tolerate that well in my experience.
    Wine grants 1 commerce from the start of the game. I think Monotheism would be a better tech for Winery, also gameplay-wise, but Monarchy would have to be given something else, and that gets too complicated.
    Those horizontal Persian windmills would be fair enough for justifying Windmill in the middle of the Medieval era. The best place would be toward the end of the Medieval era imo, i.e. high medieval in non-Civ terms. At some point, I'd like to move Windmill to Engineering, and Lumbermill, along with the +50% chopping yield ability, to Machinery. Too big a change for now, considering that room would have to be made at Engineering. I'd see Windmill at Engineering also as a gameplay improvement because I rarely ever want to build Windmills when they become available at Machinery. Not enough happiness to support the population growth I guess. It's generally more exciting to unlock abilities at the time that they're actually needed.

    Interesting point about Windmills sometimes being (badly) needed early on. Though I don't really see it. A Windmill hill will never provide a food surplus, i.e. won't help cities in dry lands to work their resource tiles. All that is gained from a Windmill is the non-resource hill tile itself. Hardly seems crucial. Maybe when a river runs mostly through hills; but that would be quite rare as the river placement algorithm tries to steer clear of hills.
    Such discussions have a way of expanding. Of course I'm the one who started it in this thread. :o I prefer to respond about Lumbermill in the old thread, along with the other reverted K-Mod changes.
     
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  4. crullerdonut

    crullerdonut Warlord

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    In that case, why not just revert Triremes back to the way they were in Warlords? That'd solve the beastly-barb-Galley problem right away.

    Before AdvCiv, I don't recall ever actually queueing up and building a Scout. But now, I typically build at least one per game. When starting with Hunting, the first Scout often gets killed, but since exploration is so critical, I then build another one. Starting without Hunting: by the time I get Writing/Alphabet, when it's important to scout out the other civs' lands, I usually can get Hunting for very cheap and then build a Scout.

    As for when Slavery should be unlocked, I really don't have any strong opinions one way or another. I will say that with K-mod/AdvCiv, Serfdom really gives Slavery a run for its money in low-food situations (which seems very common for me). For example, in the game I've been playing, that's 38 Serfdom Farms. I could hardly Whip due to how long it took to grow. So I like the kind of balance in these kinds of games where Slavery is important for awhile in the early game, but then becomes more-or-less obsolete. On the other hand, in this low-food situation, there's less of an incentive to go into Caste System, and I doubt I'll ever switch into Emancipation. (By the way, maybe Emancipation should give +1:commerce: to Villages and Towns, to make it a little more appealing :think:)
    38 Serfdom Farms.JPG

    Looking at some of my saves, I tend not to make too many Windmills until ~1000 AD anyway, though this may partly be because I sometimes neglect Machinery (and Engineering) for a long time. There are cases like below, with very little :food: in hills. In that case, a Hills/Grassland Windmill gets 2:food:/1:hammers:/1:commerce:, which is halfway decent. However, it should be noted that now with Serfdom, a Plains Farm gets the same yield. So I suppose that Windmills at Engineering wouldn't be too bad after all. :think:
    Windmill Peninsula.JPG

    There's currently 5 items at Engineering, but isn't there room for 6 in total (like with Scientific Method)?
     
  5. Leoreth

    Leoreth Vampire of the Blue Moon Moderator

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    I thought so. I agree that tech changes should be deliberate and oriented to a specific goal.

    That's interesting, I totally forgot about that. Having Triremes at Sailing with BW as a secondary is a good "cheat" for not officially adding more stuff to BW, but still impacts the overall power of the tech. I concede though that Triremes being or not being on BW makes that much of a difference, it's not like they can be immediately turned into a benefit by being available early, they mostly have a defensive purpose.

    Fair, but what is the reasoning for having it at bronze then? Better chains? If we critique the idea that slave labor didn't build most wonders or great projects, then why do we have the slavery effect at all. I think masonry goes best in the direction of being able to do the large scale construction work that requires slavery and other forms of forced labor, even if it is not literally the Pyramids.

    I agree that Hunting itself is more valuable, but not so much the techs enabled by Hunting.

    I agree that chopping and revealing metal (plus Axemen, those two go together imo) are the most valuable effects of the tech, but those are also inherently related to its concept and impossible to move elsewhere. Slavery isn't usable immediately, but it's still valuable to switch to it immediately to have the ability available. With granaries it is still very efficient for small cities that are not yet improved very much. That said, if slavery is only used later maybe it could be an IW effect instead? :)

    That's an interesting concept, but it doesn't really work with the name metal casting. The ability to cast metals came later than hammered bronze/iron.
     
  6. f1rpo

    f1rpo plastics

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    I agree with this analysis. Balance aside, itll be another icon at a 4-icon tech. (BW has 4 in BtS and AdvCiv, and I've brought Sailing down to 4 by removing the river trade ability and moving the Great Lighthouse to Masonry.) And it's actually a bit strange to have Trireme at BW on account of the ram when there is a tech called Metal Casting. I don't think any of the options are great. Not sure how much of a problem there is with Trireme coming too late currently. I've certainly built Triremes against Barbarians before; in fact I built one when I played a few turns from Lanstro's AD 95 save. If it's worse than I realize – or if Slavery can be moved – then Trireme at BW might be an improvement.
    At the least it looks bad when one tech does 6 things while the surrounding techs do 3 or 4. Not really difficult to find stuff to move away from Engineering (in my draft for a balance overhaul, I've moved Pikeman -> Guilds, Castle -> Feudalism, road movement -> Military Science), but the changes keep rippling.
    Long-lived serfdom seems appropriate for that Siberian landscape. If, say, 2 in 8 civs have an incentive to adopt Emancipation, then the unhappiness should be enough to get almost everyone else onboard eventually. The original incentive could come from other civics no longer being worthwhile or from wishing to force everyone into Emancipation. I don't know what the calculation of the AI is currently; probably not entirely rational. But there might be enough of a rational incentive too.
    I'd just let Yakutsk work the Silk and Copper forever. But of course I'm not positive that this is the best play and giving players the option of growing such a city is a plus in any case. The city can grow a bit through Civil Service here, but that does come a bit later than Machinery and the irrigation chain takes more worker turns than Windmills.
    I've seen that interpretation suggested at least once in earnest. Assuming that the Slavery civic represents a society highly dependent on slave labor, maybe there is something about the Bronze Age and its trade networks that favored this development. Though Classical Greece and Rome were Iron Age civilizations ... At least BW has the benefit of familiarity and I don't own the problem so long as I leave it there.
    I don't think Slavery typically builds wonders in the game either unless players use overflow to get around the wonder hurry penalty. If it weren't for that, then renaming (generalizing) Slavery to "Forced Labor" would make it fit fairly well at Masonry. Corvée labor is a decent explanation for converting food into production.
    I'd say BW usually gets researched for Copper and chopping, and Slavery becomes useful soon after in some games. BtS players like to delay IW until they can trade it from the AI. Slavery at IW would clash with that tactic (for better or worse).

    On moving MC before BW:
    I would think of pre-BW MC as lost-wax casting of copper (and lead). A name like "Copper Smelting" could make that explicit. My understanding is that smelting was necessary in order to win copper from ores (e.g. malachite), and that this technology was known by the time that tin entered into the mix. Necessarily I guess, unless those metals can be alloyed without smelting them both. So I feel that BW should imply lost-wax bronze casting, and that MC as a post-BW tech is a bit redundant. Could represent clay molds I suppose, but that doesn't really justify a separate tech, especially not such an expensive one.
    :think: One can work bronze without being able to produce bronze; is that your interpretation of BW?
     
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  7. Lanstro

    Lanstro Prince

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    My 2c - I'd support moving triremes a little ealier, not fussed where. Could do with a hammer discount too.

    The sea barbs in AdvCiv are brutal. The boats move 3 tiles at once instead of 1 like land barbs, so sometimes there is minimal time to react. The first boat spotted sometimes comes quite early, can drop off an archer, and that can very well take down a garrisoned warrior. It's often impractical to fogbust for sea barbs. It already hurts non-financial civs to be starting with seafood rather than land food, and then you have to deal with the risk of blockades. It can feel a bit arbitrary to get whooped by sea barbs some games. Giving some agency back to the player would be good.
     
  8. Leoreth

    Leoreth Vampire of the Blue Moon Moderator

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    If you don't mind overloading BW with effects, and you don't discover any drawbacks, I would say go for it regardless of what happens to Slavery.

    Go on like that and you might end up with a completely new tech tree :lol:

    "Bronze Age" is more than just literal bronze working. The nomenclature of that era emphasised this element because it originally comes from archeology and the sorts of artifacts they would find. If you'd ask me, the reason for slavery developing is probably more along the lines of improved agriculture, the formation of cities, the need for division of labor and distribution of resources, and the resulting social stratification and more organised warfare (as you mentioned). But it's tough to locate that in any specific tech. I don't know if bronze itself is relevant there but the improvement of agricultural techniques definitely also depended on better metalworking, so maybe it is fine after all.

    Yeah, once you go down that road you wind up in the place I arrived that when I decided to disconnect pop hurry from the Slavery civic entirely.

    It's a clear better imo, even a two or three birds with one stone situation. As you said, major slave owning empires only emerged in the Iron Age, and players choose to delay IW until later as well. So you would neatly have player behaviour match history in this case, which is not the most important concern to have but still a nice outcome. And giving more value to IW is a plus too. Also, even better chains.
     
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  9. f1rpo

    f1rpo plastics

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    Along with machetes for clearing the jungle. :viking:

    Already down to 45 from 50, but I guess the Emperor production penalty negates that.
    Would seem easy enough to add -1 movement to the Disorganized promotion. This may also make patrolling Barbarian Galleys a little less annoying to watch through "show enemy moves."

    The spawn-on-galley mechanism piles onto the problems with sea Barbarians for civs starting on an archipelago, but, on the other hand, those civs don't have any trouble (or fun) with land-based Barbarians. That's not to say that more agency and less randomness would be bad.
     
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  10. Cruiser76

    Cruiser76 Warlord

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    Great discussion going on here. Once you start taking a close look at the vanilla tech tree and become familiar with the common exploits and weird design decisions, you realize there should be some changes. It’s difficult to balance fun gameplay and historical realism. I absolutely hated suicide siege and pop rushing. The first mods I implemented were to change those two things. From there I’ve created a very different game compared to vanilla BTS.
     
  11. f1rpo

    f1rpo plastics

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    Just a couple of thoughts I had been meaning to add (didn't find the time):
    My approach would be, for the most part, to just rearrange the tech tree. Not quite the same as History Rewritten or Civ 4 Reimagined (which isn't to say that those mods have scrapped the BtS tech tree). Well, even if a rearranged tech tree is a reasonable tradeoff between familiarity and good (independent) game design, it's probably not worth doing at this point, let alone at a later point.
    I see that you have Smelting -> Alloys in DoC, and Smelting reveals Copper, so we're on the same page as to how this should properly work. (I've seen the DoC tech tree before; just didn't remember.)
    Being constrained to surgical changes does make it difficult. I guess there's always a least bad choice. :)
     
  12. Leoreth

    Leoreth Vampire of the Blue Moon Moderator

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    Of course, I agree that this is the right choice for the goals and ambitions of this mod. I was mostly poking fun at myself, because I was trying to follow a minimalist approach too initially, but at some point realised it wasn't up to the task anymore. That was under completely different conditions, of course, K-Mod is rightly devoted to being as faithful as possible to the base game, and DoC had already added a bunch of other content for completely different reasons that made the tech tree hard to deal with.

    That and its tech tree was literally cribbed from another mod and then subjected to lengthy and extensive crowd sourced revisions. It was a lot of work.

    Yeah, I also had Metal Casting after Alloys for a while though. I always took the tech less as being able to smelt metals than the ability to create large metal objects from a cast: like a statue, bell or (later) cannons. Iirc that only came much later.
     
  13. f1rpo

    f1rpo plastics

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    I guess that's fair enough too, at least for Trireme:
    Source

    Wikipedia has a great quote from the annals of Sennacherib (c. 700 BC) about him inventing clay molds:
    Source

    (Forge could represent a finery forge and Workshop could represent anything, but the Metal Casting requirement still seems a bit farfetched for both.)
     
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  14. Leoreth

    Leoreth Vampire of the Blue Moon Moderator

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    True. Not sure about the position of Forge and Workshop from a gameplay perspective. Personally I often delay Metal Casting so Forge feels very late, maybe that's good though. On the other hand earlier access to Engineers could make things more interesting. I think workshops are not that great usually anyway so they don't matter either way.
     
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