Plans for DoC 1.18

Leoreth

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Like I mentioned in the other thread, the release of DoC 1.17 is coming up soon. So I want to use the moment to already talk a bit about what the plans for DoC 1.18 are.

The next big thing I will work on is finally the inclusion of the new, bigger world map. It has been iterated on for a long time and I believe it has reached an incredibly high quality, and furthermore I have now completed all the prerequisites for its inclusion, so I cannot wait to include it into the mod. For the time being, it will entirely replace the existing world map and become the new default map.

Mechanics and Systems Changes

Even though the map itself is already of extremely high quality, that doesn't mean there isn't still a lot of work to do before it becomes actually playable. Just to illustrate, here is a non-exhaustive list of aspects of the mod that need to be adjusted for that:
  • Different starting scenarios
  • Settler maps, war maps, stability maps
  • City name map and city renamings
  • Region map
  • Scripted resource, feature, and improvement spawns
  • Scripted barbarian and independent cities spawns
  • Scripted historical events affecting particular areas
  • Historical victory goal requirements
  • Incorporating new resources into buildings etc.
As I have improved the code for the mod during 1.17, I did as much as I could to make this transition as easy and quick as possible. However, with many of the systems touched by these required changes I have also wanted to make some general changes for how they work. Some of these changes would have had a big impact on how the game works and is balanced that would have required extensive work to account for. Knowing that I would eventually introduce the new map anyway, I postponed these changes until that point. It is the ideal time to make this kind of change, because the map change itself already requires tuning and balancing of the existing system to the new map. Making two big changes still requires the same amount of work for the balancing.

Civilizations and Balance Changes

Speaking of balance, the map itself, and all the other aspects mentioned here, will also have a big impact on the historical behaviour of every civilization, as well as their overall balance and the challenge of their UHV goals. Not only do victory goals have to be adjusted to the size of the new map and e.g. what the appropriate number of required resources for a goal are. But in general the power of a civilization is fundamentally based on the terrain that they can control, and now with the different maps that has to be accounted for in their modifiers etc. and likewise in the challenge of their victory goals.

As before, I have a long list of changes I want to make to many civilizations in my backlog that I postponed because now would be the best time to make them, when everything else is also up in the air. These include changes to spawn dates and unique assets, but it is just as likely that many civilizations will wind up with different goals as well.

Additional Civilizations

But beyond that, I have also decided that the initial playable version of the new map will already come with 12 additional civilizations that are not part of the current mod. Part of the goal for the bigger map is to have the space to accomodate new civilizations that are historically relevant and would provide an interesting playing experience. Some of these civilizations would have never fit into the current map. Others might have fit, but with the same rationale as above I decided the work spent accomodating them is most effectively spent on the new map, rather than balancing them for the current map first and then later again for the new map.

The reason that I decided to include them right from the start instead of adding them in bit by bit is that the existence of a civilization also affects balance, most importantly by the space they occupy and how they serve as an opponent and counterweight to neighbouring civilizations. I selected these initially added 12 civilizations based on exactly that aspect: which civilizations impact the development and balance of the game significantly and should be factored in when designing and balancing the map. It is not a list of all civilizations that might ever be included, nor are these the "most relevant" or "most important" civilizations from a historical point of view necessarily. To avoid speculation, here is the current (but always subject to change) list of civilizations I would include for this purpose:
  1. The Javanese (to replace the Indonesians)
  2. The Malays (to replace the Indonesians)
  3. The Vietnamese
  4. The Burmese
  5. The Kushans
  6. The Swahili
  7. The Nubians
  8. The Assyrians
  9. The Hittites
  10. The Celts
  11. The Swedes
  12. The (Kievan) Rus (split from the (Muscovite) Russians)
  13. The Toltecs
When factoring in the removal of the Indonesian civilization, that makes 12 additional civilizations. Keep in mind that most of these civilizations are active in the early game, where currently there are much fewer civilizations active. So the number of simultaneously occupied slots should not increase much with these additions.

Nothing about their attributes etc. is decided yet. I have some rough ideas but the actual decisions are going to be made as they are actually added into the game, because the circumstances and balance concerns are relevant here.

Timeline

Finally, I would like to provide a rough outline of the timeline that I expect this to follow (take this with a lot of salt considering my previous timeline estimations):
  1. Finalising and releasing DoC v1.17 (we are here)
  2. Incorporating remaining suggestions into the map, including suggestions that will have been made by then
  3. Making changes to the existing game mechanics and adapting them to the new map, like mentioned above
  4. Applying my current list of desired changes for civilizations and their victories
  5. Adding new civilizations
  6. Balancing, balancing, balancing
As you know, the new map is currently only available in a protected branch that I need to allow access to on an individual basis. This will not change in the near future. But once development begins, that concern is mostly practical: once I am starting on step (3), the game will become unplayable even more so than it currently is on the new map, until I have put everything back together. It will not be much fun to play on such a state, nor will doing so provide me much useful feedback. Likewise, because of past experience with people running away with my half-finished work to publish their own modmods, I will not immediately make the mod available when I am in steps 4-5 (which will probably overlap and go back and forth on it) but probably at some point while I am in the finishing stages of them.

Step 6 is where I will definitely publish the current state on the develop branch, so everyone can participate and experience the new map in that state. This step will probably take a significant amount of time. I plan to play every civilization at least once, probably more than that if it is impacted by changes since I last played it. Player feedback will help a lot during that time to get more perspectives on balance and more opportunities to find bugs. I am considering to resume my "Leoreth Plays ..." AAR series for this purpose as well.

So that's the plan. I will not start on it immediately - there is still a lot of work to do for v1.17 and I also want to take a while off from modding to get some distance after the frantic effort to finish this release. But I am still excited to be able to start on it soon.
 
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Publicola

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Apr 26, 2014
Messages
691
This sounds amazing, Leoreth! Given that the Celts are included, do you plan to develop a baseline set of game mechanics for nomadic-style civilizations, or will the Celts be a standard-fare sedentary civ?

Nothing about their attributes etc. is decided yet.
Would it be helpful to set up a '1.18 civilizations brainstorming' thread, so that we could offer some ideas for what the UPs/UUs/UBs/UHVs for the new civs should be? I'm not sure if you'd find it useful for generating new ideas, or distracting since the big map is still private and we wouldn't know how that affects game balance.
 

Leoreth

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I do not think the Celts should be considered a nomadic civilization. A question I was previously more sympathetic to is whether the Celts should be considered equivalent to other state-level civilizations. But after learning more about the anthropology behind these distinctions (especially after reading the excellent Dawn of Everything) I don't think it makes sense to draw a sharp distinction between the Celts and their European neighbours beyond the point that they were not as technologically advanced.

This is of course a question of scope and timeframe, where my current idea is to limit their portrayal to the Gaulish/Alpine core of the Celtic language area as well as the Insular Celts, so migratory patterns as what happened into e.g. Iberia or Anatolia would not need to be represented beyond things like victory goals. Likewise, once they started interacting with neighbouring civilizations, they did not interact meaningfully differently than other civilizations in the game, so I don't think different rules would be needed or justified. Overall, I think 50 BC Gaul had more in common with 50 BC Rome than anything what we would call a chiefdom or tribal kingdom in pre-Columbian America.

Also, feel free to make a brainstorming thread and talk about anything you'd like, both the civilizations listed here or any other civilization. A lot of my current plans are based on earlier idea posts like that so there's a good chance it would be helpful. Just don't expect me to say anything concrete about what my plans are - I don't think discussing them in the abstract would be very useful.
 
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May I ask what's the birth year of Vietnam? 257BC(Au Luc Kingdom, destroyed by Qin Dynasty after several decades) or 938AD (totally independence from Chinese dynasty)?
 

Leoreth

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I am more disposed towards the early spawn.
 

troubleshooting

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I concur, and I think their UHV needs to involve repelling Chinese, Mongolian, & French invasions (maybe throw in the U.S. too if you wanna get spicy?)
 

h0spitall3rz

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Hi Leo, I'm really excited for your upcoming plans. Hoping everything goes smoothly and fast. I understand you're the type of developer who prefers to work independently especially on new integral features, but if you need help on stuff not related to game logic (e.g. region maps, settler and war maps, civ assets), I would be very glad to help.
 

Leoreth

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Thanks! I think this is actually a topic where outside help is both helpful and practical. The map itself is already proof of that, and the same is true for the city name map, which I have not contributed to much at all and I think it is already in a great place.

For settler etc. maps I first want to make some changes around how they work, but then I think they can be open to contribution as well. I definitely want people to review and improve on what my first draft of these maps is because I am sure that someone who focuses on few specific civilizations can do a lot better than what I can do while I have to account for the whole breadth of civilizations.
 

Leoreth

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I am currently thinking about introducing an additional 100 turns on normal speed, mostly situated in the early game.
 

LukeAtmey

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Sounds reasonable, the other option would've been to increase unit movement range but I very much prefer additional game turns.
 

h0spitall3rz

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I am currently thinking about introducing an additional 100 turns on normal speed, mostly situated in the early game.
Would you also consider adding another game speed in between Epic and Marathon? A game speed with 2x turns. Sometimes, Epic (1.5x) doesn't feel enough, sometimes, Marathon (3x) feels too long.
 

Leoreth

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Probably not, that sounds like another vector of something that's hard to balance.
 

Ecthy

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Is it possible to give the player more control of normally random events, such as herbal medicine tryouts, free market (where you can reduce inflation) etc.?

Like as soon as you build the Central Bank you get some economic event, such as the free market one for free market civs, and maybe a different one for commie ones.

It's a pity those events would be so random, as their effect can be powerful.
 

brett0007

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Oh
Is it possible to give the player more control of normally random events, such as herbal medicine tryouts, free market (where you can reduce inflation) etc.?

Like as soon as you build the Central Bank you get some economic event, such as the free market one for free market civs, and maybe a different one for commie ones.

It's a pity those events would be so random, as their effect can be powerful.
Oh and edit/remove the holy mountain one, I do love it when I'm told as Ethiopia to go found a city in Alaska when the new world isn't even discovered yet.
 

Expansist

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Like I mentioned in the other thread, the release of DoC 1.17 is coming up soon. So I want to use the moment to already talk a bit about what the plans for DoC 1.18 are.

The next big thing I will work on is finally the inclusion of the new, bigger world map. It has been iterated on for a long time and I believe it has reached an incredibly high quality, and furthermore I have now completed all the prerequisites for its inclusion, so I cannot wait to include it into the mod. For the time being, it will entirely replace the existing world map and become the new default map.

Mechanics and Systems Changes

Even though the map itself is already of extremely high quality, that doesn't mean there isn't still a lot of work to do before it becomes actually playable. Just to illustrate, here is a non-exhaustive list of aspects of the mod that need to be adjusted for that:
  • Different starting scenarios
  • Settler maps, war maps, stability maps
  • City name map and city renamings
  • Region map
  • Scripted resource, feature, and improvement spawns
  • Scripted barbarian and independent cities spawns
  • Scripted historical events affecting particular areas
  • Historical victory goal requirements
  • Incorporating new resources into buildings etc.
As I have improved the code for the mod during 1.17, I did as much as I could to make this transition as easy and quick as possible. However, with many of the systems touched by these required changes I have also wanted to make some general changes for how they work. Some of these changes would have had a big impact on how the game works and is balanced that would have required extensive work to account for. Knowing that I would eventually introduce the new map anyway, I postponed these changes until that point. It is the ideal time to make this kind of change, because the map change itself already requires tuning and balancing of the existing system to the new map. Making two big changes still requires the same amount of work for the balancing.

Civilizations and Balance Changes

Speaking of balance, the map itself, and all the other aspects mentioned here, will also have a big impact on the historical behaviour of every civilization, as well as their overall balance and the challenge of their UHV goals. Not only do victory goals have to be adjusted to the size of the new map and e.g. what the appropriate number of required resources for a goal are. But in general the power of a civilization is fundamentally based on the terrain that they can control, and now with the different maps that has to be accounted for in their modifiers etc. and likewise in the challenge of their victory goals.

As before, I have a long list of changes I want to make to many civilizations in my backlog that I postponed because now would be the best time to make them, when everything else is also up in the air. These include changes to spawn dates and unique assets, but it is just as likely that many civilizations will wind up with different goals as well.

Additional Civilizations

But beyond that, I have also decided that the initial playable version of the new map will already come with 12 additional civilizations that are not part of the current mod. Part of the goal for the bigger map is to have the space to accomodate new civilizations that are historically relevant and would provide an interesting playing experience. Some of these civilizations would have never fit into the current map. Others might have fit, but with the same rationale as above I decided the work spent accomodating them is most effectively spent on the new map, rather than balancing them for the current map first and then later again for the new map.

The reason that I decided to include them right from the start instead of adding them in bit by bit is that the existence of a civilization also affects balance, most importantly by the space they occupy and how they serve as an opponent and counterweight to neighbouring civilizations. I selected these initially added 12 civilizations based on exactly that aspect: which civilizations impact the development and balance of the game significantly and should be factored in when designing and balancing the map. It is not a list of all civilizations that might ever be included, nor are these the "most relevant" or "most important" civilizations from a historical point of view necessarily. To avoid speculation, here is the current (but always subject to change) list of civilizations I would include for this purpose:
  1. The Javanese (to replace the Indonesians)
  2. The Malays (to replace the Indonesians)
  3. The Vietnamese
  4. The Burmese
  5. The Kushans
  6. The Swahili
  7. The Nubians
  8. The Assyrians
  9. The Hittites
  10. The Celts
  11. The Swedes
  12. The (Kievan) Rus (split from the (Muscovite) Russians)
  13. The Toltecs
When factoring in the removal of the Indonesian civilization, that makes 12 additional civilizations. Keep in mind that most of these civilizations are active in the early game, where currently there are much fewer civilizations active. So the number of simultaneously occupied slots should not increase much with these additions.

Nothing about their attributes etc. is decided yet. I have some rough ideas but the actual decisions are going to be made as they are actually added into the game, because the circumstances and balance concerns are relevant here.

Timeline

Finally, I would like to provide a rough outline of the timeline that I expect this to follow (take this with a lot of salt considering my previous timeline estimations):
  1. Finalising and releasing DoC v1.17 (we are here)
  2. Incorporating remaining suggestions into the map, including suggestions that will have been made by then
  3. Making changes to the existing game mechanics and adapting them to the new map, like mentioned above
  4. Applying my current list of desired changes for civilizations and their victories
  5. Adding new civilizations
  6. Balancing, balancing, balancing
As you know, the new map is currently only available in a protected branch that I need to allow access to on an individual basis. This will not change in the near future. But once development begins, that concern is mostly practical: once I am starting on step (3), the game will become unplayable even more so than it currently is on the new map, until I have put everything back together. It will not be much fun to play on such a state, nor will doing so provide me much useful feedback. Likewise, because of past experience with people running away with my half-finished work to publish their own modmods, I will not immediately make the mod available when I am in steps 4-5 (which will probably overlap and go back and forth on it) but probably at some point while I am in the finishing stages of them.

Step 6 is where I will definitely publish the current state on the develop branch, so everyone can participate and experience the new map in that state. This step will probably take a significant amount of time. I plan to play every civilization at least once, probably more than that if it is impacted by changes since I last played it. Player feedback will help a lot during that time to get more perspectives on balance and more opportunities to find bugs. I am considering to resume my "Leoreth Plays ..." AAR series for this purpose as well.

So that's the plan. I will not start on it immediately - there is still a lot of work to do for v1.17 and I also want to take a while off from modding to get some distance after the frantic effort to finish this release. But I am still excited to be able to start on it soon.
Very nice idea to make bigger map and more Civs, I like it!
I have also made a new map for RFC with much more realistic continents and islands shapes, the Equator uplifted 4 tiles closer where is should be, but still not enough:
https://forums.civfanatics.com/thre...curate-realistic-map-for-civ4-bts-rfc.679066/
The main point is, the original RFC map distributed with Civ4 CD is EXTREMELY disproportionate, I would say very lieful, I explained more in this thread and took attempts to fix it:
https://forums.civfanatics.com/thre...curate-realistic-map-for-civ4-bts-rfc.679066/
Robinson-Mercator Projection is extremely lieful, just think how Greenland is the size of Africa...
We should use Gall-Peters Projection instead, which represents all surfaces most accurately proportionally realistically:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gall–Peters_projection
Also, any World Map must have length 10-20% more then its 2 height, because approximately 90 to 75 and -75 to -90 latitudes go under the polar ice caps on the globe view.
 

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psyblade

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I don’t think changing projection is viable, especially with how cramped Europe is already.
 

DImensiondog

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Messages
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Very nice idea to make bigger map and more Civs, I like it!
I have also made a new map for RFC with much more realistic continents and islands shapes, the Equator uplifted 4 tiles closer where is should be, but still not enough:
https://forums.civfanatics.com/thre...curate-realistic-map-for-civ4-bts-rfc.679066/
The main point is, the original RFC map distributed with Civ4 CD is EXTREMELY disproportionate, I would say very lieful, I explained more in this thread and took attempts to fix it:
https://forums.civfanatics.com/thre...curate-realistic-map-for-civ4-bts-rfc.679066/
Robinson-Mercator Projection is extremely lieful, just think how Greenland is the size of Africa...
We should use Gall-Peters Projection instead, which represents all surfaces most accurately proportionally realistically:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gall–Peters_projection
Also, any World Map must have length 10-20% more then its 2 height, because approximately 90 to 75 and -75 to -90 latitudes go under the polar ice caps on the globe view.
The point of the RFC map was to have enough room for civs and balance. No point in making places of the world bigger that don’t have civs, and accuracy isn’t everything
 
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