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Playable Alien Civ ("The Xeno Planetary Defense Coalition") development thread

Discussion in 'CivBE - Mod Development' started by Nutty, Oct 28, 2014.

  1. Nutty

    Nutty Chieftain

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    So I've been working on a playable alien civ that I'm calling The Xeno Planetary Defense Coalition (or The Xenos for short).

    I have a working civ that uses the alien models as well as the Rocktopus and Xeno Titan, [EDIT: and the unused beetle-like version of the Wolf Beetle], as well as these Tyranid models from WH40K, but now I'd like to request help for design ideas and rebalancing.

    For flavor, I'll be renaming buildings, wonders, etc. and revising their effects a bit. If anyone wants to jump in with some suggestions there, I'd love to hear 'em.

    Affinities, the Tech Web, and Strategy
    Problematic. Purity won't make any sense at all. I thought about turning it on its head by reversing Purity and Harmony, and allowing the aliens to genetically engineer themselves in a human direction, but frankly that's a can of worms I'd rather not open at this point.

    The tech web generally is an issue. I definitely think the aliens should be nerfed in research capacity (though I think they'll at least start with a slight edge, maybe given a couple of extra techs). They'll be buffed in other ways to compensate, but I'm thinking their strategy balance should drive them to win early. Worst case, I'll have to make a separate, alternative web for them.

    Barbarian Aliens
    I'm also having problems in how to deal with the aliens-qua-barbarians. For now, I'm starting with disabling them altogether anytime this civ is part of the game. I can stop the aliens themselves from spawning, but I haven't figured out how to stop the nests from spawning; I think it might be in the DLL. I can delete the nests every turn, and I'm going to kill the "nest discovered" notification but I'm not sure whether I can get rid of the momentary blue flash.

    Regardless, I may just leave the barbarian aliens in, try to limit their numbers a bit, and just force this civ to be at peace with them.

    Alternatively, I could allow the nests to spawn, and then manually spawn aliens nearby, letting this civ control them. However, that changes the dynamic considerably, and I'm not sure that's what I'm going for.

    Anyway...
    Thoughts?
     
  2. Nutty

    Nutty Chieftain

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  3. albie_123

    albie_123 Modding In Secret

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    Removing barb aliens would alter a lot of the game, and make many affinity bonuses, virtues and buildings redundant. Probably best to leave them in. Maybe just a simple texture edit, so that barb aliens are a different colour, would suffice?
     
  4. Nutty

    Nutty Chieftain

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    But from whose point of view are you worried about redundancies? Human players playing against this civ will have bonuses specifically geared against it. Xeno players will have a different set of bonuses, virtues, and buildings geared at taking out the humans.

    Certainly what I'm trying out is going to be harder to accomplish, let alone get relatively balanced, but I wasn't going for the easy route.

    Maybe I can put out a quickie teaser version along those lines, though...
     
  5. darkedone02

    darkedone02 The Suggestor

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    You might need to make your own affinity if that just the case, about you need to make a story based on the alien life, why do they exist, and since you wanted them to "allowing the aliens to genetically engineer themselves in a human direction", it sounds like you might have to make a different gameplay though this. Think Starcraft 2... The Zerg mutate and evolve to improve themselves, and sadly these alien lifeforms here in BE does not have such a mechanic... meaning you might have to make it happen.

    We don't know what the alien nest are made out of and why they relay on the miasma or surround the miasma so you might need to find a evolution function and a miasma mechanic as well. As far as I know these aliens are more beast-like then it is a "intelligent" species that can "devour the genes of it's foes" and "evolve" like what Tyranids in Warhammer 40K does.

    So if what I am saying is what you are thinking off, you have to develop a lot of mechanics to make this race more "playable" and "fun" to play as, when almost everyone but the harmony folks are hostile towards you.

    My visions for this mod is to start off as a single unit and start wrecking havoc and hunting down either the human units, or start hunting in those chitins and resillian resources area till you somehow gain points to "evolve" into a hive, then work your way as that "hive" as a city. The more foes you devour, the more "points" you gain that help you "evolve", allowing the aliens to transform into deadlier aliens or find a way to be more "human-like", as they continue to evolve; they can learn how to speak and understand the language you speak, enabling diplomacy and "awareness" for the humans, as the aliens are changing and evolving, causing fear, discord, or possibly a chance engage into more peaceful terms, and that all depends on the affinity of the human sponsors.

    This idea can change the way how we play BE and could feel more like an DLC or an mini-expansion pack if you did a good job and add in a good "WOW! I MUST DOWNLOAD THIS MOD!" hype factor, like what happen to Fall From Heaven turned into on Civ 4.
     
  6. Nutty

    Nutty Chieftain

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  7. darkedone02

    darkedone02 The Suggestor

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    When I look at the aliens in BE, they resemble more like beasts, but not in the hive-mind state like tyranids, Zergs, or other primal aliens that we know of, most of the alien civilizations have already gain intelligence to build, colonize, and adaptation.

    Since you want them to be more intelligence, you might have to redesign the whole aliens, so what I would do is

    - Make an evolution system that is a point system, Similar to the research but this is aliens only, to gain points in this system, one must do similar actions such as devouring difficult aliens lifeforms, human colonists or passive hunting and foraging, there could be other ways to acquire evolution points such as learning to farm, use using materials to make small makeshift tools or structures on your "nest", or other ways.

    - 3 different alien affinities that show the behavior of the aliens, what type of aliens will you like to see? I can think of 2 Affinities so far:
    • Cannibalism
    • Adaptation

    Cannibalism is like I previously explain, you learn by what you devoured from your foes, as everything you eaten goes to strength your body and slowly your mind, as you hunt down difficult foes such as humans or other difficult lifeforms, your mind adapts on the aggressiveness. Human colonist will see you as a threat and won't hesitate to pull the trigger when they see you.

    Adaptation is the passive lifestyle that not involved into human flesh, you feed though the weaker animals and the vegetation of the planet, one day you saw the humans constructing something, you lay low undetected and discovered ways on how they build their "nests", one day in the middle of the night when security is low, you attempt to grab a few tools and others and run away with it to take to your nest, and try to see if you can do the same thing on how they build their "nests". This affinity means that your alien species are beginning to learn by themselves with the borrowed knowledge from human civilization instead of having to rely on devour your foes.

    I want a third option but I don't know how to apply it to be different then one another.

    -Technology tree should be linear in the beginning, the "evolution tree" shows you on your way towards evolving, later taken to the path of the 3 affinities you get access to later on when you become more intelligent, when you get access to the 3 affinities, you will be able to do the webbed tree.

    -A Xenophobia meter, this is needed because the 3 human affinities are necessary for this... the xenophobia meter is self explanatory, this shows you the meter of how much the overall nation see yourself as a threat but this varies depends on what nation you been causing havoc on.

    If you been murdering human colonist a lot, then that meter will rise further and further, causing them to become more hostile towards you. If you been passive and seldom to not harming the human colonists, then the xenophobia will decline or remain at 0.

    There are human colonist to beware of; You should watch out for purity affinity colonies as they HATE the aliens and want to turn your planet into another earth... You should be wary of Supremacy as they may seem to be neutral, they can either be harmful to you or be allies with you. Those who sided with harmony are more friendly to you as they see you guys more inspiring. Zenophobia will slightly raised slowly when the human colonist are seeing signs that you are evolving, as they fear that you could become a major threat if not taken care of... depending on how much xenophobia you raised worldwide.

    As you slowly start to evolve, you be able to learn how to:
    • Makes Tools
    • Dye or make cloths for your aliens
    • Learn a unique language or learn how to speak the human language
    • Learn to make tile improvements
    • Be able to go from a nest to a actual alien colony.
    • As you learn the language, you be able to engage in diplomacy and no longer be seen as a "mere alien to kill on sight and experimented on".
     
  8. Nutty

    Nutty Chieftain

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    I didn't see the need in my original vision to explain away intelligence; that alien hive mind or just human arrogance explains why these creatures don't look like what we think of as an intelligent animal. However, in both our visions, the influence of the humans kicks off a rapid evolutionary process.

    Anyway, so your thought is that this is a totally distinct game? i.e., you couldn't have a human "human" player vs. a human alien player playing at the same timescale with similar victory conditions? Or is the idea that their rate of evolution is such that they might "catch up" near the end to be able to achieve, e.g., Transcendence before a human could?

    Either way, based on your thinking, I can come up with 3 Affinities: Absorb (or Assimilation), Evolve (or Adaptation), and Devour (or Annihilation). In fact, they still map pretty well to the existing names (with Purity and Harmony reversed to the native point of view).

    So here's my take on your ideas:
    • Absorb/Assimilation/Harmony: This is the stealing/scavenging/salvaging to an advanced technology path
    • Evolve/Adaptation/Purity: This is the utilization/consumption of resources to make independent advances, making bigger/badder/smarter aliens path
    • Devour/Annihilation/Supremacy: And this is repelling the invaders but also mind-sucking them to advance in psi-powers

    I also had the idea that natives repelling colonizing invaders typically adapt to guerilla warfare. To that end, I thought that the nests might serve as tunnel endpoints, allowing a unit to warp to and from different locations on the map. The humans can destroy a nest, but nests continue to pop up as long as conditions are ripe. This allows me to explain away and then utilize the (apparently) hardcoded nest creation dynamic. I imagine custom tunnels might also be created by siege worms taking a certain perk path, where siege worms along another path could become land submarines, able to avoid detection until they surface. Or maybe I'll save that ability for a different unit, just because we have a sandworm model that's already been converted to Civ5...

    Again, thanks for your ideas and continuing interest.
     
  9. civictor

    civictor Chieftain

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    I think it would be humorous and ironic, even poetic justice, if one of the victories was to open a portal to earth and invade...
     
  10. darkedone02

    darkedone02 The Suggestor

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    I don't mind the evolved aliens be able to achieve victory by building the portal but they may need to be customized to fit the aliens perfectly... "Transcendence" could be "Invasion" in the aliens eyes as you try to dominate the human species and retaliate for their invasion on earth. The portal might be organic made then it is medal, give it a more menacing, grim look to it.

    I also prefer the tweak of the victory conditions, the ability to fly into space to colonize worlds is one of the things that I think up off. Domination or "annihilation" is one of the victory conditions you can make as well, it fit perfect for the "evil" aliens affinities.

    Now about that distinct you was talking about, If you can find a way to code it to where the settings change if you play either alien or human, you can play both and each get a different rule set... if you play human, you got your default version of Be, and if someone plays alien, they got your rule set they follow. So I think you can play either one on the multiplayer mode if you can make that happen.

    Like if you can code it to the point where your actually saying "if I am human, I get this default victory conditions, and same rule set since BE (unless I did some changes to humans, they should be working correctly)" and "If I am the aliens, I should get this rule set, customized victory conditions, and everything that the aliens can do". When you start the game and the following races you selected is when the code should be doing is "oh this player is playing as an alien, he should get this customized rule set", and "oh this other player is playing as a human, they should get this default setting"...

    If you get what I am saying, which I hope.

    That is a good idea, I called it "invasion" instead of "transcendence".
     
  11. NotSoLoneWolf

    NotSoLoneWolf Chieftain

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    My ideas for the Affinities are:

    Harmony/Evolution: Study the humans in order to make biological advances in order to get a new form, Victory Condition: Evolve away from your primitive beast ancestors and make contact with the humans as an intelligent species

    Purity/Get the hell off my planet: Fight an eternal war against the invaders to secure safety for your nestmates, evolve into new forms by killing humans, Victory Condition: Scour the invaders from the face of the planet

    Supremacy/Adaptation: Study the humans' technologies and culture in order to advance technologically into new forms, Victory Condition: Launch a colony ship to another world (You could adapt this into a Purity victory: launch a nest of hyper-evolved killing machines to Earth)

    I would definitely like to make this mod a reality, it sounds so cool!

    EDIT: Wow I did not realize all of my ideas had been said already... sorry lol
     
  12. darkedone02

    darkedone02 The Suggestor

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    I ninja'ed your ideas 2-3 days ago :p
     
  13. Nutty

    Nutty Chieftain

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    Thanks for the continued good ideas.

    Some specific things that I was seeking help for:
    Replacement buildings: Here's a list of the all the ones from the base game. Assuming the barb aliens are disabled, the Ultrasonic Fence will just be removed for all civs. These will definitely need a unique varient for the Xenos: Old Earth Relic, Alien Preserve, Gaian Well, Terra Vault, Human Hive, New Terran Myth. Maybe some others should be tweaked.

    Replacement units: See the page above for the list. The Xeno Cavalry and Xeno Swarm will obviously be unbuildable, though I was thinking there might be a way to bodysnatch humans. [Oops, I wanted to write more here...]

    The alien-under-your-control bonus for searching ruins needs to be changed.

    As for victories:
    I think you mean Invasion instead of Emancipation [i.e., the Earthling Supremacy victory].

    As for the other two affinities:

    I had a few different ideas about the other warp gate from Promised Land [i.e., the Earthling Purity victory]:
    1. refugee settling like the original (e.g., building nests for aliens from the next planet over that are escaping human invasion). Call it 'Xanadu'. [Xenodu?]
    2. drop a planet-killing nuke in the gate to Earth. Call it 'Armageddon'.
    3. instead of enabling a new victory type, the gate is used as a shortcut to a Conquest victory by pumping out free mega military units (from the home planet or another dimension or something), but you'd still have to actually use them to kill off the humans. Maybe this could be available in addition to one of the 2 above.

    Similarly, the Mind Flower from Transcendence [i.e., Earthling Harmony victory] could have some different uses:
    1. either makes the world uninhabitable for the earthlings, or the collective consciousness is harnessed to fry the earthling's brains. Call it 'Extinction'.
    2. similar to the previous victory, where it could be used instead or alternatively as a shortcut to Conquest, by being the method by which my bodysnatching idea occurs. Make the humans kill themselves.

    Thoughts?
     
  14. Lord Shadow

    Lord Shadow General

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    On the barbarian-likes front, what about making them an extension of the human independent stations system? They could be profit-seeking private companies randomly landing on the planet and setting up camps, from which their periodically generated forces would spread out (like barbarians do) and try to make the immediate area safe for human habitation and resource extraction. That is, by roaming about and killing native wildlife (you), of course. They'd have to be friendly towards the major human factions, though.
     
  15. darkedone02

    darkedone02 The Suggestor

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    Now on the Harmony... Frying people's brains does not really represent harmony for aliens. I don't think we need another victory condition that based on eliminating humans or make the human popularity, it make the harmony side of the aliens more of a hostile species all together.

    What I think for a harmony is more of a peaceful side of things, similar to the mind flower where the humans can be one with the planet, much probably means either establishing a hive mind for humans or developing a new mystical-like sense of the planet's conditions and communication. Something that help unlock the barriers or develop something new in the human brain that makes unlocks a certain something.

    Now for Aliens... I was thinking of universal alliances, to where you tag along with harmony related or good relationships with the humans to the point of establishing a "bond alliance" that could never be broken (think an alien ritual with a similar effect of the mind flower, except indiviually unlocking that certain sense), and annihilate those that do harm against you. This victory help shows in the long run that two galactic can get along with new foriegn alien relationships that are bonded by an alliance and form together a clanship state... almost like... The Tau in Warhammer 40K, and how many unified races joined to become Tau and the supposed rumor that if the Elder Empire has fallen, the Tau could allow them to join their empire under the tau banner.
     
  16. edingess

    edingess Chieftain

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    Honestly I'm not crazy about the name. The mechanics of your faction make it sound like super Zerg type aliens in which case the term "defense coalition" isn't exactly fitting.
     
  17. Nutty

    Nutty Chieftain

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    In my development version, I've already changed it to "The Xeno Coalition." The reason for the Planetary Defense moniker is to underscore that these aren't "aliens," they're natives, and the earthlings are the invaders. Regardless, the name is cumbersome. However, the "type" of the aliens is fluid at this point, and since genetic engineering is part of the game, they can potentially make themselves any type they like.

    I'm not sure how your description varies from the major factions in practice [EDIT: and then if I do that, it just benefits the humans. It might work for a scenario.] For a non-scenario take, the barb faction could certainly represent space pirates or something.

    Yeah, my previous post was full of spitball ideas. There ought to be peaceful victory conditions, but I also like the idea of playing with the various sci-fi alien tropes. As mentioned previously, the Harmony qua harmony-with-the-planet affinity seems to be a lot like Purity in the hands of the earthlings. It doesn't necessarily mean peaceful (e.g., the humans were still mostly abhorrent in Avatar). The opposite affinity that is willing to learn from humans and adopt their technology doesn't necessarily mean ultimately peaceful towards them, either. So I wanted to allow those as possibilities. That's part of why I was thinking in my previous post of either:
    • leaving the traditional victory conditions fairly similar, but giving alternative shortcuts to Conquest, or
    • a point that I didn't make entirely clear: I could allow the same or similar mechanics to be used for an affinity-based victory condition that could be role-played in two different ways, depending on the choice made when building the warp gate or mind flower, with the end result being either forever-kumbaya, or destroy-all-humans.

    I'm not familiar with WH40K lore, but that's a good take on a peaceful mind flower-type ending.
     
  18. Lord Shadow

    Lord Shadow General

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    Well, no, if the barbarian faction has to remain equally hostile to all parties, then my idea doesn't work. Space pirates don't make much sense (in that there's little in the way of space traffic to exploit), but they could be rogues/anarchists who refused to follow any authority but their own upon planetfall. That makes them marauders and ultimately not too different from pirates, but yeah, something more in tune with surface life.
     
  19. Xaos

    Xaos Chieftain

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    I have a thought out in left field, What if the planet fall of humans 'awakens' an ancient 'evolved' version of the native aliens? Perhaps they froze themselves away to avoid some global catastrophe, and the ships coming in trigger an awakening. The native 'beast' aliens could be the devolved forms of the aliens that didn't get frozen.
     
  20. darkedone02

    darkedone02 The Suggestor

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    That is somewhat of an interesting idea...

    There is a game that was suppose to be a "spiritual successor" of Alpha Centauri called Pandora: The First Contact. This game tried to be somewhat similar but it is different from this game. One of their new latest version add in an eclipse version where the world goes dark, and new creatures appears from the seas that are very hostile will go after almost every civilization in the game including me, but they only appear during the eclipse.

    Another idea was that I made up that is close to the DOOM series and Assassin's Creed Series, is that there was an ancient civilization lurking underground of the world, who did what you just explained or pretty much never basked in the sun of that world because they prefer living caves and adapt using just the caves. This idea is that new advance intelligent species used to live here and that one of your local mines somehow found a way to gain access to these ancient structures that was buried underground... You have a choice to send in an expedition of scientist or explorers to check them out just to find hidden clues on what has happened before we arrived on the planet.
     

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