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[BNW] Playtesters Needed - Covert Operations mod

Discussion in 'Civ5 - Creation & Customization' started by sman1975, Jan 9, 2018.

  1. sman1975

    sman1975 Emperor

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    Greetings,

    I've just published an Experimental mod called "Covert Operations" in the Resources area.

    The "Covert Operations" mod adds a new layer of interaction between civilizations. It allows the ability to use unconventional warfare against target civs, both in peacetime and at war.

    The mod adds 8 units and 8 buildings to the game, as well as 4 promotions.

    These units may conduct 13 different Covert Operations against a target civ, ranging from gathering intelligence all the way to attempting to steal a city for your own civ.

    The mod is in early days of development, and still can be adjusted based on player feedback. Appreciate any/all suggestions on where to take it next.

    Thanks!

    upload_2018-1-9_7-35-3.jpeg upload_2018-1-9_7-35-16.jpeg upload_2018-1-9_7-35-30.jpeg
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    Discussion Thread: https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/covert-operations-mod-collaboration-thread.625740

    Download Link: https://forums.civfanatics.com/resources/covert-operations-v1.26667/
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018
    IcyAngel likes this.
  2. sman1975

    sman1975 Emperor

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    These tables provide additional detail about the units, missions, and buildings added by the mod. Please note, the chances of success, survival, and incidents on the Missions table are subject to change. In fact, one of the things much needed by testing is to figure out just where to set these values.

    upload_2018-1-9_8-1-9.jpeg upload_2018-1-9_8-1-16.jpeg upload_2018-1-9_8-1-19.jpeg
     
  3. sman1975

    sman1975 Emperor

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    Unit close ups:

    upload_2018-1-10_10-29-34.jpeg upload_2018-1-9_8-4-9.jpeg upload_2018-1-9_8-4-13.jpeg upload_2018-1-9_8-4-18.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2018
  4. sman1975

    sman1975 Emperor

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    Mission results are reported by using "Notifications" - the messages that popup on the right side of the screen during a player's turn. Here are some examples of mission results:

    upload_2018-1-9_8-5-50.jpeg upload_2018-1-9_8-5-54.jpeg upload_2018-1-9_8-5-58.jpeg upload_2018-1-9_8-6-2.jpeg
     
  5. sman1975

    sman1975 Emperor

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    New version of the mod (V1b) posted. See the "Updates" tab for more details. Thanks!
     
  6. Enchanteur

    Enchanteur Warlord

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    It look really good.
    About the mod, I would certainly try to play it within a modpack.
    Do the mod need tech or anything ? I ask for that because I need to know if I can easely add it to a previous modlist, "superpower clash of civilization" for example.
     
  7. sman1975

    sman1975 Emperor

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    Thanks, @Enchanteur. Whenever you make a mod, you have to make certain assumptions about many, many things. In this case, my mod is built around the Tech Tree looking a certain way. If another mod is loaded that alters the Tech Tree, then it's quite possible conflicts will occur that could cause bizarre and often fatal results during the game. This mod makes no changes to the Tech Tree and is built around the assumption that no techs were deleted from the basic Tree in the game.

    In this case - I've looked over the Superpowers Clash (V6) mod code, and I cannot find the "Banking" technology in the mod. As the mod uses WHoward's DLL, I'm not entirely sure how much of a problem this will be. But, based on what I've seen in the past, this would be a problem for the Covert Operations mod. Two of the mod's new buildings (Magistrate & Inquisition) require this tech, and two new units (Assassin and Saboteur) require those buildings in order to be built. From what I've seen before, whenever a building in the mod requires a tech that another mod deletes, the game will crash every time.

    I usually add an "Overrides" file to my mods - this allows the player to add/remove a mod's new units or buildings with a quick/simple change to that text file - by basically adding a couple of dashes ("--") in front of a line in the overrides file that will disable that unit or building.

    For example, if I didn't want the Barbarians to get a certain unit, I would insert an override that prevents them from getting it when I built the mod. Later, if a player actually wanted the Barbs to get the unit, they could add those two dashes in front of that line in the file, then save the file. This would eliminate my override and now the Barbs have extra stuff.

    So - in the next version of the mod (V1c - out in a few days) - I'll add the overrides file and leave instructions at the top of the file on how to use it. You could make adjustments to remove those two buildings and two units from the game, and this should make it compatible with the Superpowers mod. Of course, there will be a gap in capabilities (i.e. no Covert Operations) between the discovery of Guilds and Military Science (half the Medieval and all of the Renaissance Eras), but at least available during the rest of the game - especially in the late game that the Superpower mod actually focuses on.

    And a final caveat - with all things concerning combining different mods - YMMV... You'll need to experiment with them before making any changes in case that works, and only make other changes if needed.
     
  8. Enchanteur

    Enchanteur Warlord

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    Thanks! I understand. Your mod use vanilla techs, so should be highly compatible, except in the case you mention about superpowers (bad luck).
    I could also edit the mod file and replace the tech needed by the building, choosing a similar tech. It's a little hasardous as I don't know to mod civ5.
     
  9. sman1975

    sman1975 Emperor

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    It's really not too hard to do this - just need to open the right file in notepad and make the changes, then save/exit - go back to the mod load screen and try again.

    The worst thing that can happen is Civ V crashes. At that point, you simply delete the mod and when you go to the mod load screen, it downloads a new copy. Of course, you can get fancy by saving original versions of the files, then go back to them.

    When I add the overrides file in V1c, I'll point you to the file to change and give some instructions on how to do it safely.

    Otherwise, experiment away - look for the "TECH_BANKING" string in the 03-Magistrate.xml and 04-Inquisition.xml files, and change it to something like "TECH_PRINTING_PRESS" save, exit, the load the new mod. Should work... ;)
     
  10. Enchanteur

    Enchanteur Warlord

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    I did it. Now I cross my finger, I will begin a new superpower game with your mod additionnaly.
    It fit the spirit of this modern war modpack. :thumbsup:

    For being sure, I hopened XML files of superpower, and yes, I found TECH_PRINTING_PRESS, so it should work well. But it's really not a good idea to remove vanilla tech. At least, the modder should keep it as tag Id tech, even the tech isn't doing exactly what do vanilla one. Like that, it preserve mod compatibility. I'm sure there is a lot of mods with new building or new stuff using vanilla techs.

    I feel sad to not knowing to mod civ5. And too much time consuming to learn it. I did it on Endless Legend, but there is so far more possibility and freedom with civ5. And all look more easy to do, better ordered.
     
  11. Enchanteur

    Enchanteur Warlord

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    Ahhhhhhhh. I got a very serious issue using the mod (with the superpower pack).
    I cant build unit at all. The panel "build unit" don't show in the city management.
    I don't know if it come from the mod alone or because something making conflict with superpower. But it's an interesting case.
    I removed superpower so, using only VMC and InfoAddict : but it do the same.
    Finaly I removed all except Cover Ops : and same, the mod break unit panel !!!
     
  12. sman1975

    sman1975 Emperor

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    I should have the next version of the mod published in a couple of days. You'll be able to (relatively) easily disable the two building/units that cause the conflict with the Superpower mod. I'll be sure to leave instructions on how to do it.

    Just to make sure: in post #9, I was talking about changing the "TECH_BANKING" to "TECH_PRINTING_PRESS" in two files (03-Magistrate.xml and 04-Inquisition.xml) in the Covert Ops mod, not the Superpower mod. Otherwise, the conflict between the two mods is still there.

    And you're right - you shouldn't remove tech at all. Just too many mods "assume" what the tech tree will look like. Almost everything you want to add in a mod will involve tech somehow.

    When you're adding and taking out mods a lot, it's possible the game's cache becomes corrupted - after that, Civ V just doesn't work right anymore. Clearing the cache is pretty easy and safe:

    1. Exit Civ V, if you're in the game.

    2. Using Windows Explorer (not Internet Explorer), find the cache folder, usually at some place: C:\Users\XXXX\Documents\My Games\Sid Meier's Civilization 5\cache

    where XXXX is the installation account that you installed the game under.

    3. Delete everything in the cache folder. Don't worry - the game will regenerate this folder when you restart it.

    4. Restart Civ V, then select the "Mods" option. If you have a lot of mods installed, you may have to wait a few seconds while the game redownloads/reinstalls all of your subscribed mods.

    5. At this point, start a new game with only the Covert Ops (and IGE if you really want to experiment with the mod), then see if you're seeing the same behavior.
     
  13. NikMuazHakim

    NikMuazHakim Warlord

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    Have you delete cache? It helps most of the time.

    @sman1975 i have a two questions:
    1. Is it possible to redirect technology without any problem?
    2. Is EUI and VP compatible with the UI changes?

    Thank you for your time and effort on experimenting new things in this ol and sweet civ v
     
  14. sman1975

    sman1975 Emperor

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    @NikMuazHakim - I'm not entirely sure about what "redirecting" tech means. In the limited case I was mentioning earlier, it is possible to change the Banking tech to Printing Press tech for those two buildings in this mod. In any other situation, it's not possible to tell without more research.

    As far as EUI and VP compatibility goes: the beauty of Tomatekh's original design for the "Great Spy" mod (whose design approach is used in this mod) is that it doesn't alter any existing UI's. Many mods change the UnitPanel.lua script (it's necessary when adding new Actions to the game) - which make those mods incompatible with any other mod that also changes that file. Only one copy of the lua file can be loaded at a time, so the other mods will not work properly if the wrong file is loaded. As this mod doesn't change any UIs, the main source of mod incompatibility is not there.

    This mod simply adds another layer (the Cover Ops Launch Button) "on top" of the unit panel UI, so there should be no conflict between the two. It looks like it's part of the same UI, but exists in a separate context. In fact, I'm not 100% happy with the overall behavior of the Launch Button (it doesn't disappear when I want it to), but will have to work on that later. The bottom line is that it works, so as there are so many things in the mod that don't work yet, I'll work on that until I get some more time later.

    I'm trying very hard to minimize the possibility of conflicts with other mods, so I'm interested in any feedback players have as they "experiment" with this mod as it's developing. As I don't use EUI or VP, I'm not the expert on them. I have to rely on people who know how those mods are supposed to work to get an understanding of what this mod needs to do to maximize compatibility. If you get a chance to experiment with this mod and either of those two, please let me know how it works out.

    Really appreciate it!
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018
  15. Enchanteur

    Enchanteur Warlord

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    I didnt deleted cache after removing Superpower. Maybe covertOps work well alone after all. I didnt tried again.
     
  16. sman1975

    sman1975 Emperor

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    New version (V1c) uploaded. It has the AI using covert ops now.

    There are still a few "cosmetic" things I'm working on (getting the Covert Ops Launch button to behave better), and a few more safety traps I'm adding, but as far as content, I believe the mod is more or less done. So, this is the version to start serious testing to let me know what needs to change (i.e. should AI attack more? Less? should the missions do more damage? Less? Should the missions have higher/lower chance of success? Should the human attacking Operator survive more/less? More/less international incidents of higher/lower severity?, etc.)

    I'll probably put out another version in a couple of days, and without significant changes requested by players, that's about where I want to freeze the BETA baseline. Please let me know before then if you have any recommendations.

    Thanks and good luck!
     
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  17. ldvhl

    ldvhl ніщо

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    I'll wait to try this out until your next version in a couple days, but I'm interested in this mod!
     
  18. Enginseer

    Enginseer Salientia of the Community Patch Supporter

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    The AI knowing how to use covert ops? You got me interested.
     
  19. sman1975

    sman1975 Emperor

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    @ldvhl - just released the final test BETA (V1d). I don't expect any more changes during the testing period (2 weeks). Will make any needed changes at that time, then release.

    @Enginseer - Yes, the AI uses all the covert ops (except for 'conduct reconnaissance'). The attacks are "simulated" - you won't see enemy Covert Operators roaming all over your territory. The AI simply uses civilian units poorly, and as the CO missions can be quite impacting, this represented a huge benefit to the human player.

    Current design revolves around 3 basic "components" of the AI CO function:

    1. Mission Scheduler: Every turn, the mod checks to see if an AI civ will "schedule" a mission sometime in the future. They can only have a few (dependent on game difficulty) missions "open" at a time. If they are able to launch a mission, the mod checks the AI civ Leader's "Covert Operations Propensity." The COP is a value derived from the Leader's stats (Victory Competitiveness, Boldness, Warmonger Hate, Meanness), Major biases (MAJOR_CIV_APPROACH_WAR, MAJOR_CIV_APPROACH_AFRAID), and Flavors (FLAVOR_ESPIONAGE, FLAVOR_OFFENSE, FLAVOR_DEFENSE). It lets the mod know how likely the Leader is to launch a CO, with more aggressive leaders more likely to launch. The mod rolls a random number and if it beats the COP threshold, then the Scheduler adds a certain number of game turns to the current game turn to determine "when" the attack will occur. This number is "about" 10 turns, but is lower for more difficult games.

    The mod then goes through a series of tests to determine "who" the target of the attack will be. About 33% of the time, the target will simply be a random civ the attacker has met. The rest of the time, the mod tests for several factors (does the target civ own our original capital, have they nuked us in the past, are we at war, have they denounced us, are they reckless expanders, have they bullied friendly city states, are they unhappy/very unhappy/super unhappy?). The mod also tests for "power ratios" - i.e. are they much weaker/stronger than us? After a small random adjustment to the overall score, the mod helps the AI civ decide who they're the most mad at, and selects that civ as the target civ.

    The "where" the mission will attack is semi random: 25% of the time it will be against the capital, 25% of the time against the largest city in the target civ (by population), and 50% of the time it will be any of the cities in the empire (truly random).

    The mod then decides what mission to attack with. This is a simple random selection, based on the level of the attacking civ. In other words, if the civ is in the Medieval Era, it can only use Level 1 and 2 missions. So it will select one of those 6 missions randomly. There are varying random values for each mission, e.g. there is only a 2% chance the "steal city" mission will be selected, demonstrating its potential for devastating international reaction. However, there is a 10% chance that "spreading rumors" will occur, due to its smaller chance of causing a punishing reaction. Basically, the mod will select less impacting missions more often than more impacting missions.

    2. Mission Warner: If the human player is the target civ, then about 2-5 turns before that launch, a Notification will show up on the screen giving some warning about the upcoming attack. There are 4 variables in the warning (who is attacking, what mission, target city, what game turn. Depending on the "Espionage Posture" of the target city, there is a better chance of getting detailed information on any of these 4 variable. Espionage Posture is determined by the defensive buildings in that city (e.g. constabulary, police station, covert ops mod buildings, palace, etc.). Additionally, a fraction of the capital's defensive buildings is added, demonstrating the influence of the national government espionage posture on local events (more cities means less overall capital EP influence), and the number of spies the civ has. If the target city has a friendly spy assigned, it will also get a nice bump to the target city's EP.

    Sometimes, there are no warnings at all, due to the nature of counterintelligence (CI) work.

    These warnings are intended to let the human player know there is another civ is interested in using COs against his civ, and to adjust accordingly. For example, if you receive a Notification that says, "Impending Covert Operation against London in a few turns" - you can purchase buildings that improve Espionage Posture, move one of your spies to that city, or move additional units inside the cultural boundary of the city. Each of these improve the EP and increase the odds of stopping the mission. All units help with this (land units, air units, naval, and civilian), however the Covert Operators (Vagrants, Arsonists, etc.) help much more in blocking these attacks, and serve as a good place to assign older/outdated units - to protect vital cities.

    Occasionally, if the civ's EP is high enough, you will receive Notification about attacks that occur in other civs (AI on AI attacks) - with varying degrees of ambiguity.

    3. Mission Launcher: When the turn comes to launch the CO, the mod conducts the operation using the same code as for human Covert Operations - with similar results based on similar conditions. The target city's EP will greatly influence whether or not the mission succeeds and also in identifying the attacker. A human player's "friends" (civs we have a DoF with) may decide to denounce or DoW that attacker - but only if he is identified.

    --------------------------------------------------------

    So - hopefully you can see there is a lot of work going into the AI function - based on useful game features - that hopefully gives the AI a better chance of conducting covert ops in a way that "looks" like a human player conducted it. From what I've seen in the long game tests, in King difficulty games, the AI will launch an operation somewhere on the map about every 3-6 turns. This means the human player will see an attack every 20-30 turns, although sometimes it is much more frequent, especially if the human player has expanded aggressively.

    Unfortunately, you won't see AI covert operator units wandering all over the map - which was the original design. It was just impossible to get them to go to specific locations to conduct specific attacks, and they were much too easy to block/prevent due to the AI's inadequate pathfinding code. This means, if I simply surrounded my city with units - any unit (worker/missionary, etc.) - I could prevent an attack from ever happening. There are work arounds for that, but none of them "looked right" during earlier tests. That's why the attacks are now simulated, and hopefully the improvement in AI effectiveness will outweigh that loss of aesthetics.

    OK. The mod is "out there..." Appreciate any and all comments on what needs to change to make it better. I'm really trying to scope the mod so it makes the basic Civ V game more interesting/challenging/fun, but not break the game, either with an OP human feature or a massive distraction from normal game play ensuring one's EP is just right for each city.

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2018
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  20. havox79

    havox79 Chieftain

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    Very interesting, but just a question, if AI can launch covert ops without unit at all (or just without send them to a city ?), why not design the mod the same way for player ? Are not very well supported modded civilian units essential ?
    I think that would be the best way to make the mod balanced.
    For example, add a new entry on the menu list in the TopPanel (not sure if I'm clear^^') who give you to a new panel, with tabs if useful, were you can see a resume of the "intelligence level" (who can replace units?) of your empire, counter intelligence level of your cities as well as a panel with list of enemy cities available were you can launch Ops and see there "statistics", Counter-intelligence level, number of turns needed for launching an Ops ect...
    By this way you can allow player to do covert ops while in war too. (With malus for balance for exemple)
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2018

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