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Policy Idea: Flavor-Based Tech Discounts

Discussion in 'Communitas Expansion Pack' started by Gazebo, Feb 8, 2014.

  1. Gazebo

    Gazebo Lord of the Community Patch Supporter

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    That's why I said it is debatable. As in, there are a lot of different opinions on that front. I, for one, see science as tantamount to the 'Time' victory (all players will, with enough turns, reach the end of the tech tree). It is the most passive of the victory types except for a brief bit of spaceship building at the end.
     
  2. mitsho

    mitsho Deity

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    I agree that equalizing is not a desirable goal. But science is different since the gap here grows more and more the later the era is. You can defend with archers and some luck against someone with horses and swords. (The other way around is totally impractical btw.). In the industrial, the gap can be much larger. If a conquest civ didn't get critical size in the early eras, you can count it out, no?

    I'd really like to see some autoplay data on how tech gaps usually develop (and how the two sides of the tech tree relate to each other in this regard). Is there any way to "check this"?

    Regarding the science victory I would personally like to disentangle it from the rest of the tech tree. Have at some point in the Modern era a series of 6 consecutive techs that get continually (exponentially?) harder to research and that only help with space race and nothing else so you have to make a conscious decision to go for this and thus lag in the rest of the tech tree. As it is now, the tech leader also leads in the other areas of the game due to his tech lead, no?
     
  3. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    I think some of this is missing the point. Tradition and economy-building gives you science fairly directly, through larger cities which mean more population, and high efficiency through lots of multipliers from your libraries/universities/etc.

    A military and honor strategy will let you keep up in the science race by:
    a) Weakening the science of your main competitors by wrecking their economy through warfare.
    [The science race is relative; weakening other players keeps you ahead just as well as strengthening yourself.]

    b) They help you acquire new population and economy infrastructure (buildings, wonders) through direct conquest, which boosts your research.


    It is a mistake to think that a direct military playstyle should be able to keep up economically if you don't use that military effectively, or that military playstyle and policies should give direct absolute research boosts. If we go that way, then conquest once again becomes the only feasible playstyle. For most of existence, Civ has struggled with military action just being "better" than other strategies. Civ5 and this mod do a pretty decent job of making other forms of investment meaningful and of making overexpansion dangerous. Let's not undo that by starting to have direct science boosts from military strategies.
     
  4. Gazebo

    Gazebo Lord of the Community Patch Supporter

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    Agreed on the latter point. Could be tied to a WC resolution ('Start Cold War/Space Race') or perhaps just fire as an event on its own, either of which unlock the space race parts needed. It'd be equally as nice to have the production of parts rely on more than just production. Perhaps some rely on food, others production, some have to be bought, etc.? I'unno. In short, I have problems with the science victory, primarily because I have problems with the role that the tech tree plays in defining all of the game's victories.
    G
     
  5. ExpiredReign

    ExpiredReign Deity

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    That is an interesting view on the science victory.

    My difficulty here in trying to get a grasp on both sides of this discussion is, I don't think there are 2,3 or more sides to the science tech tree, it is just THE tech tree.
    I don't agree that militarily inclined civs will always tale X over Y and therefore X is a military tech and Y isn't. Also even if a tech has great military value it still has great values outside of the war and will/should be chosen by a peaceful civ.

    Same issue with the Space race. As a gaming mechanic, sure why not make a specific path that leads to the Science Victory? But why? All the techs used in the 'REAL' space race were techs on hand at the time and just refined for use in this specific field of endeavor.

    If we really want to make the Science Victory a true example of Scientific prowess we should have the civs research specific techs in as wide a range as possible, AND have them use as wide a range of resources as possible (within reason). On top of that there could be an ongoing financial impost for wanting to build a space ship. Possibly a happiness issue from dissent amongst the population on the "waste of finances" as well.

    If I am going for a military victory I need Iron, Oil, Uranium, Aluminium, Horses even Coal to get the desired units I want. On top of that I need a structure in place that keeps me in touch tech wise with my opponents and something to soothe the populace when I take enemy cities. Research, resources, happiness and wealth are all vital for a military victory. For science I can just speed towards it and scrounge the aluminium when I need it.

    Not sure, has this discussion veered too far from the OP?:confused:
     
  6. Gazebo

    Gazebo Lord of the Community Patch Supporter

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    Perhaps, but that's fine. :) I think it is worthwhile to abstractly consider what we want out of the victory conditions. By no means do I profess to have the only answer/opinion on this topic – I've been largely focused on the Diplomatic Victory for years, and it is only recently that I've started thinking about the science victory. As it stands, I see it this way:

    The spaceship isn't a science victory. It is a production victory. I've seen games where a civ can be a full era ahead of other civs in tech, yet lose the spaceship victory because their production was subpar. If that's what the spaceship victory is supposed to be then fine, let's let it be as such. It doesn't make it any less boring, as it fits into the same category as the old pre-BNW culture victory. Lots of waiting, lots of doing nothing – you don't want to conquer others, as that will raise the cost of techs. You don't want to fight too much, as losing one city (or spending money on an army) could be catastrophic. You need just enough culture to stave of influence, and tourism is barely worthwhile. Gold can be useful, but, again, it is a largely passive affair.

    In short, the spaceship victory feels like a forced adherence to a victory concept from previous civ games (even the inclusion of the Apollo Program feels hollow and lacks any kind of punch. Why should every civ have to complete the Apollo Program? Is that even logical? Also, again, it is just an investment of production.)

    So, the question is, how can we make a better science victory without greatly modifying the victory conditions? In my opinion, the science victory needs the following elements:

    1.) Risk. Other victories (war, diplomacy) require the player to take calculated risks. Is liberating this civ/city-state worth the hatred I'll get from x civ? Can I conquer this civ without crippling my happiness? Science is incredibly insular, thus it is largely the player against their own min-max efficiency.

    2.) Flexibility. The other victories require a player to adjust their strategy as the game goes along. Culture, for example, requires the player to keep an eye on the culture/influence of other civs, and respond appropriately to changes. Science, not so much. Again, the failure here is insularity. A science victory can be achieved without ever looking at the status of the other world civilizations.

    3.) Danger. The player with the highest science has the best access to military units, wonders and buildings. That's the way civ has always been. There's no down side to going heavy science, as you can quickly adapt to any situation. While that's great for the science player, it means that, if you really want to be competitive at any victory condition, you have to either go science yourself, or just destroy the science players. You can't de-science them without destroying them, and there's a really good chance they're going to gobble up wonders you might need for your own victory conditions. There's not really a middle ground. That's why I'm in favor of equalizing science via policies. Make 'science' a concern of specialization in certain areas, not a raw 'I'm ahead/behind' race. Taking the beaker-race out of the equation for all victory conditions, what do we have left for the science victory? The production of the spaceship itself, and access to the techs necessary to get these parts.

    So, my solution:

    1.) Different spaceship parts should require different resources. Food, production, gold, science, luxuries, strategic resources, whatever. It should not come down to just raw production output. This requires player diversity and, in a pinch, maybe even talking with other leaders to get stuff they need. Perhaps make a world wonder or two that creates space-race resources (a la Broadway from Civ IV) - if you built it, you get to decide who does and doesn't get the resources they need.

    2.) The 'start' of the space race should be global, much like the start of the diplomatic victory is global. A player can't choose to be the only one eligible for a culture victory, or a diplomacy victory - why is science special, in that one player can start the final countdown before anyone else? Let's make the Apollo Program a world wonder, and, once completed, it starts the space race. The science civ will have a jump-start, to be sure, but the other civs now have access to the same victory regardless of how far 'behind' they are in tech.

    3.) The techs required to build the spaceship should require risk. Create part of the tech tree that is just dedicated to the space race. Each tech is expensive, moreso than other techs at the same place in the tree, and brings nothing else except for the ship parts / resources. This means the science player, once they reach the modern eras, must decide: do I want to grab a culture tech to block a player from getting x wonder, or is this a good time to devote 20 turns to rocket engines? Can my military handle being slightly backwards so I can make a life-support system? This is slightly gamey, sure, but it does generate a metric of challenge.

    These aren't huge changes, but I think they might improve the science victory quite a bit. They aren't perfect, and are definitely up for scrutiny (looking at you, Ahriman ;) ). Thoughts?

    Edit: To be clear, I'm by no means in favor of trying to make civ 5 emulate reality. It is a giant board-game, a great and complex one at that, and as such 'fun' should always triumph 'realism.' If I want realism I'll boot up a Paradox game.
    G
     
  7. EricB

    EricB Prince

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    Gazebo,

    I read what you had to say and really like the idea. I also dislike that the science victory is just kind of a 'default' that you fall back on if nothing else is working for you. It's too easy. I agree with all your points about a science victory needing to have more interaction with other civs, just like culture and diplomatic victories. There should be risk involved. I like your proposed solutions.

    I like the idea of wonders generating certain resources needed for a space race victory. One possible add on to this is to add some risk for players going for a science victory... have some trade off in there. Make it so that when certain science victory techs are researched then the player actually LOSES some influence with city states and maybe there's some sort of diplomatic penalty with major civs. So a science tech gives you the ability to build a spaceship part, but also hurts your diplomacy, so there's a tradeoff there. Just like if you were playing against human players, if they saw that you were going for a science victory, they'd come after you. They'd take city states away from you. They would attack you.

    I like the idea of a major part of the tech tree only giving you spaceship parts and being very expensive techs. You shouldn't be able to build a spaceship and have the most advanced military at the same time.
     
  8. ExpiredReign

    ExpiredReign Deity

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    @Gazebo
    I like it. I like it a lot.:goodjob:

    Apollo Program now becomes the 'Space Race'.

    Each part now costs significantly more in terms of resources and production.
    Perhaps uranium is needed to get the engines. Or at least the tech required needs uranium as a fuel for a needed building to assist the development of the engines. Not sure, just spitballing. Something other than: research this - build this - move to next project.
    Now if we need this resource to build this building, that then means we can research the next tech, which in turn allows us to build the spaceship part.
    Make the process more complex.

    You know, for someone that recently said: "I think I'm big project tired." or words to that effect, this certainly has the makings of a big project.:D
     
  9. Gazebo

    Gazebo Lord of the Community Patch Supporter

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    I'm glad you guys like it! Again, these are just rough thoughts, but I think there is something worthwhile in this. I'm particularly keen on a separate tech path just for spaceship-related stuff and the resource-making wonders, as these would be the science victory equivalents of needing 'x' wonder or 'x' ideology in order to achieve a certain victory. As it stands now, there isn't much other players can do to muck up a science victory aside from war (which is really the default 'mucking up' method, so it isn't really an optimal choice). Having key resources (such as uranium, or perhaps a wonder-created resource) that are in very limited supply will, I believe, greatly enhance the need for the science player to reach out and make friends and/or enemies to get what they want.

    G
     
  10. Gazebo

    Gazebo Lord of the Community Patch Supporter

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    Indeed. As it stands now, the logic is already in place to make the AI fear players if they are the first to make an atomic bomb. Perhaps certain spaceship parts, when created, could create the same effect in reverse. 'Story'-wise, this could be a byproduct of, say, the dangers of building the spaceship (rather than the old 'we hate you because you are trying to win' logic).

    There could even be a world resolution akin to the IAEA that causes the production of spaceship parts to slow by 25% because of 'inspections.' Would be a nice, tangible way to slow/muck the science victory, while also giving the science player the incentive to have influence in the WC.
    G
     
  11. EricB

    EricB Prince

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    Anything that forces the science victory player to have to interact with others is a good thing in my book. World Congress votes already tax armies. They speed or slow cultural great people. They should also slow the building of spaceship parts. Inspectors "investigating" this new technology is a nice effect.
     
  12. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    I think introducing wide ranges of different requirements for the space race just makes it something that the AI will have great difficulty in handling. Thus, there likely won't really be any race aspect; this would take almost the only win condition that the AI can actually handle, that actually provides some pressure on the human in the late game, and take it away as an actual threat to the human.
     
  13. mitsho

    mitsho Deity

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    Yeah, gotta agree with Ahriman here, I was more speaking hypothetically above ;)

    I do however like the idea of a world congress resolution slowing down the production of spaceship parts. It's not more unbalanced than other resolutions (but of course depends on the world congress to be balanced in itself ;))
     
  14. Gazebo

    Gazebo Lord of the Community Patch Supporter

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    Indeed, but I think you underestimate my fondness for the dll. :) I've made the AI incredibly good at the diplomatic victory. (Commence own-horn-tooting). Using flavors, it wouldn't be too hard to direct the AI in a new path on the tech tree. As it stands there is also a special AI strategy for the spaceship homestretch- that's something we can work with.

    To note, I'd never introduce a mechanic that the AI can't use. If it comes down to that, I'd cut the feature.

    If we want to approach this we should do it in stages. First, the new tech tree and Apollo world wonder. When that works, the new resolution. When that works, diverse requirements for spaceship parts. When that works, the new wonders.
     
  15. EricB

    EricB Prince

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    I think the AI could handle it if you adjust the flavors correctly. The only part that concerns me is the resource requirements for a spaceship part. Would the AI know how to handle not having the resource it needs to build the part? If another civilization built the wonder that it needed, would it have a way to acquire that resource?

    For example, what if you had a wonder that when built gave a resource called 'Rare Earth Minerals.' This resource is needed to construct some spaceship parts. The mechanics of it would work similarly to how some wonders give a happiness resource like Movies or Music. If a civilization was trying to get a space race victory and did not have that resource, how could it acquire it?

    That's the problem. The civilization holding it has no reason to trade it and give its opponent the means to win. If I built that wonder and another civilization was trying to acquire it from me, there's no price they could offer me where I'd say yes. Really, there needs to be a way to force it from their hands. The most obvious way is by military force, but this would mean that only 1 civilization could have this resource at a time and that would be whoever had the best military. That would essentially make a science victory also a domination victory, which isn't the direction we're looking for.

    Another way might be a resolution in the World Congress. This is the way I'd like to see it done. The way it could operate is that the civilization that built the wonder would get that resource to build their spaceship parts. This civilization would have exclusive rights to that resource. Then, there could be a World Congress resolution called "Share the Wealth" or something to that effect. This resolution when enacted would enable every civilization to have enough of that resource that they need to build those spaceship parts. Pretty much every civilization who didn't build that wonder would be in favor of it with just 1 civilization opposed. That civilization would have to be pretty dominant diplomatically to keep the resource out of everyone else's hands, which would require more diverse gameplay on the part of the science victory player.

    Other elements of the strategy such as the tech tree and the Apollo program wonder would be easier to implement I'd guess.
     
  16. ExpiredReign

    ExpiredReign Deity

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    I don't think there would be any problem with the new resource not being used properly in the AI routines.
    Take Tyrian Purple as an example. Ostensibly it is just another luxury but see how Carthage uses it in trades. The AI knows it is holding all the cards and demands a lot for this luxury. I have been in games where Theodora had nearly 20 of this resource and I had a few different luxuries to offer, Incense, Silk, Silver & Truffles. Do you think she would part with it for one of each, not a chance she wanted those AND Iron and Horses!
    So if this new resource, "Rare Earth Minerals" or whatever, is FLAVORed the same way, I think the AI will cope.
     
  17. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    I have no objection to this.

    My understanding (possibly wrong?) is that the goal for this mod is to remain with no dll modification.

    And if we were to open to major AI changes, I can think of many higher priority issues than supporting a redesign of victory conditions - like getting the AI better at fulfilling the existing victory conditions, like improving combat behavior further, like making the AI more able to launch amphibious invasions, like greater ability of the AI to specialize its cities, like better ability of the AI to do cost-benefit analysis on whether settling a new city makes sense, etc.
     
  18. ExpiredReign

    ExpiredReign Deity

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    :agree:

    The DLL issue is still a sticking point to many fixes in this and other mods.
    I don't mind if we go down that path but...

    So if we view this discussion as just an exercise in what another mod might be, then in the future the desired set up will be: CEP + CSD + "whatever this will be called".:D
     
  19. Gazebo

    Gazebo Lord of the Community Patch Supporter

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    No doubt. IF we go down the .dll path, I'd spin this out as its own beast. I'd prefer not to touch the dll, as I think many/most of the changes can be achieved with xml and lua. I just wanted to note that, if push comes to shove, we can make the AI understand this victory condition.

    On that note, the only idea that would benefit from the dll is the world resolution. They aren't hard to make, but the .dll is essential for them.

    Yeah, I think so, but perhaps not for strategic resources. The AI views strategic goods, generally, as much less valuable than luxury goods. This is something I've encountered with the Paper strategic resource I added - even flavored high (and weighted high in the xml), the AI will part with their only Paper for a pittance (Open Borders, an Embassy, etc.). This makes it exploitable by the player, no doubt, and might be a problem if we made the spaceship parts dependent on new strategic goods. Uranium is the exception, and I can't figure out why – the AI is very stingy with it.
     

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