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PolyCast 2015 Christmas Special: "What Civ Is This?"

Discussion in 'CivBE - General Discussions' started by DanQ, Dec 24, 2015.

  1. DanQ

    DanQ Chieftain

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    Answers aplenty. The 2015 PolyCast Christmas Special, "What Civ Is This?", is now available for netcasting. Join regular panelists Daniel "DanQ" Quick, "Makahlua", Philip "TheMeInTeam" Bellew and "MadDjinn" as they give their take on questions and comments received from members of the show's audience and otherwise in this hour-long plus (73m02s) production.

    The summary of topics is as follows:

    - 01m59s | Forum Post #1A
    Taking the third of three questions from "Ilitarist" first: Total War's connection to the Civilization series.
    - 03m55s | Forum Post #2
    From "phantomax1207" comes a question leading to an answer that raises a ruckus.
    - 10m26s | Forum Post #3
    Wishing and hoping on a Civilization VI, prompted by "DefiantMars".
    - 18m56s | Forum Post #4
    From a seperate, dedicated thread by "Ilitarist" linking music in Civilization IV, CivV and on the show.
    - 24m48s | Forum Post #5
    A purely hypothetical whilst humourous inquiry from "Timewalker102" on what historical leaders featured in the gaming series would do with a copy of one of its titles.
    - 27m45s | Forum Post #6
    A question directed at one panelist in particular by "NewEarthRelic" about their appearance earlier this year on the sixty-first episode of Podcasters Roundtable about, and entitled, "Audience Engagement".
    - 34m50s | Forum Post #7
    Responding to the first of two questions from "CaptainKoloth" leads to the longest response of the recording: preferring CivIV or CivV overall.
    - 50m41s | Forum Post #1B
    Back to "Ilitarist" to respond to the second of two questions posed about the impact of much of Paradox Interactive's gaming catalogue on the Civilization series.
    - 56m07s | Forum Posts #8, 9
    Two-for-one on hopes and expectations for Civ in 2017 from "Camikaze", with added focus on Civilization: Beyond Earth via "CelJaded".

    - Intro/Outro | Miscellaneous
    Cataclysmic inference, pride and profit.

    PolyCast is a bi-weekly audio production in an ongoing effort to give the Civ community an interactive voice on game strategy; its final episode of this, its ninth season, is number 244 set to be released in one week's time. Fellow sibling shows also in production presently are ModCast on Civ modding and TurnCast on Civ multiplay.
     
  2. DefiantMars

    DefiantMars Chieftain

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    I managed to catch part of the live-cast before I had to go to work, but great episode

    Thank you for your response to my question. I look forward to listening to the archived conversation. I'm eager to hear how that one panned out.

    Regarding the conversation in the 34:50 segment. This is from the experiences of a player who is not seasoned in the art of Civ, but I think that increasing the number of tiles and making the playable space have a "finer grit" would be an interesting (if not good) idea to consider.
     
  3. DanQ

    DanQ Chieftain

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    Thank you kindly. :king:

    You are welcome, and I hope you enjoy hearing the archived conversation relating to a would-be Civilization VI in the near future. It is indeed to be published on December 31st not just in Episode 244 but as Episode 244, carried across its hour-long runtime.

    :)

    In context of larger map sizes, how would you describe -- possibly even define -- ""finer grit""?
     
  4. DefiantMars

    DefiantMars Chieftain

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    Simply put. If you took the current size of the Standard map, it would contain overall tiles. Another way of putting it would be to say that the maps would have a higher resolution. However, it does bring up questions about micromanagement, if you have more tiles to improve, contest and manage. But that's probably a conversation better saved for one far above my skill level.
     
  5. DanQ

    DanQ Chieftain

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    I appreciate the clarification.

    I don't see a direct correlation between map generation discourse and skill level in the game such a map would be played on. All good!
     
  6. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    I still think gameplay-wise a "double-grid" would work quite nicely:


    Big grid stays as it is now and is used for improvements + Citizen Management, small grid is used for armies. Add new tactical elements like Units that can fortify and set up suppressing fire in a 2/3 tile radius and there you go, a game that could be extremely fun if the AI could somehow magically handle it. :D

    But of course, I assume the very idea of splitting the playing field into 2 different grids would already be considered to be too complicated for the mass market, and probably rightfully so.
     
  7. MadDjinn

    MadDjinn Chieftain

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    Breaking the hexes down into micro hexes could lead to interesting results.

    Terrain features would be more interesting. Hills could extend into neighbouring hexes to make transitions more realistic. Major rivers could take up 1/2 a hex from each side and boats could move along the edges.

    Walls could be dropped down along a line with forts dropped in the other side of a hex for local controls.

    Etc
     
  8. ZTZaorish

    ZTZaorish Chieftain

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    I'm big on the idea of these smaller hexes. In addition to that, I don't think it would be overly complicated for people, especially if they are outlined by default. It isn't really a hard concept to grasp.

    Also, I enjoyed this Polycast very much, quite festive, and informative as well. I enjoy the longer episodes, I listen them while I play usually.~
     
  9. DefiantMars

    DefiantMars Chieftain

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    I don't think it's that complicated. But it is more information to process at once. I may be off base, but I think offers more gameplay options without making weird situations (looking at you orbital layer!). Taking the current scale of cities and improvements; "shrinking" the military units means that multiple units can occupy the same city or improvemt. An interesting prospect. But what does the mean for civilian units? Do the move on the mirco-grid and affect the macro-grid ?

    This makes me wonder how improvements would be handled. Since you can get a finer resolution wih terrain, how does that affect resources and the way improvements and the terrain itself are constructed?
     
  10. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    I actually think that would be a good chance of overhauling the Civilian Unit system. In my opinion Workers don't really add much to the game other than micromanagement, they could be replaced completely and become part of the city-production-system. Not part of the production-queue, but as a secondary system, with maybe options to partly scale production between the two for more depth and customization. That would also help the AI, given that the worker automation is just horrible at realizing where they need to go. If cities themselves handled Improvements, then that would really come down to "put a higher focus on Improvements if you don't have enough!" - I think the Fantasy-4x Warlock already uses a very similar system if I remember completely, and I personally liked it a lot.

    All other Civilians could just use the "Unit-Grid", Settlers would just found the city on the big hex that the small hex is part of and either not be able to found on those intermediate tiles or get the choice to found a city on one of the three bigger hexes.
     
  11. DanQ

    DanQ Chieftain

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    Thank you kindly. :) This isn't an episode :mischief:, but we can extrapolate as you like PolyCast productions that exceed a one-hour runtime. Huzzah!
     
  12. Galgus

    Galgus Chieftain

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    The only issue I see with this is showing it in a way that still looks pretty, shows off unit graphics enough, and is easy to read at a glance.

    It could be a good excuse to make cities visually bigger while keeping current unit sizes, which would be a huge improvement for scaling.

    It would be nice to have each hex split into three hexes for units.
     
  13. DefiantMars

    DefiantMars Chieftain

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    That's not a bad idea. Having a "building queue", the current system we have now where city buildings and units are produced, and a complimentary "improvement queue". There is already a little bit of precedent with improvements being controlled by the city in the form of the planetary/victory wonders. It does make me think of how that affects the whole barbarians, city-states, and harassment would function. I suppose razing and pillaging still occupy that function to a degree.

    I share your thoughts on settlers.

    @Galgus Considering how the scale of everything is already on the ambiguous side, I don't think it would be too much of a big deal. I use the mods that shrink the standard units and enlarge the ANGEL and LEV Destroyer. Reading at a glance would probably be the biggest struggle. Such is the nature of UI design.

    Technically speaking it would be 3 and 3/3 hexes. :mischief:
     
  14. Barathor

    Barathor Chieftain

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    Sorry, Dan, I can't resist this discussion. :)

    I've thought of this subject in the past and have an alternative method to any kind of limited stacking system. Though, this method also involves overhauling all other systems; like city growth rates, populations, tech costs, production costs, border growth, etc. etc. But, I think it's worth it overall. Also, it probably needs to be a 64 bit application -- no more 32!! If the Civ and BE series were to take another evolutionary leap, such as the one from Civ4 to Civ5, then I think this is what Firaxis may do... especially if they're going to take advantage of 64 bit apps in the future, like other games are doing.

    It's similar to what DefiantMars suggested: increase the resolution!

    It's simple and clean, and could potentially solve a lot of problems with 1UPT "at the current map scale/resolution we play on". Again, there aren't any big issues with 1UPT, it's mostly the scale of things. If Firaxis took the time to adjust the scale of things and overhaul all other systems, not only would 1UPT be much more functional and enjoyable -- it would feel EPIC... and epic is a nice thing to feel (or rather, a feeling that "should" be expected) with huge 4X games like Civ or BE.

    So, basically, take your standard map and shrink it down a little bit more since units will overall be slower (even at a base move rate of 3) and because we don't really need to be controlling 30+ cities. (With a new siege system discussed below, sieging could be a lot more fun and take more time to do, along with the fun had with pillaging the lands and attacking other armies.)

    Now, increase the resolution.





    The main city tile now takes up 7 tiles!

    Cities now have a workable radius that would be roughly equal to 2 tiles on the original, low-res map. (The image above illustrates how each of those hexes can become 7 hexes... but it would probably be best to just smooth it out and make the radius 6 all around.) Also, cities would still be spaced by at least 3 low-res tiles, which means there second outer ring can be shared between neighboring cities, but never their inner ring.

    Population growth is more rapid and can get much higher (as said above, all other systems and costs would need adjustment -- but it's worth it.)

    Strategic resources no longer have quantities. To get a quantity of 6 iron from a city, you need to improve 6 of them in your territory.

    The basic move rate of standard units is 3 (Would equal about 1 hex on the original maps.), mobile units would be 6 or more. The basic range some units can shoot up to is 3 (Ranged damage is lessened, to make up for higher concentration of potential focus-fire.). Or, maybe they could remain at a range of 2, that would probably be best. Siege would be higher at 3.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    ATTACKING CITIES

    With cities taking up 7 tiles, some systems need to be changed to help gameplay -- and most importantly, to make it more fun!

    Garrisoned units are no longer invulnerable and now take a decent amount of collateral damage from city tiles that are attacked that they're sitting on. Also, city defenses (of that tile) get increased by the type of unit fortified there. So, you have a core tile and six outer city tiles to place defenders in.

    If attackers make it to your city, the sieges can become huge since there are a lot more tiles surrounding a city. No longer will the AI have units waiting around behind others and traffic jams as it tries to flood your lands with its carpet of doom -- it can now take full advantage of them and use better brute force methods. So, usually, certain sides of your city will be focused on, this is where you move your city defenders to the outer rings facing them. If they get too damaged, you can shuffle them with defenders within your city that are behind them and on a safe side (so it's strategically an advantage to surround a city with an attack on all/most sides).

    When enough hit points are lost and the defender is defeated, unless another defender occupies the tile before you do (losing the city protection, and now taking normal combat damage instead of only collateral damage), then your attacker can occupy the tile. But, you haven't conquered the city yet! From there, your attacker can attack other adjacent city tiles and the units lose their city protection and take normal attack damage as they would outside the city (though, they receive a regular defense bonus, as one would get if you were on a hill or forest). Only the core tile continues to offer protection to the unit inside -- so you're not attacking the unit there, you're still attacking the city and only causing collateral damage to the unit (if the defender is smart, it's some type of long range, powerful siege unit within the core).

    If you conquer the core tile, as you did the outer tile (but the core is tougher) then you've conquered the city and any other defenders within are destroyed. Though, you may need to occupy more of the six outer city tiles first and reduce the city's health more before conquering the core, so you try and flood your units in while the defender is trying to push you out and prevent you from making more "holes".

    EDIT: OR, maybe the core tile is never occupied by a unit (the melee attacker remains on its original tile after the attack). That may be better design. The core is the tile which captures the city and where the city ranged-attack is based from. Only the ring of six tiles around it can be occupied. Also, I take back the destruction of opposing units after capture, that would suck! (And be exploitable.) All units remain where they are until they're killed. So, if you conquer a city with defenders remaining, they'll stay there and have a chance to take back the city.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    TERRAIN AND FEATURES

    We're basically increasing the resolution of the map, so features of the map will remain proportional. You're NOT going to have more clusters of mountains and hills, more rivers, and more CHOKE POINTS. For a better idea, think of the maps we have now (disregarding the overall size and other things, like city borders, etc.), but units take up only 1/7th of each tile. Getting around would be a whole lot easier and less frustrating. Attacks could be better concentrated on targets instead of units getting jammed up and "waiting in line" to participate in the war. Also, an army or attack force can better conceal themselves before a surprise attack as well.

    Rivers would take up a whole tile. Also, they now hinder your movement progression properly and you cross them properly -- by embarking! Also, major rivers could be 2 or more tiles wide with single-tile width rivers branching off of them (greater resolution can create better detail).

    With greater "resolution and detail" the flat-looking maps could be given more height and depth with maybe two height levels of hills and two height levels of mountains. It would be a shame for that original hill tile on the low-res map to just become roughly 6-7 hill tiles all at the same height -- it would be much nicer to have 1 or 2 inner tiles be a second level higher than surrounding tiles -- perhaps it could have gameplay effects too, like greater sight and defense bonuses. You can't really do this sort of thing on the low-res maps we have now, the map would quickly fill up too much with more hills and mountains and you wouldn't be able to gradually smooth out the heights as well with the limited amount of tiles.

    Maybe even smaller valleys can be introduced and they provide a defense penalty if you're defending from them against an attacker from normal height flatlands... somewhat like the original vanilla Civ5 flatland penalty.

    Maybe even the highest hill level tiles can provide ranged units with +1 range/sight for a greater strategic advantage.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    UNITS

    Speaking of sight, that would remain the same. The world would be a darker place and you would need to actively scout and keep guard to watch for intruders. As said above, it would be much easier now to conceal attack forces and crash upon an enemy in full force with a wave of units instead of a spearhead. With a much greater amount of workable tiles around cities, perhaps even vision isn't automatically granted within borders. You get two rings of vision around your city, but with the other four rings you would need to have the tile being worked in order to provide vision to it and the adjacent tiles (only a radius of 1). This introduces some more decision making on where to improve and work tiles and where to place guards and maybe fortifications. Otherwise, pillagers can sneak up onto your doorstep -- maybe even barbs can create camps in foggy tiles within your borders if you're not careful (if those foggy tiles are accessible from and adjacent to neutral lands).

    Also, unit production rates would be increased a bit again and they could maybe be a little more expendable. Not too much, because you still want the limited amounts of strategic resources and the units they grant to make a meaningful impact on things. (Or, maybe strategic resource tiles could provide very small quantities at times, but probably no more than 4, most would be 2 or 1). You want more toys to play with on these high-res maps; lots of action, lots of fun. It still wouldn't come close to the ratio we have now between low-res tiles and one unit on each of them.

    Another improvement would be possible graphics-wise as well: larger unit models with more personality and flavor. Instead of having to represent each unit with an army of "ants", you can have small groups of larger units which really show off their features and textures. They form the "army" when they're all grouped-up adjacent to each other in larger numbers. I understand why they were ants for Civ 5, and I believe it was the best way to go at that scale, but with a higher resolution of tiles, units can be brought to life better and showed-off. (A small part of the big project I'm working on for Beyond Earth rescales everything in the game to really bring out the flavor of everything -- especially those iconic foot soldiers for each affinity! It's a real shame to have them so tiny, for all the units actually, when they contain so many cool features to show off. All the movement rate animations also suck and are being overhauled -- no more lazy quadruped speed for most units, haha.)

    - - - - - - - - - -

    That's it for now... something to maybe inspire more ideas from you guys -- if you like it and want to run with it. :D
     
  15. Galgus

    Galgus Chieftain

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    @Barathor

    That level of resolution would seem to have far higher technical requirements than either what we have now or a system where hexes are subdivided in thirds for units.

    Particularly with a suitably huge map size to give a sense of great distances.

    It is all interesting though, and I think it could make for fun gameplay.
    ______________________

    With city sieges, I'd like breaking into the walls of a city to be a game changing moment, where the defenders lose any defensive advantage and city ranged attacks no longer affect the attackers.

    This could even tie in with using Spies to potentially open the gates of a city for an invading army to allow them into the city without a fight, encouraging players to keep defensive spies in cities near hostile borders.

    It would also be nice if ransacking tiles outside and inside cities gave more of a benefit: ideally players could make a hefty profit simply by raiding tiles and sacking cities without a need to actually capture them.

    Taking cities could still be difficult, but one could cripple a rival while boosting their own progress by simply pillaging.

    After all, an empire that cannot defend its borders and can only hold fortified cities is doomed to fall.
    _______________________

    For vision, I like the idea of tile improvements giving some vision, with fort or watchtower improvements giving extra to help anticipate attacks.

    This system would probably make Barbarians more interesting to fight against, particularly if they could form hordes.
     
  16. Barathor

    Barathor Chieftain

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    Well, I was talking about the near future, but yeah, I probably got too carried away. :D Technically, even as a 64 bit app and utilizing a lot more RAM, I don't even know how well a really large map would run.

    I suppose a similar and less drastic effect can be had by just doubling the length and width of existing maps (again, as a 64 bit app). Therefore, every hex would be equal to only 4 hexes. The Standard map would only be a bit larger than the old Huge map size.

    Also, as I mentioned above, I'm a little concerned with movement rates and getting around the map with larger map sizes. Only doubling the length and width is probably better than anything more.

    Some cool ideas; the spy mission sounds pretty cool. I also didn't even think about the city ranged attack once an enemy penetrates the outer city tiles -- yeah, it shouldn't fire at the enemies within it.

    Indeed! Though, I'm not sure if you're referring to your own preference or not, but I was talking about only tiles that are worked by a citizen (and adjacent to it) giving vision - improved or not.

    With this, additional rules would need to be added so that you can't just switch the citizens around everywhere to get instant vision and check the tiles before ending your turn. The switch would probably only happen once you end the turn, then your vision is also updated. (Think of it as travel time, haha.)
     
  17. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    That's actually why I proposed the double-grid instead of a full "upscaled" grid, it's somewhat of a mix between the two. Not only for the ram, but also because of the distances. If you increase distances too much, then systems with strategic placement of units become very difficult. If a Cavalry Unit can move 6 tiles, well, then there's really no way to protect an archer from just being charged at.
     
  18. DanQ

    DanQ Chieftain

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    No apologies necessary, and in fact quite the contrary. Thanks to you and all for the detailed, ongoing conversation in this thread that relates directly to show content.
     
  19. DefiantMars

    DefiantMars Chieftain

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    I don't know what means of resolution increase would be better but I feel like it would be a healthy change to the next iteration of Civ.

    Its nice to feel vindicated about the 1UPT situation. After reading discussion on the matter I thought that scale of the map was the biggest contributing factor to the issues it generates.

    If this is the case, what does that do to yields? If more tiles are able to be worked, that would drive up the base cost of everything, correct? Of course that ties into the need to rebalance everything as you mentioned.

    That's an interesting idea. Perhaps there could also be rare tiles that are "resource rich" that give 2 or 3 of a resource.

    I agree with this proposal, especially with the resolution changes.

    I think this would make more sense actually, where the units stationed in the city take damage as they try to fend off attackers or get bombarded by sieges engines.
     
  20. legalizefreedom

    legalizefreedom Inefficiency Expert

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    I always enjoy the show more when there is as much "this is how it could work" as there is "this is why it will suck". This episode had the former in spades. Maybe because it was the Christmas special, but I'll take it.
     

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