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Rhye's of Europe (for Civ VI)

Discussion in 'Rhye's and Fall: Europe' started by Publicola, May 30, 2016.

  1. Publicola

    Publicola Chieftain

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    One of my great disappointments with Civ V is that we never saw an updated version of 'Rhye's of Civilization' for the new game. Now that Civ VI is coming out in October, I'm wondering if anyone in this community would be willing to work together on developing a "Rhye's of Europe" mod for the new game.

    Why "Rhye's of Europe" in particular, rather than a full "Rhye's of Civilization" simulation of world history? Well, partly due to the "one unit per tile" rule (a holdover from Civ V) and due to the new 'districts' system, cities and battles in the new game will take up quite more space than cities and battles in Civ IV. In fact, 'cities' can be treated more like 'regions' in a real-world sense ("here is the urban center of this region, here are the suburbs, here is the university campus and surrounding town, here's the local military fortress," etc.) If you're trying to model the entirety of world history and world geography, you're going to need a *huge* map to do everything justice.

    However, if you try to model such districts in a Euro-centric mod focused on European history, you actually end up with something comparable (at least in size) to the 'provinces' in the current mod.

    I propose that the first step to developing a full world-history mod for Civ VI should be creating a similar but smaller-scale version of the mod for European history. In other words, adapt this mod to the new system, hexagonal tiles and all.

    We won't be able to purchase and play the new game until October, but we can certainly put some work in on laying the groundwork before that point. What we'd like to see, what we should exclude, what the map should look like -- that sort of thing.

    So, anyone interested?
     
  2. AbsintheRed

    AbsintheRed Chieftain

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    Well, I'm not sure at all.
    The thing is that I adore Civ IV.
    While I don't say Civ V is a bad game per se (after the 2 expansions), IV is superior by far.
    Obviously Civ IV also has it's flaws, and one could say it's kinda outdated in some ways. But they are not even in the same league.
    It's just way more deep, in the best possible way.

    Also a very important factor that moddability is much better in IV. Not necessarily easier, but we have access for way more things, and the game is much more modder friendly.
    It's not a coincidence that modding is this strong after all these years.
    Just compare all the _very_ high quality mods. I could say at least 20 in Civ IV over the top of my head (and I'm only thinking about the most mature ones here, like SoI, RFCE - I hope I can also put it into this category :), DoC, History Rewritten, Realism Invictus, Sengoku, Dune Wars, Fall from Heaven, Final Frontier Plus, Legends of Revolution, RoM aND, etc. ), but there is only 1 in Civ V, called Vox Populi ATM. Maybe Faerun can also count for V, I'm not entirely sure, never tried it. But there is no more. 0.
    Or compare all the modcomps, or anything else, really. While JFD made some great modcomps for V, and they have nice new civs there, it's still nothing compared to the wonders we have hidden in most mods here, or buried in the dl section where only modders notice them.
    Most importantly, almost all of those mods in Civ IV either can be considered final (as in complete), or are in active development.

    Leoreth recently wrote something like that that there will be modding for IV until there are players interested in it, and there will be players interested in Civ IV until modding is this strong.
    (or maybe he only said one part of it, and I thought the other one goes right beside it? :crazyeye:)
    Anyway I couldn't agree more. There is still much life in Civ IV, IMO it will be active much longer than Civ V.
    It's a shame there are not even more players experiencing all the wonderful updates for the best mods.
    Not complaining at all, after the release of 1.3 RFCE had 800-900 downloads in only 3 weeks. And this is after a long break, and without counting SVN versions, which a lot of players use.
    Surely DoC has even better numbers, as it didn't have a 2 year hiatus in it's modding.
    Kinda funny and cool at the same time, but RFC modding in 2016 is stronger than ever.
    So spread the word everyone, come and play Civ IV! :)

    Now let's get to your actual question.
    The topic of Civ V is strongly related, as I'm rather pessimistic. I personally don't expect that much more from Civ VI either.
    Looking at all the things we already know I'm pretty sure they will follow guidelines closer to V than IV.
    Also if the graphics are that childish, how much strategical depth can we count on?

    Furthermore, to get into a little detail about your suggestion:
    Actually I'm pretty annoyed by the fact how they will handle cities and districts.
    It's just ridiculous in a game at this scale, totally immersion breaking for me.
    In my mind, cities occupy only a very small portion of the tile they are on, up until the very late game.
    In fact, for my taste an even bigger map would be desired even for RFCE. And that's in Civ IV and in a mod which covers a fairly small territory considering Civ maps in general.
    With the scale of cities in VI, how much territory can we cover on a 100*100 map? 10000 km2 maybe? 90000 if we are way too generous?
    So yeah, while I agree that whole worlds are certainly out of the question for VI, I would argue that even a continent can't be represented well enough.
     
  3. Swarbs

    Swarbs Chieftain

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    Well I would hope that, with the graphics for Civ VI not looking very advanced, there would be an option for much bigger maps. I think that's one of the main things missing from Civ V - 1UPT wouldn't be so bad if you had larger maps where you could actually do some tactical manoeuvring, rather than trying to jam a load of units into a tiny space.

    Likewise for Civ V - if the map is large enough then the districts will be quite good as a city will actually start small and grow, but if not then it will be ridiculous with cities the size of nations.
     
  4. Publicola

    Publicola Chieftain

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    One of the reasons I'm optimistic about Civ VI is because of the pattern I've noticed with the even-numbered civs. Odd-numbered versions (I, III, V) have tended to introduce a whole bunch of new or innovative design elements (culture in III, 1-unit-per-tile in V, etc.) but have failed to adequately incorporate or apply those elements into a fully satisfying game. It's been the even-numbered games that do so much more -- IV made culture into one of the centerpieces of the game, for instance. I suspect the same will hold for Civ VI.

    It never ceases to astonish me how active the modding community is for Civ IV, when the original game was released over a decade ago. That sort of longevity is almost unheard of.

    On the other hand, in the early release materials for VI, the designers have indicated their desire to make the new game 'modder friendly.' The same sort of promises were made for Civ V -- and we know how notoriously mod-unfriendly that game was -- but I suspect they might actually deliver for VI, given how much negative feedback they received for V's limited adaptability. I'm cautiously optimistic that the new engine will be much more accessible.

    Of course, that is the major point of contention -- if the new game is incredibly mod-friendly, then this exercise becomes a lot more plausible and promising. If it isn't, then no amount of wishing will make it so.

    This is actually the least of my worries. The designers have already stated that they made the graphics simplistic specifically because there would be more strategic depth, because they wanted more information to be visible from the user interface without requiring so many buttons and screens. Being able to identify (at a glance) that this is your opponent's science district and this is how far they've advanced would be a huge development, especially given how opaque the graphics were for Civ V.

    Furthermore, I hate to say it, but we're the ones living in a glass house at this point. However advanced the mods, Civ IV has been routinely criticized for having more 'cartoony' graphics compared to the 'photorealism' of Civ V. I don't think that's a bad thing -- when I see screenshots of Civ V, I invariably have a hard time figuring out what I'm looking at -- but the same criticisms made of Civ VI have often been leveled at Civ IV.

    This is the biggest thing that's given me hope. With the new engine and simpler graphics, with a new game design meant to 'unstack' units (1upt) and cities (districts), I have to believe that Civ VI is going to be more compatible with very large maps and very large empires than Civ V.

    That sense is only strengthened by the knowledge that they've removed 'global happiness' -- so there is no longer the same hard cap to number of cities you can own, which in Civ V limited the 'optimal' empire size to about 4 cities total. There are other changes, but I can already tell that Civ VI is moving away from a restrictive 'tall-only' play style (you must settle only these few cities) and toward a more permissive 'wide' play style (you can build more and more cities).

    While 'infinite city sprawl' is never good, the changes so far that the new game will be a lot more amenable to larger empires. The alternative would be that Civ VI moves even further away from the empire building and strategic elements, and the Civ franchise becomes more and more of a tactical game. I'll be eating my words if that's the case, but at this point I doubt it.
     
  5. AbsintheRed

    AbsintheRed Chieftain

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    Yeah, I would love to share your optimism. I really do.
    But as you wrote, this is the central question:
    What do you think is the biggest map size developers are willing to consider? One that the game will still run smoothly on.
    Because with the current information about districts, I would find even 500*1000 maps way too small to represent a world :(
    On the other hand, too big maps would cripple other aspects of the game. It's just not feasible to play on such huge maps, with a couple hundred cities the game stops being fun.
    So no matter how hard I try, I can't really share your optimism about VI.

    But this leads to a different kind of optimism:
    Civ IV remains the ultimate civving experience even longer :king:
     
  6. AbsintheRed

    AbsintheRed Chieftain

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    Exactly.
    Without much bigger maps I don't think I will ever really like Civ VI.
    Well, obviously it can still be a close to perfect game, just on a much smaller scale.
    So instead of Civ it should be called Nation. Or even County. :p
     
  7. Publicola

    Publicola Chieftain

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    I put a bit more thought into a Civ VI Europe mod, and posting in the Civ VI "Creation/Customization" forum. Specifically I was considering the worst-case scenario, where the base game doesn't do a good job with larger maps. Given the size required to make city districts work in the context and scale of a continent, how could a mod allow such big maps without overwhelming the game with lag?

    TL,DR: I believe the best way would be to allow more cities with fewer units overall.

    This could be as simple as making units much more expensive and buildings less so. This fits the historical reality -- it was pretty easy to find a farm or a forge in medieval Europe, but much more challenging to find a castle or knight, and armies were considerably smaller than in later ages.

    Another plausible restriction could be based on the historical tendency of armies to 'live off the land' -- a nice euphemism for looting from whomever was unlucky enough to live in that area. This might be put into play by reducing the food production of any tile with a unit on it to 0, or to 1, or reducing it by a set amount (2 food baseline, 3 food if healing, perhaps?).

    However, I had another idea that I think is actually pretty elegant. One of the central features of the new game is that Civ VI 'unstacks' cities (with districts) just as Civ V unstacked units (with 1upt). My suggestion would be to connect the two -- to turn specific districts or buildings into prerequisites for specific units, mostly the more advanced units of each age.

    For instance, a recent gameplay video shows a city making a 'trader' unit to generate trade routes and build roads connecting friendly cities. I'd suggest that such units should require their home city to have a commerce district (and possibly a market as well). Likewise for religious districts and missionaries.

    More obviously, you could require a barracks for more advanced infantry, an arsenal for more advanced gunpowder/artillery units, etc.

    Another possibility would be turning the basic 'farm' improvement into a district of its own. The tile could then be developed further with a basic manor house and later a more advanced castle -- castles which might provide defense, but also enable the construction of knights.

    If you wanted to limit it further, you could restrict the number of knights allowed: either allowing a single knight for each farm tile w/ a castle, or (more daringly) only a single knight for each city, with its strength dependent on the number of farm/castle tiles.

    For instance:

    • If a city only had a single farm+castle tile, it could build a knight with an auto-promotion ("Hedge-Knight"?) that would significantly cut its maximum health.
    • If a city had two farm+castles, it could build a knight at full health with no promotions.
    • If a city had three farm+castles, it could build a knight with an auto-promotion ("Squires"?) that would significantly boost ability to heal.
    Any and all of these proposals would significantly limit the number of units crowding a map, while expanding the role of cities and towns. It'd take some adjustments to the map (not to mention other things like unit movement), but I think this would make a Europe-mod quite a bit more manageable.
     
  8. Publicola

    Publicola Chieftain

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    I had another proposal related to the Civ VI presentation at E3. Apparently there will be four separate 'Unique' variables for each civ:

    • Unique Ability -- pretty straightforward, since this is basically the same as the 'Unique Power' of RFC and its mods.
    • Unique Unit -- again self-evident
    • Unique Infrastructure -- this isn't limited strictly to buildings, but also includes unique tile improvements and unique districts
    • Leader Unique
    That last one is what I want to focus on. In Civ VI, each leader will add an additional unique, to any of the other three categories. Thus, China's leader allows Builders the ability to accelerate the construction of any Ancient or Classical wonder, while America's leader provides a new unique unit (a Rough Rider).

    Given that different leaders provide different Uniques, I was considering how to integrate this into a Rhye's-type mod that gives multiple leaders, one per era in a civ's history.

    I can think of two possibilities:
    • When players select their civ from the starting screen, they must also choose a single player, and will be limited to only that Leader Unique for the game. AI opponents are likewise assigned (either by the human player or randomly) a single leader for the duration of the game.
    • Players only select a civ from the starting screen. They will start play with a specific leader, but that leader (and related Uniques) will change era by era. The same holds true for AI opponents -- every civ in the game will receive new Uniques whenever they advance to a new era.
    The first option would provide a lot more variety and variability to what type of opponents you'd face. One game you might be playing as a "Charlemagne" French leader (with bonuses for the Early Middle Ages), competing against an England ruled Elizabeth I (with bonuses for the Renaissance), but in another game you might be playing as "Jean d'Arc" while fighting off Harold Godwinson.

    Let's say there are 20 civs in the new game. If each civ could choose from 2 possible leaders, that'd give us over 1 million separate combinations, of how the civs interact and what bonuses each one would receive. If we increased that number to 3 leaders for each civ, then there would be nearly 3.5 billion combinations. Every game would be an entirely new experience.

    The second option listed above wouldn't have the same variety, but would add quite a few new challenges. Each new era would provide a distinct benefit, both to you but also to your opponent. Human players would need to leverage their Leader Unique, either in pursuit of their civ's UHV or some other victory condition. Since some of these Uniques would be better than others, they'd also need to figure out the timing. A player might want to delay progressing to a new era, so they can get the most out of one particular ability -- or bull-rush as fast as possible through an era to avoid a bad ability -- or trade techs with another civ to force an AI opponent into a new era (and away from a powerful ability).

    I haven't really decided which would be preferable. Lots of potential either way.
     
  9. Publicola

    Publicola Chieftain

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    (Disclaimer: sorry if people are bothered that this is brainstorming for a Civ VI mod. I'm just trying to get any stray ideas written down).

    I had a thought for how to deal with the issue of city spacing. It's been mentioned before that, with the 'unstacking' of cities into districts, it'd be necessary to create a Europe map with a lot more space in order to keep things reasonably similar to the real-world.

    One way to lessen the need for this (though not eliminate it completely) would be to restrict some districts so they can only be built in a tile/hex immediately around the city center. Other districts (cough farms) could be built anywhere, while Wonders might vary. Some wonders (like Notre Dame) belong inside/beside the city proper, while others (like Cluny Abbey) should probably be placed out in the countryside.

    This would contribute significantly, to ensuring that cities look like cities while countryside stays looking rural. It would also ensure that each city would be properly spaced out, since you'd need quite a few farm tiles to support the inner districts. And it'd cut down significantly on the amount of space needed for a map, since what would actually constitute each 'city' would be limited to one tile and its immediate neighbors, not one tile + any others up to 3 tiles away.

    I also feel (very) strongly that a Civ VI RFCE should treat farms (and any other 'improvements' as 'districts' when designing the game. The fact that it is possible (per the Aztec UP) for Builders to construct Districts, ensures that Builder units would stay relevant.

    The trick in designing a mod would be ensuring the proper balance of districts and buildings within each one. For instance, it should require a 'harbor' district before a city can build 'fishing boats'. Within the harbor district, you should be able to construct a harbor, a lighthouse, a drydock, and a port. Adjacent to the harbor district, in a coastal tile that also borders the city center, you should have one type of 'commercial district', where you can construct a customs office, warehouse, etc., with the emphasis on shipping and water-based commerce. There should be a different commercial district for the market and other land-based commerce.

    There should only be 6 major districts or so total, and each one should enable 3-4 related buildings. Obviously, we shouldn't waste space with a 1-building district like the 'Aqueduct' district that's been mentioned in the pre-release material. Even so, this would leave you with maybe 24 key buildings for each city to build.

    The minor districts should include farm (with options to build improvements like windmill/watermill, and structures like manor house/castle), mining town (with options for resource exploitation), and village (with mutually exclusive options to expand as a commercial center -- by building a tavern, for instance -- or as a religious center -- building a monastery/abbey). There might also be a 'pasture' district, for areas (like England or parts of the Middle East) where farming really isn't a viable option. Still, the vast majority of tiles would be farms, of course, to reflect what actually took place in history.

    One point is that each minor district should be able to construct the same time of building (castle, for instance, or tavern) multiple times even though they all fall within the control of a single city center. Thus, at least for minor districts, production would more closely resemble the 'Final Frontier' mod, where you can build things that cover the whole system or pick and choose which planet to start constructing out of the same set of possible buildings.
     
  10. AbsintheRed

    AbsintheRed Chieftain

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    Not at all, I find these conversations interesting, even if I'm still pretty sceptical about Civ VI generally.
    To be more precise, my "only" huge problems are 1UPT and the untacking of cities.
    Other than that it has some nice minor things/improvements/ideas, which might make their way back to Civ IV, and RFCE eventually.
     

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