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Small Projects for Civ 4 Modders

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Creation & Customization' started by dh_epic, Jun 14, 2006.

  1. dh_epic

    dh_epic Cold War Veteran

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    Hello again, Civ fans.

    You insisted that we did a follow up to our "Big Vision for Civilization 4". After much discussion, we were stumped. It was too soon for a Civ 5 vision, and simply comparing Civilization 4 to our vision did not seem fair. Nor do we feel like we're ready to evaluate the problems with Civilization 4 quite yet. We're still quite happy to be playing one of the best games ever created!

    However, we thought of something else.

    A document that would inspire more creation and customization for Civilization 4. Since Civilization 4 is capable of being modded to a much greater extent than Civilization 3, we wanted to up the ante beyond new buildings and units. As opposed to the Big Vision document which tried to tie features together with an overall focus, this document will focus on several smaller projects that each work independently. This document contains 6 feature suggestions and 6 scenario suggestions, plus a few other words of advice.

    We are targetting modders and creative players who want to change the game because they finally can. Each idea attempts to balance innovation with feasibility. We tried to come up with unique spins on popular suggestions, and hoped to encourage others to think outside the box. This may rub you the wrong way if you're trying to think about why Civilization 4 needs to be changed, but we hope you will enjoy it if you let it speak directly to your imagination.

    On the other hand, we tempered each ambitious change with detailed explanations of the actual game mechanics. We wanted wild-eyed dreamers such as ourselves to see the many pitfalls that are involved with changing the game. The document is meant to be 'designer friendly' in that it inspires designers, but also reminds them to be responsible.

    These "Small Projects for Civ 4 Modders" are by no means small. But rather than a vision that's so big that you'd need a full development team, each of these projects are manageable and worthwhile by themselves. Some are small enough that they might even be doable by one or two great modders with a few testers.

    Worst case, it's something to read while you wait for the Warlords Expansion Pack!

    Enjoy,

    - dh_epic (The Editor)

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

    Note: this document is in .pdf format and requires a pdf reader. For a free .pdf reader, you can go to the Adobe Acrobat Download site. at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html

    Spoiler :
    PS: As you may have noticed, I've scaled back my time here substantially. I think that's unfortunately going to be a trend that will continue, since I have new responsibilities coming around the corner. Even this document, my friends have been too busy to help me pollish off the last details. Life goes on.

    For that reason, I'm afraid this document might be as 'clean' as it gets, leaving behind some weak word-art mock-ups and some unanswered questions. Hopefully it will be enough to stimulate your imagination. By no means do any of us expect these features to be implemented exactly the way they have been suggested, either. Our hope is that they will circulate and mutate throughout the community, and become a part of your vocabulary.

    On the positive, I've found myself working with a talented group of modders on a project of great reputation. While we don't agree on everything, our disagreements bring out the best in one another, and hopefully we will all be able to enjoy the fruits of this labor.

    And I'll still be around after the summer. Just substantially less often.

    Thanks again, friends!
     

    Attached Files:

  2. dh_epic

    dh_epic Cold War Veteran

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    Oh, one last thing. Since this is a work in progress, we never went through the trouble of giving appropriate credits for peoples' ideas. That's my fault. If you say "hey, that looks a lot like my idea", you might very well be right, and feel free to toot your own horn here.
     
  3. Dale

    Dale Deity

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    Sorry, but I sooooooo disagree with your ascertion that culture does nothing. It is the base defense value for everything.

    Sure it works on diminshing returns, but more culture will always result in more base defense. Thus the culture from 5000 - 50000 is still increasing your base defense value, especially on those border tiles where your percentage of control might not be 100%.

    Dale
     
  4. Jeckel

    Jeckel Great Reverend

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    Some interesting suggestions.
     
  5. Trade-peror

    Trade-peror UET Economist

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    The Global Investments idea is incredibly intriguing and happens to remind me a bit of Imperialism 2. When I get more time to look at this in the future, I'll make more substantive comments, but in the meantime, I anticipate further development of the ideas here. :thumbsup:
     
  6. Impaler[WrG]

    Impaler[WrG] Civ4:Col UI programmer

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    Actualy I find the Economic ideas too be a bit too bland and sounds like it ammounts to little for then a "money throwing fight". Economics should not be another form of combat ware Money=Soldiars, Markets=territory. In order to be a satisfactory economic system it needs to involve at a minimum

    Buying and Selling
    Supply and Demand

    The marketshares as an abstraction for the growth of the consumtion of commodities and as a reflection of economic hegemony is nice but the interactions surrounding them need to be less psudo-military. I feel that any economic system worth of the name WOULD require some managment each turn rougly on par with managing your cities.

    The Cultural Trends seems a little overthough to me, why not simply start a Golden Age at various quantities of Culture or give a Bonus to the Length of Golden Ages for Civs that are high in culture. That gets you 90% of what your trying to get without all the details.

    The Victory Condition changes seem interesting. I know many people like the desicivness and finality of the "hard" victory conditions style. The "soft" aditive methods would be an interesting option for people but I dont think it will fundamentaly change people desisions to continue/drop a game once they see their not going to "win".

    Population Happyness definatly could use improvments, both in the number of inputs sources of happyness/unhappyness, and in the rewards and penalties you get. Even something as crude as being able to build up a happyness buffer in good times that would protect you in the bad times would be nice. SMAC's system of Golden Ages for happy cities was a good insentive, it should be combined with a NerveStapling equivilent (The pathetic We Love the King Day is useless as an insentive)
     
  7. Jeckel

    Jeckel Great Reverend

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    If you are talking about a Alpha Centari type of NerveStapling then you need to be careful. I mean I loved to nervestaple the populace as much as the next person, but it effectively removed the happy/unhappy system as you could just nervestaple them every few turns.

    I think simply bring back city riots when unhappyness is to high would work fine. As it stands I see no reason to stagnate city growth as 10 unhappy citizens is no different then 1, but if X angry citizens cause your whole city to riot there would atlest be a resaon to avoid angry citizens.

    As for the Victory condition I know I find it annoying that it stops at the first victory, its not as if the victories are mutually exclusive, hopfully someone will look into this and provide the community with some better victiory options.
     
  8. Trade-peror

    Trade-peror UET Economist

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    Impaler[WrG], it is interesting that you mention economics based on buying and selling, supply and demand. That happens to be the driving force of a very extensive model I have developed before (see "Unified Economic Theory" in my signature), but I definitely find potential in the Global Investments idea outlined here. I suspect something of a combination could be best. :)
     
  9. dh_epic

    dh_epic Cold War Veteran

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    These are the most important criticisms I'd like to address, because they tell me that I screwed up.
    The first comment comment says that one feature does not go far enough and is too simplistic. The second comment says that one feature goes too far and is too excessive for what it does.

    This shows me that I failed to properly state the point of this little exercise.

    This is a document for modders -- for people who want to change the game. If an idea seems excessive compared to the stated benefits, that's because the unstated benefit of every suggestion is to generate excitement. And if an idea seems too simple for what you'd like it to do, that's because we tried not to get so excessive that we end up in Civilization 5 territory.

    If there was any guiding principlee in the back of our heads, it was trying to balance fun with feasibility. We wanted each feature to be doable, but still offer some real 'sizzle' to the game.

    With that in mind, we did change the introductory page for the feature suggestions. If you want to save yourself a download (from beta .80 to beta .81), then feel free to click the spoiler.

    Spoiler :
    Unlike the “Big Vision for Civilization 4”, which focused extensively on the problems with Civilization 3 (and suggested solutions), this document assumes that change is generally good. We still saw a few areas for improvement, such as culture, diplomacy, and the latter part of the game. But more than anything, this document assumes you are pro-change. Maybe you’re a modder who wants to attempt some new ideas. Or maybe you’re a player who likes to dream up new game play (like the creators of this document).

    When you make the bold assumption that change is generally good, the question becomes how to implement those changes effectively. This document will go more extensively into the nuts and bolts of how these features might be designed. This shows the kinds of questions that the mod community ought to ask themselves about game balance, the AI, and so on. We all might want change, but we cannot be reckless.

    There IS a balance. Big changes can be exciting, but a feature too big can be hard to implement, impossible to balance, and difficult to play!

    Trying to find the sweet spot between an incredible change and a feasible change is no easy task. But we hope that even if these ideas are “smaller” than those in the previous document, you will be inspired.

    Feel free to build on these ideas as you see fit, and good luck.

    - dh_epic (the editor)


    And by all means, these are just the opinions of a few people, and can be amended, debated, or countered by anyone with an alternate vision of how to modify Civilization 4.
     
  10. dh_epic

    dh_epic Cold War Veteran

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    Not everything.

    Maybe I'm wrong, but culture offers a defensive bonus for cities. It might sway the occasional tile near your borders. But it does not impact fighting out in the field.

    Moreoever, it works on specific levels. At every culture level, you receive a defensive bonus. There's a jump at 10, 100, 1000, 5000, and 50000. Which means that between 1000 and 5000, and between 5000 and 50000 there's a long time where culture is doing very little.

    (Correct me if I'm wrong.)

    But culture does do more than it did in Civilization 3, that's for sure. And certainly, there are many other ways to further improve what culture can do for the game. We just thought the "Cultural Trends" idea sounded creative, interesting, and fun.
     
  11. Steve2000

    Steve2000 Mighty Pirate

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    Yes! It does sound fun. In my imagination it would be akin to building a wonder of the world with the key differences being, you invest culture instead of hammers, and the effects can be shared by any civ that "adopts" the cultural trend, with the founder obviously getting better benefits. For example: If you had enough culture you could found "The Age of Discovery." Your civ would get some boni such as +1 naval movement and the flanking 1 promotion for all new naval units. And any rival civs that adopted the age of discovery would just get the flanking 1 bonus.
     
  12. dh_epic

    dh_epic Cold War Veteran

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    Thanks for the encouragement, Steve2000. That's exactly the kind of thing we were hoping for in the "Cutural Trends" mechanism. There's lots of ways to play with it. Another benefit is you could use it to create historical behaviors that aren't necessarily modelled properly in Civilization 4.

    How does the Roman Empire fall in Civilization 4? It would probably continue its rise to the top and eventually win every victory imaginable. This is where another trend could come in:

    Völkerwanderung -- gives a temporary combat bonus against any empire with more cities than you.

    Not necessarily what we think of when we imagine the wandering of the tribes of Europe, but it has the potential to seriously erode an empire, making for an interesting set of circumstances around the first third of the game. ... just as an example.
     
  13. Hans Lemurson

    Hans Lemurson Prince

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    I liked the scenario ideas the most out of anything. The Prehistory one struck me as very interesting, since it seeks to make a whole new game out of civilization instead of making another game into civilization.

    I think that it would be interesting to explore the limits of just what can be done with this game engine...but I suspect that there might just be too many possibilities to even cope with.

    I also agree with the need for a new cultural model, and the idea of meeting multiple victory conditions.
     
  14. dh_epic

    dh_epic Cold War Veteran

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    Thanks for the feedback, Hans. I definitely think that modders can really push the boundaries of Civilization... maybe even do something so audacious that Firaxis takes a look and says "hmm, maybe that's something we can draw from and improve upon for Civilization 5".

    My only hope is that an interested modder picks up even one of these ideas -- be it a scenario or a feature.
     
  15. TDBrought

    TDBrought Chieftain

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    I had a few idea for changing wonders posted in another thread here

    I find the idea of wonders that can be built repeatedly and benefit the entire world in addition to their builder interesting. I also think the idea of movable wonders could work well in scenarios, such as recreating the crusades.
     
  16. darkedone02

    darkedone02 The Suggestor

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    i dunno if they are ever going to make a civilization 5, they may have change the name, but though if you have completed this little project of yours, it may attract the people of Firaxis to make this project in there next game. speaking of Projects, I wonder if they ever going to make a Create Your Own Civ mode which allow us to make our own civ without the trouble of coding and doing xml.
     
  17. dh_epic

    dh_epic Cold War Veteran

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    I definitely think the effects of wonders can be more interesting. Rather than offering flat rewards, offer interaction effects. (e.g.: convert culture into gold). Diplomatic interactions are interesitng too. That's where a lot of the ideas for Cultural Trends came from.

    Hopefully someone will pick up some of these ideas and run with them. A few of them are underway, in fact, at least from what people tell me.
     
  18. Padmewan

    Padmewan King

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    I have an idea tangential to 1.3 (popular mood) which is primarily intended to enhance diplomacy. By implementing the 4 ideas (1. Like it when you cooperate with people they like; 2. Hate it when you cooperate with people they hate; 3. Like it when you are tough on people they hate; 4. Hate it when you are tough on people they like), diplomacy becomes something the player has to work more carefully. Building up a friendship with a civ only to stab it in the back becomes a lot harder.

    (Off-topic, but can I just say that I hate PDFs???)
     
  19. dh_epic

    dh_epic Cold War Veteran

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    That's DEFINITELY where I'd like to see popular mood going -- having a significant impact on diplomacy. Not that it forces you to do anything, but there's a reward for being consistent in your affairs. If your people respect you, they are happier, and you reap the benefits of that.

    (I'm not a fan of .pdfs either. But people complain even more about .docs. I suppose this would make a decent webpage, except I wouldn't know where to put it. But yes, I couldn't agree with you more :p)
     
  20. Aussie_Lurker

    Aussie_Lurker Deity

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    Well, I have finally had time to read the document and, I must say, I am VERY impressed :).

    Just a thought, as far as victories go, rather than a one off point bonus for 'building the spaceship', I had the idea that there should be a host of minor 'space-oriented' goals that a player could achieve-with the Alpha Centauri mission being the biggest.
    Basically, in order, you would have a list of National Projects, culminating in an Extra-Terrestrial Colony, which would gain you points IF you get it first-with lesser points accruing to the second, third etc. Such projects might be 'Manned mission into Orbit', 'Sattelite Network', 'Manned Moon Mission', 'Remote Exploration of the Solar System', 'Manned Mission to another World' and 'Extra-Terrestrial Colony'. Aside from points, though, each Project might accrue benefits to the civ that builds it (like boosted research, culture, happiness or production-for instance).

    Same thought applies to the Economic victory, with control of multiple resources accruing points, and cotrolling multiple sources of a single resource being worth MORE points (monopoly points, basically). Each resource trade you establish could gain you points, along with actual trade routes. Similarly, points could be gained for disrupting trade routes of other nations in favour of your own. Of course such an economic victory system, IMO, also requires a different model for the acquisition of resources-one in which having access to multiple sources of a single resource is more beneficial than simply having one.
    Also on the economy. Though I definitely like your system DH_Epic, a more easily achievable version might be to tweak the existing 'Hollywood' and 'Broadway' Wonder system. For instance, you might have a Wonder and/or National Project which involves the building of a Liquour industry (which, in turn, requires access to the Sugar resource and, perhaps, a minimum of 5 Distilleries). When you build it, you get 5 new 'resources' which you can either trade internally, or trade to other nations. Now, there could be a Wonder equivalent of the Liquour trade, which would grant a greater bonus to the builder than merely having the National Project (perhaps a Culture bonus or Diplomatic Relation bonus). The benefits from these projects might depend on what economic civics you are running, and your current diplomatic status. Also, as with your system, certain threshold techs and Great People might alter the benefits of these Industries you build too.
    Speaking of Great People, modifying the basic abilities of Great Merchants might also help the economic side of the game too. For instance, what if a Great Person could be used to disrupt or alter trade routes between two nations, or to establish a 'Franchise' in a foreign city-that generates increased gold for that city, but at the cost of 'infecting' that city with your culture. Or, as I have suggested before, you could make modern economics work like religion, with HQ replacing shrines, and Great Merchants converting cities to your markets-the more industries you control (see above), the more HQ's you can build and the more markets you can open up.
    As for culture, I still say that culture should spread between cities and nations, and this alone could help make higher levels of culture/per city more important. Cultural mixing could play a role in your proposed systems of mood and diplomacy-as well as influencing the mood of neighbouring city-states.
    Lastly, on the issue of Diplomatic victories, perhaps each leader should have 2 preferred civics, and the more civs you convince to adopt these civics (either on a 1-to-1 basis or through the UN) should grant you points. Additionally, each successful UN resolution you get passed (as well as building the UN) should earn you points too.
    Anyway, apologies for the length of the post, but I hope these rambling thoughts have helped out.

    Aussie_Lurker.
     

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