Update: Mod has been released, the official Mod-Thread can be found here. ...or rather have been working on for the last... 5 months or so now? With varying effort. Either way, I assume this is the most ambiguous project for Beyond Earth up to date? Thankfully I have already worked on a lot of mods that I can copy-paste parts from. Anyway. Not sure if this is even an interesting read, It's an unstructured mix of talking about design decisions, my solutions to problems I have with the game and... well, a sneak peek into what is about to be released sometime later this year - as well as a "No, I'm not dead!"-post for those people who asked me whether I'm still actively modding - Yes, I'm very much alive! I'd assume I'm around half-way through to a finished mod but I guess it can't hurt to take some time and create this post, spread some ideas and maybe get some feedback, right? I guess I'll prefix this with a quick paragraph on why I decided to do a total overhaul in the first place and what my goals are, so here we go: I like most of Beyond Earth, but I really dislike how short and "lacking in depth" (gameplay-wise) Beyond Earth is. I had worked on my Awesome Modpack for quite a while and it was fun, but really, none of my mods tackled this issue they just "added more stuff" And intentionally so - but lately I've really grown frustrated with "merely" adding stuff on top of a system that I don't find engaging in the first place. I decided it's time for a fresh start and set pretty clear goals for my modpack. I had actually written them down, here they are: - around 350-450 turns of gameplay per playthrough. - city and tech progression that feels impactful (that's a word, right?). Ergo: More linear tech tree, stronger buildings etc. on high-tier technologies. - Health and Energy must become something that can't just be ignored. - Create important decisions (and remove a lot of the old, useless decisions) - Interesting Wonders (that are situational? only work in some situations?) - More differences between Affinities - Make stuff less ridiculous. Spamming Explorers, Spamming Settlers, Spamming Trade Routes should not be go-to strategies. Find ways to limit these things! - A strong connection between Cities and Terrain. Make sure good city locations are important - #AllResourcesMatter. During development I added: - make constructing cities during later parts of the game viable. The "ideal" strategy should be to expand whenever there's enough health left to do so. (Not expanding too much should also be somewhat viable on lower difficulties) - Add new Features to the game that make managing the Empire more interesting. So... those were my goals. Here's where I'm at currently: Tech Tree: (Warning, there's a huge image below the spoiler) Spoiler : Obviously some of the names are placeholders ("New Humanism") and as one may notice due to the declining number of icons in the upper part only the lower part is actually somewhat complete. Some Technologies will be moves around later, the way affinities are separated on the upper part right now is not intentional. The lower part is somewhat linear with some important choices on each Tier, but the tree opens up a lot during later stages of the game, allowing players to pick the bonuses they want to specialize in, or work best with the things they already have specialized in. A lot of the Branch techs now have most of the stuff that is essentially a full tier of "generic" buildings per tech-level. Leaf Techs then add Affinity related and situational stuff, such as Wonders, National Wonders (green) and Buildings that require local Resources. Ideally, which Leaf Techs you pick will change greatly every game, depending on what the map offers to you and what strategy you want to use. City Progression: Most of the perk Icons you see on the tech web add basic yields to all cities. A new Building, the "Basic Infrastructure" has been created to gather these yields. They serve as a basis for new cities that are created during the game to catch up. A comparison between Turn 0 and Midgame: Spoiler : It is worth noting that I'm very... determined to make it impossible to just spam-expand early on. I do not like that playstyle where you ignore health and just create 7 cities, I want steady but controlled expansion during at least the first half of the game. The Basic Infrastructure is meant to help later expansions get up to speed. These Perks also grant free, outdated buildings to make sure a city founded on turn 200 does not need to work through 50 low cost buildings. My goal is to make everything that is 2 tiers below the current one and doesn't have some location requirements become free. That way new Cities still have around 15~20 cheap buildings available when they're founded, but I think that's okay - that way players have enough to choose from to make sure the city develops the stuff they currently need the most first. I changed my mind about this. Having free Buildings from Technologies felt somewhat silly. It made gathering technologies way too strong and took away a lot from city progression. The system now works different - all "Standard"-Buildings that are available now come in Tiers that build on each other, but differently than one would expect. An example for Buildings that share a building line: Laboratory (t1) -> Public Library (t2) -> Institute (t3) -> (etc) Whenever you construct a Building that is on a tier other than t1 you gain all the buildings that are below that tier in the same building line. So if you construct the Institute in a city that doesn't have the Public Library yet but already has the Laboratory the City then automatically gets the Public Library. "Outdated" buildings still become maintenance-free, so if you construct the Institute the Public Library and the Laboratory are then free to maintain. Once you unlock a technology that has a new Tier of a Building the Buildings of lower Tiers in the same Building Line can no longer be constructed. The Bonuses granted by the Basic Infrastructure make it so the current Tier of Buildings should always be somewhat reasonably priced, so new Cities can basically pick up the highest Tier available rather quickly and will then have all the infrastructure - instead of just having it by default. Health System: The Health System has been both, Streamlined a bit and made more important. There's still no "Don't drop below 0"-limit, buuuut the penalties below 0 are meant to be harsh enough that you do not want to -stay- below 0 for too long. The way you gain and lose health has been adjusted as well into a system that is easier to understand but requires more planning to do well. Each City now costs 6(!) Global Health and each Citizen now costs 1 Health. That means you can use local health from Buildings etc. to counter the Unhealth from Citizens (and don't gain global Health from them anymore), but to counter the 6 Health per City you require additional Global Health. Where do you get that? From Virtue Synergy bonuses and National Wonders, mostly (And some smaller Amounts from wonders/diplomacy etc.). Those are generally flat amounts of Health, bonuses like "Gain X Health from each building in every city" have been moved to the very, very end of the virtue tree and are available only there. That way you basically use culture to slowly increase your health-pool (and thereby expansion) potential during most of the game and only during the late-game health is then meant to become somewhat trivial. This also encourages steadily increasing ones Culture Production during most of the game (whereas in the unmodded game I more often than not get the virtues I wanted and then don't care that much about more culture anymore). City Specializations: I don't think there's any particular "need" for this, but I liked the concept, so I decided to implement City Specializations. An example for the basic building: Spoiler : There's a total of 3 Specializations: Food, Production, Energy. All of them scale throughout the game by unlocking relatively strong buildings that push the city more into the direction of the associated yield. Those buildings also have unique Building Quests that allow you to further specialize. An Example is: +25% Production towards Wonders vs. +1 Production from Grassland/Plains - probably not scaled very well, but just to get the idea of how strong those bonuses are meant to differ and promote additional strategies - the 25% Wonder Bonus should very much outweigh the +1 Production (Which sounds much but really isn't during later parts of the game), however, it only effects a specific type of construction. Update: I've refined the Concept a bit and made it so that Trade Route yields greatly change depending on which Specialization a City has. A Food-Specialized City will gain mostly Food, a Production-Specialized City will gain mostly Production (both from Internal Trade Routes) and an Energy-Focused City will gain Energy and Science from External Routes. That adds some depth to the trade route system - depending on how you route your trade routes you can greatly change what yields you generate instead of them being just passive bonuses. Affinities: Affinities are in a very early state, but the general idea I have for them is to focus them around improvements. All three Affinities unlock Affinity-Specific Improvements on Level 5 and their Affinity-Specific Scape-Improvement at level 10: Spoiler : That way all Affinities have a clear path to take in terms of Improvements and they play very differently at their very core. There will be some Level of Customization in these Improvements when you level up your Affinities further. Harmony 7 for example currently allows you to choose between adding +2 Culture or +2 Science to your Biowells. Those who've played my Awesome Affinities Mod know that I've been flirting with the Idea of "Affinity per Turn"-Functionality and yeh, it's back in a format that's a lot more polished: Spoiler : It's now granted by buildings and will make up about ~40% of your overall Affinity generation (with Quests making 20 and Technologies making the other 40%). Some of the later Wonders will grant Instant Amounts of Affinity as well. Other than that I am planning to add some other, gameplay-defining traits at other Affinity levels, but I've not gotten around that yet. Events: The Event-System includes Biomes: Spoiler : A random Biome is chosen when the game is started, and Biomes randomly increase the Output of some Resources by an amount that should have quite an impact on new cities, with the goal of hopefully creating some dynamic gameplay, not only while choosing where to expand, but also by which yields you generate. A Biome that for example naturally comes with extra Culture will make generating Culture from Buildings less urgent, which should help make every match play out differently. Two sample-events (cheezy writing inc!): Spoiler : One has a duration, one will last for the entire game. There's also a new UI that shows all active effects: Spoiler : Not the most beautiful thing ever created, but it does its job. And I guess last but not least... A true wonder overhaul: So, I've already done one of them with my Awesome Wonders mod but really... looking back at it... that mod isn't very good. Which I guess is understandable, it was created at a time where I didn't know much about lua yet, so my possibilities were limited. However, now I'm somewhat familiar with lua, so the possibilities are limitless! I haven't actually gotten around to coding the wonders yet, but I have a lot of ideas. Some of the effects I have in mind: - "When your City has more than 10 Population it can work 5 additional tiles." (To get into some detail about this one: Meant to be found on an early game wonder (this one is actually already coded and has been added to the Master Control Wonder); as an Investment that pays out later and encourages pushing towards 10 pop (which isn't that easy early on in this mod). It also varies in Strength based on your starting position. If you have a great amount of Food around and many good tiles to work you'd probably want to get this. If your capital starts between snow and desert... not so much. ) - "Gain +1 Energy for each 2% of the map that you have explored." - "Gain a Chance to spawn Artifacts on tiles that you own." - "Allows Miasma to spread onto adjacent tiles, gain +1 Culture for every % of the land that is covered in Miasma" - "Increase a Yield by X% in all cities. The Yield that is increased Changes randomly every X turn." ...and stuff like that. Basically effects that are very unique and either change how something works or reward doing "out of the box"-stuff. ___________________________________ NEW FEATURES Empire Manager: Spoiler : The Empire Manager unlocks during the early parts of the midgame and is a tool that lets you customize your Civilization in a way that you want to play, or on whatever you need right now. Changing your government form (I totally didn't steal those names from SMAC) can greatly re-shape your empire, Changing your Funding Options allows you to focus on the yields you need right now and Enactments... well... well, do stuff that I still need to figure out. Moonbase: Spoiler : The Moonbase is a huge project that unlocks during the Midgame and allows players to work on during most of the rest of the game. In contains Bonuses bigger than can be found anywhere else, but requires Players to invest a lot to generate the Resources required to run. More information about its current Functionality can be found here.