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Sneak Peek - The Total Overhaul I'm working on..

Discussion in 'CivBE - Mod Development' started by Ryika, Mar 27, 2016.

  1. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    The logic behind stronger Specialists for Harmony is mostly that they have huge cities with tons of citizens, so the amount of specialization in every single subject is probably very high. A bit like if you have a small town with only a single shop that shop is going to be a "Jack of all trades"-kind of shop, while in a huge city you get specialized shops for all sort of stuff. It also works great, gameplay-wise, because they have to stuff that additional Population somewhere anyway.

    Supremacy also has some Affiliation with Specialists, but in a different way - they actually get 2 Unique Specialists, which are currently named the 'Technocrat' and the 'Administocrat'. Those Specialists provide Yields much greater than normal Specialists and their Yields are increased by Supremacy-Specific National Wonders, however, they are very limited in numbers, playing into the fact that Supremacy's Cities are usually much smaller overall because they don't have a lot of Food-Bonuses. It's more of an "Every Citizen counts"-Type of Specialization in opposition to Harmony's "get tons of Citizens"-playstyle.

    But again, Harmony's Bonus towards Specialists is minor, the big Specialist Bonuses are Neutral and theoretically available for everyone.

    Overall I feel, at least for me personally, that Affinities do have a good impact on how the Civ plays, and it makes them play very different from each other. It just doesn't dominate and dictate every aspect of the game.

    As for Affinity Levels... I think it's fine overall. In my mod technologies currently make up around ~50% of the overall Affinity gain (a bit less if you focus on Affinity-Wonders that grant Flat Affinity Yields), Buildings make up the other 50% via Per-Turn Yield Mechanics. I think if you're looking for a mod that puts tons and tons of effort into focusing on Affinities alone then this mod is probably not it. My focus is mostly on gameplay and interesting choices, having your choices be dictated by your affinity doesn't exactly play into that. (Also, I'm really bad at writing, so focusing too much on narrative would go completely against what I'm good at. ^^)

    When it comes to communicating what is happening through the interface... most of the Buildings that I've added are a lot less "vague" than the original ones, I've started to add little text-snippets to the Building Descriptions that should help get players who don't want to read through the whole Civilopedia (so basically... people like me :p) the hints needed to understand how Society is changing. The (few) Building that exist will also be a lot more Lore-Focused. Of course the danger of that is that "my" vision of the Affinities may not match everyone else's vision of the Affinities... but hey.

    You can't just push through the tech tree without developing your empire a lot and Buildings that actually yield Affinity per Turn are a lot weaker than Buildings that don't (there are still strong Affinity-Specific Buildings, but those do not yield Affinity per Turn), so the "You only ever research Affinity Technologies"-problem is somewhat diminished, too.
     
  2. bouncymischa

    bouncymischa Synthetic Genie

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    Wow, this mod looks amazing! You've put an incredible amount of work into it -- I'm particularly amazed by the UI work you've done, as well as all the thought you've put into the new tech tree and affinities.

    I'd probably have to gush the most over those Affinity-related improvements, though, particulary the nanoscape. As someone who struggles to make nice-looking improvement models for Civ 5, that nanoscape looks so gorgeous... o__o
     
  3. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    Thanks. ^^ UI Work is pretty.. difficult for me, haven't really done much like that before, so I'm glad it's at least turning out acceptable. :p


    And finally unbanned, time for an update! :> I've updated the initial post of this thread to reflect the current state of the mod. A lot of new and updated information there, including an updated, not quite as linear version of the tech tree.

    Also, a few topics that I've not written about yet:

    Map:
    I think I'm pretty much happy with my redesign of the Map-Layout - it differs quite a bit from the Original while still being very similar in the way it feels. A few examples:

    Spoiler :




    It's probably obvious that the amount of Resources available on the maps have been increased rather drastically (Strategic Resources aside from Titanium aren't visible yet). The reason for that is that Resources now play a pretty significant role in many aspects of the game.

    One of the Diplomatic Trait Categories has been changed to buff them directly:

    Spoiler :



    I think this actually creates some really interesting choices. Do I choose the resources that I have many of? Do I choose the resources that have the yields I want? What city will benefit most from which bonuses? What Resources will be available when I expand? Which one is the best deal in the current situation? etc. etc. - Obviously direct number bonuses aren't the most interesting of bonuses, that's why these kind of Traits are restricted to the Agriculture-Category only, and the Category only has these kind of bonuses (There will be more of them than there currently are though).

    More importantly though most Non-Affinity Leaf Techs have a lot of Buildings and some National Wonders that directly Buff Resources or require specific Local Resources to be constructed, all of them quite a lot above the Powerlevel of general Buildings (to make up for the fact that they have a Requirement in Resources AND Technology that is a "dead end"), and some of them with unique Bonuses. Having more Resources on the map increases the number of buildings that will be available, so very often Leaf Technologies should be viable in one situation but not so much in other situations. This is once again meant to help make each Technology an actual choice instead of having what are pretty much pre-defined paths.

    And of course the City Specializations require a Local Resource. Before these changes it was very often the case that most cities couldn't really choose between specializations but instead had to go for the one that was available - now most Cities have at least 2 (out of 3) specializations available.

    Other changes to the map are:
    - Lower Resource Quantities (to make up for the fact that there's more sources on the map)
    - No Canyons (this is probably a temporary change)
    - Most Mountain-Ridges have been broken up into smaller pieces. Continued mountain lines that go all accross the continent are a rarity now
    - Less Hills
    - Less Forests outside of Tundra Eras
    - More Affinity Resources on Tundra/Snow/Desert
    - Alien Nests exclusively in Tundra/Snow/Desert and on Ocean (but not Coastal) Tiles
    - Miasma on Tundra/Snow only. -Maybe- I'll make it to Miasma can spread to the rest of the map from there. I've actually got old code lying around that does this, including functionality to erode Improvements that have Miasma on them if a certain amount of the map is covered in Miasma. Not sure how well the AI could handle that. :p
    - Graphical: Forests and Reefs are a lot higher density now. This makes especially reefs a lot more visible, which is somewhat important given that they now add +1 Energy to a tile. Improvements that can be built on Forests (which currently is only the biowell) have been scaled down a bit to make sure that some of the forest is still visible around them.

    ______________________________________________________

    I've also started re-working the combat system. Currently this mainly consists of the following tweaks:

    - All Combat Damage has been reduced by roughly 20% (that's damage done if units have equal amount of combat strength). I think this allows combat to feel more "skill-heavy". Just having a line of fortified rangers to snip away the attackers that come close each turn is not that easy anymore (unless you have an easy-to-defend bottleneck, which most likely you won't because of the changes made to the maps and the need to expand more), but at the same time the opponent won't just be able to one-shot your units when you enter their territory. Pulling back wounded units in time and choosing a good attack location will be very important on higher difficulties.

    - In light of that I'm considering replacing the current promotion system with a new one that somewhat resembles the one in Civ 5. Main reason AGAINST doing that is the fact that it would somewhat clash with the Unit Upgrade System. But maybe stacking these bonuses in advanced Elite Units isn't all that bad.

    - The Combat Strength Curve has been flattened significantly to make it so that high end promotions don't allow you to roll over your oponent just because they are 1-2 Affinity Levels behind. They're still significant bonuses but they don't dominate anymore. When all updates are done combat strengths currently look like this:

    Spoiler :


    Obviously numbers aren't final yet.

    - Cities will be relatively hard to take, attacking a big city will feel more like a small siege battle. Part of that is to make conquest-strategies take longer and somewhat match the length of the game, part of that is because I like the playstyle.

    Cities have heavy amount of HP, but combat strength on the level of normal units, so a standing army is required to defend them, or they will fall eventually. Attacking a city with no units to defend it will no longer mean that you lose a unit every turn to city fire.

    Each time a city is attacked there is a chance that it loses some of its population (the higher the population, the more likely it is) - so using a strong, big city as a defensive position can be a safe but costly choice. I'm considering to also add some "Damage-Effects" that can occur and would lower the yields of the city until they have been repaired (which would technically happen by constructing a dummy-building). Overall the trend is to force the use of units instead of just having a city do the job for you.

    Yields from pillaging Improvements have also been increased, and there are bonuses that can add Yields whenever you kill enemy units, so combat itself has some pretty nice bonuses even if you don't plan on taking Cities. People who want to fight will be rewarded for doing so (if they win :p), even if they don't take cities.

    - All Units are meant to have more of a specialized role. Haven't worked on that too much yet, aside from the Final Affinity Units. They now stand out as insanely strong monsters that are counter-balanced by VERY high production and resource requirements.

    Xeno Titan: Strongest Melee Unit in the game that also has high mobility in flat terrain and can pillage without using movement cost (which then heals the unit to pillage and kill some more). Used correctly it can rampage all over the place and level smaller Cities on its own. Only works on land though.

    Lev Destroyer: Heavy Unit with strong defenses (technically higher attack strength than the Xeno Titan, but can only attack with its medium damage ranged attack) that does some amount of AoE-Damage to enemies (to simulate its many smaller turrets shooting all over the place :p). Very good at the front of an army, soaks up tons of damage and helps to push into the enemy. Levitates, but is rather slow.

    ANGEL: The most devastating ranged unit in the game. Can one-shot many of the more basic units but has low Melee Defense. A glass canon basically. Thankfully one of the other Supremacy Units will be able to intercept air attacks, otherwise air units would be a pretty hard counter against these Units! Can still walk over canyons and in shallow water, but is relatively slow overall.

    ______________________________________________________

    Virtues!

    I've made tons of changes to the virtue system. For startes, they now really focus on the yields that are associated with them. Prosperity gives Food (and in the last third other yields from Population), Knowledge gives Culture and Science, Industry gives Production and Energy. Many of the indirect bonuses such as extra Modules for Scouts have been moved into other systems (including some national wonders), health bonuses that scale with your empire ("per city"/"per trade route" etc.) have been moved into the final synergy bonus of each tree.

    There are some flat, boring bonuses in there, but most bonuses are situational and will change with your strategy. Industry for example increases Production towards Orbital Units and then has Orbital Units grant Production for Cities in Range. There are no good Orbital Units that don't cost petroleum, so you will need to either have tons of Petroleum in your Territory or find other ways to add more if you want to use these virtues efficiently - that will not always be possible.

    There are also virtues that add Bonuses to Industrial Cities only, so those will be useful only if you focus heavily on that kind of city - which, depending on the resources available, may not be possible or a good idea in every situation, this again makes these virtues very situational.

    I've also changed the layout of most Virtue trees, adding more direct connections to lower parts to make it so many different virtues are easily accessible, but there are also many dead ends after particularely strong (or synergistic) virtues. Overall the goal is to allow players to go where they want to go without having to pick up too much mendatory stuff. Although... there is some variance. Prosperity is still designed relatively linear.
    ______________________________________________________

    Overall I'm pretty happy with the progress I'm making. There are two main problems that I see and haven't really got an idea how to fix them yet:

    - Interactivity between Sponsors: The Diplomacy system is just so bad at making players feel like there are other players physically on the map. It still feels like players are playing alone, with just some neighbors being potential aggressors, everybody else is just people who offer some bonuses here and there. Maybe an advanced Covert Ops Feature that allows players to manipulate Relations of other Nations would help with that a bit. I really want players to feel like they can play the game of thrones and make a real diplomatic impact on the world.

    - Games are way too long. Currently it takes me about 450 turns to get to the victory wonder, that's probably more than the average person is willing to invest into a single game. But at the same time each "phase" of the game actually feels well paced and meaningful, so just speeding things up would risk making them feel rushed and reduce the overall impact of every feature that gets introduced during the game. I'm really not sure how I want to solve that problem. I'm almost certain I'll remove the final "wait until the timer is 0"-phase of the game, at that phase most stuff doesn't really matter anymore anyway. But other than that... mhh. Or maybe 450 turns are just fine? After all, the whole concept of the mod is to make stuff more impactful and bigger. Maybe given that I'm not aiming to make the mod fun for people who just want to click through a quick game, and especially because that's already possible in the base game anyway, it is just fine to have a game take that long given that a lot of new features unlock on the way to make it feel less stale.

    Will need to think about that.
     

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  4. Seek

    Seek Chieftain Supporter

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    Wow, Ryika, this looks ... wait for it ... awesome!

    Very much looking forward to giving this a whirl.:thumbsup:
     
  5. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    :D Thanks!

    Little Update:

    I changed my mind about City Specializations. Instead of having 3 (Metropolis (Food), Industry (Production), Energy) I'm currently working on a system that uses 4: Metropolis (Basically the new one), Agriculture (Renamed and updated Version of the old Metropolis), Industry and Energy.

    That solves two issues:
    - It fixes the Theming Problem of having Cities with tons of Agriculture grow into huge powerhouses. In Reality, the biggest cities do of course not do much Agriculture at all.
    - It allows me to create some Production Chains that I wanted to fit in before but didn't really manage to.

    The new System now works like this:
    - Energy-focused Cities still produce high amounts of Energy that help sustain other Cities more easily and it allows players to invest more into global Bonuses via the Empire Manager
    - Production-focused cities still produce tons of Production to allow the Construction of Wonders and World Wonders, but they generate Resources that are required for Buildings that can only be constructed in Metropolises.
    - Food-Focused Cities provide Food, obviously. There will be Building Quest Options that allow players to decide whether they want to spread their Food among all of their cities or whether they want to push their Metropolises, which allows you to form your Empire depending on whether you prefer to go Tall or Wide (both requiring constant Expansion, but Tall being slower at that). They themselves will not grow much larger than Industrial/Energy-Focused cities. Food-Focused Cities also generate Resources required for Buildings that can only be constructed in Metropolises.
    - Metropolises are now the central cities of your empire. The Capital will automatically start as a Metropolis, but constructing more Metropolises will require Resources that are mostly generated in Food- and Production focused Cities (with some small, less efficient capacity in other cities), so the amount of Metropolises you can maintain will be limited. Metropolises have unique Infrastructure that pushes their overall output into very high numbers, they grow the largest, they have Production Capacities higher than other Cities (but not as high as Industrial Cities), and they're the main Producers of Culture and Science. Metropolises are also rather independent from the Resources that are around.

    Obviously as always: This is still subject to change, but the testing that I've done makes me very confident that I like this system a lot, as it adds more depth, more purpose and opens up even more design space in the process.
     
  6. Rifleman5.56

    Rifleman5.56 Chieftain

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    Hey, any updates on this mod? I've been really excited for it since you said it was in development, and I'd love to know how it's coming along.
     
  7. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    I currently have only very little time to actually work on stuff, so progress is going very, very slowly, and the bit of time I have I'm currently spending on making late-game play out somewhat reasonably so that I can play around with new ideas, thus no real updates. (And for a while I had to take some time off and mod something much different to overcome "artist block") I'm still working on it, and I'm still determined to finish the mod, but because of Real Life (and that other game that people force me to play :p) it will take a lot longer than I had originally planned. Actual Release will probably be a while after Civ VI is out if things irl don't change.

    But I've some smaller updates, nothing too drastic or interesting, mostly small-scale stuff:
    - I've decided to steal the Worker System from Civ VI and played around with it a lot. So most Early Improvements are now built instantly, but take up charges, most late-game Improvements still have a short construction time - workers only have X Charges before being disbanded.

    Would be too much micromanagement in the original game, but given that slower population growth and a more important role of specialists have lowered the number of tiles you actually "need" to work quite a bit I find that it works rather well in my mod.

    - I've changed my mind about city specializations and gone back to a 3-specializations system. Metropolises now simply unlock "Indoor Food Industry"-ish buildings (very fitting, given that that's where we seem to be heading anyway) with Grower-Specialists, which makes them work out thematically and allows them to work mostly advanced Improvements that will provide additional yields because Metropolises now get %-Modifiers on "advanced" yields (Science, Culture, Diplomatic Capital). Overall that leads to Metropolises actually looking like well, Metropolises, instead of the giant farmland-cities they were before.

    The Roles of Energy- and Production-Cities remain unchanged.

    Strategic Resources have been somewhat repurposed and serve a more specialized role:

    - Titanium: National Wonders / Military Boosts
    - Petroleum: Required for all Orbital Units (except some low-utility ones such as the Xeno Syren)
    - Geothermal: Now the requirement for all non-early game wonders

    If you don't have a resource you're locked out of investing in these fields early on, later on you have ways to generate limited amounts of those resources yourself, but you'll never run at full efficiency.

    The reasoning behind that is simple: There's Bonuses for Wonders/Orbital Units in other Systems such as the Virtues, so having or not having those Resources will change the ideal choices and hopefully help make sessions play different from one another, as well as reward players who identify unique opportunities.

    Which actually leads directly into my "design philosophy" for Sponsors:
    - Certain Sponsors will gain guaranteed basic Supplies of Resources: Geothermal for Pan Asia, Petroleum for Russia, Titanium for Brasilia.
    - Germany, being a progressive sponsor, unlocks all Government forms (and possibly some other features) as soon as the Empire Manager is unlocked (while other Sponsors need to research advanced Technologies first)
    - Some other Bonuses I've taken directly from my Awesome Sponsors Mod, as I liked them a lot. Chungsu meets all leaders automatically as soon as they land (allowing him to use the 3 spies that all Civs start with + his extra spies asap), ARC automatically reveals the City Plots of all Civilizations on the map, allowing them to steal stuff literally everywhere
    - Polystralia gets a penalty to internal Trade Routes, but a bonus to External Trade Routes
    etc.

    Overall, make sponsors play differently instead of just buffing them in one area.

    And well, that's it. :) Conclusion: Lots and lots of work ahead. Things will get more interesting once I have the basics in place and can actually continue working on and refinding the Empire Manager/Moon Station. :D
     
  8. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    I should probably stop spending the little time I have with stuff like this, but I think the tech tree looks pretty good now (Although I just realized that the Icons on the Branch Techs are not properly centered, oh well!). :D

    Spoiler :


    That aside, I think I've finally found a solution for Aquatic Cities that I'm happy with, so here is an update to Aquatic Gameplay:

    - Aquatic Cities will not, as I had originally planned, be completely prevented from moving onto Ocean Tiles during the game, instead that ability will be made available during the Midgame as Doviello and DefiantMars had suggested.
    - Settling on Coastal Terrain will still be possible immediately, and Sponsors that used to land on Water will still be able to, however, I have made some changes to the map scripts to change the way the game generates Ccoasts and Oceans:

    Spoiler :


    As can be seen in the screenshots, Coasts are now only generated on Tiles that directly border land Tiles. Looks a bit less organic, but it works very well, gameplay-wise. Around smaller isles there's a lot of space for Aquatic Cities, but when settling on a Continent you'll probably be better off actually settling on Land. So that way the problem of having "infinite space" available at the beginning of the game is solved. Early on you can't just settle in the middle of the ocean, you have to "hug" some land. But as the game goes on the Ocean opens up for more Aquatic Cities.

    - The Empire Manager has a new Category in the Government-Tab, called 'Environment', where you choose one of 3 Bonuses (that I've not created yet) - 'Terrestrial'*, 'Balanced', Aquatic' (*I'm sure that word doesn't make sense in this context?). Balanced gives some smaller Bonuses to Aquatic and Land Cities, Terrestrial gives a Big Bonus to Land Cities, Aquatic gives a Bonus to Aquatic Cities, obviously.

    You will get a big bonus if you manage to focus (most of) your empire around one of the two domains, which is meant to counter-balance the versatility of just being able to settle both domains. I find that in the unmodded game you often find yourself in the situation where you land on a continent, with another AI on the other side, and the ideal solution is to expand onto the ocean, to avoid conflict. Now there's more incentive to start fighting for the continent.

    - The Thermohaline Rudder now also reduces Energy Prices for Tiles by a significant amount, so buying tiles will be a great alternative to moving your city around like a madman to gather up extra tiles.

    The changes to aquatic combat still work the way I had planned:

    (- All Cities now have 2 Invisibility Detection Range by default)
     

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  9. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    Good News Everyone!

    In what could reasonably be described as an act of deliberate self-harm I went back and fixed the damn event system. Those were 4 very frustrating days, but using the SaveData-System everything seems to work fine now, even after loading a game!

    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. :D

    So yeah, yay for events!


    As a side note: I've decided to stop making updates for minor things as I did the last few posts. Writing about gameplay that's about to change a dozen more times anyway isn't that interesting, especially given that people who can't actually play the mod yet probably don't even know what to make of it.

    So given that I'm pretty happy with the amount of features I have now and need to actually fill in all the blanks and make the systems work in a way that I fun you can probably expect a lack up updates in the foreseeable future. That doesn't mean I stopped working on the mod, quite the opposite, I've gone back to doing quite a bit of work in the last two weeks and expect to have a lot of extra time in august.
     

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  10. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    Well, I lied in the last post and realized that a few systems still need some serious rework before I cans tart filling the blanks. One of them being...


    DIPLOMACY

    I have seriously mixed feelings about diplomacy in Rising Tide. On the one hand I really like the Diplomatic Traits, the idea of getting regular feedback about how you're doing diplomatically, who likes you and who doesn't. On the other hand I think the system is way to "gamey", and does not really feel like you're being judged diplomatically, but rather by how good you're playing the game overall. A good player with a strong empire will almost always be loved by everybody that he doesn't actively fight wars against, and a weak, small empire will almost always be hated by everybody.

    So with all that in mind, my Overhaul now contains a Diplomatic Overhaul that - hopefully - fixes a lot of these issues, while also making Diplomacy feel like something that you have control over.

    A Quick Overview:
    Most of the "basic" reactions, such as "You settled to close to us!", or "We follow different Affinities!" are still in the game, but have been rebalanced. Diplomatic Traits also still exist like before (although the Traits have been overhauled as well), all REACTIONS caused by these Diplomatic Traits on the other hand have been REMOVED.

    To replace them, all Leaders now have positions on 5 diplomatically or ideologically divisive topics:


    (*UI is work in progress)

    As can be seen in the Screenshot, all of these positions grant some yields that will be especially important early on - more about that below. Diplomatically players judge each other based on how much they align on these topics. Every turn there is a chance that an AI triggers a Diplomatic Reaction, compares their stance to yours, and if they are the same, then you get a Diplomacy Boost - if not, then you get a Penalty. Some restrictions are still in place - Reactions only start after a specific Turn (20 currently), and a specific reaction can only fire every X turns (also 20 currently).

    While AIs have static positions, the human player unlocks the ability to change their positions during the early parts of the game (after having built the 'Great Embassy'-National Wonder), giving them the tools to align with whoever they think is most worthy of being an ally - or roleplaying the empire that they want.

    So, what does the new System achieve that the old system didn't?

    - It makes the Early Game play out differently based on your Sponsor
    This is not really a direct effect of the Diplomacy System, but it just fit perfectly and actually solved an issue that I had been thinking about for a while: Because all Sponsors start with different Traits and Traits can't be changed at the very beginning, the Advanced Yields (Culture/Science/Diplo Capital) that all Players start with now differ greatly. This means that the options that are open to the player differ as well - an Empire that starts with a big bonus in Science is able to beeline a Wonder or an Unlockable that others couldn't (as easily), and an Empire that starts with a big bonus on Culture may be able to get a synergy bonus, or reach a particularly useful Policy that others couldn't reach as early. At the same time Yields ramp up enough during the game that these bonuses become meaningless over time, allowing players to freely swap around and use the system purely diplomatically.

    - It allows you to actively align yourself with specific leaders
    ...and without having to fulfill arbitrary demands, too. Players gain the Ability to change their Traits fairly early in the game, and at that point they can change their Positions around as they wish, with the only limitation being that only one Position can be changed every few turns.

    - It decouples Diplomacy from "how well you're doing"
    At least for the most part. The AI will of course still see you as an easy target for... military intervention if you're weak, small and/or within proximity, but other than that it judges you by how well you align politically. This prevents both, an empire that is doing well from becoming everybody's darling, as well as an empire that is doing badly from becoming the punching ball of the world. Diplomacy is an active decision again.

    - It allows me to create more thematic Reactions
    Because Players always start with traits that fit their character, they will always contact you with matters that actually concern them. Kavitha will never tell you that you need to level your troops for <pseudo-reason because she has rolled a military trait>. Instead she can now tell you that your people aren't as spiritual as she'd like them to be (If you're a rational Civ), and that as a leader you should actually teach them to live a decent life, not leave them without meaning (If you're a Libertarian Civ).

    - It rewards experience and knowledge
    All AIs always start with exactly the same traits, so experienced Players will be able to figure out which Civs are most likely to get into conflict with one-another, who is the most dangerous guy around and who can be allied with. This makes sense, thematically, because all Sponsors already share a history and, with some exceptions - Chungsu - know about their intentions. At the same time however the system still contains enough randomness to not allow perfect predictions. Reactions are determined semi-randomly, so two AIs that share 2 Traits, but have 3 different opinions may get into a war in one game, and become best buddies in the next game. Unless they're very close to being direct opposites or near copies of each other there is always a chance for some surprises.

    What this system does NOT achieve:
    ...one thing is clear: This system still runs very passively overall. No Trade with AIs. No Denunciations. etc.
    While this is partly born out of the limitations of modding I think it's... well, actually fine overall.

    With that said though... Covert Operations are still something that I have not (really) touched yet. I think I will add stuff that allows players to manipulate the other leaders - like causing diplomatic division, or allowing them to change the diplomatic positions of other players. :)

    So... overall: Not the most drastic changes, but I think this new system will seriously improve how the game feels. I personally already love it (narcissism inc), and I haven't even filled in all the Placeholder-Texts yet.
     

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  11. thecrazyscot

    thecrazyscot Spiffy

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    The diplomatic changes are intriguing, but I think it would become rote after a while because there is no randomness in the ai positions. The Civ VI agenda system seems to solve the predictability problem rather nicely with a known and unknown agenda (or position, if you will). Why not have a few constants and a few randoms?

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using Tapatalk
     
  12. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    Well, those stances don't inform gameplay-decisions, so it's a bit different from the system compared to Civilization 6. One of the main Goals is to give more character to the Leaders and actually make them act in a way that is consistent with their attitude, and make all of their reactions follow a "general theme". Which I think is important, as the Leaders are still not "historical figures".

    With that said though, I have been considering a "weight"-system that rolls differently each game. That weight system would determine how important each of the categories is to each leader, and that would then determine how likely each of the categories is to be chosen whenever a diplomatic reaction is triggered. So in one game a leader could be very interested in your stance about Rationality/Spirituality, and in another game they may be more interested in whether you're Militaristic or Peaceful.

    But your idea actually sounds like an interesting alternative. A few "wildcards" where one stance can be interpreted either way would probably fit into every leader. I'll take it into consideration.

    But I'll have to run a few test-runs to see how predictable Leaders currently are first to see if that's even required, as it may make leaders become too focused around a single topic if not done right. Some problems that came up within the system have unfortunately delayed me actually play-testing the system in more than a 2-player scenario, but it seems stuff is fixed now, so I'll be able to start playtesting the system a bit more.
     
  13. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    VIRTUES

    The Virtues themselves are not undergoing any drastic functionality-changes, but still have some significant differences to the current system:

    Spoiler :


    Yes, that's 5 Virtue Categories, yes, that's an additional Virtue in every box. Such innovation! Each category has a more focused approach:

    VERSATILITY - Military, Strategic Resources, Espionage
    DEVELOPMENT - Growth, Expansion(, Health)
    KNOWLEDGE - Science, Wonders, Artifacts
    INDUSTRY - Production, Energy
    SOCIETY - Culture, Diplomacy, Affinity

    There are some synergies between the trees. The Versatility Tree has a Virtue that reduces the Resource Costs of Orbital Units by 1, the Knowledge Tree has a Virtue that allows them to overlap by 1 Tile, and one that makes them grant small amounts of science, and the Industry Tree makes Orbital Units cheaper (in Production) and makes them grant a production bonus to Cities they're covering.

    Many of the bonuses aren't quite implemented yet, but there -will- be some filler Policies that only grant bonus-yields, but at the end of each "line" there are unique bonuses that help defining how you play. A lot of the bonus-yields will, as with many systems in the mod, be stronger or weaker depending on the terrain you're in.

    The more interesting part is how progression works in the new system. As can be seen in the image above, the different "tiers" are actually not connected to each other, and the player (me :p) has been able to get Virtues from Tier 2 of for example the Society Tree without getting any Tier 1 virtues.

    That's because there's a new kind of vertical progression in the tree. In order to unlock Level II squares a player must first get the second Synergy Bonus for Level I. Once he has that, all virtues in the upper row of Level II can be adopted.

    This mainly allows for two things: Actually add strong virtues at the end of the tree - because to get there, a player must now get 10 + 10 = 20 virtues (numbers are obviously not balanced yet), that means they cannot be beelined towards in the early part of the game. At the same time players can now better mix trees as they wish and take whatever they want from either of them. Obviously, if players stick to one tree they'll still get better bonuses from Synergy Bonuses, but being able to pick "the best from every tree" should be a good alternative. This is actually the main reason I added a fifth tree - some of the vertical freedom is gone, but it has been made up for by additional horizontal freedom. And actual progression.

    Easy.
     
  14. Natura

    Natura Chieftain

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    Really looking forward to this coming out. Loved your work in the past Ryika and this looks like something that could truly overhaul BE.

    Not to burden you with more work but are you planning on spicing up the victory quests as well? They've always felt so lackluster for an end-game goal.
     
  15. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    I'm planning to overhaul Contact and tie it to the moonbase, but other than that I'm currently not planning many changes to the Victory Quests. I think I WILL remove the settling of outposts for the purity victory and the final waiting phases for all other victories (in favor of a longer pre-victory game, where stuff actually matters), but that's about all the plans I have.

    Well, and I may turn Domination into a "Own X% of the map"-Victory, haven't decided about that yet.

    The main reason is that the game allows you to focus on different things (Specialists/Spies/Trade Routes etc.), but not all at the same time and I don't really see a good way to implement more interesting Victories without forcing the player into a specific role. The way I'm thinking about it currently is that the victories are mainly the end goals of the journey, and it's the journey itself that is meant to be the interesting part.

    With that said though, in terms of storytelling I'm planning to add short quests that are tied to endgame-affinity-technologies. Those will hint at the stuff that happens as humanity moves towards the victory and will pull some of the information that can be found in the Civilopedia into the gameplay itself to hopefully immerse the players better into the endgame, because I always felt like early on there's a lot of flavor, then I'm just gathering up Affinity and at some point the victory wonder unlocks, without really having much lead-up to that.

    Those quests will be independent from the actual victory-quest though.

    /edit: Mhh, image in the post above didn't work (anymore?). Fixed it.
     
  16. albie_123

    albie_123 Modding In Secret

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    This is exactly what Beyond Earth's lore needed, and I'm glad to see you're addressing it along with gameplay.

    Also, the new virtue trees look so fantastic. Really looking forward to playing with this.
     
  17. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    Thanks! And I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who thought of that as a problem. ;)

    Also, forgot to mention: If nothing unexpected happens in real life I should be at a stage where I'll be looking for some beta-testers in early September and will - assuming no big problems or design flaws are being reported that require me to rework large chunks of the mod - release it towards the end of the same month. I really hope my planning works out like that, as it fits perfectly right before the release of Civ VI in late October.
     
  18. Natura

    Natura Chieftain

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    Absolutely. I'd always expected more late-game quests that really reflected the changing nature of your society, and the renewal of contact with Earth. I mean, you'd think getting a signal back through to Earth would be a rather major event, but instead its barely even a pop-up.

    One suggestion if I could possibly make for making the journey better (and this is purely from a fluff perspective) is that the game shouldn't begin with the player knowing the end-goals for each victory quest. I've always found it utterly bizarre that your tiny, shivering colony lands on a distant, alien world, and straight away your colonists realize that the planet is a gigantic, sentient being, and they also instinctively know that they must research particular, completely unknown sciences in order to build gigantic inter-stellar phase-gates. It's the equivalent of starting up a game of CiV and a pop-up announcing that your tiny band of farmers should focus their research on Rocketry so they can travel to Alpha Centauri.

    I recognize that from a gameplay perspective this is largely meaningless, but as SMAC so adeptly demonstrates, storytelling can be a fantastically powerful mechanism. Planet in SMAC isn't revealed straight-away to be sentient; rather it is a slow process of dawning consciousness that tells a story, and a gripping one at that.

    I'd love to see something similar in BE, where the victory quests start instead with your tiny, isolated colony facing the challenge of survival on a distant, alien world. Your decisions for how your colony will deal with these challenges and what they prioritize will shape which path you take. Existing quests do this to a certain extent, but they feel divorced from the victory quests, which feel like they start way too far along. The various paths you take in the victory quests should be a slow process of dawning understanding.
     
  19. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    Well, my solution is more to make the Victory Quest itself as irrelevant as possible and outsourcing everything surrounding the way to Victory into little Affinity Quests.

    I'm actually debating whether it's a good idea to remove the Flavor-Texts from the Affinity Victory Quests (aside from the "You won!"-text of course) complete, remove all steps along the way and just make them into "build the Victory Wonder!"-Quests. I would then simply make the Progress Bars reflect the Player's current Affinity Levels and what remains would then just be a victory progress meter, while the whole rest takes place in the Quest Log.
     
  20. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    I guess I've made the final decision about how I'll handle Victory Quests: Instead of completely removing steps in-between from the narrative there will be a loose set of events along the way, with each step unlocking at certain Affinity Thresholds:

    (large image below the spoiler)
    Spoiler :


    The texts aren't final, but they should give an idea on how it works out. The story unfolds as the game goes by, and how the issue will be solved in the end is no longer "given away" at the beginning, but instead manifests along the way. So the victory Quests now serve two main purposes: Summarize the general events, and give an overview of the Progress of all players. But there isn't really any "interactivity" with the Quests anymore.

    Interactivity comes, as mentioned before, from the short quests that you'll get along the way as you move through the tech tree - they're affinity-flavored and reward Affinity when completed. The way I want it to play out is that during the late game Quests supply around 33% of your overall Affinity. So while the victory quests lose their flavor in terms of different goals, the overall questing experience will be a lot more Affinity-centered later on.

    /edit: Eh, 33%, not 3%. 8)
     

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