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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. Natura

    Natura Chieftain

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    I really like that option there Ryika! Just as an idea, does it make sense to blend the Moonbase into the victory quests too? Basically progenitor artifacts being needed to develop such incredibly advanced technology.
     
  2. Ryika

    Ryika likes cookies and milk.

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    There will probably be some Moonbase-related Affinity Quests, other than that Contact Victory will be very closely tied to the Moonbase.

    /edit: Also, once again I could not keep myself from spending way too much time on small details. :D
    Spoiler :



    /edit2: Took it even further:
    Spoiler :



    A "procedurally generated" name for every year! :eek: That's the future of 4x I say.
     

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  3. Ryika

    Ryika likes cookies and milk.

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    Alright, so... I'm currently wrapping up all the gameplay features etc., so I'll soon - around September 1-3 or so - be looking for a few gameplay testers. If you're interested, send me a PN or leave a comment.

    Fair warning though:
    A lot of the texts are not yet implemented (and in many cases not even written), the UI-Work is not finished, there are currently only a few example-events/biomes in the game, balance is still all over the place and the AI(-Flavors) has(have) not yet been fully updated to work properly with all the new stuff (or at least make it appear as if it did :p). So don't expect a cohesive experience here, this is purely for me to gather some opinions on whether the decisions I made are fun for other people, whether it feels too slow, whether there are some big problems I've overlooked, etc.

    If you just want to play "a semi-finished product" better wait until it's released, hopefully a few weeks before Civ VI comes out (which should work out if people don't tell me that the mod sucks - yes, I'm making that claim even though I just told you that the mod is still not in a very finished state. :p).

    Also, a final update before hopefully getting some feedback: After not finding a place to fit them in for a while now I've decided to ditch the idea of Enactments. There was just waaaay too much overlap with Virtues and Political Traits/Agreements, they ended up feeling like a third type of the same thing.

    This makes the empire manager feel a bit more empty than I had intended, and I have an idea to fill that void and at the same time give players a bit of an easier access to resources while also making stations a bit more relevant, but I'll not be able to implement it in time before playtesting begins, so I'll do an update on that when it's done.
     
  4. Ryika

    Ryika likes cookies and milk.

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    Not sure whether I've done a good job at warning people, or whether there's just nobody left following this thread, but... I could still use a few additional testers. :D So far I've got 2 (and none are from Civfanatics).

    Not too much of a problem if nobody's interested (I'll just continue doing what I have been doing so far), but it would be useful to have a few neutral opinions to find out whether stuff is as intuitive as I want it to be, and whether there are gameplay-issues that I'm not seeing myself.

    Also:
    Spoiler :

    (Yeah, I felt punny when I named that thing)


    That was easier and faster to implement than I had expected! I guess I'm getting better with UI- and Lua-work. A Marketplace for Resources, with Prices that vary over time and slowly but surely climb due to Inflation (or whenever you buy resources) to simulate a pseudo-economy. Very important as you'll hardly ever come even close to having the Resources to "build everything you want".

    Commonwealth Credit is a new Resource that is gained when finishing Station Trade Routes, selling Resources to the Commonwealth, finishing some Quests and Wonders or getting a specific Social Policy.
     

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  5. Starrynite120

    Starrynite120 Chieftain

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    Not sure exactly how much time I can give, but I can give this a test run. I've been following what you're doing and I'm curious to see everything :)
     
  6. Ryika

    Ryika likes cookies and milk.

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    Awesome. I sent you a PN. :)
     
  7. Ryika

    Ryika likes cookies and milk.

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    Kind of random, but... here, have a few screenshots of my Lategame-Harmony Empire:

    Spoiler :



    (Yes, I'm aware of that soldier clipping into the mountain)


    (Not sure what's going on with the Resources)


    Those cities look SO imposing when you scale them up a bit. Makes them bleed into other tiles which causes some clipping, but oohhhh well. Can't have it all.
     

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  8. bouncymischa

    bouncymischa Synthetic Genie

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    Those Xenoscapes definitely add a unique character to the landscape. I'm still keen to see how the Nanoscapes look en masse, though! :D
     
  9. Ryika

    Ryika likes cookies and milk.

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    Well, I'd say they share the faith of the Terrascapes, that is... looking really boring when built as carpets with nothing to break up the monotony. :D That should rarely happen though, because Resources still provide higher yields than Scapes when improved with the proper Improvement.

    And of course they can't be built on water.
     
  10. PvtHudson

    PvtHudson Chieftain

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    OMG, I had stumbled on this thread only incidentally! Why isn't the work announced neither in the Discussions, nor on Steam forum? If the thing will ever be finished, it become the proverbial BE's Second Expansion! By the way, not so bad name for this (still nameless?) mod/TC, sufficiently scornful of Firaxis. Let me in for playtesting! Hope it is compatible with my beloved Siege Range Plus.
     
  11. bouncymischa

    bouncymischa Synthetic Genie

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    Not sure if BE has the same "Can't be built adjacent" tag that BNW does -- not to use on the 'scapes, but it is a way to make some other improvements more powerful but prevent spamming. (I've used it on a few Future Worlds improvements, that has helped result in less monotonous landscapes. :p)

    Still, a monotonous landscape of Nanoscapes still sounds interesting to see. Particularly if it'd be broken up by Arrays and Academies...
     
  12. Ryika

    Ryika likes cookies and milk.

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    Yeah, I played around with the "Notwoadjacent"-tag a while back but decided that I didn't really like the outcome - Mainly because of the way City Specializations work, having a strong improvement just means that you want it everywhere instead of splitting improvements based on city type.

    Instead, all three Affinities have their own system of two somewhat equal improvements:

    Purity has the Dome that grants Food and Culture, and the Manufactory that grants Production and Energy.

    Harmony has the Biowell that provides lots of food (and is maintenance free), and the Academy that grants Science/Culture.

    Supremacy has the Node that provides and Energy and the Array that provides Science and Energy. (in line with the general "We don't specialize in anything other than Energy!"-theme Supremacy) Both Improvements have their own terrain requirements.

    The way the overall progression works now is that you start with basic Improvements (Resource-Improvements are very strong, Farms/Generators are smaller bonuses that you don't necessarily have to built), then during the early midgame unlock the Affinity-Specific Improvements, and then at the start of the late-game start replacing those with the Scape of that Affinity (Resource-Improvements scale during the game, meaning that they stay relevant all the time).

    So there is a time when Biowells/Academies mix with Xenoscapes to create a diverse landscape, but the end goal is certainly to terraform the planet into your ideal and create a scape-scape only interrupted by Tiles with Resources and Mountains.
     
  13. MasterEcabob

    MasterEcabob Chieftain

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    Wow Ryika, that is some serious progress. You, machievelli, and lilgamefreak have really done a number making this game playable again. If you are still looking for an extra beta tester, I'd be happy to give it a go and send you some feedback!
     
  14. Ryika

    Ryika likes cookies and milk.

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    Ah right, forgot to mention in my last post that testers are not needed anymore; gameplay is mostly set in stone and I'm now wrapping things up, implementing the quests that are still missing, and filling in all the placeholder-texts... the mod will be released in around two weeks.
     
  15. Rhavanna

    Rhavanna Chieftain

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    This looks fantastic!

    Very much looking forward to the release!
     
  16. Rhavanna

    Rhavanna Chieftain

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    Hey Ryika,

    I know you're just about to release and probably already have everything set in stone. But I've got some free time and wanted to chime in with some thoughts on the various affinities and progression:


    One of the biggest draws of Beyond Earth in my mind is that all of the factions start out so similarly, and grow apart as their affinity choices begin to alter their playstyle. There’s so much potential to play around with here that the base game really dropped the ball on. I’m gonna spit out my own ideas for a bit. Please don’t feel like I’m pooping on the awesome work I'm sure you've spent a lot of time on! These are just my opinions since I've never gotten into modding Civ games.


    OK so let’s look at the flavor of the 3 main branches. Harmony is all about going native, meshing with the world, and not screwing with it. Purity is all about carving out a new home for humanity, planet and locals be damned. Supremacy is achieving technological ascension or whatnot. So how can we make these distinct fluff-wise, and how can we incorporate their unique buildings and tile improvements into this new structure?


    So Harmony wants to adapt to fit in with the new world. Let’s have them focus on food, healthiness, and growing tall cities. Let’s give them more access to buildings that give these things, (food and health,) and perhaps less so on the other resources. Perhaps affinity specific buffs that grant bonuses to tile improvements, reduce healthiness penalties for city pop, but increase it for number of cities? Provide some incentive to mesh with the world you’re on, and not disrupt it? I think a big missed opportunity here for Harmony is a way to integrate forests back into their kit lategame. They’re all about merging with the local flora, yeah? So make the ability to plant forests a Harmony thing (you're kinda doing this already with xenoscapes, so pretty spot on!). Have high levels of harmony affinity start to give bonuses to forests, or even give them an improvement that requires forests/jungle. (A xeno-lumbermill?) So early game forests are a hassle, as humans are trying to live on this alien world. You chop ‘em all down for production or to make space for improvements. Purity factions even go so far as to start re-paving the world with trees from Earth! Why not give Harmony the ability to plant forests which become useful tiles for them? Take living-with-local-nature to a new level! I don’t know if such a thing is possible, but is there a way to have miasma give more and more benefits as you level up Harmony? Give you an incentive to re-spread all that miasma to boost your tiles, and give your enemies more reason to clear it out.


    Alright, moving on to Purity: They’re gonna show up, bulldoze the local trees, and set up nice Earth-like stuff. I would love for basic mines, farms, and plantations to have a few Purity-specific buildings or potential affinity perks. We’re making this new world like Earth, after all! Let’s say their favorite builds are production and science. Showing up with bulldozers and mechs, and harvesting all the local resources while shooting at blue space-hippies. As for their specific improvements, the Terrascape and Dome and great in theory. But let’s make them a bit more exciting. I’d recommend the Terrascape being a primarily culture-generating tile, (as setting up a park ala old Earth isn’t really great for industry or agriculture, but fantastic for remembering the homeworld.) As for domes, I think they should be dedicated to food, maybe bonus city stats, and perhaps maybe even a bit of production? It’s going to be a mini-city essentially. Have it costly, but effectual. I like the idea of buildings giving bonuses based on population. Put all those people to work!


    Finally, Supremacy. I think from a gameplay perspective, they should be based on science, energy, and specialists. Especially so late game. So let’s quickly look at their special tile improvements. The array is pretty blah. Orbital coverage is easy enough to get elsewhere, let's make it a bit more exciting. The node is such an iconic Supremacy structure, and in my opinion it should be spammed. These are essentially massive server banks. Give them some flavor. A society that’s slowly transferring their consciousness to computers is going to want a lot of servers. Moving on, I’d love to see Supremacy be rewarded for going wide, and not necessarily needing to work a whole ton of tiles. Make them specialist-oriented, with plentiful bonuses to them lategame. I mean, a pop not working a tile and instead living as a specialist… maybe they’re just brains in jars? Or personalities already put into machines?




    Next: unit balance. Right now the combat jump between various units doesn't make much sense! Hitting a certain affinity threshold can instantly double the strength of your army, which is kind of crazy. Then there’s also the issue that the affinity-specific units are unlocked through kind of out-of-the-way techs, and not necessarily anything special. Even attempting to rush CNDRs or Battlesuits, you’re likely to hit the affinity req for lvl3 soldiers first, giving you access to a cheaper, resourceless unit with more upgrade options.


    I think the steps to be taken here should focus on two areas: Rebalancing affinity-unlocks, and making the various units and especially affinity-specific units more unique and different from each other.


    The first step is tackling unit strengths. I think the jumps in combat strength become a bit too harsh with the later unlocks. Soldiers jump from 10 to 14 to 24 to 48! And this is on top of the upgrades they get to pick! If adding more levels of soldier is impossible, I recommend toning down the jumps in strength! Something like 10 to 14 to 20 to 34 would be more reasonable. Keep ‘em as nice cheap footsoldiers.


    Next up, the tank line. Now what really sets them apart from Soldiers mechanically? They’re both melee units. And since there aren’t dedicated anti-cavalty units like in other civ games, (is this something you can implement?) the aspect that makes them unique is their speed. Now they’re not really that much faster than soldiers, and their numbers and production cost don’t add up either. At lvl1 affinity, you unlock Marines which are stronger than Combat Rovers and not much more expensive. It’s not until affinity3 that you unlock Armors, which gain a very modest amount of strength for a MASSIVE jump in production cost. And then at affinity6, tier3 soldiers obsolete them again. Tanks should either be strong and more powerful, or stick with speed as their schtick. It wouldn’t hurt to make them faster or a bit stronger to make up for their nutty cost and inability to defend or take advantage of terrain.


    The ranger line suffers from the same issue as other units. The jump between unit strengths is massive later on. I think the game could be improved if the difference between levels of units were flattened out a bit. Gunners can go from being almost worthless to hilariously powerful when they hit lvl3, and again when they hit lvl4. The jumps are wild here.


    The missile rover line suffers from similar issues. It’s a siege unit, but it doesn’t really do that job any better than rangers. Perhaps they need a longer range, or to be a bit cheaper, or faster? As is, they don’t really do their job better than spamming rangers would.


    These same issues are mirrored with sea units. The jumps are simply too massive, and generic upgrades of basic units quickly overshadow their affinity-specific unique units.


    OK, so now let’s try to differentiate the affinities a bit more. Let’s give ‘em all a theme. Harmony is all about living with the new world, so let’s make them a guerilla-style army. Upgrades which ignore terrain penalties, allow ranged units to move after shooting, and get bonuses in miasma and forests. Maybe slightly less overall strength, but increased speed, utility, and the ability to fight well in any terrain. A real hit-and-run faction, unwilling to fight on an open battlefield.


    Next, Purity. Straight up old-fashioned Terran style. Big bulky powersuits, tanks, etc. Make them a bit tougher, not as quick as the other factions, and with perhaps increased bonuses to fortifying, defending, etc.


    Supremacy in vanilla actually has a great theme in my mind. Networked machines, working and thinking together. I love their bonuses from adjacent units, working best in groups, and even more bonuses for fighting in friendly orbital coverage. Emphasize their inhuman battle styles.


    Finally, the unique units need to fit into the game. Right now, they don’t really, and they almost aren’t worth building or teching to! They’re hard to get to, and need to do their gimmick better.


    Xenoswarms, Battlesuits, and CNDRs don’t do ANYTHING that lvl3 soldiers don’t do better and cheaper, with upgrades to boot! And they don’t really come any earlier given how far off the techs for them are out of the way!


    So if we’re already decreasing the strength of lvl3 soldiers, how can we make these first unique affinity units unique? I feel like Xenoswarms should be faster and ignore terrain, Battlesuits should be more expensive, but more powerful, and CNDRs should be weaker and cheaper. They’re mindless expendable soldiers that work better in groups. Give them some flavor! Some unique defining attributes by default would be great! Lvl2 of these units should come a bit earlier as well.


    The Aegis and LEVtank should have their ranged strength decreased, and their melee defense increased. It doesn’t make any sense for those massive mechs and floating tanks to be glass cannons! Tone down their damage, but buff their survivability! Make them really feel like a massive hunk of metal. Ditto the LEVdestroyer actually. Down the damage, up the durability.


    CARVRS need something to set them apart from CNDRs. What could set a giant terminator apart from tiny terminators?


    Xeno cavalry should be faster maybe?


    The Rocktopus and SABR are nice and unique. Just rebalance their numbers to not be so wildly game-ruining when they pop out.

    I'm not really sure what would be best to do with the hybrid units. I feel like right now they're all adorable in theory, but they often don't have as large an impact on a battle as just spamming more pure-damage troops.

    Anyway, I'm super looking forward to your mod. These are just some thoughts on how BE shoulda been!
     
  17. Ryika

    Ryika likes cookies and milk.

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    Well, a lot of the stuff actually somewhat matches what I currently have in my mod, although Affinities don't come into play immediately after landing, there is a "neutral" phase of empire development before the Affinities start spreading out.

    I think I've already given relatively detailed explanations about what I exactly I did to the Affinities earlier in this thread, but here's my list of the Affinity-Specific Unique Units:

    All of them are, in general, a lot more powerful than Non-Affinity units, but require Affinity Resources (that are more limited and also needed for many important buildings now).

    Xeno Swarm
    Weak when compared to other Unique Units of the same tier, but mobile and very cheap. Ideal as a swarmer unit in open terrain

    Xeno Cavalry
    Mobile and invisible, does not take damage when attacking, but has weak Melee Defense and cannot conquer cities. Great for Scouting and Surprise attacks.

    Rocktopus
    Slow, specialized Orbital Unit that generates some Orbital Coverage. It allows for unit teleportation long before the Phasal Transporter is available, but cannot be launched within Orbital Coverage and must instead reach the front itself.

    Xenotitan
    The strongest Melee Unit in this mod, and extremely mobile, too. This unit easily levels small and medium-sized cities on its own if unopposed and also bullies most other unit types without having any real weakness. However, it is very expensive, both in production and resources needed.

    Battlesuit
    A strong, versatile soldier that comes with increased vision range.

    LEV Tank
    A strong ranged unit that can fight on Land and on Water long before other Units gain the Ability to levitate.

    Aegis
    A solid defensive Ranged Unit that also comes with good Melee defense. Can construct Domes, Manufactories and Terrascapes while not needed in Combat - at a slower rate than normal workers, but without requiring Worker Charges.

    LEV Destroyer
    A hovering fortress. Has a good ranged attack, the highest Melee Defense in this Mod, and deals 15 Damage to adjacent enemies. It is however extremely expensive in Production and Resources.

    CNDR
    A strong, defensive unit that gains a combat bonus while in Friendly Territory.

    CARVR
    An offensive Shock Robot that can intercept Enemy Aircrafts and shoot down Satellites.

    SABR
    A strong siege Unit that, unlike the Missile Rover, is also effective against Units. It is however very slow and extremely vulnerable against Melee Attacks.

    ANGEL
    The strongest Ranged Unit in the game, and also possesses a considerable melee defense. Extremely expensive, both in production and resources.

    I also adjusted all Upgrades, the jumps in Unit Combat are overall a lot weaker (though upgrading still makes quite a difference).

    With that said... I'm lagging behind schedule. I originally planned to release the mod next weekend, but I will probably require a few days more than that.
     
  18. Seek

    Seek Chieftain Supporter

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    One thing I think BE cannot be salvaged from is the way units are upgraded - have you considered transitioning back to the traditional gold/energy for individual units method? I think that could go a long way towards smoothing over the strength scaling issues!

    ---

    Another thought I've had is to give each affinity an "ecosystem" preference, or more specifically a win condition involving a different type of atmosphere - for Harmony, it would be miasma, for Purity it would be Earthlike and for Supremacy a CO2 nightmare warming scenario along the lines of Venus. As each atmosphere becomes dominant, respective affinities gain bonuses (or other affinities gain penalties, or both) which would give each affinity a reason to dislike others and eventually battle against each other for. Such a system would give rise to not only military battles but also economic battles (implementing systems to counteract other affinities' efforts to terrascape the planet) and motivation to create affinity blocs.

    There are some questions that would immediately arise, such as, should affinity victories thus become cooperative victories, and should hybrid affinities be trashed altogether? I'm not sure at the moment, but I think asking fundamental questions are necessary to making this a fun game.

    ---

    One last issue I have is the UI. I think changing the color scheme to be less black and austere would go a long way towards making me want to even play again. I know, it's sci-fi Civ, but frankly it's so off-putting it has become a serious issue for me. It creates a world I just don't want to be in for long periods of time, and a 4x game requires a serious time investment! The only biome I remotely am interested in is Lush, solely because it isn't so dark.

    ---

    Lastly, I finally fired up the beta, and here are my initial thoughts (note, I was only able to start one game and play a few turns before my comp was literally bricked by my cat, so I only have this one small sample to give feedback on):
    1) Alien aggression is crazy, chose all random and ended up with a sea start and began clearing the flora so I could work my tiles. Very soon, I was completely surrounded by aliens and my units were being one-shotted, I couldn't do anything.
    2) There is too much to do in the early game, as a civ game I prefer starting small and leading up to the "big stuff". I started the game seeing techs cost tens of turns, I had to double-check I wasn't defaulted to a slower game speed, but soon discovered that there were tons of huge early (in the first ten turns) bonuses via artifacts such. At the same time I was trying to produce buildings which added +1 of this or that, it made them seem fairly pointless. So I think the scaling is off and should be re-pased to give the player a bit more "warmup" time to determine their strategy for the early game at least.
    3) also on the subject of pasing/balance, I found a number of artifact combos to be no-brainers; many were +1[yield] to suchandsuch building (which costs 10+ turns to construct) so there was often no contest to just take the immediate boost. I'd also *love* to see artifact distribution be balanced so that it was more evenly spread throughout the game.

    ---

    I hope I don't sound too critical, I am really looking forward to the finished product! Keep on keeping on!:D

    Hopefully I'll have a machine I can do more tests on soon.;)
     
  19. Ryika

    Ryika likes cookies and milk.

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    1) Yeah, that has since been addressed. If I remember correctly it was mostly the fact that the "Remove all Aliens that are spawned initially"-functionality wasn't working, which made all aliens in the sea domain flock towards the player. ^^ The sea is still a rougher place than land (assuming you don't start next to 20 Alien Nests on land :D), but it's more than manageable now.
    2) That has also been addressed and was common feedback. Tech acquisition starts of relatively slow, mainly because you already have a full set of Old Earth Buildings unlocked, but picks up steam over time when you expand and the initial buildings had their cost reduced to something that is more manageable; and they provide more balanced bonuses.
    3) Not sure what Artifact Buildings you're talking about here, there shouldn't be any. The Bonuses from Old Earth Artifacts are Perks that are directly added to Basic Infrastructure (or the HQ for Bonuses that only have an effect in the Capital), no construction required.
     
  20. Seek

    Seek Chieftain Supporter

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    Hmm, regarding 3) perhaps I'm misremembering, but I thought I had a few instances where combining three artifacts just added +1 yield to an Old Earth building (eg, +1 culture to Old Earth Relics).
     

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