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Solution to the Deserts.


Jan 20, 2006
Note: This topic is out of date and will not be revised. Because of the wide range of suggestions in this thread I decided that this topic was improperly named. For this reason I have placed all of the suggestions from this thread and placed them in a new thread called Suggestion Collection. In addition to moving them I have revised many of them and added several new ones.

A lot of people are annoyed because the random map generator often places large deserts in the middle of continents all the time. Here are some solutions to that problem. Give workers three additional improvement options.

The first one is a canal improvement that could allow fresh water and ships to be moved through any flat tile that will function as an artificial river, bonuses and all. Also, the canal would not take up the entire tile meaining that the canal tiles can still be improved like regular river tiles. This is done in real life, why not in Civ?
Canal Prerequisites: Engineering
Build speed bonuses (all bonuses are cumulative):
+10% build speed with steam power
+10% build speed with combustion
+10% build speed next to road or +15% next to railroad
* can be pillaged by land units and naval units in the canal
*canal tile containing a naval unit cannot be pillaged unless there is an open canal or water tile for it to be moved into

The second other improvement would be Desert Reclamation that would allow for desert tiles to be transformed into plains or grassland tiles depending on what the surrounding tiles are like. Again, this is being done in real life so why not in Civ?
Desert Reclamation Prerequisites: Civil Service, Biology
*The resulting terrain will be determined based on the surrounding terrain. If there is only fresh water brought in by canals than plains are more likely to be formed. If there a natural sources of fresh water than grasslands are more likely to be formed due to the higher nutrient content deposited in the surrounding soil.
* Reclaimed terrain is not subject to razing or reverting to desert due to the canal bringing fresh water to the tile being destroyed.
* The reclaimed terrain is subject to the effects of Global Warming but can be reclaimed again.
* If a reclaimed terrain is effected by Global Warming and is reclaimed, it will be restored to its previous state if reclamation begins within 10 turns of the terrain becomming desert.

The third improvement option would be a late game improvement for desert tiles boardering large bodies of water and ones holding an oaisis, a beach resort improvment. Beach resort improvements would offer a commerce increase to the improved tile and if enough are being worked an additional happines could be gained in the home city as well. For example, for every oasis resort one happiness would be gained in the home city, for every 2 lakefront or oceanfront resorts 1 happiness would be gained in the home city regardless if the resorts are being worked. The commerce would work something like this if the resorts are being worked:
Resort Prerequisites: Currency, Civil Service
Resort Base Income: 2
Possible Income Bonuses:
+1 with oaisis (builds on +2 gold base for unimproved oasis for a total of 3 gold)
+.5 with Free Market civic
+1 with radio
+1 with Mass Media
*random event should be created such as:
*An attraction at this resort has become famous. +1 gold
*Tourism has decreased at this resort due to a tragic accident during the main performance. -1 gold for (insert random number of turns ranging from 1-10) turns.
* People have started traveling great distances for a spa treatment at this resort that is rumored to heal minor skin ailments. +1 gold
*Due to a viral outbreak this resort has temporarily closed as a result no income will be generated for (insert random number ranging from 1-10) turns.
*Due to an influx of wealth in the surrounding area this resort has had record profits this year. (recieve between 10-30 gold)
*A terrorist attack on this resort has resulted in a temporary closure until repairs are completed and secutity increased. (no income from resort for 5-15 turns)
*Any oasis wealth bonuses still have a chance to happen even with the resort.
* Any wealth bonuses that happened before the building of a resort will still be added to the income of the tile.

Another improvement that could be created is a fish farm improvment that worker would be able to construct in fresh water lakes right on the coast. Essentially, they would be ordered to make the improvement while on the shore adjacent to the desired location and then move into the water to build the improvment there and reapear on land upon completion or if the build order is inturupted. Likewise, if an enemy wants to pillage they can move onto the completed improvment, pillage, and then reapear on land once the improvement has been destroyed. Also, if an enemy moves onto the land tile that the worker moved from to begin consruction of the improvement while the worker is still building it, the worker will be captured.
Fish Farm: +2 food, +1 gold
Prequisites: Biology, Plastics
Bonuses: +1 food with Refrigeration
chance of discovering fish, clam, or crab
notes: *Infantry can enter the tile but sea vessles cannot.
*Can be pillaged both by land and sea units.
*If resource was found, ie. fish, clam, or crab, the resource will remain after the destruction of the Fish Farm.
*Bonus food production granted by light house does not apply to the tile holding a Fish Farm.
*Can only be built on fresh water tiles.
* If fish, clam, or crab are discovered than the same food bonus wil be added to the production of the tile that would be given if workboats were working the tile.
Possible Random Events:
* (if clams available) This Fish Farm has discovered a way to increase the production of pearls.
Options: Let them keep their secrete. +3 gold in Fish Farm
Spread the word! -500 gold and +1 Gold in all Fish Farms with oysters.

I will expand on these improvments later by editing this post.
Wow, you've really thought hard about this. I like the canal idea and oasis resort idea anyway. I'm not really sold on the desert reclamation, though... Doing that to the Sahara Desert doesn't seem that realistic to me. Deserts don't really bother me - so I guess maybe I'm not in the target market for that idea.
Wow, you've really thought hard about this. I like the canal idea and oasis resort idea anyway. I'm not really sold on the desert reclamation, though... Doing that to the Sahara Desert doesn't seem that realistic to me.

Not all at once anyways. I read an article before about how Israel is in fact waging a successful desert reclamation project to reclaim land that was lost to erosion caused by deforestation over the decades and centuries. So including this in the game is not that unrealistic.

Also, in response to tucnymaster, doing that would make environmentalism overpowered. Just because a lot of people don't use it doesn't mean that it isn't as good as the other civics. It just means that it doesn't fit people's play styles.

Another thing... Please, NO ADVERTISING YOUR THREADS IN OTHER PEOPLE'S SUGGESTION TOPICS!!!! It is rude and very annoying.
Canals would work. They shouldn't be able to hold ships if rivers can't. They're basically Artificial Rivers. Would they be like Improvements?
The main difference between rivers and canals is that most natural rivers are too shallow to be navigable. In other words, the thing that makes the difference is that canals are usually quite a bit deeper than most rivers. Because of this, the rivers in Civ 4 could simply be set apart from canals by being too shallow to allow for sea vessels to enter into them. And yes, they would be improvements constructed by workers that can only be built within cultural borders for the most part unless you don't mind a significant build time increase.
Sounds good!:goodjob:
The only hinderance to your idea is that generally Desert tiles is the main source for Oil. But even oil can be utilized from a reclaimed desert tile.

I really like your Suggestion. I would like to see it show up in game or as part of a Mod. *thumbs up*!

Even if the designers ignore this whole thread, someone's bound to make a MOD with this in it.
Well, they should if they're going to be realistic. I forgot what monstrous amount of time it took to make the Panama Canal.
One of the reasons why it took so long was because of where it was being built. Just take a look at this article about the Port of Houston and the Houston Ship Channel. The plan to build the port was given in 1909 and it opened to traffic in 1914. Hence the reason for quicker build times for canals within your own cultural borders because after all, the quicker materials can be delivered for construction, the faster something can be built.

Also, in response to ter, the reason I think beach resorts would be a good idea is because currently there are no improvements other than incense plantations, mines on resources (which both are fairly rare) and forts (which have no economic or practical value other than for defense). Just take a look at Dubai. They have resorts all over the place and rake in millions every year! Because of this if all the oil in the Middle East were to dry up all of a sudden, Dubai is one of few Middle Eastern countries that would still be able to keep a booming economy going.

Anyways, for the moment I will not be adding anything else to the list until later. Though I will go ahead and give a preview of coming suggestions:

*River Units such as artillery barges, gun boats, and shallow draft iron clads like the CSS Virginia and USS Monitor

*Who the heck knows... I have a case of writers block right now.
Hey, I forgot where Dubai is.:blush:
Its a small country in the Middle East that is also home to a big shipping company.

*100th Post!!!!*
I'm in favour of introducing the ability to change desert to plains. I can't quite see changing it to grassland - the concept of depositing "nutrients" from a river onto desert isn't new - it's the existing Floodplains tile. And I would assume that artificially adding nutrients to farmland is part of the reason that Biology gives you a +1 for farms.

Converting desert to plains should take a long time, and should become available fairly late in the game (Biology at the earliest, IMO).

Having said that, I think that there should also be a risk - a random event, if there isn't already one - of an existing plains farm becoming desert. In the real world, deserts are spreading, and this should be reflected in the game. And that's not to say that the new desert couldn't be converted back to plains, of course.

I'm not crazy about the canal idea - seems to be doing too much with the concept. I can see canals being used to irrigate, and I can see canals being used for shipping, but not both. And there's already the Fort improvement in BtS that allows ships to move through land tiles.
True, there is already a fort improvement that can act as a canal but the problem with that is that it is a fort and not a water way. I can understand a ship docking at a fort but in my opinion using them as a water way just does not seem right. Also there is the fact that they can only be built within cultural boarders. In real life that is not a requirement to build canals so why should it be like in the game? While forts are typically built inside a countries own sphere of influence canals are not limited by this factor. For example, the Panama canal was outside both the United States and France's sphere of initial influence but Panama agreed to it because they would see direct benefit from it. Just imagine what Panama would have said had France or the US wanted to build forts there instead.

Well anyway, this thread is considered to be out of date as I have taken everything in the first post and moved it into the Suggestion Collection thread I had created. Besides moving the suggestions from this thread I have revised and added several additional ones as well and have plans to add revisions to the canal and a few other suggestions as well as adding a few more new ones.
I could have sworn that Dubai was a country... Oh well.
No it's not, it's a city in the United Arab Emirates. It isn't even the capital, largest city, or richest city, Abu Dhabi holds all of those titles.

FoxURA, don't feel bad, that is a common mistake/assumption.

A quick Wiki search tells us that Dubai "is one of the seven emirates that constitute the UAE," that it is "sometimes called "Dubai city" to distinguish it from the emirate," and "Dubai has the largest population and is the second largest emirate by area." Additionally, Dubai city is the largest city, by population, in the UAE. (Dubai is listed as the largest city in the UAE, without mention of area vs population. I verified population statistics, but didn't look up any detailed geography figures)

So, like California is not a whole country but a state in union with other states and while California is not the largest state in area, it is the largest in population, both much like Dubai.
The first one is a canal improvement that could allow fresh water and ships to be moved through any flat tile that will function as an artificial river, bonuses and all.
Therefore, I should cover my entire empire with canals. I don't think you want to encourage that!
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