Suggestion: Units upkeep/maintenence

Bandenere

Chieftain
Joined
Oct 9, 2016
Messages
2
Hallo everyone,

after playing many time COLONIZATION 1994, up to recent days, i found out this marvellous mod that made me reconsider sid meier's civilization 4 colo that i always ignored, preferring the old game.

From the first few hours of gameplay i've noticed some wonderful ideas taken, i suppose, from other games like Anno and Master of Magic and i was wondering if this mod might be updated with upkeep per units when outside a Town (maybe food and/or gold?), something that make much sense (both Anno and MoM had this feature, MoM involved both magic and gold uppkeep!) and which is partially missing in colonization (units consume food but only when inside a town, once outside they live from air and cost nothing). War/Army are gold eater and this is not represented in game.

This look like is the only thing i am missing right now and would make the game much deeper and realistic.

Final line ... wonderful job overall, my congratulations to all modders involved (TAC-RAR-WTP).

Regards,

Me

PS: searched the forum and found nothing on this topic regarding Colonization.
 

Nightinggale

Deity
Joined
Feb 2, 2009
Messages
5,031
We have a discussion on GitHub about this topic, which I would recommend reading. The problem is not adding a feature like this, but rather adding one without making it annoying or AI hostile. When adding something to a game, it has to add something positive. If you add for the sake of "it sounds cool", then you end up with a bloated game without any serious considerations for what is actually the most important: having fun with the gameplay.

I'm not saying it won't happen, but right now there is no clear path towards a good implementation and it's one of those things, which either requires a good implementation or none at all.
 

Bandenere

Chieftain
Joined
Oct 9, 2016
Messages
2
Thank you very much for your reply, i am reading the post on GitHub right now.
 

Commander Bello

Say No 2 Net Validations
Joined
Sep 3, 2003
Messages
3,858
Location
near Koblenz, Germany
When adding something to a game, it has to add something positive.
Actually, I think that maintenance for units would very much help the game.

Currenty, as soon as you have created an army of say 10 units (5 cannons, 5 infantery for instance) you can conquer any native nation around. Why?
Because after you have accepted the costs of opportunity for creating that army, you don't have to pay anything anymore. The army walks from native settlement to native settlement, bombards the defenses down, kills the defenders and that's it. Next settlement. And there it will be even easier, as your units will have got more experienced. Rinse and repeat.
You don't have to pay maintenance, you don't have to replace losses, youi don't have to provide anything. All you have to do is to create said army and then the continent is at your mercy.
If you would have to pay the soldiers, replace lost weapons and so on, you might come to a point where war becomes costly for you and where making peace would be the better option. Currently there is no better option then moving on and killing even more.
 

Nightinggale

Deity
Joined
Feb 2, 2009
Messages
5,031
One of the issues with military upkeep is that people would then make their military be based on dragoons or similar. That way people can get away with a tiny army and in case of war they have 50 colonists ready to change professions. Upkeep makes more sense in BTS where you can't instantly swap a civilian unit for a high end military one.

Also I don't see anything related to not making the feature annoying or AI hostile. It has to be done right or not at all.
 
  • Like
Reactions: rah

Commander Bello

Say No 2 Net Validations
Joined
Sep 3, 2003
Messages
3,858
Location
near Koblenz, Germany
One of the issues with military upkeep is that people would then make their military be based on dragoons or similar. That way people can get away with a tiny army and in case of war they have 50 colonists ready to change professions. Upkeep makes more sense in BTS where you can't instantly swap a civilian unit for a high end military one.

Also I don't see anything related to not making the feature annoying or AI hostile. It has to be done right or not at all.
If the obvious solution would be to make your army consist of just dragoons, then there may be something wrong with the dragoons, no?

About the "annoying" factor or the AI hostility of that principle:
Personally, I find it more annoying that I can commit genocide till the end of the day without any costs. Actually, not only without costs, but with great benefits as the result will be a wide open land where I can settle wherever I want.

The AI on the other hand can quite easily determine if marching to settlement Sioux_1, fighting it for two turns and then marching for 10 turns to Sioux_2 will cost too much for their economy or not. That is just a matter of keeping track of your average income per turn. Maybe destroying Sioux_1 and then settling for peace would be a better option?
 

raystuttgart

Civ4Col Modder
Joined
Jan 24, 2011
Messages
9,135
Location
Stuttgart, Germany
I am not a big fan of this concept either.

As Nightinggale said "Every Game Concept also should add something positive". :thumbsup:
And it might even need more intensive recoding that people believe because there would be loop holes that people would call exploits and which we would need to fix.

And by the way:
This is definitely not easy to teach to AI without making it "Humand only" and without using any cheats.
Because it would really require long term planning to save up money as a preparation for war.
AI would however also need to spend its money for other important things.

Edit:
Oh ... I started AI discussion again. :(
(But let us please keep it limited to discussing potential solution concepts for this feature only.)
 
Last edited:

rah

Deity
Supporter
Joined
Sep 12, 2005
Messages
10,119
Location
Chicago
Currenty, as soon as you have created an army of say 10 units (5 cannons, 5 infantery for instance) you can conquer any native nation around. Why?
Because after you have accepted the costs of opportunity for creating that army, you don't have to pay anything anymore. The army walks from native settlement to native settlement, bombards the defenses down, kills the defenders and that's it. Next settlement. And there it will be even easier, as your units will have got more experienced. Rinse and repeat.

If anyone can repeat 5 times against Monty without losing a unit, I might accuse them of reloading combats.
No matter what the odds, I have attrition when I'm battling anybody except for maybe some the real milk toast tribes. And even then I'll eventually lose a battle. RNG and all.

While the concept is realistic I don't like the implementation (because of the instant flipping nature)
Making them more expensive in the first place would probably have a similar effect to what you're looking for. Or maybe just for the professionals and not drafted colonists.
 

OzzyKP

Emperor
Joined
Dec 16, 2000
Messages
1,733
Location
Washington, DC USA
I'm for unit/building/improvement maintenance.

I think it helps to balance the economy. There aren't any brakes to stop the economy from just continuing to snowball. You get money to buy things that help you get more money, or military. I keep ending up sitting on a big pile of cash that I don't have any use for.

Another thought, perhaps gold can be used as an input for various professions. An empty fur trading post won't cost anything, but each worker in one costs 1 gold.
 
Last edited:

raystuttgart

Civ4Col Modder
Joined
Jan 24, 2011
Messages
9,135
Location
Stuttgart, Germany
The problem is not adding a feature like this, but rather adding one without making it annoying or AI hostile.
Exactly. :thumbsup:

Implementing an Upkeep-System in itself is incredible easy.
Even visualization should probably be quite easy.

But how to prevent it to weaken AI even more?
Do we want to make it "Human only"?

When adding something to a game, it has to add something positive. If you add for the sake of "it sounds cool" ... : having fun with the gameplay.
Exactly. :thumbsup:

Every good new feature needs to have some active element that offers choices and alternatives to make it interesting and add to the fun of gameplay.
Every good overhaul also needs to make the game better (more interesting, more challenging or less tedious or ...)

For me an "Upkeep System" in itself does basically nothing at all for gameplay.
It does not have choices or alternatives. It does not make the game more interesting. It does not make it moe challenging.

It would not disturb me but I do not want it etiher. :dunno:
I simply don't care as a Human player but I do definitely not want to further weaken AI.

Another aspect not mentioned currently:
How to balance it?
Maybe we might need to increase Europe Sales Prices instead and thus have no actual change in gameplay in the end?

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

Summary:

Like Nightinggale I also do not completely rule out to ever implement it in WTP. :thumbsup:

But just implementing "Upkeep System" to have "Upkeep System" is not enough for me.
A good concept for a game feature needs to have more to it than that.
 

OzzyKP

Emperor
Joined
Dec 16, 2000
Messages
1,733
Location
Washington, DC USA
But just implementing "Upkeep System" to have "Upkeep System" is not enough for me.
A good concept for a game feature needs to have more to it than that.

I don't think that's a fair characterization of the reasons why some have suggested it.
 

raystuttgart

Civ4Col Modder
Joined
Jan 24, 2011
Messages
9,135
Location
Stuttgart, Germany
I don't think that's a fair characterization of the reasons why some have suggested it.
Sorry if I sounded disrespectful - that was not my intention. :(

But currently I just read "Upkeep System would be cool" and I either don't understand why or it has not been discussed / explained enough. :dunno:

The only aspect I am currently really concerned is AI.
Effort, Performance, Balancing ... should all not be a real problem.

But there is also nothing I see here that would add some real value considering gameplay to it for me.
Maybe a bit of "immersion" - but is that already all that speaks for it?

Is there really no other pro argument for the Implementation of an "Upkeep System"?

Is this all just about having an automatic calculation in the background that substracts some of your money?
Where are the choices / alternatives / stragegic decisions ... ?

Some community members might even feel that it is annoying as well because they have no way to influence that system.
(For me personally it would not really be annoying though.)
 
Last edited:

Nightinggale

Deity
Joined
Feb 2, 2009
Messages
5,031
It would not disturb me but I do not want it either. :dunno:
It would disturb me in the sense that it affects balance. You are already at a disadvantage if you have problems earning money. Adding this will make that situation even worse. In other words it's something, which doesn't matter if you are ahead of the other players, but it will hurt you if you are behind. Realistic as it may be, it's not good for gameplay.
 

OzzyKP

Emperor
Joined
Dec 16, 2000
Messages
1,733
Location
Washington, DC USA
Is there really no other pro argument for the Implementation of an "Upkeep System"?

Is this all just about having an automatic calculation in the background that substracts some of your money?
Where are the choices / alternatives / stragegic decisions ... ?

Some community members might even feel that it is annoying as well because they have no way to influence that system.
(For me personally it would not really be annoying though.)

Currently there is no strategic choice whether to expand. The more people you have, the more military you have, the more cities and buildings you have the better. More is better. Always. There is no strategic decision there.

Having an upkeep system requires the player to decide whether it is worth it to have more troops, or more buildings, etc. The gain you get from having more is balanced by the cost. That creates more strategic decisions. You influence the system by deciding to be more strategic with your acquisitions instead of just adding on more and more.
 

raystuttgart

Civ4Col Modder
Joined
Jan 24, 2011
Messages
9,135
Location
Stuttgart, Germany
Currently there is no strategic choice whether to expand.
True, but there is strategic choices how to expand and where you put your focus. :)
If this is just about punishing players that have been more successfull in their expansion than I would even be completely against it.

Having an upkeep system requires the player to decide whether it is worth it to have more troops, or more buildings, etc.
There is already a lot of stragic decisions in there. :dunno:

- Do I invest in Production Buildings now? (And in which?)
- Do I invest in buying Experts now? (And in which?)
- Do I invest in more Military now? (And in which?)
- Do I invest in more Transport Ships now? (And in which?)
- Do I invest in buying goods to trade with Natives or sell on Domestic Market?
- Do I invest in Scouts / Missionaries / Streets / ... now?
...

If we just punish everything (Buildings, Colonists, Military, Improvements, ...) with higher Upkeep for everything this is really just punishing the successful player.

And again in the "Upkeep System" itself - there are no decisions to be made and no way to influence - you just have to pay.
But you need to "expand" (Settle Colonies, Build Improvements, acuqire Colonists / Experts, acquire Military, ...) because that is the only way to win the game.

The more successful you are in your strategies the more you will have.
So why additionally "punish" successful gameplay without giving the Players any means at all to influence other than just being "unsuccessfull"?

But again, maybe I just do not get the concept yet correctly. :dunno:

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

Are we trying to build a hidden AI cheat to level out the score?

Because yes - if this feature is Human only - this would help AI.
If this affects AI as well, this would weaken AI more than it would weaken Human Players.

And actually if we would make it "Human only" to help AI, I would even like the idea. :)
Otherwise it would make the game even easier - which I defnitely don't want.
 
Last edited:

raystuttgart

Civ4Col Modder
Joined
Jan 24, 2011
Messages
9,135
Location
Stuttgart, Germany
Thought about it again: :think:

A) We could have Military Units (Land and Naval) cost money --> Upkeep.

To be discussed:
Building Upkeep

But not for Improvements, not for Colonists, not for Transport Ships ...

Currently the only other downsides of having a huge "standing army and navy" are:
1) You increase king's REF and worsen his attititude (thus indirectly increasing taxes)
2) You do not have that money to invest in e.g. Enconomy

B) We make this "Human Only".

Otherwise we will weaken AI more than Human Players.

C) All Military Units and Professions will get an XML setting for their Upkeep per turn

Thus stronger Units / Professions can need more Upkeep, weaker Units / Professions less Upkeep.
This will at least give you the choice if having masses of cheap Units (considering Upkeep) or less but expensive Units (considering Upkeep).

D) If the Player fails to pay Upkeep some of his Military Units will simply desert (or other negative stuff might happen)

We need to be careful with this though - I am a bit worried about Players getting angry and rage quitting.
But "failing to pay Upkeep" must have consequences of this whole feature is pointless.

E) The weakest Military Unit stationed in City is free.

So just having a small defensive force for defending your Cities will not cost you Upkeep yet.
So only going for War / preparing War will really cost you gold.

F) We will have modifiers in Game Speed, Game Difficulties and make all other settings XML adjustable (and deactivateable) as well.

Thus Players will have a way to configure it to their wishes.

G) Visualization concept

  • Summarized Upkeep displayed (either on top or bottom) of Map Screen
  • Detailled Upkeep information (for Units Professions) with "Mouse Over" Upkeep Summary on Map Screen
  • Upkeep for single Units being diplayed at "Mouse Over" Units in game
  • Upkeep information for Units / Profession in Colopedia
The changes for that are relatively easy to do.

H) Once we have Civics we could have some of them also influence Upkeep


It will thus add at least a bit strategic decisions for Civics.

Summary:
  • It will help AI and settle the scores a bit. (It is more or less a hidden AI cheat)
  • It will make "rushing Natives" more difficult / expensive - you will need to consider more "is it worth it to build up my army and thus increase my Upkeep"?
  • It will help weaker Players with less army vs. stronger Players with more army.
  • It will generally make the game a bit more challenging. (You will also need to save more money for WOI.)
  • It is a bit more immersive.
  • It is relatively easy to implement.
  • Performance should not be an issue because Army Size and Navy Size are already computed for REF-System.
  • Ít is a lot of effort to balance though.
  • Once you cannot pay your Upkeep and start loosing Units this is quite annoying.
For me the main pro arguments are simply improving balancing between Players and AI and making game more challenging.
Generally this will make "War Strategies" less attractive for Human Players.

Remarks:

It is not really the most important topic on my "wish or todo list" and honestly I could also live without it.
But it is so little effort to implement compared to other current ideas and features discussed, that we might just give it a try.

I will definitely only want to implement this as "Human only". Because as I said, I do not want to further weaken AI.
I will definitely also not want to have "Upkeep for Everything" because that would just punish successfull players generally and weaken everybody.

If community and team accept this concept I would also volunteer to do most of the implementation. :thumbsup:
(I will need help with testing and balancing though.)

Further Feedback and Ideas? :)
(Nothing will be implemented of course if team and community don't like it.)
 
Last edited:

OzzyKP

Emperor
Joined
Dec 16, 2000
Messages
1,733
Location
Washington, DC USA
Wow, did... did I just change someone’s mind on the Internet? I’ve always suspected it was possible, but I’ve never experienced it first hand before. I’m.. not sure how to feel.

Seriously though, I like all your suggestions on implementation. :thumbsup:
 
Last edited:

Commander Bello

Say No 2 Net Validations
Joined
Sep 3, 2003
Messages
3,858
Location
near Koblenz, Germany
It would disturb me in the sense that it affects balance. You are already at a disadvantage if you have problems earning money. Adding this will make that situation even worse. In other words it's something, which doesn't matter if you are ahead of the other players, but it will hurt you if you are behind. Realistic as it may be, it's not good for gameplay.
Almost the same could be said about not having two gold mines next to your first city. :nono:

Contrary to what you are saying, upkeep for military units would be a good means to counter unlimited expansion of the leading player.
Currently, once you have managed to build an offensive army, you are literally free to conquer the whole continent as nothing and nobody is going to stop you anymore. Yes, there will be costs of opportunity during the process of creating that army. But after having accepted those costs?

You start with the surrounding native villages which will give you slaves and some treasures (thus even more ecnomic power) and, more important, free territory to settle in and become even richer. After that, you turn against your neighboring European rivals and step by step get their cities as well. And you can do that because your army, once you have got it, is for free. As is everything they are doing.
A siege lasting for 10 turns? Where is the problem?
Having to march for 15 turns? Where is the problem?
It is all done for free.

Sure, once in a while you will be unlucky with the RNG and maybe lose a unit. But back in your little empire cities will be sprawling like mushrooms as there isn't anybody anymore to stop that. So, replacements will not be a real issue anymore either. And the human player will even be enabled to train new troops by constantly fighting others, thus making his army stronger and stronger due to the experience gained.

I am pretty sure that a significant number of players stop playing a given game after around turn 150 or, to put it in other terms when having like 10 cities. Why? Because by then they will be strong enough not to be under the risk of being attacked anymore, but not yet ready for revolution. So, all they have to do is click "next turn" over and over again, until they can initiate the WOI. Something, which isn't too much fun.

Unit upkeep may not be the final solution to prevent this, but it may be one of many means to fight the midgame boredom.
 

devolution

Prince
Joined
Oct 7, 2016
Messages
527
Location
Norway
I guess it's time that I chime in as well:

Yes, the combat AI is rather poor at the moment due to a number of reasons:
1) The strength gap between natives and AI Europeans. I have a number of ideas for fixing this. For instance we could have the AI supply natives near their rivals with weapons and horses. Alternatively a new neutral faction could do this.
2) Passivity of AI European players vs. the player. I suspect that this is mostly the result of bugs in CvTeamAI, perhaps caused by the addition of additional players like the "wild animals", "the archbishop" etc.
3) It seems to be that the combat AI for the natives is particularly shoddy.
4) The naval AI is an obsolete fork of BetterAI that has been superseded by several mods. It should be completely feasibly for the AI to launch competent naval invasions that could back-stab a player that is busy conquering natives.
5) Poor unit selection by the AI. They should prefer more counter units like cavalry and buy fewer cannons. Right now they are sitting ducks when assaulted\besieged by the player.

@Commander Bello
A side effect of the combat round limit (currently 7) that you introduced is that strong units cannot loose against weaker units. If the number of combat rounds would exceed 7 rounds, the stronger unit would not risk getting killed during combat.
This effect has exacerbated the strength discrepancy between natives and Europeans in my opinion. You did nothing to teach this to the AI so here we have a case of AI specific technical debt that you introduced. Maybe you should start coding and complain less about the AI :p

However, there are some reasons for being optimistic that this could change:

- We have several mature Civ4 AI mods that we should borrow code from. I am of course thinking of K-Mod and AdvCiv. Both of these mods feature competent AI warfare. I've personally played a number of wargames and Civ4 with these mods i the only real opposition that I've ever encountered.
- Some of the AI poor combat performance is a result of poor military evaluations and outright AI bugs.
- It would not be too hard to introduce additional mechanics like a king sending reinforcements to their colonies if they fall under player attack.
- Natives could form alliances against warmongering players and band together.

As for upkeep:
I am generally in favor of an upkeep system, perhaps it would only apply when units are on a military campaign (e.g. outside the cultural boundaries). This would force a trade-off between gaining territory through military expansion and expanding the economy.
After all it is a historical fact that military campaigns were very expensive to conduct.
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom