Tech Tree Revisions

Vokarya

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Hello everyone,

New AND team member here. I've been looking at RAND from behind the scenes for almost a couple months now, and one of the first places that I want to discuss making some changes is to the Tech Tree. I think that overall, the Tech Tree is very good, but it could use some revisions to fix a few problems that I have run across.

None of what I am suggesting is on the SVN yet, and I don't want to actually change any part of the code until a new full beta version of AND is released. I want to give these changes, even though I think they are not incredibly complex, a good length of time to see if there are any problems that I missed or any other revisions to make. I want to get the discussion going first, and then sit down to do the code.

You may see me talk about "levels" in this thread. This is my system for figuring out how difficult it is to get to a technology in actual game play. For example, all of the technologies with no prerequisites are Ancient Level 1 (I abbreviate as Ancient-1). Any tech that only requires Ancient Level 1 prerequisites is Ancient-2, and so on. Then, Classical-1 is any technology that only requires Ancient Era prerequisites and has Advances to the Classical Era, and it just goes on from there.

Here are the principles that I'm using to revise the tree.
  • No redundancies in prerequisites. Several technologies have prerequisites that are redundant in game play. For example, Currency used to require Mathematics AND Metal Casting AND Writing. But if you have Mathematics, you have to have Writing, so why list Writing at all? I pointed this out and it was fixed. There are several more places on the tree where this needs to be changed.
  • No skippable techs. If you click on Future Tech, it should select every other tech in the tree. You can't leave anything behind. The only exception would be if we break the religions off into their own technologies. Those can possibly lead to other religions or be dead-ends, but no other tech is a dead-end in this way.
  • Historical accuracy. I have noticed that some Renaissance-era and later technologies show up much earlier than they should relative to the years that the era covers. For example, Physics is available at the very beginning of the Renaissance Era, but if it is supposed to be Newtonian physics, then it's too early, as the Renaissance begins in the 1400's and Newton does not publish until 1687. Something needs to be modified. I also have this problem with Electricity during the Industrial Era. I don't think it should come so closely after Steam Power. Also, some technologies are in the wrong era. For example, Photography and Realism are not Renaissance Era -- they are Industrial.
  • Avoiding era backdoors. Some technologies have prerequisites that are currently too easy to meet early in the previous era, allowing you to get to a new era too quickly. Monarchy and Theology have this problem. I have some reworks of the prerequisites that would solve this. I've played a few games on Noble difficulty/Normal speed, and I find that someone (either me or another nearby civ) is researching Monarchy and starting the Classical Era before 3000 BC. I think that's too early.
  • Add a few new techs. I have 14 techs that I would like to add (that's averaging 2 techs per era), and I have definite ideas for what to add. None of these are going to be empty. I don't like empty techs, and I don't like overly specific ones without a really good reason. I think I've found concepts that are broad enough to support adding a new technology to the tree. New techs will get their own posts so they can be discussed individually.
  • Remapping. I've used my level scheme to create a new map of the tree. I don't think techs of different levels or even eras should share the same column. This would make looking at the tree more meaningful, in that you would know how difficult it really is to get to a particular tech.
  • Even out costing. Some technologies have costs that are out of line with their era. For example, Biology, despite having been moved from the Industrial Era to the Renaissance, still costs 4680, which is much more expensive than other Renaissance Era techs. My goal here is to rearrange the costs of individual technologies while keeping the total cost of all the techs in the era the same, so it should take you the same number of turns to play through the era. I think uneven costing makes any 1 Free Technology ability unbalanced, because it rewards you much more for choosing an unnecessarily expensive tech.
  • iAsset adjusting. iAsset is an XML tag that covers how many points you get on the scoreboard for researching the particular tech, although I'm sure there are a lot of modifiers involved. Generally, iAsset for a given tech is 8/era (so Ancient is 8, Classical is 16, etc.), but techs that have been changed in era did not have their iAsset modified. and some are really weird. For example, Derivatives has an iAsset of 120. That's almost twice as much as Future Tech. At the end of this, I want to go through and make sure that all technologies have the proper iAsset value for their era.

So the next post will cover the beginnings of the Ancient Era.
 

Vokarya

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So as to not overwhelm anything, here is what I would like to do with just the first part of the Ancient Era. This is levels 1 and 2; techs with no prerequisites and techs that can be researched with only Level 1 techs.

The level 1 list is unchanged, except for one new tech that I would like to add.
  • Agriculture
  • Fishing
  • Hunting
  • Ritualism
  • Stone Tools
  • Storytelling
  • The Wheel
  • Weaving

Storytelling is a new technology; I'll describe it in a separate post. Storytelling comes from the Realism Invictus mod; I like it because it gives an early technology that is cultural without being religious.

This is Ancient-2.
Tech Old Prerequisites New Prerequisites
Animal Husbandry (Agriculture OR Hunting) (Agriculture OR Hunting)
Ceremonial Burial Mysticism + Stone Tools Ritualism + Stone Tools
Mining Stone Tools Stone Tools
Mysticism Ritualism Ritualism + Storytelling
Naturopathy Ritualism Ritualism
Pottery The Wheel + (Agriculture OR Fishing) The Wheel + (Agriculture OR Fishing)
Slavery (Hunting OR Ritualism) (Hunting OR Ritualism)
Woodworking NEW Stone Tools

The changes here are to Ceremonial Burial and Mysticism.
  • Ceremonial Burial is a very old practice. It has been done for thousands of years, way before the Civilization game begins. To show this, I would like to move it backwards from Mysticism to Ritualism.
  • Mysticism has the problem that it shares its prerequisites with Naturopathy. I'd like to stay away from techs that only have one prerequisite and techs that have identical prerequisites, so I think adding Storytelling to Mysticism's prerequisites will mix it up a little. I don't have to keep this; Storytelling will be required for Writing down the line.

Woodworking is another new tech from RI. This tech will allow a few different things: the Palisades building (early Walls), the Carpenter building (small production increase for buildings only), the Wood Gatherer improvement (precursor to the Lumbermill), and the Ram unit, an early Siege unit that can reduce city defenses but is unable to attack directly. Woodworking is also a prerequisite for Archery and Sailing, so it pushes those techs up to the next level.

Does this look good?
 

Vokarya

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Storytelling is a very early tech that I think is a good one to include, as it is cultural but not religious.

The main parameters for this tech are:
Era: Ancient
Prerequisites: None
Leads to: Mysticism, Writing
Allows: Storyteller Circle (building)

Storyteller Circle provides +1 :culture: and +1 :), but it expires quite early. There are two different expiration conditions that I'm thinking of using on the Circle:
  • Obsolete at Writing tech
  • Requires Tribal (Society) or Folklore (Religion) civic

The interesting idea I had with Storytelling is that it could serve as one of the two starting techs for four civilizations that I think of as very much attached to a particular story:
Civilization Old Starting Techs New Starting Techs Story
America Agriculture + Fishing Agriculture + Storytelling Founding Fathers
France Agriculture + The Wheel Agriculture + Storytelling Song of Roland, Matter of France
Greece Fishing + Hunting Fishing + Storytelling Homeric Epics
Sumer Agriculture + The Wheel Agriculture + Storytelling Epic of Gilgamesh

I'm including it as a possibility (Realism Invictus doesn't use starting techs, so there's nothing to borrow from there). I also noticed that while Weaving tech has no prerequisites, no civilization starts with it.
 

Vokarya

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The other early Ancient Era tech that I want to include is Woodworking. Woodworking would offer a lot of early variations of existing items.

Era: Ancient
Prerequisites: Stone Tools
Leads to: Archery, Bronze Working, Sailing
Allows: Carpenter (building), Palisade (building), Wood Gatherer (improvement), Ram (unit)

Carpenter is a building that provides +10% production for buildings only (a precursor to the Treadmill Crane and Construction Firm). I have been trying out several games on Noble difficulty/Normal speed and I find that building production in the Ancient Era is incredibly slow, especially compared to unit production. By the time the game gets to the Medieval Era, building speed is much better, but in the early era, I feel trying to build just about any building ties down a city for ages. Before we tinker with any other factors involved, I would like to try out this Carpenter building. It would be a good "bootstrap" building for a just-founded city.

Palisade is an early Walls. It has less defense, much less cost, is replaced by Walls and obsolete at Bronze Working. I'd have to figure out the exact numbers. I like buildings that replace others so that you are never overwhelmed by the number of choices possible at any given point.

Wood Gatherer is a precursor improvement to the Lumbermill. It provides a flat +1 :hammers:. I would like to be able to do something with Forests in the early game other than burn/chop them. Working a Forest is still a tradeoff, as it only provides 1 food and citizens eat 3 food/turn.

Ram is the first unit in a new line of Siege Weapons: Ram (available at Woodworking) - Battering Ram (available at Military Training, and yes, I know that the Battering Ram is currently the Assyrian UU - we'll need another one) - Siege Ram (available at Siege Warfare). Rams can bombard city defenses but can't attack. Their one purpose is reducing city defenses, to make early war a little more possible.

So that's it for the moment.
 

JosEPh_II

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The Story Teller addition would help somewhat in making Culture a usable path again. Culture is very weak in AND, imho, and several recent posters have complained that culture is too nerfed.

I personally look forward to these proposals and think they will enhance AND. I'm prejudiced I know. Why, because I've seen your work in C2C and know 1st hand how it Uncluttered the tech tree there.

I have been trying out several games on Noble difficulty/Normal speed and I find that building production in the Ancient Era is incredibly slow, especially compared to unit production.
I agree and it's why I jumped on the chance to add Jungle Camp improvements and the Forge line improvements. I know it caused 45* some extra work and some headache. But I also know you are more meticulous with what you propose and would add to the Mod than what I can do or did.

Again all these proposed elements would add to this Mods play-ability and Fun.

JosEPh :)
 

Vokarya

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The Story Teller addition would help somewhat in making Culture a usable path again. Culture is very weak in AND, imho, and several recent posters have complained that culture is too nerfed.

The Storyteller Circle is actually not supposed to stick around very long. I want it to be like the Elder Council and the Fire Pit in that it's really cheap and easy to build, but will be gone by the time you reach the end of the Ancient Era. I've got some more ideas coming that will offer more Culture benefits. One thing that I'm slowly working on is a comprehensive list of all AND's buildings and their cumulative benefits. It's going to take a while, though.
 

JosEPh_II

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Understood.

JosEPh
 

Vokarya

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First, a word on tech naming. I treat tech naming extremely seriously. When I introduce a new technology, I try to find the shortest possible name that gets the point of the tech across without being intentionally misleading. As much as possible, I try to stay away from "relative" adjectives like Ancient, Modern, or Advanced, and prefer to say why this tech is Modern or Advanced. It's almost like a kind of poetry in getting the most information out of the least wording. There are two techs in the Ancient Era that I think need a name change.
  • Sacrifice Cult becomes Sacrifice. I have a problem with the word Cult in that it implies that the ones doing the sacrifice are a small group outside of the mainstream. That's not the case with ancient sacrifices -- they were public and pretty much accepted. I'd like to drop the word Cult, or maybe go with Sacrifice Rites.
  • Military Training becomes Warfare. I think Military Training is too narrow a name and implies a link to Military Tradition and Military Science that isn't there.

On to what I want to do with the rest of the Ancient Era:

Here is Ancient Level 3. This is not changed too deeply, but gets some additions through the new Woodworking tech.
Tech Old Prerequisites New Prerequisites
Archery Hunting + Stone Tools Hunting + Woodworking
Caste System Mysticism + (Priesthood OR Slavery) Mysticism + (Priesthood OR Slavery)
Chariotry Animal Husbandry + The Wheel Animal Husbandry + The Wheel
Elephant Riding Animal Husbandry Animal Husbandry
Masonry Mining Mining
Metal Casting Mining + Pottery Mining + Pottery
Polytheism Mysticism Mysticism
Priesthood Mysticism Ceremonial Burial + Mysticism
Sacrifice Mysticism Mysticism
Sailing Fishing + Weaving Fishing + Weaving + Woodworking
Trade (Animal Husbandry OR Pottery) (Animal Husbandry OR Pottery OR Sailing )

Changes:
  • Archery gets pushed to level 3 by adding Woodworking as a prerequisite.
  • Priesthood gets Ceremonial Burial added on to give CB a hook into the rest of the tree. Currently, Ceremonial Burial can be skipped by going through Masonry to Sculpture.
  • Sailing gets Woodworking as an additional prerequisite, to represent some skill at working with wooden material.
  • Trade gets Sailing as an additional OR prerequisite. Sailors of any kind would have opportunities to meet other people with things that they don't have.

Ancient-4 is probably one of the most important levels on the tree, as this is where you find Bronze Working and Writing.
Tech Old Prerequisites New Prerequisites
Bronze Working Metal Casting Metal Casting + Woodworking
Dualism Priesthood Priesthood
Fermentation Agriculture + Naturopathy + Stone Tools + Trade Agriculture + Naturopathy + Stone Tools + Trade
Horseback Riding Chariotry Chariotry
Naval Warfare Archery + Sailing Archery + Sailing
Sculpture Polytheism + (Ceremonial Burial OR Masonry) Polytheism + (Ceremonial Burial OR Masonry OR Metal Casting )
Seafaring Sailing + (Naval Warfare OR Trade) Sailing + (Naval Warfare OR Trade)
Writing (Priesthood OR Trade) Storytelling + (Priesthood OR Trade)

Changes:
  • Bronze Working gets Woodworking as an additional prerequisite.
  • Sculpture gets Metal Casting as an alternate OR path. Sculpture can be metal as well as stone, and lost-wax techniques for creating sculptures are ancient.
  • Writing gets Storytelling as a mandatory prerequisite technology. Despite Storytelling being required for Mysticism, it's not redundant because you could go Hunting - Animal Husbandry - Trade - Writing.
Ancient-5 is a very small level. There are only two techs here, plus a new one that I would like to add: Scriptures.
Tech Old Prerequisites New Prerequisites
Monotheism Masonry + Polytheism + Priesthood + Writing Masonry + Polytheism + Priesthood + Writing
Scriptures NEW Priesthood + Writing + (Dualism OR Monotheism OR Polytheism)
Warfare Bronze Working + Hunting Archery + Bronze Working

The only real change here is replacing Hunting with Archery in the Warfare tech.
 

Vokarya

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Scriptures is the last new tech I want to add to the Ancient Era. It comes from the World of Legends mod, and represents any religion's holy book.

Era: Ancient
Prerequisites: Priesthood AND Writing AND (Dualism OR Monotheism OR Polytheism)
Leads to: Meditation
Allows: Scriptorium (building)

To keep it balanced, I'd like to only have one Scriptorium building and make it buildable in any city that has your state religion, rather than create a separate one for each religion. Scriptorium offers the following benefits:
  • +2 :culture:
  • +1 :science:
  • Can turn 1 Citizen into Priest
  • State religion must be present in city
  • Obsolete at Printing Press

I'd also like it to give +25% production of Missionaries, but the only way to currently do that is to give the bonus to each type of Missionary individually. You can specify a bonus for producing a particular Unit Class (such as Catapult or Knight, and it boosts that unit and all of its Unique variations) or a Domain (land, sea, air), but you can't specify a production bonus to a Unit Combat Type without a new XML tag.

In the tech tree, Scriptures' current purpose would be to break up the Polytheism - Monotheism - Meditation run that can lead to grabbing three religions in a row (although I play with Revolutions on and the instability from having multiple holy cities keeps me from wanting to found a second religion). If we go down the route of individual techs for each religion, then I would place both Hinduism and Judaism after Scriptures.
 

JosEPh_II

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In the tech tree, Scriptures' current purpose would be to break up the Polytheism - Monotheism - Meditation run that can lead to grabbing three religions in a row (although I play with Revolutions on and the instability from having multiple holy cities keeps me from wanting to found a second religion). If we go down the route of individual techs for each religion, then I would place both Hinduism and Judaism after Scriptures.

Yes long overdue and very much needed (as it was in C2C too).

JosEPh :)
 

Aline

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I would suggest spreading out the techs that give you railroads and electric railroads(dun remember the tech names atm)
They are very close to each other and make building railroads almost pointless as the electrical version comes around way to fast.
 

Vokarya

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I would suggest spreading out the techs that give you railroads and electric railroads(dun remember the tech names atm)
They are very close to each other and make building railroads almost pointless as the electrical version comes around way to fast.

Railroad tech is going to be moved backwards to just after Steam Power. Electric Railroad is available at Electronics, which is going to be one of the kickoff technologies of the Modern Era. Also, there's more space between Mass Transit (for Highway) and Electronics, at least the way I am looking at it right now.
 

Vokarya

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So that's what I plan to do as far as reworking the techs for the Ancient Era. Now I have a question about how we should reconfigure the tech tree map (the F6 screen). You can put up to 10 techs in a column before they start to overlap. I think 10 techs in a column, or even 9, is bad. It looks way too crowded. This does not apply to the first column of techs in an era; except for the Transhuman Era, which has 11 techs, I do want to fit all of the techs on the first level for each era into the same column. So except for that, the question is should I allow 8 techs/column or limit a column to no more than 7?

The reason for finding out how many techs are in a column is that this is how I plan to re-cost technologies. Techs on the same level will be in the same column, or at most split across 2 columns. Techs of different levels or eras will not share a column. A given column will have a uniform cost for all techs in that column. Then, to avoid messing up any balance, I adjust the cost per column so that the total cost of all the techs in the entire era gets as close as possible to the original total cost of all the techs in the era.

This is how I would plot out the Ancient Era if I break up a column of 8 techs into two columns. Ancient-2 and Ancient-4 would be broken up. Ancient-3 is always broken up because it is 11 techs.
Ancient-1 Ancient-2 Ancient-3 Ancient-4 Ancient-5
Weaving Sailing Naval Warfare
Fishing Pottery Trade Seafaring
Agriculture Elephant Riding Fermentation
Hunting Animal Husbandry Caste System Writing Monotheism
Ritualism Naturopathy Slavery Priesthood Polytheism Dualism Scriptures
Storytelling Mysticism Sacrifice
Ceremonial Burial
Stone Tools Woodworking Archery Bronze Working
Mining Metal Casting Masonry Sculpture Warfare
The Wheel Chariotry Horseback Riding

If I allow 8 techs/column, then this is what the Ancient Era looks like, still breaking up Ancient-3 but leaving Ancient-2 and Ancient-4 as one column:
Ancient-1 Ancient-2 Ancient-3 Ancient-4 Ancient-5
Weaving Sailing Naval Warfare
Fishing Pottery Trade Seafaring
Agriculture Animal Husbandry Elephant Riding Fermentation
Hunting Slavery Caste System Writing Monotheism
Ritualism Naturopathy Priesthood Polytheism Dualism Scriptures
Storytelling Mysticism Sacrifice
Ceremonial Burial
Stone Tools Woodworking Archery Bronze Working
Mining Metal Casting Masonry Sculpture Warfare
The Wheel Chariotry Horseback Riding

I'm leaning towards 8 techs/column, but I thought I would post this and see if anyone else has an opinion.
 

JosEPh_II

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1st impression was 1st chart as I think the tech path arrows would be easier to follow.

But I can also see the economy of 2 less columns with the 2nd chart.

Not much help am I? :p

JosEPh;)
 

Vokarya

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1st impression was 1st chart as I think the tech path arrows would be easier to follow.

But I can also see the economy of 2 less columns with the 2nd chart.

Not much help am I? :p

JosEPh;)

The pathing arrows only really come into play when there are multiple OR requirements, although that does apply to 9 different Ancient Era techs. Otherwise, you put the highest-level prerequisite as the OR requirement and any others as AND requirements, the OR requirement becomes the arrow, and the AND requirements become the little boxes in the upper-right corner of each tech's tile.
 
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Just wonder...
I'm leaning towards 8 techs/column, but I thought I would post this and see if anyone else has an opinion.

I would go with the 8 techs/column choice. Looks easier, readable, overall a good solution. :)
 

Vokarya

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So here is the recosting scheme for the Ancient Era, to smooth out the cost curve for techs and give an easy way to cost the three new techs I want to include without disrupting the balance of the era too much.

Level # Techs Cost/Tech
Ancient-1 8 30
Ancient-2 8 50
Ancient-3a 5 70
Ancient-3b 6 90
Ancient-4 8 110
Ancient-5 3 130

The target total cost for this era was 2818. This scheme totals 2800, which is off by only 1%. This is not counting any new religion-founding techs we want to add - I feel that since you can skip the religion techs, they shouldn't count towards the total.

Let me know what you think of this.
 
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