Terrain Features: Does Civ VI or VII need more?

Would you like similar additional Features in Civ?

  • Brush / Dry forests

    Votes: 20 58.8%
  • Meadows / Moors

    Votes: 11 32.4%
  • Mangrove / Swamp

    Votes: 20 58.8%
  • Kelp Forests / Algal Blooms

    Votes: 11 32.4%
  • Hazardous Ice & Reef

    Votes: 11 32.4%
  • Other (please state)

    Votes: 7 20.6%
  • No. It already works well & looks good.

    Votes: 3 8.8%

  • Total voters
    34

SandFli

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Terrain Features have many uses in-game, including unique Civ abilities, and add lots of detail to the maps.
Further Features could make environmental transitions more realistic and make the game world look great.

The question is, is there space or need for more?
Some starting ideas include:


Land
Brush: Scrub vegetation of arid / Mediterranean zones to add flavour & food to those vast, dry Deserts.
Found on Desert & Plains. Yields +1 Food. Provides Combat bonus & Sight range reduction.

Meadow or Heath: Wildflower moors to allow more room for resources & improvements in Tundra Cities.
Found on Tundra & Grassland. Yields +1 Food. Perhaps Combat & Movement effects only..

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Sea
Kelp Forest: Seaweed, aiding Population growth and resource placement on Coast. And Seasteads... :think:
Found on Coast. Yields +1 Food. Combat bonus & minus Sight range for Submarines.

Mangrove or Swamp: Wet Forested areas to extend land and/or limit Coast & Naval movement.
Found on Coast. Yields +1 Production. Traversable for Land and Naval units. Costs additional Movement points, reduces Sight range, and gives Combat bonus.

Plus, Reef & Ice: Could cause Combat reduction / damage & movement loss for Naval / Embarked units.
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These could be enough to allow growth in those starting or surrounding zones of mostly empty Desert, Tundra, or Coast. Like Rainforests, they'd be less common than Woods, but would replace Woods in places. They might be particularly useful were there a Health mechanic.. :twitch: Also allow for a new Coastal Feature based Pantheon to rival God of the Sea. There could, of course, be some related District adjacency bonuses, and options for in-game Appeal bonuses, or, for example, Science from Kelp & Meadow, through Policies or Buildings. Such Features, particularly those on the Coast, could add a tiny bit more complexity to Naval combat too, & either encourage or discourage settling.

A purely aesthetic alternative would be to have differing appearance for Woods, depending on their underlying Terrain, which could include Rainforest (under the Feature name Forest), with the varied appearance of Coniferous / Boreal; Deciduous / Temperate; & Mediterranean / Arid forests.
With Humankind on the horizon, Highlands and Lowlands are open for discussion too.

Necessary or not?
Suitable Feature names & effects?
Can anyone suggest any more?
 
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Duke William of Normandy

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Ice is in the game, but it's just Ice Packs. I think Ice Packs could be modified so that you can move through them through a certain Tech, but, as you said, lose Combat Strength and Movement Points when in an Ice Pack.
 

SandFli

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Would also like to see Ice eventually have some use beyond path blocking. My thought was to make Ice and Reef have some impact on Naval units movement and combat, much like the Features do on land. I'd like to be able to cross Ice with a late game Tech (or from the start with the Inuit :mischief:), although without resources or yields, the real need to travel over or through Ice is questionable.
 

Duke William of Normandy

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More, for sure! Terrain should also be varied in height, rather than just being "Hills" or "Mountain", and perhaps forests could have different levels of density.
So you mean we copy Humankind? Sure. :D
 

Hertingen

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So you mean we copy Humankind? Sure. :D

Yeah. It's one of the most obvious innovations that game is making if you ask me. Obvious as in that it feels obvious next-gen games should be able to handle that kind of graphical improvement and that gameplay-mecahnics and AI should handle it too.

I have not been following Humankind too much, but I do hope the different heights actually have gameplay and strategic differences and is not just for looks. Looking forward to playing Humankind, but I never buy games on release anymore, so we'll see with time I guess. Civilization 6 will most likely be my 4x along with Crusader Kings 3 for a while.
 

Duke William of Normandy

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I have not been following Humankind too much, but I do hope the different heights actually have gameplay and strategic differences and is not just for looks. Looking forward to playing Humankind, but I never buy games on release anymore, so we'll see with time I guess. Civilization 6 will most likely be my 4x along with Crusader Kings 3 for a while.
I'm sort of broke so I don't think Ill be able to get Humankind soon, but on the plus side, I have the other games you mentioned. :p

Anyway, back on topic, I'd suggest maybe Artificial Reefs?
 
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I'm all for more immersive elements, so variance in terrain types would be phenomenal.

Even if we don't want to go all out on the different elevations concept of Humankind, I would at least like to see inland cliffs and valleys. Additionally, adding mesa as a terrain type would be cool, too.
 

Hertingen

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I'm all for more immersive elements, so variance in terrain types would be phenomenal.

Even if we don't want to go all out on the different elevations concept of Humankind, I would at least like to see inland cliffs and valleys. Additionally, adding mesa as a terrain type would be cool, too.

I agree. More variation is good, but in the end it's all about execution and asking if it adds anything new gameplay wise, or if it's just there to be there. The thing is though, that I am kind of disappointed that Firaxis did not use the inclusion of Norway in Civ6 to play around with mountains and snow. The Incas do have special interactions and bonuses with mountains, but Norway could and should also: A naval and mountain speciality civ! While I see how it is logical to have mountains as impassable terrain, it also feels weird that at least some mountains are not traversable.

Valleys and Cliffs would be really cool, not to say functional and strategically interesting! Fjords should also be more of a thing and not just a natural wonder.
 
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SandFli

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Valleys and Cliffs would be really cool, not to say functional and strategically interesting!
There is, without a doubt, room for more variation of Terrains and Features. I made this thread because I was surprised to find little mention of this using the Search function. The question is, how to ensure functional advantages or disadvantages of these, and where to draw the line. Swamps or Mangroves, roughly as suggested above, serve a strategic purpose, perhaps with greater penalties than Woods, and are not unrealistic or over-specific, as they can cover large swathes of land, or water, in the real World.
Valleys would make a good addition.

I'd picture a simple topography; let's imagine the value of 0 being flat ground or average elevation, 1 being highland or Hills regions, and -1 being lowlands or Valleys. Extreme extensions might be Mountains (2) and 'Craters' or Canyons at -2. Sea level, ocean depth, possibly rivers and lakes too, and the eventual flooding, would easily fit this simple approach to elevation. This might allow more logistical and strategic choice, particularly in Coastal Cities, between settling on Cliffs, Hills, Beach/Estuary. Improvements, such as Quarries, or possible improvements (Moats or Mounds, for example), could potentially play into this, so that a sort of terraforming of both Terrain Features and Terrain elevation is possible within your Cities.

I'd suggest maybe Artificial Reefs?
I thought of that too! I like it. A late game tech (possibly Environmentalism) which allows active improvement of the environment, as well as strategic advantages. Artificial Reefs, especially with added effects on Naval combat, would be ideal. Currently, only Cliffs have any Terrain/Feature based impact on Naval movement or Combat, and that's mostly only when transitioning onto dry land.
 
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Right now, Civ VI has 4 "elevations" in Terrain:
Sea Level
Plains, Desert, Tundra, Sow, Grassland = flat land
Hills of ll kinds = High Ground
Mountains = largely unplayable

So, for land units we are pretty much relegated to 2 elevations of terrain. This works fine as long as all combat takes place on a strategic (game) map at 1UPT: you are either above someone for Line of Sight or you are not, no variations required.
Humankind, on the other hand, uses a Tactical Map for battles which is derived from the strategic (game) map, so all the 'tactical variations' of high ground, dead ground (presumably, we haven't seen the Modern Weapons in play yet) slopes, etc, and their tactical advantages and disadvantages are almost a requirement to make the Tactical lay-out interesting. I have counted at least 5 variations in heights/elevations on Humankind maps, in addition to impassable/unplayable Mountains.

So the question is, will Civ VII have a Tactical Combat system that requires more fine-tuning of elevations and ground in battles, or stick with a purely Game Map display in which 'tactics', as now, are strictly a factor of unit interactions (anti-cav versus cav sort of thing) and the most basic positioning (ranged on hills for extra LoS, flanking, etc)

I've made no secret that I'd like a tactical lay-out and more tactical flavor to the in-game battles, but short of such a system, more variety in elevation on the game map is not necessary unless some other variation in game play is also added to Civ VII.

What is needed regardless, is more variety of land forms in the game: waterfalls, large (navigable) and small rivers, hardwood versus softwood forests (with different woody Resources available from them), high-latitude marshy forests (ala Canada and European Russia) versus dry land forests (such as Ancient North African coast or modern American western mountain slopes), variations in rainfall, rain shadows from Mountains. Coral and rocky 'reefs', shoals, river mouth turbulence: the mouth of the Columbia River just south of where I sit has been a 'graveyard of ships' for over a century because of the extreme turbulence at its mouth, and many rivers with extensive marshy deltas regularly shift their main channel from one side of the delta to the other to the detriment of cities and shipping.

I'd even argue for a return to 'continental' variations, so that one continent has Dolomite-like craggy rock spires, another has the Mesas of southwestern USA, another the steep peaks of southern China, with visual vegetation variations to match. The map could be both more interesting to play on and more interesting visually than what we have now.

BUT never forget that variation just for the sake of being visually interesting can detract from game play. The Humankind map, beautiful as it is, has so many variations of rocky and regular ground, barren ground, vegetation and elevation that it is not easy to keep track of what the game results are from each combination: I found I had to play the Open Dev games with the terrain bonuses turned on to keep track, which sort of defeats the purpose of having a GUI: Too Graphic, Not Enough Interface so the 'raw' numbers had to be used instead.
 

8housesofelixir

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Currently we have five major terrain types - Plains, Grassland, Desert, Tundra, Snow. And we also have five major features - Floodplains, Swamps, Forests, Rainforests, and Oasis. These covered most of the IRL terrain types.

Which type of terrain that is highly influential to human history but doesn't get attention here? Steppes - or savannas/shrublands - the type of terrain that you really cannot put a Farm on it but can do high quality transhumance. Here, Pastures replaced Farms.

4x games always have problems portraying non-agrarian empires, and one of the reasons is that they don't always include the environment supporting the nomadic lifestyle.
 

SandFli

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Hi @Boris Gudenuf. Appreciate you taking the time to add your input.
Considering the breadth of distance each Tile represents, I won't argue that the inclusion of higher elevations, including those above Features atop Hills, might further increase line of sight. However, I'd argue that Valleys, as proposed by @Hellenism Salesman, would add some strategic depth, without the need for a separate tactical map a la Humankind. There are other ways to improve combat, should Firaxis prefer to improve on what's there, or take a different approach. Admittedly, the opposition looks good so far.

What is needed regardless, is more variety of land forms in the game
When it comes to future entries in the Civilization franchise, I certainly concur with the idea of a number of navigable rivers, or rivers that can be made navigable, along with Wood-type Resources. Rivers, from streams to deltas, in connection with Mountains or inland Cliffs and Coast would add far more than they'd detract. Perhaps a simple weather system, based on rainfall & currents, could help to impact naval & embarked movement / dangers, and to slightly transform Terrain over time. I will find the link for the threads I had found discussing Rivers and Naval improvement.

I'd even argue for a return to 'continental' variations, so that one continent has Dolomite-like craggy rock spires, another has the Mesas of southwestern USA, another the steep peaks of southern China, with visual vegetation variations to match. The map could be both more interesting to play on and more interesting visually than what we have now.
I like this concept a lot! In part because I love rock formations. I'd imagine each continent-specific formation functioning as a Mountain (such as Mesas), or possibly Feature (like the Karst, or 'stone forests', of Southern China), with differing patterns of spacing, thereby affecting strategy and city planning. The varied vegetation also fits with the aforementioned idea of a singular 'Forest' Feature, that differs in appearance and potential Resources, based on the Continent and base Terrain.

BUT never forget that variation just for the sake of being visually interesting can detract from game play.
That is the purpose of this thread: to narrow down a list of valid Terrains and Features that expand on gameplay while equally adding more graphic appeal to make maps appear naturally diverse and immersive. My initial thinking is that Deserts and Tundra in particular often suffer from a disabling lack of both Yields and Resources, unless interlaced with Rivers. The suggestion of a Brush feature, for example, helps to improve the edges of Deserts, adding some more Yield and Harvesting potential, while also giving the appearance of a more realistic transition. With some Civs uniquely benefiting from Features (Vietnam most of all, being absolutely reliant on them), this may help to open options for City locations in the harsher environments, and might reduce the occasional need for spawn location based restarts.

Which type of terrain that is highly influential to human history but doesn't get attention here? Steppes - or savannas/shrublands - the type of terrain that you really cannot put a Farm on it but can do high quality transhumance. Here, Pastures replaced Farms.

4x games always have problems portraying non-agrarian empires, and one of the reasons is that they don't always include the environment supporting the nomadic lifestyle.

Agreed. I had considered adding Savannah or Steppe Terrains to the Poll. However, these seem to be basically included as the Plains Terrain in-game, and possibly Grassland, at present.
In which case, of the 5 Terrain types in-game, only Grassland would realistically be readily arable land, and the other 4 (Plains, Desert, Tundra, Snow) being arid/ barren for crop growth, until sufficient farming/ irrigation techniques are unlocked, or until suitable crops are found and/or planted.
Relying on Grassland would be too restrictive and unbalanced (if it were to work that way in Civ VII), although this could allow harvested Features (Marsh, Woods, etc.) to have more, longer term effects, having primed the underlying Terrain for agriculture or pasturing, in addition to the standard initial Production boost from Harvesting.

For a nomadic lifestyle reliant on livestock or wild animals, there would likely need to be wild herds moving on the map, or some way of herding animals into or around your territory, without constant management or movement. I'd like to see environmental circumstances initially encourage a primarily agrarian or non-agrarian approach, which with some terraforming effort or technology could be altered over time to suit the Civilization and play style. I will try to think about a way to do this.

Perhaps it's time to improve on the concept of easily pulling yields (Gold in particular) directly from the ground, and reliance on one-size-fits-all Farms, regardless of Resources.
 
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As a starting point I think 'marsh' should be renamed to 'wetlands' as wetlands is a more general term, allowing them to make sense in more locations.

A while ago I set up and released a terrain mod, that aimed to differentiate more between terrain types. I have since abandoned it because the AI was unable to play it basically. The key change was to make each population point consume 3 food per turn (up from 2). A change like that allows you to differentiate more between terrain types, like food 0/1/2/3/4 all plays quite differently.

On the sort of nomad aspect, I think the best thing the game can do is to have an improvement that gets yields from each adjacent undeveloped tile. So like nomad camp that gives you the base yields (say 1 food, 1 production) of the terrain, +1 food for every 2 adjacent undeveloped flat tiles, +1 production for every 2 adjacent undeveloped hill tiles. Sort of like 1 population point inhabiting 7 tiles (base hex and each adjacent hex).
 

Wolffleet

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I had a similar idea in reworking yields particularly gold. I was trying to make econ rework of sorts where gold as a tile yield didn't exist. Unfortunately, it's pretty hard-wired in the game so doing so requires a lot of changes. I think gold should come more so from national bank(IE 5 gold per turn in palace), trade or owning silver/gold mines. Essentially you have a baseline amount and you gain more gold by selling your resources or owning a select few profitable tiles.
 

Futumch

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I would like to see a feature added to oceans called Trade Winds.
A section of ocean, shaped like a lens that's about 7or 8 hexes wide and 3 high in the centre. If a ship enters it, it is accelerated if it is travelling in the right direction. Northern hemisphere - east to west, southern hemisphere west to east. A marine unit would receive double movement across the trade wind area one way, normal movement the other.
They would need to be plopped down half way between the equator and the top or bottom of the map, in a section of ocean that can accomodate the size needed. If no section is available, then it is omitted.

I live in Tasmania, which is separated from mainland Australia by Bass Strait. The Strait is notoriously rough, as it is slap bang on the southern trade route, or Roaring Forties. These sorts of wind patterns have been known to mariners for centuries, and I think it'd be great to see them added somehow. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Sid Meier's Pirates! incorporated a wind current system for the carribbean, but it was a bit more complex than what I'm suggesting.
Granted, the development of new stuff for Civ 6 seems to have reached an end, but hey, you never know.
 
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Scrabbler

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I think it would be interesting to move to each tile being a biome with a specific climate defined by temperature, rainfall and elevation. even if more than one biome has to have exactly the same tile yields. The main reason I would like to see this implemented would be to do something more interesting with food resources, which are pretty boring at present. The idea is that you cannot build a generic farm but must plant a specific type of crop obtained from a wild source, and where you can plant it is limited to particular biomes. So, if you happened to start near a lot of tropical, wet tiles, you would be incentivised to locate or trade for sources of rice, particularly if there are no wild sources on your continent.
 
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I would like to see a feature added to oceans called Trade Winds.
A section of ocean, shaped like a lens that's about 7or 8 hexes wide and 3 high in the centre. If a ship enters it, it is accelerated if it is travelling in the right direction. Northern hemisphere - east to west, southern hemisphere west to east. A marine unit would receive double movement across the trade wind area one way, normal movement the other.
They would need to be plopped down half way between the equator and the top or bottom of the map, in a section of ocean that can accomodate the size needed. If no section is available, then it is omitted.

I live in Tasmania, which is separated from mainland Australia by Bass Strait. The Strait is notoriously rough, as it is slap bang on the southern trade route, or Roaring Forties. These sorts of wind patterns have been known to mariners for centuries, and I think it'd be great to see them added somehow. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Sid Meier's Pirates! incorporated a wind current system for the carribbean, but it was a bit more complex than what I'm suggesting.
Granted, the development of new stuff for Civ 6 seems to have reached an end, but hey, you never know.

The new game Port Royale 4 includes Wind Direction as a component for how fast your trade routes work: it is appreciably more efficient to follow the trade winds in that game.

The prevailing oceanic currents also have a potential distinctly Historical Effect as well. Very early sailors (beginning of Classical Era at least) had discovered the 'Monsoon' winds between Africa and India across the Indian Ocean, and used them to set up very early open-ocean trade routes between the two: Greek/Roman writers saying that the Greek Hippalus discovered these in the first century BCE are sheer Propaganda: mariners from Egypt to India had been using them for centuries already.
The other intriguing historical connection is that if you sail down the Atlantic coast of North Africa and sail just a little too far off shore, the winds and current will take you to Trinidad in the Caribbean, almost regardless of what you do. This has led to all sorts of speculation about Carthaginian, Phoenician, or African contact between the Old World and the Americas, none of which is definitively proven, but could provide the basis for interesting Random Acts in a Civ-type game.

Something like an Oceanic Prevailing Wind/Current mechanic in a future Cv (I agree, it's too late for anything radically new in Civ VI) IMHO, would tie in with other 'map' changes: navigable rivers, shifting rivers and deltas, flooding coasts (which has been happening for over 4000 years, so is NOT tied strictly to Global Warming) and more variable terrain and elevation on land. We've been playing on the same plains-grassland-desert-hills maps for too long now, it's past time to take a new look at it all.
 

Duke William of Normandy

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The new game Port Royale 4 includes Wind Direction as a component for how fast your trade routes work: it is appreciably more efficient to follow the trade winds in that game.

The prevailing oceanic currents also have a potential distinctly Historical Effect as well. Very early sailors (beginning of Classical Era at least) had discovered the 'Monsoon' winds between Africa and India across the Indian Ocean, and used them to set up very early open-ocean trade routes between the two: Greek/Roman writers saying that the Greek Hippalus discovered these in the first century BCE are sheer Propaganda: mariners from Egypt to India had been using them for centuries already.
The other intriguing historical connection is that if you sail down the Atlantic coast of North Africa and sail just a little too far off shore, the winds and current will take you to Trinidad in the Caribbean, almost regardless of what you do. This has led to all sorts of speculation about Carthaginian, Phoenician, or African contact between the Old World and the Americas, none of which is definitively proven, but could provide the basis for interesting Random Acts in a Civ-type game.

Something like an Oceanic Prevailing Wind/Current mechanic in a future Cv (I agree, it's too late for anything radically new in Civ VI) IMHO, would tie in with other 'map' changes: navigable rivers, shifting rivers and deltas, flooding coasts (which has been happening for over 4000 years, so is NOT tied strictly to Global Warming) and more variable terrain and elevation on land. We've been playing on the same plains-grassland-desert-hills maps for too long now, it's past time to take a new look at it all.
One word: Yes.
 
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