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What do you want to see from a large scale mod post-Rising Tide?

Discussion in 'CivBE - General Modding Discussion' started by Machiavelli24, Oct 15, 2015.

  1. Machiavelli24

    Machiavelli24 Mod creator

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    Update:
    This thread is been superseded by the "Echoes of Earth" thread in the Mod Development section of the forum. You can see it here. Please post in that thread and not in this one.
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    Original Post follows:
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    For much of the last year I've been working on and releasing updates for my Beyond Earth mod New Horizons. Rising Tide puts the development of New Horizons at a crossroads. I have multiple ideas for how to proceed, but I want to know what people who play mods think. The Rising Tide expansion provides a great opportunity for me to revisit and adjust some of the core aspects of New Horizons. Even if you didn't play, or care for, New Horizons, what would you want to see from a large scale mod?

    Should New Horizons be broken up into modular parts?


    My first option is simply to break New Horizons up into multiple mods. For example, I could release "New Horizons: Virtues" and "New Horizons: Military" separately, allowing people to play with only the parts they like. One advantage of this approach is that it will likely take me less time to move the parts over to Rising Tide. What parts or aspects of New Horizons that you feel should be changed or kept?

    Similarly, I am interested in identifying which specific parts of the mod that people strongly liked or disliked. I want to make sure that I keep the most popular parts intact for the next version, and identifying the more controversial aspects will give me good ideas on how to proceed.

    Should New Horizons be rebuilt from the ground up?


    Starting almost from scratch would allow the mod to play to the strengths of Rising Tide rather than carry over the assumptions from the base game of Beyond Earth. But it would take much longer and result in a different experience. Would you prefer a revolution or a mere evolution?

    One possible revolution that I've been thinking about is having Old Earth send radio messages with the seeding ships. Due to the time and distances involved when the seeding ships land they have a century of signal from Old Earth compressed on their ship's computers. This signal would be a history of Old Earth -- all the desperate research on instantaneous communication and teleportation which the colony would try to gather and study to advance. But the signal would become harder to find and its contents more haunting as resources dry up on Old Earth and panic begins. Until the day the signal runs out and calls the fate of Old Earth into question -- is it gone for good, or could the colony possibly save their first home?
     
  2. hevans900

    hevans900 Chieftain

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    I'm intrigued - how would this radio signal be incorporated in to the game?

    Also as a personal fan of New Horizons I think you should start from the ground up. I think your existing Vanilla mod is in a really good place right now - I rarely start a game without it, and the virtue trees are just incredible.

    Not to say completely rip it up and go totally greenfield - I particularly like the explorer tweaks in Vanilla for example - but you might need to adjust this particular change to account for the now abundant amounts of excavations available.

    I have no idea what you have in mind but the first thing that comes to mind is a virtue tree solely dedicated to enhancing diplomacy!
     
  3. Lord Tirian

    Lord Tirian Erratic Poster

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    Modularity: No strong opinion on the modularity. Modularity is great of little changes, but New Horizons feels like a sufficiently big change that I would rarely go for the pick-and-mix approach.

    Things I Didn't Like: My biggest issue with New Horizons were the implicit flavour/thematic changes brought in through the tech web reorganisation. One thing that Civ:BE actually did very well (better than Civ5) was the link between the "theme" of a tech and what it provides as well as the links in the tech web, they mostly made "sense" (apart from a handful of outliers, looking at you, Autogyros!). That was lost a bit in New Horizons - these giant things that are boreholes are now a tier-1 building and Harmony's perfectly happy with them? Researching Physics leads to Genetic Mapping and Gene Vaults? Genetics leads to Autonomous Systems? Why can I obly build domes on hills? Considering RT strengthens the thematic links by adding more affinity points to techs, this is going to be doubly problematic. It might sound like a "niggle" but renaming the techs and buildings might be a better option and changing them so much in theme.

    Complete Rebuild: Sucks to say that... but yes. With something like New Horizons which attempts to overhaul everything, it needs to be tailored to the base experience it builds upon. Mine the original New Horizons as if it was somebody else's mod - steal code, steal ideas... but a fresh start provides a fresh view. The new affinity-enriched tech web will also require a bit of new thinking.

    Old Earth Communication: This sounds exciting. I have no idea what you are going to do with it, but this sounds like a mechanic that's equally flavourful and exciting (effectively a clock on Supremacy and Purity victories, making one easier and another harder or at least different?).
     
  4. Galgus

    Galgus Chieftain

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    I like the idea of splitting the mod up if it wouldn't limit your design, so players wanting to mix and match mods can do so easier.

    I love the idea of the signal from Old Earth, and with the possibilities in Rising Tide I vote for rebuilding the mod.

    I'd kind of like to see a unit facelift for the hyrbid affinities, in particular the Drone Cage springs to mind as interesting, but very weak in it's unique utility.

    Artifacts could probably also use some changes.
     
  5. Machiavelli24

    Machiavelli24 Mod creator

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    Here is another question for everyone:

    One of New Horizons core mechanics was a production economy verse an energy economy. Did people like it? Or did they try it once each way and feel like they had seen everything? Is it a success that should be kept, or a something you would be happy to see not make a return?
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    There are a couple of methods I'm considering. I could replace the early game affinity quests with quests that require the player to do certain things to collect the signal. Launch satellites, establish stations (which would be themed as dedicated collection facilities), build receiver or decoder buildings in their cities. Or it could be spread out among the resource pods and old earth excavation sites.

    One mechanical aspect I'm experimenting with is having the signal be tied to early science buildings. The idea is that a "signal science building" would provide people science in the early game but once the signal ends the building turns off and becomes worthless to build. This would limit the number of buildings cities in the mid game need to build. It would also put players under pressure to use the early game to set up a science engine that can handle the end of the signal.

    This is very useful to know because the expeditions requiring 2 charges is something I've been nervous about. I like it, but it is also very counter-intuitive and the AI can't really handle it.

    One alternative I've been considering is starting players with a marine/patrol boat instead of an explorer and making the explorer unlock on some ring 1 tech. That method could help slow the expedition rush without messing up the AI.
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    It is a great thing you mentioned this because I think this was a mistake on my part, but without anyone holding my feet to the fire I might have convinced myself it wasn't a big deal.

    What happened is I designed myself into a corner. I knew what buildings, units and other things needed to be in the 2nd ring of techs before I started looking at the names. The end result was I had to allocate the names in a way that was "least bad". If I could do it again, I would take account of the names at a much early stage of design to ensure that their flavor isn't grossly disrupted.

    It is a bit of an outgrowth of some ideas I had for redoing the victory conditions that didn't make it into New Horizons before Rising Tide came out.

    Purity was based around the idea of terraforming the whole world into Earth and bring humans to it.

    Supremacy wanted to save Old Earth by strip mining this planet to teleport the resources back to Old Earth. So Old Earth can building more seedships and leave. While on the current world they build more spaceships and travel to another world (because planetary habitation, like organic organs, reflect an out of date view common in small fleshy minds).

    Harmony was based on the idea of discovering the aliens were sentient and that the other factions were essentially committing genocide. So finding a way to communicate with the aliens was key to working out a way to co-exist.
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    The new hybrid units do create a bunch of new options for military units. I don't think I'll be able to port New Horizon's military units over as is without changing hybrids.
     
  6. Lord Tirian

    Lord Tirian Erratic Poster

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    It's interesting, I liked it. I'm not a sufficiently high-difficulty player to give the greatest feedback on balance, but it was a good direction and the AI is vaguely competent enough to deal with energy for rush buying (it might not focus on it, but it at least understands the mechanisms).
    Neat. :goodjob:
    I really like this idea. One thing I struggled with in Civ:BE proper is that Harmony and Purity conflicted (terraforming vs going native), Purity and Supremacy (rescuing vs conquering Old Earth) to some extent but Supremacy and Harmony never came (thematically) into conflict.

    Making the fate of the planet (terraform vs. awaken vs. stripmine) central to victory enforces strong tension between the affinities and explains why they are mutually incompatible victory scenarios. This is really what Civ:BE needed, very much looking forward to this! :D
     
  7. Galgus

    Galgus Chieftain

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    I like the production vs energy based economy thing, like how picking Commerce in Civ 5 was a dedication to a very gold based economy.

    While I like the idea of the signal, if it is only active early on I have some concerns that it would create required buildings and lower player agency.

    Thematically though, I love it.

    I was admittedly letting my disatisfaction with the Drone Cage color my response, but I do look forward to what you generally do to the hybrid units.
     
  8. Machiavelli24

    Machiavelli24 Mod creator

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    Another question. In New Horizons most of the ring one buildings are dependent on local resources (Network needs copper/silica, vivarium needs fruit/tubers/etc). It isn't until ring 2 that generic food, production, culture buildings and satellites that can be built in every city is available. Did folks like this? Did it influence their tech choices? Or did they just get every ring 1 tech anyway and it didn't matter?

    I've been considering flipping it, putting the generic yield buildings in ring 1 and putting the resource dependent buildings in ring 2.
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    I would like to hear more, if you want to elaborate your thinking? Is your concern that signal buildings would be too good relative to their peer buildings that every opening would involve building them first?

    One approach I want to try is having a ring 1 building (say Signal Receiver) that provides +4 Science at first. But on turn 25 it gets downgraded to +3 Science. On turn 50 it gets reduced to +2. On turn 75 it is only +1. And on turn 100 (when the signal stops) it would provide nothing (and stop costing maint).

    In theory this would be similar to the one-time lump sum Science currently provided by the laboratory, but spread out over time. The nature of how the signal fades (and what if anything) the player can do to extend it will likely make or break this mechanic.
     
  9. Azem.Ocram

    Azem.Ocram Chieftain

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    I really love your work! I look forward to your future accomplishments!

    It really is too bad that new virtue trees or synergy perks can't be added (instead of merely replaced), affinity levels cannot be added, cost calculations (for affinity) cannot be changed, Leader Traits cannot be extended (to a new menu or to get new slots), victories cannot be added (to accommodate hybrid affinities), Civ5 BNW Ideology (doesn't spread) and Religion (spreads) code cannot be adapted into CivBERT, new resources (such as happiness or faith) cannot be added, and new Tile Wonders cannot be added using the modding tools available (AFAIK).

    What is possible that I would like to see (that have not been implemented yet AFAIK) are the following:

    New Satellites:
    Mid-game surveyor/scanner satellites should be expensive to produce & use 1 titanium each, on new leaf tech (Orbital Surveyors or Scanner Satellites) to Communications, each with the ability of a starting condition ship setting (Coastal Surveyor, Lifeform Scanner, Tectonic Scanner (modified to reveal all strategic resources on the map), Electromagnetic Scanner) work upon launch but provide line of sight for duration of orbit.
    Late-game satellite (Automated Surveyor?) should be expensive, use 1 Titanium (structure), 1 Firaxite (computer) & 1 Floatstone (launch and orbital stability), unlocked with Orbital Automation, reveal entire map, have standard (same as Solar Collectors and Weather Controllers) orbital radius, provide 1 more tile of sight than standard satellites, double worker and explorer speed (halve the time it takes to build an improvement or construct an expedition) under its orbital radius, and generate 1 expedition site during its lifespan

    New hybridized worker improvements:
    Hybrid Forest (modified terrascape, immune to miasma, lower (but additive) yield of +2 Food, +2 Culture, +1 Production unlocked with new leaf tech (maybe called Cross Pollination, grants Purity and Harmony points) to Terraforming, no tech upgrades), RoButler Factory (you can name this factory for producing robotic servants anything you wish but it should be like a manufactury with +2 Production, +2 Culture, no unhealth, unlocked with new leaf tech (called Domestic Robots, grants Purity and Supremacy points) to Robotics, no tech upgrades), Splice & Augment Lab (should be renamed, grants +1 Food, +2 Production, +2 Science, unlocked with new leaf tech (maybe called Xeno-Techno Augmentation, grants Supremacy and Harmony points), no tech upgrades.
    For balance reasons, I would set the energy maintenance costs of Terrascapes, Biowells, Manufacturies, Academies, and Hybrid Forests to 4 energy per turn, Splice & Augment Labs to 5 energy per turn, and RoButler factories to 3 energy per turn.

    Affinity:
    I would love to see a mod that changes Affinity to have smaller perks (especially Hybrid Affinity perks) but have perks for each Affinity level, combined with a variation of Beyond Great Persons but with the free Affinity level replaced with a "Hybridize Next Great Affinity Person" option, making Hybrid Affinity Great Persons and new Great Person Tile Improvements.
     
  10. Lord Tirian

    Lord Tirian Erratic Poster

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    I like it, it means you pay more attention to the map and actually pick techs fitting your environment, very similar to how affinity resources nearby can often add a distinct direction to your tech development. While do you end up getting most of them eventually, it's also the point where they are cheap enough to pick them up to facilitate wider spread colonisation.

    It's good to have some flexibility but this is (at least in New Horizons) brought in via quests, allowing some "generic" choice riding off the specific choices.

    The only thing I think is important is to leave at least one or two buildings/tech choices with a general yield bonus in case you end up in a spot where you're a border expansion or two away from actually getting the bonus yield.

    For example, I actually like Networks giving you science anyway because it means it can allow you to "bootstrap" out of the first tech ring because you don't have any better resources. To some extent, however, this is solved with Diplomatic Capital as it's a good "rider" yield allowing you to buy some stuff (or traits) to accelerate your progression in the start if you don't have many interesting bonuses around.
     
  11. Galgus

    Galgus Chieftain

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    I'm not sure on ring 1 vs ring 2, but I really like the touch of buildings tied to resources.
    _____________

    Yeah, more or less I'm worried that they would be so good that every start would build them.

    Though I'm not sure how the concept of a temporary science boost would really play out, perhaps it would be balanced as a science jumpstart that pays off less in the long term relative to other investments, but is useful for rushing to something.
     
  12. Lord Tirian

    Lord Tirian Erratic Poster

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    One possibility is balancing it by scaling and opportunity cost to create tension with other options for the same yields. For example, let's consider something like this:

    Lasercom Satellite (new-fangled version): 1 tile radius, +1 :c5science:, +1:c5culture: per tile in range. No more :c5science: after turn 50, no :c5culture: after turn 100.

    If you place that on a T1 tech and assume Machiavelli24's model of resource-tied T1 buildings and generic T2 buildings, then it creates an interesting tension if you want to get more science/culture:
    • Are you going to research and settle a science/culture resource?
    • Are you going to beeline ahead to grab a T2 building?
    • Are you going to grab a Lasercom Sat - which will depreciate in value over the turns, but also increase in value as you can work more tiles (shifting the food vs. science buildings balance again)?

    If done correctly, this can create quite interesting early game decisions.
     
  13. Galgus

    Galgus Chieftain

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    The trade-off still seems sort of odd to me.

    Custom marvels may not be possible, but it seems like a derelict settlement array designed to pick up the signal would make for an interesting way of doing a temporary bonus - and introducing fighting over it.
    __________

    Regardless, the cut-off point would need to be scaled with game speed obviously.
     
  14. Azem.Ocram

    Azem.Ocram Chieftain

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    Upon further investigation, my ideas are incompatible with New Horizons. Sorry for wasting time.
     
  15. Machiavelli24

    Machiavelli24 Mod creator

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    Azem, you're comments weren't useless. What New Horizons becomes post Rising Tide is likely to be radically different than what it was before. I do plan to change satellites, moving some of them to the first ring and generally making all of them cost at least one oil.

    I'm also experimenting with combining the affinity level perks with virtues. The idea being that the virtue trees would be something like: Old Earth/signal (anyone can pick virtues from it), Harmony, Purity, Supremacy. While the affinity perks would provide culture from buildings associated with the affinity. So Harmony would get culture from things like gene splicers, Purity from Old Earth Relics and Supremacy from NeuroLabs.

    Certain improvements would also be associated with each affinity. Harmony: BioWells and Manufacturies. Purity: Domes and TerraScapes. Supremacy: Nodes and Arrays. Everyone would be able to build the improvements but the associated affinities would get extra yields from them.
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    As for the signal buildings that have yields which decrease over time. I am getting more skeptical of the idea. It may just end up being a needlessly complex way to generate short term science. There is already pods, alien nests and expeditions which provide an early game science engine. Designing a interesting collection of science engines should probably be the highest priority.

    But one relatively simple implementation of the idea may just be turning the yields from headquarters off after turn 100 or so. The idea being that it will make the capital not always the best city the player has. Or the signal could be a satellite that the player starts with but can not rebuild. I really like the flavor idea of it but the exact design is still relatively amorphous.
     
  16. Doviello

    Doviello Chieftain

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    I kinda love this idea, but i'm not sure i get it.

    So culture will still grant virtues, but now leveling up your affinity gives you bonus culture from certain buildings and improvements associated with that affinity, so you can use that xp to unlock virtues in the "affinity specific virtue tree", is that right?

    I think the main problem is, can you limit which tree you can pick virtues from?

    And in RT, you'd have to do a balance check on the tech tree, b/c there's just too much xp around, it's too easy to go, like, 8/8/8 and get a ton of culture from everything, you could break the system hehe. But hey, sounds much better than what we have now, sign me up for beta.
     
  17. hevans900

    hevans900 Chieftain

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    Lilgamefreek's social engineering completely overhauled the virtue trees and added 8(?) more trees as well as completely changing the synergy bonuses.

    Ryika's "awesome affinities/victories" for vanilla changes every affinity level calculation, and added perks for every single affinity level.

    These things are clearly possible.
     
  18. Machiavelli24

    Machiavelli24 Mod creator

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    If I go with the approach, there are a couple of parts to it. One part is that other than Old Earth relic and Holosuit there wouldn't be any big sources of culture. But getting to Supremacy 5 would make the Augmentory provide +3 Culture. Purity 5 would give +3 Culture from the LevPlant. Harmony 5 would make the Gene Smelter give +3 Culture. A player's Affinity choice would determine what their mid game "generic culture building" was.

    The way virtues would work is that the 4 trees would be renamed to: Signal, Harmony, Purity, Supremacy. Everyone could pick Virtues in the Signal tree but if you wanted to pick Harmony Virtues you would need to have some levels in Harmony.

    Ideally this will help capture the feel of a society changing. As a player you'll be picking Virtues like "Xeno digestive transgenetics" instead of "domestic automatons". The big risk I'm trying to work around is ensuring players have enough choices in the early game.

    The coupling of Affinity with Science is something I'm looking closely at. Currently the ring 1 techs provide the most efficient Affinity per Science ratio and the 3rd ring provides the worst. The result is that the ring 1 techs are almost always taken (letting everyone get 3ish level in every Affinity) and the ring 3 techs are never taken as there is enough Affinity points in the 2nd ring alone to get to 15.

    I suspect I will have to normalize the Affinity per Science ratio, so that it is the same across the tech web. But even with that change players will still find themselves accelerating up the Affinity level as the game goes on because their Science generation increases over the course of the game.
     
  19. Galgus

    Galgus Chieftain

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    Under that virtue system it is possible that traits would fill the void of early game choices, or the other way around were it somehow done with traits instead.

    Either way a system where players commit to an affinity in some way by purchasing bonuses would greatly enhance the feeling of a culture changing.
    __________________________________

    I have no idea if it would be possible, practical, or elegant to implement, but modifying traits to reflect affinity may provide a better canvas for affinity, though likely at the cost of the current trait system.

    Theoretically, each trait could have sections for every core and hybrid affinity with fitting affinity requirements, perhaps with neutral bonuses for the Signal.

    This could have the advantage of creating some exclusivity between affinity bonuses, making committing to an affinity feel like a more meaningful choice.
     
  20. Lord Tirian

    Lord Tirian Erratic Poster

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    Another option is a satellite that starts being launched over the player's initial spot, representing the (slowly de-orbiting) colony ship, which should be much larger than just the lander.
     

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