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Won't someone think about the modders

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by ashar26, Jul 15, 2020.

  1. ashar26

    ashar26 Chieftain

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    When Civ 6 was being announced it was touted to be the most modding friendly version of the game. It's hard to think that the Devs didn't know when they said this, that the modding community would expect this meant that somewhere not far into the game the source code would be made available. Given the source code was given in CIV 5, it wasn't an unreasonable expectation that if this iteration of the franchise was going to be the most modding-friendly, this would be true.

    However, with the announcement of the New Frontier Pass, came another announcement in an interview. When asked when modders could expect the access they had been long awaiting, we were informed that 'There are no current plans to do so' or words to that effect. While this isn't the only issue for modders (having to deal with susb-standard patch notes has caused much frustration) in the most modding-friendly version of the game, it was, for me, a kicker - and I don't even mod!

    Since modding has been a thing in CIV, I have loved what the modding community has done for the game. All too often CIV has been released in an unpolished form. Often what sounds like a great idea is so problematic it becomes an o.k. implementation. Worse, there have been bugs where the community has to take responsibility for fixing things, and the wait for Firaxis to do so is not a timely one. In CIV 6 some great projects have had hundreds of hours poured in them only to be broken by new or altered systems, again with inadequate details. because of the lack of access to codes, modders are often left guessing their way around things, or simply give up in frustration. Moreso, Firaxis profits off the free work of the modding community, and not delivering on it's original promise is, at best, disrespectful. Firaxis generally is terrible at communicating effectively and regularly, despite the constant assurances when communication is made that "We are listening." Like many poor corporate environments Listening = to what we want to listen to. Let's not get started on 2K games.

    Are there mods you've loved but could use better access to codes, has been broken and can't be fixed, was done in previous CIVs but not brought across to CIV6 because of the above etc.? Maybe you just want to express your appreciation and love for the modding community! I'm posting this in part out of my love for the modding community, but also in the (possibly vein) hope that we might get the Dev team to reconsider their, IMO, poor decision to go against what was obviously inferred at the outset of this part of the franchise. Also to encourage them to do better in their patch notes and more generally work harder at supporting arguably the most dedicated part of the fanbase. Words are cheap Firaxis, action is what counts.

    For me:
    Yet (not) Another Maps Pack - I cannot tell you how much I enjoy running a really, really slow game (play over months) on a map size larger than Firaxis makes with the base game. So many other mods have been inspired by this one project. Also, playing on a (Giant etc) Earth map with True Start Locations, and all the correct placements of resources, Natural Wonders etc adds a level of realism the base game lacks, and shouldn't. Sadly, this got broken with the rising sea levels, but it had frustrations because of other issues mentioned above. It is listed as the most subscribed mod in Steam, and has been such for a very long time. The modder has had this mod in previous iterations of the franchise if I remember correctly.

    Various AI improvement mods - while we are told that coding AI is tough, it is telling that given how restricted access there is to coding, modders can make the AI better. Except they give up when they can only do so much, because Firaxis doesn't want to share the cake.

    PerfectWorld6 - such a beautiful map script - I miss playing on these maps.

    Detailed Worlds - again another great group of map scripts

    JFD's Rule with Faith - overhaul mods are truly an epic reworking of this much beloved game, this one stood out as particularly good.

    8 Ages of Pace - one of numerous mods that tried to better balance a mechanic of the game that has been arguably poorly implemented.

    And more....
     
  2. Snarf054

    Snarf054 Chieftain

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    I still believe that once firaxis is done with the game they will unleash the modders. I love mods and I generally don't make it past the first month before I start adding them to games. But I can also see how modders could be really annoying for the developers. What if they have been working on an addition to the game for months and then someone throws up a mod that pretty much makes all their work obsolete? Not only did they just waste a ton of time but what was intended to be paid content is now available for free.
     
  3. Kupe Navigator

    Kupe Navigator Prince

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    as switch player meh...
     
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  4. Tigranes

    Tigranes Armenian

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    I don't mod either, but almost never play vanila game. Only scenarios or mods. I bought Civ4 because they included Rhyse and fall mod with the boxed game. And I play civ since civ1, and while I tried other games -- I always come back to civ.

    But here is the thing. Only on CFC there are 338 scenarios for Civ4. There are 121 scenarios for Civ5. And there is no Scenario forum for Civ6. Not even a flimsy forum. Do the modders need a source code to set up a WW2 map? No, they don't. Can I ask you why nobody wants to recreate Battle of Atlantic from Civ2? Age of Imperialism from Civ3? Stalingrad scenario from Civ5?

    It's not just Firaxis. Someone needs to talk about modders as well. About what they are modding. What do they chose to mod. I have joined CFC back in 2008 and I can attest that the very mindset of the modding community have changed. So it is not just the Firaxis. It's their customers as well. Customers who prefer width over depth. Tons of city states, leaders and civs but very few new scenarios. Perhaps this is something about our times that makes this generation of Civ modders and customers so different from Civ2-Civ5 era. Perhaps it is Twitter era of 140-280 characters that makes it natural for the current generation to prefer width over depth.

    You know why they didn't release the code yet? Because based on how civ customers are voting with their dollars -- they do not see how it can make them more profits. They chose instead to slowly mod the game themselves. Why show all the cards on your hand? One can slowly add more cards from the deck, because the majority of paying customers prefers width over depth. Like in every business demand shapes supply, not the other way around.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2020
  5. Ezumiyr

    Ezumiyr Warlord

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    Given the amount of mods I see on the workshop, it doesn't seem to be that Civ6 is that hard to mod, even without full access to the code. Some modders may be complaining about that, but let's keep in mind that mods still exist (and in great numbers), and that we have a very toxic complaint culture in video games communities nowadays.
    I think it's a bit unfair to claim that the devs did nothing for moddability.
    It's also unfair to imply that the game is fully broken or whatever. For many people, the AI is enjoyable and the bugs are too rare to be noticeable.
    We also have to keep in mind that some mods that were broken were very ambitious. And the more a mod is ambitious, the more easily it gets broken when the game is updated. It's an issue that also exists for Paradox games for instance. While it's sad to see your favorite mods disappear after a big update, it's also a reminder that mods are just that: modifications of a game that can only work because that game exists.
     
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  6. Gedemon

    Gedemon Modder Moderator

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    I think you maybe right, that the modding community has evolved at the same time as the targeted audience of the game, and is not requiring the same modding tools, but I'm still wondering if this is a good anticipation on their side (choosing to focus on visual modding while sacrificing gameplay modding capabilities) or the result of their choices (modders not moving from civ4 to civ5 or civ5 to civ6 until the modding capabilities are at least equals, which came late in civ5 life cycle and is currently not planned in civ6 life cycle)

    Specifically and personally, about the civ5 Stalingrad scenario (if you're speaking of this one) and a potential civ6 conversion, technically a scenario of this type is possible, Lua is still underused in civ6 mods IMO (but is also missing key methods that were available in civ5), and I wanted to make one as a side project waiting for the modding capabilities to be more open, but I don't see the point to wait anymore now that, as said above, there seems to be no plan from Firaxis to make civ6 at least at the same level of civ5 and civ4.

    Note that, as civ5 learned me to not wait for Firaxis to fix stuff (the buggy WB of civ6 in that case) if I wanted something done, I coded my own framework for XML based (hand-crafted or procedurally generated) scenarios into YnAMP, (the Stalingrad one would have been based on it, and you can see examples of applications with the Relive World War Scenario generator and the Modern World generator included in the Basic Modern Civilization mod), but again those were simply the bases I made waiting for the real stuff to become possible.

    Because a total conversion scenario using all features of R.E.D WWII for example is not possible in civ6 ATM, and I don't want to be limited after I tasted the freedom of civ4/5 modding.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2020
  7. 10101100

    10101100 Chieftain

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    The number of mods doesn't mean anything. The modding you can do in civ 6 is very shallow, you can edit numeric values, add new units, combine multiple civs abilities into 1, edit the UI. But this is nothing compared to being able to edit the underlining code
     
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  8. Tigranes

    Tigranes Armenian

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    Show me one single thread where OP is praising Civ6's AI. Without it being shred in pieces. Many things in Civ6 are enjoyable (otherwise we would not even discuss it) but the simply fact is that AI is not it's own best friend. This is accepted almost universaly by the people who would not agree on anything. Perhaps you meant to say graphics are enjoyable, things like time of day.
     
  9. ashar26

    ashar26 Chieftain

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    You do understand that the PC/Mac/Linux community got this game where it is right? Without the modding folk this game would not have got this far, being this popular, ala you'd have no switch CIV 6. If you have a pc, I'd highly encourage you to try out what can be done with modding - the community of modders is amazing, they work for free, and deserve some respect for the fundamental contribution they have made to the game.
     
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  10. Clan

    Clan Chieftain

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    You are quite correct, indeed it would be unfair, thus nobody has said it.
    It is not fully broken, it is not even mostly broken or just a little broken, for that matter.
    It has a few issues,,this is fact.

    Yes, bugs are rare and are mostly addressed in patches.

    As for the enjoyable AI....I'll reply when I've stopped laughing..
    (this could take quite some time)
     
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  11. ashar26

    ashar26 Chieftain

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    I acknowledge that gaming communities can be problematic - one of the things I like about these forums is that relative to other games I play, the lack of toxicity is surprising - not that it doesn't pop its head up, just how little it is comparatively speaking. As someone who has run/sat on boards of some fairly large companies, I always have felt that complaints are just as important as compliments. It's fairly easy, again in my experience, to sift out the toxic ones from the constructive ones.

    I didn't say that the devs did nothing for modding - I said they aren't delivering what they said they would.

    Again I didn't say that the game is fully broken. If you enjoy the AI, I'm genuinely happy for you, as I'm genuinely happy for others that don't have the same issues that I do. That doesn't mean there isn't some serious problems with the AI, nor does it mean that bugs have had the attention they need in a timely manner, whereas the modders manage to jump on them relatively quickly. I understand that the Devs are a big ship, and modder a small ship in this regards - the former slower to steer than the latter. Nonetheless, big thumbs up to the modding community for doing the work.

    As per ambitious mods....Every modder I follow on those ambitious projects don't give up from not reaching far enough or putting in the work required. From my experience, they do so because of the frustration of being able to get the required information to keep up with the changes.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2020
  12. oedali

    oedali King

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    I wouldn't go as far to say the game is broken or full of bugs but I agree with the OP that the modding community seems to be a bit let down this time (I am not a modder myself though). When the game was released I was guessing the source code was gonna take a few years to be released and was upset they hasn't incorporated all the AI improvements from Civ 5's VP etc mods and had to code it from square 1. I never guessed that this many years into the game it is still extremely challenging for modders to improve the AI and make it more of a threat and victory focused after turn 100. I miss the excitement of racing head to head with the AI on a space race and losing, or always having to watch my back that an AI friend may backstab and declare on me and wipe me out. But all that said Civ 6 is still an awesome game of course and we superfans are a tiny yet influential part of the player base and because we love the game and franchise so much we also critisize and demand so much .
     
  13. thecrazyscot

    thecrazyscot Spiffy

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    Do you want to know why? Scenarios are bloody aggravating to make in Civ 6. It's not even until recently that we've even got a half-functioning Worldbuilder to make maps. A remarkable number of game elements are hard-coded, or split between the UI vs the Gameplay side, making doing a huge number of things more complicated than they should be. I've seen multiple scenario ideas being discussed between modders, and almost all of them have fizzled out because wrestling with the tools Firaxis has given us to make scenarios is hardly worth the effort. If the barrier to making scenarios was not so high, I guarantee there would be a host of scenarios for Civ 6.
     
  14. JFD

    JFD Kathigitarkh

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    All I can attest to is that the barrier for entry into Civ VI modding is far greater than it was for Civ V (and possibly Civ IV). This is partly because of the way Civ VI is set up for modding (a deceptively rigid framework owing largely to its obtuseness but also because it doesn't allow for much mutability (or at least not as much as might be liked - in this way, I think you could say Civ VI modding operates like a jigsaw puzzle with no box). Partly, it is also the way the community has shifted. Modding Civ is no longer as public as it once was, with much of the modding for Civ V having shifted into private spaces (i.e. Discord or Steam), meaning its harder to not only get access to help, but also harder to find places to refine ideas, or to form teams or partnerships, or the like. Then, partly still, it is also because some of the modders that modded for Civ V simply didn't transition over to Civ VI at all or only did so partially (as I count myself) - echoing what was apparent with Civ IV; different games with different feels to them begets different interests. This latter issue, coupled with the first two, seems to me to mean that Civ VI's great failing has been in failing to attract enough interest from potential new modders (with grand ideas), or otherwise in failing to make the barrier to modding Civ VI neither particularly enticing nor particularly easy.

    Finally, even if you do get an understanding of what you're doing, and even if you do set up the necessary support networks among this far more disparate modding community, modding Civ VI is just so tedious compared to Civ V. Everything is ten times the effort that it was in Civ V, because, whether for copyright or for the efficacy of the base or for the misguided confidence in the lego-piece nature of game assets or whatever, everything takes ten times the steps to achieve. For myself at least, it is that tedium that keeps my time with Civ VI modding brief, since the actual effort of modding it (over say Civ V) always ends up trumping the desire to do so; a desire that is already diminished by my lukewarm opinion of the tone the game is going for.

    But none of this has to do with the source code. The source code would be a boon for certain modders of a more advanced pedigree, and for certain projects, and frankly we didn't know how good Civ V had it with the likes of Whoward (there's no guarantee Civ VI would be graced with his like), but there are far more fundamental challenges that Civ VI modding poses that the mythical release of the source code would not resolve. It is no panacea for the state of modding in Civ VI.

    All that said, I would be remiss to not mention that Civ VI seems to be seeing a great wealth of mods made to gameplay elements, particularly from the likes of JNR, p0kiehl, SeelingCat, and others - and plenty of them do things that wouldn't be possible in Civ V, even to an equivalent degree. Characterizing these, or especially Civs and Leaders as shallow and rule-changing mods as deep, and to make a point to complain about the state of modding thereby, seems entirely diminishing of the agency of modders' own interests - there is a (thematic) depth to adding more nuanced civilization, or building, or like- choices, and modders serve what they see in need of deepening where they are capable of doing so.
     
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  15. ashar26

    ashar26 Chieftain

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    Thanks so much for that insight and clarification!
     
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  16. Tigranes

    Tigranes Armenian

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    Impressive post. Finally blame getting shifted from the source code release.
     
  17. Gedemon

    Gedemon Modder Moderator

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    Yet the source is more needed for civ6 than it was for civ5 precisely because of some of the reasons listed by JFD.

    For example it would not only have allowed to add new methods or expose those that are currently locked for modding, it would also have been the ultimate documentation of all existing methods in the game.

    Yes it's not a miracle tool, it would be of no use to streamline artdef for example I suppose, it would maybe have done nothing to regroup the community (even if opening possibility of a community patch could be a step), but it would still have been able to help to resolve some of the others tedious points of civ6 modding.
     
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  18. glider1

    glider1 Deity

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    What I hate is not having a debugger like you get when you get access to the DLL. Are any Civ6 lua programmers using a debugger?
     
  19. dagriggstar

    dagriggstar Prince

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    I think I'm at the point where I've modded enough. The AI doesn't understand how to use mods that change the game to what I would call a game breaking degree.

    I've created mods where I removed the base yields from buildings and replaced them with situational things. So for instance building a library gives you plus 0.25 science per population point instead of the flat +2 science per turn (or whatever it is). The AI would look at that building and never build a library. Why ? Because the AI would just see a building that yields zero science, as there was no flat yield per turn.

    There is a cool mod where you can harvest a resource (say wheat), bring it back to your territory and grow the resource there. It specifically says the AI cannot use this feature.

    The mod I really really wanted to make was to remove social policies from the game. Which I did. But then, the AI was basically incapable of playing the game I had created.

    The step after that - do I really want to mod in a new feature, if I know the AI will not be capable of using it ? It's basically just giving human players another tool to beat the AI with.
     
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  20. Gedemon

    Gedemon Modder Moderator

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    I'm not a programmer, I mean I learnt while modding, so when I discovered what could be done with a debugger sometime after the civ5 DLL source was released, I was like a caveman discovering fire.

    Civ6 Lua is Havok Script which is marketed to have some debugging tool, but I've no idea if some of those are available in Modbuddy or are for the game's development side only.

    BTW, maybe it's a potential copyright issue for releasing the DLL source to modders, as it surely interact with Havok Script.

    For debugging, you can specify the type for your variable with their version of Lua, which can help to speed up things when you're getting an object type ID where you were expecting its type name for example...

    But a lot of my Lua code is dedicated to debugging the rest of it.
     
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