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Thread: Clash Demo 8 Download and Comments

  1. #61
    LDiCesare
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    Unfortunately, no there is no save implemented yet
    Gary was supposed to be doing it but he's been stick in RL for quite a long time.
    Clash of Civilization team member
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  2. #62
    Mihai
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    I think that with the posiblity of saving, you would receive more imput from testers.
    For sure I would try it more.
    "Respect the gods, but have as little to do with them as possible." - Confucius
    "Give nothing to gods and expect nothing from them." - my motto

  3. #63
    LDiCesare
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    I know and agree. In fact saving was one of the big priorities and is being implemented. The problem is the guy who does it has had problems and hasn't been able to work on it for a while. Once I have finished what I'm doing, I think I'll ask him where he is and if I can retrieve what he did and continue his part so we do get a save functionality working.
    Clash of Civilization team member
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  4. #64
    alms66
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    In reference to bug 174, here's a shot of what I'm talking about:
    (as you can see, the display is off-center)
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  5. #65
    lodgey
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    I have just downloaded this and taken a look at the demo, so I thought I would take a few moments to say a few things.

    First, judging just by the dawn scenario, this game has a lot of promise. The discussion happening elsewhere on this forum also sounds promising.

    Second, the download page for Demo 8 says that if you run this on a non-windows system, to let you know. I saw a reference to OS X, but not to Linux. I have run at least the dawn scenario under Linux successfully. For the record, I am using Gentoo Linux with Java support from the packages:
    blackdown-jre-1.4.2.02
    blackdown-jdk-1.4.2.01-r2

    The command I used to run was simply:
    java -jar ClashD8.jar -ef -seed
    as taken from the batch file in the download.

    Now to thoughts about the game itself.

    Movement does seem just a tad clumbersome. It may just need some getting used to, but clicking on move, setting move orders, and then clicking on end move seems just a little too much effort. Holding down the left mouse button and dragging works, but a visual cue to show that it is indeed processing a move order would be nice.

    When you add or take civillians from a square, the dialog box that asks how many you want is too short, so the right hand side of the box you type the numbers in is not visible. The result is that I needed to expand the box in order to see what numbers I am typing. This may be an issue with either the blackdown implementation of Java or some of the settings for my window manager (I have been adjusting a few things, so my window settings are not quite standard)

    For the bullitin windows, a close window button would be nice. I can close the window through the operating system easily enough, but a nice close message button just seems to feel nicer. This isn't really much of an issue, but it is one of the first things I noticed when starting the game.

    When issuing move orders, the units don't move instantly, but they all seem to move between turns. This isnt' what I was used to, and so I once sent an army chasing a barbarian army down the map, only to discover the barbarians were headed to the city my army was in to begin with. This was because I forgot that I can't assume my army will move before they do. Please don't misunderstand, I much prefer the method you have implemented, but it may just be worth mentioning somewhere.

    An earlier post suggested removing the messages relating to how a tech is improving. It would be nice if you could mark a tech to watch, and you should be notified when any watched tech made some progress as well as when any new stuff is available due to research (from any tech). For example in the dawn scenario, I may wish to get reports on how Domestication research is going, but if Millitary research goes up, I'm not as interested (until such time it gives me some new benefit of course).

    As you can see the issues I have encoutered so far are all superficial (other than the lack of a save, but you know about that already). From first impression the game seems to hang together rather well. I look forward to seeing future versions, and I will try to give more feedback in future.

  6. #66
    LDiCesare
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    Thanks for the feedback lodgey. It's possible to end a move by double-clicking the target, which is a bit faster than going to the end move button. I agree it's not as fast as what Civ games allow, but couldn't think of something easier.

    When you add or take civillians from a square, the dialog box that asks how many you want is too short, so the right hand side of the box you type the numbers in is not visible.
    That's not the case under Windows. It's quite hard to correct that unless running on the concerned OS as it depends on the way the java vm and libraries have been coded .

    An earlier post suggested removing the messages relating to how a tech is improving. It would be nice if you could mark a tech to watch, and you should be notified when any watched tech made some progress as well as when any new stuff is available due to research (from any tech). For example in the dawn scenario, I may wish to get reports on how Domestication research is going, but if Millitary research goes up, I'm not as interested (until such time it gives me some new benefit of course).
    I already put in some code which lets the scenario/tech designer specify a message when a tech reaches a given level, replacing the 0.1 increments. What you're proposing is the ability to listen to a tech when it reaches a certain level.
    Clash of Civilization team member
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  7. #67
    LDiCesare
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    I've uploaded Demo 8.1 on http://clash.apolyton.net/demo8
    The link at the top of the thread is not yet valid, but Mark should edit the post to the urls to the correct link. Comments are welcome.
    Clash of Civilization team member
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  8. #68
    demipomme
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    Continuous coordinates system

    I have been thinking long and hard about continuous coordinates system (yes it was over a year since it was discussed in this thread) and have finally understood and agreed with it. For everyone else's benefit, here is the product of my thoughts:

    The fundamental problem with tile-based civilisation-style games is that the same scale is used for both military information and geographic/social/political information; to increase the number of tiles to make conflict realistic would make the geographical/social/political aspect take up to much of the player’s time/AI’s time/processing power. A continuous coordinate system can solve this problem, by modelling military units as points and geographical/social/political information as layered areas.

    In the example image below, the flags represent units, whilst the coloured areas represent different geography. The light green could be grassland, the dark green forest and the brown urban. The whole island is one province, so the production for the island is calculated by the areas (to go on civ2 terms, two units of production and one unit of food per unit area of forest etc.). To make the area calculation requires integration, but fortunately the computer will be calculating this not you!

    To represent this on a tile map would require 16 tiles, which is more information to store, and more information to process. And the efficiency saving just gets better with scale, which is fortunate as geographical/social/political information clumps: there are big clumps of land and big clumps of sea; big clumps of mountain; big clumps of desert; large areas of tropical rainforest; sizable area of agriculture; etc.

    The different layers might include:

    -altitude
    -topology
    -climate
    -land use (e.g. wilderness, farms, urban etc.)
    -political

    The natural vegetation (e.g. grassland/forest/jungle/desert etc) would be determined by the altitude, topology and climate. The potential land use would also be limited by these parameters. The political layer represents how the land is divided up into provinces, and the ownership of these provinces (but could also be used to delineate fishing/oil rights in the sea).

    Rivers, roads and railways (and canals, but it didn’t alliterate so I put it in brackets) could be modelled by a series of points. For rivers it wouldn’t be impossible to store data of the width of the river between two points, which affects the strategic value etc. Bridges are modelled as points where roads/railways intersect with rivers.

    Fortresses/castles/airbases/submarine pens/nuclear missile silos could be modelled as points.
    The combination of altitude, topography, roads and forts could give strategic value on the map to something like the Khyber Pass. Other strategic points like the Panama and Suez canals, the Channel Tunnel, the Seikan Tunnel, the Straits of Gibraltar and the Bosporus could easily be modelled.

    And most importantly: if the coordinate system used was latitude and longitude, it would be possible to model a spherical world.
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  9. #69
    alms66
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    Well, I suppose a CCS of movement in the military sphere would be acceptable in a isometric-tiled world, for me, but only marginally so. However, I don't think any amount of argument would make me consider non-consistent shapes (polygons) making up the world an acceptable thing.

  10. #70
    Traian
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    Hi, just stumbled upon this game project while reading about civilization on wikipedia (I'm a heavy civ II nut), and found my way to your demo.

    Overall I think what you're doing is really exciting. I've spend literally years writing ideas down to improve civilization and changing them as I go etc. but I don't know much about programming so thats pretty much all I can do!

    The things I like most are your government structure and the ideas for making things very deep if the player wants and yet allowing the player to avoid too much detail if desired. Some comments on the game demo...

    1) I noticed someone on the thread mentioning all the clicking one has to do and agree. I would strongly suggest adding keyboard shortcuts for almost every action, just to streamline the interface a bit. Even something like scrolling through the map to look around - it would be nice to have this task performed always and only by the 'direction' keys (don't know what their proper name is).

    2) Diplomacy - only played a little so not sure if I was in the right scenario, but I tried to use diplomacy and couldn't do much. I'm assuming it's not up and running yet but look forward to trying it out.

    3) Units - I like the unit detail stuff a lot (number of men etc). How about info as to who the general is, and how competent he is etc and (maybe this is already in) an attrition system, so that men can die from disease, exposure etc. I'm not sure about having warrior armies out in the field for years - if there was a way to pile them together for a specific campaign and then disband... but I like the better sense of big armies you are conveying with joining units up etc. Ultimately I'd like to see an army stack system (sort of like the total war games) where tens of thousands of men are all placed in one 'stack' under one general. The AI could be made to do this as soon as it can, forcing you to do the same, and thus allowing gigantic battles to occur. Although in WWII/20th century conflict you could fight a war on the campaign map alone I keep finding myself drawn to the idea of allowing the player a degree of tactical control on the battlefield in pre 20th century conflict where giant set piece battles could decide a war in one day - that would just be so dramatic!

    4) Sieges - one thing I think should be implemented is the ability to lay siege. When you move up to an enemy city, you camp around it's walls and build catapults etc (whatever technology allows) to pummel the people into submission. I'd like to see army to city diplomacy where you threaten the people of the settlement and get them to open their gates. I'd also like to see reputation of a general making some cities of a rival empire open their gates without an argument becasue they know that atrocities will be committed if he has to break into their settlement himself.

    5) Terrain tiles - I understand that the tile system may be temporary (and hope this is indeed the case!). I noticed some mention of a spherical world on another thread and personally would like to see this in a civ type game. The only way I can see this happening nicely is for an utter abandonment of the tiles/hexes etc in favour of some new system. I thought the campaign map board for Rome Total War was highly interesting as it was turn based and yet you got a feeling that you could walk around anywhere without the confinement of hexes or squares or any other unnatural geometric shape that doesn't look good on a natural map. What's more their map of the mediterranean area was on built on a sort of curved (portion of a sphere if you will) polygon.

    6) Turns - Here's the really contraversial one... would it mess everything up to make a civ type game real time? I've been battling with this question forever and a day, but after playing a game called Europa Universalis I've found myself having less and less doubts about real time being the way to go - it especially works with your own philosophy: speed through history to play a 4 hour game if you want, and zoom in where you want to, play it all in detail - days of game time even! I can just imagine planning my campaign, beginning my march on Jan 24, one day = 2 seconds or whatever, and marching until Feb 02 when I begin to besiege a town etc. Very nice for game literature. You could pause and give orders in frozen mode at any time just like it was turn based, except now armies all move at properly in relation to eachother allowing for ambushes and interceptions etc.

    7) Government - This was one of the things I found most exciting and I think you're on to something here that could revolutionize these types of games. The concept of the player merely being part of the government is really interesting. I'm going to fiddle with the demo a bit more and comment more on this another time.

    8) Graphics and Sound - obviously the game is in too early a stage to comment too much on things like this but I'm assuming there will generally be a major overhaul as you approach completion. Those faces for example in the goverment segment (I like Scipio, heh heh) could be vastly improved. Once you get all the gameplay elements working smoothly you should try to get the graphics and sound up to professional standards to really make the game sparkle as a work of art as well a great game. And sound is abbout as important as graphics. Maybe a little sound in the next demo just for the heck of it? One thing that I always find is that a lot of people talk about polish and gameplay as if they were mutually exclusive, where in fact it's both of them together that make an excellent game. Big companies put more and more effort into polish and forget about gameplay, while small companies produce very cleverly thought out gameplay and ideas while completely neglecting grpahics and sound and thus making it inaccessible to the vast majority of people who may otherwise have been interested. Beauty is needed for initial attraction so that they can get to know the game's personality and fall in love with it later, haha.

    Those are a few things for now; I understand some stuff would be a bit hard or impossible to implement at this stage but it's worth discussion anyway I suppose.

    Thanks for just creating this project. I haved longed to speak to people who think about improving civilization and actually have the technical know how to pull it off.

  11. #71
    alms66
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    Originally posted by Traian
    8) Graphics and Sound - obviously the game is in too early a stage to comment too much on things like this but I'm assuming there will generally be a major overhaul as you approach completion. Those faces for example in the goverment segment (I like Scipio, heh heh) could be vastly improved. Once you get all the gameplay elements working smoothly you should try to get the graphics and sound up to professional standards to really make the game sparkle as a work of art as well a great game. And sound is abbout as important as graphics. Maybe a little sound in the next demo just for the heck of it? One thing that I always find is that a lot of people talk about polish and gameplay as if they were mutually exclusive, where in fact it's both of them together that make an excellent game. Big companies put more and more effort into polish and forget about gameplay, while small companies produce very cleverly thought out gameplay and ideas while completely neglecting grpahics and sound and thus making it inaccessible to the vast majority of people who may otherwise have been interested. Beauty is needed for initial attraction so that they can get to know the game's personality and fall in love with it later, haha.
    Ahh... finally someone who seems to understand and agree with my belief that we need to improve the "look and feel" of the game now to get more input/playtesters later.

  12. #72
    Traian
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    Glad to hear it alms66

    Been playing a bit more of the demo and I see a few comments I made have already been considered by the creators. It's very exciting stuff with regards to the economy complexity and the technology model is great (I always felt technology was one of the most ridiculous aspects of civ games..."lets discover monotheism" lol)

    I noticed one of the messages after a battle in the original tutorial mentions the possibility of the game supporting tactical combat. Are there any discussions on how this will be implemented - turn based or real time; man for man soldiers, or abstract formation groupings etc...? One thing I've found in considering the problem myself is that while this is a feature critically needed in pre industrial times for battle (the whole army of each nation meeting in one place to decide everything, thus rather important to control what happens) the present unit for unit fighting on the campaign map might be better for 20th century + warfare due to it's vastly spread out nature...

  13. #73
    alms66
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    Originally posted by Traian
    I noticed one of the messages after a battle in the original tutorial mentions the possibility of the game supporting tactical combat. Are there any discussions on how this will be implemented - turn based or real time; man for man soldiers, or abstract formation groupings etc...? One thing I've found in considering the problem myself is that while this is a feature critically needed in pre industrial times for battle (the whole army of each nation meeting in one place to decide everything, thus rather important to control what happens) the present unit for unit fighting on the campaign map might be better for 20th century + warfare due to it's vastly spread out nature...
    It's barely been discussed before, and it's a long way off, if it ever does happen. It's probably best to hold off on trying to start any large discussion about it until much later - though you're always free to brainstorm and develop it as much as you'd like, of course.

  14. #74
    LDiCesare
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    Hi Traian, thanks for your inputs.
    Here are a few answers/remarks of my own:

    1) keyboard shortcuts
    Yes there should be more indeed. Units can be given orders with the arrow keys and I know there are other keyboard shortcuts, but they aren't documented and it's not necesarily intuitive nor consistent. For panning the map that would be a good idea too, though we must first handle maps big enough to pan them around.

    2) Diplomacy
    I'm coding it. I'm currently adding options and will tackle the ai behind it (it already evaluates treaties and can declare war or ask for peace and rights of passage but this is still very limited)

    4) Sieges
    There are some sieges, you can check in Siegewars and Delenda scenarios, but cities (squares) need walls for these to happen.
    I'd like to see army to city diplomacy
    That would be nice. Bribing/threatening etc.could be handled

    6) Turns
    I personnally don't like real time games, even pausable ones so I'm not the one who will change this.

    8) Graphics and Sound
    The faces were really placeholders I drew for lack of something better. Any replacement art for the whole series would be welcome.
    alms will bother me enough to get better graphics done I believe.
    As for sounds, I totally lack skill and taste in music. I also never play with sounds. So I'd have to rely on others inputs on both content and when to play what on that matter.

    Tactical combat
    I'd like to redo the combat system at some stage, and would like to allow the player to give orders to his armies (position in the battlefield, attitude) and allow to show the result of the fight in a dedicated screen (if you know Dominions II, something like that).
    Clash of Civilization team member
    (a civ-like game whose goal is low micromanagement and good AI)
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  15. #75
    Traian
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    LDiCesare, thank you for your reply; this game is going to be really exciting. I'll go back in and take a look at some of the siege warfare, sorry, I should actually play the thing through a bit more

    I'd love to help out with graphic and sound elements and certainly will when I scrape up enough money to buy a decent computer.

    Now I have a little history lecture for whoever is interested; just a problem I spotted:

    I was playing the punic wars scenario and have one or two historically based comments. I suppose the names for units right now are just place holders but thought I better just point this out: The first roman unit is referred to as a 'legion' and then 'legions' are updated to 'cohorts', with the game telling us that rome abandoned legions in favour of more tactical cohorts.

    While rome did adopt the 'cohort' unit to better their tactics, it did not replace the 'legion'. The legion was throughout the entire roman period the name for the biggest unit grouping there was just under 'army'. The cohort was a division of a legion...so:

    ARMY - Several legions (could vary a lot)
    LEGION - 5000 men
    COHORT - 500 men (ten per legion, basic tactical unit)
    CENTURY - 80 - 100 men (each under a centurion)
    CONTUBERNIUM - 8 - 10 men (share a tent together)

    Rome produced legions 'en masse' as the game rightly depicts (5000 men in one shot). Cohorts came about around 270BC when the romans were fighting king Pyrrus of Epirus. Before this romans used phalanxes as in greek warfare, supported by tough hill fighters etc. They replaced the phalanx with the cohort because it was too clumbsy for their original 'hill warfare' style which demanded more flexibility, thus was born the cohort, which quickly learned to outflank the old phalanx.

    Later on, about 112 BC the roman army changed again under the 'Marian Reforms' whereby the original citizen army became a professional force that could be stationed far from italy for long periods of time. Soldiers were now career men, as opposed to farmers called up to fight in times of crisis as in the past.

    To give an idea of legion numbers, there were about 60 legions (300 000 men) after the civil wars ended with Augustus in control of the whole empire (31 BC) but he felt this was dangerous to the government and a military burden so he cut it down to 28 legions
    (140 000 men).

    In the game, maybe we should differentiate between a citizen army and a standing army. This way the 'army' branch of government could amass power for itself as it was in the late roman republic and during the time of the empire when eventually it was the army that made and broke rulers. Standing armies would start to feel loyal only to their commanders, while citizen or levee armies would be loyal to the state, yet only available for the duration of the campaign. Could the turn increments be reduced for the 2nd punic war campaign? In reality the war ran for 16 years or so, but in my game it went on for centuries!

    I had this idea a while back for the computer automatically reducing turn increments when at war and then increasing them again while at peace, as I would love to fight a realistic ancient war taking 20 odd years rather than centuries. That is the only solution I can think of short of going real time.

    The other problem with turns is the 'catch enemy army' issue. If I was an actual commander I would know which direction an enemy army is heading and so could move to intercept them, but with turns I can't tell where the computer is going to choose to put them. I think I saw something further up the post regarding 'facing' - this might work well - unit pieces would face in whatever given direction their orders were given for them to be heading, thus helping with interception. Only problem I foresee with that is when (if) the game moves from squares to a CCS globe pinpointing the place of interception with be very difficult.

    Anyway, hope some of my points helped, you guys are doing a great job.

  16. #76
    LDiCesare
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    For Cohorts and legions, you're right, we did that in order to show that units can upgrade and become obsolete, but it'd be more accurate to have Legion and Marian Legion for instance...

    Citizen armies: Conscription level could be an option in the policies. Note that militias will pop up and help defend (or liberate) squares in some circumstances (when the citizens think they can make a difference).

    Turn increments: We can reduce them for the Punic war. The problem for reducing turns when at war is that you'd have to reduce turns of the player when two ai's in another part of the world are at war. Or at least run more turns in the background, which would slow down the game inexplicably for the player when things happen in another part of the world.

    If I was an actual commander I would know which direction an enemy army is heading and so could move to intercept them.
    I am not so sure. Medieval armies spent lots of time running around each other in circles, trying to meet in order to do battle, losing lots of time and wasting lots of lands doing so. I also think it adds to the strategy to try and guess what the opponent will do.
    Clash of Civilization team member
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  17. #77
    breffie
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    Ok, I've tried the demo and the dawn-scenario. At first it seemed quite impossible to understand how to do things. But after a while I got it. I did like the idea of using military units to escort settlers. It makes sense in a way. And I did like the ease of building roads. But I didn't like that roads should be managed one way and built another. What I mean is that I didn't like that I had to both construct them on the map and allocating taxes for them in several different economy windows. That may be realistic but it doesn't make it more fun. Instead of allocating taxes for every road you want to build just give it a price, unless you have money to pay for it you cannot build it. And that an ancient society of a few thousand farmers would build miles and miles of roads in the span of 5 years simply isn't plausible. Make it take alot more time aswell.

    The game-interface didn't recognice that I had already discovered the wheat and the horses. The game told me to go look for it while I had already done so. So in future demos I suggest you get some kind of way to keep track of what the player does so the game doesn't tell you to do things after they are done. I also suggest that the horses and weat and whatever should stay there until the land is claimed by someone (and therefore these things can be discovered by other civs aswell).

    What I did find most annoying was the province-economy window. It's just too messy. Not so much early in game when you cannot build that much anyway, but later on with hundreds of possible things to choose it would just be a dread to open that window. And having to open it through the menu makes it feel more of a work and less of a game. Everything should be easily accessed through the keybord. And one more thing about allocating resources for different things. Don't make the province (or economy window) too complex. Just keep to what you want, need and can build at the moment. Just keep to how much you want to stockpile, spend on infrastructure, military, foodproduction, industry and research. And if further micromanagement is wanted you can simply access that through sub-windows that you open from within the provincial screen. The amount of recources allocated to a certain area determines how fast a new units/constructions/technologies or whatever is reached, but it doesn't determine what you choose too build. For instance, if you have allocated 30% of your tax-money on the military, it will when no units are being built instead contribute on military research, military upkeep (ofcourse) and increasing the training of your soldiers.

  18. #78
    Mark_Everson
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    Thumbs up

    Originally posted by breffie
    Ok, I've tried the demo and the dawn-scenario. At first it seemed quite impossible to understand how to do things.
    Thanks for the good suggestions breffie. The tutorial is meant to only intro how to do things one step at a time. If you wait until it brings a topic up it should have been pretty complete, at least at the level of the demo. Were you trying to do everything without guidance from the start?

    ...I didn't like that roads should be managed one way and built another. What I mean is that I didn't like that I had to both construct them on the map and allocating taxes for them in several different economy windows. That may be realistic but it doesn't make it more fun. Instead of allocating taxes for every road you want to build just give it a price, unless you have money to pay for it you cannot build it.
    Once the AI is a bit better it can automatically add budget for roads when they're ordered. I don't like your approach b/c then you wouldn't be able to "fire and forget" on roads unless you built up a huge cash surplus first.

    What I did find most annoying was the province-economy window. It's just too messy.
    That was never meant to be the final game interface for econ. If you look back maybe 6 months there's a thread covering what the econ interface should look like. Some of your suggestions are already in there. Unfortunately the coder who was working on that left the project and it has just sat there since.
    Project Lead for The Clash of Civilizations
    A Unique civ-like game that will feature low micromanagement, great AI, and a Detailed Government model including internal power struggles. Demo 8 available Now! (go to D8 thread at top of forum).
    Check it out at the Clash Web Site and Forum right here at Apolyton!

  19. #79
    breffie
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    Hi Mark. Yes, I have to admit that I first started to try to do things on my own without advice until I learned I really had to look at the advice to undertsand anything. And then when I had already failed everything I did it all over again, and this time I appearantly did everything faster than the advisor had figured so it constantly told me to do things I've already done. I can appreciate the point of this in this demo. But in the final tutorial demo I think the game itself should keep track on what you have done and have left to do.

    About roads. How about this: When I plan a road on the map the economy is adjusting to how much roads I'm planning. So there's no need to check every economy window for that. I can simply lay them out and the economy will adjust. Actually I would prefer that for improvements and units aswell. So If I'm both laying roads and building an army I could do that easily from the map and the economy windows, although accessible for further micromanagement, wouldn't have to be visisted at all unless I wanted to. The economy would simply divide 90% of it's income equal on the things it was ordered to produce automatically. (automatically leaving something to stockpiling is someting I think is necessary). Each road square would automatically burden the closest province (or richest when the distance is equal). And when the road was laid the economy would adjust itself automatically so that no longer are the provinces wasting money on roads not to be built or armies not to be trained or improvements already made. Ofcourse you could still change things in the economy window if needed. (like using more than your income or adjusting the percentages spent on each project).

    It's not a matter of AI, just a simple exercise in arithmetics. If I'm stupid enough to order my economy to build everything possible at once I will ofcourse get the consequence that nothing will be completed for ages and I'll probably get overrun by invaders long before anything is accomplished.

  20. #80
    binTravkin
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    Any chance the Demo files could still be found on the server?
    The links listed here appear not to work.

    Thanks!
    -- What history has taught us is that people do not learn from history.
    -- Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning.

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