[/b]Diodorus Sicilus[/b]: Complete list of improvements.
Land: Roads, permanent roads, railroads, maglev line; roads extend city radius 1 tile, railroads and maglevs extend radius to regional distances. Farms, factory farms (along with several incremental improvements to farms, advance-based, like moldboard plow, improved grain, crop rotation, artificial fertilizer). Irrigation, canals (canals allow irrigation beyond rivers; irrigation turns desert/plains into grassland for farming purposes). Mines, deep mines, open-pit mines (deep mines require steam, open-pit mines are 20th Century). Fortifications, fortresses (fortresses are 19th Century concrete and steel). Airfield.
Sea: Fishing boats, fishing trawlers, factory ships ("mobile improvements," can be moved to where the fish are, but are useless without fish). Fish farm, aquaculture station (stationary). Offshore platform (useable on resources at sea). Mine belt, mine array, SONAR array, MAD array (mines to damage/destroy ships, SONARs to detect them).
Also wants lots of eye candy in the form of visible improvements. Canals with boats, detailed roads, visible harbors, things like that. Pillaged improvements could be just as visually striking.
Theben: Seems like a lot of those TI's could be advanced techs, granting small percentage gains to overall food/shield/trade production. Fishing boats sound like they should be units (like SMAC's supply crawlers), not TI's. Irrigation: grassland and plains should always be irrigable, but never desert. If a river is over-irrigated, it might dry up. Transforming desert to plains or grassland should require maintenance over time.
technophile: Complete road system.
Path (1/2 mv), buildable with "Roads," allows horses/elephants in mountains, swamps, etc., never obsolete. Trade bonus if between two friendly cities.
Road (1/3 mv), can only be built on plains, grass, hills or mountain passes until "Explosives."
Improved Road (1/5 mv), auto-replaces all roads, improved trade, requires "Highway," more difficult to bombard.
Railroad (1/10 mv until "Bessemer steel," then 1/15 or 1/20), improved trade, can be used by any civ.
Maglev (unlimited mv), requires advanced tech, can only be used by controlling civ, improved trade.
Tunnel, buildable in shallow water, allows road, railroad, maglev to be built.
Vacuum Tunnel, can be built anywhere (sea, space, land), acts as maglev.
Trade bonuses for roads only occur between two friendly cities. Perhaps a separate tech "Suburb?" could provide railroad bonuses in every city radius square to simulate sprawl. All civs can use railroads, but "road blocks" can be built (some discussion of the Buster Keaton film "The General"); bombarding the road block also destroys the railroad. In late game, roads (etc.) can be built underground (bonuses against bombarding). Bombarding primitive TI's is difficult (paths are near impossible). Pillage will degrade the TI one level (improved road to road, road to path, farm to irrigation).
mindlace: Cool. Vacuum tunnel should be more expensive the more tiles it covers, and shouldn't allow cross-connections.
technophile: To clarify my Vacuum Tunnel idea: it's a reinforced tube on the ocean floor. Lack of wind resistance makes for rapid transportation. It can extend through water and land; each section must be built by an engineer, and the ends (if not located in cities) must contain their own TI's. Vacuum Tubes would provide unlimited movement, but can only be entered from either end.
Gordon the Whale: New terrain system and subsequent discussion.
Rockiness, Moisture and Elevation as in SMAC aren't enough. But change it to Landform, Temperature, Moisture, and Vegetation, then add rivers and special resources, and it might be adequate. Landform combines Elevation and Rockiness in a way; it determines base minerals and suitability for farming; 3 levels: Plains, Hill, Mountain. Temperature and moisture help determine food output and also help the map generator determine Vegetation; 3 levels of temp: Hot, Temperate, Cold; 3 levels of moisture: Arid, Moderate, Wet. 3 levels of vegetation: Scrublands, Grass, Forest. Forests can't grow on Hot or Arid squares; Scrublands wouldn't be placed on Temperate Moist Plains. Landforms could be generated first, maybe on a tectonic model, for more realistic worlds. There would be more land types without getting confusing (Forest, Forested Hills, Forested Mountains, Cold Forest, etc.) Terraforming is more reasonable: you can't change a mountain to a plain, but you can deforest/reforest it. Use separate landforms for oceans; 3 levels: Continental Shelf, Offshore Deeps, Abyssal Trench; ocean vegatations: Nothing, Coral Reef, Kelp Forest (more Nothing in oceans than on land). Moisture in oceans is a placeholder for determining vegetation, or just in case global warming happens. Pulled off badly, it would lead to flavorless, SMAC-type maps. Also, there may be too many graphics involved. Then you've got the "border tiles"…
The old terrains expressed in the LTMV system:
Ocean = offshore deeps / any / any / nothing
Desert = plains / hot / dry / scrublands
Plains = plains / temperate / moderate / grass
Grassland = plains / temperate / wet / grass
Forest = plains / temperate / moderate / forest
Jungle = plains / hot / moist / forest
Swamp = plains / any / moist / grass
Hill = hill / any / any / grass
Mountain = mountain / any / any / scrublands
Tundra = plains / cold / any / grass
Glacier = plains / cold / any / scrublands
M@ni@c: Cool! In the beginning, there should be a lot more forests, to simulate the world before human deforestation. That should be easy in this system. How would this simulate high-altitude plains, though?
technophile: Agreed, the pros outweigh the cons. Customization would be harder, but also more impressive. Imagine terrains for Mars or Hell… Borders between terrains would be tough to manage; maybe an algorithm could be designed to "mesh" or morph any two given terrains together. Maybe moisture and temperature could determine the disease factor of a region.
Theben: Great job! Maybe graphics could overlap for certain LTMV combinations, but not too few or the map will turn out ugly.
Gordon the Whale: High-altitude plains aren't addressed, but I imagine they would behave much like low plains. That way, you could set each tile on a 3D map like SMAC, or perhaps with tiles made of small 3D grids, such as mindlace suggested. technophile: I like the terrain/disease correlation. Theben: Overlapping graphics might make the map ambiguous; I want to know whether I'm settling on plains or grassland. Differences could be subtle, a matter of shading. Incidentally, I'm reconsidering whether Grassland should be considered a "wet" square. A plains / temperate / wet / grass should be a marsh of some sort.
Plains = plains / temperate / dry / grass
Grassland = plains / temperate / moderate / grass
Plains: The basic square. Chances of a mineral resource: 1/10 (either an "extra shield" or a more complicated resource system). Max food without a farm: 2.
Hills: Higher chance of resources: 1/4, seeded individually rather than by square, so a square may possess more than one resource. Some hills might have "large deposits," the equivalent of two of the game resource. Max food without a farm: 1.
Mountains: The most resource heavy: 1/2 or 1/3. Can also have large deposits. Max food without a farm: 0. All mountain grass squares get -1 food penalty.
Temperature: -1 food per square for cold regions, no mod for moderate, +1 for hot.
Moisture: Same as temperature, except an unfarmed wet square would function as dry (-1 food), and wet plains would require a special kind of farm (you really can't farm a swamp, and since moisture represents rainfall, you can't "drain" the square). The special farm gives a +1 bonus. Wet mountains don't suffer the penalty because they're self-draining.
Vegetation: The heat bonus doesn't apply for squares with scrublands, though the moisture bonus does (to simulate deserts with some vegetation; in the game, moist scrublands will be rare, though, unless caused by pollution or nuclear warfare). Grass produces 1 food plus inherent resources. Forest produces 1 food plus 2 shields/wood; forests cannot be farmed. Climate bonuses that apply to food for plains, also apply to shields/wood for forests, including the "wet plains" penalty.
Farms: This assumes a TI called a farm. All tiles have a set amount of max food they can produce, and farms allow the player to access it. A square may provide 5 food, but a citizen can only produce 2 food, 3 with a farm; later tech improvements may boost this to the full 5. Maybe you could even plant specific crops: rice could add 3 food, but only on wet squares. Wheat could add +2, not available on cold or dry squares. Maize could be +1 on anything but cold or wet. Potatoes +1 anywhere. These could become available with tech advances or random events or be distributed among civilizations at the beginning, determined by location; you could even trade them with other civs. Then later on come cash crops like tobacco, cotton, sugar, indigo. Greenhouses could eliminate the cold penalty, et cetera. To harvest everything properly, maybe start the game with a free terraformer unit (not called a terraformer, obviously).
Farm: Unlimited food production on plains, 2 food on hills, cannot be built in mountains.
Terraced Farm: Allow 3 food in hills, and 2 (or 1) in mountains. (Remember mountain grass gets -1 food). Can only be built in hills and mountains, requires a tech advance (earthworks, terraced farming, engineering, maybe).
Drained Farm: Acts as a farm, eliminates wet plains penalty. Makes wet squares the most valuable. Requires a new tech advance. A possible line of advances: aqueducts, sewers, irrigation, drained farms, canals, dikes, dams, etc.
M@ni@c: Okay, but high-alt plains might look odd between mountain ranges. You should be able to irrigate high-alt plains without rivers; same with wet tiles.
Gordon the Whale: Maybe the elevation of plains could be the average of its surrounding tiles. I figured irrigation would only serve to eliminate penalties for dry climate.
ember: Good point. Modern farmlands in Canada are rarely irrigated. Irrigation could effectively upgrade a square's moisture rating. Implementing farms and crop rotation would be the biggest harvest boosters.
Theben: Agreed, irrigation should increase moisture, and farms boost food production.
don Don: Ooh, let's add another layer of complexity. There's a difference between rainfall and drainage. The Bosque del Apache in New Mexico is a swamp with low rainfall. There's a rain forest in Washington and British Columbia that's "moderate" temperature because of drainage. [I'm not sure, but I sense a modicum of sarcasm…]
ember: To me, squares represent the resources available, not the elevation. We could add high-altitude plains, but I feel 3D terrain is a devolution, making the interface more complicated without adding any relevant information.
Technophile: I see no need for "high-altitude plains," because altitude affects terrain indirectly, through factors such as vegetation and rainfall, which are already covered. I'm still in favor of 3D terrain, though.
Gordon the Whale: Don Don: Adding that fifth dimension would be hellish. Maybe make it something rivers do. If rivers run downhill as in SMAC, they might pool together to become lakes. Maybe give rivers a "flow rate." Swamps, bogs and marshes would be tiles with very slow rivers… 3D terrain on a sub-grid level is a good thing. It could be done with sprites, with better tile continuity.
High-altitude plains would look nice and more realistic, but they wouldn't have to do anything.
Changing these landforms should be much more difficult; it was implausible enough in SMAC. Raising/lowering is even worse. Realistically, only vegetation could be changed, and in Civ scale, changing forest to grass should be a hundred-year project. Moisture and temperature may change with pollution or nuclear war, but landform? Not even a nuke could knock down the Rockies…
mindlace: To add 3D and LVTM. Each square consists of a 3x3 grid; each point on the grid has an individual Z or altitude value fo rendering purposes.
Landform is the average of Z. I'd recommend 3 more landform types: Shelf, Basin and Trench for underwater terrain.
Temperature and Moisture are computed on a rendered-square basis, meaning vegetation graphics vary within a tile. As a tangent, I suggest a moisture value of "underwater." Rivers would follow a path of subsquares.
Advantages: Natural looking terrain. Vegetation sprites could be simple: 1 tree = a forest subsquare. River navigation is simple: 2 subsquares wide = navigable by boat. Underwater vegetation is simple. Hot shelf terrain could support kelp, hot basins fish.
Mines can be built anywhere w/hills or mountain form. Farms, though, would require a square to be "leveled."
Roads would level out the rendering squares they crossed.
Rivers would look similar.
N/S E/W NW/SE NE/SW
O|O OOO \OO OO/
O|O --- O\O O/O
O|O OOO OO\ /OO
First off comes form. Form cannot be altered during the course of the game. Forms: Deep Ocean, Ocean Shelf, Glacier, Mountain, Flat, Hills, Major River. Navigable rivers could not be in hills, so to keep it simple, it will be a separate landform. Flat terrain provides a food bonus; hills and mountains have a defensive bonus and allow mines.
Next comes vegetation. Vegetation can only exist in Flat, Hills and Major River squares. Vegetation types: Plains, Grassland, Taiga (Evergreen), Boreal Forest, Rain Forest, Tundra, Desert, Swamp.
Important combinations: Hill + Grassland = Plateau; River + Grassland = Flood Plain (the most fertile combination); Flat + Grassland = (no irrigation required); Taiga + Hills = Shield, like Canadian Shield or Siberia (best terrain for production); Swamp + Hills = Freshwater Lake.
Engineers cannot change landform, but can change vegitation. Allowable changes: Grassland <-> Boreal Forest; Taiga <-> Plains; Swamp <-> Grassland; Jungle <-> Plains.
Irrigated deserts act as plains. Irrigated plains act as grassland. Tundra can't be altered to anything else. Nothing can be built on Deep Ocean or Glacier.
Economic TI's are auto-built by engineers within cities. A "terraformer" type unit is fortified in each city; while it's there, it can automatically build farms, mines and change the vegitation in friendly squares. You can modify your priorities for auto-building. The terraformer need not be in a square to modify it: it can modify surrounding friendly squares or any square connected to it by roads, or even in the same region, perhaps depending on tech level. Engineers outside of cities follow rules similar to normal Civ, but cannot build mines or farms (roads and military TI's are OK).
Military TI's: Bases act as fortress + airbase. Coastal Bases can have ships enter as well. Units can be "deployed" to Bases.
Forts act as a scout unit and stop the first enemy unit to step on it. Defense bonus. Sonar could act as a Fort in the ocean shelf.
Economic TI's: Farms can be built on any plains, grassland or desert.
Irrigation can be built on desert and plains, improving the terrain to the next stage.
Mines can be built on any hills or mountains; Farms can also be built if it's a grassland or plains square.
Fisheries can only be built in Ocean Shelf, which usually extends only one square from land.
Transport TI's: Paths MV/2; Roads MV/4 + trade bonus. Highways MV/8. Railroads MV/8, longer to build, enemy units use as a Path. Tunnels connect two land squares under an Ocean Shelf tile. Land units can cross water. Canal connect two ocean squares over one land tile, can connect a city to the ocean if 1 square away (can produce ships, build harbor, etc.) When a unit enters a tunnel or canal, it uses a full MP and goes directly to the other side; units cannot "rest" in a tunnel or canal; neither can be pillaged by sea units. To build a tunnel, you must put an engineer on either side and instruct both to build.
Theben: Nice, but I must insist a desert cannot be irrigated without a river in it or modern irrigation techniques. Forests shouldn't take 100 years to build.
Theben: An improved, simplified zoom-out feature which cuts down on needless detail like altitude.