No announcement yet.

New Earth Map Diplogame (Diaspora of Afroasiatics?) - [Planning Thread] Discuss Ruleset, Map etc.

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • New Earth Map Diplogame (Diaspora of Afroasiatics?) - [Planning Thread] Discuss Ruleset, Map etc.

    Hi everybody,

    Some of the players in DoB have expressed interest in starting a new diplogame on a faster speed. So I am considering hosting another diplogame on Fast speed. Hopefully, the game should be over in about 6 - 8 months with no pauses and a brisk timer. To keep the "Do" theme, I am going with the working title "Diaspora of Afroasiatics" or just "Asiatics" in the spirit of including more African and Asian Civs instead of a packed Europe (I welcome suggestions on the name).

    I have tested our DoB Map on Fast speed and surprisingly, gameplay is still pretty good on Fast speed. So I would use the same Map, with any suggestions/changes you guys come up with. I have already fixed the hole near Greenland that allows early access to the American continents. We would also obviously need to decrease the resources in Europe if there are only a couple European Civs instead of 9.

    The main thing I need suggestions on is simplifying/streamlining the ruleset. I want to have some protections in there to prevent steamrolling and rage-quitting, but I also want to allow more freedom and flexibility to wage war. I also really want the rules to be a lot less complicated this time. Ideally, I want to be able to leave the ruleset as-is, without needing to make any changes or adjustments (which raised some tensions in the current game). So with this as the goal, it is important that the rules are simple to understand.

    Another idea I had was to make all workers "hidden nationality" units. This would make it even more interesting with worker steals, because with Explorers you would not be able to tell who stole the workers. Also, you would be able to steal workers with regular units without declaring War... another Cold War option that would make the game interesting and give lots of storytelling opportunities.

    So I don't forget, I also wanted to mention the possibility of playing with "No Razing" turned on, to avoid the ruleset complications from city razing.

    The last idea I was considering was adding the APT mod to the DoB mod so that turnorder would be automatically managed by the game itself. A bunch of the current rules are designed to deal with the lack of set turnorder. So I would like feedback from people playing in the current ISDG, or who have used APT mod in other games, particularly, anyone who has hosted a game running APT.

    Here is a link to the currently running diplogame so you can see the rules, map, etc:

    Thanks everyone for your comments
    Last edited by Sommerswerd; August 16, 2013, 00:49.

  • #2
    I have always wanted to play a game with EVERY civ represented. I think this can balance prety well if you place Ottomans in Turkmenistan, Dutch in Indonesia, Portugal in Brazil, USA on east coast of USA, and Babylon/Sumeria in Australia. That thins out Europe a bit and leaves every corner of the world fairly densely populated and competitive.

    Anyhow, hope there is some interest in this idea as I think it would be a really cool to play an MP game that actually sort of mirrors the real world.

    Another thought is to lesson restrictions on war and civ destroying but give each civ some good defensive units early on. Thinking a few per-promoted CG3 explorers (traditional ones that can't attack) could be a good idea as they would be great defense early on and would only go obsolete once folks should be far enough along to defend on their own (in a shorter game, civs getting eliminated is not so bad in my view).


    • #3
      You know you love civ when you're organizing new diplogames 2 days after a new child is born
      I may or may not play this game, but suggestions based on other games (since I've only played the current one for like 10 turns).

      Having had 4 cities razed, I can only say that I'm extremely thankful we have razing in this current game. Especially if you're going to have AI, keeping razing in is essential, since so many city's placements just suck and can wreck an otherwise awesome area.

      Balancing: Intro

      I think what Civ in general needs, and what modding and rules can help with, is giving lesser civs a chance to catch up, or at least stay within 1 era of the leaders (usually), and smaller civs a chance to compete with larger ones. Current game, there's 1 civ clearly running away with the game, with a few others way more powerful than the rest, and while diplomacy and such can help with that, it's generally just a matter of consolidating even further for the winning side. This is how most games go, you end up with a few blockbuster civs that get lucky or are just very skilled players, and a lot of others that get "squished" in the middle or just never compete very well for whatever reasons.

      Balancing: Known Tech Bonus

      Definitely keep TECH_COST_TOTAL_KNOWN_TEAM_MODIFIER at least at 100. I think this started (on my advice ) in G&H, and it really helps keep everyone closer together. It could actually use a good boost. Right now, it's doubling research speed for very backwards techs; but, for techs that are last-era only, or at least not near the "cutting edge", it gives a very minor boost still, making it so that players that find themselves behind (less than half the GNP of the leaders) can't reasonably keep up in any way. And, yeah, it's common to have a lot of players so far behind on a real-world map - check the techs tab in the current game and you can see already huge divides. You could boost the bonus to 200, which makes for just a 33% tech cost for totally-known techs, and a 50% cost for ones known by ~60% of the players. That seems reasonable. I would suggest at least a discussion on an appropriate number and some playtesting with 100-150-200-300 or something like that. The original 30 is quite very low, and there's no reason to further increase it, I think actually it would be good for the health of the game. 300 might even work, though it would mean in a 12-player game that once a tech is discovered, the next guy starts with a 25% bonus, or an 80% tech time. Maybe that's actually a good thing, given how far ahead the first 1 or 2 civs can get.

      Balancing: Better Palaces

      I would also suggest something new: palace advancement, making the palace benefits increase with era. In addition, increase civic costs. For the former, I mean that in the Ancient Era, the palace makes up a considerable part of the GNP. That 8 commerce ends up as a very large slice of the pie up to the Classical Era. After that, it dwindles to total insignificance. Why should this be an issue? Again, smaller civs almost universally find themselves behind in the game after a while. It's unavoidable that land=wealth. To balance this we can keep the palaces important to the economy (IRL: signify the importance of the capital in accumulating empire-wide wealth and power) throughout, at least for smaller civs, and if they choose Bureaucracy (a High Upkeep civic), they can really pound out a decent GNP with the afore-mentioned known tech bonus. So, a Classical palace is maybe 16 commerce, 3 hammers; a Medieval one maybe 24 and 5; a Ren one maybe 32 and 7, and so on. Rough numbers, but it's as simple as looking at typical GNP growth curves from T25 on and scaling up palace benefits with that. To do this, make 1-hammer "era palace expansions" that have the prereq of "building_palace". So, in the above example, the Classical palace is actually an 8-commerce, 3hammer building, which adds to the 8 commerce of the original. (note: moving a palace needs to destroy all improvements in old city)

      Or, you could make a bunch of such expansions for each era, so there isn't such a sudden jump in GNP from getting that one tech. So, like Iron Working has a 0C/2H expansion, and Alphabet has a 2C/0H one, and we spread it out over a variety of techs so that by the end of the era you have the full "new palace". That's better, though it clutters the city build screen considerably (who cares?). Since every civ can only have 1 palace, it further evens the playing field.

      Balancing: Civic Upkeep

      I think making civic upkeep (which is based heavily on civ size) more dependent on size balances the advantage further in favor of smaller civs. This is fairly necessary with the palaces change, to further reduce the impact of the palace for larger civs, while making that capital (which should be un-conquerable through rules) + bureaucracy for a smaller civ to be its ticket to relative equality. Obviously, some players may overexpand and end up with large, lackluster civs, but that's a player choice and can be rectified through razing or selling off land.


      A lot of balancing and discussion needs to go into these, and they do play a lot with the typical game progression, but the base game is like 10 years old, and there's no reason it can't be improved upon in terms of balance, when it was sort of designed to allow for runaway expansion. For a diplogame, we don't want runaway expansion and economies, but rather tethers to keep everyone closer together. We can do a lot more, though obviously we don't want to totally equalize everyone. It's good to have a mix of important and less-important civs, but it's the "runaway economy" feature that I want to stop. Let the leaders be 1 era ahead, but not 2-3 ahead of the most-behind civs. It makes those behind civs almost totally irrelevant beyond story-telling.
      Last edited by Japan (DoB); August 15, 2013, 22:48.


      • #4
        Other ideas:

        Could we work a bit on resource balancing? I mean, as Japan I have like 30 fish that no one wants and little else to trade. Other civs get like 10 different resources. Yeah, late-game it's going to be great once Sushi comes around, either for me or for trade, but up until then I just have to hope people are nice and give me lopsided trades (which has been the case so far ).


        • #5
          Per japan suggestion on resources. Map should be rebalanced a good amount. This one was purposefully generated to be fairly ridiculous.

          Awesome suggestions for game balancing to favor small civs but I am not sure it would really be needed in a map where civs were a bit more spread out. Right now imbalances are mainly due to legacy of who claimed the good land 1st and who was boxed in an unable to grow.


          • #6
            In my experience, this boxing in and historical growth issues happen always. It's an issue for those whose civs fall far behind and are no longer competitive, for keeping them in the game. It's also an issue for getting new players to join AI-ed civs, since any civ under AI for more than 50 turns or so ends up being crap and hard to make competitive (at least at faster game speeds). It's a "game health" thing, and doing whatever you can to improve that is best for all.

            General suggestion for my suggestions: start small, then adjust. We did that with tech bonus (100% is still small imo), and so far it's worked well in that it hasn't upset the game completely, but it's not worked well enough either imo, in allowing players to keep up. The current game proves that clearly enough. We should really set a goal for "how big the spread between best and worst human civs" should be, based on an average idea of how far ahead a "best civ" can get (based on diplogames, ofc). What percentage of total research should anyone be behind in? Currently, it's like 65%+ behind for some civs in DoB. You've got guys going for Economics and Press and others still dabbling about at the edge of Classical-Medieval techs, like Machinery and Maths. That's a huge gap, and without any good chances to expand, one that just gets worse as the better civs further expand and compound interest draws the gap ever larger.

            Really, the tech bonus is the #1 way to fix this, but there's no reason to lightly experiment with the 2 other ideas above. As I said, balanced in vanilla for games which are supposed to have massive imbalances, but for diplogames we don't really want that, just smaller imbalances.

            Map Changes: Core Areas

            This was something I tried to do in DoF, but didn't quite pull off since the cores were too big (as was the whole map, but it did work in giving clear boundaries that stuck for much of the game): give everyone really good "core" areas. Sort of the current resource-spam nature of DoB, but don't cover half the map with it. Give everyone like 3 cities guaranteed to have awesome output, and make everywhere else normal civ quality on average. This way expanding doesn't provide the same economic advantages as when all land is roughly equal. You can double your size, but because the inital 25% of your land is worth 75% of the total, it's not the same boost. You can also have major wars on borders, but they're not nearly as devastating when you lose 3 cities, since they're comparatively not so great compared to the core. This helps keep things more civil, when what you're fighting over is less valuable, but still great for story telling and epic narratives. Of course, there are always those really good economic players that can take such core areas and dominate with them, like mzprox and Calanthian did in DoF, so it's not perfect by itself.

            Rules-wise, protecting these core areas is also possible, so the cities can be captured within them, but not razed and must be returned whenever the war ends. It's as simple as drawing a box around each core area on a map, the mapmaker's task. Of course, if you want to go the typical "smash everyone in Europe together" route, this doesn't work since everyone needs to have fairly comparable starts in terms of land space. It's a lot harder to balance otherwise.

            Map Idea: Key City-States

            Stolen from C5, of course. Have some AI 1-city civs (remove settlers from their builds) that occupy nice spots. Use these to add some more valuable "key cities" to the game, sort of a mix of the "core city" quality and "normal" vanilla balance. They're intended to be conquered, but not razed (game rules for latter). These give players a few really important areas to fight over, rather than just squabbling over less vital "peripheral" areas (for the "core area" concept of design).
            Last edited by Japan (DoB); August 15, 2013, 22:51.


            • #7
              Thanks for the feedback guys. A few comments...

              34 Civ Map - I really like this idea! However I thnk that realistically, we would have to accept that many of the Civs would be AI if we did this. I can hardly imagine finding 20 diplogame players, let alone 30+. One thing about filling up the Map with Civs though, is that it is harder to give everyone comparable staring lands because of the terrain etc. Also, filling up all of the lands changes the whole exloration and age of discovery concept.

              This is a little bit more complicated from a mapmaking standpoint, because I would have to start the Map over instead of using the one we already have. I know it is possible to change the Civs in an existing Map, but I dont think adding more Civs than the dll file allows is possible. I would have to start a new Map with a modified dll. That being said, I am sure there are already Earth Maps with modded dlls out there (I have some already I think).

              Early defense - As far as early defensive capability goes, isnt it easier to just say Capitals are immune to capture until X (number of cities, certain turn, date etc.) And/or we could also buff ordinary Scouts to 3 strength and give everyone 1 or 2 of them. That way the modded Explorers don't need to be re-modded, and we don't have to give out advanced units.

              Known tech bonus - This has been brought up before, and I think it is a good idea. I think you are right that we need to have a goal in mind when setting this value so that we can make it harder to get to far ahead in tech. I don't have much experience in modifying this value, so first, what file needs to be moddified,and second, what level of modification will yield what kind of result? In other words what would you set the value to to keep everyone in the same era, 1 era behind, 2 eras, etc?

              I think that the discounts on tech stealing is the "designer intended" way for backwards Civs to catch up. Someone already knows it, so you dont have to re-invent the wheel, just steal it from them. However, I think that in practice, most players find this discouraging for a number of different reasons. Most players I find, would rather just beef up their own research capabilities and tech the normal way. That being said, I am pretty sure the tech stealing cost is tied to the teching cost, including the know tech modifiers, so increasing the known tech bonus should also make tech stealing alot cheaper too, so I guess its a win-win for the backwards Civ trying to catch up.

              Now keep in mind that good players are good players, and they will be "ahead" of everyone else no matter how the game is modified, but I think that being able to keep up in tech is one factor that helps some players stay interested in the game, and even if they can't build any of the buildings or units or run any of the civics, they just "feel better" knowing that they are not far behind in tech (I know I do ).


              • #8
                OK I finished reading some of the other suggestions and I have comments on those...

                Increased Civic Upkeep -Keeping the goal of making it easier to stay competitive (and hopefully encouraging continued participation), I like this idea. But I do not know how much the Civics cost should be increased to get the desired effect... 50%, 100%, 200% what? Would it just be easier to make a substantial increase in the "number of cities maintnance" cost, and also turn vassal state/colonies on? This alone would make runaway expansion much more challenging, and add a powerful negative compounding effect to expansion to balance the positive one. Especially if we are going to allow some AI Civs from the start, it might be nice to at least give a plyer who has over-expanded the option to dump his colonies into a Vassal state arrangement instead of having to sell them off completely.

                Palace Expansion- I understand completely the point of this, but I think its too complicated for a lot of reasons which I won't go into. I will say that one of the things that DoB has taught me, is that adding too many things to the game that are totally unfamiliar to people usually does not go over as well as you planned. The palace expansion thing seems to fit into this category, as in I foresee us having to remind people who are behind that they should constantly be "Palace-Upgrading" like in an RTS game. Again, I'm not going to spend alot of time criticizing the idea, as it has a lot of merit, but to me the drawbacks outweigh the positives.

                City States/ Key AI cities - I like this idea too. Some well resourced, but hard to conquer AIs in key strategic locations would make interesting trade partners. What about giving some AI Civs a starting city in some of the canal locations or chokepoints (Carthage, Suez, Panama, Constantinople)? This would certainly give the players something to shoot at. Removing settlers from their available builds might work, IIRC this is a relatively simple edit (I hope). We could also remove workers from the Barbarian, and American/AI Civs avilable builds to allow them to grow cities, but keep the lands/chops pristine for colonization/conquest/development.

                Core Area - This actually has two parts, but one part is connected to resource balancing, so I will leave that for last since that was an issue raised in-and-of itself. The other part is just the basic idea of having some protected cities. DMW currently does that, especially in the early game, but DMW is too complicated. We also have a capital immunity under 6 cities, which I think is sound, but maybe we can modify of simplify the rule.

                What about changing the rule to "Immediately after capturing a player's capital, you must offer 10 turn Peace, including the return of the city. The player who lost the city is free to refuse and continue the War." This would make capital capture the end of a War, and mean that you can capture capitals, but not keep them. It also will give the other guy 10 turns of breathing room after his capital gets captured. The other player is also given the freedom to keep fighting if he does not want the Captal back.

                Another idea would be to tailor down the rest of the Measured War rules to simply "If you lose 3 cities in a War you are entitled to immediate peace treaties from your opponents. You can refuse the peace treaty if you want to continue the War"


                • #9
                  Resource Allocation/Balance (or lack thereof) -

                  One of the reasons for the resource spam was to balance the availability of land early on, but if we spread everyone out we dont need that anymore. Another reason was to enhance Corporations and the late game. Maybe will see how it develops with this game and adjust as needed. Or we can test it in SP and talk about the results. A third reason was actually just my fault/mismanagement. What I mean by that is I intended for there to be 1 food, 1 seafood, 1 luxury, 1 strategic resource that would serve as corporation fodder as well as a generic tile booster. I see it right here in my notes... "Wheat, Fish, Gold and Copper - spam for better tiles and corporation use later on" ...The other resources were meant to be placed in normal amoounts. But then when I was editing I sort of lost track and put too many of other things too, because I started getting too caught up in the resource monopoly concept (which I think is sound BTW, if done correctly).

                  At any rate, remember that in DoB, it was essential to give everyone in Europe a super-powered capital location because for many Civs this would be their only viable city for a much longer than usual period of time. Also, the European Civs had to have more resources locally to compete with the other Civs who had plenty of room to expand. The barbs were meant to balance this a bit, but the idea was to give the less experienced/skilld players the room while the better players fought in out in close-quarters Europe. But what ended up happening, is higher skilled players ended up with the frontier Civs.

                  Anyway, I like the idea of giving everyone really good starting land, its really good for morale and "bonding" with your Civ. I also like the idea of more careful resource placement, less resources overall, with a much tighter focus on what few resources are meant to be spam for tile yield boosting and the rest can be strictly for trade as intended.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Sommerswerd View Post
                    Known tech bonus - This has been brought up before, and I think it is a good idea. I think you are right that we need to have a goal in mind when setting this value so that we can make it harder to get to far ahead in tech. I don't have much experience in modifying this value, so first, what file needs to be moddified,and second, what level of modification will yield what kind of result? In other words what would you set the value to to keep everyone in the same era, 1 era behind, 2 eras, etc?
                    It's modified in DoB! It's in assets\xml\GlobalDefinesAlt.xml, the very first value in your mod's...

                    It's 30 in vanilla, which is barely anything. It was 100 in G&H, maybe also in DoF (I think so, but not sure). So, you can see the results in our current game. I'm pretty sure the math is simple:

                    [bonus] x [% civs having tech] x [BPT]

                    So, we should figure out:
                    1. How cheap [%] a tech known by everyone should be.
                    2. How much of a discount a tech should get once it's first discovered.
                    3. How many players we're going to have (it affects #2)

                    So, if we go with 24 players, say, and a 300 bonus, once the first player gets it, everyone else gets an immediate 12% reduction in time to research it. Once everyone knows it, it's a 75% reduction.

                    Other way around, it means that players with base teching abilities that are 25%-50% of the leaders can keep up with the most popular tech lines, albeit a few techs behind the majority of players.

                    The real question is, I think, (A) how far behind do the lowest players usually get, and (B) how far behind in tech should we want them to get?

                    Looking at DoB charts, Greece has between 5 and 10 times the GNP of the bottom 5 players (myself included). Not precise numbers here, but just going by the graph. In DoE1, I think it was closer to 3:1 between England and the lower civs mid-game. In DoF, it was I think a lot closer to Greece in DoB, with Egypt/Carthage dominating most civs completely. I think G&H was more reasonable since the best economic players sort of handicapped each other there.

                    But I really don't know where to strike the balance. I think 100 is still too low, but what's right?

                    Increased Civic Upkeep -Keeping the goal of making it easier to stay competitive (and hopefully encouraging continued participation), I like this idea. But I do not know how much the Civics cost should be increased to get the desired effect... 50%, 100%, 200% what? Would it just be easier to make a substantial increase in the "number of cities maintnance" cost, and also turn vassal state/colonies on? This alone would make runaway expansion much more challenging, and add a powerful negative compounding effect to expansion to balance the positive one. Especially if we are going to allow some AI Civs from the start, it might be nice to at least give a plyer who has over-expanded the option to dump his colonies into a Vassal state arrangement instead of having to sell them off completely.
                    Again, I'm not sure of the exact numbers. I would suggest pegging it strongly to city distance rather than #cities. This more accurately reflects "penalties for size". Players would still get 1 cheap colony (post-Forbidden Palace), but other, minor colonies would be exorbitant (or simply less profitable), so they'd be more for resource grabs than building up GNP, or set as vassals.

                    Having vassal colonies would be awesome anyway. Just so long as we agree to not vassalize AI or players.


                    • #11
                      Not sure what you mean by the last sentence. I agree that having vassal states turned on is worth a try, but I don't see how it works without vassalizing the AI (or other players). If you can't vassalize the AI, and you can't vassalize other players, then who can you vassalize?

                      About the file for modding the Known tech bonus. ... You're right of course I completely forgot that a known tech bonus was already part of the "No score Mod." I knew this initially,because someone pointed it out when DoB was in the planning stages, but then I just forgot about it. So I did not do the modification myself, it was already part of a Mod that I was integrating into the DoB Mod. Anyway thanks for pointing that out.

                      So, as with anything else, I am leaning towards "fun" as being the main factor. Now the speed alone will help alot with the "Gosh it will take so long to catch up" feeling. But I also think you are right that players easily getting caught-up is also a good goal.

                      Thinking about what we talked about so far, maybe it really shouldn't take more than a few turns to tech anything that everyone else knows. It just sucks to look at the diplomacy tab and see that everyone else in the game has a tech that you don't. As for the discout for once a tech has been discovered, I think we could increase it to 200, and test it in SP to see how that feels.


                      • #12
                        I would say, start with 250 and adjust from there. I expect 300+ to be really high, and leave a very close tech race, while 200 would keep more spacing between civs, leading to an inevitable late-game backwardsness from the worst off ones. 100 certainly helps a bit, but as you can see whenever you get a runaway GNP civ, there's little you can do except find ways to prevent extreme runaway scenarios (turn to civic upkeep, maintenance, etc, then). I think so long as certain excellent economic players are in, you can't really help but have a massive tech leader.

                        Also note that it speeds up the game, almost like turning on Tech Trading in a way. It alters strategy a bit too when it gets to 100+. Me and Ozzy used that to our advantage to just nudge out Sushi in G&H by waiting on Economics till the last tech, so we shaved a few turns off by having everyone else getting Economics while we teched up to Medicine or whatever it is Sushi is, then grabbing a 1/2 price Econ. We won that by, well a bit of luck, but also that. More strategy! A good thing.

                        RE last sentence: I want colonies on again, basically. I thought you needed vassals on to have it.

                        Another idea that is going to be too difficult to balance but fun to think about anyway: make a super high maint civic that gives a huge ESP boost. Make the civic upkeep too high for it to be usable by anything other than a <8 city civ, so only small, assumedly backwards civs could use it to tech steal their way to same-era parity with the tech pack.


                        • #13
                          OK so we go with a 250 value, sounds good.

                          About colonies... Yea you need to turn on vassal States to get the colony mechanism in-game. It also comes with the colony payments attached to city maintenance for far away cities, so that is another bonus. I turned it off, thinking that I did not want to discourage colonial expansion, but now having played I see that it basically makes colonial expansion too cheap, leaving less room for competition.


                          • #14
                            I've set up a test bed for this. I've got 17 civs (lost one apparently), each with the exact same start of 9 cities, each surrounded by mountains, each with 1 resource of each type in the same configuration (took a while). Each knows all of the other civs, and each is connected by rivers for trade. I'm going to run it through 10 times first as a control, then imbalance the starts to ensure a reasonable amount of disparity in civ outcomes. Once I have a good imbalance going, I'll run 10 trials each of the bonus at: 30, 100, 200, 250, 300, and 400.

                            Map is: toroidal, huge, quick. Victory: time only (500 turns). No barbs, no trading, no RE, no huts. All AI are noble.

                            I'll post the results once this finishes. It will probably take a few days.
                            Last edited by Japan (DoB); August 20, 2013, 01:24.


                            • #15
                              Thanks! I am very interested to see how your testing comes out. Let me know It will really help with planning the next one.