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  • Energy and production

    By popular demand, here's the official thread for any thoughts or ideas on energy being featured in Civ 3 alongside production. Originally inspired by the following model:

    Proposal for a New Energy Model for Civ 3
    It works like this. Energy resources, depicted as BARRELS, would be distinct from production resources, which would remain SHIELDS. Energy could be derived from coal, oil, or uranium, depending on your current level of technology. Production resources would be derived from the same resources as they always were. The difference being that now the player has the choice of saying how much coal or oil is converted to shields and how much is converted to barrels. Uranium would only be used for energy. For example: Coal depoits might produce barrels at a one to one barrel ratio, oil fields three barrels to the same one, and uranium five barrels to one. The lower the ratio, the more frequently occurring the resource will be throughout the world.

    Energy barrels would be stored and controlled globally -- that is, not locally in any one city, but rather in a "STOCKPILE" that would represent the energy reserves of your entire civ. On the game map, there would now be COAL DEPOSITS, OIL FIELDS, and URANIUM DEPOSITS, distinct from any of the previous seeded resources. These new tiles would be capable of producing moderate (coal) to heavy (oil) to HUGE (uranium) amounts of barrels. Another idea might be to vary the amount a player is able to extract by the current level of technology they possess, in addition to the type of resource from which it was originally derived. These geological sites would be seeded proportionately around the map, but not so abundantly that the search for them and the ownership of them wouldn't be extremely competitive.

    So, assuming a new Production/Energy relationship, leave the production side with its shields, for now. For the purposes of this model production stays the same. On the new energy side, I've already described where the energy barrels would come from. Now I'll try to suggest where they would go.

    Barrels would go to, at your discretion, Trade, Unit Supply, and Transportation.

    First, Trade. Very simple. You have two options -- either convert barrels to trade arrows that feed your trade stream (on which your science, tax and luxuries still depend), or trade barrels directly through diplomatic negotiations with another civ -- by the barrel. The latter would add a new layer to diplomacy, and the former a greatly simplified trade stream feature. I.e., where before trade arrows were counted and adjusted per individual tile, now you could create huge masses of trade arrows simply by adjusting a slider in your ENERGY STOCKPILE screen. Great, huh?

    Secondly, unit supply. Pre-modern units would require what they have always required to build and maintain -- shields. But to build modern units would require not only shields, but barrels as well. Additionally, maintaining these units now would require ONLY barrels. "Maintaining," in the case of modern units, means supplied via a supply line. Thus, the strategic trade-off of a powerful modern army is its dependency on its supply of energy to make it run. I'll leave it for another model to decide which units need supply lines and which don't, and what the rules of supply lines might be. Suffice to say, your ENERGY STOCKPILE were empty, and your last tank across the world was dependent on 1 barrel per turn coming from your last oil field, losing possession of that field would cut off your tank's supply. On the next turn that tank would find itself reduced to the defensive equivalent of a phalanx. The turn after that its attack would be that of a militia. And it wouldn't move. Cool, huh?

    Lastly, Transportation -- the building, using, and maintenance of a transportation infrastructure -- also consumes your energy barrels. This excludes pre-modern roads. Movement along these roads is a function of the unit and its own supply of energy, if needed. It DOES mean, however, that barrels would be needed to fund the upgrading of MODERN roads (increased trade and movement benefits), ALL rails, and travel by rail. As in pre-modern roads, unit travel by air and sea would be a function of those units' supply.

    So, there is now a direct link between your railroad infrastructure and your available energy. How would railroads work? When traveling by rail, the unit(s) are assumed to be traveling by train. Their normal supply cost, if any, doesn't count while that unit is moving on a train (along a railroad). Instead, there is an energy cost for operating that train. And whether there are one, two or ten units on the train, the cost is the same. No longer can a player willy-nilly build railroads to their heart's content and cross their continent 10 times in a turn without an opportunity cost somewhere else. Of course they can if they want, IF they got the gas, and IF they choose to spend it that way. But the availabity of resources found on the game map, and the cost of processing them into barrels, SHOULD require a great deal of strategic skill to maneuver oneself into such a position that he could afford to waste valuable energy going sightseeing on his railroad. Too, railroads will have to be planned carefully and economically. Your ability to begin construction projects would be dependent completely on your energy stockpile. So, to be clear: when a tank is moving across grassy plains from Kansas City to Los Angeles, it is expending 1 barrel per its maximum movement, 3 squares, over that terrain. But when that tank moves onto a railroad, the train it is on consumes, say, 10 barrels per tile, but there remains no limit to its maximum movement, save the player's energy reserves (btw, numbers herein don't represent anything more than my own crude guesses at ratios). Needless to say, railroads would not function if there were not enough fuel in the stockpile.

    To offset this choice, MODERN ROADS, or HIGHWAYS, could be introduced to the game. This would offer a medium alternative between pre-modern roads and rail, wherein there would be a "highway maintenence" cost added to a unit's normal movement supply cost. It would be FAR less than rail travel, but the distance traveled per turn, though greater than normal, would be limited. Certain technology upgrades would be linked to an increased ability to move, or a decreased barrel cost to move the same distance -- i.e., future train travel might cost much less after the discovery of Atomic Power (allowing for URANIUM MINES), and subsequently Fusion might allow for a sharp decreases in the cost of rail travel. A player presumably would have to have at least one Uranium mine feeding his energy stockpile to get this effect.

    I believe this model will enhance other areas of the game as well. Already I can see how it would effectively eliminate the problem known as "I.C.S.", or "Infinite City Sleaze," that strategy of overwhelming opponents with innumerable small cities. Players who have over-expanded their empire in earlier centuries will find the energy demands of modern military units and transportation to be cost prohibitive over such great distances. Unless they have the barrels they will find, as the cost of infrastructure and defense rises, their borders will shrink rapidly as more balanced nations take them over. The wise player will thus never build beyond their projected ability to support the energy demands of their infrastructure. This solution has the virtue of imposing the new economics of the game world as a cure for I.C.S., rather than creating false penalties. I believe the ONLY reason players were able to get away with I.C.S. in the past is because ENERGY was not modeled in the game.

    In summary, energy is in fact, as we know, the currency of not only war, but peace. All infrastructure depends on it. It is distinct from, though married to, production. I hope this leads to some useful discussions here, and with the Civ 3 design team.

    <font size=1 face=Arial color=444444>[This message has been edited by raingoon (edited January 24, 2000).]</font>

  • #2
    An ammendment to the model could be that resources would be separated by PRIMARY (Coal, Oil and Uranium) and SECONDARY (Solar, Hydro, etc.) resources. The latter would all be the low-yield/plentiful variety, capable of powering ONLY a very small Civ, or a large civ's infrastructure. As such, Coal might well become a defacto secondary resource by the end of a game.

    Some suggestions for SECONDARY resources have included Wood (found in forests) Solar Power (found in deserts), Hydroelectric (rivers?), and Geothermal(?)... Again, Coal might be the first PRIMARY resource, but with the discovery of Oil become the first of what will become SECONDARY resources in the modern world. Again, by "primary" I only mean capable of sustaining a modern superpower. And by "secondary," I only mean "NOT capable of sustaining a superpower."


    • #3
      Would direct converting of energy to trade a proper thing? I agree with that trade correlates with energy used but not linearly. Maybe trade-support improvements should cost more energy? This is a rather complicated subject considering electronical banking, difference between trading IT, raw materials and products.

      I once thought that workpower should be separated also but in reality the workpower's role would determine only the speed of the production and the commodities would determine IF you can build at all. So the factors that could affect the production could be the *AMOUNT* of energy and the *AVAILABILITY* of a commodity. Commodities could be traded indeed. Examples:

      1.A city with Aluminium deposit and low energy & workforce could produce airplanes but very slowly.
      2. A city without aluminium with a lot energy/workforce would be a very productive city but it just lacks the metal required for airplanes so a trade route should be estabilished.

      1. The Depot (or Supermarket, Port...) facility would hold reserves in case a trade route is cancelled. It should avoid the risk like granary does.
      2. Maybe if someone thinks that the quantity should be more stressed than this system does then lets assume a commodity resource can offer 2 resources. One for the city's needs, second for trade. Let's assume some units need one resource in terrible amounts like battleships need iron. Then Each unit should have 2-3 prerequisites for building.
      Jet Fighter 1 Aluminium, 1 Electronics
      Battleship 1 Iron , 1 Iron (extra)
      So the need for huge amounts of a single commodity would be reflected...
      Upkeeping units would require energy. Maybe in different amounts. Partisans would need no energy at all perhaps while some larger air fleets use as much energy as some African countries!

      I think that energy is not so freely transported that it could be in a POOL. Perhaps it could be so if superconductor wires are invented. Energy must also be transported via wires, trade routes (tankers) or pipelines (maybe a new terrain improvement?) From the other hand I support simple solutions and in the actual game I preferred the POOL system than building one more terrain improvement. Late game terrain upgrading is one of the most annoying cases of micromanagement IMHO. And NO, I do not oppose micromanagement. Less tiles - less micromanagement perhaps?

      Comments & critics about this 'Simple quantitative' energy & commodity system are most expexted.


      • #4
        Interesting you bring up commodities. The model I proposed assumed that commodities would be included as generic shields, derived variously from different resources.

        But perhaps again the shields model in the game might be adjusted along the lines you're suggesting. Making some production resources provide vast amounts of shields, such as your aluminum suggestion. And at the same time having airplanes require that many more shields. Again, as with energy barrels, it would all be in the balancing. But I could see that working in a basic kind of way.


        • #5
          You wrote *basic* and that's what I really did like in Civ2 main (read: compulsory) gameplay. In this case the costs of units should be much revised.
          Riflemen cost - 50
          Stealth Bomber - was it 120 or 160?

          Are'nt the riflemen too expensive or B-2 Stealths too cheap? I support that some units have greater energy upkeep than others.


          • #6
            About production I think that the factory should not increase the shields you get from terrain but give shields depending on population...


            • #7
              Just a technical comment on Rail engery use. (I work in the Rail Divsion of a large engineerinng company)
              Rail is the lowest energy use method of ground transport, per ton-mile by a substantial margin. Far cheaper to move your armor division via rail. However, the idea of energy use consumption per tile moved is excellent, easy to implement, and provides a balance to the (good) idea of increasing movement for units.
              Best MMORPG on the net:

              An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind. -Gandhi


              • #8
                I'm not too sure whether an energy model should be added. I'm quite sure that this energy model should not be added, for several reasons.
                It neglects the first, most ancient, most basic energy form, being fire from woods.
                IMHO it's not realistic. Where does todays energy go to? It does not go to trade, neither transportation, neither the military. AFAIK it does go to the houses of people (lighting and heating) and into production. Coming from near the Ruhrgebiet in Germany, I know you need lots of energy for making steel before you can even think of the energy for making an automobile.
                Bye, Dirk
                "Dirks and Daggers may hurt."
                Bye, Dirk
                "Dirks and Daggers"


                • #9
                  I think the idea of linking what resources (raw materials and other commodities) are available, either locally or through trade to what a city can make (commodities) is excellent. I think energy should be just one of these commodities. Weapons should also be commodities, needed to build military units.

                  The level of commodities available relative to other cities should affect a city's happiness. Commodities should also be traded for money, as could raw materials. Only raw materials and commodities available to a city should be available for trade, not like the random thing in Civ2.

                  Resource squares should only be visible once you have the appropriate technology - e.g. iron ore cannot be seen until you discover iron working. This will stop you deliberately building a city in 4000BC next to some iron/oil/uranium/etc. deposits that will come in useful in a few thousand years time!

                  Surplus manpower (left after food production) should determine what the production rate for commodities and weapons from a city should be.

                  The trading arrangements would have to be different to Civ2. I think any number of trade routes should be possible, plus a city automatically has a trade route to any other city within a certain travelling time. This latter will mean that you only have to micromanage special trade routes, and as transport becomes better, the trade possibilities increase automatically. It gives some real motivation to building roads that join your cities, which is not there in Civ2.


                  • #10


                    • #11
                      <center><table width=80%><tr><td><font color=000080 face="Verdana" size=2><font size="1">quote:
                      <img src="/images/blue1.gif" width=100% height=1>
                      </font><font size=1>Originally posted by raingoon on 01-24-2000 03:25 PM</font>
                      An ammendment to the model could be that resources would be separated by PRIMARY (Coal, Oil and Uranium) and SECONDARY (Solar, Hydro, etc.) resources. The latter would all be the low-yield/plentiful variety, capable of powering ONLY a very small Civ, or a large civ's infrastructure. As such, Coal might well become a defacto secondary resource by the end of a game.

                      Some suggestions for SECONDARY resources have included Wood (found in forests) Solar Power (found in deserts), Hydroelectric (rivers?), and Geothermal(?)... Again, Coal might be the first PRIMARY resource, but with the discovery of Oil become the first of what will become SECONDARY resources in the modern world. Again, by "primary" I only mean capable of sustaining a modern superpower. And by "secondary," I only mean "NOT capable of sustaining a superpower."

                      <img src="/images/blue1.gif" width=100% height=1></font></td></tr></table></center>
                      Solar energy irradiated on Earth could supply 17000 times the World’s Energy consumption
                      (2000 times with today’s solar photovoltaics) – The largest power plant on the planet is hydro (14000 MW, see, it has more power than 10 big nuclear power plants!

                      <font size=1 face=Arial color=444444>[This message has been edited by krauter (edited May 12, 2000).]</font>


                      • #12
                        As a professor on that field, I would like to empathize the use of Renewable Energies in CIV3. While other technologies are discussed quite deeply, the use of renewables in CIV2 (esp. Solar and Wind) was superficial. Power output of renewables is sufficient to supply all countries with energy. Renewable energy output is depending on much more external parameters than conventional power plants and should be considered in the game; as:
                        Local ground surface, distance from coast, latitude (wind)
                        Local climate, temperature, shadowing (solar; some basic ideas have been realized in SMAC, nice!)
                        Water resource, height of mountains (hydropower)
                        The different properties of solar thermal (works good at high ambient temperatures) and photovoltaic systems (works good in cold, but sunny climates) should be applied yet.
                        Therefore renewables are of the biggest options of future energy supply (beside fusion I don’t know any other) some more attention should be paid for them.
                        Additionally Renewables should also have some impact on the politic and social structure:
                        Less pollution (less angry people), less dependence from import of fossil fuels (trade need for coal as in CIV2 gets satisfied automatically), if decentralized renewables are used (solar roofs) the whole infrastructure is less vulnerable to blackouts and attack on power plants (e.g. less loss of population during war). Due to limits in resources, conventional energy should get more expensive within time, while the costs of use of renewables should get cheaper due to technology advances.


                        • #13
                          Here are my suggestions for renewable and conventional energy sources in CIV3.

                          Coal mining: costs for maintenance are increasing by time (longer and deeper mines) from to 2 to 4 shields. After a 100 years of operation resource of coal mine is finished.
                          Use of energy generated by coal is generating 100 % pollution (25 % after the invention of air filters). Pollution is causing some amount of unhappiness. Earthquake kills some units of population (miners)
                          Building costs are 100 shields. Production is 25 per year. Lifetime of coalmine is 100 years. Lifetime of coal power plant 25 years. Recover from recycling: 7.

                          Only possible near rivers and lakes: mountains 200 % energy production, but cost also 100 % more to build. Hills: 100% energy production, flat land: 50 % energy production, big rivers are doubling energy production. Due to climatic changes production of hydro power can vary (e.g. more rainfall: small rivers get to big rivers and double energy production, in dry periods big rivers get to small rivers, under extreme conditions desertification can make power production impossible, earthquakes can cause flooding within the surrounding, lower squares (1-2 squares for hydro power plants built in hilly regions, 2-4 squares for power plants build in mountain regions). Maintenance costs are one shield.
                          Building costs are 200 shields. Production is 25. Lifetime is 40 years. Recover from recycling: 25.

                          Works best in coastal areas: 200% energy generation, deserts are generally calm (50%). Sole hills and single mountains give 200% power production. Valleys are bad (30 %). Regions a bit away from the poles produce 150% of power (“roaring forties”). Hills, wood, other wind turbines and close obstacles (next square) reduce power (70 %). Maintenance is 2, in stormy areas (e.g. mountains 3). Building costs are 50 shields, generation is 10. Earthquakes could lead to total destruction in 50% of the cases. Floods do not interfere. Wind generators bulked directly near town squares may cause some unhappiness (noise).
                          Lifetime is 15-20 years. Recover from recycling 7 shields.

                          SOLAR ENERGY: General:
                          Irradiated solar energy onto Earth is gradually increasing from 700 kWh/sqm per year in Polar Regions to 2200 kWh/sqm per year in regions close to the equator – this results in a triple energy production!

                          Solar thermal power plants:
                          Work best in sunny and warm places (deserts): Energy production is 70% from standard near the poles; near equator is 200%. Desert gives an additional increase of 20%. Humid areas produce 20% less.
                          Construction of plants in woods and valleys decreases power by 25 % due to shadowing. Building costs are 200 shields. Power generation is 25. Maintenance costs are 2 shields. Earthquake and flooding decrease power production by 50%. Lifetime is 25 years. Recover from recycling: 100.

                          Energy production in Polar Regions is 70 % from standard; near equator is 200%. Deserts give a 10% minus (heat is decreasing the voltage of solar cells). Hills give a 10% plus (cooler, increases voltage). Mountains give a 20% in power production. Costs to build in mountain areas are double.
                          Construction of plants in woods and valleys decreases power by 25 % due to shadowing.
                          Maintenance costs are 1 shield. Building costs are 320 shields, after the invention of Thin Film Semiconductor Technology: 180 shields. Power generation is 25. Earthquakes and flooding do not harm (solar cells even work in space).
                          Lifetime is 30 years. Recover from recycling: 200, for Thin Film Technology: 100.

                          Power generation is 25, works for 35 years, costs 180, maintenance is 3. Nuclear power causes unhappiness and may cause scandals, especially when a university town is close by. Possibility of accident. Vulnerable to military attack and earthquakes (radiation kills in 4 squares around). Nuclear waste has to be watched by a military unit for 12000 time units. One square is sufficient for 10 years of nuclear waste. The reactor itself has to be treated as a nuclear waste square after the end of its lifetime. Recover from recycling: -40 (reactor has to be sealed).


                          Energy from biomass can be generated from three sources:

                          1. Agriculture

                          1.1 A part of agriculture waste can be transformed into energy: having a biogas plant in a city is giving one energy unit for each two farming products.

                          1.2 Also farming could be directly used to produce energy: Instead of food, energy in the harvest: e.g. sugarcane can be distilled to alcohol which serves as fuel for cars (1990 60% of the cars in Brazil had been running on that) while also the waste could be used, I suggest an efficiency of 150% compared to food production.

                          2. Waste
                          Waste and pollution production in a city with a biomass plant is sinking by 50%,
                          25% of the original produced waste and pollution can be transformed into energy.

                          3. Woods
                          Waste directly form the woods (dead trees) and indirectly in the city (e.g. from carpenters etc. ) can be transformed into energy. For each two shields produced in a wood, one energy unit is generated.

                          I suggest a cost to erect a biomass plant of about 60 shields, a maintenance of 2, energy production as shown above.

                          I tried to model all as realistic as possible, but in order keep it playable; we also could use infinite lifetime for the power plants.


                          • #14
                            I understand how the energy model you propose would eliminate the benefits of ICS in later stages of the game, but not how in early stages. if it only does so as units and tech get more advanced, then what is to stop a player from ICS expansion until, say, bridge building, and then building his infrastructure as neccesary to support his empire as it comes into a more modern age.
                            And if energy is required from the very beginning, how does this bode for the player without a vital resource in his first city range. does he not have the ability to support an exploring warrior? this turns energy resource squares from a bit of help to making or breaking the game and could seriously unbalance things.
                            Any man can be a Father, but it takes someone special to be a BEAST

                            I was just about to point out that Horsie is simply making excuses in advance for why he will suck at Civ III...
                            ...but Father Beast beat me to it! - Randomturn


                            • #15
                              Use energy completely seperate from
                              shields and trade (similiar to SMAC)

                              Energy did always occur, not only in
                              modern times. In former times Firewood
                              (found in woods, or as a byproduct of agricultute) was collected, but hardly traded:
                              If no firewood is present, survival in
                              colder climatic zones was impossible.
                              Energy requirement in different parts of the world should be different: citites
                              in extreme climates (tropic, polar or alpine)require more energy. Energy is required not only for production, but also for survival of population and mainatainance.

                              <font size=1 face=Arial color=444444>[This message has been edited by krauter (edited May 24, 2000).]</font>