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[Freeciv-Dev] Better Game Balance (was: cheating)

[Freeciv-Dev] Better Game Balance (was: cheating)

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To: freeciv-dev@xxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [Freeciv-Dev] Better Game Balance (was: cheating)
From: "Mike Jing" <miky40@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 28 Nov 2000 12:46:33 -0500
Reply-to: mike_jing@xxxxxxxxx

This discussion is long overdue. It couldn't have come at a better time because I have been playing Civ2 (Multiplayer Gold Ed.) non-stop for the past couple of weeks. And I think I know the answer to this problem. In a word, happiness is the key.

When I first bought the game after playing Freeciv for a while, mostly out of curiousity, I opened it up and played at a medium dificulty level (Prince or King), and the Freeciv strategy worked very well, and I won the game pretty easily. So I put it away and went back to Freeciv. After a while, even Freeciv got a little stale, so I went on to other things.

Recently, I reinstalled Civ2 and started playing again, just to see if I can beat the computer at the toughest difficulty level. Well, I couldn't. Of course, the problem is that it's so much harder to keep your citizens happy. For starters, every citizen after the first starts out unhappy. On top of that, additional unhappiness is imposed as the size of your civ grow bigger -- both the number of your cities and your total population will give your more unhappy citizens. There also can be very unhappy citizens which have to be converted to unhappy first before becoming content. Needless to say, this was very annoying sice my old tricks simply do not work anymore.

What this means is that you simply have to build temples, or more military units if not under Republic/Democracy, either way, it will seriously slow down your initial expansion, and you end up with fewer cities which you have to develop more fully and grow them to a bigger size. As they grow bigger, it becomes more rewarding to build more improvements. This makes the game much more interesting. Not only do you have to build libraries/universities to get a reasonable advance rate in science, you will find that marketplaces/banks/stockexchanges are practically indispensible in keeping your people happy -- a little luxury goes a long way, not to mention all the money they generate. Since you have fewer cities, they are more valuable, so it makes more sense to defend them better, thus city walls all around. And you can afford them too. In the end, you end up with much bigger and well developed cities, and a much better chance of reaching later stages of the game, with all the mordern technologies and, of course, the exciting space race.

I think this is the way the game is supposed to be played. You have to make use of all the technologies and improvements in order to win, and the result is much more "realistic" and enjoyable. It just goes to show the genius in the design of Civ2 -- everything is closely related. By adjusting the amount of unhappiness, the game changes completely, and becomes in my opinion much more balanced. There is no need for more complicated rules. Like everything else, the solution is simple and elegant.

Freeciv does have a couple of options to adjust happiness levels. It's probably not as severe as in Civ2, and there is no provision for unhappiness related to total population. I've got to try it out. But first, I have to study a little more the art of war -- the damned Aztecs just used nukes on me...


From: Greg Wooledge <greg@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: Freeciv developers <freeciv-dev@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: [Freeciv-Dev] Re: cheating
Date: Mon, 27 Nov 2000 20:39:24 -0500

Jed Davis (jldavis@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx) wrote:

> I think some of the newer paycivs (CtP?) have
> varying science "costs" for advances, for what it's worth.

That's true; CTP has variable costs depending on the advance.  Civ1,
Civ2 and SMAC do not.  I don't know about CTP2 yet, but I'd bet it does.

IMHO, the CTP way makes the most sense.  The goal is to make the later
advances harder to attain, because by the time you're working on them,
you have a much higher science output.  But the way Freeciv (and Civ1,
etc.)  do it has the undesirable side effect that any given advance is
"magically" harder to learn if you already know more things.  This is
rather hard to justify; if anything, a wider base of knowledge should
make new learning *easier*, not harder.  With the CTP method, you could
make Writing take, say, 40 lightbulbs -- and this is how many you'd need,
regardless of whether you already know Pottery and Ceremonial Burial.

(Truth be told, I'm not sure whether CTP's advances require a fixed
number of light bulbs, or whether the requisite number is derived by some
formula that involves your current state of knowledge together with a
"difficulty factor" for each advance.)

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