<URL: http://bugs.freeciv.org/Ticket/Display.html?id=37592 >
Since this discussion last summer, I've been thinking some more
about what Freeciv could be. I've reached a few tentative
conclusions. Some of the changes are simple; some are far-reaching.
I've already done some work (on my own copy of Freeciv) to
implement some of these ideas, but it has been several months since
I last worked on it. So I figured that I would publish these ideas
to see if anyone else was interested in them.
I'll leave out some of the details in the interest of keeping
this email as brief as possible. If there's any interest, then I
can post the details later. Keep in mind that most of this is still
a thought experiment at this time.
Here are the ideas:
1) Add a new victory condition to Freeciv that is based on points.
IIRC, Freeciv offers only 3 ways to win:
a) Conquest of all opponents
b) Being first to Alpha Centauri
c) Winning on points after playing to "endyear"
b) and c) require long games. a) can be quicker but that
requires players to focus on combat technology while ignoring
many other aspects of Freeciv. That tends to make the games very
similar to each other.
I propose that a fourth victory condition be added to Freeciv:
d) The first player to X points wins.
One of the biggest advantages of this is that it makes
Freeciv games scalable. E.g. if you want a short game, play to
500 points; if you want a longer game, play 2000 points; etc.
Another potential advantage is that the AI can be programmed
to focus on accumulating points rather than trying to engineer
a conquest. Presumably the AI can be programmed to compare
numbers more effectively than it can be programmed to build and
2) Award points for things besides WoWs and techs.
If victory can be determined by points, then there needs to be
more ways for you to earn points. Here are some suggestions:
a) Award points for firsts like "50 points for the first player
to get two size 3 cities".
There could be multiple tiers. (E.g. size 3 cites, size 5
cities, size 8 cities, etc.) There could also be multiple
bonuses at each tier. E.g. There could be two bonuses for
.a bonus for the first civ with *one* size 3 city and
.a separate bonus for the first civ with two size 3 cities
- and the civ that wins one bonus on that tier is
ineligible to win the other.
There could be similar eligibility restrictions between
tiers. E.g. if your civ wins a bonus for being the first
with one size 3 city, then your civ is ineligible to win
the bonus for being the first civ with one size *5* city.
But you *are* eligible to win the bonus for being the first
civ with *two* size 5 cities.
b) Award 1 point on every turn for each surplus happy citizen
E.g. a size 3 city wuth 2 happy citizens and one unhappy
citizen would earn one point per turn. But a city with 1
happy, 1 content, and 1 unhappy does not earn any points
(at least not based on this criterion; this city might still
earn points based on other criteria).
c) Award points on every turn to the player who has the largest
city in the game.
E.g. if only one player has a size 5 city and at least one
other player has a size 4 city, then the player with the
size 5 city earns one point per turn for that difference.
Likewise if size 3 is the largest city owned by any other
player, then the player with the size 5 city would earn 2
points per turn.
There could be many other conditions that generate points.
Which ones are implemented depends on what incentives that
the game needs.
E.g. you could award points for most WoWs, most buildings,
most units, highest number of techs, biggest population,
absence of pollution, lowest corruption losses, and on and
on. But some of those characteristics (e.g. most buildings)
have intrinsic benefits - e.g. awarding points for having
the most buildings may make some buildings too desirable.
One of the benefits of awarding points for things is that it
makes it easier to tweak game balance and AI behavior. E.g. it
is easier to change a point value of something from 1 point to 2
points than it is recode the AI to build more or less Settlers,
Frigates, Caravans, etc.
Those are the biggest changes. I believe that they will make
Freeciv games more scalable and more tune-able. But what's even
more important is, I hope that they will expand the number of viable
strategies for winning.
There are other changes that I would like to see. Most are not
as critical as those above. Some of them are trivially simple.
I'll list them here to find out if anyone else is interested is such
changes. They are:
a) Reduce the government corruption penalty for Despotism and
Anarchy to 10%.
Both Despotism and Anarchy impose penalties at the tile level.
For tiles like fish, that represents a 33% penalty of its food
production. I don't understand why there is an additional 37%
penalty (plus a distance penalty) on top of that.
b) Revise the terrain improvement costs.
The cost of building a fortress, cleaning up pollution, etc.
should not be the same on all terrains. Likewise it should
cost more to build a railroad on mountains or swamps or
glaciers than it costs to build it on plains or grasslands.
Maybe some of this is already done. It's been a long, long
time since I've used the values in the default ruleset for
c) Eliminate Rapture growth
This has been discussed before. Rapture Growth makes
Granaries and Pyramids almost useless. Plus, (I assume that)
teaching the AI to do Rapture Growth efficiently (with many
cities) is difficult.
d) Eliminate unlimited movement on railroads.
Cap the movement rate for all land units on railroads to 9
tiles per turn. This will eliminate the absurdity of
hypersonic Riflemen, Musketeers, etc. (they can cross a
large continent faster than a Stealth Bomber can). Plus, (I
assume that) teaching the AI to use unlimited movement wisely
e) Normalize the effect of most happiness buildings and effects
(all except martial law?).
E.g. If a temple can turn an unhappy citizen into a content
one, then maybe that temple should also be able to turn a
content citizen into a happy one. The way it works now is
This has been discussed before, but under a points based
system that awards points for net happy citizens, it is more
f) For each civ, only its top 3 cities count.
For the calculation of per turn happiness points, largest city
bonus points, building bonuses, etc., each civ only gets
points for its top 3 cities. You can still build more than 3
cities; but for each calculation of bonus points, the 4th
through the nth cities of each civ earn nothing. WoWs still
count the same (no matter which city they are in).
This is a big change. I considered including it under 2)
above. But 2) *could* be implemented without this.
This change makes some of the changes (the ones that are
listed after this one) more practical. It also makes building
lots and lots of cities less useful.
g) Use PF distances for calculating the distance-based corruption
and waste penalties.
I've experimented with this and it works. The code was copied
from Per's "Wonder City" code and I don't understand all of
it. But when you build roads, it *does* reduce the losses due
to distance from the capital.
h) Eliminate ZOC effects caused by units with 0 offense (e.g.
Explorers, Diplomats, Caravans).
Perhaps there should be an exception when you are at war with
that "0 offense" unit's civ. Perhaps there should also be an
exception if that unit's civ is *allied* with a civ that you
are at war with.
This may already be done; I don't remember.
i) Eliminate trade routes established by caravan.
Caravans will still be used for building WoWs. But the entire
trade route system (3 routes per city, caravan has to find a
path to the target city, then both cities get a permanent
benefit, etc.) should be scrapped, IMO.
In its place, trade bonuses should be awarded to every city.
The amount of the bonus should be based on city size, the PF
distance to surrounding cities, etc. In addition, those
bonuses should grow gradually with each turn (for as long as
the PF distance does not increase).
Note that PF distances *will* be increased by ZOC effects of
hostile units. IOW war is bad for business.
That's all that I can remember right now.
I hope that one of the effects of these changes will be to make
alternate strategies viable in the early stages of the game. IIRC,
as Freeciv is now, the only viable strategy is researching another
form of government as quickly as possible. That's because the waste
and corruption (and distance) penalties of Despotism are dispropor-
But with the changes proposed above, it should be possible to
pursue a strategy of rapid city growth (by picking city sites with
high food production potential), researching pottery, and building a
granary. Then you can collect points on every turn for having the
largest city (or cities) in the game. Meanwhile you can build
roads, research a new government type, scout new city sites, build
happiness buildings, and prepare to expand outward (once other civs
start catching up to your largest city).
Another strategy could be based on building a big trade economy
by building roads between your cities, building some happiness
buildings, researching monarchy, and getting a Republic-like trade
bonus by getting some of your cities to celebrate (while still
keeping Monarchy's free support of up to 3 military units).
WoWs like Hanging Gardens, Oracle, and Pyramids will be more
valuable if Freeciv changes this way. Perhaps Lighthouse should
give a +1 happiness effect for coastal cities in your civ (to
compensate for its recent loss of its "protects Triremes" effect).
Connecting cities with roads will be very important for
increasing trade bonuses and decreasing corruption losses. Wars
will be even more disruptive to your economy and they may disrupt
your neighbors' economies as well.
And, perhaps most important, the AI's calculations may be made
simpler (because the AI can measure the potential benefits of its
choices in terms of victory points (instead of just units or cities
or hitpoints or gold or science points or happy / content / unhappy
/ angry citizens, etc.)).
What do you think?
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