Freeciv is a game about civilization. This leads me often to ask from
myself "What aspects of civilization we are lacking, or are modeling
inssufficiently" Designers of commercial civilization games probably
think the same way, as exactly same things I've been pondering often
end to those games. There's two answers I constanlty ome up with.
I'm less interested about the "Religion" part. It's currently just
branch in most tech trees - Ceremonial Burial, Polytheism, Monotheism,
Theology - and all the benefits those give. I'm definitely not into
bringing individual real-life religions into the game. And not even
invented religions which someone might then think to represent
specific real-life religion. As for abstract religion handling I have
no idea for such an improvement over current tech tree based model
that would be worth the effort.
What I am interested about, is the "Culture" idea. While it's modeled
in many ways (I'd say fragmented), it's so important aspect of
civilization that I'd like to have it as clear concept in Freeciv.
This would weaken some of the existing concepts - sometimes
"happiness" rules even seem like "culture" rules under different name.
Culture is not only entertainment, but it gives satisfaction. Most
rulesets use buildings that would logically produce culture to produce
happiness effects. But maybe this just means that we have to make
"culture" and "happiness" concepts to interact - maybe culture could
contribute to happiness.
 As for other effects of culture, I've found lack of satisfactory
motivator for players to build up culture main problem of any model
I've been designing. Capturing cities with superior cultural influence
is the obvious solution, which many other games have also implemented,
but that wouldn't work well with our existing migration concept.
People are already moving to better place. Again, culture could
contribute to migration score, but it cannot replace it.
 But there's one very simple solution. Let's not make culture to give
unrealistic bonuses to be used in a way to victory, but to be the
victory condition itself. Let's simply add optional victory condition
for cultural domination, and everyone has to build their culture at
least to prevent others from winning.
 I've been toying with models where we track current culture
production, models where culture is cumulative from turn to turn, and
models where both exist. I think last one gives best flexibility for
ruleset authors. Some of the produced culture is cumulative, some is
one time performances, and effects of culture are based on sum of the
two. Ruleset author can define effects giving either, neither, or both
kinds of culture.

 Now I'm trying to decide if I start with this already, or only after
S2_5 branching. This is going to be quite a long patch series, and I
still hope that 2.4.0 release and S2_5 branching happen within
reasonable time. Then again, I don't see big obstables of implementing
only some parts to 2.5, and continuing to 2.6.

 - ML

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