Friday, November 19, 2010

Make it perfect

I have begun my foray into modding CiV.  So far I have only been messaging with a guy who has built a bunch of great CiV mods, giving him information and analysis but it is clear that soon I will want to do more and get into the code myself.  It has a strange attraction, even more so than building my own games in some ways.  I think this is because when I build my own games they aren't going to get substantial distribution and they aren't going to look polished, the only thing I can really grant them is good gameplay.  When I take a big name game like CiV though I can rebuild it from the bottom up using all of their graphics, sounds, animations and the like but make the mechanics my own.  Of course no mod is going to have the kind of distribution the base game does but there definitely exists the possibility of getting a large number of people to use something I have built and get that thrill of widely distributing my creation.

It is remarkable how wrong some of the numbers are and how extreme I have to be in changing them to make things work.  Example:

Factory - costs 300 to build, 3 gold per turn maintenance.  Gives 50% more production.
Nuclear Plant - costs 600 to build, 3 gold per turn maintenance.  Gives 25% more production.


So the Nuclear Plant is half as good for double the cost?  And to boot it comes from a much later tech so instead of it being around for 100 turns it will be around for 30 turns.  I redid the stats to be:

Nuclear Plant - costs 400 to build, 3 gold per turn maintenance.  Gives 100% more production.

I cut the cost by 33% and multiplied the effect by 4 and it is still just okay, worth building if the game will go awhile but not excessive.  When I actually sat down and began to crunch the numbers for some of the mechanics in the game I was really shocked at how off they were.  All of the terrible buildings were ones that I never felt it was worth it to make, and yet after looking at them again I calculate that they are often literally 20% as effective as other similar buildings.  It is clear that not only did no one actually try building the things in game but they didn't even have a guy write down the numbers and look at them for 5 minutes to see if anything looked off.  The game isn't supposed to be perfectly balanced as it also strives for some vague sense of historical accuracy, but historically people did build nuclear plants, windmills and forges and it wasn't a colossally stupid decision to do so!  If there is enough reason to include something in the game there is enough reason to make it reasonable to use that thing.

So much work to do, so many numbers to fix.  I must make them all perfect!

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