Mr. Scruffy

Civ6 concept collection - Main

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Conceptionalizing Civilization VI

 

(Disclaimer: This post and those linked to below might be subject to heavy editing in the future)

 

Table of Contents:

 

I – Introduction

II – The Points of Departure

III – List of ideas

Concept: Civilization Points and Colors

Concept: Stacked Combat, Stacking Penalty and Generals

Concept: Religion (not written up, yet)

Concept: Economy (not written up, yet)

 

To do: Tech (integrate research in colors, tree), cultural trees (/-roots,/-net, whatever) /civics, city states?

 

 

I. Introduction

 

This is the main-thread of a series of threads, intending to discuss concepts to be implemented in a theoretical sixth iteration of the Civilization franchise. After it has been realized, that Civilization V can not live up to the expectations of the community, due to incompatible concepts being mixed on a very low level of the game, which can not be alterated by mods either (read this, to understand why), this seems to be the only way for the community to contribute to the series in a meaningful manner and to help it stay alive.

 

To this intent, i want to present an array of concepts to be implemented in Civilization VI (Civ6, or simply VI) and open discussion on them. Each concept will get its own thread, and a list of links can be found above. Please discuss the individual concepts within their respective threads and new ones here in this or elsewhere on this site.

 

I´d like to keep this collection of concepts treated as a whole – one entity, with all its components compatible to each other (something should be learned from V, after all). This means, that every concept with its own thread related to this, is ´in´ and must be considered when contemplating new concepts. Details are always subject to change, though, of course, especially numbers, specific tech or culture names and such.

 

I already have quite a defined ´vision´ of what it ought to look like and i´ll try to keep the collection true to it. This means, that i might be biased towards or against certain ideas and say so. Please put some effort in thought and writting, when presenting ideas. The term (and any abreviation therof) ´Total War´ is forbidden. My hope is, that after having read all the concepts, You will see the whole idea behind them, and make according suggestions for details of the already listed concepts or suggest your own for something on the To-do-list.

 

 

II. The Points of Departure

 

When starting to think of a concise network of concepts that should form Civilization VI, the problems arises as to what to take as a base. In former Civilization games, the base for new concepts to be planted on was always clearly its predecessor, with the possible exception of V, which took a lot from a game outside the franchise, which was ´Panzer General´ - and it is almost save to say, that this has a lot to do, why it failed as a game.

 

For that reason, we´ll take IV as the base, but look, what V has to offer, since it introduced a whole lot of new (to the franchise) concepts and not all of them are entirely out of place. Concepts in V, that do or might have merit seem to me:

 

Hexagon-tiles, instead of squares

The cultural tree concept

An optional 2D map

Strategic Resources with Quantity

More seriousness in the leader portraits

Decoupling of research from trade

(possibly city states)

 

So, for starters we imagine a Civilization IV, with all of the above implemented from V. The various concepts are added to this.

 

 

III. List of ideas

 

This section is just the whiteboard, where i´ll note stuff that´s still out there to integrate into concepts.

 

Economy:

IV/V mix of research/trade – different based like in V, but still slidered like in IV.

Cultural idea to allow seperate tax-slider for a each city

 

Religion:

even more generic than in IV – type your own name, fantasy symbols (each in a variety of color-schemes), pick a (fantasy) chant – so no-one can talk PC-issues

unlimited number, always spawned by priest, unbound from techs

effect on diplomacy as in IV, but moderated by the colors.

Only one counts per city (the state-religion)

gives ESP bonus to enemy with that state religion, if not your own state-religion, in a city

prosecutable under certain civics

Edited by Mr. Scruffy

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We can add a boatload of things, but what made Civ 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, AC, or CTP fun? We don't want to lose the things that made those games a blast to play.

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I made this thread sticky, might be useful :)

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And not to throw a wet blanket over the whole thing here, but I can't see the franchise developing. Civ IV - BtS is imo the pinnacle of civving, where do you go from there? You have to go a completely different route if you want to keep it new and fresh... They tried to do this with V but they failed miserably. I think this is also the reason that we don't see a SMAC2, it would really just be a copy of the original with better graphics...

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Kinda goes without saying, that i dont agree, zoid, uh? Sure, IVbts is the best Civ there ever was - yet. I do think though, that it still could be better. ´The points of departure´ name a few things that V tried, which do go into the right direction, imho, but cant work right in an otherwise broken game. Even if Civ6 was nothing more than an almagam (vocab?) of IV and V, mixing the best of both in a concise way and with a thought out UI, nice garnments (end and wonder-vids et al.) and a lot of flavor, that´d be fine with me and might well possibly be better than IVbts.

 

I dont like V, but everytime i play IV, these days, i think: ´damn, i wish it had hexes...´

 

I dont like V, but everytime i play IV, these days, i think: ´what´s technology got to do with religion? And what has ´polytheism´ to do with technology in the first place?´

 

I dont like V, but everytime i play IV, these days, i think: ´Yay, another game of tax-less religion-w****ing.´

 

I could continue, but i think the point comes across, that i think there are a lot of reasons for a Civilization VI, not despite IVbts being the best Civ to date, but because of it.

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We can add a boatload of things, but what made Civ 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, AC, or CTP fun? We don't want to lose the things that made those games a blast to play.

 

Do you see it gone in these proposals? I think they are quite in the tradition of civ-gameplay. You´d still be trying to build a civilization to outshine all others - only this time, it will shine in a color. To me, the difference is comparable to black-white-TV and its colored brother, sort of. I think it´d be really enjoyable while staying true to the original experience - just making it more vibrant. Heck, if you dont care for it in the game, you dont even have to. It goes all by itself and builds up while you play wether you care for it or not. But if you want to leverage it, there certainly is another layer to one decission or the other...

 

Or is because of the warfare, that you seem to think this isnt civ anymore? Okay, i´ll admit, that combat like that was never seen in civ, before. Yet, i also think that the proposed system offers depth without complicating things too much (a good UI-implentation provided). It also offers realism at the same time. What i´d hope to see later in the game is lots of small stacks (~4 units) of combined units vaguely representing corps with divisions moving around. Then, wherever there is a general present, stacks about twice the size, for armies. Drawn out fronts, instead of SoDs or CoDs (stacks/carpets of doom), carefully manned on each tile. This sort of stacking is actually a mix and compromise between discrete units of fixed types and a unit-workshop à la SMAC: Because when you combine your units into small stacks, you are actually sort of making a new unit-type (axe-spear-archer, for example) with its own pros and cons (or lack therof). If you got a lot of units (most likely post-industrialization), and the front isnt too long, you might actually consider defence-in-depth and equally ´advanced´ concepts from reality. The stacking penalty might be a PITA at first, but i think as soon as people get used to it, they´ll love it. You´ll develope a feeling of how much you can effectively stack at any given time on any given tile, with some games played - you wont have to check the numbers all the time, since you will know from experience, that before you got tech X or a general, you should stack no more than 3 on a tile with a road, and 2 on one without one, outside of extreme situations.

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Consider this though, in the early years of history, SOD wars/battles were common, if not the norm. Fronts seemed to be more in-line with wars of the last 2 centuries. I could be wrong on this as I have not studied every war in the history of mankind, just seems that way to me.

 

I have to admit that I never really liked religion as a game concept.

 

Strategic resources can be a daunting task to balance as well. How many Civ4 games were restarted when you had no copper or iron near you (especially iron)?

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Should I bring up the idea about 6 needing story/personality here, or start a thread following this title format?

 

 

 

I made this thread sticky, might be useful :)

I'd decided to do that last night in bed. Show me up, willya?

 

 

And not to throw a wet blanket over the whole thing here, but I can't see the franchise developing. Civ IV - BtS is imo the pinnacle of civving, where do you go from there? You have to go a completely different route if you want to keep it new and fresh... They tried to do this with V but they failed miserably. I think this is also the reason that we don't see a SMAC2, it would really just be a copy of the original with better graphics...
SMAC didn't sell. The strategy gaming magazines LOVED it, but that's why there's no sequel.

 

But no sane person can deny that it has something special - a copy of the original with better graphics sounds great, to me. I've always been highly ambivilent about the possibility of a sequel, given how dicey the chances of sequels being very good tend to be.

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I'd decided to do that last night in bed. Show me up' date=' willya? [/quote']

 

I try, it's damn hard to get to something before you do though... ;)

 

 

SMAC didn't sell. The strategy gaming magazines LOVED it, but that's why there's no sequel.

 

But no sane person can deny that it has something special - a copy of the original with better graphics sounds great, to me. I've always been highly ambivilent about the possibility of a sequel, given how dicey the chances of sequels being very good tend to be.

 

You're right it's probably about the money. And I would also love a SMAC mk2 with better graphics :b:

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Kinda goes without saying, that i dont agree, zoid, uh?

 

I know, I think my extreme weariness with the entire civ concept is affecting my feelings here...

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Consider this though, in the early years of history, SOD wars/battles were common, if not the norm. Fronts seemed to be more in-line with wars of the last 2 centuries. I could be wrong on this as I have not studied every war in the history of mankind, just seems that way to me.

 

I have to admit that I never really liked religion as a game concept.

 

Strategic resources can be a daunting task to balance as well. How many Civ4 games were restarted when you had no copper or iron near you (especially iron)?

 

Well, as you wont have that many units in antiquity and one general projects his stacking penalty decrease on 7 tiles at once, most of an advancing army would be in those 7 tiles, i guess. Later on though, even with the number of generals growing (and the stacking penalty shrinking) as you are able to build and maintain more troops, the former will not keep up with the later for more militant civs, so that fronts start to spread out, to a point, where at about the tech-level of world war 1 and without much war going on at this particular time (few generals around), some civs may have so many units, that they can man their entire border upto the stacking penalty and will do so, because of it (instead of putting everything in one stack).

 

I think religion should be a part of civ, but not so dominant as in IV.

 

Strategic Ressources are even harder to balance, if they are not-quantified like in IV. If you have quantities on them (like in V), you can make them quite abundant, so that you are kind of guranteed to have some of everything - but you´d still might want more of it.

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Should I bring up the idea about 6 needing story/personality here' date=' or start a thread following this title format?

[...']

 

Please go more into detail about it here in this thread.

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http://www.weplayciv.com/forums/showthread.php?1992-Civ5-needs-a-plot&highlight=story

 

In retrospect, 5 was already too far along in its development for this to have any possible influence. I'll review that thread and summarize my points when my internet is behaving better...

 

But in a sentence, the creative/story elements in Alpha Centauri are what make it so special that such a flawed game that didn't sell at the time still has such an active and enthusiastic following after so many years - 5 is sold everywhere right now, and how many posts in the 5 forum today?

 

I'm gonna go play me some Alpha Centauri right now.

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I did read through the thread myself, meanwhile.

 

I think the colors and generals offer some story - ´story´ as in nicely presented event, in extensive text and graphics, with hidden triggers based on the flow of the game and its happenings - opportunities, in principle. Last night, laying in bed, i pondered some possibilities for stories based on those:

 

- If one was to keep track of individual city colors (shouldnt be a problem in principle), you could get something like internal strife. For example two close by each other cities, both extremely trade-orientated (and among the richest in the known world), start to see each other as rivals, cancel traderoutes with each other, and the one city making more trade a turn gets +x% on it, while the other gets -x%. The trade-feud ends, when one city was traded more than the other for y turns in a row and thus will produce double trade-income for z turns, while the losing city gets it´s trade-income halved for z turns. Also, while z hasn´t passed, yet, you cant build certain national wonders anywhere else than in the city that won the feud (or risk extreme unhappyness in it). Or something like that. All embedded in a narrative with some nice graphics.

 

- As mentioned, a civ´s color should reflect in its appearance when negotiating. Traditionally, the age (era - not the age of the leader, silly!) also does. The opening text also usually depends on the relation. One more thing to add, maybe would be the frequency of consultations with each other in recent times and their outcome. If i meet up with Mr. Washington for the third time in ten turns, and something came out of the former two times, he could greet me with ´Ahh, my dear friend XYZ, again. Always a pleasure to see you for fruitfull talks.´, wheras when i meet him for the first time after 50 turns he´d say something like ´Ahh the fabled leader of ZYX, of which i heard so much - i hope this meeting will pave the ground for mutually beneficial co-existance in the future.´ It´d be awesome btw, to have good voice-overs for these kind of things.

 

- Generals could a) form relations and b) keep being mentioned.

a) Two generals are adjacent to, or on, a tile where a battle takes place. They win the battle. There is a small chance, they befriend each other, making the delution reduction stackable for them, even for the same unit-type (-50% + -50% = -75%). Hindenburg and Ludendorff. For their additional bonus, you might want to keep them fighting together - but if they do happen to lose a battle, there is a chance, they blame it on the other, losing their friendship and having the effect of ´anti´-stacking of their anti-delution bonus (-50% -50% = -25%) - so you better keep them apart from now on. If you dont, they might be a chance for one of them to even desert&rebel and take some units around him, with him. Unbefriended generals can become hostile to each other, too - they dont have to friends to become enemies. You get narrative opportunities for when

- the battle has been fought and a friendship formed

- the battle has been fought, that broke a friendship and made enemies out of the participating generals

- the battle has been fought, that enemies out of formally neutral to each other generals

- one of two befriended generals die (the other is mourning)

- one of alienated generals die (the other is triumphing)

- a general mounts rebellion (Rebellion is hot word, i think - a lot could be done here, we just need good reasons for rebellions and plausible outcomes, for when they fail and succeed locally and civwide and sometimes even maybe globally)

 

We could also have one general try to have the other one he hates assissinated occasionally and have narratives for fail and success on that.

 

b) Keep talking about generals (and other great persons). Like for example, when a new era begins, the old one gets summarized, in such a fashion:

---

With the advent of [tech x], [era y] came to end. It was an age of [look at the color, and say something appropriate, like ´prosperity and growth´ (bright yellow) or ´cultural englightenment´ (bright blue), or ´constant warfare´ (medium red) or ´struggle for survival´ (darkish red) or ´stability´ (grey), to name a few]. The [Our civ´s popultion name] enter the [new era name] with a trend towards [check last turns color addition].

 

After the seed had been laid in [first city name] in [year of its founding], [numder of cities] more settlements were founded: [city#2] ([year of its founding]), [...until all cities founded are listed].

 

In a war with the [civ x, this only applies if wars have been fought, of course, and lists all wars with slightly varied sentences] [cityname] was [won/lost/razed] in [year] [...listing all cities conquered during this war]. [Name specific battles, if any particulary big ones occured (number of units particupating in combat in the same turn) and their outcomes, generals spawned and leading etc. and weave into a narrative like in a history book]

 

[wonders constructed, again a list nicely guised in a text-bookish narrative]

 

[other great people spawned and what you did with them, or in case you didnt use them, yet, giving a sentence like ´whose ideas were still struggling to become accepted by the state/public, when the new era dawned´, or something like that]

 

[Diplomatic standing and rough overview over the civs you know - like in: ´[Our civs population, e.g. ´the aztecs´] have contact with the [fitting atribute, e.g. ´greedy´ if they are yellow, and relations sour, ´impressive´ if the relations are good, ´threatening´ if they are red and hostile, ´mighty´ if rather friendly, ´pathetic´ if blue and hostile, ´admirable´ if rather friendly] [name of other civ´s population]

    .

    ---

    Actually, you should be shown this, when you reach a new age, but also have a button making it avaiable at any given time. Would that be nice? A narraive history compiled from the game-log-data? Like EU3 has it? I think this could be done, just how much detail and variation can be put into it, depends on, well, how much time and effort one would be willing to put into it. It could be quite fun to look into other civ´s history books when you meet them, and also, and this is great now, some of the wordings could change, due to the color and relations you currently have: The ´wise´ peaceful neighbor from 1000 years ago can easily turn in to just ´pathetic´ if he got bribed into attacking you... ´rectification´, you know :D

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I think stories should be modable and put into scenarios or mods. There should be some ability to do this.

 

The base civ game should not really have stories though as it is supposed to be a sim of civ on Earth. What made the stories part of AC work was it was on an alien planet, so standard stuff could be jettisoned.

 

One thing about AC though, map height, nice touch. And the ability to terraform it too.

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Thing is, earth history is full of stories. There's Julius Caesar, leading the Romans, and not a word about any of the things that made him one of the most interesting fellows to ever live. Naturally, you can't do anything with the plot (the key mistake of that thread was putting plot in the title instead of story) of the life of the real Caesar, but something so much better could be done with him than just the name and a rather goofy-looking portrait.

 

It's important to recall that in Alpha Centauri, you can turn off many elements of story, and click right past almost everything else. Doing your own thing in the sandbox isn't interferred with in the least, if that's what you want, especially with the ease of modding the factions. Done right, these elements can put a sort of face on things, without interferring with anyone's freedom to imagine.

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I think what you suggest is slightly different, but complements my thoughts nicely. I see no reason not to have some personality traits assigned to various generals and great people. There are a lot of possibilties to generate stories that way - having a story happen makes the game more immersive and seem less, ultimately, pointless.

 

Again, the big objection I ran into before is that some people want a blank slate of a game, to have a wide-open sandbox to play in. (Others find such blankness dull, and a great shortcoming of the last several iterations of Civ.) It's therefore important to have a lot of these features optional/easily clicked-past.

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I agree. And that kind of suggests it as an expansion pack (or DLC, as they say today): It takes a lot of effort (to do right), some people really want it (would pay to have it), while others dont value it at all and find it more of a nuiscance, even maybe.

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Maybe; I don't hear those objections from people who've played Alpha Centauri...

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Well, i imagine to you the story part is to civ like clothes are to a dummy - sort of. The cloth cant look good on a deformed dummy, though. And some just want to explore the dummy - uhem, yeah, i guess i shouldnt take this picture too far, but, let´s just say, some people wouldnt want to see the clothes and claim they were just put on to hide shortcomings of the dummy, or the cause, why the dummy isnt properly designed.

 

I think it´s just better to have a feature, that could end up eating like 25% of the ressources put into the project and that a lot of people wont appreciate too much, sadly, to be seperated into an XP. This way, everyone will pay for what he wants, and noone can say that the basic game ´just isnt civ´ because of all the story telling. First please the technical grognards (in a way that stays compatible with a reasonable audience), then the romanciers, i´d say for a strategy game. If the base game is good by mechanics, a lot of people will want a dedicated story-telling XP, i can imagine - while if the stroy telling and the mechanics of a combined product are both mediocre, everyone will be p****d.

 

That doesnt mean, that the base game should totally lack flavor, though - the ´history books´-feature is sort of easy to make and would let you reminiscence over the past age (or whenever you want to), for example.

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Sure. Moby Dick doesn't work as anything if he doesn't work as a whale. Gameplay has to come before all else, or the whole thing is a waste of effort.

 

I seriously doubt we're talking about -mostly text files and a few lines of code to incorporate them- taking as much as 5% of the system/game resources. The time and effort of the design team on the creative end is likely to be another matter, of course.

 

Still, the capacity has to be built into the base game, or it'll, realistically, never happen.

 

And there's this: France, for example, has been a VERY different place in its national character throughout the ages - it might be fun to start with a Cro Magnon leader, changing with the ages to Vercingetorix, Charlemagne, Louis XIV, and Naploleon/DeGaul, reflecting fundamental shifts in attitude between Celtic, Frankish, medieval and modern.

 

I dunno; that may be way too much for the grognards who've never been exposed to a civ game with personality.

 

I wouldn't be vehemently opposed to leaving the bulk of it for expansions/DLCs, but those tend to be umistakably afterthoughts, and this is important.

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Yeah, i meant 25% of the design process, not processing power to run the game - that wouldnt be an issue.

 

I agree, the base-game should be designed with the possibilty to provide story-hooks kept in the back of the head.

 

I dont know - please dont get this the wrong way, i am just asking to make sure you dont miss out on stuff you might like a lot (i am not saying ´civ is the wrong franchise for this idea´!): Do you play ´Europa Universalis III´? I think, you´d like that one a lot, if you havent tried it, yet. Probably even more so the upcoming ´Crusader Kings II´.

 

EDIT: While i mention those. EU3, for example has a lot of events (some, if not most, of which also with hidden triggers, like can only happen with a certain national idea enacted, but says so nowhere), all with neat little story texts. And i do give it a plus for this. Yet, sadly, i never read them - only the consequences in the choice-button-tooltips. It´s kind of rare that i feel like the pig in front of whose nose pearls are thrown (it´s a german saying: "To throw pearls in front of pigs´ snouts" = to waste good stuff on the undeserving and ungrateful), but in this case it kinda fits.

Edited by Mr. Scruffy

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I had another idea, today. It´s about economy and buildings. You know, how there is this setup of tiered buildings for different purposes, right? Like library->university->laboratory or marketplace->bank->stock exchange... This will probably cause some contreversy, but let´s suppose, it worked a little different:

 

Okay, so you have built a library (1st tier science building). Just after having it finished, it is brand new, and everyone is very excited about it. It produces its full bonus on science. But as the years pass, and no further science projects came forth, the excitement wore off and the library got kind of old stuff and wasnt en vogue anymore. The bonus it provided started to shrink. For this, you get for each purpose (science, trade etc.) a bar next to where your library is in a list (these tiered buildings have slots in the screen for them), which starts fully filled right after completetion of the library, but starts to empty as time passes.

 

Now, at any time, you can either pour money into the library, to fill the bar, or re-produce the library to full with hammers, again. And/Or you can set a sum of gold to pour into it each turn, its upkeep, so to say. Once you discover universities (2nd science building), the bar simply gets twice the capacity (optically, the filling would be halved, as the bar would scale).

 

To give examples: A library has 100 ´points´ (hammers) investment in it maximum (it costs 100 hammers). When at maximum maintainance it will give a 25% bonus to science in that city. It decays, if not maintained, by 1% or 1 hammer per turn and with it its bonus proportionally. So 10 turns after completion, the library, unmaintained for the whole time, would only give 22.5% to science. To not have happen this in the first place, you set it to take 1 gold per turn, instead. Or, after it already has decayed, you can simply ´rebuild´ it or buy the missed maintainance in a lump sum (maybe with like +10%) in one go.

Once you reach universities, all cities with libraries have a maximum investment of 200 hammers, which grants +50% to science. They can´t go over 100 with money, until they havent reached 200 once by hammers, but basically, nothing else would change.

For every 100 ´invested´ in the science building of a city, you can have a scientiest.

Most of the standard buildings could be tiered like this - most strategy games they are, anyways. Apart from science and economy, religious buildings (temple, monastary, cathedral), espionage buildings, anti-corruption buildings (aka administration/bureucracy), culture buildings (theatre, arena, stadion, or TV or whatnot), production...

 

There might be a little problem with proportion, though. When the university must cost four times as much as the library, to grant the same additional +25%, we run into problems, since that quadrouple cost would have to be maintained. OTOH, maybe this neednt be: The constant need to maintain your buildings and the option to do it with hammers, might make science costly enough, production-wise, that there is no need to make the university any more expansive than the libarary per +% it adds to science.

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No, I haven't played those. Again, it works for SMAC. It works really well. It's not like the game still has an active fanbase because it's pretty.

 

As for team resources consumed in the development - how many artists do you already have involved? Hire one productive writer, and he's got a couple of years, minimum, to research and generate more copy than the game can possibly use, plus, I can guarantee that others already involved will contribute. One good writer/editor/historian to help coordinate the creative end and whip the text into shape, and you're good to go.

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