Civilization 4 Mods

February 12th, 2006 by Potato

I took some time today to play a bit more Civilization 4. It really is a fun game, with a number of changes from the previous civs to get used to. One really nice thing about the game is that the developers had modders in mind when they wrote it, and actively encourage changing the game to make it suit your needs (whether it’s to tweak the base rules, or to make total conversions). There a few things about the game that I’d like to change, so hopefully someone will write a mod for me to do these things (Rez thinks I’ll have to write it myself, and it may yet come to that… shudder).

First is the pacing of the game. If you’re not familiar with the concept, let me explain: Civilization is a turn-based strategy game that simulates all of human civilization from 4000 BC through to 2100 AD. You found cities, farm the land, mine the hills, build armies, wage war, explore the face of the earth, and engage in diplomacy with your neighbours. You basically take a civilization from the stone age with a single town pumping out club-weilding barbarians through to a modern nation with tanks and planes, discovering every technology along the way. It’s a very epic scope, and a lot of fun to play in. However, there are times when it’s not quite epic enough: at the beginning, you skip over 50 years per game turn, which means it can take centuries just to send swordsmen to scout out the next town over, or to found a new colony with your galleys rowing always in sight of land. As technology advances, so does the pace of life, and game turns end up running at about 1 year per. However, this is still a pretty slow pace: if you decide to relive World War 2 and try to Blitzkrieg through France for old time’s sake, you’d find that instead of driving your tanks from Belgium to Paris in just a few weeks, it would be 15 years before you tasted salt water (assuming minimal resistance, which, given that you’re in France, is likely).

Of course, there’s very good gameplay reasons for that: you need to make players take a few turns before completely wiping each other out, or defense would be too hard. Also, you have to skip over time a bit, or you’d never finish a game (as it is, a game of Civ4 on a normal sized planet can take a whole afternoon or three, and plan on committing a week of your summer vacation to a huge planet if you micromanage a lot). However, it’s still a little weird to send out swordsmen and archers at the start of a war, and to advance to the point where musketmen and grenadiers relieve them for the siege on the 3rd city in the campaign. So that’s why one of the most popular (and repeated) mod is one for ultra-epic play, allowing full wars to take place within a single technological era. The 1.52 patch also introduced “marathon” speed, which is closer to this feel than the “epic” speed was that came with the game — nonetheless, I know there are users out there who have written mods that take it even further.

I really like the idea of being able to mod the game to ridiculous degrees. Game designers are never perfect, and this way you can change many rules that you don’t like. Moreover, if you want to add further layers of complexity to the game, you can do so after you’ve had a chance to play the regular game, which helps reduce the learning curve. For example, I’d never want to try to learn any of the Civilization games on long/epic timescales with huge planets: it just takes way too long to play a game (and if it’s your first few, likely lose). Only after I’d conquered a few small planets would I want to attempt the ultra-epic speed on a huge planet.

I haven’t had a chance yet to see what sort of mods are out there, whether some of my other ideas have already been implemented or found to suck, but here are my thoughts on ways to mod Civ4 for a better (or at least different) game. Feel free to write these changes for me and let me know how they turn out. See for more mods (look in the Civ4 forums). Like I said, I haven’t had a chance to check any out yet, but I know there are tons there.

1. Religious Differences
2. The Spread of Technology
3. Modernising the Military
4. “Red Team”
5. Climate Change
6. Polar Expedition
7. Forcing Movement into Impassable Terrain
8. Manoeuvre Warfare
9. Minor Nations/Neutral Countries
10. The Oil-Hungry States
11. Guns and Butter
12. Join City
13. Spy Missions

1. Religious Differences

This is the first Civ game to incorporate the idea of different religions (though Civ3 did have the various world cultures, which slowed assimilation between dissimilar cultures). They did it in a pretty good way: there are 7 religions available, and there are benefits to sharing religions with your neighbours (or consequences for attacking your brothers of the faith). Cities with the state religion get benefits to production with certain governments; diversity brings happiness with others. The founding city for a religion will get some income from the various churches and pilgrims. Despite having names of various real-world religions (Buddhism, Cristianity, Islam, etc.) they all have identical in-game effects, with the exception of how early you can found them. Since this has the potential to be a very divisive and passionate issue for some, that was probably the best tack to take. It’s a pretty good abstraction.

However, I’d like to see some differences to make the choice between one religion and an other a little more meaningful. When I first proposed this to Rez, he wisely advised me not to create traits for each religion, since that would just represent my bias, and take away from the abstraction and the ability to shape history as you see fit. So what I’ve come up with is a way to set the level of centralization and tithes that the holy city of the religion collects. You define the balance when you found the religion: a more oppressive religion that collects more money is harder to spread, particularly amongst other civilizations (who wants to worship a parthenon of gods that gives money to a foreign king?), but will get you more money, especially amongst your own people. Or, if you choose to forfeit some of the collections, your religion will spread more quickly, behind enemy lines, which will strengthen your diplomatic position.

Also as part of this revamp to religion, I wanted to include a mechanism to lose religious influence, since currently you can spread your religion into enemy territory, and no matter how totalitarian their regime is, it will never get stamped out (though totalitarian theocracies can limit the spread of non-state religions). I haven’t quite thought of how best to approach this idea, since it seems like the sort of thing that would require added programming. Adding a “tolerance” slider when founding a religion as well as the money vs spread when founding the religion was an idea, but I haven’t quite sorted out exactly how it should work.

Finally, I wanted to tweak the tech trees that lead to religions. Right now Hinduism usually goes to a spiritual civilization, since they start with the prerequisite mysticism technology, allowing them to avoid the race to Buddhism. So within the first few turns, we typically see two religions founded by two different civs (I’ve only managed to sneak them both on tiny worlds on easy difficulty with no other spiritual civs). But I usually find that whoever gets Judaism tends to get Christianity (since the prereqs for Christianity are Monotheism/Judaism and Writing), and then Islam (since the prereqs for that are Theology/Christianity and Monarchy, which is opened up by Monotheism/Judaism). That limits the number of civs that can found religions (unless the tech race is particularly tight, or they’re not interested in racing to found religions and instead explore the side branches of the tech tree). Likewise, Code of Laws gives you Confucianism, and also opens up Philosophy, which founds Taoism. I was planning on changing that so that either more co-requisites were required, or better yet, spreading out the technologies that lead to founding a religion so that they don’t quite lead one-into-another.

2. The Spread of Technology

Right now, you have to either buy technology outright from the other civilizations in the game, or research it yourself at full cost. There are some wonders that allow you to learn technologies that other civs know (such as the Internet in Civ4, or the Great Library of Alexandria in previous civs), which can go a long way to preventing you from falling behind. But it’s still all too easy to fall behind and stay behind in the tech race. One mod I’d like to make is a way to have technology spread passively somewhat. You’d never get free technology, but you would “leech” research points towards certain fields from other civs that already know that technology, speeding the discovery by your own scientists.

Consider the humans in Babylon 5: they were a relatively backwards civilization before making first contact, having barely set up colonies on mars and some of Jupiter’s moons. Then, after the Centari found them and gave them the secrets of faster-than-light travel, they made leaps and bounds in terms of catching up to the rest of the galaxy, becoming a major player within a few short decades. Part of that was due to the Centari selling them technology, but largely it was simply because now they knew it was possible, a fact that on its own did wonders for their research programs. This is supposedly a parallel to the Soviet development of nuclear weapons, where although fairly significant knowledge had been stolen from the Americans, British and Germans through spying and acquisition of personnel after the war, it wasn’t actually shared very well with the Soviet scientists. Instead, they developed their own bomb just based on rough outlines of the American one, and the knowledge that it was possible.

So, my idea is to lower the cost of researching tech (or equivalently, granting progress towards discovery) as more civilizations learn and implement that tech. The basic outline is to have a full tech cost if fewer than 1/4 of the civs know a tech, 90% cost for fewer than 1/2, 80% when fewer than 3/4 know the tech, and 70% cost when more than 3/4 of the civs know the tech (and down to 65% when you’re the only civ left who hasn’t discovered that tech). So this really only has a significant effect when you’re really behind in the tech race, or when you’ve ignored a tech that the others have grabbed, which tends to be cheaper anyway. A twist to this is that it should only apply to civs that you’ve had contact with, after all, it does the Incan archers in North America little good to know that everyone in Europe is developing gunpowder if nobody has sailed the Atlantic yet. However, the ratios still apply to all the civs. What I mean is, if more than 1/2 of all civs know a tech, you have the potential to get a discount of 20% off the cost of that tech, but only if you’re in contact with those civs. If you’re only in contact with half of them (1/4 of all civs), you’ll only get 10% off your tech costs. This should also acheive another goal I wanted: to make this spread of technology more relevant to the modern world, and not so much for the ancient world.

This should help keep the tech gaps lower (so you’ll have fewer cases of modern armour flattening musketeers), but will still give the first few civs to discover a tech a headstart to actually use it.

An additional refinement to this idea is to give further bonuses for seeing units, civics, or improvements based on this technology implemented. So, it’s one thing to hear that gunpowder has been developed in a neighbouring land, quite another to see a musketeer in the field. Then, further bonuses for defeating/capturing one in battle (allowing proper reverse-engineering). The same would apply to terrain improvements (seeing a windmill or railroad actually built provides another 5% bonus say, and capturing one another 10%) or buildings in cities. After all, as the in game quote says “It is not from their friends that cities learn the art of building high walls, but from their enemies.” However, this would probably be a much bigger headache to program (checking for LOS on stuff with technology the other side doesn’t know yet? Yikes!).

3. Modernising the Military

Keeping the theme of the above, this has to do with the development and spread of technology. In the Civilization games, you will quickly find that your old units have become obsolete, and you must spend gold to upgrade them to the latest in technology. For example, you can build archers fairly early on, and then upgrade those to longbowmen when the technology becomes available, and later yet, to riflemen. I’m not sure if it’s a problem with the way I manage my empire’s finances or what, but I always find that the cost of upgrading more than a small handful of units on the front line is too steep, and my standing army becomes obsolete very quickly. By the time I get riflemen at the dawn of the modern era, I find that I still have a few regular archers (not even longbowmen) defending the less valuable cities in my interior. It’s actually cheaper to just delete the unit (and lose its accumulated experience) and build a new rifleman, than it is to upgrade it.

But I don’t want to just simply lower the upgrade cost, since I’m afraid it might imbalance the game a bit too much. So my idea is to have a building serve as a refit-and-repair depot. I’m not sure exactly what form it should take as yet. One thought was to make it the barracks (which reduced the cost of upgrading in Civ3; I haven’t noticed an effect in Civ4), but I didn’t necessarily want units to upgrade in every city. So what I’m thinking is using the palace and forbidden palace for this task: units can rotate back to the capital, and at a rate of one unit per turn, can be upgraded and sent back out into the field. Or you can spend gold to refit on the spot as it stands. Or, in the same vein, I could create a new national building (i.e.: you can only build one per civ) that would do this task. That way, you can slowly keep your defensive force up-to-date if times are fairly peaceful without having to almost constantly build military units (even in peacetime!), but if you want to rapidly a large force before or in the midst of a battle, it’ll cost you. The downside I see to a single building is that it can make it very difficult on units stationed overseas, or particularly for the palace buildings, naval vessels. However, I think it would still be an improvement to the game. Perhaps a new building (upgrading barracks?) that you can build as many of as you want to; I hesitate to use the regular barracks since they’re so cheap and ubiquitous.

Another thought is to simply allow one (or a few? A percentage?) of free upgrades per turn, regardless of where the unit is located. While this may make it easier on expeditionary forces and the navy, I’m still more partial to using a small number of special buildings, and having units rotate through.

4. “Red Team”/OPFOR

Most modern armies engage in wargames for training and to keep sharp. Some even modify their equipment to match that of their expected enemies, such as the Mig fighters and T-72 tanks the US practiced against during the cold war. Some were mockups and retrofits of American equipment, some were purchased through third-party nations, and others were obtained when defectors drove them over the border.

In Civilzation, I think we could get friendly units to fight each other to gain combat experience (up to a certain point, say 10/10?). One way is to simply allow friendly-fire missions where both sides stop and heal before death, and it would take a few of those to rack up the XP (so if you try to do it on a large scale before an attack, you’ll find yourself weaker overall due to damaged units). The damage could be real, due to actual casualties taken during the simulated combat, or it could represent the time it takes to rearm with real weapons after using paintballs and wooden swords for practice.

Another idea is to allow units to set up shop as your OpFor; similar to a settler founding a city, a military unit could found an academy. To limit the XP delivered, the OpFor could take damage for each point of XP gained by friendlies. Since it wouldn’t be a real unit anymore, you couldn’t heal them, and fairly shortly your OpFor unit would be exhausted, and you’d need to dedicate another one to the cause. This method might be too costly to really use (sacrifice one unit to get two elite ones?), but would give those obsolete units another way of going out with a purpose.

Not to generate more national projects (miniwonders) with my mods, but this could also work as a project in one city that simply hands out XP at a certain rate to units in its tile, up to a reasonable limit (10 or 15 sound about right to me).

5. Climate Change

This one is fairly important to me as a concept, but would be furiously difficult to program (I think). When you consider it, the game is supposed to cover the rise and fall of civilizations over the course of over 6000 years of history. The climate would certainly change over that amount of time, and fairly significantly: the fertile regions of Egypt and Mesopotania that formed the basis of civilization thousands of years ago are today harsh deserts. A thousand years ago, the Vikings visited Greenland, which was significantly greener (and warmer) at the time. Another few hundred years, and we might see that anything south of Virginia is too hot and dry to inhabit (that is, except for the parts that have been flooded and become swampland), while the fertile grasslands of the prarie provinces have dried up and become deserts, with the breadbasket moving to the Northwest Territories.

Yet in Civilization 4, we don’t see any changes to the terrain, not even the movement of oceanic icepacks. Now, in Civ3 (I think it was 3, definitely one of the previous ones) you could have desert encroach on your plains and grasslands, though that was largely a consequence of global warming caused by too much pollution. Civ4 does see forests grow and spread, but very little change happens to the map that isn’t man-made.

The game I played today was an “Ice Age” scenario: the planet is covered with thick ice caps, so the only habitable land is towards the equator. It was neat, because it took just as long to circumnavigate the globe as in a regular map, but there was much less land to the north and south, which made it more likely that empires would stretch from pole to pole in bands, so you only had to worry about two fronts at any one time. However, I expected the ice to slowly retreat, revealing new land ripe for the colonizing as the game progressed. Sadly, that never happened.

This will probably be a difficult mod for someone to write (particularly to try to guess the rain shadows of mountains and the like), but I believe the framework is there in the game, since I’ve heard of (but not tried) mods that introduce natural disasters like volcanoes — which permanently alter the land as they generate new islands.

6. Polar Expedition

Keeping with my ice age game, I noticed that there was a fair bit of ground covered by ice, which was impassable to my units. This gave me the idea for a new national project: the polar expedition. Completing this project will give your units the ability to cross over ice (or use icebreakers for fleets), which may bring greater tactical flexibility for you. I’m not sure if I should create a new unit upgrade, or just allow all units to execute it after completion of the project. Another alternative was to allow all units to travel on ice from the get-go, but with a chance of being lost (think sending Civ3 galleys into ocean squares). As soon as one made it a certain way to the pole, you’d get the ability to freely use ice tiles for movement (similar to the way circumnavigating the globe works now). Since the ice caps aren’t all that useful in most games, this won’t have much of an effect, but would be kind of neat.

7. Forcing Movement into Impassable Terrain

Thinking of Civ3 galleys, I noticed that in Civ4 you simply don’t have the option of taking the risk of sending your early naval vessels out of sight of land. I think that’s something you should get back: as long as there’s the healthy risk of losing your units, the player should be able to take that risk. Though instead of the criteria relating to ending the turn in the high seas, the odds should instead be calculated when you try to move into the tile. The same can be done for the ice, as I’ve mentioned above.

After all many colonies, both in Civ3 and real life, were founded by people in vessels that were not seaworthy nonetheless making the journey across the seas.

Also, mountains are completely impassable in this version of the game. I wonder if I should allow some units to go right over them (infantry perhaps moreso than tanks, but it’s still a little fuzzy — should I include a chance of getting lost too?).

8. Manoeuvre Warfare

I talked about blitzkrieg earlier, and how impossible it is to do in Civilization. I think part of the problem is that you can’t really use fast units to their full advantage: part of the point of blitzkrieg was to bypass cities and take out the supply lines with the fast tanks and aircraft, using the infantry to mop up and secure the cities later. But cities are what it’s all about in Civ: sure, you can grab some fast units and run around behind the lines pillaging improvements, but that only gets you so far.

My idea is to allow more manoeuvre warfare than there is currently. Right now, the game takes into account a number of terrain factors, but only for defense. Certain units do have a chance of withdrawing from an engagement, taking damage as well as causing it, but having neither side lose the units. This is based on random chance, and doesn’t seem to happen very often though. So instead I’d like to introduce a new attack option: harrassment/manoeuvre warfare. Basically this would be a conscious option to engage and withdraw without committing yourself to the point of losing the unit. The terrain you were attacking from would also grant benefits for this type of attack: fast units would do better attempting it from plains, while infantry would do better to try to do guerilla strikes from the forests and jungles. This could tie in with the woodsman/guerilla promotions, which seem a little useless to me (for the number of hills/woods in the game, you’d think the bonus would be higher, espeically since most of the units eligible for it already get decent defense modifiers for being in the woods, so the enemy is already disinclined to attack them there).

To put a limit on this type of behaviour, it would become progressively costly to wear down an enemy unit. So, taking one from full strength to 90% might be fairly easy to do with guerilla attacks, and might not cost you any soliders before you pulled out. But going from 90% to 80% might force you to come further out of hiding, costing you 15% of your own, since presumably the fewer soldiers who remain are dug in better, and further away from the hills/forests that you call home. Then to go from say 80% down to 70% might be more costly to you than them, bringing you down 20%, and after that point, you might want to switch to conventional do-or-die attacks.

9. Minor Nations/Neutral Countries

The barbarians in Civ4 will found cities after a while, which is something that I find immensely cool. However, you can never negotiate with these cities — they merely serve as production factories for waves of barbarians, and conquests for you to capture without building settlers. There are no minor nations or neutral countries.

I think it might be cool to introduce some. It might help take up some of the empty space on the globe, and perhaps you can find ways to peacefully annex them.

It’s a pretty tough idea though, so I’ll drop it for now. But I do remember that another game handled the concept fairly well (was it Galactic Civilizations or Space Empires IV?).

10. The Oil-Hungry States

In my ice age game I played today, there was a small island in the sea with an oil well on it. When I went to war with the country that held it, I immediately invaded it and secured the source of oil, even though I already had two wells tapped in my own land. I realized after the fact that since I already had two wells, there was no point in taking the otherwise strategically unimportant island. Taking oil wells seems to be instinctive, particularly with the current events in the middle east, but in the game it means nothing after you have your first.

So I was considering the creation of a mod that would actually provide benefits to owning more than one of a type of resource, particularly oil and coal. One thought was to introduce maintence costs, so that if you had a large army of tanks and mech. inf, you’d need more oil wells to keep them running than a smaller army with more SAM infantry. But that seemed a little too complex, and a little to painful for those maps when you can only reliably get one well but still need a larger army. So the next idea was to have some of these things increase production, commerce, and/or happiness in your civilian population. After all, the civilian auto fleet probably uses more gasoline than all the tanks do.

Edit: On second reflection, this might not be such a good idea, since it’ll take away some of the abstraction of Civ4. After all, if you’re low on oil, you can build carriers and battleships with uranium power sources. Who’s to say that if you only have one oil well your civ won’t develop fuel-efficiency right from the start?

11. Guns and Butter

In high school, we learned of a simple model of a small country that had two main production goods: guns and butter, which represented military buildup and civilian goods. The country has limited resources, so it can only produce so many of each, and thus the leaders must choose how to spend their resources: guns or butter? If their neighbours are posturing for war, then they should shift more of their production resources to making guns, but if things are looking peaceful, then more butter is called for.

We start off by looking at a fairly straight line between guns and butter: making one unit of guns would cost one unit of butter. But then we complicate that, because realistically, while personnel can be shifted between tasks, many materials and machinery are not well suited to the other (and even poorly trained people may not be able to switch back and forth). So then you have to change the line of the relationship to a curve, so that for some small changes near the balance point, you can switch off between one or the other with little consequences in efficiency. But much beyond that, and you’ll have to sacrifice more than one unit of say butter to get an additional unit of guns: consequences of the inefficiencies of turning swords into ploughshares. If you try to push the economy too much, to the point where you have dairy cows trying to cast iron, you might find a decrease in production, as you have to spend more resources retooling/retraining than you would get from them in production. Take a look at Production Possibilities Frontier if you want to learn more about the concept (though for Wikipedia they’ve changed the example to food and computers instead the classic guns and butter).

So, for Civilization we have a certain number of hammers to build things, whether they be military units, civilian buildings, or scientific output. We can probably assume that the guns and butter idea has been taken into account in setting the costs of production, so that we can stick with our simple hammer idea. I’ve had two ideas for how to spice this up a bit.

The first, and the one I’m a little more partial to at the moment, is to allow you to put your cities onto wartime, neutral, or peacetime footing. During wartime, you could turn excess food production into hammers for production, but at less than one-to-one efficiency. After all, armies need to eat, and the game already has a way of using food production to add to the construction of workers and settlers; this way you could do it for other military units as well (but at a lower efficiency). Likewise, you could tip the balance in the other direction, and donate hammers towards population growth (but eventually you would need the food supplies to support that population when you went back to neutral mobilization). This would be similar to how you could tell a colony in MOO2 to use its production for “growth”. Naturally, the neutral footing would work the same way it does now.

My other idea, which I’m a little less fond of now, was to remove the back-and-forth way of balancing civilian and military build goals by instituting two build queues for the city (basically one each for the military and domestic advisor). You could shift hammers between the two queues to adjust your production as necessary (and I think I would make wealth/research an option for both if you ran out of things you wanted to build). Vital to this concept would be that production possibilities curve: let’s say that at first your production was balanced 50:50 military to domestic. You could shift to one footing or another a little ways with no loss in efficiency, say to 65:35. But beyond that, you would start to suffer from inefficiency and lose some production, so if you wanted to go to 80:20, you’d actually lose out on some hammers and end up with 80:10. However, in the long run (a few turns of game time), your city’s economy would adjust to the change, the industries would retool, and this would become the new zero-loss point around which you could adjust further. If you wanted to shift from say 50:50 to 100% of one type of production without ever losing any to inefficiency, you’d have to do it over a few turns, shifting to the maximum your no-loss point would allow, waiting for that to become the new equilibrium, and then shifting over again.

Anyway, that does sound cool to me, but I’m not sure it would be easy to code (I’m so lazy with the mods I’m not even writing :) and I’m not sure anyone would really want to deal with the added micromanagement headache of filling two production queues for each city. Plus, if you were playing on a short timescale, the slower parallel style of military unit production might mean that even though you’ll get 4 longbowmen produced at each of your cities in one turn, they’ll be obsolete before you can really use them, whereas if you just had two cities specialize in making them (under the current gameplay), at least two of them would come out early enough to actually be useful.

12. Join City

Another feature I’m missing from Civ3 is the ability to tell workers to “join city”. This was handy for getting rid of excess workers after all your railway tracks had been laid and there was little left for them to do but cleanup polution (and good riddance to that!). It also enabled you to expand the cities that still had good land to grow larger, but wouldn’t on their own since there was no excess food around to spur the growth. Of course, this was balanced in Civ3 since workers actually consumed population when you created them in the first place, whereas in Civ4 they just consume your excess food and hammers during production.

I could see a mod that would reintroduce this though: rather than having the workers add to the population directly, you could instead have them contribute to the food pool according to their production cost. IIRC, the amount of food it takes to increase the population size increases exponentially as the city gets bigger, so for small outposts your worker might bump the population up by 1 or even 2, but for larger cities, they might barely make a dent in the progress to the next size milestone. Similiarly, there’s no reason this couldn’t apply to any military unit: instead of just deleting them, you could have them join the city, contributing food according to a formula of how much they cost to build (again, extending my swords to ploughshares idea above). Shouldn’t be too hard to add a “join city” order to units (though I’d have to figure out a confirmation dialogue, since that would suck if you were trying to fortify a defender!).

13. Spy Missions and Defection

The original Civ had diplomats/spys which could bribe enemy units into defecting to your side. I haven’t had much opportunity to use spys in Civ4, since the Scotland Yard wonder comes so late in the game, and takes so bloody long to build. I’ve only made one spy in one game, and I don’t remember having that option. So I’d like to figure out a way of putting it back in.

Some things I’d like to include would be the bought unit sending some of the money back home (i.e.: the victim civ would get say 1/4 of the purchase price donated to their treasury). I would also want to limit the ability for a rich civ to just buy out a city garrison and take a city without having to deploy units anywhere near it. It’s a tricky idea, and needs more thought. I’ll also have to check out how spys in Civ4 work in a little more detail, since I’m not 100% sure that something like this isn’t already in the game.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on some mods to make for Civ4 to make it a better game (at least in my mind). If anyone feels like learning a little Python and XML to implement these mods, let me know.

2 Responses to “Civilization 4 Mods”

  1. Potato Says:

    Robert J. Sawyer has a joke he likes to reuse:

    How is a writer different from a large pepperoni pizza?

    The pizza can feed a family of 4.

    So, I think the real test of the blog here is going to be whether anyone who doesn’t play Civ4 bothers to read any of that. It is an amazing and popular game (for it’s genre), but it’s not a very popular genre anymore…

    Oh, and speaking of Surrender Monkeys, has anyone ever noticed an empire surrender in Civ4? It hasn’t happened to me yet. I do remember in previous games, when I was kicking the butt of one empire, they’d often surrender to another country, just to piss me off. It does make a bit of sense, since you might be more inclined to pledge fealty to a more powerful, more benevolent neighbour than the conquering forces, but on the other hand, you really should be surrendering to the invading forces. Also, surrender was so final in the game (and in MOO): once you surrender you’re out of the game, all of your assets are transferred to the player you surrendered to. I wonder if there could be something less than this unconditional surrender? Part of that mechanism is already included in the terms you can come to in peace agreements (payments of gold, technology, and even surrendering of a few cities you might lose otherwise anyway). But there’s never a way to include other options, such as limiting the rebuilding of the military, or setting up a puppet government. How cool would it be to force a Vichy France type scenario, where you can make the other country accept a one-way defensive pact for a period of time, with shared vision of their units for a time as well as a limit on their military buildup? I think this would only be an option if you captured their previous capital, and the agreement would be nullified if the capital were somehow liberated, whether by allies, or the resistance movements that often grip cities after hostile takeovers.

  2. Potato Says:

    Found another good idea on the Civ4 fanatics site!

    I haven’t had much chance to go through there (and despite all my modding ideas, I don’t have time to play the vanilla game, let alone tweak it this much), but I saw someone suggest a neat thing: if you have the slavery civic enabled, you could have a chance to take slaves from a successful battle. They’re still working on it from the looks of things, but they might make it so that you can then use these slaves as either less-efficient workers, or you can sacrifice them to hurry production in a city (like a crappy great engineer). Sounds like something I’d want to include in my mods!

    Some things I’d want to include: if the unit is from a civ with emancipation, then they’re people won’t accept the yoke of slavery. If you switch to emancipation yourself, you free your slaves.