History lesson after history lesson after history lesson and CMON! This aint school. Im not here to do chores, Im here to baby a bunch of workers and armies to beat some doofus who’s up against me!
Some of you, many of you even can post picture after picture of some historical artifacts or buildings. Often in such civ concept threads y’all forget to actually design the GAMEplay for this, are you sitting down!? For this GAME!!!
Remember that historical imperfections have existed since forever. Spanish have worse crossbows than the Middle East and the dang Huns oh and the Aztecs they attacked.
Speaking of, Arbalest is a french weapon that the French civs can’t use!
It is known history that only Khmer had the power to enter houses and nobody else. Its also known that the se supposedly universal elephant techs like tusk sworda and Howdahs and Chatrahs were totally used only by the civs that get them.
The Celts are a wierd mismatch since the start. China should have almost every tech and unit!
But all of these effects are in place because gameplay comes first. This isn’t me on my knees praising corporate or the fact they haven’t given us a banger as earthshattering amazing like the first Conqs expansion. Far from it. It’s me going on about how we go so hyper history hyper ventilation.
So as someone who perhaps has been civ crafting since forever to the point that early era AokHeaven called it spam (which is weird) let me give some tips for design philosophy.
1: History is nice sure. But gameplay cohesion is most important to designing a game. Your civ might’ve had great skirmishers but they’re likely going to need more units than that.
2: Remember power spikes. A civ should have something good to look forward to as time goes on. Often the most important spikes I hear about are arriving to Castle and Imp Ages but it can also be something like a bonused unit or a powerful new castle mainstay like the Conquistador. Or it can be an economic explosion like the Viking free wheelbarrow line techs. It can also be a bit more subdued like the Ethiopian resource spike which is more than compensated by the fast firing crossbows.
3: Every civ should have at least one defining bonus that comes into effect by the Feudal Age. Even a late game gunpowder civ like Turks have faster mining. By this point you should have something anything that makes you stand out. In the original Conquerors the weakest here was Franks whose only early bonus was free farm tech… wow! Also think of this not just from gameplay but from even the historical perspective:
4: even if the civ is naval power it needs something good for land battles or land economies. This should be straightforward. Consequently they need some form of navy even if landlocked! Some way to survive on Nomad so every civ needs probably at least War Galley tech especially considering how linked every naval option is to that one tech!
5: Some level of overlap is okay! The world is big and there are many civs to be had. While this big new mechanic is cool try to remember that programming a new mechanic is an excuse, mayhaps even a legitimate reason civ releases are more sparsely done. Need i Remind you the tech now for game engines are way better than what they were in 1999-2001 and yet…
This even includes the mechanics. Its okay if another unit uses the Konnik rebirth effect because you arent gonna find me at civ 70 and tell me using it again would be sacrelige!
6: Try and avoid negative “bonuses” at all costs! Unless its like a starting house or starting unit avoid it. None of this lame as heck cavalry +2/2 armor but they move 20% slower or even 5%. Over the years Ive seen junk like that many times. It’s awful and I will call it out it’s a hill Ill die on even if I dont get an elevation bonus for doing do!
To explain from a gameplay perspective the reason it sucks is because it’s anti-fun! It takes power away from the player! Thats not a good thing. That minus speed on cav means the units you most need to run from, who dont care how much melee or missile armor you have, will catch you way faster. Monks will steal you away that much easier and Camels and spears will shred you up!
Sure we have convert gold cost techs and even those I have some grievance with especially in situations where gold isnt an issue like maps with many relics on it or maps where trade is abundant but wood isnt.
That said it’s smaller a concern and less gold is good.
7: sometimes one bonus for a unit line is enough to define the civ as that unit line. Ethiopia only has increased fire rate and thats enough to consider Archer spam! Huns don’t even get a super direct non team bonus for their knights and that too is often enough. Not every civ needs 5 million bonuses for their unit of choice like Goths or Britons. Remember other civs will need bonuses for their armies too.
8: if you can. Keep it simple! Before you jump for something advanced try and see if something less complex is an option!
As I think of more I will add more.
Oh and by the way. This isnt easy to do and it’s often not seen as rewarding. Youll rare get a thank you or a thumbs up because its just words but you do this because you love doing so. Maybe you’re lucky to understand modding in which case more power to you!