National borders and schisms...
One feature I hope the team is considering for Civ V is more realistic national borders.
I think the "cultural influence" idea is a good one, but it has some flaws which render it relatively unrealistic.
For example, at present the United States has tremendous cultural influence. But will, say, Toronto be spontaneously leaving Canada and joining the USA any time soon? Not likely. Likewise Italy (or the Vatican) exerts very strong religious influence, yet South America (to pick an example) is not likely to suddenly see cities randomly handing over control to Italy.
Similarly, in other areas (say, the edges of France and Germany) there are many places where an area which is technically outside a country will display very strong cultural (and racial) affiliations with that country. Yet those places typically remain outside the country, except in highly unusual circumstances (wars etc).
So... instead of culture being the defining factor in setting national borders, I would love to see a more complex and realistic system put in place. Something like:
1. In the early years when much of the world is uncivilized, culture is indeed the determining factor for a cities 'borders'
2. As larger civs develop, their borders become more solid although un-affiliated cities owned by minor civilizations and villages can still be subsumed into the nation
3. Once most of the world is more or less discovered and settled, the only ways to actually take a city become by conquest or diplomacy, i.e. deliberate, concrete steps being taken by one nation to assume control of a city owned by another nation.
4. Likewise, where one Civ runs up against another Civ, the borders are not variable. Wherever their influence first meets in a solid, continuous line, that becomes the "historic" border. In order for that border to ever move, something dramatic has to happen - a war, or a civil war, or a negotiated assumption of control.
5. When there is a war or civil war (and I really want to see civil wars in Civ V...) then part of the peace negotiations could involve the negotiation of borders.
This would open up many intriguing possibilities. For example, a weak nation might still have expansive territory and many useful resources within its borders. A strong nation might have smaller territory. Instead of being able to use "culture" to overwhelm parts of the weaker nation, the stronger nation is still going to have to take some kind of risk if it wants those resources - war, diplomacy, or just trade.
So what role would culture play? Well, instead of just flipping control of an area from one civ to another, it could be used to effectively determine how readily the people in that area will accept conquest by the neighbouring civ. In some cases, the people might be quite happy to become part of the conquering nation, in which case there could be minimal civil disorder and maybe even existing military units could surrender and join the conqueror. In other places though, civil disorder would be extreme, partisans would take to the hills, etc etc.
I would also love to see Civ 2 style schisms. Most realistically, I would love to see an idea of "colonialism" put into place. Where an established nation conquers a significant portion of another continent, it would be excellent if there was a very high chance of that conquered territory eventually trying to secede from the conqueror's Civ. This mirrors much of what happened in the 20th century - colonialism and post-colonialism. This could happen peacefully (e.g. Australia), in which case the countries would be allies thereafter, or violently (e.g. America) in which case there would be lingering resentment but longer term there would be ongoing cultural similarities and better than average chances for alliances, or very violently (e.g. parts of Africa) in which case there could be hostility for many generations after the schism.
Anyway, just my thoughts!
Great post! Some of the ideas might be a wee bit difficult to put in practice but otherwise that's exactly what I want Culture to do.
Originally Posted by Patrick Bateman
I would have thought that the existing culture set up would be a good start.
Originally Posted by lukeskymac
Thinking about it more - many wars start because of cultural differences and similarities. For example, if you have two different cultures living in one nation your chances of a serious civil war would be much higher.
It would be awesome to have something akin to "revolutionary spirit" too - if a people are conquered by a different culture, then you could have a variable which could grow stronger over time before gradually subsiding (if it doesn't lead to a rebellion, of course). This doesn't have to make the country poorer though - e.g. the American Civil War is a good example. It would be fantastic if your own colonies could sometimes decide to go their own way. You could even have the half-way house of self-governed territories which still form part of your economic and military power, but are not directly under your rule!
Then ultimately, territories can be used as bargaining in diplomacy.
Indeed, which actually does happen in history. E.g. the division of Korea, the withdrawal of the French from the USA, etc.
Originally Posted by KyuuAL
The purchase of Alaska from Russia... (snicker)
I'd like to see forts influence borders, too, especially in the early and mid-game. The construction of a strong fortress or castle was frequently the determining factor in where a country's borders ended right up through the American Civil War. This would also make building forts a more diplomatically meaningful act, as it often was in real life (sometimes wars would begin because one side or the other was building a fort or wall in disputed territory), and would make it more important to take and hold forts during wars.
That being said, I would like to see forts be more usable. maybe treat them like little cities, able to build a few structures and units.
Would also be nice to upgrade forts into cities at some point, maybe an extraordinarily priced infrastructure (i'm thinking national wonder prices or so, to make it unreasonable at first).
Cultural Influence is more than just how awesome your music and art are. Indeed, later on in the game, you really don't see old cities swapping sides--during a given game, I only have a few cities change sides at most. Established cities have so much culture that nobody's changing over. The place where things start to feel unrealistic is when you're putting down new cities as you fill up the map and carve out your territory, which can extend into the modern era, and you start butting heads with other new cities, struggling for cultural dominance. That makes sense with young cities back in ancient eras, but not so much with modern stuff.
The problem is one that's more general in the game: the scale of events is all kinds of whacked out. In Civ, it's often not feasible to create an empire that spreads across a third of the world in the first few thousand years. It takes centuries for your units to walk down the distance of the US East coast, a feat which could be done in real life over the course of months. It takes often decades for your troops to reach from one city to another, even when they're travelling by road or sea. And whereas in real life you can send settlers out to a totally new land to start putting up towns in a matter of months or years, in Civ IV it often takes what, 10-30 turns (hundreds of years unless you're in modern eras) of your city's full production to create a band of settlers who will spend another 5+ turns (again, easily 100 years) finding a place to settle, and that city will take dozens and dozens of turns before it's grown large enough to create settlers at any appreciable rate at all. In short, expanding is extremely slow. As a result you can have cities young enough to have cultural battles with each other in ways that just doesn't make sense in the common era.
I mean, look at the border between the US and Canada. In part it's defined by the water boundaries, which makes sense and would happen in Civ... but it's also defined by the two countries agreeing where to make a nice, straight-line cut-off. Civ doesn't allow for that sort of thing. So you end up with all sorts of odd border disputes which aren't one country saying "We claim this land and will fight to defend it", but "We feel more Canadian than American so we're going to change our flags around."
Now don't get me wrong, culture does play a sensible role at times. You can't establish a city in another city's cultural influence. Think of it as the villagers not being welcomed by the ones who were previously in the outlying areas, and not being allowed to settle. And during wartime, cultural influence makes some amount of sense too--you can't expect easy troop travel in hostile lands.
But beyond that I think it's got a lot of flaws. I mean, if you're invading you can commandeer train stations and take your tanks on roads to secure fast travel. As far as Civ is concerned, you can only do that when you take over the major city in the region, at which point all land within a certain range will immediately change colors or be up for grabs. It feels to me that it should be more gradual on a large scale and more immediate on a small scale--having a line of tanks on a road should, for example, let subsequent tanks move at their full road travel speed, because that road is secured... even if the first tanks to move through the area went slower because the area was hostile. And taking over a city should have a large political sway in the direction of the conquerer, but shouldn't necessarily be like flipping a light switch and making the 21-tile "fat X" on and around the city instantly provide for unrestricted travel, resourcing, etc. Old culture (and what they sorta represent, old citizens clinging to the old ways) should be converted the same way as rioting citizens, by stationing a military presence or appeasing them with goodies.
It's probably a bit late to ask for this sort of thing, but yeah, it'd make me really happy.
Nation borders often fall along geographical lines; rivers, mountain ranges, forests, etcetera.
It'd be nice if there were two kinds of 'owned land.' The sort of cultural/based territory that we have seen, and then a more general 'claimed land' that extends out quite a bit further, drawing lines that follow geographically relevant features like mountain ranges and rivers and terrain changes like deserts and forests.
These lines would tend to get drawn fairly specifically and would only change when a city was built or captured on the other side of the line. Ie, building closer to the line wouldn't actually spread your borders further, you'd have to build on the other side of it, and then a new line is drawn to include a general 'province' area around that city. A city on your side of the line whose cultural influence grows past the border would 'bulge' the line, but you'd still need to build on the opposite side to extend your border.
This would be considered 'weak territory' in that other nations could build settlements within it and contest it without starting a war, though it would anger them, and could be a justification for war. Also people could explore/traverse this area without declaring war(unlike cultural territory), but again it would annoy the owner and they could demand you leave.
It would be this area that you could build roads and other improvements within.
On the other hand, cultural territory(as traditional in later Civ Games) would be 'strong territory' and can't be built in by other nations at all; in other words, the city with dominion over that territory would have to be captured if you wanted to build a settlement near it.
It wouldn't be -too- difficult to do, there's plenty of algorithms for finding lines in this way. Though it'd be finnicky to get it working in a way that made visual sense. Also, since these 'provinces' wouldn't be based on where a city is built so much as the geography of an area, you could probably pre-generate the province lines and just have them reveal themselves as people build within those territories. The lines could then shift based on various cultural and diplomatic measures, of course, and when cities are captured and the like, the lines would be redrawn to incorporate the city into the conquering nation's borders(if connected).
It'd also be a good opportunity to bring the concept of 'contested territory' into the game, something which has generally been ignored in Civilization games, and yet was the most common reason for war throughout the ages. Two or more different nations lay claim to the same area, and so if you were to exploit a resource like iron inside your territory, but another country also has that same resource tile encapsulated in their territory, this could cause tension and possibly be used as a justification for a war.
Anyway, obviously this is all very specific and it's unlikely any of it will see the light of day, but I thought I'd outline it anyway. I obsess over borders in civ and I'd love to see them portrayed more accurately.
Last edited by Harle; 02-18-2010 at 01:02 PM.
I agree. Cultural borders should mostly be equated to your Civilizations "sphere of interest/influence", ie preventing settlement or trade routes (unless you have open borders), causing partisan uprisings in your territory, increased unhappiness during wartime etc. Border should be negotiable in some way.
A major issue with Cultural Borders is when you capture a city too close to your rival. The city will be swamped by the enemy culture and will in effect be useless unless you kill off your opponents major cities. More than likely if the war is ended immediately that city will starve off to 1 population?! That is not realistic. That city should be able to grow and become wealthy.
Yes. Very good that.
Originally Posted by Harle
Count me too as one of those people who has always had a problem with this aspect of the game. The amount of "game time" (even though it seems to work somewhat alright with the mechanics of the game) spent doing stuff like traveling 500 miles and building a grain silo have always bugged me.
Originally Posted by Twile
As far as this thread goes, however:
The concept of territory and culture need to be separated out
Territory should be automatic when founding a city, should follow geographic boundaries, should be contiguous with prior cities (the reach of this would depend on how much tech you have - so newer cities can be much farther from another city and maintain territorial continuity), and, most importantly, should be enforced by some degree of military presence.
so, for example, a new city can have a large territorial reach if there is nothing nearby, but you can only enforce your territorial borders if you have a military unit stationed within X tiles of your frontier. this would encourage garrisoning of a minimal level of troops, and be far more historically realistic (for example, while parts of Afghanistan were within Alexander's empire, was that frontier defendable in any way, shape, or form?)
this territorial reach would promote early blocking off of territory, which, again, is historically accurate. nations didn't really "skip over" other political entities and encircle nations - territorial growth always grew from prior territorial holdings and was dependent on a military to maintain it.
thus, culture should be relegated to the "soft" components of gameplay. culture should facilitate transportation, diplomatic contacts, and, most importantly trade and economy. and, to top it off, this shouldn't become salient until at least the industrial age - trade and diplomatic contact should depend largely on territory and location, location, location in the earlier ages - cities like Syracuse (in Sicily) got rich and had power not because of their culture, but because they had territorial claims in a crossroad. nowadays, however, culture and cultural goods drive trade (everyone consumes international goods pretty much solely on culture grounds nowadays. you don't buy "a car" you buy an "american car" "european car", etc.)
again, not to think that this is an easy thing to do, but that's what i would do with territory/national borders/culture issues.
Some interesting ideas here!
My original point, I suppose, was that once territory is established one way or another it shouldn't move again (other than to expand into empty space) without some kind of exceptional event. How you allocate it in the first place is a different question.
But once you claim it, it's yours until someone takes it by force or via diplomacy...
I think there is a good solution to this problem already in a mod for Civ 4. I forget what the mod is called, but it has a feature called Fixed borders. What it does is, You start out using culture to define borders, but once you research certain technologies and change your civics to more nationally stable civics, your civilization gets fixed borders.
How it works, Is that culture can not change your borders if you have fixed borders, but it still can claim new borders or change other borders that are not fixed. Also military units can stand on any neutral or enemy territory and claim it for your nation. It would be nice to be implemented into Civ 5, it really is a great system.
Last edited by xcrissxcrossx; 02-22-2010 at 07:35 AM.
I completely agree that this would be a great thing to implement. I'd also like to see (as I've mentioned before) colonies / outposts make a return as a way to expand borders -- but they should have a lesser amount of cultural influence!
Originally Posted by xcrissxcrossx