Yet Another Mod Request
I would really like for technology to leak across civilizations. Not full spying, which is a whole nother dimension of the game, just that knowing something is possible and seeing it in action makes it easier to discover.
I think a grand mod would be that, after one civilization uses a technology, other civilizations in contact with it have an easier time researching it. Perhaps 50% research gain. The reason I say use is to provide a means for keeping a technology secret. Even better would be for the bonus to occur only when you see someone else use a technology (see a unit, see a city with a building, etc), and the more you see a technology the larger the boost. Say starting at 5% and moving up to 100%. But this leans towards too much complexity.
From a programming perspective, well, I have no idea whether or not that would be possible. I'm not a programmer by any stretch of the imagination. It seems like something that could be done, as the game obviously knows all of the relevant information, though defining "uses" a technology as opposed to "knows" it seems perhaps a bit of an overreach given that the mod tools just came out.
From a gameplay perspective, it seems like this system would be a little unwieldy and a pretty big advantage for the human player over an already underperforming AI. Under this system you probably beeline for Astronomy and then send out your caravels/land units hoping for new lands. Once you get there you try to suss out just what techs the locals have and being a smart human you put your research wherever you'll get the bonus. The AI, being AI, probably doesn't even KNOW which techs it would get a bonus while researching (after all, you're not changing the tech costs) and is going to be following its own research path anyway.
Obviously these concerns are reduced in MP, but there's also the danger of this system being too opaque. After all, some techs are "used" in a way that wouldn't be obvious to even the most discerning player. Say, for example, that your neighbor discovers Pottery before you do. Now the only way this tech is "used" is building Granaries, which you as an opposing player have no way of knowing about short of capturing his cities and hoping that one survives (and I haven't played the game enough to see whether or not technologically "locked" building can even survive conquest). So either it's impossible to get a bonus for that tech (among others) or you'll get the bonus and not have any way of figuring out why.
I get, from a historical perspective, why a system like this would add realism to the tech race. The diffusion of technology across cultures has been a driving force behind much of the progress we as a species have made over the millennia. Civ has never really done a very good job of representing this and, really, the whole "each civ generates beakers which give techs on a tree" mechanic doesn't really lend itself toward doing so. After all, beakers are a limited resource and players are (rightly) unwilling to share them. Luckily, Civ V is amazingly open to modding and once the real programmers out there get a handle on it I don't doubt that a someone will come out with a mod that turns the whole system on its head. Until then, I worry that a mod like what you're suggesting will sound cool in theory but be less than enjoyable in practice.
The problem I want to solve is, actually, viability of the AI. Once I get ahead in tech, the AI rarely catches up (at least on Prince mode).
Having the AI be aware of what tech is cheaper should be easy enough, since I would assume it looks at 'turns to complete tech' when deciding.
It is a good point about favoring exploring cultures.
I'm not sure that it does. We'd have to ask someone with more knowledge of how the AI makes those decisions, but my money is on it only really being aware of the actual cost of the tech and not so much how many turns it will take to finish. Obviously without your change the two would be more or less the same. I would also wager that the AI's research flavor is a bigger determinant of what it's going to research than the cost.
All that said, the real solution to an AI that can't catch up to you technologically is an AI that doesn't fall that far behind you to begin with. You could try playing on a higher level and see how that helps. Unfortunately, there's no way (in XML at least) to directly make the AI research faster, but you could increase the overall rate of research (in Gamespeeds) then give the human player a penalty (in Handicapinfo) as a sort of quick fix until someone mods the AI into a more effective researcher.
I have also often wondered about a more complex technology system. Perhaps, being a "real programmer", as you call them, I will consider a MOD along those lines once the real code is out.
I also don't like the opaqueness in this vanilla V of what the other guys are doing. Why does it make any sense that I can see a guy's city, but I can't pay someone to walk over to it, walk around inside of it, and come back and tell me what buildings they have. Surely every civilization didn't have a Gestapo walking around checking papers on all their citizens from its earliest times?
I would think also if you had open borders with a civ, a lot should be revealed automagically (espionage or no), since that implies traders and the like at the very least are travelling between cities. For example, I can tell you there's an excellent place to get Lobster in a town called Puerto Nuevo just outside of Ensenada, Mexico, and I live in Seattle. Granted, people travel a lot more in the modern age, but you get the picture.
So, that said, I might also look to a tech leakage caused by open borders. It might give you a reason to not make open borders with people you really weren't friendly with - so as to limit tech leakage to them.
Leakage to me might be a pool of tech points applied to any specific technology, such that when you research any given tech, the amount needed to discover was artificially lower. You might, or might not, know this. I would tend to think you would, as when you see your neighbor roll over your trenches with his brand new machines he calls "tin cans", the idea has already been presented to your mind, and now all you need to do is get your scientists and engineers to work out the details.
Alternatively, we could add back [EDIT:tech brokering]tech trading (but not brokering), or possibly make it more limited. Allowing you to trade "tech points" in any techs you had discovered, up to a certain limit. This might give friendlies a 10 or 15 or 25% discount on tech costs, for example, and be another tool that could be used to enhance diplomacy, cement relationships, etc.
I've only played 1.5 games of Civ V so far, but I can tell you I am already swirling a lot of ideas. The bigger question will be if I have the time to implement many of them.
Last edited by goodgulf; 10-01-2010 at 05:03 AM.