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Welcome

“Art is never finished, only abandoned.”

– Leonardo DaVinchi

Civ V: Communitas is a community-made expansion pack for Civilization V.

Communitas is a collaboration of work from dozens of authors, plus an incredible community of forumgoers on CivFanatics.com. Click “Install” at right to try it out.

Projects are never perfect, and I wish I’d been able to do more, but I feel we put our best effort into it as a community. Great job everyone!

It’s been a thrilling four years working on this. Steam says I’ve worked over 5,000 hours on Communitas, which is wild to think about, and I feel that was time well spent. It’s provided invaluable lessons for my game design career. The most important part for me was the community we built. So many game developers distance themselves from their audience through community reps and press releases. I feel direct conversations between designers and players helps build a better game, like we did here.

I don’t have much free time to mod games anymore, sadly. This is likely farewell. I’m spending most of my time working on indie game development now. I might end up making a small Beyond Earth mod anyway. What can I say, I just can’t help myself. It’s so much fun!

Click to read my Beyond Earth review, or scroll down to see more thoughts about the game.

Thank you, everyone who’s helped and played Communitas over the years. I’m grateful!

~ Thalassicus

Starships and Raising Hell

I had the opportunity to watch Sid’s Starships demo at PAX South last weekend, which was fun!

It’s tempting to compare the game to XCOM’s turn-based tactical movement, but Starships looks different enough to be a unique new game, particularly the story and galactic strategic view. I love how it continues Beyond Earth’s storyline, something I really enjoyed once I delved into the Civilopedia backstory for BE units, buildings, and techs. Starships reminds me more of a turn-based Sword of the Stars, another cool game I enjoyed. I have a Starships poster on my wall now, and I’m looking forward to it!

I was at the convention with an indie game team I founded with some new friends last year. We had a table at the Texas Indie Showcase booth featuring our first game, Raising Hell! As an exhibitor, you gotta be enthusiastic and outgoing for hours with thousands of strangers, which was both exciting and exhausting!

In the game, Hell’s freezing over and a devil named Damian has to escape. Various angels and demonic creatures try to stop you. It’s a challenging touchscreen platformer where you rapidly teleport to move. We progressed from creation to release of the game in just half a year, which is very quick, for those of you who know how indie development normally goes.

I’m currently the lead designer/producer. I set out to make a more difficult and mature experience than most touchscreen games, with a fun, collaborative team culture at our office.

The free demo’s available on all app stores for phones and tablets – just search for “Raising Hell”, and tell your friends to spread the word!

mishmashmachine.com/raising-hell

We’re currently investigating a few Unity and memory-loading issues on Android phones running v4.4 KitKat, so try out the free Lite version to see if your phone can play the game. We’re hoping to have those issues solved this weekend.

Civ:BE – Biomes and Multiplayer

I discovered something interesting today. Every biome has unique music!

There’s 8-9 soundtracks for each biome, and another 15 that can play on any biome. I’m really happy with the music in this game. It’s more variety in sights and sounds than I got in Civ 5. I tended to play one or two civs most of the time, so I heard just their soundtracks, and all the Civ 5 “continent” terrain sets looked more similar than Beyond Earth biomes.

Multiplayer’s a lot of fun!

I’m playing 2-person coop with a friend vs bots. It’s interesting how trade between teammates counts as internal trade. I also like how the game scales tech costs to keep us from outpacing our opponents (like Civ 5).  I noticed an odd tendency to start near teammates in coop. I wonder if that placement is intended, or just random good luck?

Beyond Earth Mods

I recommend trying the Colorful Tech Web mod. It helps identify things on the tech tree at a quick glance, much more easily than the subtle variation of icon borders between different types of items.

I recommend avoiding the temptation to install an “unlimited experience” mod. It sounds cool, but when 200xp units fight enemies with only 1 promotion, it makes the game super easy, which I find boring. I like a challenge. The experience cap keeps things on a more even playing field.

There’s also a “Beyond Balance” mod that looks promising. The goal is to make the game more fun and balanced like we did with Civ V: Communitas, while staying close to the core vanilla game. It’s a community-driven mod with a strong focus on responding to feedback, so if you don’t like a change, talk about it.

Beyond Earth – Harmony

My first three games started next to lots of xenomass, so I’ve given quite a lot of thought to the harmony path.

I realized harmony is subtly different from the preservation-focused philosophy of the Gaians in Alpha Centauri. The affinities are more like….

  • Purity – Turn our new world into Earth.
  • Harmony – Adapt to the new world.
  • Supremacy – Ignore the biological worlds to become cybernetic.

Harmony uses resources native to our new planet. Consider the Alien Domestication tech. The essence of this is similar to what happened on earth. We turned hostile wolves into dogs, aurochs into cows, and so on. The pre-transformation species have very little presence on Earth (or none with Aurochs). We adapted the native wildlife to suit our purposes. It makes sense we’d do the same on a new world, as human nature doesn’t change much over time.

Harmony does something similar. We might fight the wild animals because they’re a threat for us, but also domesticate them into creatures useful for our purposes. It’s more complex than a philosophy of pure preservation. I like the depth of this story.

Beyond Earth – Explorers

Explorers become a tremendously useful long-term asset when you get rank 1 in Purity affinity. This prevents aliens from attacking explorers. I simply thought of the exploration benefits… while my friends thought of much more clever strategies:

  • Escorting colonists through alien territory.
  • Guarding workers or important improvements.
  • Herding siege worms into rival armies. Fremen worm riders!

Beyond Earth – Strategic Units & Improvements

I realized in Beyond Earth strategic units are more powerful than normal units (vs Civ 5), and no longer spammable. In Civ 5 we could get 1 huge deposit of horses and we’re set for the game. In Beyond Earth a deposit of 8 resources can only buy you one late-game affinity unit. This makes strategic units a rare, elite core of your army – supported by a larger number of weaker spammable units.

This was a design goal of the Civ 5 Communitas mod. I’m happy to see it as a core feature now! They made strategic units cost more resources (up to 6), while I spawned fewer resources instead. Either way, you can build fewer of them, but they’re incredibly powerful.

 

With the wide variety of improvements added in Beyond Earth, I realized we can use them to plug gaps in our empire.

In my current game, I have ridiculous amounts of gold, and I’m running out of things to build in cities. It suddenly struck me – I can build Academies to balance the scales! They will turn my excess gold into science, researching faster, unlocking new things to build in cities. Academies are like a building that costs 2 gold and gives 3 science. Now imagine you can build lots of this on your tiles! Improvements that cost maintenance sound weird at first, until you think of them as spammable buildings.

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