Civilisation progress: really? pros? cons?

  • I keep reading posts discussing a kind of "civilisation progress" as one of the important coming features of RW. If I get it correctly (and correct me if I don't), it should be some kind of "career mode" or vaguely RPG oriented path which would lead the player, mainly on the technology side, from pre-historic tools and techniques to modern day technologies.

    From one side, this might be a good thing: it seems to appeal many users and would give a sense of purpose, which is motivating; particularly if, as I assume, it will be fairly articulated and with a good number of steps and/or a reasonably wide and deep technology tree. In other words, if it does not turn out to merely be a varnish or a pretext.

    From another side, however, this 'evolutionary' perspective is only one of the ways to look at the sandbox world concept and has some consequences. It mostly depends on how it will implemented and about this we can only speculate. However, some consideration can be made.

    1) If it will require enough commitment and engagement to be rewarding, it risks to distract users from sophisticated or ingenuous or 'beautiful' building and crafting tasks. If everybody is busy advancing in technology (maybe looking for rare items which unlock this or that knowledge), then the aesthetic or realistic achievements one can already see in the game as it is now would definitely suffer. We may risk to see the same cave, the same pyramid, the same [put you item here] over and over again, because they are the shortest way to proceed to the next technology advance.

    2) This "career mode" would not appeal to everyone; possibly, given what it is possible now in RW, a good number of players came (or stayed) precisely because of the freedom and variety RW allows in building and may not appreciate to be constrained along a given path (I for one certainly would not).

    3) It would heavily affect multiplayer interaction. If every player of a server is required (or only has the means) to use the same materials (initially only dirt and stone, I imagine, later bronze, more later iron and so on), the server will become encumbered with rather similar replicas of the same things over and over again and everybody will be busy on his own path, paying little attention to the others. If, rather, the server will advance in technology as a whole, the first comers will have all the fun (or all the boredom, according to the individual tastes) and the late comers will find many (or most) of the steps already accomplished.

    4) Or it might be possible to specialize, who knows. This could be stimulating and suit individual preferences: one player would specialize and advance in carpentry, another in metallurgy or farming or herding and so on, leading to trading and some complex form of interaction. Fine! Except for the fact that, by choice, RW has no big central server where many players gather and any specialization is likely to be found, but only many user-maintained servers, many of which are going to have a limited number of players and may end up with a limited number of specializations.

    One can continue, but I think the pattern should be clear.

    For what is worth, if this progress concept is indeed implemented, my suggestion is to make it optional or one of the possible modes, leaving a more 'pure' sandbox mode still available, so that one can start with photovoltaic panels or carbon fiber already available, if one likes so, being free not to use them if one want to recreate an ancient Egypt or mediaeval Saxon environment (side note for clarity: I make a distinction between a 'pure', 'human' sandbox mode and a 'godly' mode like the Creative one we have now: the latter is basically cheating, while the former should keep some degree of realism).

    Thanks for reading, M.

  • Hmmm... I'll try again, raising the bar and attempting to be a little bit more 'provocative'. Two considerations:

    A) Not every time! Things seem to solidify somehow on this topic (see for instance this thread) and the "civilisation progress" path seems to grow rather articulated. Out of curiosity, I might like to go down this path once or twice, but I for one would find incredibly boring having to do it again and again for each new world (in single player) and on any new server (for multi-player). This would significantly reduce my interest in RW. A way around could be a way to carry the technology/knowledge level reached by the character across worlds.

    B) Technology. And? The idea that the 'progress' of human kind has been primarily driven by technology advances seems to me quite a misconception. Structural technology advances -- those inducing paradigm shifts -- have been rather few and far apart in human history. Taking away all the differences in styles, tastes and customs, it is rather easy to see that, for instance, from the time Iron Age was enough established (approx. X century B.C.) to, say, the time steam was not diffused yet (approx. XVIII century A.C.?), technology, at its roots, did not change that much.

    What mainly changed was the availability of resources, primarily the density of population: how dense and in how many places -- let's call them 'towns' -- it was dense enough. This allowed specialisations to appear and, over time, experience to widen and deepen, if transmission from generation to generation was possible (which in turn requires specialised contexts and jobs). Most of the things daily available in the time of, say, Newton were -- in practice or in theory -- already available to Republican Rome citizen, because they already did them, or could have done them, should they had the need and the required population density.

    So, this step took more than two millennia to complete. The previous steps (Bronze, Neolithic, Palaeolithic) took many hundreds of thousands of years.

    It should be clear that compressing all of this in a few hours (or minutes!) of game play of a single player (or of a dozen players in MP) is entirely arbitrary and unrealistic; to my perspective it also makes little sense, as it is not so different from including magic.

    In summary, I understand that this is just my perspective (but I believe not to be alone in this) and other perspectives exist and are as much legitimate.

    If these perspectives attract enough customers to make the project viable and sustainable, I am glad for the dev team which deserves all the success for its efforts and for the brilliant results achieved so far.

    But RW would loose myself (and all those with similar feelings) along the way, if this path becomes the predominant way to enjoy RW, without recurring to some 'cheat mode' of some kind.

    Thanks again for reading, M.

  • The part I love about both Minecraft & Rising World is that you're given an open world to thrive in. No holding hands, no linear gameplay, just you & the world. What you do is up to you. How you achieve your goals, and how you go about it is your goal. That, and with games like 'Silent Hunter 3', American Truck Simulator, European Truck Simulator 2, & specific parts to 'Grand Theft Auto 3' up to 5 & Online. Your story is what you make of it, and how you build shows others your personality and character. I prefer survival over creative because a story can told, as well as something to be proud of also. There's so much to be proud of when you work your way up from a stone tool to an industrial power house. That, or just upgrading from a low-end something to a higher end something.

    1) I find this a flaw in humans when I try to build structures to hold these research objects and such. The same when they try to exploit glitches & exploits. You need to encourage people to build stuff and to populate their structures with these furniture and such to encourage them to do such. Rising World & Minecraft have both, yet people decide to hide in a cave home because they play for short term, or they hate the thought of doing something so they hate survival. I've seen so much hate for survival that people simply come off as lazy & spoiled when they haven't thought ahead. Everything has to be handed to them.

    2) Survival (or career) doesn't, yet it should be the main focus because it adds the actual meat & spices to the game. Something that gives the whole meaning to the whole game. Sadly, there's people either being outright lazy & spoiled, or simply don't have time. Luckily, Rising World is all freedom that you can do whatever you want, yet you still have to adapt to your terrain. You have to build up, survive, learn the traits of the entities to then build around them. Try co-existing with everything around you is what makes both this & Minecraft fun and rewarding. Sadly, again, people don't adapt to their scenery, nor do they think ahead on how to transport their valuables around. I've seen those constantly complaining failing to use common sense, throwing tantrums, thus missing various points. We're lucky Rising World gives us the same freedom as Minecraft, yet more. We're given more tools & such.

    3) I can't say much about multiplayer because gamers are a spoiled & hostile bunch. I've been on a few servers on Minecraft with people being outright pricks. You have to be on a private server to really enjoy anything, or be lucky in finding that one 'pure' server. I've been pushed off of public servers that anything gameplay wise on there is simply left out to the vultures that I hide in online private servers with friends only. I can't blame the game because people are the worst part of it. Teching up also is what should be left to the player, also with a helping hand from others to tech up.

    4) From what Rising World wants to do we shall indeed specialize in our field. It's been loosely done in Minecraft, heavily done in Wurm, and shall be a mix of both worlds in Rising World. There's various areas to tend to that we'll have to specialize in something. More so with the rumoured skill tree, and others.


    I'll have to get to the rest later, yet wanted to say that there's nothing wrong with starting from scratch again because you need to learn how the game plays. When you start the game up a few times to learn how to survive is fine. If it's when you rebuild with very important builds then I'll agree it becomes tiresome. You however becoime overly proficient at rebuilding your structures, as well as regaining your lost goods. Sadly, with lost books & whatever else we might have.

    Once the game reaches it's more solid state everything shall be proper. We hopefully won't have to worry about world hoping, as much as in Minecraft', because of how much more common sense Rising World has thanks to Red51. I did find it highly irritating that leaving the game for a few months (or a year) did the job to regain interest in rebuilding in Minecraft. It just needs time to re-generate that curiosity. That, and proper friends.

    You just need proper friends to make things fun.

  • So, this step took more than two millennia to complete. The previous steps (Bronze, Neolithic, Palaeolithic) took many hundreds of thousands of years.

    It should be clear that compressing all of this in a few hours (or minutes!) of game play of a single player (or of a dozen players in MP) is entirely arbitrary and unrealistic; to my perspective it also makes little sense, as it is not so different from including magic.

    Keep in mind this is not the real world. Yes, perhaps Newton figured out something that could have been figured out a thousand years ago. But that's just a variation just like how long does it take for a player to figure out how to unlock the next achievement. We don't want to replicate when things happened, just we want to reproduce the route taken and figure out the pre-requisites for everything to some degree of accuracy without making the game too tedious. Even within each age of mankind, different societies figured out stuff before others. Trade routes and knowledge exchange probably helped the majority of civilizations to evolve even close to the same pace. This ofcourse doesn't apply to all which is why we still have hunter/gatherer tribes living in the woods, cut off from modern society

  • So I wanted to follow up to this two days ago but I've been too busy and this thread just brought out a LOT of thoughts on the subject that has to be sorted and compiled. So here's the short version of how I think this will be accomplished via "Story Mode". I want to say upfront that I have zero knowledge of what "story mode" is.

    I am not a historian. I hated my humanities class and Most of my understandig of primitive crafting and ages of humanity come from History channel, crafting games, and Wikipedia. Expect some inaccuracies here. I want to throw this idea out to everyone and if Red is ok with it, he can set the framework of the story and then we as a community can build the story as the game progresses

    My idea of what Story Mode should be

    A story can be a collection of chapters with each requring completion of achievements that advance you to the next chapter or age. Anyone who plays ARK knows you level up, earn engram points, and unlock crafting recipes (implanted memories) in order to advance slowly from primitive pick axe to automatic turret gun. The problem, as Miwarre states, is that it ignores cultural achievements. Another problem in Rising World is that even when this primitive tool set comes out, we are still going to be able to chop down a tree and build a workbench and then an anvil. So we jumped immediately from Stone age to Iron age. In order to stay in character, restrictions must be in place to also encourage discovery. An example of discovery is finding the ore tin. without tin, and without figuring out metallurgy, you cannot make bronze and ultimately enter the Bronze Age. But before you can exit the stone
    age, you need to advance culturally in addition crafting a bunch of tools. So other cultural goals must also be accomplished such as making a cave painting, starting a religion, form a tribe (multiplayer only -- place huts next to each other and choose your careers) with other Stone Age players. The concept of a village is just as important as learning primitive crafting.

    Lets revisit the current game modes:

    • "Normal mode" - this should never change. All recipies are available as long as you have the ingredients and proper tool or crafting table
    • "Creative mode" - also should not be touched.
    • "Story mode" - not sure officially what this is going to be but I believe it should contain several stories to choose from including the one we are trying to figure out here (advancement of humanity)
    • "Stranded mode" - I don't know what the plans are for this but When I chatted with red, it seemed like his intention was to make that the mode where all the primitive crafting would be. I believe this should be a type another story mode where all recipes are unlocked all the way up to the modern era. You basically have the skills but you need to find the resources
    • "Adventure mode" - This could be another story mode like stranded mode but more adventurous tasks to accomplish like Raid a dungeon and steal the treasure or defeat a bunch of pirates, be a mercenary, save the princess

    Example of a chapter

    So in sum, each chapter (Age) of the Story (of Humanity) will have a few sets of definitions. Here are some key points and I'm using the Stone Age as an example

    • The first chapter start you out with all recipes locked and invisible
    • First task is to gather sticks and stones
    • Second task is to make plant fibers from grass or other plants
    • First recipe to unlock is a pick axe or hammer
    • Each recipe to unlock will have a definition of pre-requisites such as ingredients to find, tasks to accomplish, or recipes to unlock, or all those mentioned prior can be replaced by the age accomplished
    • Cultural tasks to unlock: make paint, make a cave painting, form a tribe, place huts next to each other
    • Critical ingredients for crafting to be found: sticks, stones, flint, plant fiber, berries
    • Critical ingredients for cultural tasks: ochre (might exist as dust settled inside a cave) or loose charcoal (used in addition to ochre for drawing on cave walls)
    • A list of careers or jobs appropriate for an age. These will serve to organize much of the above recipes, tasks, and needed ingredients listed above.
    • A difficulty level (or this could be story wide) to either hide or show to players what tasks yet to do or new ingredients to discover

    Misc thoughts

    • Each new player entering a server in Story mode should start out in the stone age. He can join with other stone age members or if a advanced tribe decides to adopt a stone age player then that player automatically inherits the advancement level of a tribe.and can begin contributing.
    • For Miwarre's idea that the server advances as a whole, well.... In real life we have lots of civilizations still living as hunter/gatherers. I believe that tribes (or groups) in rising world should replicate real life and unless someone of a earlier age gets adopted into a modern tribe (any modern country or government) then he will not understand advanced technology or cultural ideas.
    • Perhaps a story could basically be an extension of the existing permission system in Rising World. The permission files are in YAML so I know we could easily import a yaml file defining the story. The story could be the progress of civilization that we are all trying to figure out how to implement or it could be a completely custom one (stuff in adventure mode)
    • The achievements unlocked should be tied to the player or tribe. So starting a new world does not mean you start over (another good concern Miwarre brought up)
    • Adventure and Stranded mode are simply Stories and shouldn't be modes. These should be stories in Story Mode. These can be defined by players (or Red can release Adventure and Stranded as official stories. Players can write their own story files in YAML and those will be added to drop-down list of available stories.
    • If story advancement is linked to a player or tribe, Red will have to figure out how to track story progress and whether the progress gets wiped out if you switch story modes. Suppose you have a few games saved but each you are playing under different story modes. I'm not sure of an elegant way to solve this problem.
    • With careers. If you are in single player mode, it may take longer to advance an age. A career is basically a group of tasks and goals. So if each player in a tribe selects a career, they contribute to the tribe and therefore help the tribe advance to the next age much quicker. My best guess is that after the Stone Age and in multiplayer mode, that each player's career helps the entire tribe
    • advance to the next age. So each person might have various skills to contribute. In Middle Ages we might have a blacksmith, a leather tanner, a farmer, a pub owner ( meeting in a cultural hotspot,
    • consuming alcohol and tobacco around others are cultural elements)
    • Story mode could have a easy or difficult setting. Difficult setting would not tell you what you need to collect or discover not what you need to craft or what cultural task to do. You have to stumble upon it yourself
    • Perhaps A small story mode could be implemented into Normal mode. It would be an easy level which would display messages on your screen to "Collect some stone" or "Craft an axe". This could accompany pages of the journal somehow so when you first start out, you get prompted to cut down trees, make lumber, craft a shelter, craft a workbench. (The A14 update of 7 Days To Die basically did this and its actually quite welcoming to see if you never played the game before)
    • Whatever elements are officially planned for Story Mode by Red if not this could probably accompany what I've described in this post. This is just an idea to control the flow of progress by restricting recipes

    Ideas for Careers

    • Stone Age: Meat hunter (crafts hunting tools, harvest animals for all its resources), gatherer (not sure how to break this down further), fire maker (learns how to use flint and stone), story teller (learns panting, performs cave drawing and makes religion, learns writing on stone tablets perhaps?)
    • Middle Ages: Blacksmith, Leather Tanner, Farmer, Pub owner (using alcohol and tobacco to lure players into social situation is also part of cultural advancement. It leads to exchange of information and new ideas), Book Writer (converts stone tablets to books)

    So yeah, this can be a simple or as complicated as we want it to me but i think that as long as the framework is established and Red codes it then its simply a matter of expanding the content. The Story if in YAML could be made openly available to the community to maintain and improve on as new items are released in the game and Red tells us how to reference them in the api or in the YAML file.

  • In addition to what I wrote up there, we still need a skill system. The person in the stone age with the job of fire maker can build his skills in making fire improving the chance that the fire will start. The effectiveness of these skills may also affect other more advanced skills (lighting a cigarette with a zippo on a windy day skill?! ) ^_^

  • @YakMe comments, suggestions and descriptions are suggestive and inspiring. The idea of custom stories or of sub-stories (possibly not even over-complex to implement if they ultimately rest on a text file with a chain of permissions or similar) would address some of my concerns, primarily the boredom of repeating again and again the same story from scratch for each new world you create or each new server you join.

    My points were primarily these two:

    1) Time scale: Palaeolithic lasted half a million years, if not more, Iron Age lasted two millennia and half (and in sense is still going on) and so on. I can accept to forfeit this scale and instantly jump to the next step, once the preset conditions are met: after all, as YakMe said, this is a game, not a course on History of Civilisation.

    2) Relevance of population. As I said above, from, say, 2nd-1st c. B.C. (Republican Rome) to early XVIII c., the technology base did not change so much.

    Just an example: Most of the buildings around me are built, today!, with reinforced concrete and bricks; 1st c. B.C. Romans did know concrete (the ceiling of the Pantheon is in concrete) and could make iron bars, so they could have made reinforced concrete; and of course, they made bricks, an incredible amount of bricks (they even established the first well known standard system, so that bricks made all over Roman possessions could be used interchangeably). So, they could have done most of the buildings I see being made today! around me.

    Why they didn't? Because they did not need it and/or could not afford it. Not because of the cost, but because of the implied population requirements. What did change all over those centuries and centuries was the amount of population and the distribution of its density. This is what allowed to diversify more and more the skills and the jobs, deepening the knowledge and the experience:

    You can't have a master metallurgist if there is not another hundred or so of persons (probably much more) providing him with food, wear, heat, bricks for his furnaces, wood, coal and so on and so on. You can't have bricks and coal, if there is not a hundred or so of persons for each brick-maker and miner, providing him with food, wear, heat... You can't provide your peasants with decent quality iron forks, rakes or hoes without a corresponding number of skilled metallurgists... and the implied population base quickly escalates.

    This is where most 'civilisation progress' games miserably fail: knowledge and technology work like magic, independently of any reasonable social context. It can be simplified (this is a game), it can be streamlined, but it has to make some sense in some way, otherwise it is just magic under another name; then, why not simply add magic to the game?

    3) Some random comments:

    How does all of this affect contexts like RW? In general, it ultimately requires a 'social ecosystem' going on before, above and beyond the player(s); it might be hinted at by simple visual and procedural elements (no need for the programme to automatically generates a visible 2-million people town!), but it has to be there, both in single- and multi-player modes.

    On a similar plane, YakMe spoke of tribes. It is a fascinating idea which could bring the very concept of multi-player above the mere exchange of sword strokes or in-game chatting. But when in a (individually run) server you can't hope to routinely have more than twentish peoples, it evaporates quickly.

    So, I am not necessarily against this "evolutionary" concept. I hope it will not be too boring and it will make some sense.

    Thanks! M.

  • Pros of Civilizations progressing in the game.
    You get to play the chieftain , lord, king etc
    RW gains a feature akin to games like Populas and Civilizations and new features gain players that like those kinds of games.
    You get a unique story mode to enjoy as @zfoxfire explained above.
    Summary Something new to do when you tire of other modes increasing replay value.

    Cons of Civilizations progressing in the game.
    Red has to develop a complex system that some one is going to find flaws in no matter how good it is. (Human Nature)
    Red will have to develop complex AI to make the workers , lords , peasants, and others behave properly. (Some one will complain)
    You get a unique story mode that took months to complete and stalled other developments.

    Summary The time it takes to make it work.

    Its kind of the same way with my own suggestions of Cultural Presets. Lots of work that rewards only those people that wanted it, and complaints from some that its not accurate, good enough, hard enough, easy enough. None of it is a must have feature but it would be a nice feature to have in the long run.

    The main driving factor behind advancement to the Human race in my opinion has never been the fact we have technology to do things faster or easier. To me it is the ideas we have had over the era's, some one looked at a rock near the Nile one day and said "Looks kinda like a lion" Grabbed a chisel and made it look more like a lion. Someone got it in his head that a giant pyramid would look really good near that lion. Got a bunch of guys together and went to work (or aliens used lasers and stuff).
    A group of hunters decided it would be better to plant the same crops in the same place over and over to supplement the hunt and agriculture was born.
    They started feeding the wild dogs and domestication was born.
    thousands of years later a group of scientists looked up and said "That big rock in the sky needs a Flag and some foot prints on it"

    The reasons for doing these things have been varied and sometimes logical. Mostly though it seems we don't advance because we build better Technology we build better Technology because some one needed a solution to a problem they faced at the time. That's true advancement over coming problems with new ideas and making new problems to overcome thus continuing the cycle.

  • I don't see how learning & doing things is 'magic' when we're getting the likes of traveling merchants & vendors. That, and from Minecraft style 'blindness' to recipies. Even if it's Minecraft, we had to know what we're doing by guessing. Recipes were there, yet you had to learn them, or find a wiki. Having to learn & find them was often a chore that it was simplified for console versions. You learned things by simply guessing.

    As for civiization is neat, yet Red51 is wanting to keep things simple to RPG tyle player interaction. You get NPC traders for admins & traveling merchants for singleplayer stuff. We want NPC villages, yet that's also going to be a late-game addition that anything bandits, tribes, and such shall be done later. I guess this would open up room for players to learn specific recipes to something, such as certain boat making, weapon making, trophies, and whatever else.

    And I also stand by what I said above, yet feel it's been ignored & overlooked when the post was mentioned after mine mentioning what I posted again. Zork also seems hyper-creative so I"ll let him let loose while tuning out on my end. I'd however be amused if, and when, we do get NPC villages that we can recruit & customize NPCs to be our companions. That, and they would point things out to you from their own settlement, or however you tuned them. They would have whatever option in NPC Traders (Admins) that they would seek out food, teach you certain recipies, and whatever else. Helping you out with the basics that it might please the picky wanting deeper immersion. We won't go all 100% realistic, yet there's ways to turn things into Rising World realistic-fun.

    Makes me want to play around with the idea that any NPC seeing you unfit for the biome climate could teach you how to deal with such by giving you cooler clothing for deserts & warmer wear & food types for cooler biome. You want 'realistic immersion', then that's another way of doing such.Now, we just need to hope Red51 makes note of this.

    That, and people aren't stupid. When something needs to be done we tend to figure out solutions to the problem. We did so in Roman time, we did so after & previous of that, and we're still doing such. There are those still re-adapting to past 'primitive' live-style by becoming stranded from the urban world. You learn by making the most of your surroundings, and what you're aware of. You learn from mistakes. I guess you'd prefer Zork's stuff so I'll stop there.

  • I don't know if I mentioned anything directly to zfoxfire but @Miwarre read my post of my 'Past Suggestions', I was trying to address customization suggestions including this one of replay-ability by including player made scripts with custom crafting / story lines / custom 3d Objects. That's what I was trying to hint in my suggestions. If crafting was simple as text file for modification or even better if we had built in screens for loading in and changing settings for lazy people. Of course it would be good to have some pre-loaded to give people easy access for loading new or modified crafting recipes as well as loading new 3d objects.

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