Frequently asked questions, frequently made statements.
This FAQ is one of three important sources of information that you should read before asking other people to aswer your questions. The other two are:
- The Design Principles of C-evo
- The in-game manual
FAQ Part A: Playing
I found an error. The software crashes, shows error messages or simply doesn't do what it should.
Send me a mail, attach the saved game from the "Saved" subfolder and tell me what action exactly leads to the error.
My virus scanner tells that the C-evo self installer contains a virus!
Some older virus scanners don't seem to recognize the data part of the installation program and detect "suspicious" code there. But these sequences are never being executed, they're just being decompressed.
I'd like to play this game, but I don't want to read the concepts in the manual. Is that possible?
Try it. If you lose every game (which is likely to happen), the manual is your way out.
I'm new to this game and I'm playing on easy level. But whatever I try, I'm always being extinguished by a superior enemy in the middle of the game. Game after game. What am I doing wrong?
An extensive answer would not only go beyond the scope of this FAQ -- it would (if it was a kind of step-by-step instruction) miss the point of a game like this. Therefore, just some short hints:
- You should know the rules (see previous and next question). In case there's an important detail you don't understand, phrase a specific question and post it to the discussion forum. (If your nation evolves too slow, you're probably inefficient in city management and terrain improvement. Deal with these concepts, above all.)
- Think! This is a strategy game! For example, the order in which you research advances, build city improvements and improve terrain absolutely matters. The manual won't tell you what to do, it only documents the rules.
- If there's a sample game installed together with the game, have a look at it. This game has been won on hard level. You may open it at different points in time and compare the city management and the terrain improvement with yours.
- Switch to "Free Player Setup", turn the mode to "Supervisor" (middle box), start a game and watch the computer play against itself. You can even look into the cities there.
- If you'd like to have your game easier than easy level, the free player setup won't help you. The easiest you can setup there corresponds to easy level. You need to download and select an AI which is less aggressive than the Standard AI, for example Crystal or the CapitalAI.
Seems like my units are having an attack bonus whenever they are attacking in a direction away from my capital. For defending my land, I think. But that only seems to apply when I already discovered Democracy. Except, I guess, when I received Democracy from the Great Library...
No. No. And No. The game is (almost) completely documented in the manual. No weird dependencies that one has to find out by playing or to predict from natural logic. Please read the manual and play by rules that you know, not by rules that you guess. C-evo is not a realistic simulation, so a "natural logic" based on reality won't help you.
I read that the game is deterministic. What does this actually mean?
It means that the outcome of every action is determined (fixed) by the conditions. There is no rule of the kind "X increases/decreases the probability of Y". The game does not randomize anything in the process. For example, you can predict the outcome of an attack exactly. Determinism does not mean that the course of events is determined by the game or by some of your early decisions. In the long term, there's not a big difference to a non-deterministic game, except that luck is less important. The course of events depends on your decisions and on those of your enemies. (No, the AI is not deterministic, it contains random action.)
Is there really no possibility to save a game without quitting it?
There is no need to save a game, because (1) each book contains the complete game and allows to go back to every single turn and (2) in case of the game crashing there is an autosave from the last completed turn.
Each time I start a game, it freezes after some moves/after moving a unit into a mountain area/after starting to build something with my settler.
This is a turn based game. A turn ends automatically after you have moved all units. If there are no units to move, the turn does not end automatically since this could cause the game to run numerous turns without a chance for you to make any adjustment. Use the "End Turn" button at the bottom right to end turns that do not end automatically!
No Enemy Moves
In hot seat mode with more than one local player, no enemy moves seem to be displayed at all.
Yes, that's true. Enemy moves are shown instantly by the current game version, exactly in the moment when they are ordered by the enemy. This would obviously make no sense in hot seat mode. Displaying enemy moves in hot set mode would require a much more complex software architecture that manages a copy of the complete game situation for each player. This is simply too much effort of implementation, at least at the moment.
How can I figure out which nation is controlled by which AI module?
Open the empire management menu and choose Options|Test|AI Debug Messages. Next, open the context menu of the window that came up (right mouseclick) and select "Nation<->Slot" from there. The window now got three additional lines which show the nations in the same pattern as the AI modules had on the start screen.
Do I win when I erase all other nations?
Not officially. Unofficially, you can pursue whatever goal you choose.
Does the go-to function (right mouse button) always find the pefectly shortest way?
It does, as long as this shortest way does not go through hostile terrain or the unit is not affected by that. If there's hostile terrain on the way, the situation becomes complicated. The mathematics of movement has an additional dimension then: not just time but time and damage. It is undefined which damage you are willing to accept for which gain of time. And even if that was known, the second mathematical dimension makes perfect pathfinding a lot slower and more difficult to implement. The algorithm currently implemented in C-evo does not work well with hostile terrain.
No Combat Units
I don't seem to get other units than non-fighting like settlers, freight, longboats etc.!
This is not Civilization. Read the manual!
Low Resource Output
I don't get trade income from my cities except for the capital.
Some tiles produce less resources than they should, according to the terrain type reference in the manual.
On certain conditions, the resource output is limited. Please read the manual topics about Despotism (government form) and Town Hall (city improvement).
Awkward Negotiation End
Would be great if the negotiation screen could be closed by a simple button click instead of having to talk for that.
Please note that the diplomacy system is designed in a way that gives all players the same status. You are no super player with the exclusive right to start and to end contact, with all other players humbly accepting your decisions. The system is symmetric, whatever you are allowed to do, are other players (including AI) allowed to as well. I think you wouldn't like it if your negotiation partners most of the time suddenly leave you alone before you consider the discussion complete.
What is the Freight unit good for?
After the trading system of Civ II is canceled (see question "Trade (Civ II Style)"), the only remaining Caravan resp. Freight capability is to help cities build their project. See the game manual for how to utilize units for a city project.
Loading Transport Planes
How can I load a unit to a transport plane?
Move the transport plane to the same tile, select the unit to transport and then choose "Load to Transport" from the command menu. This unit must not have moved before within this turn!
My city has been captured by an enemy unit violating my zone of control!
Enemy longboats are moving as if they had more than 2.5 MPs!
Enemies seem to be able to build roads and move their units on them within the same turn!
A foreign nation has canceled more than one treaty with me within 3 turns. According to the rules, this is not allowed!
The AI you're using does not violate the rules, it's just playing by old rules: those of C-evo version 0.14 or 1.0. This applies to all AIs that haven't been updated for version 1.1. The game maintains the old rules for them, because they don't know about the change and might not cope with it. (There are no other cases than the above four.)
Map Editor: No Special Resources
Special resources like fish, coal etc. are always defined automatically. Why is there no control over them?
Because in case of terrain changes (transformation, clearing forest etc.) the special resources are recalculated from the tile position on the map. User-defined special resources would violate the pattern, means special resources would have appeared or disappeared after the terrain change. For example, a player who recognized the pattern could transform hills with no coal to plains and back to hills with coal.
Obviously False Science Report
I know that another nation has a certain technology, e.g. because I can see their units using it or because one of my wonders has expired. But the science report tells they don't have it!
You don't get up-to-date information about other nations automatically. The scientific status is part of the state report, means your technology information about a nation is never newer than the state report you have about this nation. The are only two exceptions: First key technologies and second, after trading advances, you know what they offered and what you gave them, even without getting any more state report.
FAQ Part B: Project/Jobs
Is this software legal?
Is this software legal?
There have been no parts of any commercial game used for this project. The program code has been developed from the scratch, the texts are newly written for this project, the graphics are made by private authors which do not pursue commercial interests, the sounds are composed freshly from designated audio sample collections. Of course, the concept of the game is taken from Civilization II, as well as the "look and feel", partly. But according to my inquiries, only a work can be subject of a copyright, not a concept. So my (uncertain) answer is: Yes, C-evo is a legal software.
Currently, this software is being distributed for free. Is this going to change some day?
Not intended, not desirable, not legitimate.
When will the next version be released? What will it bring? What about daily development news?
To make it short, this is where news come from:
(1) Someone picks a job.
(2) He does the job.
(3) He tells about it.
If you want to have daily news, do this every day.
Advance Contribution Announcements
What a great project! I will contribute to it doing...
Never say you will, because you probably won't. Say you did.
What limitations does the game core have?
Some data (usage/theoretical capacity):
- Players: 15/15
- Cities per player: 1000/4000
- Units per player: 4000/4000
- World size (tiles): 10000/65535
Beginning Programmers and AI
I want to start programming an AI module, but I have no considerable programming experience. How do I start?
Sorry, but this is not the right thing to start programming with. There are better ways to learn basic programming skills - for example, how to locate bugs, or how to handle data in an efficient way (skills you will need). First learn how to code, then start with AI.
Delphi 6/Kylix is available for Linux. The class library CLX that it comes with is compatible with both Windows and Linux, so you can easily compile a Delphi program for both platforms with little changes only. How about changing to CLX to make this game available for Linux?
This is not as little effort as it might seem. The code is very involved with the VCL and the Windows environment. Of course, it would be possible to switch to the CLX, but there are tasks of much higher priority, at least for now. (Besides, the CLX components are only contained in the expensive Professional Edition of D6.) As far as I know, you can play the game under Linux using WINE, but in this environment the game is probably a little slow.
Coding Support (1)
I'm a Delphi programmer, I have downloaded the source code and I would like to support you with the software development.
In general, the strategy of this project does not include other people than me working on the main code. Having more than one programmer for the same code brings serious inefficiencies due to distributed knowledge. I'm quite sure having only one main programmer is one of the reasons for this project being succesful. If you wish to contribute by programming something, you can build up your very own AI module. Additionally, from time to time there might arise a special programming job that can be done with little involvation with other parts of the software, e.g. the network programming for the planned multiplayer mode. Such jobs will be listed in the Jobs section.
Coding Support (2)
I'm a Delphi programmer, I have downloaded the source code and implemented a nice new feature. I will send you the modifications, are you going to incorporate them into the next release?
Sorry, but this is very unlikely. Two problems make me generally dislike it. 1st: The software is not written with the principle to allow more than one person to work on it. Some parts might seem easy to understand, but there are several undocumented dependencies and other critical mechanisms, that need to be known in order to avoid bugs of strange and hard to reproduce kind. Code of other programmers could cause me more work to review and to repair than to develop it myself. 2nd: This is not a commercial project, contributors are unpaid and usually lose interest in this project long before the last change is done. I would have to maintain their code and to understand and modify it with each change or restructuring. I'm not willing to do this. I cannot keep the code living with a dead team.
Network Game Implementation
With the client/server structure of the game, wouldn't it be quite easy to implement network game support? Coudn't one just separate the user interface client from the game, run it stand-alone on the remote computer and transfer the client/server communication?
The user interface is actually seperated from the game, it's nothing but another AI module, that is just linked to the main program in order to share some general binary code, e.g. the Delphi runtime environment. The problem is that clients can not run stand-alone since the client/server communication uses a lot of shared memory. The easiest way to implement network gaming is to run the server on every machine simultaneously. But this requires the connection to be more than a normal client, its job would be to exchange all server commands, not just those that concern a single player. I don't think a complete LAN implementation for C-evo would take more than 1000 lines of code. But I didn't find the time yet to develop the interface for the network module.
Exchange of Experiences
I'm a programmer and I'd like to start a non-commercial game project with a complexity similar to C-evo. What general hints can you give me?
Don't do it. This is my advice. At least, think twice.
- A big software project is not constant fun, it's hard work.
- Estimate how long the implementation will take you, then multiply the result with 10. This is how long it will really take you.
- Average programming skills are not enough to design, maintain and debug a software of that complexity. It takes at least one talented software developer, otherwise you'll someday find yourself trapped between uncontrollable masses of chaotic source code, strange bugs and crashes.
- Similar situation in the non-programming part of the project. You'll find a lot of people willing to work with you on the game. Most of them will lack stamina and, above all, skill to be really helpful, even with modest quality standards.
- Your game will, by the usual criteria, never be as good as the ones that you could buy for some bucks in the store. A commercial game is a million dollar project, you have no chance to become comparable to that, except maybe in some few fields that you concentrate on.
Lost interest in your project now? Even if not, might happen someday that you do. In this case, if you're not done then, you have worked completely for nothing.
Why didn't you implement the great suggestions I made?
Naturally, most suggestions will be refused. Maybe they are not as good as they sound at first, maybe they do not comply with the aims of this project, maybe they contradict implemented ideas, maybe they involve too much work for implementation, maybe they're too complicated to use for a player, maybe I just don't like them. However, even good ideas rarely get implemented at once. Often, they have lower priority than the current jobs, thus not appearing in the next versions, but later.
Why don't you answer my email/forum posting?
This is a hobby project, and answering mail is not a hobby of mine. Sorry, but most emails remain unanswered. This is the degree of unprofessionality that has to be accepted for this project. Particularly, I do not answer questions that are already answered in the manual, in the homepage text or in this FAQ. However, I will of course read all mails and I will certainly give help when it's really needed, for example in case of AI programming issues.
The unit movement and some elements of the terrain (e.g. water) should be animated.
Some simple calculation: 120 unit pictures, each with 8 movement directions, each with 10 animation frames. This makes 120 x 8 x 10 = 10.000 pictures. In words: ten thousand. The number of unit pictures made for this project during the last 6 years is about 50, none of them made from a 3D model, which is almost essential for rotation and animation. Sorry, this is a freeware project. Some things are definitely out of reach.
Animated GIFs would be an easy way to bring animations to the game!
Graphical animations require three jobs to be done: 1st to create them, 2nd to store them and 3rd to play them. Animated GIFs only provide a solution for the second job, which is the easiest one and could even be done by the BMP files we are already using. Particularly, animated GIFs do not solve the problem of creating the animations, see previous question.
How about having some short movies in the game!
No problem. Just upload the (legal) movies to the files page, I will attach them to the game... Well, you don't have movies? You're no film studio? You're no millionaire so that you could commission one? It might surprise you, but we aren't either.
FAQ Part C: Game Rules Criticism
Comment: I do not believe to know the ultimate truth. Maybe I'm wrong with some of the thoughts and statements on this page, I won't mind if you convince me of something else. Also, I apologize for incomprehensible statements. Some things are hard to explain, even more in a foreign language.
I don't agree with the goals of this project. I think most players would prefer a less rigid aproach and a more simulation-oriented game.
Yes, of course most players would prefer that. That's why all commercial strategy games go that way. But the sense of this project is to do what commercial games can not do. Yes, this results in several decisions which many players don't like best, but that's only natural.
The game is not complete!
This game does neither try to be a perfect simulation nor is it meant to be a remake of any existing game (including Civ II). So "complete" is not an attribute that could ever apply or not apply to it.
This game should be called "Militarization". It's not possible to win in a peaceful way, for example by means of science or economy only. Military domination and war are essential for winning. This contradicts the idea of Civilization.
War makes the biggest challenge. All good strategy games I know are war games, or at least war is the most exciting way to win. Domination is much harder to achieve than leadership, which would be enough for a purely peaceful victory. So, yes, C-evo is partly a war game. But science and economy are by no means unimportant. You can't beat your enemies when you're technologically behind. In order to win, you need to succeed in all aspects of the game, including war. Finally, the actual goal of the game is peaceful.
Alternative Ways to Win
There should be alternative ways to win the game, not just the space ship.
In theory, this is a good idea. In practice, it's unlikely to work. Think of design principle 3, the AI liberation. AI would surely choose the easiest, fastest way to victory, leaving no time for other players to succeed with some complicated, ambitious alternative strategy thing.
There should be a civilization score!
A score is necessary for a game which is too easy to win. But actually, it contradicts the idea of a strategy game. What do you suggest to reward with a good score? Much population, many future techs? A player who wins a hard game has obviously chosen the right strategy, I don't see a reason to give him some low score because he didn't play in the way that someone believes to be the right way. If you'd like to calculate a score for you, using the statistical data the game offers and respecting your personal preferences, please do so.
This detail of the game does not come very close to real history.
This is not real history, it's a game!
Zones Of Control
Players do not move at the same time, so what are the movement rules concerning zones of control good for?
Zones of control have nothing to do with exclusion for possible movement. ZOCs only exist to improve the gameplay. If units had no ZOC, it would be almost impossible to build something like a frontier line, because enemies could simply pass strong defenders instead of having to defeat them.
Scripts should define as many of the game rules as possible, e.g. tech tree, wonder effects etc. This would allow players to fit the game to their personal preferences or to make experiments with modified rule sets.
I do not generally refuse this idea, maybe a later version of C-evo will allow to change the rules by editing a script. But rules changes are very critical for the AI. Fixed rules allow to build in playing experience, unpredictable rules do not, which potentially makes AI less good.
Tech Tree Unrealistic
The prerequisites of some technologies should be changed. Would be much more realistic if ... required ... instead of ....
The choice in technology dependencies is not free, because there are several formal conditions which are not that easy to meet. For example, one prerequisite of a technology should never have the other one as (direct or indirect) prerequisite itself. These conditions unfortunately cause some parts of the tech tree to be a little incorrect.
Tech Tree Unweighted/Too Parallel/Too Linear
It's not realistic that research cost only depend on the order of research. Polytheism takes more research than Computers if I invent it after that. Research cost should be fixed for each technology: little cost for early techs, high cost for late ones. This would force a realistic order of research, because it would no longer make sense to delay early technologies.
It's not realistic that I can invent Computers before I have Polytheism. The technology dependencies should be rearranged to allow littler choice, forcing a realistic order of research.
The technology dependencies do not allow enough choice in the order of research. For late technologies, I need almost all other techs as prerequisites. Instead, there should be independent branches to allow players to evolve to different directions.
How "parallel" should the tree of technologies be? This decision has enormous influence on the game, the difficulty is to find the right balance. Some probably want a very forced, linear tech system, which does not allow an order of advancements that differs much from the history of mankind. But for a strategy game, this is not the right approach. It's much more fascinating to give the player some freedom of choice for his order of advancement, allowing completely different strategies. Why not allow inventing Polytheism after a nation already knows Computers? You don't need one for the other. On the other hand, an invention that should not be possible before 1900 must have 3/4 of all other inventions as (indirect) preriquisites. If there were, say, four distinct branches instead of one, you could reach every technology after a quarter of the game, even the most advanced...
I suggest that it's possible to build bridges or tunnels between continents.
Actually, bridges between continents are already part of the game: Whenever two opposite tiles of four adjacent tiles are land, while the other two are water. Ground units can move between the land tiles (over the bridge) while ships move between the water tiles (under the bridge). Longer bridges which cross complete tiles are rather unrealistic because of the tile size, which is several hundred kilometers. (The English Channel, which is the widest bridged water in the world, is only 32 km.)
FAQ Part D: Why is there no ...?
Many people coming up with "ideas" for this game do nothing but to suggest what they've seen in other games. So here's a list of several things that are implemented in similar games but not in C-evo, completed with the reason for which they are not.
Why is this detail of the game different from Civilization II?
Because this is not Civilization II.
I wish it was possible to transform the whole world into grassland, but some terrain types do not allow transformation.
Fertile soil is the most important basic resource of the game. If it's possible to transform everything into that, a player is forced to do it, if he doesn't want to waste chances. Even if some players might like that pile of transformation work, I think most don't. Would be too much importance and too much busywork for such a special thing.
Why not allow to transform shore tiles next to the coast into land?
See previous question.
The different nations should have special advantages/disadvantages and predefined, unique units.
The game does not try to reproduce what has been in the history of man, but what could have been. So there are no special conditions that arise from the nation identity. The game doesn't force the French to build the Eiffel Tower, it doesn't force the Russians to use Communism, and it doesn't tie any nation to special characteristics or units. Instead, all of this is in the choice of the player. He can decide which special units to design for his nation, which wonders to build and which special advantages to achieve from that.
I suggest a special event/wonder/government form/behavior of a nation to have a well defined effect on other nation's behavior/attitude to this nation.
Presumably, you are thinking of computer controlled nations changing their behavior or attitude. But these nations are AI controlled, not rules controlled. See design principle 3. AI has the same rights as human players, it's not under the game's command.
There should be barbarians or other intelligent but non-player parties suddenly appearing or originating from special, outstanding events in the game.
Implementing intelligence requires a well-defined goal. Which goal should a party that can't win the game fight for? Your entertainment?
The game should allow remote attacks to non-adjacent tiles, for example for artillery or modern ships. Of course, the attacker should not take damage.
In Civ II, each battle destroyed one unit. So there was a natural limit: there could never be more attacks than units produced. With remote attacks, this limit must fall. (Otherwise one could destroy any mega-defender with the cheapest unit capable of remote attack.) The likely result: a load of unit combat and movement without real relevance. I played Alpha Centauri. Moving around artillery just do deal some percent of damage and each turn waiting for useless enemy artillery attacks to come to an end. I hated it. Besides: Be aware of the playground dimensions! The tile size is several hundred kilometers. There are few units which attack over this distance -- some archers would be rather ridiculous doing that...
Why doesn't C-evo have parachuter units as Civ II did?
Civ II didn't have parachuters, it had jumpers -- simply jumping across half the playground. This had nothing to do with parachuting except for the name. C-evo has real parachuters: you can drop any ground unit from a transport plane.
Hey, where are the nukes?
The problem with nuclear arms is, that - provided they have an effect which is at least a little close to reality - we can hardly prevent the players from using them enthusiastically. Even if they cause massive pollution, nuclear winter etc. - a defeated enemy in a destroyed, hostile world brings you closer to victory than a strong enemy in a paradise. It was ethics that kept man from using them, not strategy. But this is a strategy game...
Trade (Civ II Style)
Why not let caravans establish trade routes between cities?
Because moving hundreds of caravans across the planet would make playing the game not more interesting to the same degree as it made it more annoying.
Trade (Civ III Style)
Like Civ III, C-evo should have special resources that are required for a certain purpuse, e.g. steel and oil for the production of armors. Nations which lack an important material could trade it in exchange of their own resources.
I don't have enough Civ III playing experience to tell whether this concept is brilliant or terrible. See design principle 1.