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UnCiv, a free and open source remake of Civilization V

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What do you do when you want to keep the mechanics of a game you love alive? If you're developer Yair Morgenstern, you remake it yourself like they did with UnCiv.

A remake of Civilization V, although it looks nothing alike as it's gone for a much more retro pixel-art like style it's supposed to follow the same game mechanics. Much like the classic Freeciv which is based on earlier rules and features.

Available for both Android and PC, you can clearly see with it needing a few adjustments to look good on PC. Only in the last few months has the developer actually started bundling PC release files with it, so hopefully if it becomes a bit more popular and/or pulls in some help, it can get an improved flow for PC players. Playable though and always fun to see more open source strategy games appear.

They do have a lot of plans for the project including user interface improvements, city-state quests, adding in missing civilizations, religion, trade routes and so on.

You can find it on GitHub.

Hat tip to RTheren.

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Philadelphus 10 Jan, 2020
Quoting: PangaeaCivilization 4 is the best version in the series, with depth and so, so many ways to achieve your goals (and a damn hard AI/difficulty level). This game is available DRM free on GOG, so I see little reason to try out the inferior, dumbed down versions that came after it.

Hopefully they bring the series back to its roots at some point in the future, but I won't hold my breath.
I've never liked the absolutely atrocious combat in 4, worse than 5 or even 3; I mean, the nigh-complete removal of ranged units*‽ Who greenlighted that? Combat is no longer an interesting puzzle of positioning, picking apart enemy units at range while minimizing damage taken in return, just mash your doomstacks together until the stronger one wins. Even in 3 you could bombard enemy doomstacks at range to weaken them up first.

Granted, that put me off the game so hard that I never tried any of the expansions and don't really remember it much, so it's possible that the non-combat portions of the game were indeed interesting (I've heard a lot of good about the Beyond the Sword expansion in particular).

*Airplanes come far too late in the game, and are far too limited, to be interesting.


Last edited by Philadelphus on 10 January 2020 at 2:50 am UTC
Colombo 10 Jan, 2020
Civ 4 had bunch of great ideas. Interesting governments with different features (slavery which enabled to sacrifice population to speed up production, Aztec gameplay was build on that), strong specialists (unlike with any other mainline civ) and cottage economy (tile improvement that starts as cottage and grows into a village, town etc. to give more coin, this made pillaging quite dangerous). It also had religion, vassalage, strategic resources and bunch of other neat features (like 2 leaders per civ).

However, combat system was utterly retarded and usually consisted of creating deathstacks and then suiciding catapults into deathstacks to deal DMG to all units. Given the total randomness of the combat system and no strategic depth, numerical superiority was beneficial and AI could be king. When Civ 5 brought much more strategic combat, it showed how combat AI is braindead and just incapable of unit concentration,
Pangaea 10 Jan, 2020
Admittedly Civ 4's combat isn't where the game shines - though it still managed to utterly trounce the idiocy of Civ 5. But like touched upon in the above post, there are a great deal of features in the game that make it interesting, and offers the player many different ways to achieve their objectives, and different ways to win the game. And due to bonuses/penalties, the AI is actually highly competitive on the top difficulty levels, even for some of the very best players. Quite different to Civ 5, where people with zero experience could jump right in on Deity and still trounce the AI. Very disappointing of course.

The siege warfare of Civ 4 is a bit silly, and I totally agree airplanes and missiles and the like come too late to be of relevance (in the vast majority of games). That said, overall I do like the combat in Civ 4, and certainly more than in the games that came after it, although it's always infuriating to lose units at 99+% odds, particularly in the early game where every unit matters a great deal.

Basically the game has more depth AND breadth than Civilization 5 and 6, which is why people still play it to this day. I found it more balanced as well, albeit there are some military units that offers a genuine edge over others (like the Cuirassier and Rifleman). The different civilizations and leaders also act differently, and not basically completely random as in Civ 5, which means each game tends to play out differently depending on the civs and leaders involved. Again, this gives the game longevity, which I really like about it.

I think they got almost everything right with Civ 4, and very few things wrong. I can't say that about Civ 5 and 6. I'll take stack warfare over parking lot logistics any day of the week.
Colombo 10 Jan, 2020
Quoting: PangaeaAdmittedly Civ 4's combat isn't where the game shines - though it still managed to utterly trounce the idiocy of Civ 5

Ok, I need to say it again. Civ 5 doesn't have idiotic combat AI compared to Civ 4. The AI is about the same. The problem is that there was no strategic depth in Civ 4 combat (or very little of it), due to it being completely random, just by increasing numerical superiority or fudging the numbers a bit based on difficulty could AI be quite competitive. Again, the quality of AI was about the same, Civ 5 combat has much more strategic depth and this wasn't properly reflected so at the end human can seriously abuse this.

The statement that people with zero experience could jump right on Diety and trounce the AI is ridiculous. Given the AI bonuses (e.g., it starts with several settlers and units, huge production and science bonuses), you need to seriously abuse mechanics (and AI) and tightly control city growth to even stay competitive.

Civ 4 was perfection of the style that rose in Civ 1/2. Civ 5 (6) is a major change with attempt to make everything more interactive.

I think that's one of the great properties of Civ franchise on how different each game is (unfortunately I never played Civ 3 or Call to Power, which isn't really civ...). So everyone have their favourites.

btw. even Civ 2 had a better combat system than Civ4.


Last edited by Colombo on 10 January 2020 at 4:00 am UTC
Purple Library Guy 10 Jan, 2020
Quoting: Colombo
Quoting: PangaeaAdmittedly Civ 4's combat isn't where the game shines - though it still managed to utterly trounce the idiocy of Civ 5

Ok, I need to say it again. Civ 5 doesn't have idiotic combat AI compared to Civ 4.
I'm not positive, but I don't think he was talking about AI. I think his opinion is that the Civ 5 approach to combat is braindead, as expressed in this line:
Quoting: PangaeaI'll take stack warfare over parking lot logistics any day of the week.
That is, he's saying a combat system where the "strategic depth" is all about figuring out how to maneuver your units past each other because they can't stack or even move through each other, is braindead.
I don't really mind it, but then I don't mind the doomstacks approach either. Far as I'm concerned, the game is about building up a civilization; to me winning through clever battle tactics despite having a civilization that is fundamentally lesser than the one you're at war with is . . . not cheating, but sort of missing the point. I want to crush my enemies because I have a more powerful economy, more advanced technology, stronger social cohesion, not because I managed to deploy a ranged unit to the right spot at the right time. So all I require from a Civ combat system is that more powerful armies are likely to kill less powerful armies. "Not brain dead" would be at best gravy, at worst actually damaging to what I consider the real point.


Last edited by Purple Library Guy on 10 January 2020 at 4:22 am UTC
Pangaea 10 Jan, 2020
Indeed. If you want that kind of "strategic depth", there are more shooters than you can wave a stick at out there, or actual strategy games. I don't want to waste time trying to manoeuvre units past each other in way too little space. I'd rather move the whole stack (much more likely many different stacks, and reinforcements coming in a line), and then select the units which has the best odds, or the best promotions, taking risks here and there, or suiciding units here and there, and eventually coming out on top (or trying again later).

Looking at other aspects, however, I was actually shocked at how dumbed down the rest of the game was. While in Civ4 you have loads of information from the city screen and suchlike, and can quickly act with a click or two, in Civ5 you have almost no info, giant icons and need twice as many clicks to do most things. It was horrible. Somehow the game itself was much slower as well. And like touched upon above, all leaders basically act totally random, giving none of them personality and meaning you can't have actual allies.

In the end, all these things meant I fairly quickly dropped playing that game, and went back to Civ 4. It offers so much more depth and interesting games than the later versions. That's why I say I hope they will return to their roots one day, instead of continuing down this silly path of simplification. It's the way the industry has gone though, so I don't expect any change. At this stage, the best we can hope for is somebody else to release a game that is more akin the classic Civilization games.
Nevertheless 10 Jan, 2020
Quoting: Purple Library Guy
Quoting: Colombo
Quoting: PangaeaAdmittedly Civ 4's combat isn't where the game shines - though it still managed to utterly trounce the idiocy of Civ 5

Ok, I need to say it again. Civ 5 doesn't have idiotic combat AI compared to Civ 4.
I'm not positive, but I don't think he was talking about AI. I think his opinion is that the Civ 5 approach to combat is braindead, as expressed in this line:
Quoting: PangaeaI'll take stack warfare over parking lot logistics any day of the week.
That is, he's saying a combat system where the "strategic depth" is all about figuring out how to maneuver your units past each other because they can't stack or even move through each other, is braindead.
I don't really mind it, but then I don't mind the doomstacks approach either. Far as I'm concerned, the game is about building up a civilization; to me winning through clever battle tactics despite having a civilization that is fundamentally lesser than the one you're at war with is . . . not cheating, but sort of missing the point. I want to crush my enemies because I have a more powerful economy, more advanced technology, stronger social cohesion, not because I managed to deploy a ranged unit to the right spot at the right time. So all I require from a Civ combat system is that more powerful armies are likely to kill less powerful armies. "Not brain dead" would be at best gravy, at worst actually damaging to what I consider the real point.

But what makes a civilization superior? Alexander wasn't "the great" for his scientists, his great musicians or his world wonders. I like it that (and when) Civilization honors all those aspects. A system that allows basic tactics can not hurt imho.
Colombo 11 Jan, 2020
Quoting: Purple Library GuyI'm not positive, but I don't think he was talking about AI. I think his opinion is that the Civ 5 approach to combat is braindead, as expressed in this line:
Quoting: PangaeaI'll take stack warfare over parking lot logistics any day of the week.
That is, he's saying a combat system where the "strategic depth" is all about figuring out how to maneuver your units past each other because they can't stack or even move through each other, is braindead.
I don't really mind it, but then I don't mind the doomstacks approach either. Far as I'm concerned, the game is about building up a civilization; to me winning through clever battle tactics despite having a civilization that is fundamentally lesser than the one you're at war with is . . . not cheating, but sort of missing the point. I want to crush my enemies because I have a more powerful economy, more advanced technology, stronger social cohesion, not because I managed to deploy a ranged unit to the right spot at the right time. So all I require from a Civ combat system is that more powerful armies are likely to kill less powerful armies. "Not brain dead" would be at best gravy, at worst actually damaging to what I consider the real point.

If you want game where combat is a little more than extension of economy, Civ 4 is right for you. Personally, I consider Civ 4 combat the weakest from the whole series. Look at Civ 2 or Alpha Centauri, death stacks are significantly discouraged because you are at risk of using either whole stack (Civ 2) or all the stack is significantly weakened by collateral damage and you risk losing your whole stack. You still need to combine your unit into stacks to cover their weaknesses (attackers/defenders), hold strategic positions against multiple enemy units with multiple defenders or attack strategic positions with multiple attackers. But since you are at a greater risk to lose your whole stack, it forces you to spread your forces a bit and pay more attention to positioning.

This positioning is not just property of "twin stick shooters" as Pangaea send me to play when his arguments were lacking. But of a lot of game. And it was property of Civ 4 as well! You still had to use some sort of tactics, entrenched positions on hills next to cities and a right unit mix. And notice that I am not complaining about stacking units in general vs 1UPT system, but about a particular implementation of deathstacksing in Civ 4.
Hori 11 Jan, 2020
I can only hope that once it's finished, a fork will be made to adapt the code for Civ:BE. We could finally have a good Civ:BE game.
Philadelphus 11 Jan, 2020
Quoting: PangaeaAdmittedly Civ 4's combat isn't where the game shines - though it still managed to utterly trounce the idiocy of Civ 5. But like touched upon in the above post, there are a great deal of features in the game that make it interesting, and offers the player many different ways to achieve their objectives, and different ways to win the game…

I think they got almost everything right with Civ 4, and very few things wrong. I can't say that about Civ 5 and 6. I'll take stack warfare over parking lot logistics any day of the week.
I guess it comes down to a difference of opinion—a Civ game without meaningful ranged combat options was always going to stack up poorly in my opinion, no matter how well it executed the other parts. But that's also a factor of what I was into at that age, and it's possible I'd enjoy it more now; my tastes have definitely changed over time. In fact, after Civ 5 I graduated to Europa Universalis IV, where the combat model is (ironically) much more like 4's than 5's (in that it's strategic rather than tactical): stack any number of armies on provinces, smash 'em into each other, no ranged combat, etc..

I personally feel that Civ 5 got the majority of things right (once you include both major expansions), but I can certainly sympathize with the feeling that a series you love is going in a direction you no longer enjoy. :|
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