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You know how to make a sword? Really?

By on March 14, 2012 5:01:31 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Draginol

Join Date 03/2001
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I was reading on the forums today people complaining that even in a post-civilization world (one where people are basically getting together from the ruins) that they would “know” how to do all kinds of things like make bows, swords, etc.

I have a lot of friends who are active in the Renaissance and Medieval communities out there who always laugh at this kind of thing. The conversation goes something like this:

“Really, you think you can make a spear? Ok. Let’s see you do it. Let’s see you actually make a weapons-grade spear. In fact, tell me how you would do it. Do you really think you can just get a stick and sharpen it?”

Some is true about agriculture. It’s amazing that people who can’t manage to keep their house plants alive think that farming is technologically trivial. Gardening isn’t that hard but unless you’ve actually farmed some real acreage, involving a plow and doing a real harvest, it’s not something one just inherently knows how to do.

Or how about making bows and arrows. Not the kind for shooting a bird or something but a weapons-grade bow, one that could kill a soldier.  It requires a level of knowledge that the average lay person, even a medieval peasant, would have no idea how to do. 

As someone into this stuff, I can tell you the mechanics of how to make a bow (lots of ash trees around here). But could I make one that would be actually useful in a battle – i.e. where I’d use it over a good club?  I don’t know.

And that’s before we even talk about metallurgy…

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March 14, 2012 9:09:00 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The issue of fun is that there are no choices at the beginning.

That is where we agree.

The issue in FE 0.86 is that when you start out, you research the exact. same. path. every game.  Standing Army. Training. Logistics.

But it has nothing to do with whether w should start out with swords vs. spears.  That wouldn't solve the underlying problem.

I made a quick video that talks about that: http://forums.elementalgame.com/420074

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March 14, 2012 9:13:49 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Slings would be a good starting ranged weapon I think as that can be made with just a piece of cloth although it takes alot of practice to use a sling well so that should be reflected in the labour time - it takes alot more skill than just swinging a stick

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March 14, 2012 9:18:35 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Good to hear we're on the same page. The other thing I would really like is if there was a more meaningful difference between the different weapon types. I see a sword an axe and a hammer in the first weaponry tech and when I look at the stats I get the feeling that it doesn't much matter which one I choose as the differences seem so minor.  Don't force the player to make choices if the outcome is so minor that their choice doesn't matter. That's really no fun at all. If we're going to have unit design and we have to pick a weapon it really needs to have some meaningful strategic/tactical effect.

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March 14, 2012 9:21:01 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting DGB246,
Slings would be a good starting ranged weapon I think as that can be made with just a piece of cloth although it takes alot of practice to use a sling well so that should be reflected in the labour time - it takes alot more skill than just swinging a stick

I agree. We should get some slingers to start out with ... but less cost effective than a club I think. (training wise)

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March 14, 2012 9:25:01 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Love the new weapon changes. Especially that spears can incur to counterattack. That is so well thought, makes my balance look rather dull. These longer beta waits are very fruitful. I especially like that first strike has been dealt with. Somebody has been working overtime on that.

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March 14, 2012 9:33:22 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Okay, I'm less concerned about realism and more about fun.  So lets say for the sake of argument, what is realistic in the scenario presented then?  I'm sure that at the beginning, we would be able to create some basic weapons and armor.  So, what materials do we have?  Animal hides, shells, and bones?  Stones?  Stone headed spear or hatchet, some patchwork hide armor?  Sounds like more fun to me to start with than a club and a staff.  Then what to research?  Right now, you are a thousand times better getting the first 2 columns of warfare before doing anything else and then attacking your neighbors.  Spear, or warhammer and leather 5 man riders will be enough to destroy anyone.  If you decide to do civics or magic first...you could fuck yourself.  

 

 

 

Also, research in these types of games just feels so strange.  Like the entire population is focuses on one thing for years.  No innovations in the field of agriculture due to us all working on harvesting magic crystals.  I've noticed that in real life, my country seems to work on innovating several things at the same time.  There probably isn't a better game mechanic for this, but it just feels really strange and artificial.  Of course, I would argue getting rid of researching technologies at all.  But, I doubt that would be popular.  If this was real life, we would be flying around in jet packs, but still shitting in outhouses.  The technology of every nation you have contact with influences yours.  

 

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March 14, 2012 9:43:15 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

It's also a problem of game mechanics.  The numbers for combat don't allow for good wiggle room.  You can't really hurt anything with a staff.  Or at least the few champions I have had that are equipped with them sure couldn't.  That isn't fun.  I just paid 100 gold for you to club a bear for 2 points of damage and then get murdered and receive an injury that makes you even more useless?  Units need more HP ATTACK and DEFENSE up front so adding something with +8 attack isn't miles better than adding something with +5.  Or that armies aren't constantly being one-hit destroyed.  

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March 14, 2012 9:43:40 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I''m waaaay ahead of you on this Froggie.  I learned to cast spells.  Those sword swinging, spear chuckers are gonna all serve me after the apocalypse.

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March 15, 2012 1:00:45 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I did archery in high-school and I have known people who made their own bows. I mean compared to a store bought bow they were crap but making a cheap bow that you can use to hunt rabbits isn't that hard. It would still take the right kind of wood and a fair bit of practice but anyone could do it.

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March 15, 2012 1:34:44 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

A sword:

A bow:

Xer0 \^/

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March 15, 2012 2:29:57 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Lol Xer07

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March 15, 2012 4:28:46 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

It’s amazing that people who can’t manage to keep their house plants alive think that farming is technologically trivial. Gardening isn’t that hard but unless you’ve actually farmed some real acreage, involving a plow and doing a real harvest, it’s not something one just inherently knows how to do.

Thats the heart of it. There are significant steps between tending seeds, to that of feeding a population. And the game systems are not reflections of real world systems. They've been abstracted. I've read a couple posts recently, talking of cropping the early techs. I'm for an option for advanced start. But for my own games, I want to start basic tech. And would like to have our choices in early tech expanded. Want more decisions over What to tech, When and Why. With late game consequences and capitalizations based on early tech decisions.

 

The way I think of Techs in 4x TBS like Civ4 and E:FE is...

It takes time for a society to make significant use of something new. I imagine the time spent on tech trees, as being the time it takes to make the transition to something new. So the tech Spud Farming..

Spud Farming:

+10 Food per Grain (+20 with Crop Rotation tech)

Allows resource Vodka with Spirits tech and Distillery building

Takes my faction 12 turns to learn. 12 turns to have fully incorporated a new technology into their society. So by the 12th turn, when I "learn the tech".. A potato suitable for large scale agriculture has been breed. Sufficient sized seed stock awaits large scale planting. Fields are prepped, irrigation is in. Support industries such as Livery, Blacksmith, Seed and Feed, Hardware, etc have all scaled up to service the increased demands. 

 

The game systems abstract and stretch real world systems out of the realm of comparison. They add feature to gameplay. Never intended as real'ish world simulation. So questions like "why must my band of survivors learn Agriculture if people before the fall already knew it", take some imagination to answer. Just as it took imagination to ponder such a question in the first place.   

 

It would be odd to think of learning a tech to be like "BAM! There it is!". Your scholars have learned something new. Now our crops are suddenly more nutritious, our farmers more industrious. Happy day. Bless the scholars who bring instant progress. Nah. Society doesn't immediately reap the full benefit. There are things to do. Learning a tech is about that stuff occurring. The Sov chooses a tech direction, the nation develops accordingly. 

 

Purpose of Tech in 4x TBS:

Provides players with choices, results, consequences.

Provides vehicle for player to steer a nations development.

Decisions like Guns or Butter, Grain or Metals. Magic or Might. 

Provides play style options: warmonger, builder, techie, diplomat, mage, merchant etc

And more

 

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March 15, 2012 6:06:21 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

http://dtstools.ca/dtstools_en/gallery_en.html

There's plenty of weapons laying around in most peoples garages, homes.

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March 15, 2012 6:37:54 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Weapons around my home... 

The ones I'm practiced enough in handling, to wield if needed as weapon with lethal authority.

Pitchfork, scythe, shovel, axe, polaski, sledge, machete, hatchet, various hammer weights, A range of knives.

And a Springfield Armory M-6 Scout survival rifle.

Assorted other things

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March 16, 2012 10:18:05 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


  Or how about making bows and arrows. Not the kind for shooting a bird or something but a weapons-grade bow, one that could kill a soldier.  It requires a level of knowledge that the average lay person, even a medieval peasant, would have no idea how to do. 
As someone into this stuff, I can tell you the mechanics of how to make a bow (lots of ash trees around here). But could I make one that would be actually useful in a battle – i.e. where I’d use it over a good club?  I don’t know.
And that’s before we even talk about metallurgy…

 

That is not completely true, otherwise, we would not have found that many prehistoric axes and spears if they were less efficient than the club : they would just have clubbed the inventor to death and ate his meal. A military grade weapon is all relative : when everyone else wears animal skins as heavy armor, a military grade spear is just a stick with a stone end, and it kills people. Bow is maybe more complex, and sword out of reach, but a sling and an axe and a knife are definitely possible. Of course, you wouldn't stand a chance against an armored footsoldier with that, but luckily for you, there are none around, so there is little reason to discard these weapons.

 

I guess against a bear or a mammoth, most people would take crude spears over club anyday (and the ones with the clubs would be the ones to die first anyway). 

 

On top of that, there is probably a strong correlation between the 1% who survived and the ones who knew someone who could craft decent crude weapons and protection

 

Concerning the agricultural thing, it is a bit trickier, however, agriculture is a prerequisite to establish a sedentary settlement (not a village that moves each season to follow the evolution of mammoth population density), so once again, the sovereign that stepped forward and created those must have discovered agriculture beforehand (ie before the game begins), by either questing for older books, or whatever.

 

From a mechanics point of view, having a sword may be as boring as having a club, but having to chose between a spear, a club, a sling, and an axe during the first third of the game would help offer more choice. 

That would allow us to recruit units that could live through the whole campaign, instead of not bothering with them because they'll become obsolete anyway as your nation is not specialized in clubs and warhammers but bows. 

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March 16, 2012 10:32:23 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Very good post, DarkGaldred!

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March 16, 2012 11:12:22 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting DarkGaldred,

From a mechanics point of view, having a sword may be as boring as having a club, but having to chose between a spear, a club, a sling, and an axe during the first third of the game would help offer more choice.. 

I concur

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March 17, 2012 6:06:27 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


About ten years ago, I had the honor to meet and interview the anthropologist James Yost, who was the first non-Wau person to have met and survived an encounter with the Wau people (of southern America). All previous attempts met with untimely death. The Wau are semi-nomadic hunter-gatherers of the jungles and use poison blowdarts. He subsequently lived with them for 15 years and actually raised his two kids in the jungle there for most of their childhood. When I saw some of the films he had made of one of the main occupations the men do, which is finding materials for and then making blowpipes and blowdarts, and then hunting small monkeys with them (and yes, the poison blowdarts are used to kill enemy humans as well), my eyes fell out of my head. I couldn't make one of those in a hundred years. It's REALLY FREAKING HARD. And then those things are two meters long -- it looks incredibly hard to hold still when held to one's mouth. I am certain I couldn't hit the side of barn with one. But they hit tiny little moving targets through thick foliage at 50 paces. It's an INCREDIBLE amount of skill. I forget how long it took Yost to learn these skills, but it is certainly not trivial to make a functional blowpipe without any industrial tools from naturally occuring jungle resources. And by analogy, my intuition (have nothing else to go on) tells me that going out to find, process, and smelt ore, and then make a decent sword, is anything but trivial.

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March 17, 2012 12:15:13 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Then you'd be dead after the cataclysm, or would have found one way or another to craft tools to kill things : the thing is, the people who cannot craft crude weapons (or get them crafted) in a world with creatures much more dangerous than our own would virtually have no hope of survival at all. If the survivors have a technology level below Cro magnon (who knew how to craft spear, hurl them, and use a bow) in a world that is more hostile, they just cannot survive at all : I agree that most people would not have been able to adapt and craft anything usefull, but these people would all be dead by now, and would not matter in the game at all.

 

After all, there is a reason why 99% of the population has been wiped out. But I don't see how the 1% left can survive without access to some weapon and crafting knowledge. 

 

The point is there is no reason for people to stop knowing things like hunting, and crude weapon crafting, when their survival depends on it even more than before. Of course, most refinement would be lost, but assuming that the survivors would have lost knowledge of everything, and then spent the next 150 years watching TV just does seem far fetched.

 

Our ancestors hunted mammoths with axes, knives, spears and arrows made of stone, and somehow, it seemed to have worked as we are still there, but mammoths aren't. I suppose a stone spear would have even less trouble killing a man than a mammoth.  You don't need state of the art poison blowpipe or steel dopplehandler to kill a man (or a beast).

 

The gameplay problem is not just researching the same techs in the beginning, but having zero customization options for a good part of the game. 

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March 18, 2012 6:52:20 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

@ Frogboy: I also wouldn't argue that starting with low-level techs is anything near realist. That isn't my point in the thread you read (and that of some of the complaining players). The way the early techs are set up is just unfun (if it doesn't add to the game and is just in there for sake of realism why leave it in?) and if the fix would be to make them cheaper to not have it take long to get them, why not go all-out and axe them completely?

That Kael decided to allow all / most resources to be hooked up right at the start proves the above at least partly.

I'm not against making them viable. I just see more potential for differentiation in axing them and/or allow starting techs being the current Tier 3 and see the game actually lacking because of their existance.

But then its Kael's vision and the hard work of the people at Stardock Entertainment. So feel free to prove me wrong (release is still quite a while off anyways so I do expect stuff to change wildly still.).


More on topic:
Those who say that people in a post-civilization world would still know "easy stuff" are mistaken. Not least because most "easy" or "outdated" stuff isn't actually easy. (lost techniques of designing musical instruments and auditory layout of rooms or architectural design of medival times are ample proof of this. Or medival weapons-making- and using techniques. As is their recent rediscovery and what was found out about that.)

Quite on the contrary some of the stuff modern civilization doesn't do or can't do anymore is because the stuff was actually to far in sophistication and the new solutions are (sometimes supposedly ) more easy and efficient.
The view that ancient civilizations / engineers where inferior by capacity and have nothing we could learn from them is what leads to much ignorance.
Lots could be (and in some areas is) learned from those ancient techniques even for modern applications.
And then enter Biomimikry where we learn from the oldest master of them all. Nature. If we are willing to accept that we might not be superior in all things. Humility and willingness to accept limited knowledge or no knowledge + a good dose of unbiased curiosity and willingness to accept a result which challenges existing perceptions is all it takes sometimes to develop and learn.


There is analogy in computer games as well. I doubt most modern programmers would without some serious training be able to program Games like Elite in an 1980 Hardware environment or other solid software of the time
(since today the limitations of processing power, ram and storage space are far less of an issue while other criteria like market viability, timetables and other corporate stuff as well as more diverse hardware-sets seems to be the challenge of the day for professional programmers. At least from an outsiders view).
But that impression might be wrong (Its just an example I'm closer to my field of interests than the other examples I gave minus Biomimikry.). Feel free to correct me about modern programmers abilities if I'm way off the mark.

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March 18, 2012 10:10:26 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

My point is not that it is trivial to rediscover former techs, it is more that several clans/villages/tribes would have no reason to have lost that much in the first place (nomad tribes for instance would have no reason to have lost that much knowledge aftet the cataclysm, as they were already more or less self sufficient, and each of their members pretty generalist, same for mountain people, foresters... The only ones to be hit real hard would be the citizens. Even a town smith would have little reason to "forget" its craft, as desperate people would be waiting in line with what little pieces of metal they could have found to ask him to turn that into something useful for survival).

 

Rediscovering former tech is not trivial indeed, granted, but the ones who cannot do that would be the ones wiped out. There is just no way 7 generations of humans could have survived without basic knowledge of hunting, and weapon crafting in such a hostile world. Are they supposed to have brawled bears with their bare hands? We were "allowed" to evolve into our current wimpy form because we first had mastered tool crafting. If it is supposed that we have lost that knowledge for 150 years, then mankind must have been wiped out and there is no story.

 

The bottom line is not that it is the way things must have happened (it is very possible that all mankind should have been wiped out, or that the few survivors were warriors decked in magical armors that they would have no way to duplicate, but that would be good enough to allow them to survive, or whatever). It is just a believable asumption that would make the beginning for the game much better (because the unit designer would have some purpose), so we could as well roll with it  

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March 18, 2012 12:12:07 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think all this stuff is hard for computer geeks like us, but not everyone in this world are that.  My brother is very mechanically inclined.  He could probably build a sword out of grass if he had to.

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March 18, 2012 1:58:56 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Ad topic - in a post-apocalyptic world, sword would be IMO redundant - sharpened sticks and stone axe-hammer would suffice at first against animals, etc. A sword is a highly specialized tool of war that makes sense only with a specialized training (there is a lot of counter-intuitive tricks that were developed over long centuries of military tradition). I believe I could make a sharpened stick just fine (with bamboo, you can have a combat-ready pointed stick with just one cut). Primitive bow can be hand-made too, but what is tricky are the arrows. It's quite difficult to make an arrow that flies straight (I tried).

To make a true sword with longer blade, you need to be able to produce steel, which requires a furnace and is far from trivial. That's why the ancient swords were short like gladius - longer blades are just not doable without steel.

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March 18, 2012 2:14:13 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I tend to think of it this way:   have you ever had a disk crash on you, or you lost your USB stick, or some moron deleted all your critical files your entire project depended on?   And you yelled and screamed and banged the computer, but in the end you just had to redo the entire project?   But you get it done the second time around much faster, and it ends up being better than the first time around.  In fact, it may be so much better than you look back and think the disk crash was a good thing.   Kinda like that. 

If I were to build a sword from scratch, anyway, I wouldn't be using steel at all:  I'd be using obsidian.  Obsidian is some seriously mean stuff.  But no one in the Old World thought of it:  it's the natives in the New World who did.

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March 18, 2012 9:14:37 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Frogboy,
The issue in FE 0.86 is that when you start out, you research the exact. same. path. every game.  Standing Army. Training. Logistics.

But it has nothing to do with whether w should start out with swords vs. spears.  That wouldn't solve the underlying problem.

Bang on the mark.

Arguing about clubs vs swords is a complete smoke screen from a gameplay point of view. They are just labels - they could equally be buzzsaws and lightsabre's for all the gameplay difference it makes (bit of a flavour difference though I agree!).

The key points are:

1. Should you be able to improve your weapons during the game by researching technology? (I think so)

2. Should it be viable in different games to take wildly different paths through the early technology tree? (I think so within reason, your research should always be tailored to your situation and it should make a difference if you tailor it right or wrong - going heavy civics when you start beside two hostile civilizations that declare war on you early should result in quick death...)

 

Stepping back from gameplay and looking from a flavour point of view I can see maybe it is more heroic to start with sword technology so maybe that is what people are arguing about. If so then I understand but think they should chill a bit, the flavour is up to Stardock and if their view of the world is that decent metallurgy has been lost than so be it. It's pretty easy to lampshade too, we're talking a cataclysm, it could have been a hundred years since then, the population may be less than a thousandth what it was and the few survivors might be continually on the run from monsters and relying on eating moss and killing the occasional bird/rabbit/etc for food. (Personally I'm quite happy starting out with a club).

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