Caveman 2 Cosmos pits Man against Nature and draws you into an historical simulation like no other. It is one of a couple of mods that keeps bringing me back to Civilization IV again and again.
We’ll all disagree on which of the titles in the Civilization series was our favourite. We will continue to do so. And we all started out at different points in the series. Civilization III was the first for me; it also had the honour of being my first 4X game, full-stop.
Despite now being a full two iterations beyond Civ IV, I keep going back to it. The scope of the mods developed for Civ IV was just incredible; in fact, they’re still being developed, some 12 years after its release and 10 years after the release of Beyond the Sword. Head on over to the Civ4 – Creation & Customization forum at CivFanatics and you’ll see plenty of activity.
As far as I know, no mod developed for Civ V ever came close to the ambition of some of the projects completed for Civ IV, although Super Power: Clash of Civilizations came closest, in my opinion. (Perhaps that will be the subject of a future post.) Whether Civ VI will live up to expectations here remains to be seen.
There are a couple of Civ IV mods I want to discuss on Odin Gaming. I’ve got to start somewhere, and in terms of sheer audacity, I need to start with Caveman 2 Cosmos.
This is a very long post, so for your convenience, these are the headings and content summaries:
- More is More! – Caveman 2 Cosmos scope, features, and link to guide
- World Domination – C2C game setup
- Gameplay – Feature exploration with screenshots following the growth of the Apache Tribe
- Future Development – What’s next in line for development
- Reflection – What I think of C2C
- Installation – How to install C2C
- Closing Remarks
More is More in Caveman 2 Cosmos
Caveman 2 Cosmos was a project started in November 2010 and built upon a precursor mod, Rise of Mankind, and its mod mod (yes, there is such a thing!) A New Dawn. There have been updates almost daily since then with contributions from in excess of 100 modders.
The “mod owner”, if one could assign such a title, uses the pseudonym StrategyOnly, who, in the beginning, worked alongside two others known as Hydromancerx and Dancing Houskuld. StrategyOnly assigned a long-standing modder as the acting team leader; this person goes by Thunderbrd online, and Ryan Moore when his head isn’t buried in Civ IV code. I was lucky enough to have a conversation with Thunderbrd. I had a lot of questions, and he had a lot of answers (like, a lot – this guy likes to talk), some of which I’ve included below. It was really great to have some insight into this colossal project and to hear what some of the hard-working chaps and chapettes have managed to accomplish.
C2C is not shy about its scale. To begin with, it adds several new eras, arguably the most prominent being the Prehistoric era, which extends the start date from 4000 BC to 50,000 BC. In the other direction, it predicts a long history of technological development, with the Future era roughly corresponding to 5000 AD (and beyond). Thunderbrd gives some insight into the baby steps of C2C:
I believe StrategyOnly’s primary goal was to collect all the modmods of RoM/AND that had become largely obsoleted in Afforess’s last version of A New Dawn. He also wanted a mod which he could infuse the best artwork from the modding community into. As a part of that goal, he was also working in a prehistoric mod that had surfaced on the forums that had grown in popularity quickly.
With that in mind, C2C’s goal is simple: make Civ IV deeper and more complex in virtually every dimension. If you have a cool idea and there’s no obvious scale on which it expands, then introduce the scale and blow any expectations out of the water. Or, as the team like to say:
More is More!
There are more units, more buildings, more civilizations, more leaders, more leader traits, more religions, more wonders, more terrain types, more city improvements, more resources, more technologies, more promotions, and more civics. That’s just the stuff you would recognise as a Civ IV player. A selection of additional features:
- alternate technological timelines (such as Dieselpunk, Steampunk, and Clockpunk, and the ability to train megafauna such as rhinos and mammoths);
- prehistoric hunter-gatherer mechanics, such as significant growth and production sourced from hunted animals, and captured animals generating science and culture by way of myths and legends;
- new city modifiers (such as education, crime, and air pollution);
- new combat mechanics (such as a stealth scale, ranged attacks, and size factors);
- a leader development system, so that you start as a generic leader and gain traits as your civilisation’s culture grows, allowing you to choose traits which benefit your starting hand;
- negative leader traits, because nobody’s perfect;
- detailed building requirements and upgrade pathways;
- a supply chain: many new resources are only acquirable by producing them with buildings, and buildings only buildable by acquiring certain resources;
- more complex economies with inflation;
- more complex espionage;
- more realistic culture, religion, and corporation spread;
- technological diffusion (less advanced neighbours might acquire technology just by virtue of its being used around them);
- group wonders: you may only construct one wonder from a mutually exclusive set;
- more diplomatic options (such as embassies and Rights of Passage).
[StrategyOnly] has always been enthusiastic about including new and great, particularly aggressive design concepts and ideas.
This is just a smattering of what C2C has to offer. There’s a (now quite outdated) list on the MODDB site.
With all of that, getting into Caveman 2 Cosmos can be daunting, to say the least. It used to be a matter of trial and error to figure out how all of these things worked together. That is until Thunderbrd produced a player guide for (at the time of writing) the most recent version.
That guide is long. I ended up reading it start to finish one lunch time because I’ve been following this mod for some time and never has anything so comprehensive existed. It was a magical hour. But I don’t think that’s how it should necessarily be consumed.
I think the best way to learn C2C is to just get a game going. The second of Thunderbird’s posts on the player guide is a really good place to start. If you, like me, want to tinker from the get-go then skip to the third of his posts to learn a bit about what all of the game options mean and maybe cobble something together.
Read ahead to learn a bit about how I play the game.