Future Development for Caveman 2 Cosmos
There is still a huge amount of work still being put into Caveman 2 Cosmos. There’s a bit of housekeeping for the next year or two, including:
- Balancing unit and building stats.
- Combat polish (for combat systems and AI use of them).
- “Advanced Outbreaks and Afflictions” system, which would make disease much more dynamic.
Further into the future, there are two “holy grail team projects”, each featuring at either end of the tech spectrum: Nomadic Start and Multi-Maps.
Already featured in the Prehistoric Era of Caveman 2 Cosmos is the struggle against nature in the early game. Disease, scarcity, hunting, and a general sense of vulnerability to the enormous world you’re emerging in are all prominent in 50,000 BC. The team would like to expand this to mirror human history even closer, which of course saw societies sticking to their hunter-gatherer roots long before they hunkered down to a sedentary lifestyle.
The feature boils down to this: you can’t actually settle your first city unless you’ve discovered the “Sedentary Lifestyle” technology. In the mean-time, your tribe needs to roam and live off the land, which would experience resource depletion.
Thunderbrd is perhaps best-placed to explain how he sees this feature developing in the future, with all the detail you might be hoping for:
The game would open up with you having perhaps nothing but a Nomadic Tribe.
[…] You would not be able to plant a city with this family unit but it would be able to collect yields (Food, Production, and Commerce) from the tiles where they end their turns.
[…] At first, the tribe can only collect up to one of each yield, provided that’s available where the tribe ends its turn. As the tribe grows and techs develop, it can collect more, and once it gets to a point, it starts depleting the tiles they collect from and the tiles will need a little time to recover, forcing the tribe to wander in as strategic a manner as possible to maximize its collections.
[…] You’ll also want to hunt as much as you can, without becoming the prey.
[…] at the end of the Prehistoric, you’d have the birth of the Sedentary Lifestyle and, at your option, you can start to settle your tribe(s).
Thing is, many of your tribes will have taken on their own cultural identities. As you grow, you have probably split a number of times without having any control over that, and yet you only continue to be able to control one or a small handful of tribes for a while, so you’ve spawned lots of other potential civilizations along the way.
It should be possible to have a game start off with perhaps even just one player, you, and have the rest of the board fill with ‘Human’ life from your success.
As you can see from the above, the Nomadic Start feature will go some way to expanding the Man vs. Nature experience that I mentioned earlier. I absolutely love the idea that the world’s civilisations all spawn off of this one band of hunter-gatherers. This goes some way to simulating the original African diaspora as early humans expanded out of Africa, into the Middle-East and, eventually, the rest of the world.
Multi-maps featured prominently in the Civ II expansion Test of Time. In ToT, when one built the Alpha Centauri spaceship, the game didn’t end; instead, it unlocked a secondary tech tree that allowed the player to battle the Centaurians. This was further explored with sci-fi and fantasy campaigns, with the game taking place on different celestial bodies/fantasy planes.
A literal description of Multi-maps is given by Thunderbrd:
We’d like for the game to be able to store and run multiple maps. The user would be able to switch what map he’s interacting with in his user interface and some units would have the ability to perform a mission that takes them, through some defined parameters, from one map to another (example: a ship launching into orbit and then can move on the solar system map to another planet, then enter the map for that planet).
The Civ II: ToT implementation acts very much as a model to bring to Civ IV via Caveman 2 Cosmos, perhaps the most-discussed and most-requested feature if you follow the C2C forum.
Some of us want Multi-maps for multiple realms of exploration and some of us want it for zoomed-in strategic combat features, but regardless, we all want it badly.
C2C begs for Multi-maps and its need is quite obvious. If we want to colonize the Moon, we need a map for the Moon that’s separate from the map for Earth. Then we need space maps and maps for other planets and galactic maps and so on. We really need a nearly infinitely expandable amount of maps that the game somehow juggles all in summary without crashing. I don’t know exactly what we’ll find is our ultimate limitation, but that would be the ideal.
Given the desire for this feature, by both fans and developers, one might wonder why it’s not already done. There are some pretty hefty technical challenges, including UI work, memory management (for an ageing game engine), and difficulties dealing with quantity inflation (gold and culture values in the late game can become very large, and will be even larger for a solar-system-spanning empire).
Reflection on Caveman 2 Cosmos
Caveman 2 Cosmos introduces a lot of additional depth and complexity to Civilization IV. It goes beyond a TBS game and makes Civ a civilisation simulator, which is arguably what Sid intended when he set out on this journey with the original Civilization back in 1991. For anyone who hasn’t read it, I highly recommend reading Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond, which considers how the environment about a civilisation will determine its development and, ultimately, world history.
Often when I reflect on these mods, and for the benefit of you, the reader, I open with the qualification that more depth and complexity isn’t for anyone. I stand by that, but I feel like this doesn’t quite apply with C2C. The mod is so massive that it shifts its base game’s genre significantly enough that it can no longer be compared directly alongside it.
There are features in C2C that I could quite happily ignore. In fact, one can quite easily do just that with many features given how customisable the game experience is (in game setup and the in-game BUG menu). However, there are many, many more features that I just couldn’t go without in Civ IV knowing now that they exist.
There’s enough in C2C to keep a player occupied for dozens, if not hundreds, of hours before they’ve even seen it all just once. And there are some incredibly ambitious expansion ideas on the horizon, such as the aforementioned Nomadic Start and Multi-Maps, which make it worthwhile to keep coming back and seeing what’s changed. I can’t express how excited I am to see Multi-Maps – and the possibility of expanding naturally into a space 4X game – arrive in C2C.
The years of work by its many contributors has generated a truly iconic game in Caveman 2 Cosmos. It’s not perfect – there are technical issues – and it’s not finished – some later eras have not had the same love and attention as their predecessors. But it draws you into an historical simulation – no, a bona fide anthropological study – like no other.
Read on for installation instructions.