Here's Gaias principles:
Gaia philosophy is resumed in these decalogue:
1 - Experimenting. Setting a path doesn’t mean we can change its direction. Experimental and new features about Freeciv, Great/LongTurn and Gaia itself are welcome.
2 - EverybodyCanWin. Gaia should give balance, and help the weak, the new, the unlucky player (without frustranting the good ones)
3 - Gaia allows the use of AI and AI players, if necessary.
4 - Strategy is important, but not the only thing. Involvement is important, too!
5 - KISS!, or Keep It Simple, Stupid! Gaia ruleset should be simple. A good ruleset has few code lines than a bad one. A good game can be explained to a kid. A newbie can learn the rules fast. Abolish COMPLICATED rules and features, and favour the development of actual COMPLEX mechanics in the game, not in the rules (see Chess, for example).
6 - Keep Micromanagement low, without abolishing it.
7 - Realism without dogmas. History is a huge repertoire of interesting features and behaviours a good game could have. Why invent new ones? Just don't forget about Novelty and remember a great "feature" of History has ALWAYS been "novelty" and "surprise"
8 - a bit of RPG, why not? Yesterday I wanted to be some Alexander, today a sort of Gandhi, and tomorrow worse than Hitler. Let me talk and behave accordingly! Give me tools to do it better! Let me "custom" my nation or my little piece of world
9 - LetTheFateDecide! Abolish cold Determinism, and go back to Civ1 combat chances (“The Militia can defeat the Battleship!”). Undetermined battles are an important part of Fog of war!
10 - Novelty, novelty, and more novelty. Nobody knew there could be America, or that one day men could fly. To reproduce novelty it should be a primary goal. And every game should be different. This should also be achieved with the active help of players, which should be put in condition to find new radical strategies to win.
And here's some of the simplest and available features I would like to reproduce (ruleset could be Civ2Civ3 or some other):
Planetology (or “Earthly” ruleset module)
The aim of Gaia is to give a “earthly” experience, i.e. a world which is as varied and big as Earth is. It could be even MORE varied and bigger than Earth, i.e. there could be still unknown continents in industrial age.
To achive this with current planetology setting is not that simple. Here’s a list of planetology or planetology-related variables:
- 20-100 players
- 200-700 land tiles per player
- 20,000-100,000 total tiles
- The Golden Earthly SubModule (Creates beautiful and varied worlds):
both wrappings? (better with no poles)
pseudo fractal generator
all in one continent (or: depending in size)
1x1 islands on
30% land percentage (or 20-50%)
- varying temperature/hills/water
- lots of special resources?
- huts on?
- barbarians on?
- AIs on?
These rules should be kept close together and given a name: the “Earthly” Module.
- mincitdist=0 or 1 or 2. Smallpoxing is possible but disengouraged
- completely turn off tech trading/steal/conquer for 30+ players. There's no way to pass a tech from a player to another one.
- turn on diplomacy and all diplomacy action, included trading cities
- turn off rapture.
- LT31-style rapid growth.
- high chances of destroying buildings
- restricted use of infrastructure
- low/average vision (1x or 2x) with big movement (3x) (combined with restrictred infra, it balances the power of defenders and attackers)
- big, or growing along, city radius
- settlers cost 3 population and lots of shields to discourage smallpoxing
- new unit classes with different behaviours (foot vs.wheeled vs. mounted, active vs. passive, light vs. heavy)?
- no new kind of units!
- more governments?
- WotW are ON.
- Sail developing is much harder (keeping distant islands and continents isolated till modern age)[this could be achieved by swapping physics and Navigation so Navigation requires Physics, and accordingly adjust some tech dependencies]
- slightly simplified tech tree (less dependencies: more techs only require ONE other tech, so somewhat more similar to Sid Meier Alpha Centauri linear tech branches) to enhance player tech specialization (pursuit one branche and don't care about other ones)
- harder to build roads, expecially in difficoult terrains
- more clearly separated branches in tech tree (you may ignore some achievements and focus on others)
- rivers multiply terrain mp x2
- river navigation
- movement along river x3 multiplier
- enhanced vision depending on terrain/infrastructure/unit
- no bonus food for city tile but still possible to found it in mountain if you still feel it is a good idea!
- diplomacy only after embassy