One of the Civilization franchise's most compelling features is the way it encourages players to experience the game on their own terms. The game allows players to set the pace of the game, change the map type, disable specific victory conditions, and much more, suggesting that there’s no wrong way to play through a campaign of Civilization.
Some players take that level of customizability to a whole new level by modifying game systems, changing the fundamental look and feel of the Civilization games to better suit their preferences. These players are called modders and they make mods. Mods come in a wide variety of forms, from unit re-skins to UI tweaks, and Firaxis actively encourages this kind of in-depth tinkering. Despite coming out only a little over a month ago, there are already 200+ mods available for Civilization: Beyond Earth, with more mods finding their way to the Steam Workshop every day.
To celebrate the early abundance, we’re making December mod month on the Official Civilization Wikia. This means that we will be dedicating an entire month’s worth of attention to the mods that are currently available for Civilization: Beyond Earth . Every week in December we’ll be offering an in-depth look at an individual mod for Civilization: Beyond Earth, as well as providing a variety of in-depth guides and modding resources for players interested in modding the game themselves.
Mod of the Week: True Terraforming
Our first Mod of the Week is called True Terraforming and it adds a very interesting mechanic to Beyond Earth: terraforming satellites. If you're unsatisfied with the geography of your civilization -- if there's ocean where there needs to be land, or grasslands where there should be hills -- simply build one of the included terraforming satellites to play god and mold the landscape to your liking.
The ability to modify pre-existing tiles (beyond what's possible with a worker unit) adds a new layer of depth to Civilization: Beyond Earth. Here are a number of hypothetical situations the mod's creator has imagined where such a mechanic might prove useful:
*Ever felt the need of some sophisticated terraforming to improve the terrain where the Mapgenerator has failed you?
- Ever wanted to create water connections between two oceans?
- Ever wanted to settle the vast oceans and make islands in the seas?
- Ever wanted to flatten Mountains/fill up canyons to build roads and better move your units around?
- Ever wanted to melt the ice on the poles so your ships can pass through?
- Ever wanted to turn snow into fertile land?
- Ever wanted to have better control about where the resource satellites spawn their resources?
- (Taken from the description on the game's Steam Workshop page)
There a wide variety of creative ways players can make use of the terraforming satellites. During wartime, if an enemy unit is encroaching on your territory, terraform the surrounding tile to either grant you an environmental advantage or simply put some much needed space between you and your foe. If you notice that there are some untapped resources in a remote oceanic location, use a terraforming satellite to create an island, colonize the island, and easily grab the now-nearby resources.
Here are some examples of what you'll be able to do with True Terraforming:
A quick note: currently, visual updates to tiles do not appear automatically. To observe changes to terraformed tiles, simply save and reload your game. Mod author Frag Jacker is working on a fix.
If you're interested in True Terraforming, Subscribe to it via its Steam Workshop page!
We're just getting started. Stay tuned for more on the wonderful world of Civilization: Beyond Earth Mods!
Have a recommendation for mod of the week? Drop me a line on my talk page!