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Video Game / Caveman2Cosmos

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And it's not even the end of it...
Caveman2Cosmos is a (very) expansive Civilization IV mod with a pan-historical (as well as pre-historical and futurist) scope, building on top of the other historically oriented overhaul mods such as Rise of Mankind and Rise of Mankind: A New Dawn. Combining some of the best work across the Civfanatics community it is hosted on, Caveman2Cosmos boasts by far the largest amount of new content and ambition-in-scope of any BTS mod, or indeed, any mod in the entire history of the Civilization series.

Some of Caveman2Cosmos' major features include;

  • A completely overhauled tech tree, featuring more than 734 technologies across 13 eras in total (eras not found in vanilla Civilization are marked in bold; though it should be noted that even those eras native to vanilla Civ are completely overhauled themselves)
    • Prehistoric Era (corresponding with the Paleolithic)
    • Ancient Era (corresponding with the Neolithic and Bronze Age)
    • Classical Era (corresponding with Classical Antiquity)
    • Medieval Era (corresponding with the Postclassical Era)
    • Renaissance Era (corresponding with the Early Modern Era)
    • Industrial Era (corresponding with parts of the Late Modern Era)
    • Atomic Era (corresponding with most of the 20th century, also known as the Contemporary Era)
    • Information Era (corresponding with the 1990s, the present, and beyond)
    • Nanotech Era (representing a time when nanotechnology dominates global politics, military and economics)
    • Transhuman Era (representing a time dominated by transhumanism and artifical intelligences)
    • Galactic Era (representing a time where humanity ventures beyond the solar system)
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    • Cosmic Era (representing a time when humanity seeks to master the galaxies)
    • Transcendant Era (representing a time when humanity seeks to master the universe)
  • In line with the above, an "alt-timeline" set of special cultures (see below) enabling units and buildings along various Punk Punk lines, ranging from Da Vinci tanks to Zuse computers.
  • Thousands of units and buildings, representing things as disparate as stone age spearmen, WWI era trench infantry, medieval apothecaries, a vast menagerie of animals from all parts of the globe, various instruments of torture and methods of execution, and even abstract concepts such as levels of education or safety.
  • An all-new generic property system, enabling the simulation of factors ranging from crime and disease to education and tourism, and more.
  • An all-new approach to cultures, unique units and unique buildings. Instead of picking a civilization and being able to build that civilization's unique unit and building, the player starts off possessing no more than a regional geographic culture, with actual cultures proper coming later as wonders granting access to special resources, which in turn grant access to unique units and sometimes buildings. Furthermore, many unique buildings that were not truly unique in realistic terms (such as the Mall for the American civilization) have been made available to all civilizations.
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  • Completely overhauled civics, in areas ranging from the fundamental (Government, Power, Society), to the particular (Education, Agriculture, Military), with societal models drawn from the dawn of mankind to the far future.
  • 29 religions from across the world and across history, with each religion (be it new or inherited from vanilla Civ or C2C's ancestor mods) featuring unique bonuses and flavour to truly set it apart from other faiths. Religions new to C2C relative to vanilla Civ are:
    • Andeanism
    • Asatru note 
    • Baha'i'ism
    • Canaanism
    • Caodaism
    • Druidism note 
    • Hellenismnote 
    • Jainism
    • Kemetism note 
    • Mesopotamism
    • Mormonism note 
    • Naghualism note 
    • Ngaiism
    • Rodnovera note 
    • Scientology
    • Shamanism note 
    • Shinto note 
    • Sikhism
    • Voodoo note 
    • Yoruba
    • Zoroastrianism
  • Many, many game options, some built on top of other mod components from the Civfanatics community (including but not limited to the Better Unaltered Gameplay (BUG) mod and Dale's Combat Mod (the latter of which is gradually being supplemented by team viceroy Thunderbrd in the form of the Combat Mod, which despite it's name is far more than a mere combat enhancement)
  • Much, much more. Learning to play Caveman2Cosmos is as much an ongoing process as it is a matter of study, with new updates coming almost every day through the SVN and the mod showing no sign of stopping, even veterans will sometimes find themselves challenged anew by the changes made as Caveman2Cosmos progresses towards completion.

In addition to many (though not all) of the tropes found in vanilla Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword, Caveman2Cosmos provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The sewer building (in previous builds). While it gave major hygiene advantages to cities it was built in, it also made rival spies more likely to get away with their spying, implying this trope is in full effect and they use it to escape or infiltrate the city. This was later patched out.
  • Advanced Ancient Acropolis: With a bit of luck and favourable RNG, it is possible to end up with a pretty sophisticated Bronze Age urban civilisation, while everyone is still a nomadic tribal. This in turn allows to keep an ever increasing technological gap above other civs throughout the rest of the game, ultimately reaching modern levels of technology when everyone else will be at best in The High Middle Ages.
  • Adventurer Archaeologist: One of exploration units is clearly one. And then there is Lara Croft hero unit.
  • Animals Hate Him: Prior to recent patches, all animals were unnaturally aggressive. It wasn't uncommon to come under siege from rampaging herds of giraffes or swarms of spiders. Thankfully now only predators will actually try to attack your units.
  • Army of the Ages: One of the best recruitment policies is about picking the best of the best from entire time continuum and uplifting them to your tech level. It provides absurd amount of starting experience to all units you make, since they were already veterans before being re-trained.
  • Awesome Anachronistic Apparel: Some civs with unique aesthetics keep them long after their historical heyday; for instance, Egyptian riflemen wear beards in the Pharaonic style and a "shako" based on the White Crown of Upper Egypt.
  • Bold Explorer: Greatly expanded scope and range of all sort of scouting units, including few heroes.
  • Cool vs. Awesome: Industrial-era Neandertals fighting against alliance of Vikings in longships and clock-punk Aztec? Yes please!
  • Cosmetically Different Sides: Played with. While the civilizations are (initially, with plans to bring much greater power and emphasis to cultures in future versions) more generic than they are in vanilla BTS, they still possess regional cultural identities and distinct leaders with their own traits and personalities (though both can be randomized or negated through options).
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Since there are thousands of technologies to research, it is entirely possible to lag behind enough to be in early medieval tech when suddenly outsiders roll in with Mini-Mecha. This is especially common when a civ ends up isolated and thus without anyone to trade techs with.
    • Animals vs. humans combat has it done twice. Early on, predators are a serious threat and can quite literally have your early Homo sapiens for breakfast. If a civ is really unlucky, it can get stunted for thousands of years due to loss of crucial units early on. However, as the tech progress, the animals just can't compete with steadily increasing power of your units. By late antiquity, most dangerous predators are barely a nuisance for your civilians, while explorers and military just roll over them.
    • Barbarians don't really scale up after medieval. Eventually you are going to have rifles against their spears, lasers against their muskets and so on.
  • Cyanide Pill: Of the "hidden in a tooth" variety, though the exact poison is not specified. Strike Team units can gain a "False Tooth Poison" promotion that drastically lowers their chance of being captured and makes them fight stronger.
  • Damage Over Time:
    • Some city buildings, like Bombard Towers or Wooden Abatis will inflict damage to enemy units standing next to the city.
    • Some sea features like coral or reefs will inflict damage over time to ships standing over them. With some game options harsh terrain like desert will also damage units crossing it unless they have the right promotions.
  • Disc-One Nuke: Having access to iron and horses from the very moment each of those is revealed is a massive bonus to unlocking new buildings and units. Combination of both within a single city allows to crank the best units for next few thousands of in-game years right off the bat, without having to worry about anything and utterly trashing nearby civilisations that either didn't develop iron working yet or can't find their own source of ore.
  • Domesticated Dinosaurs: Paleolithic megafauna, actually. It's the earliest of the alt-timelines, and the only one that doesn't require a culture wonder to unlock.
    • War Elephants: In addition to standard war elephants, you can also use mammoths, ranging from workers to bombard cannon platforms during the Renaissance Era.
  • Dumb Is Good: Averted; generally only good things come of keeping the education points of cities high. Having negative education values meanwhile starts giving random events: first mixed bad, but once your civ is thoroughly moronic, only bad ones are rolled for.
  • Early Game Hell: You start with a band of early Homo Sapiens. They don't even have a language yet. Predators and even herbivores can easily stomp you. Everything takes forever to build and provides barely noticable bonuses. It's perfectly normal handful of civs will be wiped out in stone age by random animal attack or lag behind rest of the world to be easily picked by some "advanced", Antiquity-tier civ.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Stone age feels like it, especially the first part of it. There are countless animals roaming the otherwise empty continents and almost all of them can easily kill any of your units. Fortunately, only predators are aggressive, but it's still entirely possible to end up losing unit to an angry turkey. By the time barbarians start popping around, they are definitely less dangerous and harmful than what wildlife is during first few hundred turns.
  • Frontline General: Can be averted or played straight, depending on your preference. There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches, though the experience sharing system of the Warlords does tend to negate the disadvantages of the former somewhat.
  • Geo Effects: And how! Not only are there countless promotions granting bonuses to being on particular types of terrain (the terrain itself being a panoply of biomes modelled on the KB6ppen climate classification system), there is even a BUG option to inflict percentage damage every turn to units in harsh biomes who don't possess the appropriate promotions. This option can be potentially game-changing on both a tactical and strategic level.
  • Giant Flyer: The Haast's Eagle features, amongst others. Truth in Television, of course.
  • Good Pays Better: Civics that emphasis helping the needy tend to provide extra bonuses that outright evil or simply neutral ones lack. Those providing political libery usually come with either higher income, productivity or both (but it's not a rule).
  • Green Aesop: Even more so than infamous Civ 1 and 2. The game keeps track of pollution of water, air and trash. Unlocked pre-modern manufacturing? Congrats, tiles around your city start to accumulate all that polution from your primivite tech. Industrialisation have started, giving access to wide range of factories? Go on, just remember to not drink any water before figuring out water treatment plants some 100-150 years later. By the time modern era starts, either you devote a huge amount of resources and effort into cleaning the mess (including the god-send recycling projects and even preaching Druidism in your cities for extra ecological facilities), or the trash, toxic fumes and sewage are going to wipe you out with their sheer amount being produced each turn.
  • Had to Be Sharp: The basic "Welfare" civic is just "survival", which gives some free XP to newly built units.
  • Hard-Coded Hostility: The NPC factions (Barbarians, Passive Animals, Neutral Animals, Aggressive Animals, Neanderthals, plus 5 more slots reserved for other purposes in the mod's future) are this, although it is likely future versions will make it possible to negotiate to a limited degree with the Neanderthals (and other hominids).
  • Harder Than Hard: "Baseline" mod is already challenging even to Civ veterans thanks to sheer scale of it. But then there is the whole Revolutions sub-mod, dedicated to simulating politics of your empire. With it enabled, it is entirely possible to reach all sorts of Non-Standard Game Overs or end up locked in never-ending string of civil wars, while having only token influence on how things roll in terms of politics and diplomacy.
  • Hero Unit: And how! Far too many to list here, with almost all of them being...
  • Hollywood History: Averted for the most part.
    • All Cavemen Were Neanderthals: Currently played with, in as much as the player controls a band of Homo sapiens sapiens with Neanderthals as hostile NPCs (friendly versions of which can potentially be recruited should the player build the right culture). There is a Neanderthal civilization, but it is identical to the human factions in most respects, including Hard-Coded Hostility to the NPC Neanderthal faction and unit graphics. And to add another twist, much of the supplementary artwork around the game is evocative of this trope.
    • 1 Million B.C.: More so in supplementary artwork than the game proper, the most notable departure from the actual Paleolithic being man living a non-nomadic lifestyle. This is planned to change in future versions, however.
  • Home Field Advantage: Can be exploited by the player, given the right promotions. Can apply in a biome sense as well, as certain units (be they animals or human units built in the vicinity of such a biome) have promotions granting them bonuses in their natural habitat.
  • Humongous Mecha: Just like in Next War and Next War Advanced, one of Caveman2Cosmos ancestor mods.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Cannibalism is an option, though it has serious debuffs and tends to make you unpopular.
  • Instant Awesome: Just Add Mecha!: A whole bunch of mecha units show up with futuristic technology, starting from police patrol Mini-Mecha and ending up with city-levelling leviathans.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: This is a Civ 4 mod, which was designed exclusively for 32 bit systems. Despite best effort, the game simply can't be tricked into using more than 6 GB of RAM (and earlier it was the standard glass ceiling of just 4), which means generating new map can take anywhere between 2 to 20 minutes. And since the mod introduces few map sizes considerably bigger than the max setting of Civ 4, the loading gets even longer.
  • Lost World: It's possible for hidden valleys or distant islands to be filled with prehistoric creatures and Neanderthals all the way up to the present or future eras.
  • Low Culture, High Tech: Since civis never become obsolete or unaccessible, it is entirely possible to stick to stone-age ones, while having space-faring civilisation. Hell, Matriarchy, one of the earliest civis unlocked, is one that most players stick with indefinitely, as it provides a huge population growth bonus. A popular self-imposed challenge is to never adopt language, so you have civilisation communicating in grunts and simple gestures.
  • Magikarp Power: Druidism and shamanism are so-so religions from early game that start weak and got completely irrevelant from late Bronze Age onward in terms of any sort of profit they could provide. They only give a laughably low bonuses to food production, respectively from plant and animal resources on the map and nothing else. Comes industralisation, emergence of factories and related with it pollution and suddenly both of those religions become all-powerful, as they provide extra facilities to deal with pollution (unlocked all the way back around High Middle Ages). And without having to develop any new technologies, unlike regular recycling facilities, that are decades away from industrial technologies.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: The developers tried to avert this by assigning animals to particular areas of the globe, but it still crops up in places (Haast's Eagles showing up in Australia, for instance). Sidestepped if you don't play an Earth map.
  • No Swastikas: Averted, as Hitler is a playable leader for the German civilization. He is treated little differently than other leaders, though with a somewhat more aggressive personality and dialogue than most.
  • Obvious Beta: The mod is in perpetual development for over a decade. Early builds had serious stability issues and then there is the amount of elements the mod has and does vs. being written for 32 bit systems.
  • One Nation Under Copyright: Very possible in the Information era and beyond, should you have access to the right Civics.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: For the most of the game, whatever decreases the amount of food you need for population growth is worth picking it. Which often leads to situations like being modern matriarchy with nationalised agriculture dumping all the waste to the ocean or similar, just as crazy combinations. Coming in at a close-second is science output.
  • Power at a Price: Industrialization is great: huge production bonuses, new, powerful units, profits to be made on every step... Also in package: riots, overpopulation, massive pollution and probably an epidemic, all thanks to insufficient support infrastructure that won't be even possible to research for next 20-25 techs.
  • Power-Up Letdown:
    • As long as you have pre-industrial worker units, they come with a pack animal for help. Depending on what that animal is, they gain free terrain bonuses, which makes workers with donkeys universally the best, as their bonus terrain is hills. Comes industrialization, your workers get replaced with engineer types... that no longer have the free terrain bonuses. But if you stocked your workers from before the unit-changing tech, they do retain their bonuses
    • Wootz steel bonus is automatically added to all your units after random (and common) event related with discovering it and can be gained as early as researching iron working. Any new unit produced will also have it and it's a substantial +10% to power. The bonus is permanently removed from the game once you research modern metallurgy.
    • Notably subverted with wonders and various buildings. While you eventually lose option to construct them after researching certain more advanced, disabling technology, you keep their bonus if they were build prior to that moment.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: As long as you predominately use melee units, it's a wise thing to foster such sentiment in your civilization with religion and civics. But when guns start showing left and right, it's a time for quick change of cultural priorities, as gunpowder and melee units are separate groups and you will soon stop getting new melee units entirely.
  • Punk Punk: A notable feature, running the historical gamut:
  • Ridiculously Fast Construction: For once, justified. Eventually, with extremely advanced technology, specific set of civis and well-trained labour, it is possible to finish tile improvements in single turn. But it's pretty much impossible or extremely hard to pull before early 20th century tech level is reached.
    • As a carry-over from the unmodded game, some civics allow spending gold directly to rush the production of some buildings, meaning they get built in one turn.
    • Inverted for game-balance reasons with buildings as time goes on. More modern buildings require higher production to build. While this often makes sense (a 20th century sprawling mall is much more complicated than a Neolithic hut) it gets absurd when an Atomic-age café costs 2260 hammers while building the freaking Pyramids cost 1920 hammers.
  • Rock Beats Laser: Averted with vengeance, this being a Civ 4 and unit disparity over eras being highly defined. At best, Asatru worshipper veteran melee unit will tie with early musketeer, but that's it.
  • Schizo Tech: Especially pronouced with the Punk civs to be unlocked, with improbable machines, like clock-work robots or mammuths with cannons mounted on their backs. But even if those are ignored, it's possible to focus research in such fashion to never develop modern metallurgy, but in the same time construct battleships.
  • Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil: After the Classical Era and as you discover various types of human rights, still practicing slavery gives you increasing tech penalties and a lot of unhappiness.
  • Small Taxonomy Pools: Averted somewhat; the game has hundreds of animal units, some of them quite obscure or regionally specific.
  • So Last Season: Few highly distinctive moments
    • Sedentary life and adoption of any of the agriculture civics. If both are done in the same moment, it leads to an instant population explosion and the game starts to pick pace.
    • While both chiefdom and tribalism mark a great milestone in the way how your civilization is organized, urban-related civics of early Bronze Age like City States or any form of organized religion make those once mighty civics laughably inefficient.
    • Metalworking. Your best stone-age units can't even compare with most basic unit of spearmen using barely hardened copper.
    • When Asatru pops-out and is adopted, it provides a huge experience bonus to newly trained melee units. Then guns start showing up. And then melee units stop showing up.
    • Introduction of gunpowder units makes everything prior to them completely obsolete. They have all the benefits of ranged units, with bunch of bonuses for melee infantry, all while having higher power rating than any other unit up until that point.
    • Artillery is the biggest game-changer, as it makes the infamous doom stack tactics the worst thing that can be done. Since artillery can attack entire stack of units and do so from safe distance, it shifts completely how the war is fought. Even AI is capable of using this for its own advantage.
    • Workshops. They provide you with various goods and production bonuses, but eventually the real deal - factories - show up and they instantly make workshops obsolete, providing four or five times bigger bonuses.
  • Starting Units: Of both the standard variety (a unit of Stone Throwers) and special variety (your initial band of homo sapiens sapiens and the Tribal Guardian, designed to keep your settlement alive in the Prehistoric)
  • Stupid Future People: While unlikely, it is possible to reach astonishing advances in technology, easily going into futuristic stuff like cloning, fusion, gene-modding and so on, while having majority of population consisting of morons. All it takes is deliberately and intentionally ignoring education. This does make research extremely hard, but doesn't make it impossible.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: In initial development, the mod was much more whimsical and escapist, with tons of in-jokes and puns, along with crazy units and concepts. It got all graduall toned down and in most cases, eventually removed.
  • Taught by Experience: Promotions are not restricted to combat units, so it's beneficial for all your units, even guards and workers, to do as many tasks related with their unit types and thus qualify for more promotions.
  • Technology Levels: And how! See the features list for more.
  • Tier System: Enforced with tech progress. There will be always a moment during your development when certain era-specific options will be superior to anything prior and are a solid bonus to your civilisation that's just too tempting to ignore. Examples include going for Caste System married with Despotism and slavery during early Antiquity, because when compared with anything else, they provide huge bonuses... but will outstay their welcome by the time classical Antiquity begins.
  • Time Abyss: Very likely to happen: even if you ignore the Prehistoric era settlements your cities can easily surpass the 5 millenia mark in age, much like real life Neolithic settlements.
  • Time Travel: A tech near the beginning of the Cosmic Era, though much like a lot of the future era stuff, it has not been fully fleshed out yet.
  • Threatening Shark: Great White Sharks are among the most powerful sea creatures and will often sink prehistoric era naval units.
  • Torture Always Works: Downplayed, the Torture tech is discovered in the Middle Age and building torture chambers and implements drastically lower crime and increase espionage output, but also brings in heavy health and happiness penalties, diseases and lowers science output, making the use of torture questionable overall. Torture implements will later go obsolete with Renaissance/Enlightenment technologies.
  • Videogame Caring Potential: Since all units keep experience for performing their tasks, it's extremely beneficial to never, ever lose your workers. With sufficient number of promotions, they are significantly faster at constructing tile improvements.
  • Weaponized Animal: Rhinos, for one. They're one use units, making them somewhat Awesome, but Impractical.
  • We Will Use Manual Labor in the Future: Can be averted or played straight, depending on whether or not a slaving player abolishes slavery before reaching the appropriate eras and technologies.
  • Writer on Board: Averted. Despite various things looking like it might be some sort of agenda-pushing, anything that's not related to the Green Aesop was repetitively reported as unrelated with anyone's politics. And since the game offers few dozens of different civics (all neutral in their description, unlike those from Civ 4), it's entirely possible to mix and match them for any desired combination and still succceed.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: Zig-zagged. On the one hand, many of the techs in the early Prehistoric era well predate the emergence of Homo sapiens sapiens, to the point when one of earliest techs is Language. The relationship between these techs and what they unlock is generally handled in a logical fashion. On the other hand, many things can still be done in your civilization (partly due to technical restrictions) that flat out make no sense with either such a limited "tech" base or indeed any prehistoric society, such as reading scrolls found in ruins from random events.

Alternative Title(s): Caveman To Cosmos


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