Domicron, your challenge is ridiculous. Allow me.
There is nothing, I repeat, NOTHING about Global Happiness that is inherently broken. Is there a poor implementation? Balance flaws? Certainly. But is the mechanic itself broken? Absolutely not. This is common to virtually all of Sullla's complaints; A failure of Implementation, not Design. The two are VERY different concepts.
It is most certainly a failure in design. Look at the way the patch attempts to address it; by limiting the happiness one specific city can produce! This is a step back towards per city happiness management. It's impossible to properly balance global happiness to accommodate both large and small empires fairly. It's the primary mechanic for limiting empire growth, that's where the real inherent problems lie. Where's the mod to address is? It can't be made because it requires the SDK to be released because it requires a rewrite of core mechanics that can't be accomplished through modifying scripts.
"Too Many Penalties"
Wait. Wait. Sullla goes from arguing that ICS and BIAB are too powerful, to immediately after claiming that there are too many penalties? Most notably those related to limiting the size of empires? He may be able to get to the roots of issues, but come on now. This part really just shows him as someone pissed he didn't get Civ4.5.
I agree with you here.
Actually, if you look at the logs diplomacy isn't half bad. It is far more advanced than in Civ4 (Play a game with no religions. Virtually all of the diplo game will be killed as well. That's good diplomacy? Come on), and after the last patch, not a bad system over all. Does it need tweaks? Most certainly. Is it broken? Hell no.
Did you know that diplomacy in Civ4 actually lies to you outright? It doesn't show you all diplo modifiers, and in fact does not even include them in the total. The display straight-up lies to you. But naturally, it's superior to Civ5...
The "fix" for the AI in Civ5 was to take it in the same direction as Civ4. The launch idea of having this mysterious and clever AI was a failure and they are backpedaling on it, for good reason. The player requires feedback because the AI will never be able to emulate a real person. It was an ambitious idea that panned out badly. You are correct, this only needs to be tweaked more, fixing the problems with the AI and the way it determines things like "you settled near me and I hate you now" when they are the ones infringing on your territory.
This right here I completely agree with as a valid complaint. However, it seems an issue that is entirely out of Jon's hands; Unless he's supposed to be an MP programmer as well? This one comes down to Firaxis/2K screwing up.
Yup. Not Jons fault specifically. Nor can the entire disaster of Civ5 be pinned on him, I understand the pressure applied by the publisher and the limits because of that. At the same time, you cannot blame the publisher for gameplay decisions. Do you think the 2k corporate board took a vote on how gameplay mechanics like happiness would work?
Ah, the "Carpet of Doom". An issue that is virtually non-existent outside of Sullla's pictures. Such a wonderful way to twist things in his favor there, isn't it?
Rather than dissect the issues with it here, read my post on different methods (SoD, 1upt, XUPT, etc) here: http://forums.2kgames.com/showthread.php?101311-Poll-Should-1UPT-%28one-unit-per-tile%29-be-replaced-with-2UPT-or-3UPT&p=1318430#post1318430
What I will say is, again, errors in implementation, not design, and entirely fixable, unlike what Sullla says. But then, he wants Stacks back. And has come straight out and said so.
The problem isn't just the combat though, its the way it affects all other facets of the game. I am in favor of adding the tactical element of 1upt. You do a good job of breaking down the different solutions, but "carpet of doom" is something I've personally experienced. Have you ever tried to orchestrate a naval invasion in the mid-to-late game? 1upt works fine early game with the unit limits, but mid-to-late game is adds so much pain. This could be addressed by tweaks; the ability, for example, to give advanced orders and have them take into consideration where other units will be so that I don't have to needlessly spend every turn microing each of my 20 units.
The difference between implementation and design problem here really depend on what you feel the real solution is. In my mind, 1upt isn't viable on maps the scale of Civs. And this is entirely excluding the AI issues with it.
Now, I'm sure you'll be unsatisfied with this post. Doesn't really matter. My point is the issues you mention repeatedly are on the implementation side, not the design side, and are all fixable.
I eagerly await your mod that makes Civ5 playable.
Now, a challenge for you: Contemplate this for me. What right do you have to demand that he admit fault? What proof do you have that the fault is his, and not commands from Firaxis (or, far more likely, 2K, given that they have the money)? What proof do you have that the actual issues with the game are entirely his fault and his alone?
What proof do we have that you simply won't take anything you can and throw it back at Shafer out of a misguided sense of self-importance?
Shafer was the lead designer and said himself on numerous occasions that as such it put him in the unique position of lending his vision to the project. He was directly responsible for the gameplay coding, according to his own words. I don't think he should be crucified. I never said he shouldn't be given another chance. However, part of personal growth is seeing your failures for what they are and growing from them.
I know you want to lump me in with the "shafers head must roll" crowd upset over the shitacular release of Civ5. However, to completely absolve the LEAD DESIGNER and principle gameplay coder of all responsibility for bad design AND bad implementation is ludicrous; you can't pin it all on the much maligned 2k. Did they fuck him and his team? They sure did, but that doesn't mean that some huge mistakes weren't made.
I hope he does great things for elemental, but more importantly, I hope he learned a few things from the mistakes he oversaw on Civ5.
I was a playtester for Firaxis since Civ3, and know a couple (now laid off) members of the team, so I got some level of insight into their development team, and basically I think Soren fucked them by quitting, and left them lacking in real experienced staff. 2k then denied them any real resources to hire anyone with development experience, so they were force to promote an intern to lead developer.
The truth of the matter is that Civ5 was developed by a very talented team of graphics and UI devs, but the core programming and game design team was about on the level of a well though-out indie game. That's not to say it's bad by any means, but they simply made a lot of mistakes in the development that could have been avoided if there was any real experience on the team.
It's entirely possible that they could have learned from these mistakes and put the necessary polish into the game to fix things, because they are honestly smart and talented people, but 2k double-fucked them by then laying off most of the staff and basically the entire QA department several months before release.
This makes sense from a financial standpoint, as the game was "good enough" to release and impress reviewers, while only falling short on levels that the hard-core civ community (who make up a very small percentage of sales) would care about.
The game is ok, it just has huge shortcomings that I have no faith in what little remaining development resources they have left can fix. To put things into perspective, Firaxis hired several people after Civ4 was released, whereas even before the release of Civ5 there were mass layoffs. Our only hope is that they will cobble together an SDK so that the community can then pick up the scraps and put together the game that should have been.