New Horizons is a mod I created for the base game of Sid Meier’s Civilization Beyond Earth. New Horizons is a huge total conversion that completely changes buildings, quests, virtues, military units and more! The result is a unique Beyond Earth experience.
Food and Health vs Science
Science progress is an important part of Beyond Earth but which is the best way to move through the tech web? Focus on growth and Health, to maximize the science each population automatically provides? Or have a smaller population working Academies and building Science buildings? Many of the new mechanics in New Horizons emphasize this trade off between growth and Health verse raw Science.
Production economy vs Energy economy
In New Horizons energy is good for more than just paying maintenance or activating the beacon. New buildings, quests and virtues make it possible to create an energy based economy that purchases the majority of its units and buildings.
Overview of Features
The tech web and buildings
The first two rings of the tech web, along with all the buildings and building quests, have been changed. Early game buildings are highly dependent on local resources, requiring you to play to the strengths of the terrain you have access to. In the mid game what Affinity you choose will determine what buildings you have access to, making a Purity economy different from a Harmony economy.
Alien units outclass human units during the early game. Military units don’t scale in strength or cost as much — making it possible to hold off foes that have a slightly higher Affinity level. For basic units, the pre-Affinity upgrades at Level 4 do not increase combat strength or production cost at all.
Basic units all have different battlefield roles. Rangers are unable to damage cities but less agile Artillery can. Unique Affinity units each have their own roles, as distinct from each other as they are from the basic units. Each Affinity has a different style on the battlefield.
Orbital units don’t last as long and orbital coverage is much smaller by default. To expand your coverage invest in Arrays (which are limited to hills) or construct buildings. Failing to do so can constrain your economic potential in the mid game when multiple satellites types become available.
All the Virtues have been changed. The trees are now: Security, Expansion, Development and Commerce. No Virtue within a tree provides Health — instead, Health is gained through tier or tree synergy bonuses. Players can combine various Virtues and experiment with different paths through the Virtue trees without limiting their Health.
Tile improvements and resources
Affinity resources (floatstone, firaxite, and xenomass) provide Culture, Science and Health. Biowells can only be built on forests, marshes or floodplains. Arrays are limited to hills, and Academies have negative health to support a trade off between population and science.
Two expedition charges are required to salvage a location. You’ll need to acquire a source of additional expeditions before you can start salvaging what your explorers uncover. Currently, extra expeditions can be acquired from the Laboratory quest, Supremacy Level 1, and the opening Virtue in Security.
See the mod in action
Firaxis highlighted New Horizons as a Mod of the Week, including a “Let’s Play” video of a Beyond Earth game running the mod. Please note that many updates for the mod have been released since then. The version they played with does not include the changes to military units, buildings, or the tech tree, but hopefully it will still give you an idea of how the mod plays!