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A Better AI.

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by Blake, Nov 4, 2006.

  1. cabert

    cabert Big mouth

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    I'm with Voek on difficulty settings. they were not balanced with these modified behaviours. And so they are unbalanced now.
    What's the big deal?
    Instead of the previous settler/chieftain/warlord/noble/prince/monarch/emperor/immortal/deity
    improvement possibilities, it's probably limited to emperor (and seeing how far outteched I got on monarch, I fear even Emperor could be too tough to beat).
    That's 2 levels less + a lot of frustration :lol:

    It's obviously not blake's fault. It's the way the game was created (like most other games) : too few hours of gameplay testing = bad AI to start with and now, with a better AI :)goodjob: blake) it's unbalanced.

    A further patch, including or not more AI tweaks is required. It should propose a possible progression up to Deity. Meaning less bonus for the AI at higher levels, and a lesser use of "best possible" behaviours at lower levels.
    IMHO of course ;)
     
  2. voek

    voek Prince

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    No, I don't need more levels, just to be the hightest beatable by some players. But let's close the discussion, maybe I will open a thread to dare the most brave players who are able to beat the AI on Deity...
     
  3. Pudd'nhead

    Pudd'nhead Chieftain

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    I think our differences lie in defining what "challenge" is. For you it is overcoming increasing handicaps to win against a greatly inferior opponent intelligence, and/or maximizing the thoroughness of your victory at the same handicap level. For me it is facing a less inferior opponent, and not spending most of the game feeling that I cannot be surprised much & ultimate victory is a foregone conclusion, and slogging my way to that end. I play against my nine year old (and have a lot more fun socially!) if I want the effect of the former.

    I hope I am not putting words in your mouth, but basically what you're saying is you prefer an AI that is consistently predictable regardless of the strategic choices you make, a mostly unresponsive one that will always pursue the same brain-dead actions instead of recognizing the context of its game situation and reacting? That sounds like desire for a puzzle like a Rubik's cube, that's just there to be solved, and the main challenge is not to do it, so much as to do it in the fewest number of moves. Otherwise it doesn't have any kind of feedback response to what you do with it, you just act upon it (twist the blocks) & the resulting game state from your action is pretty much predictable, at a very high level. As others have pointed out, that relative unresponsiveness to the external environment is the main reason that cultural victories are as viable as they are now, you can count on the AI not really reacting to your attempt even when it's obvious you are about to win, and they could likely prevent the win if they took an even half-coherent action to prevent you (since the cultural player is usually behind in tech & military).

    I can accept your apparent desire to retain Civ as a simple static puzzle to be solved in fewest moves, picking from a small pallette of paths to the finish -- and worrying about a coherent AI counter-strategy forces more thought & preparation about defence, allowing fastest-finish potential only if you take make-or-break risks -- but I hope you appreciate the relative lack of the element of surprise can make the game very boring to others, who play more for the excitement of dealing with turn-to-turn challenges and crises, and not such much motivated by the satisfication of a maximized numeric final score.

    Maybe both desires can be satisfied. Maybe Blake/Firaxis could create an extra game setting somehow which allows players to keep the dumb, strategically incoherent AI for the players who want to continue to play this game in "Rubik's mode?"
     
  4. V. Soma

    V. Soma long time civ fan

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    Pudd'nhead :goodjob:
     
  5. voek

    voek Prince

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    I am sorry, I have to react on your post. If you think Aelf (and me, Cabert and many others) think we want a dumb AI, you can't be more wrong. We more then support the improvements the AI has given. The discussion is purely and solely about the amount of bonuses given to the AI and the impact of these AI improvements. We actualy want less bonuses and a much smarter AI!! The only thing we are saying is we would like to decrease the bonuses given since the AI performance has improved, because it has become unbalanced. Given that, playing at the higher levels, war is becoming more and more the only option to beat the AI. Since it will play smarter and is given a headstart which only is to be surpassed by exploiting the (biggest) AI's weakness of weak warfare. That's Aelf his point. Sorry if I am speaking in general, but I think the red line is the same and everybody wants a smarter AI. More improvements on the AI and/or less bonuses are the items which are discussed. Like the AI being able to pursue cultural vics, getting more variation in the game.

    Insulting (yes I think that is the case) Aelf of wanting a simple static puzzle is going to far, when you should know better when you have read his threads. Please be open to other opions and don't draw out of the line conclusions.
     
  6. DevilJin

    DevilJin Warlord

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    This mod only makes the AI smarter, so what is the problem to choose a lower difficulty level? then there will be less bonuses for the AI and you won't complain.
     
  7. Arlborn

    Arlborn Legendary Noob

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    I completely agree with you.
    Im of different(not so much I would say, keep the old handicap levels(but with the smarter AI!) and just put new ones(the ones you want) would be fine by me :p) point of view of you about the difficult levels, but I completely respect your opnion, and that is the point for a good forum, isnt it? ^^
     
  8. player1 fanatic

    player1 fanatic Fanatic

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    When will "stable" non-Bleeding Edge version be relased?
    You know the one with confirmed working solutions...
     
  9. V. Soma

    V. Soma long time civ fan

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    Pudd said: "I hope I am not putting words in your mouth"

    Pls don't be so sensitive...

    let's talk about the issue of different gaming styles of civ-players
    and how the levels can be balanced.

    EDIT

    And not steering too much away from Blake's AI :)
     
  10. aelf

    aelf Ashen One

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    Thanks, voek.

    Well, I won't say I've been insulted, but there was certainly a touch of superiority there. But, anyway, voek has underlined my concerns perfectly, so I don't need to elaborate. The bottom line is, I'm not opposed to the AI changes, but at the same time I don't want all out aggression to be necessary from as early as Monarch. And I think it's pretty much the same for Cabert and voek.

    Thedrin, in past versions, I think Civ4 is still balanced on Emperor. I don't have to kill almost everybody asap to win. Hence, I can play with different strategies like what you see in the Emperor Challenges. Warmongering is actually very much like wonders. It's addictive. Once you've grown reliant on it to win all of your games, it's hard to wean yourself off it and open yourself to trying other play styles. For example, you think traits like Aggressive, Charismatic and Financial (strong warmonger traits) become much more important while traits like Industrious become much weaker as you progress in difficulty. I say Industrious is still a good trait on Immortal. It's really how you leverage your traits. It's just that the warmonger traits are much more straightforward.

    I don't think Blake has commented much about the difficulty levels (did I miss anything out?). I guess he leaves it up to Firaxis to decide. Well, we can't do much about the issue. I just want Firaxis to know that there is a distinction between quality and difficulty. I think the goal should be to improve the quality of the game, not make it more difficult and restrictive. If you want to create more challenge for the elite players, give them an extra level like Sid in Civ3.
     
  11. Thedrin

    Thedrin Deity

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    I was refering to how each AI gets a production bonus at higher difficulty levels. Since only one of each world wonder can be built and each AI is effectively getting the world wonder building affect of the industrious trait for free, it is far less useful. Similarly, since land can only contain a limited number of cities, the cheap settlers of imperialistic are far less powerful than they can be on lower difficulty settings. As for financial, while you would still research slower than the AI, the downsides of not researching a technology first are limited compared to not settling a good city site first or not building a useful wonder first.

    I've seen something somewhere. I believe it might be in the original thread at Apolyton.
     
  12. aelf

    aelf Ashen One

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    Hmm... I'm starting to think that there's a flaw with such a logic.

    I think voek hit the nail on the head when he said that the handicaps have previously been designed for an inferior AI so they're actually obsolete now. And, as he has also pointed out, since the AI is better at managing its economy but still has the same handicaps, using force to crush them becomes paramount. Those who do not want to subscribe to a very aggressive style of play are the ones who have to drop a few levels.

    Well, if this situation is going to remain, why not rename the difficulty levels? Beginner -> Very Easy -> Easy -> Builder -> Aggressive -> More Aggressive -> Very Aggressive -> Extremely Aggressive -> Impossible.
     
  13. Veritass

    Veritass Emperor

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    I see two things in the future that could help the AI validly try for a cultural victory:

    1. It may not be that obvious to the human player that the AI is actually going for a cultural victory. You have to notice something like a culture slider put up to 100%. Maybe that could be less obvious, like something that can be seen by spies late in the game, but not by opening the city screen from having spread religion to the city.

    2. If there was more balance, then at the end of the game there might be one AI that is working toward a cultural victory, one that is racing for the space ship, and another that building up an army. Which one will you try to take out?
     
  14. Thedrin

    Thedrin Deity

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    When a city reaches legendary culture status the entire world is notified. Everyone - not just those with spies - will know if a player has two legendary culture cities.

    An interesting change would be to get the AIs to declare on human players who achieve such a feat.
     
  15. drkodos

    drkodos Emperor

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    Ego? Lack of self esteem?

    People that mistakenly take some level of self worth from the level they play on?
     
  16. aelf

    aelf Ashen One

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    No, it might not be that. Read voek's and my posts.
     
  17. Arlborn

    Arlborn Legendary Noob

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    But then again, I already saw AI getting cities with legendary culture in my games, but all were capitols and when I saw victory conditions the other cities were far away from that. But if the AI actually storage Great Artistis for late cultural bombs in these cities, as I already pointed out in a post earlier, it can really take a player by surprise unless he has active spies all around the world..Even then, there is what me, Veritass and other guy pointed out in earlier posts, it will completely mess up your game plan to declare war so late(prob it will be late in the game) in an undesired CIV. And as I also said before, this CIVs must be programmed to defend specially this cities AND also try to go for diplomatic victory! A war agaisnt a CIV that is going for diplomatic victory can be undesireble...
     
  18. drkodos

    drkodos Emperor

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    I read them. Several times.

    I thought Puddinhead had some very insightful analysis, but unfortunately it was mistaken as some type of attack on people.

    I am not saying I think he was wholly correct, but I think his attempt to get at the bifurcation in what constitutes a "challenge" from the game was worth more debate and discussion.

    I fully believe that it is ego and little else that makes a person create post in which they bemoan the fact that they have to "step down a level". To me, it puts them in the same mental awareness category of Nigel Tufnel. The levels, and their names, are arbitary sign posts.

    I have deep empathy for anyone that needs gain some level of self worth as a human from the level they can play a game on.

    Quite frankly, on some fronts, these people frighten me. I usually choose to not associate with these types of people because in the end I cannot trust their ability to discern real value from perceived value when it comes to more important matters and matters of actual consequence to other human beings.
     
  19. Roland Johansen

    Roland Johansen Deity

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    Hello, Blake.

    I have been following your thread on Apolyton for a while and was about to register there to congratulate you on your success in improving the AI. But now that you've started a thread here, I'll just congratulate you here.

    Great job, keep it up. :goodjob: :worship: :worship:

    I was wondering if you'd like to get ideas from other players who think they could add some improvements to the AI if they could programm as well as you? I have some ideas and I think I could translate them into an AI type of 'thinking', but if you like to do it on your own because it's easier to translate your own ideas into programming code then I understand that perfectly and I'll resume the role of silent follower. :)


    To the ones discussing the difficulty levels.

    I wonder if Blake is really that interested in reading a lengthy discussion about this subject in his thread. It's not so that every new post gives new insight in the matter. I think he would be more interested in reports of flaws in his AI or reports of possible improvements in other directions. Would it not be better to start a new thread? (titled: 'Effects of Blake's AI modifications on the difficulty levels' or something similar). Note also that Blake seems to be far from finished with his AI work, so it's not clear if the AI will remain weak in the military role. So it's hard to gauge the effects of Blake's final AI modifications on the difficulty levels.
     
  20. aelf

    aelf Ashen One

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    No. I lamented the fact that it is the people who are not very aggressive who are most affected. The last I heard, Civ4 isn't supposed to be just about war.

    No matter how intelligent you may seem, do not assume that people are idiotic. Especially not on the basis of how they like to play a game.
     

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