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AI: Handicap changes to reduce units in favor of other bonuses

Discussion in 'Community Patch Project' started by Stalker0, May 12, 2019.

  1. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    When I started the AI thread I was mainly complimenting how far the AI has come, but it seems that several people also noted how "grindy" the game has become lately.

    The AI has come so far tactically, that I wonder if it is time to pull back some of the old handicaps entirely....or shifting the bonuses away from unit production to something else. So hence the discussion.

    A Fundamental Question - Would people rather have fewer units, but the units have "cheats"?

    So lets assume for the sake of argument that we lowered the AI's unit production and supply handicaps. The AI is definitely better but its not equal to a good human, and it still needs help to compete on the battlefield. An option would be to give the units various bonuses...aka "cheats"

    Now cheats come in a variety of flavors, some more palatable than others. For example:

    Category 1: AIs get a bonus that a human "can" get, they just get it innately.

    Example: All AI units gain the fountain of youth healing promotion (+5 extra HP healed per round). So this is a bonus that exists in game, its not "out of nowhere"...the human could get this bonus, but at the same time it is still a "cheat" that AIs would have it early and all of them would have it.

    Category 2: A bonus that the human can't get, but has minor alterations, mainly making the AI units tougher.

    Example: All AI units gain +10% more flanking bonus. A bonus the human can't get but it doesn't fundamentally change gameplay, other than you are dealing with slightly stronger units.

    Example 2: AI gains +10 more hp when they pillage.

    Category 3: A bonus that the human can't get, and it changes gameplay.

    Example: All AI ranged units have indirect fire. This would mean the AI could truly do certain things the human could not, like shoot behind trees.


    Personally, Category 1 is fine by me, Cat 2 it would depend on the bonus, but Cat 3 I would balk at. So I would be very interested to hear thoughts on this one, especially from warmonger players. I have an innate bias in that I don't like long war, so to me dealing with less units would be awesome...but would warmonger players enjoy killing fewer but "harder" units, and if so, to what degree would you be comfortable letting the AI cheat to become harder.
     
  2. vyyt

    vyyt Emperor

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    I am personally happy where the AI combat abilities (including fielding an army and creating reinforcements) are currently, but if anything has to be done about it, I would rather lower the AIs ability to create the reinforcements. (I play on the Emperor level)

    So I guess maybe keeping the extra supply, but removing the unit production bonuses could work. The AIs could still field huge armies, but once you crush them, they would not be able to make new ones within a couple of turns.

    Sorry, I strongly oppose giving some special abilities / extra strength to AI units. I think it would be far more annoying than fighting big armies.
     
    SupTo, Bhawb and LarryAR like this.
  3. FoxOfWar

    FoxOfWar Prince

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    Yeah, for me the war vs. AI gets tiresome when I've killed an army's worth of units, and yet I seem to make no headway because of the reinforcements (or what seem like reinforcements, can't really tell if it's AI producing new units or just having another carpet of units on the other side of their empire...).

    To be fair I'm also not that good a conquest player - I make unit movement/placing mistakes all the time, which the AI is very good at capitalizing on - so take my opinion with the required amount of salt.

    I'll probably be fine with whatever the majority go with, given how rarely I actually enjoy doing the whole domination thing to begin with.
     
  4. HeathcliffWarriors

    HeathcliffWarriors Prince

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    Could consider raising XP bonuses and lowering the base and per era production discounts. They already get extra XP and more from combat than humans do, so it'd be numbers tweaking.

    Thus the AI could still field large armies but would be less able to rebuild them quickly, the tradeoff would be fighting higher leveled units.
     
    Txurce and chicorbeef like this.
  5. Moi Magnus

    Moi Magnus Emperor

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    If there is any change made to the the AI handicap, I suggest we use this opportunity to scale down the first few levels.
    In particular Chieftain AI should have 0 advantages at all (it currently has 5% more of a lot of stuff), and Settler should probably put penalty to the AI supply and few other additional stuff.
     
    vyyt likes this.
  6. Rekk

    Rekk King

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    Has anyone played through a game after losing a city or many cities to an AI player? Were your units killed off, or did you lose the city in order to keep your units alive?

    ...or is everyone's border the do-or-quit line?
     
    vyyt likes this.
  7. Txurce

    Txurce Deity

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    I've been advocating this for a while now — partly due to the grind, but mostly because I think the mod has earned it. By this I mean that any time AI handicaps can be lowered without tilting the balance of power too far is a major achievement.

    However, I don't see the need for any of your alternatives. They create changes that aren't needed, in my opinion.

    This is more along the lines of what I'd support: an adjustment that can be easily raised or lowered again in the future.
     
  8. amateurgamer88

    amateurgamer88 King

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    I'm also in the camp where I don't mind what the AI has as long as it couldn't create reinforcements as quickly. At the moment, I feel like it's a grind before WW finally kicks in and slows down the AI in unit production. The experience seems fine where it is at the moment. Their units are strong but not overwhelmingly powerful. I certainly don't want the AI to get any other cheats or bonuses since they don't need more help.

    I was wondering if it's possible that there's a military production penalty once you hit a certain percentage of your supply limit. The idea is that, to reach your full supply limit, you need to work at it over a reasonably long period of time. If the AI builds to its supply cap, then it won't be able to replenish so quickly until it loses a good portion of its units but, by then, WW will start kicking in.
     
    vyyt likes this.
  9. HeathcliffWarriors

    HeathcliffWarriors Prince

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    I actually think the transition from Settler to Chieftain is well done, and that a "fair play" intermediate level wouldn't really accomplish much. Plus, the AI bonuses on Chieftain are very small, and even on Settler the AI gets an extra Warrior at the start and more Gold from barb camps; the former I presume is to prevent instant PtP for City-States and/or the AI's Settler dying at the start of the game.

    If you want to play 100% fair you could always just adjust the handicap values...
     
  10. kawyua

    kawyua Warlord

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    I enjoy playing early wars against the ai now on deity its really cool to see them even fend off a terracotta rush if i do not play properly. It is a lot of fun in all eras. The combat is good as it is.
     
  11. chicorbeef

    chicorbeef Emperor

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    Losing a city sucks but you can recover from it. Unless it's your Capital, in that case it's insta quit. Or you simultaneously lose core cities. If I don't retake it within the next era though I feel quite discouraged.

    Losing a well-promoted army or squad on the other hand. That's rage-quit material. Especially if a lot of :c5production: went into making an army, I just can't recover from that, and once you lose your front-line, the floodgates are basically opened.
     
  12. andersw

    andersw Prince

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    A couple of points here:
    There are ppl who consistantly win on diety with warmongering.
    For me diety is not the goal, I want to have a difficulty available that is fun for me.

    I dont have much experience of emperor+, looking at my recent game (not finished, I postponed for now).
    It was the authority AIs that was the massive unit spammers, other AIs was ok, the difference was extreme.
    Not sure if that is anything others experienced.

    Extreme promotions seems a must to war against those kind of AI's and without a lot of reloads I won't stand much of a chance getting there.
    Regarding unit cheats AI already get that with the free exp/promo out of the gate and need less exp to promo further.

    At the moment king is a bit too easy and emperor a bit too hard for me.
     
  13. Rekk

    Rekk King

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    Would you back off your army to heal and risk losing a core non-capital city?
     
  14. crdvis16

    crdvis16 King

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    I'd probably vote to not make war any easier so any reduction in total units or unit production for reinforcement would need to be coupled with making the AI's fewer units much stronger somehow.

    War is still the easiest place to get an edge on the AI, even at deity. It can be grindy, yes, especially in the early and mid game but I think that's necessary to keep warmongering from becoming too easy and exploitative. In the late game wars become less grindy IMO- highly upgraded units, better mobility, and better focus fire from high range siege/range and air units means AI units die much faster.

    I think people need to adjust to offensive war sometimes being a long-term commitment of attrition. You may need to set yourself up to be able to ride out war weariness better than your opponent in order to conquer them instead of relying on a blitz and expecting to rapidly take their cities. The logistics of handling and minimizing your own WW while trying to inflict crippling WW on your opponent can be pretty fun and dynamic. I'd argue that it can be more fun than just blitzing down city after city- trade routes, pillaging, happiness, and maintaining relations with other civs over a long period of time all become critical aspects of war along with minimizing your troop losses while grinding his down.

    If you are able to inflict high WW then you will see a serious drop off in his unit cap and ability to reinforce with new troops. At some point his cities end up just undefended and then they fall like dominos. The trick is to be able to outlast him and get to that point. If you're just relying on unit kills then you're not using all of the available tools you have at your disposal.
     
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  15. Bhawb

    Bhawb Prince

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    Yep, and for both reasons. Particularly for pre-ideology Tradition playthroughs where I have very limited supply and wasn't able to pick up the strong defensive Wonders. My non-warmongering Venice playthroughs almost always end in the loss of 1-3 non-Venice cities, for example. In these cases it is usually a situation where the city I'm losing wasn't founded by me (aka, in a really poor defensive position) and I had to pull units to protect a more important city since supply can be super limited. Outside of Tall games I don't think I've ever lost a city for a long period of time, its just generally very difficult to lose cities that are founded well and defended.
     
  16. Moi Magnus

    Moi Magnus Emperor

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    The problem is not that the transition is wrong, the problem is more that VP is currently missing a "chill play" difficulty level. Though it is probable that the solution would more be having a "downgraded diplomatic AI" (which let you live peacefully unless you provoc, or unless it chose authority or an aggression-based civ) rather than just making the game easier.

    Remark: By "missing a chill play difficulty level", I mean that I see a comment like this post https://www.reddit.com/r/civvoxpopu...there_or_can_there_be_a_sort_of_chill_ai_mod/ every month or so.
     
  17. HeathcliffWarriors

    HeathcliffWarriors Prince

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    The only change to AI aggression that is directly caused by difficulty is AIDeclareWarProb in the DoRelationshipPairing function, which increases the AI's enmity towards human players.

    It decreases likelihood for DoFs/DPs and increases your "enemy weight". If you're the AI's biggest competitor, which requires you to have at least 18 enemy weight and more enemy weight than any other civ (also you can't be a vassal), the WAR and HOSTILE approach scores get an additional bias added - but this by itself is not extremely consequential.

    At Deity, you would receive 33 enemy mod (+33 enemy weight, -33 DP weight, -33 DoF weight) for each victory condition you're close to achieving. At Settler, you would receive 7. This is the "desperation mode" when the AIs think there's no other way of stopping you from winning the game, and it's actually been lowered significantly in aggression from what it was before (10x WAR and HOSTILE scores for the biggest competitor).

    So, basically, between Settler and Deity, the only real change is the probability that the AI will add its WAR and HOSTILE biases an additional time (along with missing out on the most valuable DoF/DP modifiers, which each add 1x FRIENDLY bias). And the probability only goes up if you're close to winning the game in the first place.

    Everything else is mostly based on the AI's war projection, how weak your cities are, how much warmongering you do, how ahead you are, etc...but these are not dependent on difficulty, aside from how strong the AI will be comparatively.

    And sometimes they can be bribed into declaring war as well, but in general a lot of AI aggression and war declarations means you're either doing very well (and the AI plays to win) or you're weak (and the AI thinks you're a good war target).

    If a player is seeing "Your behavior infuriates them." or "They know you are competing with them, and they hate it!" type modifiers, it means you're significantly in the lead and that's why they hate you.

    If you build a strong military and don't have a large victory lead, the AI is not generally super aggressive.

    Personally I don't see the benefits of a "chill AI" setting; vanilla AI passiveness made the game extremely boring once you knew the AI's tricks.
    Code:
               // If they're close to victory, that should influence our decision
                // Modify enemy weight for humans based on human difficulty level
                if (GET_PLAYER(ePlayer).GetDiplomacyAI()->IsCloseToDominationVictory())
                {
                    if (GET_PLAYER(ePlayer).isHuman())
                    {
                        int EnemyMod = 15 * GC.getGame().getHandicapInfo().getAIDeclareWarProb();
                        EnemyMod /= 100;
                        iEnemyWeight += EnemyMod;
                        iDPWeight += -EnemyMod;
                        iDoFWeight += -EnemyMod;
                    }
                    else
                    {
                        iEnemyWeight += 20;
                        iDPWeight += -10;
                        iDoFWeight += -10;
                    }
                }
                if (GET_PLAYER(ePlayer).GetDiplomacyAI()->IsCloseToSSVictory())
                {
                    if (GET_PLAYER(ePlayer).isHuman())
                    {
                        int EnemyMod = 15 * GC.getGame().getHandicapInfo().getAIDeclareWarProb();
                        EnemyMod /= 100;
                        iEnemyWeight += EnemyMod;
                        iDPWeight += -EnemyMod;
                        iDoFWeight += -EnemyMod;
                    }
                    else
                    {
                        iEnemyWeight += 20;
                        iDPWeight += -10;
                        iDoFWeight += -10;
                    }
                }
                if (GET_PLAYER(ePlayer).GetDiplomacyAI()->IsCloseToDiploVictory())
                {
                    if (GET_PLAYER(ePlayer).isHuman())
                    {
                        int EnemyMod = 15 * GC.getGame().getHandicapInfo().getAIDeclareWarProb();
                        EnemyMod /= 100;
                        iEnemyWeight += EnemyMod;
                        iDPWeight += -EnemyMod;
                        iDoFWeight += -EnemyMod;
                    }
                    else
                    {
                        iEnemyWeight += 20;
                        iDPWeight += -10;
                        iDoFWeight += -10;
                    }
                }
                if (GET_PLAYER(ePlayer).GetDiplomacyAI()->IsCloseToCultureVictory())
                {
                    if (GET_PLAYER(ePlayer).isHuman())
                    {
                        int EnemyMod = 15 * GC.getGame().getHandicapInfo().getAIDeclareWarProb();
                        EnemyMod /= 100;
                        iEnemyWeight += EnemyMod;
                        iDPWeight += -EnemyMod;
                        iDoFWeight += -EnemyMod;
                    }
                    else
                    {
                        iEnemyWeight += 20;
                        iDPWeight += -10;
                        iDoFWeight += -10;
                    }
                }
    
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2019
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  18. chicorbeef

    chicorbeef Emperor

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    Army yes, single units no. I can still retake that city if my army is still intact.
     
  19. Moi Magnus

    Moi Magnus Emperor

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    Boring is relative. It is because you're seeking chalenge. Civ being also an empire builder, some peoples might be interested in the better mecanics of Vox Populi (like for example, having civilisations UA, social policies, ... that are interesting to play with) with a punching ball (the AI) to play with, but don't want the stress of having to deal with an intelligent AI which might counter your plan by declaring war to you.
    (Note that you still want the AI to be clever enough to devellop itself and fight back, otherwise that's like a punchingball that fall appart as soon as you punch it, so quite uninteresting)

    At least, that's why I was playing civ 2,3,4, so I still understand those peoples. (Civ 5 is the first Civ I played "seriously")
     
  20. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    It’s important to remember, the vast majority of civ players play on the lowest difficulty...which is a trend that’s been tracked for the last 3 games.

    The player playing on settler is not the exception, we are ;)
     
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