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AI priorities seem weird

Discussion in 'Communitas Expansion Pack' started by Myrion, Aug 12, 2013.

  1. Myrion

    Myrion Chieftain

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    It was turn 150 on standard speed on a huge earth map with 16 civs and 10 CS. Everyone who knows huge earth maps knows, that this amount of players leaves loads of space for everyone to develop peacefully. Still, after Napoleon attacked me around turn 130 I got DoW'd by Theodora, both after having a DoF. Their reasoning was clear: I was weak. After I got steamrolled I decided to reveal the map via debug mode and what I found was rather disturbing:
    Every civ had about 20 up-to-date troops in their territory. Genghis Khan had a Keshik standing on every single tile of land he owned. Apart from the question how they were able to build those amounts in so little time without completely disregarding buildings (I was still beat to many wonders), I found out that there was only one civ apart from me that had more than 100 gold (it was Spain, so that doesn't count) and every civ had a negative GPT (-3 to -20). Now while I see that having less science per turn is their own problem, them being far superior in combat strength to a human player that does not pursue a domination victory it is logical that they declare war very often, making it impossible to play in a relatively peaceful way at all. So you basically have three options:
    a) always have a military that keeps you at negativ GPT
    b) always fight defensive wars that have negative impact on your production
    c) be aggressiv yourself
    I like neither of those.
     
  2. Anvari

    Anvari Warlord

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    Hum, that's a tough one. There are a lot of reasons why that happened.
    On what difficult do you play? Because if it's higher, AI get a lot of bonuses including production or free units at the start.
    AI tend to be friendly with near CS. If there are a lot of them, it's easy to get a lot of things from them. Especially units.
    Did you look how many buildings they got inside their cities? Often the AI only builds stuff they really need.


    The reason why you got two DOW are more simple. Even with a DOF the AI will at least trying to kill you because your military is weak. There are no things that would help against that. It has gotten better in BNW but at some point, anything you do will piss them off and if you don't have at least a nearly equal military force, they will DOW you. Napoleon is a war-favoring leader, that's why he DOW'ed you. Theodoras DOW was simply a reaction of your weakness. She is pretty unforgiving with that and together they could overwhelm you better.

    I had something similar in the game i'm playing now (Civ map, terra-continent style, huge, epic speed, legendary resources, 16 civs, 40 CS on Deity). I started on a small peninsula, Pocatello was north of my location. After a while he cut off the land i could expand but somehow i managed to be friendly with him. I play a faith heavy style and never had real problems, after a while we even had open border and a lot of stuff going on. He never had one point of faith in his cities, so i spread my religion to him that granted him a few nice bonuses. All the other civs where friendly with eachother, except two who where brawling since 3000BC. I had build most faith-related wonders, so i had a lot of pressure. I don't know how but he managed to get a GProphet but he had one, founded his own religion. Because my pressure was so high (over 70 pressure in my Holy City), all cities and the ones surrounding our territories (around 11 with my religion) converted cities with his religion back to mine.

    Long story short, he declared war on me but i fought a very defensive war, we had a lof of mountains and hills so my crossbows with indirect fire managed to wear him down and my Mandekalu Cavalry finally tipped the point, so i could fight him back into his own territory. Advancement was out of question because he build the Great Wall. But somehow that was enough for the AI to declare war on him. And it wasn't only one, 12 of 16 civs declared war on him. Opportunistic little mongrels. Eventually they destroyed him, with me grabbing his Capitol and first city plus a third as Peace Treaty offering from him. One went to Spain, one to Assyria and Ghandi got another 2.
     
  3. Myrion

    Myrion Chieftain

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    I don't really blame Napoleon for that DoW, I realise that it's his personality. Theodoras DoW was inevitable as well, we both mentioned the cause which is weakness. The real problem here and the reason why it is CEP-related is mostly because in vanilla the AI builds far less troops and tends to save money (which is not perfect as well). If every militaristic AI builds troops until they are well into negative GPT one will always be weak. I was Arabia, I focused on gold, I went to my GPT limits after reloading but I was still too weak.

    Game specs:
    Huge Earth Map
    16 Civs
    10 CS (so not enough to warrant that many gifted units)
    Standard Pace
    Difficulty 7
    No Barbarians
    Mods: CEP, CSD, InfoAddict.

    Usually it's fairly easy to fight a defensive war, except of course if everything is forrest. The damage bonus the AI has against cities really doesn't help. Two composite bowmen brought down my city (walls + comp.bow + that honor policy) within 2 turns - hard to defend that.
     
  4. Anvari

    Anvari Warlord

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    Hum no Barbarians, that eliminates another possible income source. And a small number of CS ... ok that's tough.

    Well you play on 7 so that's a huge factor. Afaik gets the AI still a few bonuses on production, that was fixed in GEM, i don't know about CEP. So that's something you should check.

    In the end, if you focus on Gold you should have enough to squeeze a few more build and bought units out. I don't know if you still have a save prior the DOW, if you have, get Ingame Editor and create something like 5-10 units. That should do the trick. Finding a balance between Science, Military and other stuff is hard but part of the progress as a player.
     
  5. Dezath

    Dezath Chieftain

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    I think it is good that they declared war because your weak and they should all be doing it alot more.

    The fact that i can get away on immortal with 17 handpicked military civs and yet not have to build a single military unit is irritating.
    I even choose immortal despite the fact that its nearly impossible to get any early wonders just for the hope that they will declare war on me early on.

    If all the ais have negative gpt then they obviously need to start attacking lands they covert with their allies instead of having a pointlessly large standing army

    If you are having problems with avoiding war just make friends with you neighbours and the most powerful group of allies making sure to always look at global politics to not piss of those you want to keep as close friends.

    Another is not expanding too close to neighbours leaving them some place to expand peacefully and perhaps keeping 1 military unit per city

    In reality countries always have large standing armies even countries which have involved themselves in barely any war like switzerland

    Normally a standing army should not put you into negative gpt either as every trade route you have can pay for the maintenance of 10-20 units
    and along with gold buildings in all your cities and connecting all your cities by road your gpt will be far higher than it will ever need to be
     
  6. Deluxe

    Deluxe Warlord

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    That they declare war on you could see logical, true, but what annoys me is that usually, a lot of AIs build huge armies, and do nothing with it except attack the player. This is especially true in Immortal or Deity.

    My score is usually pretty low during the first half of the game (the best I can manage is usually build two wonders). All AIs got twice my territory, more or less, and beat me hard, thanks to all their bonuses.

    That makes the player the small fish, and if you are unlucky and settled between 3 AIs, you're pretty much doomed (especially if your city are coastals : a surprise attack and the city is down in 2 turns).

    I can understand that warmongers want to conquer small, unprotected territories, but all civs ? Tim Schafer said it during one of his article : the AI tries to play like human players, so they are basically greedy. Friendly AIs declaring war on you to take advantage of another DOW is suprising, and frustrating. Thinking of what, I think I never managed to get a alliance/protection part in Deity.
     
  7. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    What would you expect? If AIs build up big armies, it makes sense that they attack the weak player, and it sound like you have a much smaller military than the AI does. If you want to deter AI attacks, then make sure you have some military strength too.

    Perhaps you should turn down the difficulty? The highest difficulty levels should be very hard, it should be hard to match AI economy, it should be very hard to be the dominant player.

    In general, BNW makes the AI far too unwilling to attack, even when they have military advantage, which makes it far too easy for the human to just focus on economy and ignore military, which makes it too easy for the human to win. If we're moving away from that, that is a very good thing.
     
  8. Deluxe

    Deluxe Warlord

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    You'll always get a lower score, you can't compete during the early game with all the bonuses the AI got. I'm winning deity games, it just not really funny to load a game 20 turns back because a "friend" finally decides to attack you.

    And I don't think ALL Ais need to build armies, or use them ONLY against the player. Again, I expect this from war chiefs (Gengis, Napoleon, etc) but peaceful AIs should be more coherent.

    Jon (and not Tim, my bad) Shafer was Civ 5 lead designer, and I completly agree with his statement : AIs in Civ trying to behave like human players makes diplomacy worth nothing. I really hope CEP can fix this and makes their behavior more logical (that may also makes the diplomacy victory more interesting. Right now, I've never been able to make anyone vote for me). Also, yes they tend to attack you if you're weak, but they will do nothing if you are going to win, even if they got a higher score than you. They will sit and watch you send your spaceship or take all CS.
     
  9. Anvari

    Anvari Warlord

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    The AI doesn't use their armies only against the human player. That's plainly wrong. In the end, they attack whatever enemy is weak. That was the point i was trying to make earlier. This can happen because you decimated the army of another civ or by a number of reasons.

    In the end, you have to balance your military and science with the rest of your empire on Deity. And you have to use your Civs special ability. Like myself, i love to play with Songhai. Not only because they are very strong when attacking in the middle age, Mandekalu Cavalry is superb against cities and give you a huge edge, but also because they get a better pyramid (i love to play with faith), the amphibious attack upgrade and the super strong triple gold from cities and barb camps. That's the main reason by the way.

    I guess it seems pointless to play without any barbarians to get enough military but with Songhai you can turn that into your strongest asset and gain a HUGE amount of money, at least with Honor Opener. If you eliminate all these factors, it can be a lot harder. You don't need a standing army to defend against barbarians, you don't get gold from their camps, you don't have additional income. Especially in CEP with the Scouts upgrading to Spears, it's so strong to get a lot of them (i mean like 4 or 5) before you get Bronze Working and upgrade them. On Epic speed, one camp is 225 Gold and that's about the amount you need for a single Scout.

    Of course, this is only the example of one civ. You can do that with all, but the effect is a bit lower.
     
  10. Deluxe

    Deluxe Warlord

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    That can happen, true, I've seen the AI acting like a pack of wolfes. Which make no sense, again, because usually previous political relationships are taken into account.

    I always play on raging barbarians, I find this to be way funnier and harder but also really rewarding (with honor), and I play with random civ, adpating my strategy.
    But my conclusion does not change : a friendly AI sunddenly attacking you with the only reason being "you are weak" does not make sense, especially with the AI bonuses on cities. I played on a random map which ended being mainly coastal. All my cities were vulnerable to ships attacks, and all of them if attacked could fall in 1 turn, 2 max.
    The only solution ? Trust no one. Don't count on diplomacy, it's worth nothing. You need 2 ships and a ranged unit in every coastal cities.

    I don't find this interesting nor funny if you try to play a cultural/fully religious/diplomatic game. That makes high level games too focused on "army army army" (which is my favourite way to play civ, btw).
     
  11. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    Every AI should have some military in order to defend themself. I haven't been playing Deity, but on levels below Deity, the more peaceful AIs do not build huge modern armies, they focus much more on Wonders. But the AI always has to have a decent army in order to have any chance of holding off a human invasion.

    We want Deity to be challenging. Making the AI less likely to invade you will make the game easier, because it allows you to neglect your military. A military threat is the main threat that an AI player poses to the human, it's the main way in which they can weaken and challenge you. So yes, Deity will need to focus on the military as a way to provide challenge - as it did in Civ4.

    And it sounds like Deity is not unwinnable: you're winning. So, I don't really see a problem. If we tune down aggression, then any of the lower difficulties is going to be really, really easy - as is the case in vanilla BNW, where the AI is incredibly passive. We can't design the game just around Deity.

    The mechanistic Civ4 style diplomacy is there already in city states.

    I find these statements somewhat contradictory:
    You're complaining that the AI is too much like a human player, but also that the AI isn't enough like a human player and doesn't try to win hard enough or to pick on the winner?
     
  12. Deluxe

    Deluxe Warlord

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    You're right, it is. I would expect an inverse behavior from the AI : more logical and respectful of alliance and friendship in the beginning, and more aggressive late game (with alliance bewteen them to put someone down, for example).
    The problem is, imo, that they are aggressive for no reasons in the beginning, and passive when they should stop you from winning in the end.
    Edit : Another important point is the feedback player got from AI behavior. I can't really understand how a friendly AI (with only green, or just one "dark red" relation) can decide to kick your ass without anything (except spies reports) to show to the player that relationships are not going so well. More feedback would solve a lot of problems.
    This could also make an aggressive behavior late game more logical : "AI1 doesn't like you because your are competing with them for space domination". Yes, that may sounds weird in game, but I like the idea.


    For the rest, I don't agree that because it's deity your only option should be to have a huge army always ready. Difficulty should not change the gameplay and destroy other possibilities/ways of playing. Warmongers should still be dangerous, and you should be ready to battle if needed, but you should not be afraid of everyone because you never know if your friend will put a daguer in you back 2 turns after the declaration's of friendship end.
     
  13. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    How is it no reason? They're aggressive because you're there, and you're weak, and they're trying to knock out or severely harm a rival. It also has the excellent gameplay effect of reducing your ability to focus on just economy in the early game and power ahead. One of the biggest sources of human player advantage is that they can be much smarter about the early game, when decisions have significant impacts on long term power.

    Also, in the early game, they can't possibly have a long history of friendship, trade, religion, and alliance with you. But they can by the endgame. So wouldn't it be even weirder if they didn't attack you early on, when you couldn't be close allies, but would attack you just because you were close to winning, even if you were close allies?

    That's nice in theory, but we are very limited in the way that we can adjust difficulty levels. For example, I don't think core AI leader flavors can change as a function of difficulty levels. So what you are observing is that for a given AI aggressiveness flavor, they're more likely to attack you on Deity because on Deity their production bonuses mean that they are more likely to be militarily much stronger than you. At lower difficulty levels, they'll have the same AI flavors, but a smaller military, and so the observed behaviors will be different.

    So if you lower aggressiveness, then at lower difficulty levels the AI won't attack often enough.
     
  14. Deluxe

    Deluxe Warlord

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    I guess you're right, and that because tactical A.I canno't be touched, the only thing we can change to make AI stronger is to give them more and more bonuses. And I guess that's the main problem. AI is not smarter at high difficulty levels, it is just more powerful. I don't think that really suits Civilization.
    I guess my recent experiences with CEP were a bit doomed by the 100% bonus vs Cities, and the fact that on 3/4 games almost all my cities were coastals, sea being the only place where the AI is not totally stupid with its troops. In deity, there is nothing you can do when fighting on sea, especially considering a garrisonned city will resist less than a normal unit ... (but this is also true in vanilla. I played in MP with a friend, we are ahead technologically, but the war was on sea, and the production bonuses of the AI made victory impossible).

    The sad effect is that I usally KNOW that the game is won if my growth is okay when entering the industrial era. From this point, and with the help of artillery to protect and invade easily, I'm gonna out perform everyone in science, and so in war. Then, it starts to get 'easy' again, and I usually stop playing.

    Maybe I'm fighting against the game itself here. AIs are dumb, and their skills don't get better with difficulty. But I think some problems can still be solved :

    - Increase the importance of good/bad relationships, and feedback.
    - Increase AIs tendency to ally, even bewteen them, to face a threat
    - Make the process to convince an AI to vote for you for a diplomatic victory reallistically doable, even if really hard. The only way of winning now it buying all CS, which is not so hard (especially with greece)
    - Make AI response to your strategy smarter. They observe that you're buying all CSs ? They invade them to disminish your impact

    That's sad, but I guess you're right again.
     
  15. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    It's the way every version of Civ has worked (and nearly every strategy game), so I'd say it's quite Civilizationy ;)
    It does make sense to build the best AI you can, and have the AI play to the best of its ability on all difficulties other than the hardest.

    The problem with this is that conquest is the main driver of bad relationships (everyone gets annoyed when you start a war, especially the friends of who you attack). So if you're peaceful, then you will be friends with everyone, and no-one will attack you, so you don't need a military, so the game is too easy.

    I haven't tried doing it enough, but this sounds right in principle. If someone is a very good friend, you should be able to bribe them enough to get them to vote for you. It would be interesting to make the diplomatic victory less about just city states.

    Maybe... but my concern with this is that the late game is boring enough that when you're winning, it's best if you can just realize the victory condition and win, and then start another game. I'm not sure we want the AIs all to be trying hard specifically to prevent you from fulfilling a victory condition. They should be trying to make themselves more powerful, but it's a bit boring if the end game gets drawn out even more than it has to.
    On the other hand, making it so you had to actually defend your city state allies could be interesting too.

    This is very interesting. I haven't played enough naval warfare to notice this. In the past, the AI has been much, much dumber on sea. Very good to hear that its better now (even if that just means throwing units at you).

    This has always been the case with Civ, and really with nearly every 4X game. BNW has actually done more than most to make the late game more interesting (with tourism and ideology) than we've had before in the Civ series.
     
  16. Deluxe

    Deluxe Warlord

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    I don't quite agree with this final statement. AIs are usually bad, in every game, because of the enormous complexity of creating them. Civ IV had, imo, better AIs than in Civ V, in term of diplomacy.
    Tactically speaking, that's another complete world. CivIV was way simpler for AI developper : build big stacks, move big stacks, crunch the ennemy. Civ V and its gameplay completely change how AIs manage warfare, in a pretty bad way. I can't stop laughing/crying when I see AIs charging again and again my tranched troops in a fortress+hill next to a city. A better tactical AI (and that's totally doable, this is far less complex -in a way- than a good diplomatic and strategic AI) would completly change the game.

    A simple example of what could have been done in civ, with the tactical AI, and difficulty level, is something similar the chess games.

    Dumb AI : Prepare next turn action (and does not remember what it saw the turn before)
    Stupid AI : Foresee actions 2 turns further (remembers troops it saw 2 turns before)
    Better AI : Prepare actions 5 turns further (remember 5 turns)

    Etc.

    This is simple example of how to make an IA "smarter". That can totally be done in Civ V, which is awesome (compared to Civ IV) and could be a total revolution.

    The strategic and diplomatic AI is way harder to conceive, I agree. But we can think of similar ideas :

    - Dumb AIs place so so cities, and don't optimize production
    - Best AIs place the best cities ever in term of ressources (which is actually not the case, even the biggest AIs cities are ... let say, not really good. But bonuses -again- compensate), prepare diplomatic relations hundreds turns in advance for warfare, choose a victory path AND can change it if they realise it's not possible, etc

    Frankly I hope they put more efforts into the AIs in Civ VI. I'm sick of fighting 4 years old kids which only advantage is being able to re-produce 10 times faster than me.

    Still, I agree, giving them bonuses is a necessity, at the higher levels, but I doubt that the AIs in civ are capable to do half of what I said before (even my examples of really dumb AIs).

    Again, I'm not sure.
    First, religion should have much more impact. There is almost no tensions due to religions, except between two really religious players. The religion system itself is a bid weird, imo, and should be tweaked (I would prefer 4 big religions, creating "alliances" and going to war again each others).
    Second, warmongers should still consider you as a prey. War should not totally be erased, and they still should act as crazy bastards. But you expect that from them.
    Third, big science/cultural civ should still compete with you, but in a more civilized way. There is the problem of the cultural victory, which is pretty stupid to achieve, imo (the peaceful civ going to war because there is ONE guy not under influence).

    I don't want to stop wars, wars are part of the game. But giving them reasons, meanings, would make them better.

    That's really hard to do. Actually I stopped trying to put AIs in my pocket a long time ago. That's way too hard, and not efficient. I don't recall the last time I managed to have a AIs signing a Defense pact, or, better, to attack someone else.
    Never ever managed to make them vote for me, even using diplomats (which are pretty useless).

    I think the late game is boring because you KNOW you are going to win, mainly because no one will try to stop you. Strangely, if the AIs are over aggressive at the beginning, they tend to do nothing after the industrial era (that's a general statement, I have played really active modern games).

    Imagine AIs trying to :

    - Buy CS because they see you have too much
    - Capture them (same reason)
    - Change their strategy and rush science to beat you in the space race, instead of doing ... nothing.

    Yes, I could have been beaten a hundred times by the AIs, considering their production bonuses, but I've seen AIs stopping wonders 2 turns before finishing, or stopping creating spaceship parts. I guess, that is some kind of "security", to allow the player to win against full bonuses AIs which could crush him if they were not limited.
    That's another big problem induced by bonuses. The game gives so many bonuses to the AIs, that it has to stop them from abusing of their power. Another point for smarter AI.
    As a result, you end up knowing you're gonna win. If they AIs were active, and tried to stop you, there would still be some challenge to win.

    It's hard to tweak. Maybe some AIs (your really close friends) should support you in your efforts, and be some kind of "winners". The others may do the same on their side, and we could see "teams".

    Not related, but the AI would stop putting stupid cities if cultural zones could expand/change side. I really think CEP should contain this.

    Considering there is nothing to change the battles (no forests, jungles, hills, moutains, etc) the AIs juste have to rush you, with all they have. Battles are terrible, and if you don't have a science advance you're pretty much doomed, because they will produce way more boat (and retreating/protection your boats is harder than on land).


    I agree, that's often the case in 4X games. I don't find this better :D.

    Ideology are not so interesting, except for the diplomacy tension they can create. They are way too similar, and not so different to cultural path. They could have created 3 more cultural paths, and put diplomatic variables linked to culture choices, the result would have been the same...

    Tourism, in the other hand, is really interesting on paper. I saw this as a new way to win, close to the cultural domination of Civ IV. But in reallity, if you are too small (compared to the AI) and not playing an expansionnist game, tourism domination is generally completely out of hand. There is also the classic problem : you dominate everyone, except one civ. You need to become a warmonger and kick its ass, to win by TOURISM. I don't follow the logic here.
    In general, if winning conditions are all different on paper, the way you will achieve them is usually the same : grow, steal techs, beat the AI in science, grow again. At this point, all victory scenarios are possible, you stop playing because you know you can buy all CSs, or build the spaceship, etc.


    EDIT : Here is an excellent link about that : http://forums.elementalgame.com/446730 . I think the guy explain some good reasons of why AIs are bad.
     
  17. stackpointer

    stackpointer King

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    As an aside, have you heard of the Civ IV Diplomacy Features Mod? You sound like you enjoyed Civ 4's diplomatic options more. Putmalk modifies a lot of the diplomacy options through DLL modding (which has it's own problems) and I haven't heard of anybody modding the AI's tactical behavior though.

    Otherwise, a lot of what you talk about seems to be out of the scope of this project.
     
  18. mitsho

    mitsho Deity

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    There's only so much we can do here.

    Many of the benefits of GEM haven't been reactivated, nearly all of which influence the whole rest of the game i.e. the gold spending code which means more upkeep = less gold. There's the "clear barb camps" issue as well, and so many others. So it's hard to judge right now, especially the late game where the small errors/problems of the early game get multiplicated.

    See f.e. the "AI is not finishing its victory" problem. That may be due to leader flavours, due to "not spending its gold" or due to the rolyeplaying factor. Do we want the AI to be competitive or "sane" (not play the game, but the role of a civilization, acting rationally). One runs into that problem all the time.

    Btw. I don't have any problem with Tourism Victory sometimes requiring some sort of military action, it changes things up a bit and is even less like "pushing the button for 50 turns". But that's not the point.

    There are some areas where we can influence the AI without giving them direct or obvious advantages/bonusses, but it's a continuous task. Sure, we can't make them better, but we can adjust the map to allow for more mobility (= less congestion), to rebuild more melee units (since they die more often than ranged ones), to increase visibility for the AI (so it can better calculate the units you have, and maybe even simulate "remember the last turns"). The problem though is that this is best done after the basic combat system and economic basis stands which is quite fluid for the moment still...

    I still think one of the best ways to boost the combat AI would be to require cities to be ~10 tiles apart to allow for manoeuvering inbetween the cities and the landscape and attack each city from the "right side". That of course would require much better computers and radically different economic base (more population, higher costs, etc ....).

    I don't think it helps us much right now to think what they could do for Civ6's AI. I mostly agree with you there, they need to find a combat system that works. Instead we need to find the small things that can make a big impact right now, like including in the Gold Spending System one that makes them spend on City States, no more snowball for you!

    (Diplomacy is very sensitive to touch right now, not sure how to tackle that beast...)
     
  19. Deluxe

    Deluxe Warlord

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    Sure, my remarks about tactical AI were here to illustrate what we can't, sadly, do. Sorry for the out-topic :).

    I totally agree with the minimum space between cities, which should be increased to allow land warfare to be more interesting/less about "wait for the AIs troops to come and die here, and then advance 1 tile closer. Repeat the operation".
     
  20. Myrion

    Myrion Chieftain

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    Glad to see many responses to this thread, altough the discussion derailed quite a bit.^^


    Ok, that answers my primary question.

    This was never about how aggressive the AI is, it was established right from the start, that this particular expression of aggression was justified, the problem was the priority (building units until negative GPT which almost never is a solid strategy for the long run) but since it hasn't been tackled yet I simply have to wait (and play on archipelagos^^). I just thought it would be good to mention it - BNW grants a boatload of extra GPT via trade routes, so this is an important issue.
     

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