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Civ VI is SO close to greatness - A call to the developers

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by Steve Eric Jordan, May 18, 2019.

  1. Archon_Wing

    Archon_Wing Vote for me or die

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    That's a lot of careful rhetoric for such a simple question.


    Oh same. I know from dealing with customers, and also being one. It's kinda senseless throwing credentials out there in a forum discussion, but lol, sure.

    It's a bit of irony that my previous statement actually did suggest that the AI in fact does work for some people's needs. In fact it was so nuanced nobody actually got it. So uhh, deal with nuance, or risk looking silly, maybe.

    I mean, like, we're talking bugs and actual flaws that are a bit more than preference. The AI being passive or active is a preference. The AI giving you all its gold for the great work you go.... not as much. And stuff like that is just dismissed with a "that's just ur opinion bro"? ; after all they did fix it, didn't they? That's hardly analogous to adding a pedestrian walkway to a bridge that was never ever intended to have one.

    Sure we could spend all day going through a philosophical debate of "it exists, therefore, it works" but if all you care about is arguing over definitions, then sure, go ahead. I could use another word like "bad" but I'm really just saying the same thing.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
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  2. Gedemon

    Gedemon Modder Moderator

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    There are 4,308 threads and 147,067 messages in the VP forum, care to be more specific ?
     
  3. ashendashin

    ashendashin Chieftain

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    Probably referring to the way AI handles decisions on higher difficulties. IIRC everything from Settler to King picks from 3-2 weighted options when making all sorts of decisions, while Emperor-Deity goes from 2-1 with 1 always being the highest weight. Loads of things affect the weight such as war, threat proximity, goals, relations, etc.. Meanwhile the vanilla AI largely works on flavors and goes all out on them. Hell I think there's a version of the narrowing options in vanilla but limited to flavors and buildings/policies.
    And, of course, the fact that the tactical AI is a hell of a lot better allows for a more sane amount of units across difficulties.

    Not sure if setting up that weighted system was ever easy though. But it's been in there for a long while.
    Oh and the most obvious difference in difficulty is that the AI bonuses ramp up over time instead of giving insane bonuses and handicaps straight away. But again, the AI had to be capable of playing the game for that to be done efficiently, and overall bonuses are lower. Really the easiest argument against the whole "but not everyone wants a competent AI because they don't wanna think about the opponent" is that it's a hell of a lot harder to make a competent AI than it is to make it accessible. There is no reason whatsoever to assume that you'd have to code entirely different opponents for something so malleable when considering the game rules.

    Edit:
    I wonder how many times I've repeated this...
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
  4. DJ_Tanner

    DJ_Tanner Chieftain

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    First off the Steam reviews are more positive than not, so, even if all the negativity was due to AI, then the community at large is still OK with the AI. That being said, there are plenty of Steam reviews that are far more mad at the DLC and pricing than any in game content, plus there is still all the review bombs from the EULA. On top of that, you have all the issues with selection bias that would go into understanding the reviews, which, while I would be interested by a deep dive into, need to be considered as well. For instance the average age of the Civ playerbase and how that impacts reviews and level of player, etc, etc. In a nutshell, as was mentioned before, Steam reviews are by no means a useless metric, but they are a far cry from being this pristine encapsulation of the majority or even the core playerbase. And while we are on the topic of selection bias, the AI is one of the biggest problems HERE. I don't know how many times it must be said, but the opinions on this forum do not speak to the majority of Civ players. This is a group that when the tile yields were first announced about 9 months out of release had no less than 10 separate threads dedicated to min maxing. A group that spent countless hours pouring over an out of focus blurry picture to guess at possible leaders for the game. This group is not normal, this is not who butters their bread. A group I am sure Friaxis loves to have, and would love nothing more than to please, but are most defiantly not their priority as their size nowhere near matches their fanaticism.

    But that is a typical online game complaint i read so many times before.
    People enjoy the game that has something you dislike, they must be bad at it. There is something that doesn't work the way you want it to, the devs must just be too lazy to make changes.
    Please stop doing that. Not everyone engages with the game the same way you do. Imperfections, faults, straight up bugs don't impact everyone the same way. So drastic changes to the AI are a very low priority to many players. That does not make them bad, it just means they don't run into the issues or find them as pressing as you do. As for the devs, I am sure they want to offer a "perfect" product, but that ain't gonna happen. You have made it clear you don't love how the AI wars, I am sure their team is aware of some issues, although I would doubt they find them to anywhere close to the level of extreme incompetence you feel they are at. They are most certainty doing their JOB, but if they were to drop everything to address the items you have that means they are unable to do the other things they were working on, such as other fixes to AI behaviors, supporting future development of AI for xpacs/leaders, etc. There are plenty of other things they can be working on other than your problems and if they take time to work on those, or hire a larger team to work on more items that is time/money that is not able to be used on other things. So yes, it does take something away.
     
  5. Tabarnak

    Tabarnak Pô Chi Min

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    MP games are at online speed. It helps the comeback part. You need production and gold to do it though.

    Even a noob human is more fun to play than the AI.
     
  6. darko82

    darko82 Chieftain

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    @DJ_Tanner "Steam reviews are more positive than not, so, even if all the negativity was due to AI, then the community at large is still OK with the AI."

    This is a wrong statement. The reviews are mixed. Besides, many people do not bother with Steam reviews. They just leave the game or do not buy it. Others hope it will get improved, so they wait (endlessly).
     
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  7. Gedemon

    Gedemon Modder Moderator

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    Thanks, and I do remember something like that in the code for the vanilla AI, but does it also apply to the combat AI?

    Sorry, it's my fault for not putting in bold the part that made me react: "make the AI more potent in war by option"

    I mean while having more or less units on the field is a big change when you play with multiple units per tile, with 1upt the tactical AI became the game changer.

    I understand that VP tactical AI is much better than vanilla civ5, but is it enough to be a challenge to most player in a situation where tactical forces are equals?

    And if that the case, can it scale down for less competent players?
     
  8. ashendashin

    ashendashin Chieftain

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    One thing that stands out in this thread is the acknowledgement that balance is also important. 1UPT doesn't only make the tactical ineptitude of the AI clearer than ever, it can also represent the overall status and capability of the opponent.
    When the game mechanics are more tightly intertwined, it makes it so the tactical side of things isn't all that matters. The quality and diplomatic position of your civ is further tied to your military capability in VP.

    Obviously VP doesn't have an AI that beats most players on equal footing. Tactics are still a way to get ahead. When things are improved and players get too frustrated, they sometimes ask for lowered AI handicaps.
    If a team were to one day make an AI capable of consistently beating players on equal footing in a game like Civ, they'd likely have no trouble adjusting balance in favor of the player. By that point ridiculous AI decisions wouldn't be as much of a problem as it is to create a balanced game. Right now Civ has both ridiculous balance and AI. They're not mutually exclusive, especially on the topic of 1UPT.

    The gist of what I'm saying is that there is no basis to the argument of an AI that's too good for Civ. The game's not designed for that and right now, wanting better AI won't make things worse for anyone since balancing is still worth considering.
     
  9. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    :nono: You are saying everything I write makes no sense and as many others have made sense of what I write I take that as a personal attack. And people who write no offence do offend, that’s exactly why they write that.

    When I write that the AI has no memory and you write back that computers have CPU and memory that’s like you are trying to invoke a poor reaction from me. Just not nice at all.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
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  10. Mahi

    Mahi Chieftain

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    I must agree that thinking more and more about the state of the AI in Civ VI it does feel more like an inbalance issue than an actual AI issue.
    Of course it's the most realistic and with rebillions it's even more realistic but there is a disconnect in the community, when people are discussing the problems of the AI. I find most people are complaining that the game does not give a challenge once you start snowballing/steamrolling, and I agree with them. The only solution to this is to enable players/computers to retaliate in some way. It may not be the most realistic but it is needed for the gameplay to stay interesting mid/late game. Or make rebellions more loyal to the original owner of the city and crank up rebellion mechanics in general. CiV 4: Legends of Revolution did a pretty good job with this.

    We can all agree that the AI could improve on the combat but there are just mechanics and balance issues that need to fixed before you can get an 'overall' better AI.

    I do agree with others in their view on the developers seem to not have their priorities straight. An improvement of combat AI should be possible. I mean, you can have computers beating the world's best chess players but you can't get a fairly good combat AI in civ? Why is that? Yes, chess only manage few parameters but, when it comes to pure combat it is the same in civ. So it bothers me that we now have the second civ game with 1UPT in the state of the second expansion, and the AI hasn't really improved since 1UPT were introduced. What hopes can the community possible have that the developes will EVER fix simple combat AI?

    What bothers me even more is the game design taken to improve the AI. The 1UPT was indeed to improve MP experience but it was in fact also a very big argument to improve the AI handling, and I can't seem to wonder where this improvement has gone? For now, it still seems like the Armies of Doom are the most reliable tactics the AI ever had.Same goes for the argument of allowing units to embark. The main reason for this was also to allow the AI to be more effective in naval combat but the AI is still as horrible as it ever was, when it comes to naval combat, making any maps with water focus a complete walkover for any human player.
     
  11. acluewithout

    acluewithout Warlord

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    Civ is currently an "easy"[0] game, where the developers handicap[1] the player at higher levels to add in challenge.

    It seems to me though that the trend in the video game market is the opposite - make the game very hard and challenging and then create lower levels that handicap the AI to make the game more accessible for more casual or novice players (eg assist mode).

    Civ VI would be a much better game for both dedicated players and more casual players if it took the later approach: ie a very hard game but that provided lots of assists to players that want or need it.

    Seems to me that FXS are trying to make the AI better, but it's taking some time. I actually think the reason for that is more likely that it's hard to get the AI right for various reasons - eg it's hard for FXS to iterate the AI compared to say Modders because they're busy working on rule / game changes and don't always really understand the current meta. I think it'll ultimately require a more stable rule set and more involvement from Modders (and I really don't think it's wrong it may require Modders - it's just recognising they will be in a better position for various reasons).

    In the meantime, what FXS should absolutely focus on is working on balance and mechanics[3], particularly where that would really help the AI (eg Rams, Seige), and really looking harder at AI bonuses (which should scale over the whole game, and also address things like resources, unique units).

    [0] I think Civ is easy once you learn the basics mechanics and a few meta. But I appreciate the game may be hard for new players until they've managed that.

    [1] I'm using handicap as a shorthand. Civ doesn't strictly handicap the player, it buffs the AI. But the player is handicapped relative to the AI's bonuses. An Assit Mode could do either - handicap the AI (a bit like what lower difficulty levels do to the AI currently) or by giving the player bonuses.

    [3] Which FXS have actually been doing. eg loyalty and grievances are new mechanics which are sort of designed to help the AI play "better", or at least more sensibly, and help further handicap the players. Resources and Natural Disasters are similar (generally, random elements favour the AI in a game because the AI will have bigger bonuses and is less likely to be strategic anyway so no plans to disrupt), but the former doesn't quite gel yet (too many things need Niter and Oil) and the later has create unanticipated problems (coastal cities are now even worse).
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
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  12. Archon_Wing

    Archon_Wing Vote for me or die

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    Well the thing here is that many players already do think Civ [any version] is a hard game. Many people do not play it to completion for one reason or another. But there are certainly many reasons, ranging from just playing Civ as a role playing game to just getting bored. But it's a game with a load of rules and sometimes unintuitive mechanics. Gaming has always been about an experience.

    You will see old timers going on and on about challenge, and sure there were challenging games in the past-- but there's a lot of selection bias. Many games were buggy messes that didn't work well. There was no way to patch them either. Games were also hard because it's a relic of the arcade era when they were designed to suck up their coins and the games that came on home systems were like that because well-- nobody knew any better. The harshness of older games like frequent game overs and limited checkpoints certainly had a charm, but for the most part that stuff doesn't fly for a modern audience and I've just grown to accept that this is how games evolve. It's now more like everyone should experience the content-- in full-- and beating the game is only the beginning. This is why games always come with achievements and challenge modes for the hardcore players to tackle.

    In a sense Civ was actually ahead of its time by doing that. Casual players could play on chieftain or whatnot, while experienced players could play harder. We had hardware limitations and honestly the developers may not have given a damn about balance to begin with and just wanted to make a novel game. But you know, back then, they didn't have a choice, and what we have here is just relics really. The super hard difficulties in older games were often just a joke/troll difficulty that regular people weren't supposed to beat or take seriously. But fast forward to here, and we have this.

    Now, this is neither here nor there. When I did an AI mod for Starcraft (yes, i kNOW iT iS tOTALLY dIFFERENT), my testers pretty much knew that there was no way in hell the limited mods could ever challenge a competent player. But what they were just looking for was something that could possibly provide a surprise every now and then and try to play the game. Not in a sense of being a placeholder but it gave off the perspective of working well Yes there are people that want an opponent that can abuse every tactic it has, and break their balls every game. I'm actually not one of these people, and as selfish as it is, I don't actually care.

    But that's just how I view challenge and gameplay. I know it's not the only way to view it, but I think it's worked very well. Why? Well, I'm still actually playing this game. And honestly, I seem to be enjoying a lot more than many, though I could be wrong since tone is hard to tell.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
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  13. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    I'm not the only one mentioning real-life accomplishments in this thread, haha. It's not really a brag to say "all of my immediate family are probably better at cooking than me" anyway ;)

    Anyway, cool, the AI works. Does that mean we're going to see less generalisations about the people who defend the AI / game / Firaxis? I don't think anyone here is arguing the AI should never be improved, and I don't think anyone is saying that the existing bugs with the AI aren't bugs.

    Firaxis do a pass on the AI pretty much every patch. I don't think anyone can agree that they don't, even if everything doesn't always work out perfectly. So what are you trying to argue here? That the AI could use more work? Sure! But is that realistic? Doubtful. This has turned into a glorified rehash of every AI topic that has come before, with the unfortunate addition of digs against people who happen to end up on the side of defending the game.

    The statistics speak according to whomever presents them. I even explicitly said that reviews do matter. They're just not the be-all-and-end-all.

    That said, I don't think it's worth anybody's time to drag this out with someone who thinks the posts here are from people "defending Firaxis with their lives". This doesn't speak to a good-faith argument, and I don't want to escalate this any further.
     
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  14. acluewithout

    acluewithout Warlord

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    @Archon_Wing Really good post.

    I agree with your point about the move from arcade to home video games.

    But Arcade games had a particular pacing and a particular kind of hardness. Arcade games usually have various stretches of easy, punctuated by sudden hardness. This makes sense - get you playing, then kill you once it gets exciting, so you want to and do put in more coins to continue, then reward you by giving you another easy stretch - rinse repeat. There are exceptions to this, but this is basically the idea.

    That dynamic makes no sense for home gaming. And the trend has been for some time for home games to be easy - and play longer, provide more depth or open ended play - which recognises people play home games in a more relaxed way.

    But I also think there has been a trend for games to be harder, precisely because games are played at home. People do have time to devote to games and, as they become a bigger part of their lives, they want more from those games. Think Dark Souls or Celeste.

    Or, you know. Maybe I'm wrong.

    My feeling though is that Civ would win more players being a hard game with options for making it easier for those that don't want the heavy challenge, than it would being an easy game that tries to ratchet up difficulty for more experienced / dedicated players.
     
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  15. Archon_Wing

    Archon_Wing Vote for me or die

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    Ah, that's almost like how casinos work. The allure of the chance of winning is the most exciting part. It's sorta like how nobody will throw away tons of money trying to beat a professional chess player vs playing against poker veterans. Even the most degenerate gambler knows they're just not going to get lucky at Chess. Incidentally, Chess AI....


    Yea, game makers knew that. Many a veteran player just started calling people "casuals" while living in the past. :p


    Yea, but as is, I think they'll be a bit niche; perhaps a strong one.

    Well, Civ 4 had a lot of casual friendly features that outright let you automate a lot of the "unfun" stuff. I think that helped solve a lot of frustraiton issues. But yes, it's probably better to build from top to down since it's much easier to conceive of a "super easy" mode anyways.
     
  16. acluewithout

    acluewithout Warlord

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    @Archon_Wing Yeah, I could be wrong about the modern trend towards hardness. Games like Celeste or Cup Head are maybe more niche than I'm giving them credit for. Maybe FXS do intend Civ to be "easy", and maybe that's actually the smart way to design it in terms of sales. I'm largely guessing either way - but the fact FXS do take a pass at the AI every patch suggests to me that don't actually mean for the AI to be rubbish or think it's not a priority at all (for what that's worth).

    I'm really interested to see if the next patch moves the needle on balance issues and overall difficulty. It might, although my guess is it probably won't.
     
  17. Archon_Wing

    Archon_Wing Vote for me or die

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    My guess is that it'll be the 3rd expansion that works on diplomacy and behavior. I'm not really sure if it'll really satisfy those folks that really want an unbeatable deity level or whatever. Doing that is going to have to require the entire system to change-- tech and civic pace has to be slower, and I imagine there are many that really don't want that either.
     
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  18. Mahi

    Mahi Chieftain

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    F.... that. If the feeling is that another expansion is needed before diplomacy and balancing issues are adressed I won't be buying GS. So far, I've been waiting for GS to go on sales since I already have put out ~100€ for this game with R&F. I'm not buying another inclomplete expansion pack with the excuse of creating a new one to "fix" current issues.
    Maybe it's just time to boykot Civ. I have a handful of friends, who I play civ V with in MP and I have adviced them not to buy Civ 6 yet as the game still feels incomplete. The current business model from FXS is apparently to crab all over its loyal community.
    Seriously, we need to start admitting Civ VI is a massive fudge up. And worse, its quite possible it was done intentionally in order to pump out more expansion packs.
     
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  19. acluewithout

    acluewithout Warlord

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    I don't think that's where we are.

    Civ VI post GS is a really good game.

    There's really just some balancing issues, which really only bite if you're particularly focused on certain strategies or Civs (colonial cities, coastal cities, England etc). Sadly, I am.

    There are mods that address a lot of theses issues, although, again, sadly none of these mods really tick the box for me.

    Fix the balance issues, and the game would actually play pretty smoothly even though the AI is not the best.

    Games just have very long development cycles now. You don't have to like it - I certainly don't -but it's how things are. And it's not because anyone is acting in bad faith - it's just a product of a bunch of market factors (eg stagnate game prices, niche games v mainstream, increasing expectations of consumers).
     
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  20. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    do not disagree. But it also has some great concepts which feel new and refreshing.
    I do not feel the company is quite that bad, likely more the game is compromised in areas to make it more appealing.
    Agreed
     
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