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[GS] Devs discuss AI, World Congress and other things

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by acluewithout, Jul 10, 2019.

  1. PhilBowles

    PhilBowles Warlord

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    Well, not exactly. The developer's complaint was that the older games didn't "play the game". His position on the change in design can be better-summarised as going from "AI that tries to stop the human from winning the game" (I-IV) to "AI that tries to win the game" (V-VI). The point remains that the I-IV approach is both more efficient from a coding/manhours perspective - since its much easier to do with a bad AI - and in practice. Why they've settled on a system that takes more developer effort to code in terms of AI sophistication but produces worse results because the AI has the wrong goal is baffling.

    To put this in context, I actually defended this approach in Civ V and I enjoyed the fact that that game gave me some of the best late-game peaceful challenges in the series, since the AI would sometimes win and could be sneaky about it at times (I have memories of sessions where my diplo victory was actively disrupted by AIs conquering my city states as I approached victory) in what seemed targeted behaviour), so the idea of making the AI try to win is not without merit - but that should not be its primary goal. It should not, as Civ VI does, just treat the human as another AI player and ignore it in favour of rushing their own attempt at victory, since the AI is not going to win a race against anyone who isn't either inexperienced or deliberately handicapping themselves.

    I wasn't aware of those bonuses. The problem with a percentile bonus like that in Civ VI may be that, without something like the slider to give them science and culture from tiles and with specialist resources locked behind districts, they develop cities too inefficiently to gain very much of a boost. Also, the AI is not good at amenity management and the -% modifier from that offsets some of this bonus.

    Those sorts of bonuses could matter in Civ games where production was specialised, and Civ IV's paint-by-numbers approach was the most extreme in the series in that regard (build all the stuff that produces bulbs or multiplies bulbs in the same place and, voila, you have a science city). I found that simplistic and unsatisfactory as a player, but it's very AI-friendly.. Civ VI doesn't strongly reward city specialisation - generally a city with hills and a river is better than one without for pretty much everything and no individual resource can be boosted beyond the third tier. You don't have the food-settler link or specialists to make 'Great People Cities' akin to Civ IV.

    Look at the table in the link - the AI gets percentage-based discounts on nearly all forms of production, and since costs increase over time so does the discount in terms of individual hammers, gold etc. This is more effective than a + modifier on production, since the latter doesn't do anything meaningful in a city that has low production of that resource, but a fixed cost is always going to be lower - even in a low production city you save the same 20 hammers off a 100 hammer item that you would in a high production one.

    Every game in the series has done that. The Civ IV link lists the AI free techs and units it received at the start above those the player did. The issue is that in Civ VI that's most of what the AI gets (I'd previously thought it was all of it, hence this comment) - it doesn't get much that helps it once the human threatens to overcome its early advantage, and it can't capitalise on that early advantage well.

    There's a row in the Civ V difficulty summary for "Production free units per city". I don't recall the exact mechanism described on the Civ V forum, but it may be that the new units were spawned when the AI settled cities.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2019
  2. Gedemon

    Gedemon Modder Moderator

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    My own felling is more that "playing the game" was what the AI was doing in civ1-4, "AI that tries to stop the human from winning the game" was what the players asked before civ5, and, by a terrible misunderstanding we ended up with an "AI that tries to win the game".

    And it's possible that they may have shoot themselves their AI in the foot by settings the % bonuses this way for civ6 but it's not fundamentally different than for previous version, it's the same mechanism, starting tech/units bonuses and +x% of this or that yield for the whole game.

    About the free techs, exactly, "every game in the series has done that" (well at least 4-5-6), that's my point, again, nothing fundamental changed.

    About "Production free units per city" in civ5, this is a maintenance parameter, used to calculate at which point you're going to have some production penalties applied on your cities. But that "maintenance value" required before the penalty was applied was so high that the human player rarely reached it (for that one I don't need to refer to some vague memory of the code, because I actually modified it a bit to give it a real meaning for he human in my WWII mod)
     
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  3. Casworon

    Casworon Chieftain

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    Here's a cool talk about 4x AI by Soren Johnson if you guys hadn't seen it



    It seems in earlier versions of civ they did have AI that tried to stop the player from winning. But that it received lots of backlash so they removed it. Sad since i would have liked to have kept that in.

    It also happened in civ VI with the 'close to winning' modifier. I thought it was a good change but it was removed due to backlash. Roleplaying players hated how it made your allies suddenly hate you because you where cultured, or advancing into space despite being friendly with them the whole game.

    Though it also didn't entirely work in terms of making the AI stop the player, since it would make the AI not like you and denounce you but not actually declare war or do anything to stop you. Just scowled at you while you won
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2019
  4. Dearmad

    Dearmad Dead weight

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    Who are these "playtesters!"

    And btw this sort of ai is included in some games like GalCiv3. They get angry at you once they detect you trying to win and even mention it in the diplo modifiers. Like --- because you are trying to Ascend.

    I love it.

    And BTW the developers are lying if they say they developed this wonderful winning AI but had to yank it out because boo hoo... if that were true, they'd include it as a DLC for $10 or more so for those of us who actually wanted to PLAY A GOOD GAME!!! could do so...

    And they would snag the extra money...

    Liars. That's really disrespectful for them to portray the situation in such a false way, truly insulting of us to make up a story like that.

    Oh and Sid Meier's fudging with the random numbers theory of game manipulation is such another crock. He is such a panderer. Instead of designing a statistical situation mechanic (which he has proven incompetent at- his actual game design is piss poor and plays on people's ignorance of game designs and game design history, he's simply plundered) he just yanks numbers out of his ass to "please" the player... so then when players run into a truly random number generator used in a game (like Blood Bowl which I LOVE) they get all wimpy and can't handle the game "cheating." ... grow up.

    Sid has helped contribute to ruining good PC strategy and set-piece game design. He truly has in a very insidious way most people are unaware of.

    Moderator Action: Edited to remove profanity and autocensor evasions. Please review and comply with our rules regarding use of inappropriate language. Browd
    Please read the forum rules: http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=422889
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 31, 2019
  5. PhilBowles

    PhilBowles Warlord

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    Civ V started life with the same diplo modifier ("You're going for the same victory condition"), but it was removed because players disliked it. So there's likely something to the notion that people pushed back against an AI with an overt agenda to stop the player winning (even if in practice that's what most games in the series have been about - in most, the AI either conquered you sooner or later or it lost).

    I haven't the faintest idea what you're saying here and haven't watched the video that seems to have inspired this rant, but I take it you realise that the video was about Civ IV - not about the current game's AI? What's more, Sid Meier hasn't been directly involved in the development of a Civ game since Civ I, and hasn't had any real involvement in the series since Civ II. Although he did later engage in some revisionism, having acknowledged in the original manual that Civ was inspired and partially based on the Avalon Hill game and later denying exactly that, he didn't originally make any effort to deny credit to the game that influenced Civ.
     
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  6. Dearmad

    Dearmad Dead weight

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    He was referring not just to CIV IV. That was a specific use he did of it. It's how how he has designed "games." And it's part of the Firaxis game developing style they have due to him. It permeates just about everything they do. What he fails to realize is that it makes designing an actual game impossible. It leaves only designing some sort of interactive exprience. It's more like complicated movie making than game design. Paradox is ahead of them on that front. And Games like GalCiv are ahead of them in the "game" department.

    Sid congratulates himself and thinks he is a game designer. He is not. He's an ok producer who's had some good talent beside and under him for that part.

    I'm bitter because it's only after heavy, heavy modding work and digging into this game (VI) that I have come to realize that this avalanche has won and it's over. The producers of Civ don't care to make a game. Also, I guess I got really disgusted with realizing they just flat out lie about their developing an AI that worked but we're just too namby to handle it.

    Yeah right.
    Anyway interactive experiences like CKII, or EUIV, or whatever are GREAT for what they are and I love them too- CKII especially. But I've been trying to get CIV VI to be a game for years here, and- blech.

    Oh and I am aware of his "limited" involvement in the latest iterations. I am talking about the initial inception of Civ and how mediocre it is in its contemporary environment of game design. It was just on a PC and that blazed a trail. However the game design? Whatevs... people were playing empire and other things since forever.

    What you may not be aware of is the tyranny of his name and presence in a "game designing" studio which becomes defacto kowtowing to his taste and preferences. ICK!
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2019
  7. Zuizgond

    Zuizgond Chieftain

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    Yes.
     
  8. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    I ask because my mind always questions recall and rationale.
    I imagine as he worked on the game as his job his recall is sound. You tend not to forget such a significant shift.
    So if it is incorrect what reason has he for stating so, especially as he is still ‘branded’ Firaxis.
    It is this motive that stumps me, any benefit it lying considering the code is out there is far outweighed by the negatives it brings so I just feel currently they are not lying/misleading.
    But if you have all seen the code then surely someone would have noticed.
    The easy coding bump up the AI to give a challenge makes perfect sense to me while I see civ IV fanatics as feeling hurt and defensive by the statement, all quite natural.
    Is the code viewable anywhere? Just how big is it?
     
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  9. Casworon

    Casworon Chieftain

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    Yeah it is very odd.

    But i think he is wrong. I know in Civ IV the AI got very large reductions in their unit upgrade costs but i am not sure about free units. It's very possible the developer joined Firaxis during the development of Civ V and VI.

    Though tbh i am now 100% into my reducing the number of turns avaliable as a way to improve difficulty.

    Looking back at Shogun 2 total war it had not only an AI difficulty setting but also a number of turns avaliable setting. It also had 'realm divide' where once the player got to a certain strength (the point at which they would start to snowball) all the remaining AI players would join forces and declare war on them. It's intersting that during the video i linked he mentioned that the earlier civ games also had all the AI declaring war on the player in unison after a certain point in the game was reached.

    It seems that in 4x game design there are three main ways to provide challenge to the player. AI opponents, a turn limit and a scripted late game crisis. The genre has moved away from using turn limits and scripted late game crisis's due to player feedback over time. The more roleplay focused players not liking these features. Some of the most popular mods for Shogun 2 where ones that removed the time limit and the realm divide 'all AI join against you' crisis. And future Total war games have completely removed the turn limit feature.

    It seems at the moment that Civ VI currently only has one of the three with AI opponents. Though its also possible to add a time limit through advanced settings. It would be cool to have the option to toggle a 'late game crisis' in the same way. For example i was happy with the 'player is close to winning' modifier but it was removed completely due to player feedback. Would be nice if it was included again as a toggle in the advanced options. Or perhaps some other optional late game crisis. Might send Ed beach a message on Twitter
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2019
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  10. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    It does seem like the best challenge on offer for me also but I struggle with the micro. I just like to play fast and as efficiently as I can at that speed.
    The IV thing is a side issue for me but because the ‘AI is crap’ team have been banging on our forum is is quite an interesting comment to throw into the mix. I personally have nothing wrong with an AI getting extra units if it makes it more challenging but there is something honest in trying to make the game play fair, a fine aspiration.
     
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  11. Gedemon

    Gedemon Modder Moderator

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    I've said that I think he is wrong (unless I've really misunderstood his statement), but that doesn't mean he was lying or trying to hide something.

    It really could have been a genuine statement without involving lost memory: part of the civ6 development team joined Firaxis after civ5, and they may not have needed to look at the civ4 code. He's maybe one of the "new" people working at Firaxis.

    And as there was a real change in AI coding for its behavior ("playing like humans") between civ4 and civ5, on top of rules change making it more difficult to develop, internal discussions could have lead to a confusion between that and the way difficulty level are actually applied in various versions of the game.

    As for the code, for civ5 you'll find it here:
    https://github.com/Gedemon/Civ5-DLL/tree/master/CvGameCoreDLL_Expansion2

    For civ4 I think it's still here:
    http://www.civ4.com/download.htm
     
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  12. Casworon

    Casworon Chieftain

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    It does dramatically change the way the game i play the game atleast and its breaking me out of the autopilot way i played before. Without having to worry about AI performance to provide challenge.

    Looking at possible late game crisis ideas the only one i can really think about that would work from a narrative point of view though probably not a politically sensitive one is terrorism being added. Barbarian controlled spies that attack you in greater and greater numbers the closer to victory you get. But this is really cutting close to the bone with increasing terrorism of all kinds seeming to be one of the worlds greatest challenges moving forward. As well as being a deeply politically sensitive topic.

    It would also probably lead to a need to rebalance the number of spies a player can field so they have more avaliable for counter spying.

    Could be a cool idea for a mod if i ever get around to learning scripting.
     
  13. MrRadar

    MrRadar Chieftain

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    Civ IV Manual has a small passage on what AI gets for free:
    >
    AI Freebies
    On the higher difficulty levels, the AI begins receiving extra units to start the game. Notable jumps in difficulty come from the free worker that the AI civs start with on Monarch, the 2 free workers they get on Immortal, and the free settler they get on Deity.The AI civs also start with additional technologies on the higher difficulties
    <

    Only thing I heard AI got magically for free were Wonders in the original Civ 1.
     
  14. Deliverator

    Deliverator Graphical Hackificator

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    With Civ 4 the AI only gets free units and techs at the start of the game, not during the game.

    See here for the free units at start:

    Spoiler :

    upload_2019-8-1_15-25-25.png


    For example on Immortal it gets these specific Techs free at the start (from CIV4HandicapInfo.xml):

    Code:
    <FreeTechs/>
    <AIFreeTechs>
    <FreeTech>
    <TechType>TECH_AGRICULTURE</TechType>
    <bFreeTech>1</bFreeTech>
    </FreeTech>
    <FreeTech>
    <TechType>TECH_HUNTING</TechType>
    <bFreeTech>1</bFreeTech>
    </FreeTech>
    <FreeTech>
    <TechType>TECH_ARCHERY</TechType>
    <bFreeTech>1</bFreeTech>
    </FreeTech>
    </AIFreeTechs>
     
  15. CivLuvah

    CivLuvah Warlord

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    Compared to Civ6 I've found those interactive experiences to be too overwhelming; so overwhelming I'm still trying to wrap my brain around them, but alas to no avail. I guess I'm just a "dumb" player; too "dumb" to understand a game that completely, utterly changes every month from release. :crazyeye:
     
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  16. Dearmad

    Dearmad Dead weight

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    LOL I hear you man. Had I not played CKI and then CKII from the beginning and then as each DLC got released continued on, I. Would. Not. Know. W. T. F. Was. Going. On. At. All!

    The secret is that the stats and how they play out under the hood are a lot more shallow than you imagine. It's more about weaving your own narrative tale to explain some of the things that occur, and then trying to manipulate the few key events involved. With some armies swirling around the mix.
     
  17. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    Yes yes, I have played civ IV, give me some credit.
    The dev talked about units and both civ 4 & 6 give units but he said that this was a change between the two, that in 4 you just gave the AI more units while in 6 it has to build them legitimately. I am tempted to look through the code TBH.... but the SDK download times out
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2019
  18. Gedemon

    Gedemon Modder Moderator

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    then this one maybe:
    https://forums.civfanatics.com/resources/cvgamecodedll-c-source-code-files-bts-3-19.16274/
     
  19. IntoTheSky

    IntoTheSky Chieftain

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    No, this whole point is a HUGE lie by devs.
    I see they just started lying to people. How pathetic. AI "cheating" in IV - ROFL !
    Yes, it was cheating - like building mines , and using units in proper way.

    I'm shocked that Civ VI still has any community at all.
    This is not a game, its just a huge , colourful "clickbait" .
    Also, you are now discussing some World Congress problems , amazing. Meanwhile , AI can't use units , can't upgrade terrain , makes war and tries to loose it ASAP and pay you as much as possible for it , etc etc etc.

    Civ VI must be destroyed, abandoned! Devs need to go and find some other job.
    Civ VII is the only hope for this series which I play since 1992 .
     
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  20. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    That's your view, it is sad when something you love becomes corrupt in your eyes.
    Still, there is a thriving community that enjoy the game and good sales.
    The game may not be what you want but it is clearly pleasing many others.
    For what it's worth I burnt the Civ IV disks after a couple of months of playing and prayed civ V would be different so there is hope for you yet.

    @Gedemon TX for the code... not easy but spending an hour a day trying to get my head around it. Maybe what they said has been misunderstood or poorly worded. regardless its something different and work is quiet.
     
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