Don't understand AI's "place city" logic. What am I missing?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by jpinard, Aug 11, 2007.

  1. jpinard

    jpinard Martian

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    Whoa. Some amazing discussion here. What I don't understand is why the massive focus on food? I thought my biggest problem would be hammers/production. Maybe my strategy has beenw rong all along... but later in this game I found another spot the AI suggested and it only had a single hammery tile, the rest all food/commerce. Isn't that kind of useless for a city?
     
  2. Chiyochan

    Chiyochan King

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    only if you plan to have that city build anything.
     
  3. Yzman

    Yzman Deity

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    This topic amazes me...I am still not very good at predicting what I should do to a tile or how well a city will end up being.
     
  4. mnf

    mnf King

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    Low hammer and high food means Slavery and the whip!

    Back on topic, the blue circles are often wrong or just plain stupid, one should treat it as a suggestion (which is exactly what it is) since it doesn't know what the player has in mind.

    That said, I also sometimes get what Eiba has, where the blue circle ends up next to where I wanted to settle. When this happens, I stop and compare the two sites and more often than not the blue circle ends up better.

    Now food is important because it allows you to work your plots and feed your specialists. When you're looking at a site with low food to start, then plots that you can't work (due to not having enough food) would be useless. That's why one needs to know how much food a city has, and then from there, we can decide what to do with the city and its plots.

    One very special case is the National Park. You get the free specialist from forest preserves without needing to work the forest. Makes a tundra forest city rather attractive now.
     
  5. Artie

    Artie Chieftain

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    I think one has to consider what his intentions for that city are. Like someone suggested it seems best to look at the potential site the food potentially available and then decide what to do with said city. In this case IF you are looking to found a production city this is not a great place because you wont be able to work all the tiles because of lack of food. However move over the one tile and found a commerce GP city and you can easily feed all the tiles. With as someone pointed out only the one ocean tile which will become 2f 1g. But you are giving up the fresh water.

    edit: I think I need to reread and relook at this topic several times until it sticks in my head because I usually don't think that hard about where to found my city and this one topic illustrates how to select a city spot very well it would seem.
     
  6. JoeBlade

    JoeBlade Warlord

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    I'm with the OP's on this one. While simple maths might suggest the blue circle (and even that depends on the type of calculation) the tile next to it makes much more sense when considered more carefully.
    To me it's a matter of marginal, short-term benefits versus long-term gains, and the algorithm apparently considers only the former which is, IMO, its biggest flaw.
    What good would the blue circle city be? GP farm/specialist city? Not by a long shot, food is far too scarce. Production city? The OP's position is infinitely superior for that purpose. That leaves a commerce-geared city and while it's true the blue circle would allow for 9 cottages there's too little food to work all of them, some of the tiles would need to be converted to farms. That would make for a very mediocre commerce city indeed.
    Moreover, to muster any hopes of building anything worthwhile with that stone production is an absolute priority as stone-based wonders are generally darned expensive. As such grabbing those additional plains hills makes even more sense (one shouldn't count on founding an alternative production site quickly enough at this point)

    I had hoped the algorithms would've improved with BtS (which I haven't purchased yet) but apparently the abundance of previous flaws is still present :mad:. Some points need addressing ASAP:
    - Tiles should be judged based on their potential as well as or - failing that - instead of their immediate value. The latter makes sense for 50 turns at most, the former for the remainder of the game.
    Especially nonsense such as settling on a (workable) gold hill or on the sole hammer source in the vicinity of a city needs to go.
    - Ocean tiles are *always* inferior to grassland and plains tiles (whether forested or not) I've seen capitals that could easily have swapped several ocean tiles for workable ones without any other losses. That's dramatic that is.
    - Added defence bonus of hills should be drastically devalued in the algorithm. It should only be a consideration when all other factors are equal.
    Granted, the computer-controlled cities are slightly more likely to be attacked (by players). I don't want civs that try to hamper player progress as much as possible though, I want civs that act as if they are realisticly pursuing victory. The algorithm's obsession with the defence bonus often impedes that.
    - Ditto with fresh water access. It's ONE extra health, why does the algorithm attach such enormous value to it?
    - Hammers are absolutely undervalued by the algorithm, I sometimes think it doesn't consider them at all. I've never seen a computer-controlled CIV create a decent production city.
    - Overlapped resources should count for far less than free ones, especially when they're part of a different civ's territory. Civs voluntarily incurring close borders diplomatic penalties by settling right next to cultural borders for aforementioned reason is a nuisance and nothing else.
    - Finally, the jumping through hoops to acquire additional resources is outright sad at times. Trading 6+ workable tiles for useless ones or ocean tiles merely to get one clam/crab in the city borders is not a good decision. The one exception would be when it's the sole resource of that type in the vicinity and there's really no other way of acquiring it.
    Likewise with the settling of cities on the far side of a continent merely because it would net one more resource. Strategic ones I could understand, but another dye when the civ in question already has 6? Um, no.

    Err, okay, rant over then :crazyeye:
     
  7. Bad Brett

    Bad Brett King

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    I always search for blue circles when I expand. If there's a lot of undiscovered land, the blue circle can help you revealing resourced. If it's located in what at first site looks like a real stupid place, then there's almost always a fish or somehting that you can't see yet.

    Of course, if I wasn't so lazy with the early scouting, there would be no use doing this. :blush:
     
  8. mnf

    mnf King

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    If I remember correctly, Blake said that the blue circles can't see under the fog. That is, it decides using only what you can see as well. So relying on the blue circles to indicate resources under the fog would be a mistake. If you do find it, it's most probably a coincidence.
     
  9. JoeBlade

    JoeBlade Warlord

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    @mnf: isn't the general city placement algorithm different from the capital-founding one in precisely that respect? I.e. that blue circles normally aren't 'aware' of hidden resources, but they do take hidden resources into account for the initial starting position (and thus suggested capital location)?

    I remember reading that somewhere, and the v2.08 patch notes - which introduced the new algorithm - mentioned "increased chance of discovering strategic resources in the capital's radius" IIRC, which would confirm that indirectly.
     
  10. jpinard

    jpinard Martian

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    You guys just inadvertanly nailed something I'd totally missed in this game... specialist cities.
    I've been trying to make all my cities balanced... ala Civ III. I was re-reading Soren's notes from the original Civ IV manual and didn't quite understand what he meant on specialized cities. After all, what good is a city that just produces food and commerce? I guess I need to find out... and that's what I should have been doing with some of my cities.

    But I do have to ask... if you specialize your cities and want to make a super-hammer city. Wouldn't that be difficult since you need a lot of food for growth?
     
  11. Andy06r

    Andy06r Chieftain

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    Yes and no - production cities always have low food, but each tile produces more hammers (in fact, I did the math and if you settle at the settlers location and mine the hills and farm the plains, you come out slightly ahead in production). The tradeoff is the city can't grow as well and often production and commerce are mutually exclusive (do I want a forest for health when I get the forge, or do I want a cottage?).

    One thing you should consider though is the civic "Beaucracy". This gives a +50% bonus to hammer and commerce productions in your capital city.

    If I want a beaucracy capital I generally try to be a hybrid city (this is my opinion, someone might prove me wrong) ... getting a more of both commerce and production. While it might not be as wealthy as a commerce city or as industrialized as a production city, you get more mileage from the civic itself.

    Founding directly on the stone still gives you some production (its about 6 hammers behind the settler's tile) but a lot more commerce (it can build 5-7 cottages compared the settler's location of 0-3). My playing style would dictate I build on the stone because it balanced the #'s better, giving me both a bunch of hammers and commerce, instead of a lot of just one.

    And yes ... the AI does value hills a lot. Whoever said that +25% defense should be weighted lower ... what? If you found on a hill you get +25% that can never be bombared. If you found next to the hill, an attacking stack will use the hill against you.
     
  12. mnf

    mnf King

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    JoeBlade:

    I'm not sure they're different. But I know that the reason why you're likely to find strategic resources close to the starting location, is because the map generator runs a "correction routine" for starting locations, so that you don't start too badly. There was a time when you'd used to get some grassland tiles in the middle of nowhere, I think, and that was due to this correction effect.

    jpinard:

    Specialization is good, because you don't have to build every building in every city. You don't need banks and universities in the production city, allowing you to concentrate on getting up a good army there; and you don't need to build barracks and stables in your commerce city, instead you can just build markets and banks, libraries and universities. This means each city is better at what it does, and you get your job done faster, more efficiently.

    Of course you'll always get some cities that simply aren't star cities due to the terrain.
     
  13. Antilogic

    Antilogic --

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    From what I understand, you are "guaranteed" to have an early strategic resource somewhere around your capital location (within 4 or 5 tiles in some direction)--either horses, iron, or copper. However, the blue circles cannot see under the fog and neither can they see resources that you can't see. However, your "capital blue circle placement" is the same as any other "blue circle placement".
     
  14. DrewBledsoe

    DrewBledsoe Veteran QB

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    Im now racking my memory to see if that's true for huge maps too. It definetly wasn't for warlords, I'm not sure for BTS......
     
  15. Antilogic

    Antilogic --

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    I think it was from the patch, v2.08. I haven't looked it up, though, so the features list will probably make a liar out of me. ;)
     
  16. mnf

    mnf King

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    You can add Ivory to that list. I've just had a game with iron two cities away, copper three cities away, horses two cities away, and I was left to play with my elephants. :(

    (And what do you know, I bee-lined to Gunpowder and halfway through Education I got Iron to pop in my capital...)

    This was a Big_and_Small Standard map.
     
  17. Ani

    Ani Chieftain

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    The diference in land squares in the two diferent spots is only 1 tile. So if you start on the hill you lose 1 land tile. What you get is a bit better start production and acces to stone at once. If you are going for stonehenge, pyramids or similar i would recomend the hill. (You lose some production in the long run, but get a fast start)
     
  18. BriGuy20

    BriGuy20 Chieftain

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    I'd say build on the blue square. Of course, I'm a Dutch waterfront moneywhore, so that could be me being a bit partial. :)

    EDIT: Seems a good candidate for Moai Statues.
     
  19. IronCrown

    IronCrown Black Foe of the World

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    Well, I had a BtS game with no iron, horse, copper or ivory in my half of the continent, so I guess I should sue them ;)
     
  20. Morty

    Morty Prince

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    As a new poster, this is a really useful and thought provoking thread. It's also beginning to explain why I'm stuck on Warlord level. :(

    Anyway...

    1) I've always started my capital city in the initial location of my settler, as I've thought its best to get a city (and production) started rather than moving around the landscape trying to decide if elsewhere is better.
    2) For other cities, I reckon I take the blue circles about 70% of the time. But I think my logic for not choosing a blue circle sucks and I need to take some ideas of this thread on board. :yup:
    3) City specialisation - now there's something I haven't got my head around yet!! :confused: I think I need to spend more time reading this forum and the War Academy!! :blush:
     

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