How do you speed up your game?

Discussion in 'Civ3 - Game of the Month' started by Jove, Dec 15, 2004.

  1. Jove

    Jove Not Lacking Altitude

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    I've never started a thread before, so I hope this is a worthy topic not already covered elsewhere. With the recent addition of COTMs and after last month's experience with a time-consuming Deity game, I've noticed that I don't have time to submit all the games I want. Many others seem to be having the same experience. For me at least, the problem isn't the scenarios, but that my games take Forever to finish. I don't use utilities to speed things up and never tried to go fast. Maybe I should. So, before somebody else shelves a gotm they can't finish, wouldn't it be great to collect in one place everything a civver needs to know reduce their elapsed time? Strategies, programs, anything that works.
     
  2. mad-bax

    mad-bax Deity GOTM Staff

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    Unfortunately, most of the things that you can do to play faster, make you play worse IMO. Automating workers, using governors, using pre-set build queues, not using a utility like CivAssist or Dianthus' Crp utilities, not MM'ing will all reduce the quality of your play.

    About the only thing I do if I am short of time is to shoot for a conquest or domination victory since they reduce the number of turns played if you play well.

    You can also press the "SHIFT" key in between turns to speed things up a bit when there are a lot of units around.

    The hardest thing (for me) is to find a two or three hour stretch that I can play undisturbed. Having to stop and start, sometimes days apart, makes it difficult for me to pick up the thread of the game again. But that's mainly because I'm getting old. :(
     
  3. a space oddity

    a space oddity Deity GOTM Staff

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    Emphasis is mine.

    I find that the utilities save time rather than cost it. What I've started to do is leave off making notes. I'm afraid the thing that helps best, is pick and choose the game you want to play and don't waste time on a game you know you can't finish... :( It's an unattractive option but it works well.
     
  4. Roland Ehnström

    Roland Ehnström Prince

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    I was going to say the same thing - I use MapStat, and it definately saves me time. MapStat means I don't have to check the F4 and F1 screens every single turn.

    -- Roland
     
  5. solenoozerec

    solenoozerec Stranger

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    Indeed. Imagine yourself trying to figure out what cities will revolt next turn when you have >100 of them.
    Pressing shift helps, but in the preferences you can set up different animations for different movements. I like to see how my enemy is moving, so that it does not get unoticed.
    Setting a rally point (continental in C3C) helps a lot.
    When you have your land almost developed you can automate workers asking them not to alter improvements alt-shift. You always can automate just a portion of workers and keep the rest for your specific goals.

    @Jove - nice topic for a thread, time is my problem too and it is particularly pronounced right now with COTM7 - I spent 25 hrs, but I still far from victory (or loss?).
     
  6. eldar

    eldar ChiefTank

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    All animations off. Automating workers once I know they're not going to do anything stupid, but keeping enough un-automated for pollution-clearing in bulk (which they're not very good at!) I suppose setting NoAIPatrol=1 after Barbs have been eliminated as a threat would speed things up a tad, too.

    But when you have a stack of 40+ Artillery, 20+ Bombers, and a fresh city to hit every other turn, you can't really speed that up!

    Neil. :cool:
     
  7. Darkness

    Darkness Shadow creature

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    I've got the same problems Jove.
    Now, I've just stopped taking notes for the QSC and spoilers (which will be very global from now on... :( ), and I've found that this greatly speeds up my game. It reduces my playtime by half, so unfortunately there'll be no more QSC and extensive spoilers for me (but I will be able to keep playing the COTM :) )...
     
  8. horragoth

    horragoth Chieftain

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    Maybe it is obvious, but in longer games i turn off animating different unit actions, in special situations even the battle animation. On higher end machine it can sped up the pace very much.

    I can only second mad-bax's desire for undisturbed uninterupted playing time. My games tend to be very long-lasting according to the the game log, because I often try to play GOTM and care for my baby daughter simultaneously. This is far from optimal but allows me to complete both GOTM and COTM each month.
     
  9. bradleyfeanor

    bradleyfeanor King

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    Great topic, I hope we see some good tips! I am probably going to miss GOTM7 because GOTM37 took me so long: very disappointing.

    Here are the speed savers I practice, although I would love to know more.

    City Monitoring and Diplomacy
    I definitely use both CivAssist and CivReplay Mapstat for these aspects, especially after I have met more than two AIs. I do not know what I would do without the flip-probability and happiness screens in Mapstat.

    I also use governors. In corrupt cities (which is usually the bulk of them in a large empire), I turn on Emphasize Food and Monitor Happiness. This helps some, but I still have to cycle through them all every few turns in order to take citizens off of tiles that do not produce food and to switch tiles worked between cities.

    In the future, I am going to try indicating the corruption level in the city name (with a system like C1, C2, C3, CMax at the end of the name, with CMax being a completely corrupt city) but I don't yet know if this will help much or not. I am hoping it will help me monitor builds and specialists better from the F1 screen.

    City Build Orders
    I try to use the build queue, but it usually doesn't help much until the middle-late game. Priorities change to quickly for me in the early game. I will set a build queue to something like Harbor, Aqueduct, Marketplace and then just trust that my foresight for the city was good. When a city pops up wanting to build a unit, then I know it is time to fill the queue again. I have tried to line up more than three buildings at a time, but invariably my decisions are wrong that far down the line.

    Animations
    I always turn off movement animations for my civ. But I don't like having battle animations turned off during the AIs turn (because I can't tell what is dying and what isn't), so I just turn it off before a big battle that will involve lots of bombardment, then I turn it back on before I end the turn.

    Workers
    I never automate workers, because the AIs choice of development is truly abyssmal. There is no doubt that automating them has a significant negative impact on a game.

    When I have one or two hundred workers in the late game, they consume more time than anything. I have saved a bit of time by being more organized with them, but moving them still takes a while. I optimize them in stacks: I get the exact amount needed to railroad/irrigate or railroad/mine or clear polution in one turn, then I do not break up the stack except in the case of an emergency. This makes the turns more methodical and saves at least a bit of time, as opposed to just moving them at random and breaking up stacks. Also, after I have moved a stack for a few turns I remember what it "specializes" in doing. That also saves time.

    Unit Movement
    J, shift-J and rally points are the only tips I know for speeding unit movement. I would literaly pay $150 dollars this instant if I could get a stack bombard command.

    Turn Log
    Unfortunately, as others have mentioned, this takes a very long time. It is one of the best features of the GOTM though--definitely the most interactive and educational aspect--so I will plod on.
     
  10. Tubby Rower

    Tubby Rower Chronic Slacker

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    I know that this isn't an ideal condition, but you can do like I do....lose. The time spent on one game reduces dramatically....

    But I'm just starting to MM and take notes too, because I think that I need to spend more time not less on my games.
     
  11. Ronald

    Ronald Emperor

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    The most important aspect to play fast for me is to know what I want to achieve. So setting goals and focus to reach them makes my decision process fast.

    Fore game mechanics:

    Turn off animation for my moves (I leave it on or for AI to see what's going on)

    I automate workers after having a basic railroad connection through my empire and most tiles in the core cities are improved (always shift-a, I don't want my decisions changed)

    I MM only very few cities and also them most of the time only in BC times. Then I will circle through my cities only once in a while. When a city reaches its max. size (at least for a while like 6 and 12) I try not to waste food and go for a shiel production of mulitples of 5 or 10.

    I use both mapstat and civassist
     
  12. horragoth

    horragoth Chieftain

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    Looks like interesting idea, but it should be more potent if you place the Cx before the actual city name as you could use that prefix for sorting cities by corruption class in F1 screen.
     
  13. AlanH

    AlanH Mac addict, php monkey Moderator Hall of Fame Staff Supporter GOTM Staff

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    I think, paradoxically, that it is also a great way to speed up your *future* games, at least for new and intermediate players. Only when you reach the stratosphere like Ronald can you play with a strategy and know how to mesh your individual commands with that strategy. When you are still struggling for that instinctive feel for the game like me, you have to think about each unit command and build order. For me, writing down what you are doing helps to improve that and it's undoubtedly helped me get to where I can complete more GOTMs than I abandon for lack of time.
     
  14. denyd

    denyd Emperor

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    I'll focus on a different area of completing games. Scheduling, the way it works today, COTM's start on the 1st of the month and GOTMs start on the 15th. What I try to do is get a good start on the COTM and get the QSC complete during the first week, so that I'm well into the Middle Ages. During the next week I try to complete the MA and get well into the IA. About then, the GOTM is about to become available. I take a look at the game I'm playing and try to project how long it'll take to play and how much effort the GOTM is going to require. If I feel that the current COTM is going to take too long or is likely to not produce a win, I abandon the game and move on to the GOTM. If I decide to complete the COTM, I give myself a week to do so (finishing about the 21st). I then move on to the GOTM. Again the first week is all about the QSC. Once I reach the first of the next month, it's decision time again. If I decide to complete the GOTM, at that point I'll probably skip the next COTM to get back on track. Another option is a quick game using a OCC or 5CC format to speed up play. In general, with my current RL and SG schedule, I'm able to play about 3 out of 4 games. Sometimes I'll get a schedule break (wife & son away at in-laws for a weekend) and manage to play all 4. Unless you've got limited real-life commitments, it's not that easy to play every COTM/GOTM. They really are more like the Game of the Fortnights than Game of the Months for most players.
     
  15. civ_steve

    civ_steve Deity Retired Moderator GOTM Staff

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    Lots of good points here.

    Turning off your unit animations is most important, especially auto moves. I usually leave Enemy and Friend animation on, so I can keep an eye on the AI. If using lots of bombardment, I'll turn off Animate Battles during the bombardment, then turn it back on afterwards, each turn. Cntl-P is your friend!

    I automate Workers after most critical development is done; this is usually not until after all cities are rail-road connected. Worker stacks is a good way to manage the workers.

    Keep focus on your game objective. For me, its usually early Domination/Conquest or a later Diplo/Space game. Research only games can go pretty quickly, so can mass unit build-up and overrun. If time is an issue, don't overdo your game; just get it done. Don't be afraid to limit your empire - 5CC games are usually pretty playable and very easy on use of time. 20K games can be played pretty quickly, if the game play is limited.

    Like denyd, if I can't get the game done, time to move on. Sometimes I try to alternate effort - do a very intensive game, then do a quick game. Upgrade your computer if its a bit behind the times.

    I used to be regularly 50+ hours to finish a xOTM, which wont cut it with my RL schedule. I'm usually around 20 hours now, which is (barely) doable for me.
     
  16. akots

    akots Poet

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    Domination for me on standard map takes 10-16 hours of playing time depending on difficutly and map layout thanks to MapStat. That is a lot of time indeed. And going for other victory conditions will certainly take much longer especially with milking. And time is recently running very short.
     
  17. horragoth

    horragoth Chieftain

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    I am usually Shift-A automate slaves as soon as I have complete rail connection, while I keep 8-12 native workers to work on special tasks like forest operations, making complete rail coverage around key cities and irrigating mined tiles if it seems appropriate.
     
  18. bluebox

    bluebox King

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    Nice topic, Jove! Read you had some problems submitting a series of games. Too bad. :(

    Reading denyd's comment, I must say I haven't even tried to do 2 gotms a month. When the competition moved on to c3c, I just followed the herd. Maybe I am going to play a classic gotm next just for the oldskool feeling but then I will leave out the cotm for that month. I really would like to participate in a sgotm, but I won't be able to do that until Jan/Feb. I might skip a gotm for that, too. I put my focus on a single game, that makes it "submittable" for me.

    Playing good is a way to play fast. I am trying to be in total control of the game at the end of MA. This approach not only gives a nice score, industrial wars just take to long. To much units, to much cities. I want them all to be mine by the time I can build infantry. :evil: In cotm06 I built a single sealth bomber just see what it looks like in-game, because I have never built one before, not in c3c and not in civ3! :) My games still take to much time. :(

    Who posted the word: "Briefness is a sister of talent?" :lol:
     
  19. Jove

    Jove Not Lacking Altitude

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    Arrr, I'll try not to take that personally, bluebox. :) Thanks for all the advice so far folks. Looks like the solution for me is to pick up CivAssist and MapStat. Maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised, who knows? I must be a luddite to have not done it already.
    I don't know if I can give up milking though- some MM seems necessary to win a medal, and my goal is to get one someday. Probably a day far, far off in the future. If I wasn't going for #1 it wouldn't be fun anymore. Any medal winners out there succeed without much micromanaging? Bradley?
    I'll probably give up on trying to do all the xOTMs. I'm kind of in synch with the GOTMs right now, so I'll stick with those until I really bungle it or something.
     
  20. Sabre

    Sabre Cheftain

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    I took the advise of this thread and installed CivAssist and it really did save alot of time. It felt wrong to just look at a little box instead of F1 and F4 (and all the clicking on civs that involved) but after a few turns of catching all the revolting towns and trade opportunities I started to trust it. It was incredible how much time I saved! Probably around 1 minute/turn - which really adds up. Heh, I'm starting to sound like an infomercial so I'll stop now before I start offering Mapstat for free if you click in the next 30 minutes. :)
     

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