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I made a video on why I think donut is the most balanced map

Discussion in 'Community Patch Project' started by GodDamnItAlexander, Sep 28, 2017.

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  1. Owlbebach

    Owlbebach Emperor

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    Well to be honest i do not agree with Donut too, while the map might be an optimal choice for PvP play, it is too different from other maps. On the other hand i am pretty sure that more options on deity = more options on any other difficulty
     
  2. Blue Ghost

    Blue Ghost King

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    Not if you’re trying to optimize your game. Go back to the example I gave earlier. A, B, and C have a 50% win rate on Deity. That’s 3 optimal options for Deity players. But on Emperor, A and B have 70% win rate, and C has 90%. For Emperor players trying to maximize win rate, C is the only option. Adding another option D with 50% on Deity and 70% on Emperor does not change the face that C is the only option on Emperor.

    And yes, it is possible to aim to optimize your game without playing Deity. No, it is not valid to tell those players to “git gud and play Deity.” Players who don’t play Deity are not inferior, nor are they “not playing the game like they’re supposed to.”
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2017
  3. Tekamthi

    Tekamthi Prince

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    I find it interesting that this thread is still going, and while I have yet to see any real merit to the ideas floated here, I love to see how active the community is here in pursuing an unconventional idea.

    That said, and with all due respect to those that have put a lot of time into these posts, here's where you're all way off course on this effort, imo:

    Modding in the context you're speaking of should not require that you know how to "code" in any real sense. The ideas discussed here seem very vague from my admittedly amateur development perspective, so I may be missing something, but from what I understand here re: "hard balancing", you're talking almost entirely about making .xml changes to balance yields and various values just barely under the hood etc... A post had mentioned building in strategies for AI specific to donut -- that would take a much more sophisticated skillset, but you really lose me here on how this would somehow benefit the broader playstyles and preferences that dominate this community, and I'd strongly suggest avoiding this approach if you guys continue on this project.

    I encourage you to reconsider and look at making a mod mod of some kind; you need some sort of dev on board if you want this to go anywhere. All this theory-crafting, while interesting to read on some level, is not going to result in much. From what I can see, G has been pretty clear he won't work on this, and the vast majority of the community seem to support that position. I personally see big problems with donut at a fundamental level, though I do occasionally enjoy when it comes up in a 'random map' selection. RE: DOTA and SC, they're such different games (4X != RTS != MOBA), and those seem to be the most concrete examples us skeptics have been given so far.

    Now, if you can figure out how to slog your way through the horror that is windows movie maker, honestly there's no reason you couldn't figure out how to use a text editor to make .xml changes, you just gotta try. You'd probably have at least a beta done by now with all the time that must have gone into making videos etc.

    Here's how I'd start, if I were you: 1) grab a copy notepad++ and install it. 2) Make or download a modpack of the latest CBP. 3) Download the Civ 5 SDK through steam tools section, and tweak the civ 5 config to enable firetuner in-game. 4) Open civ5units.xml at your civ 5/assets/dlc/modpack/override/ folder in notepad++, and start trialing changes to the values therein, you should be able to infer or google what all of these do. 5) Save the xml, run firetuner and civ 5, start a game, and use the firetuner map tab to spawn in w/e you need to test. 6) Save the game. Test. Exit Civ 5. Tweak xml values. Re-launch and re-load save and observe changes. Keep tweaking in this way until you have a hard balanced result you are happy with. 7) zip up the dlc/modpack folder and upload it somewhere for us to try.

    This isn't a proper way to build a mod, but its a quick 'n dirty way to start tweaking and to really demonstrate the merit of your ideas here. If you break anything you can just delete the modpack folder and copy in a fresh one. Once you're comfortable with the xml values and how firetuner works (its not self-explanatory, but its not hard, I promise), you might even find you've picked up the beginnings of understanding how some of the civ 5 lua works, but I don't think you'll need to actually learn any in-depth lua coding skills to accomplish what you want here. If you were able to get this far and created a good result, its possible at that point that someone else might take on the task of converting your xml changes to a proper mod for distribution, or you should have most of the skills to do this manually on your own.

    I think best case you're looking at a niche donut mod mod here... I'll keep an eye out for it, good luck!
     
  4. GodDamnItAlexander

    GodDamnItAlexander Warlord

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    More buffs - Civs feel too similar in my eye and don't have enough to offer a unique play style and ultimate path to victory. X terrain connects city connection, trade to win, ally city states and so on. Buffing them would give them a more unique flavor and open up new play styles. However to certain map types/size these would be considered overbuffs, that would make the Civ too good, like you said.

    Some random buffs off the top of my head:

    Rome- all units in the game move faster on roads built by Rome. Aqueducts are built twice as fast and are twice as effective. Legions throws spears before melee attack (like Zulu UA expect weaker)
    Carthage- Added new ability to land melee units. Retreat formation: When attacked by a melee unit, you as well as the other melee unit move towards the direction of attack (both still take full damage)
    Russia- Allied city states act as your own cities (if you lose ally status they go back to normal)
    Shoshone- +2 food from all animal tiles
    Inca- Can move citizens from owned cities to newly conquered cities
    Germany- Can use gold to buy other Civs any kind of unit (with a cooldown of course)
    Ottoman - Bonus 15% CS against Civs/city states with your religion
    Zulu- Each citizen gives +1% production to land military units to the city it lives in
    Venice- +50% production to all naval units
    Iroquois- City needs increased by 15% and city yields increased by 10%. If a city reaches -6 local unhappiness barbarians start spawning near the city.

    Buffing is an example of very (very) hard balancing.

    "To date, we have just nerfed things which are OP on common map types, and buffed things which didn't do well on them."

    You know, you're also in a sense in favor of some form of hard balancing and so is Gazebo. When I asked him about what map type he balances on, he replied
    "All that said, I debug on random map/random civs/standard speed/king difficulty for the most part."
    https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/new-beta-september-17th-9-17.622490/page-6

    Not sure what he meant by debug (does that mean balancing or not?). I used to play on quick but I realized it's kinda pointless because the game doesn't really work on that speed. And by nerfing and buffing on common map types like you said, that also makes the other maps less functional. Also balancing around king explains why the authority tree has yet to be slapped by the nerf stick, as it is the strongest tree on higher difficulties, is it not?

    There are still Civs that are under-performing and over-performing, pantheons that are too weak and too strong (like Owlbebach said), prince strategies and deity strategies and other balance issues. And to solve those balance issues an archetype of a map is needed that is inherently balanced (we want to reduce as many variables as possible).
    By using a balanced archetype of a map, the game is then using hard balancing...

    Or we could go with your solution and make sure that all Civs aren't too distinguishable (more nerfs), accept that some Civs will always over/under perform everyone else and have strategies that are only relevant on certain difficulties like unit farming on deity or greedy city settling on prince.

    My high school math teacher used to live in a country before and after a communist regime took hold. When I asked her what were the differences, one of her answers was:
    "Before (the communist regime) there used to be rich and poor people. Now there's only poor people."

    Just because you accept the game needs to be balanced around other settings doesn't necessarily mean the balance is getting any better.

    Every point of value that control a Civs balance when tweaked, will make the Civ stronger on one map type/size and weaker on the other. The only way to have all Civs balanced on all map types, is to have all Civs be the same one!
    Even when going from balancing only on one map type (hard balancing) to the most common played, lets say 20 most played map types - that's already an increase of 2000%!
    Good luck to Gazebo and everyone else finding a way to have all Civs relevant to the game without nerfing them to the point that they are barely distinguishable from each other.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2017
  5. Moi Magnus

    Moi Magnus Emperor

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    If I've undersand correctly, by "debug" he means that he makes a lot of AI-only games and check that no civs consistently fails or run-aways (same thing with policy trees, ideologies, and victories). He also check that "things works as intended", meaning that he look at wars, building orders, ... until he find something that is either an AI bug (stupid decisions) or something OP. Whenn he finds such a problem, he test multiple solutions until one gives acceptable results in its AI-only games, and then makes a beta in order to have user feedback on this change.

    Balance between AI and Player is mostly done thanks to the community, since G does not have a lot of time to play himself.
     
  6. CrazyG

    CrazyG Deity

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    Do you really think something building aqueducts faster is going to change how a civ plays? Those suggestions all seem really complicated for a weird result. Carthage especially is a very unique civ, I don't see why she would need that change. Also boo power creep
    The goal isn't to balance all civs on all map types, no one has advocated anything like this. Its okay for a couple things to be too weak on common maps, something being too weak doesn't ruin the game. However something being too strong can very easily make the game seem boring and arbitrary.

    Oh and Authority isn't the best tree on Deity, they all have merit. Even if I do take authority more often than the other two, is it really a problem?
     
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  7. Gazebo

    Gazebo Lord of the Community Patch Supporter

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    And here it is. This is the typical outcome of the 'game is not balanced' threads: crazy-difficult-to-implement and AI-unfriendly suggestions. I absolutely mean no disrespect when I say that these kinds of suggestions reflect a lack of perspective in two realms:

    a.) just how different VP is from base BNW already
    b.) just how complicated even the smallest addition can be for the AI

    'Hard-balancing' as you call it will never happen for civ. VP is already very balanced (especially relative to any other entry in the civ series, or - heck - most 4x games). Suggesting otherwise is solely an excuse to push an agenda of pet-project changes for other people to do. Again, I'm absolutely not trying to be mean, but I do intend to reel in the escalation of ideas and arguments I see here.

    G
     
  8. GodDamnItAlexander

    GodDamnItAlexander Warlord

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    About the aqueducts, of course. Any good player will know how to take advantage of such a power spike. The suggestions were just meant to be really strong thematic buffs. Good players could take full advantage of them, and by doing so, their path to victory would be altered in a way that is only applicable to that Civ. A unique play style.
    I googled power creep definition - "The situation where updates to a game introduce more powerful units or abilities, leaving the older ones underpowered."
    Only if you don't buff everyone else at the same time. But you can't do that because you'll make them too strong on other map types!
    And there is the design problem I've been talking about over and over and over again. When something is too strong, the player will get bored of it. "So just nerf it!" Except if you keep making things weaker, eventually there won't be enough to distinguish between Civs and strategies.
    Obviously. Your answer just said Authority is the best tree on Deity, even though you think it didn't. If Authority wasn't an extremely OP tree on Deity, the game would punish you for not adapting to the situation and picking different trees. However because Authority is so ridiculously strong you can get away with it being your most picked tree. Recently was there ever a game that you didn't manage to take off with the early power spike that Authority offers and lost because of it in the late game?
    My suggestions weren't supposed to be actual or realistic. They were meant to be really strong thematic buffs that drive home two points:
    1) Buffing gives Civs a more unique play style, and nerfing does the opposite. If you keep on nerfing every Civ eventually they'll all become the same.
    2) You can't buff Civs and expect them to work on all the different maps, or on the 20 most played, or on the 10 most played. However every time you nerf them they become more balanced on all map types.
    Oh it will. Just you wait. Either it will happen or the game will die (for whatever reason). After all the debugging you and everyone else will come to one conclusion: "More nerfs!" And all that nerfing will only make the game more boring.
    My goal at the end of the day is to make a simple switch in design philosophy. Use hard balancing.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2017
  9. tu_79

    tu_79 Deity

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    I don't know what the issue really is. VP is pretty balanced since more than a year ago. I mean, one civ could be slightly better than other, and one policy could be much better than the rest, but for the whole its one of the most balanced games in its genre.

    After that, we saw some changes, mostly for playability and some more interesting stuff, that altered the previous balance and the process had to start again. I'd say that we are close to a good balance again, in the settings that most players use to play.

    So far, it's been working and we are happy with the final results. Also, many players distrust that your proposed method will throw better results. Players whose opinions are highly valued since most changes they proposed were welcomed. With most respect, we don't know you as much, so even if you are right, you won't convince many people.
     
  10. Paramecium

    Paramecium Prince

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    Is it really such a big difference if the AI is King or Deity, if you make an AI only test match for debugging? Im not that sure...
    In my opinion chosing an higher difficulty by having an AI which will more cheating (more free stuff and big boni) is already a case where you cant talk about balance as long as there is one or more human against the AI.

    In my opinion, it is even hard to come to an understanding which difficulty should be the reference, but to say which map is even more difficult. Sure, Donut would have an balanced proportion between available land mass and fair ocean access, but I am not that sure if that would automatically transfer to any map.
    To be honest, Im still that old school that I would say that only the "standard" vanilla map scripts should be looked at and that are pangaea, continents and archipelago.

    Donut would be the best in a multiplayer match. And that would be the enviroment where we could talk about "hard balancing". Civ is way too complex to make it absolutly balanced, in the mentioned dota and starcraft, there is a slim possibility to come back if you are way behind, but I cant see that if you would fight as a human with about 5 cities vs another neighboring you with around 25 cities. In most cases it would be game over.

    And your suggestions dont sound like hard balancing for me, giving a lot of civs new stuff would take a lot of time and testing to even say if the game would be more balanced. For me "hard" balancing is number tweaking of excisting features and I dont know a lot of mods which get updates that frequently in that concern as VP.

    If you really think that it is very unbalanced, you are welcome to share your experience and suggestions.
     
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  11. RAuer2

    RAuer2 Chieftain

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    The way I read this, you are saying that debugging and nerfing are the same thing and both lead to boredom. I disagree with this description of the process and where it leads.


    I am not sure that it is helpful to insist upon broad changes to the process that Gazebo has in place after he has declined to implement those changes.

    On the flip side, I agree with Paramecium's point that you should share what you find unbalanced about the game based on your thoughts and experiences as a VP player. I know this is plain text, so to make it clear: I am not being sarcastic. I think there is value in you (and all of us) sharing specifics about your game experiences, like what Civ you played in a specific game, what the map/settings were, how the game developed, and what you enjoyed and did not enjoy about that specific game. Do that and other players here can provide their own experiences to compare with yours. That might lead to a change that you want.
     
  12. Tekamthi

    Tekamthi Prince

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    Out of respect for G and the many many free hours he donates to this community, I gotta say you're really starting to come across as a troll, Alex. Where some of us, unconvinced, have indulged you and asked for specific examples, you've give us "whatever reason", or a list of "buffs off the top of your head" w/o corresponding list of symptoms; nevermind that most of these buffs either cannot reasonably be implemented or will clearly unbalance the game on other settings.

    If you really feel things are so dire, make the mod mod. Show us something specific, well thought out, and relevant. WMM videos and orders to bend to your will are not persuasive.

    edit: I am a Deity player primarily and find authority is very nicely balanced right now... its not so much that authority is OP so much as you get forced into choosing it to address much more challenging military concerns at this difficulty. I probably win 1/5 or less deity starts; I very often choose at least a little authority to survive, but rarely win if I take the whole tree, especially early on. Most wins come when I have somehow managed to avoid authority and still survive to the end. The security vs prosperity compromise on deity is unmatched on lower difficulties imo.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017
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  13. randomnub

    randomnub Prince

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    This discussion is finally starting to address the many CBP flaws that prevent all of us from having fun, due to unnecessary nerfing and lack of hard-balancing. :nono:

    I want to partecipate and tell you how to play, so here are some random buffs off the top of my head:

    - Pangea maps should be donut-shaped
    - Continents script always places you on a donut-shaped continent
    - Random Map places you on a standard donut, a doughnut, a bouée, a ciambella or a rosquilla
    - America: new UB cake vendor, spawning the Donut unique luxury
    - India: can arrange marriages with Austria, +1 right :c5faith: faith and -1 wrong :c5faith: faith on cow tiles
    - China: +37% :c5influence: bureaucracy in owned hill cities without access to fresh water when your progress toward the next :c5goldenage: golden age is between 60 and 76%, settling a new city gives you a free tech you already have and can sell specialists to other civs for the right price
    - Netherland: can trade 1 :c5production: for 1.5 :c5gold:, 2.7 :c5food: for 1.4 :c5faith:, 12 :c5goldenage: for 2 :c5science: (with a 0.2 :c5culture: loan rate after 4 turns), 3 :c5culture: for 18 :c5food:, lose 1 :c5citizen: for an instant boost of 18 :c5gold: (most of the time scaling with era) and finally turn that :c5gold: back to :c5production:. If my calculations are right (I pulled them out of my @&% but why shouldn't them) you gain or lose nothing but the game is better balanced now.
    - When selecting Multiplayer, your CIV.exe closes and a new game of Starcraft is loaded instead. On a donut map.
     
  14. black213

    black213 Emperor

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    I'm more fond of Berliners myself.
     
  15. doublex55

    doublex55 Prince

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    Donut should have everyone start on the center ocean, and have a central island with tons of resources.
     
  16. GodDamnItAlexander

    GodDamnItAlexander Warlord

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    A form of hard balancing. What about all the less used settings and the players that use them?
    Ad hominem doesn't contribute anything to logical discussions.

    It won't. There will always be sacrifices. Just like how everyone playing the current version of the mod is sacrificing the depth of their games for the sake of soft balancing. But go figure if soft balancing actually contributes to the overall balance.
    All those maps give either an unfair advantage to army or navy. I talk about it in my video.
    Gazebo said the exact same thing, and I'll give you the same reply I gave him. To date no game from this genre has ever achieved absolute balance (including dota and starcraft), and I believe no one thinks that's realistically possible in games like these, yet people try to improve the balance all the time.
    Japan.
    They were never meant to be implemented into the game. Read the thread.
    I agree.
    I've already been asked that and I already answered. Read the thread.

    The point was that when Gazebo debugs on AI games he will always find over performing and under performing Civs. Now as Gazebo you have two choices in general, either buff or nerf. Nerfing would make Civs work better on all settings, and buffing would make them work best in only one group of settings. And you know the best way of achieving a very balanced game of Civ regardless of settings? Have all the AI play the same Civ.
    Gazebo already told me (in an extremely polite and elegant way) to screw off in a different thread. So I made my own. You chose to come here and reply, no one forced you. And as I far as I know, this is the only thread I've made like this one (and I haven't seen any else like it), so it's not like I'm spamming or anything. Unless this site uses censorship I expect the thread to stay, so for as long as you want we can come here and discuss hard balancing, but don't tell me not to discuss hard balancing in the thread I created specifically for it.
    Seems like you aren't the only one that doesn't fully read the thread before replying (Paramecium). I'm guilty of doing this as well myself. I'll copy paste one of my previous answers.
    Homogenized feedback from the community.
    Increase of viable strategies, more "weirdness" (strategies that stray from the norm, yet can still work and maybe even outperform others in the right context).
    Overall better balance in every aspect. (Owlbebach later commented that in his opinion 70% of pantheons right now are useless on Deity, which falls into this category)
    Restoration of unique units that are currently not being used.
    Better integration of additional mods in the VP pack. For example the events mod would either be fully integrated, balanced around and become a part of the core experience, or it would be removed from VP and left to player discretion.
    A more unified community.
    You sound like you're new to the internet if you think I'm trolling. Thanks for the accusation /s.
    I'm talking about stuff that you (and some other people) don't agree with. Inevitably that ruffles some feathers.
    I already gave a bunch of specific examples. All the units that are in the game that are currently not being used. Authority unit farming. Diversity of strategies. Civ uniqueness.
    Unit uniqueness - free promotion that allows the unit to attack twice. Which unique unit am I talking about?
    They were never meant to be implemented into the game. They were there to prove my points.
    Not going to make the mod mod, sorry. It just isn't on the table for me right now.
    This is a discussion (and we want it to be a logical one, don't we?). Orders? Am I missing something?
    BEND TO MY WILL OR ELSE!!!!! :c5war::c5war::c5war:
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017
  17. hokath

    hokath King

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    I enjoyed, as an observer, the curiousness of this discussion. Your suggestions, Alex, strike me as bizarrely motivated, not in-keeping with the history and consensus of this project, and with poor understanding of how the AI functions. But, still, interesting nonetheless.
    This, however. I'm not sure if this is some kind of poorly communicated sarcasm or straight-up lese-majesty. Either way I think you need to take a step back, it comes across very poorly.
     
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  18. tu_79

    tu_79 Deity

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    No, but right now your arguments don't convince me. I think you are wrong in this. That the hard balance you are suggesting cannot work with the current game frame, and changing it is something that is not going to happen soon. That balancing around a map few people play frequently is not going to make things better. We've read your arguments and they don't hold. We've given you counterarguments. Saying the same things again and againd doesn't make them more true. Now what we need to settle the discussion is proof. But since this is not easy to achieve (you are not going to make those mods, nor G is willing either, and even then, I don't know if we would be able to tell the difference), we're stuck in a trust situation. Hence the 'ad hominem'.

    If you want me to play donut map, sorry, I don't want to, I dislike it. Gazebo could make more of his testing in donut, but this won't show any human player issue. You are free to play it as much as you want, though. And if you find something gamebreaking in your map, please let us now, something specific we can discuss (timing of Artistry policies, anyone?). Maybe this is bothering other maps too and it's something worth addressing. More or less what CrazyG is asking you from the beginning. Say what you do find unbalanced, let us offer advice on how to deal with it and if the problem persists and other players find the same problem consistently, then we may look for a solution.

    Even in those cases, we've learned that there are things that cannot be fixed. This is a mod, after all.
     
  19. Tekamthi

    Tekamthi Prince

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    Alex, man, you gotta get into the xml to know if what you're talking about here is even feasible. Many of us that post here, while not contributors to the project's codebase, have actually taken a close look at the xml and underlying code to some extent, and for most of us (eg. me) its meant expanding our existing skillsets. I'm not asking you to do anything that I and the rest of the community here haven't done when I suggest you look to xml.

    I don't think you're a troll at heart, and clearly everyone posting here wants the community's passionate members, such as yourself, to contribute in a productive way (as several of us have been trying to guide you towards). We're not against your idea as a whole, but the energy you've expended here so far is entirely for naught: if anything it seems the community is polarizing away from this idea as this thread's posts grow.

    I've been honest in saying I'd love to try a donut-focused mod. I don't like the map at all currently, but if someone made it fun and interesting, even if it was drastically different as you've proposed with your list of buffs, I'd probably play donut more often. While I don't think the main project should go this way at all, I can imagine how donut might be best suited for this very different, e-sport style civ, and that the community as a whole might be better off if someone made it a reality.

    If you're not willing to make text edits to an xml file, give us a savegame, screenshots, something specifically related to the realities of civ 5 VP on donut that doesn't work, needs buffs etc. While giving us just these examples won't lead to the development work you're looking for necessarily, it might at least turn this thread back towards meaningful discussion, if that's what you're after. You have tried to convince us at times by referencing the experiences of RL people under communist regimes; I understand the general point you were going for with these and other examples re: debuffs, but you must realize on some level that (to describe it generously) these are very abstract concepts to somehow implement into game design?

    Authority unit farming, while is viable I suppose, is moreso an option for the uncreative than a required policy strategy; it does not strike me as OP whether in the hands of human or AI, though I agree its appeal varies on different settings. I'd guess the unique unit you quizzed me on is the impi? the slinger? I'm not sure what your intention is there, but you could very quickly activate such an ability on any unit you wanted in xml, or in a roundabout way through firetuner.
     
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  20. Paramecium

    Paramecium Prince

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    Sorry Alex, but I DID read the whole thread. And sorry, first I have to understand what your problem is atm with VP. 5 pages of posts and yet you couldnt explain it clearly to me. And your video was little helpfull to it.

    If we speak of balancing, we need to know whats the matter. Is it, that you might have a problem with Authority on higher difficulties to produce too much culture first and then science?
    And what is the goal of the balancing?

    For me, it is quite simple. The game is balanced, if every civ can win every victory condition on most settings. The higher the variety, the better (more viable social policies, more pantheons etc., other Civs in play, map size, map type etc.).

    And the best thing for balancing is, to HAVE DATA. From a competitive view, I would agree that Donut gives a potential fair start to most civs. But perfect balancing you can only get from mp and here is the hard border I see. The second possibilty would be to play it yourself. But sorry dude, it is Donut, it is just not that funny for me.
     
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