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K-Mod: Far Beyond the Sword

Discussion in 'Civ 4 - K-Mod: Far Beyond the Sword' started by karadoc, Jan 8, 2011.

  1. Charles555nc

    Charles555nc Prince

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    I think what Karadoc does is great. He brings up an issue that he sees is a balance issue, talks with some of the best civ players, gets our feedback as well, tries it himself, and then takes very careful changes over a couple patchs.

    I can honestly say theres not one change I didnt like, that hes implemented.
     
  2. sampo

    sampo Chieftain

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    I agree with Charles. Amazing work Karadoc!
     
  3. stolenrays

    stolenrays Deity

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    Great Mod. One request. I'd like to merge this with many of my own mods to make my mods better, but I'm often unclear about the commenting. I know you've changed a lot for the better, but sometimes I don't know where it starts/stops. Perhaps in future updates we could get big roadsigns so to speak please?
     
  4. Highwayhoss

    Highwayhoss Red Lantern of Civ4 Earth

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    Karadoc, as far as unit balancing goes, may I suggest listing what you consider units that are unbalanced (by era). Then it would be easier to figure out what balancing changes need to be made.

    I do have an idea or two:
    1. Remove Drill Promotions from Melee units; restrict Drill Promotions to units with ranged attack capability.
    2. Maybe buff archery units so they are not restricted to strictly city defense; one idea is giving UNITCOMBAT_ARCHER units a chance at withdrawl. (Also maybe have Drill promos increase chance of withdrawl?)
     
  5. Charles555nc

    Charles555nc Prince

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    Hmmm....

    So in my up to date 1.32 game, the ai seems smarter about war. For the first time, in a long time, the ai didnt declare war on me with an out dated army in the early game (which did kinda make it a bit easier on me and I guess the ai too).

    I declared war on Cyrus my neighbor and took half his land, including his cap. I had alot of towns and he still managed to get civil service and alot of other techs before me.

    (this is where I want to rant about the ai should be producing more units and less focusing on its monster tech rate, emperor difficulty btw)

    Does the ai get bonuses (or tech trading bonuses) if its way behind in tech or really small in territory? (the war had put us both behind compared to the rest of the world). That kinda made me mad that they had 4 or 5 techs before me when I was twice their size and well developed with cottages/towns.

    They defended very well except in one case where they tried to counter attack my border city when I had superior forces and got completely stomped after I hit their stack with a couple cats.

    One other minor thing, Im seeing alot of single horse archers attacking my border cities (with 4 or 5 city defenders upgraded city defenders) and my war elephants (even across rivers). Seems like a bad idea even when the HAs have double or triple upgrades.


    Current: Ai on my continent has beat me to rifling...o noes! :) I was one of the people that asked for that tech priority change and boy it has helped the ai alot. Im slowly trying to win my continent before someone on the other cotinent does the same and comes after me.
     
  6. SithUK

    SithUK Chieftain

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    Karadoc: I trust your judgement. I do not want to play a drastically altered gameplay, I do want a smarter AI to challenge me. The changes that you have incorporated so far, and are suggesting above for artillery and SoTL are balance tweaks. I wouldn't view them as fundamentally altering the base game.

    Carry on as you are, excellent work so far.
     
  7. Lawrie

    Lawrie Prince

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    Yeah im an enormous fan of this mod and really appreciate the great work your doing karadoc!

    I love the way that you have gone into such detail about the AI changes, and your attempts to improve how they rationalise things (while maintaining a dose of personality!)

    The unit balancing is a bit of a minefield! I thought I might just add that ships of the line were the 'standard' fleet warships (i suppose the equivelant of the battleships later.) So perhaps they should be more common than they are?

    Im really delighted that you've improved the AI for nukes too. This can be a more exciting part of the game, the more that can be implemented to improving the AI's use of wmds and if possible their 'restricted use' in certain conflicts.

    Keep up the good work bro!
     
  8. karadoc

    karadoc AI programmer

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    Thanks for the kind words everyone. :) I'm glad to know you're enjoying it.




    So, it sounds like the general consensus in this thread is that the balance changes I was mentioning are small enough to just go ahead with without worrying too much about diverging from the base-game... Well... I guess that's something to keep in mind.

    I don't think I'd be making a crippled game by neglecting the balance changes; because I don't think the balance was ridiculously bad in the first place. I mean, sure, there are some really powerful strategies, but it not so bad that everyone uses the same strategies in every game... My original modus operandi for making this mod is that it is meant to be the same, but better; which roughly means that I'd only change things when it was completely obvious that the changes were going to make the game better. For example, fixing bugs makes the game better, and making the game run faster makes it better, and making the AI do fewer really stupid things makes the game better. -- Of course, not every change I've made is like that. It isn't universally agreed that every change has made the game better. For example, the whole business of allowing the AI to sometimes somehow declare war while 'friendly' is at least a little bit divisive. So some of the changes I've made just make the game 'different' rather than 'better'. (Of course, I only make the changes which I personally think are improvements, but the point is that not everybody thinks every change is an improvement. And when it comes to balance issues, I think things get a bit tricky and sticky - especially because balance is one of those things for games where what people think they want isn't actually what would make the game more fun for them.
    Spoiler :
    I'm thinking of discussions I've read about Diablo 2, where players might demand that such and such super-rare loot be made less rare, or that such and such area be made less hostile -- but then when they get what they want, they stop playing - they didn't realise that those damn iron-maiden curse things in hell which always killed their barbarian were part of what made game fun; and they didn't realise that not finding stuff was made finding stuff fun. -- and Discussions about Warcraft 3 where people discuss how such and such unit of one race should be made stronger because it is currently less powerful than a similar unit of a different race -- ... In a civ context, I'm thinking that the fact that there are some things which are really powerful is part of what drives us. Players may be forcibly drawn towards some 'overpowerful' aspects of the game because of some imbalance, but although the draw might be at the expense of some other parts of the game, the existence of such a draw is what stops the game from having a kind of flat feeling to it.
    ...


    Anyway, my point is that balance is especially tricky because I think there is a risk that if the balance is 'fixed' in the wrong way, the game might become flat and dull. If every option is viable, then no choice really matters.[/spoiler]

    Nevertheless, I do feel encouraged to move forward with some more balance changes. I'm not going to work on that right away though.

    @Highwayhoss The drill promotions are already unavailable to melee units, except for samurai. So I'm not really sure what you mean.

    @stolenrays, regarding putting big 'roadsign' comments in the code; I'm actually kind of moving in the opposite direction to that. ie. In some places I've actually been removing some of the really big comment blocks which simply flag changes, and replacing them with something more subtle. The reason is that sometimes those big comment blocks make it hard for me to read the code... Also, it can become a bit of a pest to maintain the comments if I end up reverting some changes, or changing some of the changed bits in a way that overlaps with the previously unchanged bits, or whatever... In short, I don't think I'll do what you are asking for.

    However, since I'm using git to track all of the changes I make, it's actually pretty easy to bring up a screen showing every bit of code that has changed. For example, here's a link that shows ever change made from v1.31 to v1.32:
    https://github.com/karadoc/Civ4-K-Mod/compare/v1.31...v1.32
    Click "files changed" to see the code. You can change that url to compare any pair of versions you like, except from before v0.90 because v0.90 was the first version I put into git.
    Spoiler :
    apparently the direct link to the changed files doesn't work. I guess I should submit a bug report to github.


    --

    Regarding the new AI for nukes. I'd like to hear some feedback on how it goes. I've only done some very basic testing, because the AI actually usually doesn't build nukes; and so it isn't as easy to test as other things. (The AI for when and how many nukes to build was something that I was working on in a previous version. I've deliberately made the AI not completely focus on 'winning' with nukes, because I feel that if the AI really did try to use nukes to win, then every game would just end in nuclear war. -- Anyway, I'm reasonably happy with the number of nukes the AI builds, but I haven't properly tested their usage of them yet. So I'm mostly interested in feedback about that.
     
  9. Highwayhoss

    Highwayhoss Red Lantern of Civ4 Earth

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    Ah OK my bad. I wondered why UC_Melee was listed in Drill 2-4 in the Promotions XML file. :confused:
     
  10. stolenrays

    stolenrays Deity

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  11. teejing

    teejing Chieftain

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    I would like to see more balance changes, especially regarding the unique units.
    Every civ´s unique unit/building should be strong to distinguish themselves from the other civ.
     
  12. JosEPh_II

    JosEPh_II TBS WarLord

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    @karadoc, et. al.,

    Is the AI now More inclined to wage war on the Human player than on another AI? Or has this been balanced? Should it be balanced? But is getting Dogpiled the "way"?

    How can the AI build so many units and still be ahead in the Tech race?

    Is the Civ score in the bottom right corner accurate? What is it based on?

    Is the 3 radius city incorporated into K-Mod?

    How can the AI pump out so many settlers so fast and yet not have a neighboring AI take over their new cities (this relates to 1st question).

    JosEPh :)
     
  13. karadoc

    karadoc AI programmer

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    Right. Fair enough. Drill 2-4 are allowed for melee presumably so that they will be available to units which have somehow "unlocked" Drill I by some special means (eg. by being a samurai). I suppose it leads to some misleading info in the civilopedia, but apart from that I think it's fine.

    The enlarged city radius is not included in K-Mod, and I don't expect that it ever will be. That kind of thing would have a huge effect on how the game is played, and I don't really want to go down that part at the moment.

    As for how the AI can do this-or-that so fast, well... All I can really say is that they play by the same rules as the human players do. So presumably they are just doing it by careful whipping & building and so on. However, keep in mind that the AI does get some discounts on many things in the game, based on the difficulty level you choose to play on. For example, depending on the difficulty level, their maintenance costs might be lower, and their research costs also lower - which leads to faster research; and the production cost of building units might also be lower. All of these discounts are specified in CIV4HandicapInfo.xml. But that's pretty much all there is.

    @Charles555nc, you asked earlier if the AI gets any bonuses depending on their situation. They do not. (Unless there is something hidden in the code that I haven't noticed.) The don't get any bonuses for being behind in tech, or for being very small.

    There are some aspects on diplomacy for which the AI will treat human players differently to how they would treat other AI players; for example, the AI doesn't make demands of other players*, and they often offer more favourable trade deals to other AI players, and there are some special diplomatic modifiers which only apply between AI players (such as "warmonger respect") - which is why it is easier for AI players to get Tokugawa to 'Pleased' than it is for human players to do so... But aside from those things, the AI does not treat human players differently to other AI players. In particular there is no secret rule in the AI that encourages them to declare war on human players.

    (* I'll probably try to fix this one day; but it's a tricky thing to get right.)


    --

    As for the scoreboard, you can see a (poorly explained) breakdown of your own score by pointing to your name on the scoreboard. It's "accurate" in the sense that it calculates what it is meant to calculate... but I wouldn't really call it an accurate measure of who is 'winning'. It's just a feature from the original game, I haven't touched it.
     
  14. Axios

    Axios Warlord

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    Can I suggest to evalutate the insertion of this mod?

    "Lemon's Spy Mod"

    "Tired of having your spies have to trek back to your capital? Are they grumbling from being so tired after traveling though your massive empire? Ever wish that they would just return to the nearest city that you own?

    Well, now they can!

    This is an SDK/XML mod that creates a game option that allows spies to return to the nearest player city, instead of going all the way back to the capital. It's pretty simple, straightforward, and is made for merging. Read the included text file and you should be fine.

    Note that the only the changed files are included.

    You can find the download here: http://forums.civfanatics.com/downlo...=file&id=19414

    I must thank Afforess for showing us all how to do this."

    http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=464099
     
  15. Leoreth

    Leoreth Prince of Blood Moderator

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    That sounds good. I hate nukes and usually try to finish the game before they arrive, or try to pass the Non-Proliferation Treaty before anyone builds some, because it wasn't fun anymore if anyone of the more ... unstable LHs threw their whole arsenal at you because they were so easy to get furious.

    By the way, I'd really like it if the AI would approach nuclear warfare in more of an MAD like behaviour, i.e. if they're winning, they should refrain from nuclear weapons even if they have more of them (unless their adversary doesn't have nukes at all), until their enemy starts using nukes himself. And if a certain amount of nukes has been used on them, they would go on to utilize their whole arsenal.

    I think the you should draw the line between "it'll improve balance to make this change" and "it'll be more realistic to make this change". Sometimes a game has to be unrealistic to be balanced, and in my opinion, balance should trump realism (doesn't mean that rock, paper, scissors have to be the only units ;)).

    For example, I'd file your "grenadiers should get attack bonuses against cities" idea under realism-motivated, unless you think grenadiers are currently underpowered (I don't think so). Sure, it makes sense to give grenadiers a stronger city attack, but it would also make them stronger which would need to be rebalanced elsewhere etc.

    Not that I'm arguing against this change in particular, or that I would dislike to see it, but I think in any case you can safely make changes that go into the other category.

    (The best way here imo would be to open the city attack promotion branch for grenadiers and keep them otherwise the same.)
     
  16. IrishDragon

    IrishDragon Legend

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  17. noto2

    noto2 Emperor

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    Karadoc, you've done an amazing job with this mod. Why is it so successful? Because it makes people still want to play a game that's, what, 4-5 years old now? I know that balance changes are a lot of work but I see them as an integral part of the process of making this game more playable. As it is right now certain leaders are just far overpowered while others are far underpowered. HC of Inca, or JC of Rome, or Lizzie...are all top tier, while leaders like Saladin, Gilgamesh, Sitting Bull, are more difficult to play. Germany's UU and UB are worthless while Persia's are both good. Imagine how fun the game would be if every civ had uniques that were good enough to really factor into the game. It would be so much more enjoyable.
    Now, I also realize that these balance changes would be divisive. A poster a while back suggested splitting Kmod into 2 versions, one with significant balance changes and one without. This is a good suggestion, imo. Also, as long as you are making previous versions of Kmod available, no one will be stuck with your balance changes. The thing is, I see your style is to move gradually and carefully and I think as long as you stick with that formula things will work out just fine. There are things about this game that are minor gripes and then there are balance conditions that are so awful they make the game much less fun. Elephants are a good example of the latter. They are incredibly overpowered and detract from the game. If you start with the blatantly awful imbalances, everything will be fine. You aren't Firaxis trying to sell a product. Don't worry about trying to please the most people, if I were you I'd just focus on trying to make the game as enjoyable as possible for you. You gave the example of the going to war at friendly change as being divisive. Yes, it is. A lot of people don't want to play a 'competitive' game, they want to play a more narrative game. Well... most game developers already cater to those kinds of people and they already have a million mods to choose from. You are making a mod with more competitive AI and it is fun for the minority of us gamers who actually want the AI to give us a real run for our money, and this is why we love your mod. It's the hardcore competitive gamers like us who also desire better balance and I have a feeling your playstyle is along those lines as well.
    So in summary - you are already making a mod for a game that only a small minority of players use anyway. You don't have an enormous following, but those of us who follow your mod absolutely love it and you have earned our respect and loyalty. You aren't limited by the rules of commercial saleability either. I say push the limits and dare to go further with the mod, and split it into more than one version if you want. We play the mod because it improves the game, and one of the game's worst flaws is its lack of balance. No other mod out there really attempts to deal with balance (most just add flavour). Since yours is about making the AI more competent I think balance changes suit Kmod very well. Again, I agree with your philosophy that less is more, but getting started on some balance changes for the worst aspects of game balance would really improve the game.
     
  18. noto2

    noto2 Emperor

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    Oh, and if I'm going to spout off about how balance changes would improve the game I suppose perhaps I could give an example or two. For example - in Civ 4 combat it's pretty much all about collateral damage, at least once catapults show up. Pre-catapult warfare is pretty cool, imo, because there's a lot of strategy involved. Once siege units show up the game just turns into a contest of who has the most, and the most advanced siege. The other units just sort of fill in the gaps and aren't really all that important in determining victory. So I think something that would make the game far more enjoyable would be something as simple as nerfing siege units. I mean make their collateral damage a bit weaker, make it hit fewer units - and then make the drill promotions' reduction of siege damage a bit better, make it start at drill 1, for example. I see this change as being very simple, you wouldn't be altering any fundamental aspect of the game, just tweaking the numbers, and I feel it would make the game far more interesting and enjoyable. As it is now I can just kill anyone with cannons + anything, or even catapults + anything. Siege dominates all, end of story. With siege nerfed, suddenly the other aspects of combat might actually become important again. Also, with that slight boost to drill it could actually make the drill line more competitive with the combat line and make the protective trait possibly on par with the aggressive trait.
     
  19. TheOnlyDJCat

    TheOnlyDJCat Warlord

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    @noto

    Keep in mind, that some of the UUs are specific for game settings, that you might not play. For example in huge land marathon maps the german panzer has a large window in which it conquers cities better that any other unit in larger stacks without siege help. The persian UU might grant you one or two neighbour territories in the beginning, but especially with this great mod, if you have to fight against a 40up city opponent in the modern age on the other side of the world a versatile UU has its merit.
     
  20. noto2

    noto2 Emperor

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    I assure you that I've used every UU and explored its potential, in a vast amount of different game settings. Your comment about the panzer makes little sense. Before Karadoc gave it flanking (which is a very minor advantage and almost unnoticeable) the panzer unit that comes with the base game is almost worthless. That is, it's almost no different from a normal tank. When you have tanks and you're attacking your opponent, having a bonus vs other tanks is useful in about 2% of games, I've found. Your tanks will be attacking infantry or mech infantry or anti-tank, and your tanks will be getting hit by infantry, anti-tank, mechs, artillery, and helicopters. Having an advantage vs other tanks is a non factor almost all of the time (more than 95% of the time). This is sad. Basically you could remove the panzer from the game and give the Germans just a normal tank unit, and there would be no noticeable difference. Compare that to a UU like the redcoat, or praet, or immortal, or war chariot. These units are actually significantly better than their base unit and have an impact on the game. The whole point of a game is to have fun and I just find the game less fun when my UU and/or UB is worthless. I still play as the Germans sometimes, it would just be more fun if their UU/UB weren't so terrible, that's all I'm saying.
     

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