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"Lategame" forever waits and YOU

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Fall from Heaven' started by frothingloins, Aug 25, 2015.

  1. frothingloins

    frothingloins Chieftain

    Aug 25, 2015
    Everybody is aware of the inevitable Lategame Slowdown associated with Civ 4. I don't have any technical mumbo jumbo solutions, coding, or chickens to arise. What I have are some simple setting suggestions to help make Lategame faster and more enjoyable.

    I'd like to discuss the philosophy on map size and it's actual effect on gameplay experience first. This is an important place to start because it'll help the community work within the confines of the lovely FFH sandbox while the Modders work on the Eureka! moment that will allow us to have the epic battles we all dream of without having to play a second game while we play Civ.

    Nobody can deny the intense fun in doing a HUGE size map with 17+ AI civs. There's so much to explore, so much to do and anything can happen. The unfortunate reality is Civ 4 (And FFH 2 especially) is just not set up for these kinds of sessions. The AI doesn't efficiently handle the SODs (Stacks o' DOOOOOOOM) nor does it handle their pathing well. Having a massive map with a ton of AI civs ALL pumping out those resource destroying SODs is nothing but a recipe for misery. We also need to bear in mind Barbarian unit spawning and AI handling of Barb units. Barbs can spawn anywhere that isn't being "actively" revealed by a civilization. This is a large area of the map and grows with map size. Vanilla Civ solves this problem by having Barbs vanish after a certain tech threshold is reached. FFH 2 has no such system.

    Unit number problems are all part of the same issue: The AI sucks at moving units. Period. End of story. Fixing this particular issue requires a massive overhaul of a major component of Civ 4's "skeleton" as I like to put it. We're talking many thousands of man hours to get the game where we'd want it if we attempt to address the issue through code optimization. I realize these last two paragraphs have been stated, resaid, summed up and paraphrased since 2008. I wanted to address AI unit handling to steer discussion away from Modmodding as a solution.

    Larger maps also have a larger proportion of sea, ice, desert and mountain tiles. While such elements are integral strategic features they quickly become excessive on larger map generations that do nothing more than slow the game down. There's no practicality in having a huge map that takes 50+ turns just to GET units to another civ come end game. "Empty" tiles create a timesink that pushes up the SODageddon counter while also providing more room for Barbs to spawn.

    Game progression decreases the meaningful size of a map. This is an inevitable fact of Civ. Lairs, unique features and tribal villages spawn in a set commodity. This means that the wonderful exploration stage of a Civ game has a finite lifespan. Once the world is discovered through maps and map trading the "reward" for moving units across the world rapidly diminishes. Continents teeming with Civs embroiled in political intrigue and resource wars develop into snowballing empires where it's feast for one Civ and famine for the others. Hunting down and eradicating those straggling Civs will swiftly become a chore as war grows more and more one-sided. This juxtaposition of power adds additional time bloat and makes it even easier for those dreaded SODs to start to pop up. The AI doesn't know how to sit on it's hands. If it can't build a city improvement it'll just build MOAR GUNZ (Aka SODs) rather than systematically devoting unneeded production to research, wealth or culture.

    I'm having a lot of fun playing on crowded maps. A "Large" map with 10-11 AI civs is a VERY busy map. Every turn matters because of constant conflict. There's a sense of urgency in exploration. I've also stopped using the Wildlands modifier. Doubling the number of animals creates an intense amount of unnecessary unit bloat (Considering a large portion of the animals spend turn after turn generating, only to really never be interacted with in a meaningful way.)The "Aggressive AI" option also helps with SODs. Instead of pumping out units that sit and twiddle their thumbs the AI will expand aggressively and wage war. They'll put cities right next to other Civs as forward bases, etc. Acheron the Red dragon is another source of bloat. All Acheron does is create SODs until someone puts him down for a meager reward. The game should be over by the time it's possible to utilize any potential benefit from Acheron's existence. I'm currently at turn 250 or so on a 12 player "Large" map and am not experiencing any major end of turn slowdown with the aforementioned settings.

    Thanks for reading!
  2. malfuriouspete

    malfuriouspete Chieftain

    Nov 12, 2008
    What options do you turn on when you start a new game? and what map type are you using? I'm a pangea kind of guy myself

    I'm experiencing what you are describing for sure, I've always been inclined to go for a "huge" map with 10 civs - I like the feel of exploring a giant land mass but at end game, I literally click 'end turn' walk away from my pc for 5 minutes rinse repeat, etc etc

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