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My take on why Civ 6 will be a bad game, a 3 pt. podcast

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by Bibor, Aug 15, 2016.

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  1. Atlas627

    Atlas627 Deity

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    I'm sorry, I'm even more confused by your analogy.

    If you want to talk about the difference between winning and losing, that is partially because the AI is terrible. It is easy to win.

    If you want to talk about decisions that feel like they have real impact, there are a few problems.

    First, the more practiced you are at an unchanging puzzle, the better you are at making your decisions subconsciously. They basically aren't decisions. This is one reason why Civ6 has promised so many elements will change based on the map: the map is one of the few things that is heavily randomized from game to game. Its a new puzzle, slightly different from any you've ever seen before, even at 1900 hours. Before that, its very different. To players who haven't played that much of 5, it is still different enough that the choices are interesting to them.

    Second, each giant decision drowns out many smaller decisions. As you've probably noticed by now, the only real decision in the culture tree is which tree you are going to take. Individual policies aren't worth picking and choosing from, you always want to expand your culture, you can never change your mind later, and culture doesn't actually unlock anything unique so science is still king. So if you want more big choices, what you actually want is fewer big choices. You want all the small choices to matter too. And they do, the balance is just so out of whack that you don't notice it. Finishers are so good and later policies so good that there's no point in dabbling, for example.

    Third, you can't possibly know if the choices are interesting (real, basically. You can know if the genre looks boring) or not before playing the game. You can only know when you are actually presented with the choice and are aware of the context. How can you possibly say you know Civ6 will be "bad" from the mechanics revealed so far? There are some you haven't seen, and the opportunity cost between them helps drastically with making things interesting.
     
  2. Acken

    Acken Deity

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    Okay.
     
  3. Bibor

    Bibor Doomsday Machine

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    I understand what you're saying, but you're wrong.

    The puzzles aren't meant to be unchanging. Ever. Good games are "puzzle editors", if you like. Decisions are puzzle elements. Have 10 elements "plug" into a puzzle, each element having 4 choices, and you have 1.048.576 possible combinations for each puzzle.

    Civ6 has only one puzzle. One giant one. It's elements are either irrelevant, invisible, hard to grasp or game-changing (example: Artillery).

    This is why the AI sucks. The whole game is just throwing +1's to numerous values. AI can't deal with that. It doesn't know what these value mean.

    Lets say a puzzle consists of 10 elements. Each element is a (minor) decision you make. When you reach 10 elements, the puzzle is complete. Let's say the puzzle netted you an army with 25 troops. And the nearest enemy has 15. Now *that's* something the AI can work with. Right then, at that very moment, when the puzzle is complete, the AI (or player) can have a clear picture what these (minor) decisions led to. What's brilliant about this, the AI doesn't even have to know what decisions it needs to pick for this to work. Even after 10 random choices, it will know it got *something* that it can work with (say 20 troops and 5 extra crops).

    Have 30 puzzles like this in a 300-turn game, and you have ... i just broke google calculator... number of possible combinations. That's *without* taking the random map or other random elements into account.

    Did I change the "spirit" of civ? No.
    Did I make the (random) map irrelevant? No.
    DId I make the game harder to understand? The opposite.
    Did I make every turn relevant? Yes.
    Did I make the game understandable to the AI? Yes.
    Did I make the game more fun in multiplayer? Yes.
    Can all the other distractions, flavors, tile improvements etc. remain? Yes!

    If what I'm talking about is something radically new, then damn, all those other game developers must be like omnipotent gods of game creation, because, I don't know if they think like this, but the end effect (their games) sure feel like they are aware of this.
     
  4. Thormodr

    Thormodr Servant of Civ Supporter

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    Thank you for doing this, Bibor. I will listen to it later, when I have the time. :)
     
  5. Acken

    Acken Deity

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    Like who ? Paradox ? :mischief:
     
  6. Bibor

    Bibor Doomsday Machine

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    No, actually Paradox is a bad example. Most of their games are too complex for complexity's sake (from my perspective). Jake Solomon's XCom reboot is a fine example. So is Sid Meier's Pirates! (both versions). The list of games is endless.
     
  7. Acken

    Acken Deity

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    So any strategy game ? Would be easier to understand whatever direction you believe civ6 should have taken with concrete examples. Those analogies are just confusing tbh.
     
  8. Atlas627

    Atlas627 Deity

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    I know the puzzle isn't meant to be unchanging. That was the whole problem with Civ5: the puzzle was the same every time, because you worked with the exact same elements and they interacted in the exact same ways. You could turn it into a different puzzle if you wanted, but it was detrimental to winning.

    You completely misunderstood everything I said.

    A strategy game is, as you are saying, a series of puzzles. You pick which puzzle to solve right now, and that gives you a better piece for the next puzzle. Preparing which pieces you want, predicting which puzzles you will be given, and solving the puzzles are the skills tested in a strategy game.

    Sometimes that puzzle is "where do I settle", which affects "where can I place districts", which affects "which district should I build first", which affects "which tech/civic/pantheon do I pick" and so forth. That affects "where do I settle" as well as several other new questions, and voila, you have an interesting game as a series of interesting choices.

    When I said the overall puzzle in Civ5 was unchanging, that is because the Tech tree and all of the methods to optimize it were the same every game, the Culture bonus was simple and straightforward and the same every game, and no combination of random elements were enough to affect these.

    So many things have been tied to the map in Civ6 that this should not be the case. Each of the puzzles along the way will have elements changed each game. Some will be predictable (test prediction) and some won't (test adaptation instead). If you're suggesting that the map itself needs to change mid-game to change the puzzle, then I would say that it does already (things get revealed, explored, and altered). You get a different puzzle even a few turns later, because you find something new.

    How is this only one puzzle? Each element that is attached to the map will have its own puzzle, and how they intertwine will create many new puzzles. How is this not what you are asking for?
     
  9. Magil

    Magil Monarch

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    This is my problem too. I'm trying to watch these videos and it doesn't help that the first 16 minutes (first whole video) goes by without even mentioning anything related to Civ VI, but I can only parse this information if you buy into his argument that the only relevant outcome that decisions affect is whether or not you win or lose the game (naturally, I do not buy into this). And some of the examples given in the videos are frankly absurd, like "at lower difficulty levels, I can just click the final tech in the tree and it won't be meaningfully different than choosing every tech individually"!

    Edit: Ugh, apparently it's "cheating" a mechanic when you provide military escort to a settler so you can settle a potentially hostile area. Dude, this is horrible.
     
  10. Atlas627

    Atlas627 Deity

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    I do think one of the problems with Civilization as a series is that its a race to the end. The only time at which victory is checked is at the end of the game. So the only point in getting ahead early is if it helps you be ahead at the end...which means snowball and not much catch-up.

    If it checked periodically and scored all the Civs, and then added up the scores at the end, it might be possible to add in catch-up mechanics and lessen the snowball. The point of being strong in the Medieval era is because you think you can take advantage of religion for a lot of points, but that doesn't mean you're also ahead in the Industrial era (unless you shift to economy, which someone else might do better because they never invested in religion).



    But anyway, I agree that its absurd to say that, if a decision doesn't have a noticeable impact on whether you win or lose, its a waste. Of course you can hit "win the game for me" and win if the competition is awful. You make small decisions, which give you small victories, which enable bigger victories next time. That is exactly what the snowball is.

    The problem with Civ5 is that the decisions were pretty obvious and static, once you learned the game well enough. That does not appear to be the case with 6, but even if it were, we would have no way of knowing it until we'd begun to reach that skill cap.
     
  11. Bibor

    Bibor Doomsday Machine

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    You answered your own question on why this is not what I'm asking for.

    Yes, these things that you describe are indeed decisions. "Where do I settle", "where can I place districts" etc.
    And the sum of these decisions is - what? +3 science? To what end? To gain a tech 3 turns faster? To what end? To be able to build a new unit type? To what end? To be able to conquer a neighboring barbarian camp? To what end?

    I hope you see the problem. The final answer to "to what end" is the only answer: the final turn of a game is the moment the puzzle is revealed.

    Compare your example to this:

    You have your first city on a river. You want to create a new one:

    1. I will create a new city: on the same river
    Generates: sailing research, trade research, irrigation research.
    Unlocks: aquatic deities, flood warning.
    Hazards: plagues spread faster.

    2. Will create a new city: under a mountain.
    Generates: masonry research, land transportation research, health research.
    Unlocks: mountain deities, elevated terrain tactics, mixed culture.
    Hazards: not integrating this different culture will cause the city to rebel.

    3. I will create a new city: on the same river, on the coast
    Generates: sailing research, trade research, fishing research, health research.
    Unlocks: aquatic and sea deities, coastal trade, naval tactics.
    Hazards: unlocks coastal disasters and piracy.

    4. I will have two citizens assigned to a riverside grassland tile.
    Generates: farming research (twice as fast).
    Creates: Basic farms on the tiles after 1 turn, granary in the city after 2 turns.

    5. I will have one citizen assigned to a riverside grassland tile and one to a forest tile.
    Generates: farming research, construction research.
    Creates: Basic farms after 2 turns, forest camp after 2 turns. Creates a lumber mill and a granary in the city after 4 turns.

    The effect? Example.
    I decided to create a coastal city on the same river.
    Having two basic farms and fast farming research enables me to research Advanced farming twice as fast.
    Having a city on a river *and* coast enables me to research trade faster.
    It also unlocks a Granary in at least one city.
    Result?
    I generate surplus food I can store. Stored food enables me to turn two citizens into soldiers for 10 turns.
    I can move these soldiers along the river (because I discovered naval warfare) and take out that barbarian camp upstream.

    Ten turns. Ten decisions. Result. Effect. Meaning. Next.
     
  12. cakes

    cakes Prince

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    there are a lot of personal opinions about how video games should work that you hold to be self-evident truths
     
  13. Atlas627

    Atlas627 Deity

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    What do you mean, "to what end"? To get better pieces for the next puzzle, repeatedly, until you win the game.

    I could say the same "to what end" to your example. The end of any game is at the end of the game. Can you have fun along the way? Sure, but your decision is always meant to affect something in the future. At some point, there is an end (even if that end is you choosing to stop because the future is no longer interesting, like Minecraft).

    It seems like you want each game mechanic, or puzzle, to be even more different. That's fine, some people like the variety. I do, and I would thoroughly enjoy such a game. That does not make this game BAD, it makes it focused.

    If your problem is that the game only has win or lose, and only at the end, then I don't know what to tell you. That is a part of Civ, at least for now. I wish they'd switch to incremental scoring of different things, but that still doesn't change that there is a winner and a bunch of losers at the end.
     
  14. Haggbart

    Haggbart King

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    David Dunning and Justin Kruger would've just LOVED to hear that podcast.
     
  15. Lord Gruin

    Lord Gruin Chieftain

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    Based on what I have heard and read, ALL 4X games are bad. :dubious:
     
  16. Magil

    Magil Monarch

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    I fundamentally disagree with your premise on several levels:

    One: That moving units on a map is a set of meaningless choices. While the introduction of 1UPT certainly increased the amount of tedium in the game in this area, I do not feel like the decisions are meaningless. I don't just move from point A to point B over the course of 15 turns, I tend to go in specific directions. Later on you use an example of a "scouting" event which shows you another good city spot, you say it should work like this. I don't see how this is significantly different than discovering a river and then sending my scout to uncover the best tiles. But the individual movements can be meaningful, as maybe I'll miss a resource along the way.

    Two: That you must have strong negative results in order for a choice to be meaningful. Sometimes, the opportunity cost of another positive thing that you neglected is enough. You don't have to have forests burn down and a river flood just because you built an army, the trade-off in that you didn't build a builder or settler can be enough. Frankly I'm surprised you went into this, considering how early on you were praising Sid Meier games for always being light-hearted when approaching strife-filled eras and serious concepts. Why does Civilization need to be a game about constantly not failing? Because you said so, and the reason you give is because that's what a civilization is. Hate to break this to you, but from the start Civ was never about historical simulation, and I thought you would've known that from how you begun the video. So why do you advocate such harsh penalties for making the "wrong" choice? Why are you so opposed to opportunity costs?

    Three: While I'll agree that the amount of meaningful decisions probably went down in V compared to many of its predecessors, I do not see any indication that it's going to be this way in VI. From the looks of things, I can accelerate my tech rate quite a bit by triggering these "eureka" boosts, which are actually somewhat similar to the events you want to put in the game, but not nearly as harsh (or ridiculously convoluted/random). And "to what end"? To accelerate my goals. This is a race after all. There are rival civilizations out there, and maybe you're ignoring them because you only play at the lowest difficulties or whatever, but at some point they're going to be a threat to me winning. Yes, I would hope that all of my decisions ultimately lead to me overcoming my foes and winning the game, but that hardly reduces the value of the individual choices I make along the way. I can certainly see the results of my choices much faster than you seem to imply in most Civ games.

    And one final thought: random events are anathema to a competitive strategy game. A strategy game, when done well, has a series of choices and events that logically follow from each other. When a random event pops up, that breaks the chain of logic, because it has no discernible cause. It's "random". You can't plan for it. That's not a choice. That's only something that superficially resembles a choice. Every element in a strategy game that you cannot plan for, that you cannot work to mitigate or stop dilutes strategy. They can be fun and entertaining enough for players who want that kind of thing, but they're not something that necessarily should be in the game and they certainly hurt more than they help.
     
  17. Atlas627

    Atlas627 Deity

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    What on Earth makes you think that this is inherently different from the choices currently present in Civ?

    You researched trade faster, "to what end"?

    You took out the barbarian camp, "to what end"?

    Its no different, fundamentally, from what Civ already does.
     
  18. Atlas627

    Atlas627 Deity

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    I agree with everything you said except for this last part.

    Planning ahead for surprises is a skill. Adapting to new circumstances is a skill.

    Many things need to be predictable, because otherwise you are making no choices. All your choices are taken away by the sheer random noise.

    But the occasional random element is GREAT for a strategy game. Otherwise you can 100% solve it, and then there's no more game. Unknowns, bluffing, and risk management are all great tools to keep a game fresh and interesting.

    If I wanted to play Chess, I'd play Chess.
     
  19. Cyon

    Cyon Cosmonaut

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    Maybe this forum needs a new subsection in addition to the 'Ideas and Suggestions':

    "Issues and Concerns"

    Which could be the home to all the complaints and concerns threads people start. Because I atleast and I would guess a lot of other forum members are mostly interested in reading threads focused on analyses, strategy and mixed reactions rather than a thread that stars with a negative biased that some other people get upset about in the general forum, but such threads could live on in a sub forum instead...
     
  20. janboruta

    janboruta Artistriarch

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    You can't really comment on it if you didn't play the game through.
     
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