[BTS] Need to get caught up after several years of not playing

civac

Prince
Joined
Oct 22, 2010
Messages
518
There is still code in Civ4 that turns overflow in gold payouts. It just almost never returns overflow gold > 0. There are weird theoretical late game situations where you can still gain gold from overflow. The funny thing about those is that get overflow twice one the full overflow in hammers (hammers not above the overflow threshold) and part of it as gold payout on top of that. So the evaluation of the BUG team that Firaxis goofed up is almost certainly correct.
 

LEMD

Chieftain
Joined
Apr 14, 2022
Messages
17
Well I took @Lexicus advice and tried Monarch. Played maybe a dozen games and won them all. One was very sketchy and it took a lot just to squeak out a time victory. The rest I won comfortably but the first few were challenging. My last two have been really easy and made me think about moving up to Emperor. However, my last two have both been with Willhelm. One that I chose because I have never played with him and the computer gave me Kublai back to back and I didn't want to re-live the nightmare that I just had with him in the Isolation start time victory nuclear wasteland. So I picked Willhelm and lucky I did because it was another Iso start but this time with tons of food. I won that game easily and then the computer rolled Willhelm for me back to back. At first I wasn't going to play it but decided I would. Either Willhelm is extremely good or I have gotten better. I think it is a bit of both. My early game has improved drastically and now my diplo after the nightmare has improved. I realized the necessity of giving things up in certain situations and swaying the AI's attitude toward me to let me get set up. This last game is going to be easy. However, I turned vassals off and I think I'm enjoying a break from it. I had gotten into the habit of domination by vassalling everyone and it was getting boring and too easy. Either way I moved at the start which is rare for me and I settled a PH. I did this after seeing @sampsa always respond to questions about where to settle with "I would settle on the PH" so I looked at the situation and did it to see. Definitely boosted my early turns and allowed me to grab more land early and some good resources. All in all this forum has helped a ton even without a shadow game. I read through the shadow games and other threads and pick up things here and there. Also watched several more of Lain's videos. They help tons with diplo for me. Every time I play a game and after it's over I'll watch a video with Lain and he does something that would've made my game easier. I think I'm ready to move up to Emperor because now Monarch feels too easy since I have gotten my early game and tech strategy better. However, it is also really fun on Monarch without being a cake walk so I'm hesitant to pull the trigger.
 

Lennier

Emperor
Joined
Mar 10, 2013
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1,401
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Orange County, NY
Willy is financial; that’s one of the best traits and really easy to exploit. So probably a bit of both.
 

Noble Zarkon

Elite Quattromaster - Emperor (BTS)
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Some folks actually use BUFFY regularly.
I use BUFFY exclusively.

I imagine this exchange is most of the reason the BUFFY people felt it safe enough to re-instate excess :hammers: into :gold: even though it irritates purists who want unaltered gameplay.
Indeed, it's definitely a bug (confirmed by the developers in the thread kaitzilla mentioned)) so we were happy with the fix, the fact people found amazing ways to exploit it? Well the game is 15 years old now, if you're still playing it then good for you and have fun however you want to play :)

Personally I dislike it when games do any sort of balance changes in patches.
So you think a game developer shouldn't change anything that is clearly out of whack??
 

PPQ_Purple

Purple Cube
Joined
Oct 11, 2008
Messages
5,026
So you think a game developer shouldn't change anything that is clearly out of whack??
One mans strategy is another mans exploit. Unless then game is clearly broken, as in it does not work as intended because the code is bugged, there is no need to ever change the "balance". All it ever does is cater to which ever part of the fan base is crying loudest this week. And all it ever achieves is to shift the balance of the game in some other direction causing another thing to become overpowered and leading to a newer ending game of shifting goalposts.

The reality is simply that the same mechanisms that produce fun games with varied strategies inherently produce imbalance. And you can't get rid of one without the other.
 

civac

Prince
Joined
Oct 22, 2010
Messages
518
And all it ever achieves is to shift the balance of the game in some other direction causing another thing to become overpowered and leading to a newer ending game of shifting goalposts.

The reality is simply that the same mechanisms that produce fun games with varied strategies inherently produce imbalance. And you can't get rid of one without the other.

That's reductive. Balancing is possible in principle.

However, you have very different ways to play the game which shifts balance around a lot. Balance for SP with tech trading is quite different from balance for Pitboss games which is different from lobby MP.

One fairly universally useful change would be war elephants to 7 base strength.
 

PPQ_Purple

Purple Cube
Joined
Oct 11, 2008
Messages
5,026
That's reductive. Balancing is possible in principle.
I would disagree. I hold that even in principle balancing a complex dynamic system is simply not a possibility if you wish to retain either of those properties to a degree that would maintain fun as an objective.

Starting with complexity. As you your self said, game options matter a lot. So does singleplayer vs multiplayer. But that's just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Games, especially complex ones like CIV are inherently going to have a lot of emergent properties that are uncountable for. That is to say mechanics that through their interaction create new and unpredictable mechanics that players discover and you as the developer didn't even know existed. Multiple mechanics might each be perfectly "balanced" internally but together they might allow for new and unconventional strategies that are massively "overpowered".

And than we have the random chance factor both in terms of RNG and just good or bad luck for a player. How do you balance a game around someone popping 3 techs in a row from consecutive goodie huts or loosing their one and only starting warrior to a bear and having to delay everything while they build a new one potentially getting killed by barbarians in the process?

And than you have the players. Players are also a huge unbalancing factor. Remember, humans don't always play optimally. Nor are they predictable like the AI. Different people have different levels of skill, temperament and mood and indeed they might want different experiences out of your game. All of which are valid, but how do you balance around them clashing? How do you balance the situation when you have say a hardcore play to win player with low skill coming up against a high skill but casual player that does not care?

The only way to "balance" all of this is thus to reduce complexity to the point where all of these factors don't matter. And as we all know chess where each player only has one pawn is a very balanced game but it's not very fun.

But even if we accept the notion that some sort of complexity based balance can be achieved without completely ruining the fun of the game there still is dynamicism to consider. Which is to say games are systems whose balance changes over time as they are being played. A game of chess might look very balanced before turn one. But once you take a couple pieces it can quickly start snowballing. And in a game like CIV that effect is amplified by the games complexity to a degree where I would argue it is basically unpredictable.

So the best thing you can do with "balance" patching is to constantly play whackamole trying to hammer down what ever is considered the meta this week until your patience or funding runs out.


PS: The above is a general statement and as such there are naturally exceptions. There are indeed situations where a single game piece or mechanic is just badly designed and clearly overpowers others overshadowing them or just breaking the game. Like having a weapon in a shooter game that's both more accurate, powerful and rapid firing than any other combined. But such issues are not issues of game balance but flat out bad game design. Which is to say that the people making that item or mechanics considered it to be good at the time of creation. And as such assuming a competent developer these will be few and far between.
 
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