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Opinions on the "AI"

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by bdemz, Mar 29, 2018.

  1. Aristos

    Aristos Lightseeker

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    Hmmmm... not sure about that. "it's just business" is not an answer for such a question. It could explain the motivations (or lack thereof), but it's not an answer. Not sure if it is an excuse either, but it sounds closer to that extreme than to the other.
     
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  2. Gedemon

    Gedemon Modder Super Moderator

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    I do agree that it sound like a dumb generic answer, but whatever approach I try on the question, I can't find a different one.

    To keep it short, if I've correctly understood the previous thread on the subject, people working on the field are not saying that the technical choices are bad for an AI designed for this kind of game, they could find better maybe for the tactical decision, but if the AI is so "bad", the cause seems to be elsewhere.

    I'm under the impression that two very simple solutions are coming back every time about how to make a better AI:
    - change the game play rules to be easier to understand for an AI
    - put more development time in the AI

    Apply the first one and you may lose customers
    Apply the second one and you may gain customers, but how much compared to the development cost ?

    I'm not saying that in the end they would not gain more than they would loss trying to develop a better AI, but as much as I'd would like to see them do better on that side, I wouldn't bet on a financial gain, especially compared to the ratio development cost / financial gain of, say, a DLC with a new shiny leader.
     
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  3. acluewithout

    acluewithout Deity

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    I think there is a fundamental design mistake, but it’s not with the AI per se.

    The problem is that at higher difficulties, while the AI gets bonuses at the start of the game, it then doesn’t get any bonuses as the game progresses (unless you count emergencies and or overall raw science / production bonuses).

    Bonuses are meant to ‘simulate’ the AI playing better at higher difficulties - you can think of that as either cheating or just a pragmatic approach, but there it is. Having bonuses at the start makes the AI competitive in the early game. It’s no surprise the AI, which gets no further bonuses in the mid and late game, is then little challenge and or uninteresting in the mid and late game.

    There are other shortcomings with the AI I’m sure, but to me this is a big source of the problems.
     
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  4. historix69

    historix69 Emperor

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    I remember in the previews to Civ6 (early 2016) the (novice) human players had a hard time against AI on Prince Level (no AI bonus). AI was seen as strong and sufficient. This very likely influenced AI development.
    When talking about AI on civfanatics and other forums, probably the 1% of more experienced players is concentrated which outperform the AI.
    When the majority of players (99%) is fine with AI, Firaxis has no real reason to improve AI.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2018
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  5. historix69

    historix69 Emperor

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    Customizable AI Boni (slider) are a good way to allow players to adjust AI strength to their individual needs. Besides the free settlers and units (see Eras.xml), AI could get :
    - Free amenities
    - Free envois with (every) CS for Capital Bonus
    - A general yield-bonus of +10%, +20%, ... which the player can customize at will, e.g. give AI a +200% yield bonus if you dare ...
    - Alternatively individual yield-boni for production, food, science, gold, culture, faith, etc. (e.g. in case that a general yield bonus ends the game too fast by reaching a VC too early.)
    (All this should be modable by adding an AI-civ-trait to all civs in game except the human player.)

    Negative effect might be that AI uses all the boni to produce masses of military units which cover the map and block each other and make movement impossible until a war removes all those units again. Too many units on the map might affect performance, e.g. the sound issues we have since R&F.

    Growth and advance in Civ games is usually exponential but softened by exponential increasing costs. Giving AI too many boni has always the chance to have AI (e.g. on a distant continent) exponentially snowball away leaving the player in a situation where he has no chance to win the game. (E.g. player starts in Europe, is kept in several wars and advances to medieval to learn that america has launched spaceship and game is over.) So there probably are limits for AI boni.

    Another option would be a hostility setting against human player which increases the chance that multiple AIs will team up against a leading human player. (e.g. if human player leads in a VC or in score.)

    --------------------------------------

    A strategy to determine AI boni would be to run lots of auto games (no human player) and see how many turns in average it takes for AI to win the game, either with multiple AI civs on the map or alone. This value is compared with the number of turns the human player in average needs to win a game with AI opponents. Then AI boni are increased until AI is able to win in auto-play around the same turn as human player.

    If AI boni accelerate human player's progress, too, the process is repeated and boni are iterative adjusted ...

    Please note that it is not sure if increasing boni in a multiple AI auto-game really reduces the number of turns AI needs to win the game. If AI uses all the resources for war (stalemate) or simply does not fulfill VCs, boni do not help.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2018
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  6. Bizrock

    Bizrock Chieftain

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    The bad AI is very visible, I've seen many times AI making just very, but very stupid decisions. Like making a city 1 tile away from the river in the middle of the desert or something stupid like this. Making Holy sites and Campus not near Mountains when there are mountains near the city and etc.
     
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  7. ZubieMaster

    ZubieMaster Warlord

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    To me this approach is just spending time on getting a better shade of lipstick on the pig, instead of focusing on the pig (the bad AI) itself.

    Correct, and this current AI should basically be settler difficulty AI that makes these stupid decisions. When you click emperor or immortal or whatever, you should get a better AI that's not about bonuses, but better AI _decisions_ . Like your where to settle example, where to place districts (settler difficulty picks +1s while higher difficulties go for higher adjacency strategies), etc. And of course the degree it focuses on actually winning (current = settler), there just has to be a better option at some point or this will simply remain SimCiv or MineCiv sandbox and not a strategy game.

    Some act like it takes Deep Blue or 8,000 linked supercomputers or something to actually accomplish this, but games have been successfully emulating those "intelligence" differences forever on tin can computers. For example a game called Warlords in 1990s advertised that its easiest difficulty selection AI would "waste money or sometimes forget what it's doing". This game is exponentially more complicated, but it's not unreasonable to expect that gaming AI has exponentially improved along with processing power in the last 30 years. The problem is the effort has been abandoned because it's just easier to slap on some bonuses to satisfy most people.
     
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  8. historix69

    historix69 Emperor

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    Adding customizable AI boni can be implemented in a day while a highly competent AI as many fanactics demand it will probably be never added to the game unless the community gets an official interface to Civ6 and can implement and add their own community-AI-DLLs. And it is unknown if those AIs then will be able to play modded games when you add your personal mods.

    Customizable AI boni does not substitute improving the AI, but it is better than nothing to tweak difficulty a little bit ...
     
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  9. MaryKB

    MaryKB Goddess Queen Supporter

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    Thank you historix69, I feel I have been trying to say something similar.

    I feel that most of the conflict in this message thread is being caused by statements that appear as judgement and are hurting feelings. It upsets me when ZubieMaster says that this game is "SimCiv" and is not a strategy game, which I feel is very much untrue. Civilization is a strategy game, and many of us absolutely love playing this game and enjoying the strategy. When you say things like that, you are disparaging our abilities and are putting us down, which is not fair just because we are not as talented as you are at this game. Your saying that the hardest aspects of the game right now are "Settler", I feel that you are saying anyone who feels a challenge at Emperor level difficulty is not a competent player and is not worthy of your respect.

    I feel that we would have a much better conversation experience if we had a respect for all players and did not look down upon people who are not as good at the game as you are. I feel there is plenty we can all agree upon, even you who are unsatisfied with elements of this game are here because you would love to see it made better and more enjoyable for you.

    This is how I feel about the current state of Civilization: this is a strategy game, and the computer players work to provide challenge and entertainment for the majority of people playing. Not necessarily all CivFanatics! I also feel and understand the frustration that many players here do not feel appropriately challenged by the computer players due to their extraordinary skill level (even if you do not recognize it, if you are easily beating the game on Deity then you are part of the best players in the world!). The best players will always be the ones who most easily see the parts of the game that are not meeting their excellence standards, and it is so very unfortunate that the developers cannot make the game to be everything to everyone. I do feel that they have to try to please the widest audience, and they desire that to be more casual players and new people to the game. I do not believe the developers would ever be able to make everyone happy, especially the best in the world, so my thought is that it is appropriate they provide the tools for those players to modify the game to make it as they would like it to be. This really seems like the best way they can make the most people happy.

    I know people will disagree with me, and that is perfectly fine! The one thing I ask is that we please not act like anyone who is not as good as you are, or who enjoys the game in spite of the flaws you perceive, is somehow less of a person, or a bad player, or less intelligent. I feel it would be easier to have a more constructive discussion on what we would like to see in the game that way.
     
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  10. Karpius

    Karpius King

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    An AI that makes different decisions at different levels of difficult would require different programming per level of difficulty. It would require different algorithms and different random generators and different decision paths. This is precisely why the current AI simply gets "cheats" at higher levels. I doubt Firaxis would see that as cost effective to do otherwise.

    Besides that, I doubt the sort of AI some people are clamoring for is affordable or practical enough to be downloaded to our personal computers. I can't even begin to imagine the millions of lines of code necessary to have a computer :"brain" make all the possible decisions per tile, per unit, per policy, per turn necessary to the point that it might satisfy some players. The flip side is, if it ever gets that good where it might consistently win, most people will stop playing it.
     
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  11. FearSunn

    FearSunn Warlord

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    Ha ha :D
     
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  12. Eliminator_Sr

    Eliminator_Sr Prince

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    There are clear references of comparison here so it's not like this is coming out of thin air. Look at the win rates on GOTM compared to previous Civ games - hardly anyone loses and if they do it's ALWAYS due to an early rush (in previous games it was the exact opposite - many players lost even the really good players). I was never able to beat Deity in Civ 4 and I did it on my first try in Civ 6 without even understanding many of the game mechanics. AI deficiencies are obvious to many people which breaks immersion and limits enjoyment of the game and honestly it's really the only thing holding Civ 6 back from possibly being the best game in the franchise.

    This just isn't true at all. Again - look at Steam reviews. It's more like 50% are satisfied with current AI if that. The poor AI is creating backlash against the company. You can pretend otherwise but the evidence is right there and I'm sure Firaxis is well aware of it.
     
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  13. Aristos

    Aristos Lightseeker

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    Incorrect. Even the civ5 AI "spaghetti code" (as it is called by Gazebo) at least tried to code its AI based on scoring/weighing functions only. Gazebo and Ilteroi finetuned and recoded big parts of that system and created the Vox Populi AI, which is vastly superior to the civ5 vanilla AI (and cannot even be compared to civ6 AI, sorry if that offends some, but it is a fact). Not only that, but after fine-tuning the existing scoring functions, G and Ilteroi made the civ5 AI basically a difficulty level changing AI, by making the AI select a variable number of best decisions for each situation according to the difficulty. In Deity, VP's AI will select only THE best decision according to the scoring functions. Immortal AI, one of the two top decisions, and so on down the levels. In doing just that, the AI is basically simulating better decision making as you go up the diff levels.

    It can be done, it has been done, and it has been done for free, in the devs spare time, and by a dev that is a history teacher and not a programmer by trade.

    The real problem here, seems to be that FXS went backwards with the AI and chose an allegedly obsolete AI "technology" (as per the opinion of some in the field, see related article), and on top of that, as far as I know, brought a veteran of Starcraft (RTS game dominated by zerg-rush "strats") to work alone on the allegedly obsolete Behavoir Trees system for civ 6. Coincidentally, BTs excel in RTS games with much less complexity than a true TBS game, but are very bad with said TBS complex games.

    Vox Populi's AI is less than 5 Mbytes... where I live, that is 250 miliseconds of download time. Less than turn processing time of civ 6 AI, I would say...

    If we were to follow this philosophy to the extreme, we better close the thread now, and all the other threads, and the forum while we are at it.

    If I call you incompetent (for the record, I am not doing that, it's an example to the point), then I am offending you and it's on me. If I call the AI we are both confronting in a single player strategy game a bad AI, and you feel offended by that because you cannot beat it (yet), then I'm sorry but that is on you. Or else, nobody will ever be able to express an opinion freely again, because if it were always judged by the feelings it may provoke on some/anyone, well, I can already tell you that any and all opinions about anything in the world will offend someone.

    So no, I'm sorry that you feel this way, but I still am convinced that this AI is very bad, for reasons I already exposed many times based in my personal experience, and if you feel offended by that, we have only two options: you make my voice void somehow (which usually translates into some sort of censorship), or you revise the effects of others opinions on your feelings, because no one here is calling you incompetent. We are calling the AI "incompetent".
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 11, 2018
  14. historix69

    historix69 Emperor

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    It was a "when" (or "if") - statement ... they don't have to be true ...

    Civ6 was sold more than 3 million times according to steamspy : http://steamspy.com/app/289070
    Civ 6 has less than 30.000 reviews on Steam (69% positiv). So more than 3 million owners (99% ) did not review the game.
    What is your source for " It's more like 50% are satisfied with current AI"?
    We know nothing about 99% of Civ6 owners ... but when more than 99% of customers do not complain about AI, the pressure on Firaxis is not very strong.
     
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  15. MaryKB

    MaryKB Goddess Queen Supporter

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    The AI is not bad, the AI is not what you want it to be. There is a difference!

    When you say that something is stupid or idiotic, you transfer that same sentiment to anyone who enjoys it. When someone says "you can sneeze on your keyboard and win", they are creating a standard that then disparages anyone who cannot win that easily. You are expecting everyone to play the same way as you and to have the same values and expectations from the game. It is perfectly fine for you to play how you want and to want things for the game to deliver! The problems occur when you believe that your opinion is the only valid viewpoint. When you mock the current state so severely, you also insult anyone who values it.

    All I am saying is that you can express your displeasure with the computer programming and talk about what you would like to see without doing this! It is not difficult if you try, but first you have to respect people who feel differently than you.
     
  16. Aristos

    Aristos Lightseeker

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    Did you even read all the lists posted here by different people pointing the failings of this AI? If you read them, did you not notice that the huge majority of those listed failings have nothing to do with personal preferences? I will not repeat them because I am tired of repeating them, they are here in multiple posts, but one thing I will repeat: expecting that a AAA single player strategy game has an AI that uses all the game's systems competently is not a personal preference.

    Or are you really telling me that your expectation is that this AI gives you a hugely imbalanced advantage because you can use those systems a piacere while the AI cannot?
     
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  17. Eliminator_Sr

    Eliminator_Sr Prince

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    I'm using Steam reviews to infer about the population. You can assume similar views exist among the population that didn't review which is the majority for every game. It's not a perfect assumption but you can still make valid conclusions based on the data available. I'm generalizing from observation so I didn't go through and rigorously categorize the reviews so take it with a grain of salt. My point is that 50% is more accurate than 99% which has no basis in reality at all. Based on this it sound like you are saying Firaxis should just ignore whatever complaints they are getting and call it a wrap. AI is likely the #1 complaint on Steam Reviews and that certainly indicates a problem.
     
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  18. hdbhdbvGFG541

    hdbhdbvGFG541 Chieftain

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    Do you have a link maybe for the starcraft claim? Cause the current ai dev has no mention in any games outside of civ 6 whatsoever.
     
  19. FearSunn

    FearSunn Warlord

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    I would suggest not going into personalities here too much. It is not one person responsible for this dismal AI in this game. Lest us not press this guy too much.
     
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  20. eleven11

    eleven11 Warlord

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    I think we are all in agreement - this should be IBM Watson's next challenge. Beating humans at Chess and Go is for chumps.
     

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