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Please Read: Welcome to the C-IV GOTM

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Game of the Month' started by ainwood, Oct 29, 2005.

  1. ainwood

    ainwood Consultant. Administrator

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    Civ4 GOTM



    What is the "GOTM"?
    The GOTM is the "Game Of The Month". It started over 4 years ago with the Civilization 2 GOTM - which is still running. A Civilization 3 GOTM started a few months later and now also run a Civ3 Conquests version as well. In this tradition, we're now running a Civ4 version.

    The Game Of The Month is a friendly single-player competition. A starting save file is posted, and players download and play it. They post write-ups describing how their games progressed, the strategies they used, what they learnt and what they felt they did well. This is a great way for new players to ask questions and lern strategies to improve their games.

    How do I join?
    To join, all you need is a copy of Civ4, patched to the latest version, and a Civilization Fanatics Center membership (login) account. Once the competition is up-and-running, save files will be posted on or around the first of each month. Download it, play it, and be sure to submit it before the end of the month.

    What are the rules?
    The rules are fairly simple: Play fairly.

    This means that you play within the spirit of the competition. As it is a friendly competition, we like to believe that there is no real incentive to cheat - but unfortunately, people do. Any persons found to be cheating will have their games removed, and there is a strong possibility that they will be banned from participating in the future.

    Cheating includes (and is not limited to):
    1. Playing the game multiple times and submitting the best effort (or even playing to get knowledge of the map, the replaying then starting the game again).
    2. Using any sort of programs to edit the game or save files.
    3. Altering the XML or using other mods that give you an unfair advantage.
    4. Reloading an earlier save-file and replaying turns in a different way. The only time you may reload a save file is to start a new play session, and you must use the save file from the end of your previous session.

    Please note that some people believe that reloading (in particular) isn't serious cheating. We, however, consider it to be and have zero tolerance on it. Please also be aware that if you do it, we can detect it, and we will act on it.

    Also, if in doubt, ask. If you think you have found a new loop-hole or exploit, then we strongly suggest that you ask as to its legallity before you use it. The aim of the competition is not to see who can exploit the rules, and as such, we reserve the right to disqualify submissions based on exploits that are discovered later.

    So - how is it run?
    The actual format will vary over time as we get feedback from the players. But the basic format is as follows:
    1. Pre-game Discussion Thread: A few days before the end of the month, the starting screenshot is posted, along with the map script details, difficulty etc. This allows people to discuss strategies based onthe initial information.
    2. Game release: On or around the first of the month, the game is released. At this point, people are allowed to download and play it, but once they've started playing it, they should not post any info on it anywhere except the Spoiler Threads ....
    3. Spoiler Threads: A number of spoiler threads are normally opened in which people discuss what happened in their games - strategies, other civs, resources, game play and the like. The spoilers are spread to cover different periods of the game. The rason for this is so that people can contribute throughout the month - people who have completed the early part of the game can still contribute without having to worry that in reading the thread they'll see where the mordern-age resources are (for example). The first spoiler is normally opened on or around the 5th of the month.
    4. Results: We aim to have the results posted within 7-10 days following the completion of the game (the end of the month).

    What are we playing for?
    Generally, you are playing for your own enjoyment, and perhaps to improve your game. In the Civ3 GOTM, we offer 'medals' for first, second and third place; awards for the fastest finish in each particular victory type, as well as recognition for the lowest scores in each victory type (and a couple of consolation awards for the highest & lowest scoring defeats).

    We also maintain a 'global ranking'. This is effectively a ranking over a number of games, with a decay figure so that your most recent games count for more - its similar to rankings in tennis or golf. This will be developed over the next few months so taht we get the weightings right.

    Are there any other activities?
    In the Civ3 GOTM, we also run "Quick Games" and the "Quick Start Challenge".

    Quick games are short scenarios, often based on events from actual players' Game Of the Month entries. They have a short, specific goal - be it to research a certain tech as fast as possible, to defeat a certain AI in the fewest turns, to explore the map the fastest or even to get the best value out of trades. We may run these for C-IV as well; perhaps offering some small recognition for the best performer.

    The "Quick Start Challenge" in Civ3 was aimed at seeing who could provide the best foundation for their empire up to 1000 BC (first 80 turns of the game). Scoring was weighted on such factors as number of cities, units, gold, food, buildings, technologies etc - and was by no means perfect. If there is enough interest in a similar event for CIV (and we can agree on a scoring methodology! ;)) then we may run one of these in a few months time as well.
     
  2. LeSphinx

    LeSphinx Bachogwa

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    Sound very good this C-IV GOTM!
    But the big question everyone has in mind is : WHEN ? ??????
    Please tell us....:confused:

    LeSphinx
     
  3. ainwood

    ainwood Consultant. Administrator

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    Not until the first patch comes out. :(
     
  4. denyd

    denyd Emperor

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    Ok, we've got GOTM for Civ 3 vanilla & PTW players and COTM for Conquest players (and SGOTM for the SG fans). How about a new acronym for the Civ 4 game. The potential confusion when discussion turns to past games is quite likely.
     
  5. ainwood

    ainwood Consultant. Administrator

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  6. mrlaze

    mrlaze Chieftain

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    ohh this sounds fun!
    I wish I woulds have found this place back in Civ 2 days....
    *patiently waits*
     
  7. ainwood

    ainwood Consultant. Administrator

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  8. DaveMcW

    DaveMcW Chieftain

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  9. AlanH

    AlanH Mac addict, php monkey Moderator Supporter GOTM Staff

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  10. Abegweit

    Abegweit Anarchist trader

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    This appears to imply that you know the save file format. So will CIVAssist be coming any time soon? After Christmas, I will have a fair amount spare time and would be happy to volunteer some of it to the community.
     
  11. DaveMcW

    DaveMcW Chieftain

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  12. ainwood

    ainwood Consultant. Administrator

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  13. Abegweit

    Abegweit Anarchist trader

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    Not really a bug report, but I take your meaning. Hopefully they will fix it.

    In the meantime,

    a) how is it possible to ban information which the program freely gives?

    b) I thought the AI was as blind in CIV4 as us mere mortals, If so, this simply couldn't happen. This is disturbing. Is Firaxis being honest with us?
     
  14. ainwood

    ainwood Consultant. Administrator

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    We wouldn't really be able to ban that.

    Re CIV4 AI being 'blind', I believe that this just means that they make their decisions on such things as where to settle based on information at-hand, rather than foreknowledge of resources etc. There have been a few threads commenting on whether they truly are blind - however I have seen them miss goody huts etc even near their own boundaries.
     
  15. Abegweit

    Abegweit Anarchist trader

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    According to the report, the AI makes different suggestions based on whether or not there are other civs on your continent. If this really is true it is proof that it does act on pre-knowledge of the map despite Firaxis' claims to the contrary.

    Like me, you are a programmer. So you know that if the AI "peeks" at the map, this has to have been an explicit decision on the part of the developers. The proper fix is to stop peeking, not to hide it from humans.

    I truly hope that this report turns out to be erronious.
     
  16. AlanH

    AlanH Mac addict, php monkey Moderator Supporter GOTM Staff

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    Even if they aren't blind they may still be stupid :rolleyes:
     
  17. ainwood

    ainwood Consultant. Administrator

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    Yes, but it could be an oversight rather than something intentional. Anyway - I've highlighted it, and hopefully it will get fixed. :)
     
  18. Abegweit

    Abegweit Anarchist trader

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    I really can't see how it could be an oversight. Firaxis has made a big deal about how the C-IV AI is blind and all their AI people must be aware of it. Aside from the fact that Sorens himself has taken personal responsibility for the AI, it is simply not possible is make this kind of error by accident. It takes an explicit decision on the part of the programmer.

    However. It is quite possible that the report is wrong. E.g. Tanaka noticed a pattern over a few games and it was simply the luck of the draw. I sincerely hope this turns out to be the case.
     
  19. Shillen

    Shillen Chieftain

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    I'm almost positive the AI's know where iron/copper are before they learn the techs, even in civ4. Far too often a civ that is heading down the religion tree towards organized religion will settle in the middle of a desert early in the game. I'll be like why would they want to settle there? Sure enough after I learn iron working I find that they settled next to iron, even though they didn't have the tech at the time.
     
  20. Aeson

    Aeson orangesoda Retired Moderator

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    I wouldn't be too sure. Dealing with hundreds of thousands of lines of code, not all of which you even wrote yourself, it would be easy to forget where any legitimate "peeking" is done and accidently use that code in a function that it shouldn't be used in.

    For a hypothetical example, a start position analysis function for map generation would see all resources so it could place starting positions on whatever criteria. If you re-use the code from there, or call any of the related helper functions directly in the AI city site analysis functions, without remembering or catching that this code doesn't limit itself by tech level, you've now given the AI "pre-sight" in an unintended way.

    They could have tried to slip instances of AI "pre-sight" past everyone... but they are releasing the SDK in January. I find it hard to fathom that any game developer would do something they know for sure will be brought to light as evidence they weren't telling the truth. There's really nothing to gain from it, and everything to lose. That and the fact that there's just so much code that mistakes will be made, makes me think these instances, if they hold up, would be accidental rather than intentional.
     

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