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PolyCast Episode 325: "Constituent Parts"

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by DanQ, Nov 25, 2018.

  1. DanQ

    DanQ Chieftain

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    Taking it in. The three hundred-and-twenty-fifth episode of PolyCast, "Constituent Parts", features regular co-hosts Daniel "DanQ" Quick, Stephanie "Makahlua", Philip "TheMeInTeam" and Jason "MegaBearsFan" Grade with first-time guest "SupremacyKing2". It carries a runtime of 59m59s.

    The summary of topics is as follows:

    - 01m57s | Senate
    What is the first district you construct in a Civilization VI city you've just conquered... and are keeping, of course.
    - 08m15s | Research Lab
    From a general to an in-depth suggestion to reimagine, then reimplement, Barbarian mechanics in the Civ series.
    - 27m08s | Open Mic
    Responding to critical and not-so-critical comments from the Civilization community on Episode 323.
    - 33m13s | Forum Talk
    Much to consider with respect to what difficulty level means for CivVI and the series beyond (recorded for Episode 322).

    - Intro/Outro | Assorted
    Move to play and hedging for trolling.

    PolyCast is a bi-weekly audio production recording live every other Saturday throughout the year, in an ongoing effort to give the Civilization community an interactive voice; sibling show ModCast focuses on Civ modding, TurnCast on Civ multiplay.
     
  2. shaglio

    shaglio The Prince of Dorkness

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    Regarding what Jason said about changing the difficulty levels to sliders to increase the AI's abilities or handicap your own, I can see a problem with that: it lacks a basis of comparison. One person's "Deity" win with sliders turned up won't be equivalent to another person's "Deity" win with the sliders turned down.

    Unless they changed it so that, rather than selecting your difficulty level from the outset and then adjusting the sliders, you instead just adjust the sliders and your difficulty level was determined by how far you move them. So you'd start out on Prince, but if you turned the sliders all the way down, you'd now be on Settler. Likewise, if you turned the sliders all the way up, you'd be on Deity.
     
  3. megabearsfan

    megabearsfan Chieftain

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    Good point, Shaglio. That depends on how the difficulties are implemented. I can see at least 2 ways that it could work:

    1.) Difficulty setting (e.g. settler, king, immortal, diety, etc) would set some baseline attributes and behaviors, and the sliders would just modify those. This is how (I believe) most sports games work. For example, Madden has the rookie, pro, all-pro, and all-madden difficulty settings (which basically determines how often the game will cheat in the user or CPU's favor), but then also has the individual sliders that affect how accurate QBs are, how often receivers drop passes, how well linemen block, how well defensive players tackle, etc, and those can be adjusted independently for both the user-controlled and CPU-controlled teams.

    So if you find that you're having too much difficulty running the ball on the All-Madden difficulty, you can adjust the slider so that your blockers hold their blocks better and/or the CPU misses more tackles. This might end up being a crutch for the player, or it might allow them to learn how All-Madden differs from All-Pro, and get used to playing on All-Madden until they get good enough to return the sliders to default, while still being able to have fun and competitive games. Actual results will vary.

    2.) The difficulty would be entirely dependent on the sliders, and the existing difficulty labels (e.g. settler, king, immortal, diety, etc) would just be pre-configured slider sets. For example, chosing "Deity" would just set all the AI handicaps to 100% and all the user handicaps to 0%, chosing "King" would set all the AI and user handicaps to 50%, and so on.

    In both cases, competitive players could use the default difficulty settings without any slider adjustments, which would be consistent for all players.

    For non-competitive players (which probably makes up the vast majority of Civ players, I would think), they would have more freedom to tailor the experience to their own ability, tastes, and preferences. In that sense, yes, my "Diety win" may not be the same as your "Diety win", but then again, I don't play Diety because I don't like how front-loaded all the challenge is. So having more control over how the Diety difficulty works and is distributed over the course of the game would maybe encourage me to try it more often, and it could maybe mitigate the problem of the jump between difficulties being too large (i.e. "emperor" is easy, but "immortal" is too hard).

    Even so, as the game currently stands, the quality of our respective "Diety wins" would still be subject to the map and starting conditions, which AIs are present, and we still have the options to turn on/off barbarians and goody huts and so forth. So there's already a degree of variability within the existing options that make one player's Diety experience not necessarily equivalent to another player's. Is my Diety win with Barbs disabled equivalent to your Diety win with "Aggressive Barbs" enabled? Probably not. In that sense, competitive play and tournament play already have to agree to use a pre-determined set of options and rules, so that element wouldn't change if more sliders were implemented.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2018
  4. megabearsfan

    megabearsfan Chieftain

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    In fact, I'd maybe even be open to the idea of allowing the player to change the difficulty settings and handicaps mid-game. So if you do start running away with the game, you can buff the AI handicaps or nerf your own (or vice versa). Of course, such an ability should be able to be disabled in the game setup (for those who want the challenge of playing the whole game on the hardest possible settings), and it should be disabled by default for all MP games.
     
  5. legalizefreedom

    legalizefreedom Inefficiency Expert

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    I appreciate everyone not piling on the BE supporter. Enough time has now past that I believe people can return to it fresh and appreciate it for what it is. As mentioned Rising Tide made it a much better game and I don't think enough people stuck with it long enough to experience that (unlike the main civ series).

    I liked the atmosphere in a sense of the look of the game and the setting. At first I was of the same mind as MBF that the UI was bland, but I came to recognize the artistic value of having a lonely empty type feeling in a space game. Except for a few oddly placed buttons, I like the UI. I think the part of the atmosphere that really needed more work were the quests (that's where the awesome pods and ruins mod comes in).

    Something similar happened to my opinion regarding the diplomacy re-work introduced with Rising Tide. At first I was shocked and disappointed that I could no longer directly trade resources and generally take advantage of the AI, but I came to understand the value of not having a way to directly manipulate the AIs. There is an elegance to it. A free will feel.

    It's not exactly that they give you stuff or that you can threaten them, but you can make agreements with them based on each others traits which improve the better your relationship is. Relationships that improve due to respect are the most stable, but you could get a higher level relationship from fear as well. It allows the traits to play out (if still a little weakly for my taste).

    I suspect that most people who are still really down on BE spent most of their time with vanilla.
     
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  6. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    Maddjinn had a lot more dislike for BE than the rest of us.

    My issues with it where pretty similar to my issues with Civ 5 and 6. Its progression always felt a little flawed/imbalanced too (espionage in particular), but it did implement systems that Civ 6 would have done well to at least borrow from conceptually. War score system was never completely finished to my knowledge, but it's been a sore need in all mainline civ games and would be especially relevant in Civ 6 where casus belli can and should affect war score, which would affect ability to compel peace deals.
     
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  7. legalizefreedom

    legalizefreedom Inefficiency Expert

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    War score was implemented and works pretty well for spoils of war. There are times when the AI just will not make peace, but I consider that intentional.
     
  8. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    That's why I contend it does not work. The whole point of having a war score system, at all, is that it is used to compel peace terms short of completely wiping someone off the map. If you meet a threshold for demands and AI/human players can just refuse to peace anyway there's no point in having a "war score" system, you might as well just have hidden criteria for what the AI will give away.

    War score's potential is in its ability to assign known values to game-states during a war force attention to particular objectives lest an opponent win and take the objectives against your will.

    BERT still had the problem of being stuck making certain demands and the AI refusing them, last I played it. In a sound implementation, this wouldn't happen, there would be no refusing given sufficient war score. If otherwise is "intentional" then the developer's judgment was off. This isn't a BERT only problem though, poor peace interactions have plagued Civ since the first game and still do now. Firaxis and their predecessors have literally never gotten this right yet, in the sense that there are still degenerate incentives for a nation to hold another in war and still no means to force one to end based on success level.
     
  9. legalizefreedom

    legalizefreedom Inefficiency Expert

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    Most will eventually make peace if you stop attacking them for a few turns.

    There is no demand making in BERT. You can change your relationship level or make an agreement. Maybe it's been a while since you've played. :p
     
  10. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    It has been a while, but that's how I remember it, that you were forced to make certain requests and the for peace and the AI could refuse them. It's a poor representation of war score for the reasons I've highlighted. It could be the best model in Civ but instead it's still a degenerate implementation in terms of incentives.
     
  11. legalizefreedom

    legalizefreedom Inefficiency Expert

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    @TheMeInTeam
    The AIs either entertain peace or not. If they are open to it, that's where the spoils of war dialog comes in.

    Being able to force peace is debatable to me, but I respectfully acknowledge it is a long standing wish of yours.

    I like the decision being left up to them. It's more realistic from my (RP and mostly passive) playstyle and the AI does a decent enough job. Their decision making could be improved no question, but I also acknowledge there are some sponsors and some situations where the AI will fight to the death unless you back off and open diplo channels and I'm okay with that.
     

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