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RB3 - Daring Deity with Ottomans

Discussion in 'Civ5 - Succession Games' started by Sullla, Oct 17, 2010.

  1. pi-r8

    pi-r8 Luddite

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    Wow the ending for this game is just so, so anticlimactic. Even a simple line graph of civilization scores would be better than a simple "you win! game over!" pop up.

    Sullla did a great job of writing up the various problems that Civ V has. I agree with him that all of those are severe problems- they're not just a matter of "this is different! It's not Civ 4.5 it's something new". It's a simplistic, limited game, which I'm already pretty tired of. There's just not much else to learn about this game, except for slight adjustments to do everything as fast as possible.

    I believe that these problems stem directly from the decision to make civ V a one-unit-per-tile (1UPT) game. 1UPT allows a lot of flexibility in how you arrange your army; however, it only works if your army has empty space to move in. It requires an army smaller than the map. 1UPT led to small army sizes, which led to lower production and faster science, which led to the broken economy system that this game has now. The combat in civ V was based on panzer general, but that doesn't work well in a civ style game. I tried to explain why that is in this post: http://forums.civfanatics.com/showpost.php?p=9780300&postcount=48

    Clearly this was a decision made early on, since it's such an important part of the game. At the same time, they wanted to keep the "civ" feel to the game, where you settle new cities, build improvements and city buildings, and go in to the city screen to adjust your citizens. Combined, this meant that they had to limit the total number of tiles in the game, and so they tried to force army sizes to be very small. A typical civ 4 army of ~50 units would be incredibly annoying to manage in the Civ V style, so they wanted to encourage armies of only 5~10 units. I hope this succession game showed how clunky warfare becomes in this game when the army sizes get large (I enjoy the early wars with small army sizes). The AI can't handle it, and the player doesn't enjoy it.

    In order to do that, they had to limit production. You can see that in the decreased yields- production and food yield have been decreased compared to civ 4, whereas the food required to grow a city was greatly decreased. The early units like warriors don't take very long to build, but the cost of units quickly increases. The high upkeep costs for units, buildings, and roads factor in to this as well (see my sig). The idea was, I think, that every new military unit would take about 10~20 turns to build, just enough to replace your losses while you continually upgraded your original army. As a result, your army size would stay almost constant throughout the game.

    Also, it's worth pointing out that there's two ways of effectively decreasing production. Either decrease hammer yields while increasing costs- which they did- or to make science go faster- which they also did. The beaker cost of techs decreased, great scientists became more powerful, and research agreements were added. All of these accelerated the tech pace, giving less time to build the units/buildings for each technology, which effectively decreased production.

    So now the developers are stuck with a game that has greatly reduced production values. That's fine, except for one thing- what do they do in the early game? They can't expect us to just sit around clicking "next turn" for 40 turns waiting for our worker to finish, or 100 turns for a library to finish. It's bad enough that it already takes up to 15 turns to finish that first worker. So, they had to make the early stuff a bit cheaper. You can build a warrior in ~6 turns, and you can build a horseman or a library in ~10. Even a coloseum only takes ~20. The idea was that a small city was efficient enough to produce the early game stuff in a reasonable amount of time, and as the city grew, it would produce the later stuff in the same amount of time- keeping army size constant while the cities grew and built infrastructure. There would be no massive increases in the power of a city with its size (like civ 4 had) because if a city became really powerful, it could create huge armies which would break the 1UPT system. If large cities were only modestly more powerful than small cities, the army sizes would stay small. That's pretty much what I discovered when I tried a game limited to just 3 large cities, which I describe here http://forums.civfanatics.com/showpost.php?p=9818418&postcount=37.

    What the developers overlooked was that we're not limited to just a few large cities- we can build as many small cities as we want! Granted, we're limited a bit by happiness, but there's a lot of ways to solve that little problem (like keeping the city size small). And since small cities are so efficient at building the early game stuff, and large cities never become vastly more powerful, the many small cities with their trading posts (even without any multipliers) will quickly outproduce the large cities with their mines, despite their forges and workshops.

    The game is in an awkward situation where large cities can't be too good because it would imbalance the middle and late game, but small cities have to be good or else the early game would be boring. And of course science is shared between all cities, so the more cities you have, the faster science goes, without any corresponding increase in city production. The result is what we've got now- a large number of small, undeveloped cities can produce a collossal amount of gold and science, which allows us to outtech even a large deity AI, while producing anything we want.

    I know a lot of people will suggest balance tweaks to fix this. But I don't think this can be solved adequately without somehow addressing the issue of 1UPT at civ scale. You can't give an incentive to make large, developed cities better because that will just make that late game even faster and more unit-clogged than it is now. You can't make small, undeveloped cities weaker because than the early game will just be excruciatingly slow and boring.

    So what do we have now? Thanks to 1UPT, we've got a game that tries hard to limit production because large armies break the 1UPT system. To limit production as the game goes on, large cities increase their production very slowly relative to science. This means that small cities remain competative throughout the entire game. This, combined with the many loopholes in the happiness system, allow an empire of many small cities to massively outproduce and outtech an empire of a few large cities, so the 1UPT is broken anyway with a massive clog of advanced units, early in the game. In my opinion, this is not fixable without severe changes to the game, such as bringing back stacks or greatly increasing the minimum distance between cities.
     
  2. Defianc4

    Defianc4 Chieftain

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    An interesting post.

    Do you think that the Civ modding community will attempt? create much larger worlds, or just go back to Civ IV and FFH2?
     
  3. rb8954

    rb8954 Chieftain

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    I agree, people were getting 'railed' for saying they like limited stacks. I always agreed that limited stacks or even stacks would be much better than 1upt due to several things like scale, as was mentioned. I don't believe the game is fixable any longer; they will attempt to tweak it to cover the disaster underneath; and these will be the patches and expansions.
     
  4. haphazard1

    haphazard1 Dancing Bear

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    Great game to all the players, and thanks for the write ups and insights.

    I agree with pi-r8 (luddite) that the game's major problems are all tied into the decision to go with 1UPT. And why was this decision made to go with 1UPT? Were stacks really a problem so utterly and totally horrible that everything else in the game had to be redesigned around it? (Including an AI which has no clue how to actually function with 1UPT?)

    I have no expectation that patches will improve Civ V, because the problems are rooted in the very core of the game design. It is sad that the franchise has come to this, and will probably die as a result. Firaxis will surely push out at least one expansion, and maybe the Civ Facebook thing we have been hearing about. But I do not expect they will hold the attention of many long-time Civ players for more than a few weeks at best.

    Civ IV continues to have that strong "one more turn" feeling for me, and I will find other games. But it is a great disappointment to see this classic franchise crash and burn so badly.
     
  5. TrailblazingScot

    TrailblazingScot I was kittenOFchaos

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    A very useful succession game in providing evidence that CiV has major issues that need addressing for it to be considered a worthy successor to Civ IV. Hopefully Firaxis can be encouraged to take notice and make some radical changes...I suggest a simple one in this thread, but so much more is required to get this game off the ground:

    http://forums.civfanatics.com/showpost.php?p=9846465&postcount=123

    Haphazard & pi-r8 makes a great post, it is a shame that so many posters don't recognise that 1upt has caused so many problems.

    I'm just baffled that the game designers appear ignorant of the brilliant features of SMAC and Civ IV and designed a game more primitive than either. It could still be made into an excellent game, but it'd require some major design changes.

    But, what annoys me most of all, is how rubbish the river graphic is ;)
     
  6. arghdos

    arghdos Chieftain

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    An excellent very well thought out post. I agree, the most frustrating thing in civ V is likely the large bottlenecks that occur during warfare. This is further compounded by the inability to attack rivers/seas/(water in general) in the early game without all your units getting trashed. I'm currently playing a diety game with catherine. I have all of africa to myself (which is a fair amount of space). Bismark attacked me (he was situated in france/germany region) and I spent ~25 turns simply killing his units as they crossed the Mediterranean sea, the land route around was about 2-3 hexes wide, and was blocked by a city state situated between two mountain ranges (really great placing that... it made it so I couldn't get past the city state, because for some reason I can't travel through the actual city of the c.s.), and another civ. I mean, how are you supposed to effectively wage war when your units die everytime you move them into the enemy's territory, or are forced to take a 30 turn escapade through far away lands just to get to a damn city. The only time I ever made progress in this war was when Bismark gave me two cities for peace (Huh? I've never even set foot in his lands and he hands me two cities?). Even now, when I'm a good unit ahead of my current opponent (alex has tanks, I have modern armor, mech inf.) I have a hard time taking his cities because of the impossibilities created by bottlenecks, and attacking across rivers.

    The big offenders are the size of the tactical maps (way too damn small) and the logistical nightmare created by small paths to enemy territory (mountains, why cant I travel through a pass at 1/2 the speed or something dammit?)
     
  7. uberfish

    uberfish Immortal

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    I dunno, the 1 unit per tile maneuvering can be lots of fun. I started a deity game with the Mongols where I don't build settlers (had enough ICS to last me a lifetime with this game :p) and just have a bunch of horses repeatedly running away from all the spears/pikes and circling around to hit wherever the enemy is weakest. The tactical feel is so different depending on what sort of terrain you're fighting on which you don't get in civ4. I'm really not quite sure how you solve the problem of armies getting too large and unwieldy once both sides have lots of cities in the late game though, things start getting broken after the industrial age. Having all the modern units take forever to build so that people have to rush buy in order to produce stuff before it gets outdated doesn't strike me as an ideal solution. Neither do I like civ 4's multiple 50+ unit late game stacks. There has to be a balance somewhere between the two extremes.

    As for FFH, I just started playing in a new PBEM at Realms Beyond so that's still going strong :) Fans of the mod are welcome to lurk.
     
  8. Kronoz

    Kronoz Chieftain

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    Excellent game, congratulations!

    Lurking this thread has been the most rewarding experience with civ 5 for me, for my own games never made it through the early-game. Its just too slow and boring, so I shelved the game after just 8-10 hours of gameplay.

    Very intresting analysis by pi-r8.
     
  9. Irgy

    Irgy Emperor

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    I agree with luddite's argument about the flow on effects of 1UPT, but I'm not so pessimistic about it. Personally I'm glad they went with 1UPT, the effect it has on the tactical game really worked I think - subject to a few annoyances, and of course the weakness of the AI. But the need to limit army sizes in 1UPT is real.

    To me all that's shown to be broken in your game is ICS. ICS is what lead to all the other things going out of control. I think luddite's point that small cities need to be good is reasonable, but there's a lot of reasons why ICS works so well and not all of them are necessary to make the early game interesting.

    PS Oh and great write up and well done guys!
     
  10. anti_strunt

    anti_strunt Warlord

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    Brilliant analysis after a brilliant game!
     
  11. secondbest

    secondbest Chieftain

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    fantastic post by pi-r8 (luddite) about the core problems of the game... I had earlier posted about a solution (well an idea actually) I had thought about. Here it is:


    The idea is being discussed here. http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=395070

    What do you think? Might it be possible? I think it would be great but it would be two games in one making games much longer.

    When I originally posted this message noone responded. I hope it was because nobody paid close attention during the gameplay. Anyway... I just wanted to hear what you think.
     
  12. BubbaYeti

    BubbaYeti Warlord

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    I have to admit I never was a fan of the stacks of doom, and was glad to see the 1upt approach, but I also have to admit that pi-r8's analysis is probably dead-on.

    Perhaps the modders could introduce a compromise--the ability to "merge" two (or more) units of the same type into a larger unit with hit points equal to the sum of the individuals. They could also be separated back out later. This would allow one to compact one's army into smaller units for fighting in close quarters. There would be some limit as to the number of units that could be merged. What would happen to the promotions would have to be worked out.
     
  13. SevenSpirits

    SevenSpirits Immortal?

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    Well finished! Again I'm sorry for bailing partway through.

    pi-r8, I don't think the situation is as unfixable as you say. Exponential growth is always hard to balance, but Civ IV managed it OK. Some points about reducing army sizes:

    - If the combat AI gets improved at all, and/or horsemen are weakened, the AI won't need as many production bonuses to compete militarily.
    - The AI could be given combat bonuses instead of some of the production bonuses, and have its military strength boosted a similar amount.
    - The AI currently undervalues gold, as can be seen by the fact that on balance we traded away so many non-gold things and traded for so much gold. If the AI is tweaked to value gold more accurately, the human won't be able to buy as many units.
    - If later era units are made more expensive but also even more powerful, increased production/buying capabilities over time will not necessarily translate into such increased army sizes.
    - If some more buildings are made to be actually worth building, everyone will build a few less units.

    So I think there are a ton of options for improving the game. I'm not optimistic that they actually will do enough though - it would take so many changes. The biggest issue for me is still that the land is so homogeneous in terms of yields, and the improvement options so limited. I consider the essence of civ games to be A Map And A Tech Tree*, so having a boring map and a tech tree where most of the techs are effectively blank is kind of a shaky foundation. I think the only way to fix those would be to add several different new improvements, spread them over the tech tree, also spread some improvement yield changes over the tech tree, and make the terrain much more interesting (like civ IV, where resources matter for tile yields). That's on top of fixing all the obvious problems of course.


    * If you have ever played the excellent civ-like board game Through the Ages, you should share my amusement about this as it has neither. The fact that it actually feels like civ despite that is pretty amazing.
     
  14. Zherak_Khan

    Zherak_Khan Warlord

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    Thanks for a great read. I was surprised you had such an easy time, I struggle more with Deity myself. I agree with Sullla on more or less all points. Patching is a solution when fixing bugs and tweaking numbers makes for a good game. When the underlying mechanisms aren't interesting, even if they worked as intended in isolation and in aggregate, I don't see what patching is going to do. The word refers, metaphorically, to taking a perfectly good pair of pants with a rift and fixing it with a patch. This is a pair of pants with one leg.

    Edit: SevenSpirits; there is a lot you could do to make deity less winnable. But none of your -changes actually make the game more interesting. On the contrary, it will remove the slight bit of quasidiplomatic interaction there is.

    PS: Why did the designers implement a dumbed down version of Panzer General? The suppression and covering fire mechanisms, plus having air units presents from the get-go, actually made PG interesting.
     
  15. CiverDan

    CiverDan Warlord

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    As a lruker a few things are obvious beyond the key issues already raised

    1) Tech progression is too fast in the late game. I lol when I read about the Infantry era lasting a whole 5 turns. Great Scientists have to be nerfed for one. I also tend to feel the tech tree is too linear, an issue exacerbated by the overpowered GS.

    2) Embarked units should at least some some defense. Right now any old boat can kill a modern transport 100% of the time.
     
  16. Corbeau

    Corbeau Jack of All Trades

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    There is no fundamental reason why small cities can't be good at building early-era stuff, but be rubbish at building late era stuff. Just because Firaxis botched the implementation (and it's pretty clear that they did) doesn't mean that the entire idea is worthless.

    Just make late game costs on everything skyrocket, but make the power of late-game buildings also skyrocket. Isn't one of the biggest problems that late-game buildings are actually comparable in power to early game buildings, despite them costing far more? Make them actually strong, and you'd have reason to build them rather than just plunking down an extra city to build another copy of the basic building.

    Oh, and nerf rush-buying into oblivion. And make better AI. And rework city states heavily (I wouldn't mind seeing the gold bribes gone completely from the city-state system, replaced by longer-term alliances for fulfilling city-state missions).
     
  17. uberfish

    uberfish Immortal

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    FFH gives AI units some free xp by difficulty level, this could work.

    If you make the AI play "optimally" with its gold by refusing trades for resources it doesn't need due to its happiness handicap and instead dumping it into, say, bribing city states, you just end up in a situation where you can't interact meaningfully with the computer civs at high difficulty levels because the AI bonuses generate much more gold than a human player can match.

    The best idea I could come up with would be having cities build some sort of "logistics" to keep higher tech units supplied with their ammo, fuel, etc, that way you keep some cities busy without needing insane unit building times or gold upkeep costs.
     
  18. SevenSpirits

    SevenSpirits Immortal?

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    Who said anything about refusing trades being optimal?

    The driver of trade has always been that one party has something than another party wants more, and vice versa. Swapping them is mutually beneficial, so trade occurs.

    The AI currently overvalues resources compared to gold so much that it does worse for every resource it buys! And meanwhile it can basically never find a human buyer for its resources because it prices them way above their true value. Calling this one-sided exploitation "trade" is a joke.

    There must be some price for resources at which in some cases the human will want to buy from the AI, and in some cases the human will want to sell to the AI. Finding that value (or range of values depending on the AI's gold/happy situations) is well within our reach.

    By the way, you also argued that improving the AI could ruin the game. That argument ignores the big picture. You can always reduce the AI bonuses when their effects become amplified by better decision-making. There's no need to restrict ourselves to making just one change in a vacuum.
     
  19. Zherak_Khan

    Zherak_Khan Warlord

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    I think part of his point is that the AI gets so much free happiness that it's never going to feel like buying any of your resources.
     
  20. OneFootInThe...

    OneFootInThe... Warlord

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    even if you minimize the number of units somehow, it will be a failure regardless... how do you teach the AI to use their minimized number of units well... so you kill a few AI units, and than sweep up instead? Which would be an improvement to the current grinding through tens of units to get to the same point... still it would not make the war game any more interesting.

    the game is broken... I think it would have been easier to take off where BTS ended, with stacks and than add some other tactical aspects of Civ V into the frame combined with with watering down of "stack power"... to come up with a different war mechanism, and also focus on making the end game war quicker. As it is - you not only have a hopeless AI for war, but also a boring empire building game supporting that concept.
     

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