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Speed of Civ IV, V, VI, VII... A descending trend?

Lazy sweeper

Prince
Joined
May 7, 2009
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With every iteration of Civ, time bw turns has dramatically increased.
Better textures, geometries, shading, post processing...

Civ IV is the faster by a long shot
Civ V is the slowest
Civ VI is in the middle - without AI...
Civ VII will be???

Old, ugly... but the game as it IS still playable as is Civ IV... you can pretty much press next turn every five seconds on average? 5 seconds... even on late game.
Ans nothing in the game can prevent you from ending a turn if you press twice the end turn button ( first time it might cycle to first non-F-defence unit).
Undreds of stacked units ( Which I love, bc my games requires a minimum of 8 Legionaries, or Gallic warriors, or any unique units, one ctapult, four horse units, then
declare war on my weakest enemy, and start conquering... compared to... build 8 archers, two catapult, and a warrior, of civ V and VI... otherwise nothing would work...
and the Great general is a hell of a unit...

Civ V has become unplayable on my PC after a win 10 update basically. But even before, it would cycle all units on the ground endlessly and F shortcut
would not work, taking a minimum of 15-20 secs on averavge, on a very early game. Late game could take minutes.

Civ VI suffers from the same illness of Civ V, cycling through all non-F defence mode units. Enter shortcut would not end turn. But given AI is practically dead,
it is somehow less taxing in late game than Civ V, and graphics performs exceptionally well on M1-M2 macs, which is blazingly fast.
However on my PC, late game turns did take minutes to end, especially in Apocalypse mode. And little to non -existent AI units.
Heroes should have been Great generals, staying on the realistic side, and they would had made many people happier...
I still love they introduced some kind of alternative history stuff, don't get me wrong here, it's just the Great general are useless
and boring compared to Civ IV ( or III).
 
As always it is worth noting that Humankind, which has more beautiful graphics than civ6 and a comparable scale, has infinitely shorter turn loading times as it doesn't have 1UPT and every AI doesn't have to move dozens of units every turn and resolve their individual traffic jams :)

(for similar reasons of computational resources that system also had better combat AI on release than civ6 had after four years of patches and expansions, with much smaller budget)
 
As always it is worth noting that Humankind, which has more beautiful graphics than civ6 and a comparable scale, has infinitely shorter turn loading times as it doesn't have 1UPT and every AI doesn't have to move dozens of units every turn and resolve their individual traffic jams :)

(for similar reasons of computational resources that system also had better combat AI on release than civ6 had after four years of patches and expansions, with much smaller budget)
I agree Humankind is faster but I think it’s mostly because all turns are simultaneous.
 
Can one perhaps precompute part of the AI turns during the player turn? Some of it and sometimes all of it would have to be redone during the actual AI turn but if no major surprise happens a lot of actions are not very sensitive to the behaviour of other players. For example, city build orders in peacetime (and even in wartime to an extent) are not very dependent on unit movement of other players.

Though I think well optimised code would be able to handle AI calculation in much less time than Civ6 needs currently.
 
“Just optimize the code” is a facile suggestion, I think, and pre-doing turns while the player is active doesn’t really make any sense.

AI performance goes all the way down to the level of the game engine itself and is affected by the whole package top to bottom.

As annoying as long turn times are, I assure you that the reason turns aren’t faster isn’t because someone at Firaxis forgot to press the “Make AI Smarter and Faster” button.
 
Because the AI do their turns in order, so not only do the players actions affect the game state, so does every AI faction before and after. And if every AI is calculating its turn while you’re playing, then that will obviously impact performance during your turn too.
You don't need graphics or UI for AI turns.
Not sure how that is related to my point about overall AI performance.
 
Stuff like general strategy and city builds is not really affected by the actions of other civs most of the time. That was rather my point. Sometimes it will be such as when getting declared on unexpectedly but that is fairly rare. Unit movement for 1upt is interdependent but even then only for some units.

I quoted the part. Graphics are part of the game engine you mentioned. I probably misunderstood what you meant then.
 
“Just optimize the code” is a facile suggestion, I think, and pre-doing turns while the player is active doesn’t really make any sense.

AI performance goes all the way down to the level of the game engine itself and is affected by the whole package top to bottom.

As annoying as long turn times are, I assure you that the reason turns aren’t faster isn’t because someone at Firaxis forgot to press the “Make AI Smarter and Faster” button.

As a developer, I cannot tell you how many times that I forgot to press the "Make AI Smarter and Faster" button. It's sandwiched all the way down in the corner of the dev environment, so easy to miss.
 
Game Performance, as measured in FPS or Game Turn times, is a chronic problem with games in development right up to release: see the Forums/Discords for Farthest Frontier, Manor Lords, Memoriapolis, etc (those are the ones I'm most familiar with lately) - and some of those game teams have been working at it for over a year and still don't have 'optimization' where the developers or gamers want it.

As long as gamers want more Depth, and more detailed, purty Graphics, and more Things To Do in games, the expectations are likely to keep ahead of what our computers can easily handle and developers can easily make them handle. Just myself, and I do not consider myself any 'hard core' computer gamer, I have bought new computers specifically because the old one would not handle a new game, about 3 times in the past 15 years, and I have no doubt I will be forced to do it again, since there is no sign of any slow down in the rate of 'advance' in requirements put on the computers by new games.
 
But given AI is practically dead,
it is somehow less taxing in late game than Civ V, and graphics performs exceptionally well on M1-M2 macs, which is blazingly fast.
I'm not sure "the AI is ineffective" makes the AI computation easier, and that therefore makes a substantial difference on a range of hardware vs. better lategame optimisation over CiV.

I mean, we're all guessing at the end of the day, but I feel like you're working backwards from the conclusion of the AI being poor.

You don't need graphics or UI for AI turns.
At a very simplistic level, knowing nothing about the inner workings of the engine they use for Civ . . . they do if the action is rendered (i.e. you have vision of them). Personally I'd prefer it if the game didn't drag the camera over every AI faction you had vision of, but at the same time there's an argument to be made for that vision being important, and that the player should be able to take advantage of that (advantage).

Game Performance, as measured in FPS or Game Turn times, is a chronic problem with games in development right up to release: see the Forums/Discords for Farthest Frontier, Manor Lords, Memoriapolis, etc (those are the ones I'm most familiar with lately) - and some of those game teams have been working at it for over a year and still don't have 'optimization' where the developers or gamers want it.

As long as gamers want more Depth, and more detailed, purty Graphics, and more Things To Do in games, the expectations are likely to keep ahead of what our computers can easily handle and developers can easily make them handle. Just myself, and I do not consider myself any 'hard core' computer gamer, I have bought new computers specifically because the old one would not handle a new game, about 3 times in the past 15 years, and I have no doubt I will be forced to do it again, since there is no sign of any slow down in the rate of 'advance' in requirements put on the computers by new games.
Games have problems with optimisation for a) industry reasons (which I won't derail the thread with here) and b) because performance is harder than most people give it credit for. And you're right insofar as consumers do want prettier things, or deeper simulations, or both. There's a problem with expectations, sure (which in turn marketing doesn't help). But I think even with that, games would be better without the aforementioned industry reasons. A lot better.

That said, modern, good-looking performant games absolutely exist. It's just that the conditions surrounding games development mean that these games are less likely to happen, at least given current trends.
 
If Civ 6 is faster than Civ 5, how is there a descending trend?

This was my first thought as well. Did you ever get an answer to this? Misleading topic title to be honest. I was interested in the topic but when I read the topic start I shrugged and thought: whatever.
 
If Civ 6 is faster than Civ 5, how is there a descending trend?
You can get trend lines that are sloped down overall despite the occasional uptick, but yeah doing this with 3 data points is a bit awkward. I would argue less along the lines of "trend" and more along the lines of "it's been well over a decade since anybody genuinely capable of designing an efficient UI worked on a Civ title".
As always it is worth noting that Humankind, which has more beautiful graphics than civ6 and a comparable scale, has infinitely shorter turn loading times as it doesn't have 1UPT and every AI doesn't have to move dozens of units every turn and resolve their individual traffic jams :)

(for similar reasons of computational resources that system also had better combat AI on release than civ6 had after four years of patches and expansions, with much smaller budget)
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I agree Humankind is faster but I think it’s mostly because all turns are simultaneous.
Simultaneous turns help, but probably won't fully explain it since even with simultaneous turns, each position has to be evaluated after someone hits "end turn" and given orders. If we're only going by the AI making decisions, this should make a difference of what, 1-10 seconds?

Civ games seem to be actually doing the moves off screen and last I played Civ 6, it was being gated on doing the animations of moving to a degree even with every setting to go as fast as possible...there are at least some questionable optimizations going on other than "AI doesn't compute fast enough".

Speaking of simultaneous...Paradox games have some serious issues of their own. However, you can put these on speed 4 on relatively dated machines and AI making decisions for hundreds of nations (including with constrained pathing due to ZoC or military access restrictions) will run without a hitch in a game like EU 4. HOI 4 is a disgrace in terms of its controls...at least Civ doesn't lie to you as frequently...but even this cesspool of UI has the AI running w/o taking too long better than Civ 5 and 6. HOI 4 is a different kind of poison than modern Civ...rather than waiting to play the game for longer than you actually play it, you instead are constantly fighting against the controls and avoiding the game's "gotchas"/dishonesty.

But modern civ turn times are slow enough to be a poison in their own right. Hours per game on waiting, if they go long. That's a non-trivial hit to the experience, magnified by Civ's tendency to have games be functionally over for quite some time before crowning a winner (even Civ 4 had that problem...but again less so than any other game in the series).
As annoying as long turn times are, I assure you that the reason turns aren’t faster isn’t because someone at Firaxis forgot to press the “Make AI Smarter and Faster” button.
Probably true! AI choosing what to do is probably a tiny % of these between turn times. Also, AI turn times are not the only problem!

A non-trivial burden to end-game Civ 5 and 6 is how efficient the controls are for the human as well. Both of these games are miles behind 4 in terms of the input-efficiency side of UI. Despite 4 having some problems of its own, it makes 5 and 6 look pathetic.

Years ago, I asserted I could give orders with some semblance of strategy to 50+ cities and units in Civ 4 than a top StarCraft 2 professional player could give to 20 cities after months of practice in Civ 6. It's been years, I'm older and have less nuance of Civ 4 memorized by heart and...this is still objectively true. There is nothing the fastest human beings could do, you're still gated by the game itself. Worse, last I played, Civ 6 had *inconsistent* input buffering, such that you can't trust that the inputs you put in will actually count unless you wait to observe them...but since they do count sometimes and might effect future orders, you have to wait or you will get outcomes you didn't order.

In Civ 5, you would even occasionally have the UI represent that a unit would perform a ranged attack, right click to perform the ranged, attack, then observe the unit instead move w/o attacking. This is objectively a bug, I will not respect statements to the contrary, and adds the to pile of "reasons player turn is slower". You can't trust the controls, not fully.

Can we give orders to multiple cities at once? No. Can we waypoint units made out of mutliple cities at once? No. Can we alter what the city is building w/o clicking into it? No. Can we save a sequence of buildings and units from one city and paste it into a newly captured city, automatically omitting anything that city already has? No...except in Civ 4, where you can do these things. You could click on a city (or several!), hold a button, and move something to top or bottom of queue in every city at once. You could access more information at a glance, and act on it faster. YMMV on the UI presentation, but in terms of "# of actions to do things", Civ 4 is *objectively* the best in the series by a wide margin.

So perhaps Firaxis didn't forget to press the "make AI smarter and faster" button, but they did seem to forget things like "players don't need offscreen stuff animated", "players who set animations off don't need anything animated", and "pressing shift lets you add to queue" buttons. Or more succinctly: they forgot to put anybody on the team that would optimize the number of inputs a player needs to use to interact with the game, and between this and inconsistent outcomes of orders combines to slow the player's own turns down. For advanced players, it slows them down a lot.

I don't know about "trend", but there's a reason I was really active here during Civ 4 and progressively less so after. Despite their own flaws, I was able to play the game during a much larger % of my play time in EU 4 and other games. Playing the game is a pretty important part of my experience when playing a game, so games that let me do that rather than waiting for a big % of my time won out. It's still a bit odd to me that most of the Civ community doesn't seem to care as much, but I've seen plenty of evidence that my opinion on the importance of UI and speed seems to be in the minority and that's not something I can change.

Does anybody remember Civ3 endgame turns???
I didn't play Civ 3 much, and this is indeed a big part of why. Even back in those days, games like HOMM and Warlords 2/3 were giving more interesting choices per unit of time in front of the screen, and significantly so. Thus if you weren't married to the historical references, they in many ways offered a superior experience. Notably, both of these franchises either fell off (HOMM) or stopped existing as a TBS (Warlords) by the time Civ 4 was around, and Civ 4 really nailed the "interesting choice per unit time" measure uniquely well among the Civ games. In the past I took for granted just how rare a Civ game with that property would be.
 
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So perhaps Firaxis didn't forget to press the "make AI smarter and faster" button, but they did seem to forget things like "players don't need offscreen stuff animated", "players who set animations off don't need anything animated", and "pressing shift lets you add to queue" buttons. Or more succinctly: they forgot to put anybody on the team that would optimize the number of inputs a player needs to use to interact with the game, and between this and inconsistent outcomes of orders combines to slow the player's own turns down. For advanced players, it slows them down a lot.
Heretofore the thread has been talking about turn processing times, right? Not “how long it takes the player to do something based on clicks.”

I don’t think anyone “forgot” to do anything. There are innumerable reasons why things that seem patently obvious to a player aren’t implemented into a game, and incompetence is usually not on the list.

Also, Civ 5 actually does let the player completely skip all animations and it’s still slower than Civ 6 at turn processing.
 
It's funny because I as wondering lately what caused Old World to be so slow + so ugly on my computer, while Civ5/6 are doing fine both in performance and eye candy, sort of. (obviously I run Civ6 on medium or even low, but it's still pretty nice, while all the ugliness of Old World couldn't help)

So I'm wondering, in the light of this example, what can take power to make those AI turns. Eventhough even in my own turn, in Old World, I saw lags all over the place in inability to play due to camera/game freezes. They say they made the minimal for a ~2014 computer, but I fail to see what such 4X could do more than Civ to be unable to run ok on slower ones.

In other words : I couldn't witness, because my inability to play, what could demand more powerful computers to play that game. Anyone ?

One could argue that's the same for Civ series in general, and it's still a good question IMO, beside graphical updates. But the AI processing turns don't take graphics into account do they ? (well I guess it could if the camera was going right and left, up and down every second, but I don't remember it's the case in Civ, and btw I had those problems with Old World in my own turns too, I thought with very very very low settings it wouldn't be a problem.... weird)

I'm just curious all right ? What makes Old World run so poorly when it's far uglier than Civ5/6. (and, by extension, what makes Civ iterations run slower with each episode, on the same machine obviously, again, beside graphical updates)
 
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