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The AI is cheating, isn't it?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by stebbinsd, Jun 23, 2015.

  1. stebbinsd

    stebbinsd Chieftain

    Joined:
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    I'm only playing on Noble difficulty. This isn't even the middle-of-the-line difficulty! And yet, I keep struggling to keep up with the AI. When I try to build my up my army, I'm still using catapults and swordsmen while everyone else is moving on to gunpowder.

    I've always been suspicious that the AI is cheating. But I've never had any hard evidence, until now.

    I started a "standard" sized map with a whopping 11 civilizations and, as it turns out, there are about three other civilizations within a fat cross of me. So, it looks like I'm going to have to fight for living space.

    So, I reload my auto save at the beginning of the game. I send my default warrior down south to wage immediate war with Wang Kon, so I can have Seoul as an instant second city.

    Here's the problem, though: On my second turn, I enter Seoul's borders. He hasn't even gotten his first border-pop, yet.

    My goal is to rush-capture the city before it has any military protection. His default warrior would be about six spaces away, and he wouldn't have enough time to make it to his city to protect it. So, if I can enter his borders on the third turn, I should be able to take the city, for free, on the fourth turn. Since he doesn't have any more cities this early in the game, he'll be instantly defeated, his "exploratory" warrior will be deleted from the game, and I'll have an instant "second city" to work with when playing the rest of the game.

    Well, I accounted for everything, and guess what? I entered his borders on the second turn. I'm now one tile away from his city. I end my third turn.

    On his third turn, a warrior pops out of his city! Just three turns in, and he's already completed production of a warrior!

    The only way he could have done that is if he were making five hammers per turn, and that is simply impossible this early in the game! If he planted his city on a plains/hilltop, then the city itself would be producing two hammers per turn, so his one population would have to be working a three-hammers-per-turn tile.

    Granted, as I look at his surroundings in the World-Builder, he does have some copper sitting on a plains/hilltop, two tiles south and one tile east of his city. Once that copper gets revealed, it WILL produce three hammers per tile without a mine having to be built. HOWEVER, A) he needs a border pop before he can work that tile, and B) he couldn't possibly have researched bronze working in only three turns.

    So, how is he creating this warrior so damn fast?

    He's CHEATING! Isn't he?!

    EDIT: I even tried running a circle around Seoul without entering his territory. He STILL gets his warrior in only three turns. So, it's not like the game is taking pity on him due to extenuating circumstances (a person unfairly declares war before he has any opportunity to build up any kind of defense). No, his quick production of a warrior is natural for him.

    So, how is he doing this?
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Anysense

    Anysense King

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    AI's have bonuses on production. The higher difficulty level the higher handicap.
    I did not now much about noble so I tested it. Isabella produced a warrior in 5 turns making just 1 hammer per turn. That is she has x3 multiplier for producing warriors.
     
  3. Tatran

    Tatran Deity

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    I've to admit that something isn't right when the AI, on Noble at Normal speed, produces a warrior at turn 3.
    The human player needs 15 hammers for a warrior.
    Why does the AI only needs 5 hammers the build a warrior?

     
  4. Gr8scott

    Gr8scott Warlord

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    I am not sure the specific mechanics, but I believe each AI begins with a warrior in production. They do not get a production multiplier, but they do start with some hammers allocated to a warrior.

    The idea, I presume, is to stop a cheesy warrior rush :p
     
  5. rah

    rah Deity Supporter

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    You can tell the city has been working the corn all three turns since the city is 6 turns from growth.
    With only 2 hammers from the plains hill, you have to assume the AI started with 9 or 10 free hammers.

    And you're supposed to wait for at least 3/4 warriors for a cheeze warrior rush since you can gener 4 hammers a turn from the go. 12 to 16 turns should only yield 2 warriors in the city and if you'll lucky he'll start on a worker instead of another warrior and you can time your attack for when the worker pops.
     
  6. Tatran

    Tatran Deity

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    This could be the XML code which will give an explanation :

    <DefineName>INITIAL_AI_CITY_PRODUCTION</DefineName>
    <iDefineIntVal>10</iDefineIntVal>
     
  7. stebbinsd

    stebbinsd Chieftain

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    Which XML file is that? I'm going to make a mod that sets it so that the middle difficulty puts all civs - player and AI alike - on a level playing field, a la the Elder Scrolls.
     
  8. Tatran

    Tatran Deity

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    @stebbinsd

    GlobalDefines.xml
     
  9. Gr8scott

    Gr8scott Warlord

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    To create a level playing field, you should also let the AI know that warrior rush is the best starting strategy.

    Kind of funny to see all the capitals changing hands! lol.
     
  10. Mizar

    Mizar IM

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    Mar 26, 2007
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    that.
    The AI gets an initial production bonus.

    But your problems are totally different ones. It is no real problem to out-tech and out-produce the AI up to Emperor or play on par from Middel Ages on on Immortal.

    My guess is you're lacking in fundamental empire build/management/expansion skill.
    Post a screenshot+save 100 turns in the game for details.
     
  11. Gumbolt

    Gumbolt Phoenix Rising

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    Looking at map, your biggest issue is having 11 AI on such a small map. No wonder all the Ai are 4-5 tiles apart. Try sticking to 6 Ai on a map. Or play large maps. 11 on a small map would ruin game play.

    The AI is crippled in many other ways. For instance you know certain Ai will/won't attack you if pleased. You know on Noble they will struggle to build a second city before 2000bc. Where with right play a human player can get their second city normally by 2800-2400bc at the latest.

    The AI on Noble will also spend time building warriors and other builds instead of building workers at start. Even when they build the workers they will often make poor decision on how to use them. The Ai will escort all it's settler. Then build more defenders. Where on Noble you have less to fear from barbs.

    The point is by time you master Noble, prince and higher levels you know how predictable the Ai are and how to abuse this. It's almost like cheating at times.

    The issue is not that the AI is cheating but your game play needs more work. As you have already pointed out on Noble the AI start with warriors. A stack of 3-4 axes would easily take out an AI early on.

    Try watching some online immortal play throughs for ideas on how to improve your game.
     
  12. Seraiel

    Seraiel Deity

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    AI on Noble is so weak, AI generally is so weak, it's necessary that the AI gets some advantages, just think of all the advantages you have over the AI.
     
  13. Anysense

    Anysense King

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    The biggest AI's weakness is that it can't learn anything, while human can.
     
  14. elmurcis

    elmurcis Emperor

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    Imagine how much advantage Ai has on Deity.... Extra starting techs, extra settler, worker, archers... discount for production, less worker improvement turns, research speed, units/cities maintence etc.... And even with this all many players manage to win deity games :D
     
  15. 2pt0

    2pt0 Chieftain

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    Just change the difficulty back to Chieftain or Settler and you'll end up with just about the same results.

    The funny part is that at Noble is the most level playing field of all of the difficulty settings. The lower levels penalize the AI, and the higher levels give bonuses to the AI.
     
  16. lymond

    lymond Rise Up! (Phoenix Style!) Hall of Fame Staff

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    Stebbin, I recommend focusing less on things like whether AI is cheating and more on improving your game. As, Serial says, the AI is very weak in Noble. No reason exists why you can't absolutely destroy Noble AI with probably even just a few tweaks to your game. Worrying about AI cheating is not constructive.
     
  17. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    The AI has a few cheats hidden that apply to it at all difficulties, even those that incur penalties as well. Starting 10 hammers, ability to look up your exact military power, sight through fog anywhere its units can travel, maphacking to tell if you've traded with its worst enemies before you've even met it, occasionally making your worst enemy on sight.

    But despite those, the noble AI is a walkover. I understand the frustration with getting hit by hidden rules all too well, especially on a difficulty that purports to be even. It's a cheap trick, unlike some of the above cheats that allow the AI to function better. I am rather not fond of implementations of fake difficulty in strategy games, or poor mechanics/documentation of those mechanics. Civ IV has fewer of those than many other TBS I've played (on par with HOMM, which has its share also).

    Don't allow your frustration over this to bias you into believing that struggles on a given difficulty are due to the AI being handed advantages. On the very subforum you're posting this OP, players have not only beaten deity, but attacked AIs on deity who still had rifles with tanks and bombers in a legitimate competition, on an arguably bad start with a mostly junk civ (HRE). If the noble AI isn't something you can swat like a fly, it is because you are misplaying. Count this one loss as a cheap-shot fake difficulty aspect and move on, don't count it even. You have a large body of evidence...years + hundreds of posts to draw on that show very clearly that mopping a continent with horse archers only is trivial on noble...and several difficulties above.

    The evidence is overwhelming. It is okay if you can't do it. Everyone starts somewhere. If you want to learn, you certainly can do so. However, it is maladaptive to conclude based on the evidence available on this very subforum that the noble AI is getting gunpowder versus your catapults because it is cheating. There are threads on the 1st page that clearly show players surpassing the AI in tech on the highest difficulties. Why can they do that, while you can't? If you want to beat noble, even get to the point where you can do it without thinking, find the answer to that question. Look at their games, try to replicate them, and when you fail figure out what you did differently.

    TL;DR:

    The AI cheats, but not nearly enough to prevent experienced players from crushing it.
     
  18. Kallikrates

    Kallikrates Prince

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    What about wonders? It may be only bad luck but I have experienced several times that when I replayed a portion of a game because I had lost a wonder race, it turns out completely differently in the "alternative timeline". E.g. I played a crappy isolation map someone posted here (Louis immo), popped mysticism from a hut and tried to get oracle for CoL. Because of the bad map research was so slow that on my first try I had not even priesthood when someone build the oracle in ca. 1600 BC. So I decide I replay the early game, forget about the oracle and build/chop the pyramids instead (because I have stone), got the 'mids in 1200 BC (actually too early to be of much use) and the oracle now goes in 950 BC.
    Does the AI switch wonder builds without contact or is this just random?
     
  19. Tatran

    Tatran Deity

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    The AI in the civ series always played by different rules.
    You can call them cheats or bonuses, it helped the AI to be competitve.
    It depends on the player how many "cheats" he or she will tolerate.
    Although Firaxis called it a "bug", but the unlimited missile range for the AI in SMAC was not acceptable to me.
     
  20. Pangaea

    Pangaea Rock N Roller

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    I believe all decisions the AI make is to some extent based on a random number generator roll. It's not completely random, or the AIs wouldn't be different, but it's part of the decision making process. So if you play the same map several times, it won't unfold in the same manner. The same AI will go for different builds, buildings, units and wonders. The result is, like you observed, that the same wonder can go at different times, and to different AIs. It depends if the AI happens to start building a wonder it has unlocked relatively soon, or relatively late.

    The AI does get small bonuses when building wonders too btw, at least on the higher levels. They get a slight bonus per era (ancient, classical, etc). This means it's a little cheaper, but nowhere near the bonus the high-level AIs get for units and research.

    The main benefit the human has, which is huge, is that we can plan long term, build only the necessary buildings, and plan our cities much better, both in terms of where we place them, what we use them for, and what tiles to improve and in what manner they are improved. The AI is quite frankly terrible at this, and you will frequently see sequences like cottage -> farm -> cottage -> workshop - cottage.

    Heed the good advice from TheMeInTeam, and learn more about how to improve your game, rather than focus on the 'cheats' the AI has at the various difficulty levels. Yes, it can be frustrating at times, but you can't do anything about it, so it's best to ignore it and focus on the aspects of the game you can do something about.
     

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