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The Future of CIV III GOTM

Discussion in 'Civ3 - Game of the Month' started by Più Freddo, Oct 3, 2018.

  1. Più Freddo

    Più Freddo From space, earth is blue

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    Dear friends!

    Civilization III is getting old, and so are we. The enthusiasm for the game and for this friendly competition is dwindling. I see practically no discussions before, during or after the games. I see no interest to design games. So I design 17 games per year, publish them and wait for the results to be published. Only then do I get any feedback at all that someone has downloaded the game and played it -- usually in silence.

    So I would like to make some changes for 2019. My wish would be to reduce the number of games and simplify the schedule. So fewer games, longer time for each and easier-to-remember deadlines. I would also at this time dump the low-level games or have only one easy (Regent) game per year. I feel enthusiasm is always higher for the difficult and really difficult games.

    Please make your voice heard in the polls posted in this forum!

    Più Freddo
     
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  2. Più Freddo

    Più Freddo From space, earth is blue

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    If we have fewer games running for longer time each, perhaps more players can find the time to participate.

    We can also have more spoilers.

    I also think we should have fixed victory conditions in all games. We could then fix the spoilers to VC-specific conditions or events in the game.
     
  3. templar_x

    templar_x usually walks his talks

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    Thank you for bringing this up! It is actually obvious that we have to talk about it.

    Personally I would like fewer games with more time and the 1st spoiler again. To me it felt this was the one where one could discuss the game best.

    Daring as we want to be, maybe do not only fix the VC but even try to combine the GOTM with the gauntlet games. Is it possible? If we choose rather good starting grounds, at least for those games that could theoretically run for an HoF-entry, might we win some unlikely XOTM-players but likely HoF-players? I don´t know, but I thought I might bring it up.

    Also or alternatively, I could imagine that we do know the whole fat cross of the capital location for the start thread. The reason why I have little to say about starts is that I know too little before I made the first move or settled. And afterwards I am not allowed to post any more... At least I would appreciate the small world map info so that we would know where on the planet we are starting.

    Those are my 2 cents, plus I want to utter my respect and gratitude to Piu for keeping this alive almost single-handedly. Thank you!
    t_x
     
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  4. Più Freddo

    Più Freddo From space, earth is blue

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    These are good points. About HoF I don't know, because I have no idea how to generate such maps.
     
  5. Lanzelot

    Lanzelot Moderator Moderator

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    Combining a HoF and a GOTM game sounds like a good idea to me. Both communities could benefit from that. All that needs to be done is to make sure that the GOTM start files are eligible for the HoF. (I think in the past this was not the case, because GOTM files are/were generated from a Mod, and Mods are not allowed for HoF entries.)

    And the second point to clarify: can multiple players submit a HoF game that came from the same start file/seed?
     
  6. CKS

    CKS Deity

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    HOF games need to be random starts with no mods, so if we wanted a game to be HOF eligible that would make it easy to "design" a GOTM. I don't know about multiple players submitting from the same start; there isn't a current rule about it, but it is a vast departure from the way things are currently run. I'm not sure how I feel about it. If the map turns out to be not so great, none of the GOTM submissions will be HOF-competitive. If the map turns out to be great, then a lot of people doing well from the same start feels wrong. Additionally, most of what is important isn't visible from the start. For example, for my HOF Sid game, the most important thing for me was to have all tribes be alone on an island. It took me hundreds of starts to find one. If we had a GOTM where this happened, I would wonder how we got so lucky; someone else looking at the map to pick a good one feels like cheating. As a HOF player, it would be important to me that no-one looked at the map past the tiles visible at the start and the domination limit.

    I play a lot of HOF games, and I play almost all decent starts out, excepting special circumstances (like the Sid game). I pick games with empty slots on the tables or with lousy dates, so most of the games make the tables, but none of my games are all that great. (For example, I have the slowest 20k on almost every standard map table. This is because I don't restart if I don't get an SGL for CB. To really compete at 20k, you need 2 or 3 SGLs in the ancient age.) Now, there are HOF tables with plenty of room where random GOTM games could make the tables, but they tend to be time-consuming or high-difficulty tables. If we have a game of the quarter, the time-consuming part might not be an issue. High-difficulty wins of a particular type on random maps are hard to arrange. While one need not require a particular type of win (though gauntlets have been done this way historically), I rather think that high-level games that would be both GOTM and HOF eligible would be frustrating for many people. Medium to low level games would be more reasonable, and 20k games should be avoided.

    There are a few other things to keep in mind.
    1. The rules for HOF are different from the rules for GOTM. GOTM rules would have to change, because changing GOTM rules only affect the current game, but the rules for HOF have to stay the same for all the games in the database.
    2. Scientific leaders are optional for HOF, but turned off for COTM. Games with no scientific leaders are very unlikely to be competitive in HOF. Many HOF players try again if they don't get an early leader for the Pyramids, for example. Pyramids on turn 10 affects every victory condition.
    3. GOTM has been designed to reduce variation between games, so that random chance isn't the reason players win or lose. HOF has approached this by saying, "Try lots of maps until things work out well," so that random chance isn't reduced, but its effects are because if you have bad luck, you just don't submit that game. I'm not sure the two approaches are all that compatible.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2018
  7. Lanzelot

    Lanzelot Moderator Moderator

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    Well, not really: if we allow something now, which was banned in the past, and someone wins an all-time fastest, biggest, highest-scoring of some kind, it would be unfair to the players of the past, who had to play by the rules...
    One example of that kind would be the so-called Lord Emsworth Deals, which are allowed in HoF, but banned in GOTM. They would bring 100K games to another level... :D

    The more I think about it, the more I think you are right. :(
     
  8. CKS

    CKS Deity

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    Except GOTM doesn't keep track of all-time fastest, biggest, best of anything. It keeps track of who came out on top this month, and who has been best most. The GOTM rules have historically varied wildly - from requiring serious mod packs to the current PTW rule changes to having predator saves where the AI rules were different. I'm pretty sure that SGL were on for the first 5 COTM games, though I didn't yet own Conquests so I didn't play them. (Plus, I was really horrible at Civ when I found this site, and it took me a long time to get up courage to try a GOTM; I don't think I'd signed up when the switch to some COTM happened, but I remember the outrage vividly - no-one had said ahead of time that it would be a Conquests game.) Anyway, I'm pretty sure that none of the other early GOTM players would care about switching the rules for some games. If they did, they could always come back and play with different rules, just like the rest of us.

    I think I'd have less of an issue with multiple players playing the same start in HOF if the victory condition weren't specified than if everyone were competing for, say, small regent diplomatic.

    Still, HOF is suffering, too, with only 7 games submitted since April (six of them mine). Things that drum up business for both groups are worth considering. Perhaps we could try a random start on an off month. That is, if we had a typical COTM in January, we could have an HOF-eligible Conquests start in February, a typical GOTM in March, an HOF-eligible PTW game in April, etc. Players with not much time would play the "real games" and players with more time could try the others. The global rankings could have 4 games per cycle, so those playing only the "real" games wouldn't be penalized there. I don't know if this is feasible or desired, but it popped into my head so I thought I'd put it up for discussion.
     
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  9. Lanzelot

    Lanzelot Moderator Moderator

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    Sure it does: go to "Pantheon of Heroes" and then select "All-time Fastest and Highest" from the drop-down box.

    Though I admit it's not the most important aspect of the GOTM competition... It would probably not cause an outcry, if we change the rules slightly. (As long as we don't, let`s say, allow Lord Emsworth Deals, and then someone takes the 100K spot from Kuningas...)
     
  10. CKS

    CKS Deity

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    Huh, so we do. I've never scrolled down that far, I guess.

    I notice, though, that in COTM 4, where Kuningas got his highest histographic score, settlers still popped from huts. (I have no idea if he got any.) Changing the rule to have goody huts give settlers instead of workers was pretty big, I think. In many of the older games with predator/open/conquest options, the predator rules were not necessarily a handicap - for example, giving the AI extra settlers for low-level games just gave good players extra towns to take. Some of the fastest/highest score games were on predator, and they don't necessarily compare well to open class games. Differential naval movement was another big rule change, in my opinion.

    Anyway, after thinking more about it and looking them up, I think that GOTM has more restrictive rules except that deliberately rioting cities is allowed. Since I doubt there is much deliberate rioting of cities for a purpose other than preserving a prebuild, this probably isn't an issue. GOTM rules should keep you safe for HOF games, but not the other way around.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2018
  11. Più Freddo

    Più Freddo From space, earth is blue

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    No, because we modify the games in the editor.
     
  12. CKS

    CKS Deity

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    Well, yes, but if we wanted to have a GOTM that was also a HOF game, we'd just roll a random start and go with it. I meant that GOTM players wouldn't have to worry about the different rule set. I'm just not sure it would be satisfying for either group, much as I like the idea of collecting new players for both.
     
  13. Più Freddo

    Più Freddo From space, earth is blue

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    I was under the impression that people in both competitions prefer to have "good" games as opposed to "bad" ones, and that the solution to this problem in GOTM was to have a designer actively design a game, or take a look at it and tweak it at the very least, and the solution in HOF was to have the user hit the quick start button a hundred times until the game is "good", which I always presumed was made by using some kind of save-file analysis tool that reveals hidden parts of the map. I could be wrong, I never looked at HOF at all ever.
     
  14. CKS

    CKS Deity

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    In HOF, you can only find out the goodness of the map (except for the domination limit) by playing it. Serious HOF-ers abandon lots of games for every one they submit.
     
  15. Lanzelot

    Lanzelot Moderator Moderator

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    Yep, that's why I never submitted a HoF game. If I start a game, I finish it, win or lose.
     
  16. CKS

    CKS Deity

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    Except for my Sid attempts, where I didn't wait to be slaughtered, I play out almost every start. But there are a lot of tables with empty slots, so when I'm in the HOF mood, I pick a table with empty slots or really bad dates. (For example, the small chieftain spaceship table has first place at 550 AD and 10th place way back in 1816. I don't need a great map to beat 10th place on that table.) And if I am fast enough, I submit, and if not, well, I still had fun. You don't have to be a serious HOF-er to submit games.
     
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  17. Più Freddo

    Più Freddo From space, earth is blue

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    You cannot seriously suggest that we publish games that should best be abandoned soon after start as game of the quarter...!?
     
  18. CKS

    CKS Deity

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    No, most definitely not. I'm merely explaining why the HOF setup may not be appropriate for GOTM and also encouraging Lanzelot to submit any eligible games he finishes to the HOF. (I'm probably the only person currently active in both GOTM and HOF.)

    My suggestion that we could try a HOF eligible start on a month when we didn't have a new real GOTM is serious, but the intention would not be to abandon the game. _If_ we wanted to try it, I'd suggest picking a map size and level with some partly-empty tables - for example, Large Monarch or Small Emperor. If the start looks good - say a food bonus, a visible river, and a visible luxury - then people would have a good chance of getting on an HOF table, although probably not taking the top spot. This is how I would try to implement templar_x's suggestion of combining a GOTM with an HOF contest.

    It might be worth trying if we go to a game of the quarter as a supplemental game, but I'd be really leery of having it be the game of the quarter.
     
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  19. Quintillus

    Quintillus Archiving Civ3 Content Supporter

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    I suppose it's been awhile since I played a GOTM (though it appears I'm the only other person to submit a HOF game recently). But a couple thoughts on what (other than more time) would make me more interested.

    One is continuing to allow all victory conditions, at least for some of the games. I don't remember what the original goal of having specified victory conditions was - maybe more competition for medals? - but in general I like the open-ended nature of Civ, and making the best of a map. Not that I never play with a specific goal in mind, but to me it's boring if everyone's trying to do the fastest 20K on the same map, or the quickest conquest. I like that there can be variety, and I'm not sure that I've ever submitted a VC-specific GOTM.

    The other is a bit less predictability in the difficulty levels. By that I mean that if it's a Warlord level game, the map is often extremely inhospitable, whereas if it's a Deity game, there may be considerable player bonuses. Although some of this may be appropriate, IMO it somewhat defeats the point of varying the difficulty level, and I've learned to never play Warlord-level GOTMs, although in theory sometimes a romp over the AI would be nice and relaxing.

    One other thought is that perhaps going old-school and having the occasional mod/scenario-based GOTM might help inject some life again. There are oodles of mods that I keep saying I should play, and what would be a more fun way to try them than with others also trying them out at the same time? I wouldn't switch all of them to that format, but as an occasional thing I could see it boosting interest in both the GOTM and the mods/scenarios themselves. I'm not opposed to the HOF idea proposed by CKS, either, even if it might bump me off one of the empty-slot tables I like to target every year or two. It's also the format where I would be least-opposed to VC-specific victories.

    And indeed, thanks to Piu Freddo for keeping this part of the forum alive. This is a good discussion to have, as is anything that spurs new ideas. And I know it's not as easy to anchor a section of the forum with the lower numbers compared to yesteryear. I recently embarked on a quixotic quest to put new life in Stories and Tales, and though it's clear there are far fewer visitors than a decade ago, I'm pleased that by and large the lights are still on for our old game.
     
  20. Cotta

    Cotta Warlord

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    We won't get new players at all (yes I'm a defeatist...). So, the only thing what I could say is that I'll go for volunteer 3 or 4 games next season. On the other hand this should not reduce the number of games. :nope:
     

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