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We are winning, they fear us

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by Victoria, Aug 3, 2017.

  1. Archon_Wing

    Archon_Wing Vote for me or die

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    Well, if you were beating them, in say, the space race, I wouldn't mind them getting pissed, since you are direct competition.

    "But, but Archon, what's the difference? You're splitting hairs!"

    It's because of the concept of a kingmaker. Forces that drive factions that have no chance of winning influence who wins. So let's say you can't win but you can take someone down and let someone win out of spite. That's just a basic example. More extreme examples is a player that can't win decide to practically gift everything to another player that they want to win. Now, if we're pretending this is a competitive board game, then I think someone that regularly does this out of being a poor sport isn't going to be invited much.


    But it's also possible that attacking the person that is "winning" is also a bad idea too.

    Consider if you're going for a space race, and you have 2 others that are leading in a culture victory. You probably can't take both of them, and neither of them will go for a joint war. Now these two are competing for the great people, and their domestic tourists also help obstruct each other's culture victory. In some cases it will be best to simply beat them before they win then try and disable one of them.

    But then put the AI in the same spot though. They may see that one side has just past 50%, and the other is a bit behind. Nonetheless, the AI goes. We must stop this guy at all costs. Stops deals, devotes resources to sabotoge, and might even go for war. It ends up taking out one of the AIs but before it can get to the 2nd, the 2nd place becomes the 1st quickly ramps up and wins before anyone else can do anything.

    So what has this player done? All it did was change the winner of the game, but they themselves didn't win. It might have even been to their determent.

    Now let's flip things around and pretend you were one of the culturer's. From your point of view, the AI has either decided to drag you down with it, or you were lucky that the AIs got tangled in something allowing you to get off easy. Either way, it's pretty stupid. I would accept it if said AI didn't like me to begin with though; that's a reason at least?

    So, You think this AI is capable of reading a situation like this? Because it really isn't that uncommon.

    Although, this might be why the current modifier doesn't seem to apply to culture victory. I am skeptical though.

    In Civ 4, sometimes the AI would say "No we'd rather win the game first", mostly in response to getting them to trade away space techs. Since that's their chosen form of victory, you wouldn't really fault them, would you?

    Finally, I'd like to ask a simple question. How does the game end? It ends in 2 ways.

    1.) When you win
    2.) When you are defeated.

    Note that the AI winning is only linked to no.2 It and of itself, doesn't really mean

    Then I'll ask you this. In games you lose, do you remember which AI won? Do you politely "one more turn" until the actual winner comes out? I know this game doesn't have a hall of fame, but why don't AIs get a spot in them in earlier versions? Oh, and do you let the AI reload after their lose a city?

    Single player is inherently player-centric.

    That being said, there certainly is an argument for when bots need to replace take over for humans in multiplayer games. But I guess that's asking a bit much from their AI team at this point, lol.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
  2. Datian

    Datian Warlord

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    However interesting and stimulating this post, I think you overrate the AI's subtlety - or rather, the way it has been programed : even with the opportunity, it won't actively prevent you from winning. The fact that it cannot handle disabled victory conditions shows that it's not geared towards winning either. It just behaves as it does in combat : randomly. It can't even handle a close barbarian camp : how many times have you seen a civ stuck at one city at turn 100, with two barbarian horsemen and three captured settlers ?

    The diplomatic aspect isn't even consistent : the AI can scold you for being weak at what it values (have a strong army/navy, solid culture, science, faith, expand expand expand...), and when you're actually strong and winning, it stops being friendly ?! Tell us what you want ! More to the point : do want something, do what you have to win !

    I keep playing because I like many aspects of the game, and hope for the same progress as we've seen in civ5. But really, it's hard not to be disgusted when you see poor mechanics and new bugs without a single hope for a hotfix.
     
  3. Archon_Wing

    Archon_Wing Vote for me or die

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    If you're replying to me, I'm not sure where I did it, considering I was saying the AI wasn't capable of that level of subtlety and thus the reason why these things are bound to be disastrous.

    But then again, I also don't place that kind of expectation on it either.

    As for the rest of the AI's incompetence, I also think that's an entirely separate issue.
     
  4. Timothy001

    Timothy001 Prince

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    I don't have a problem with the mechanic, just how its implemented. If the Computer AI, noticed you in the lead in a VC, a message that they are concerned about ie Religion: "We are concerned about the number of foreign cities that are following your religion", for culture it could be the number of foreign tourists, etc.
    If the penalty occurred when you hit the 50% mark, and added a moderated diplo hit, and as you got closer, it would increase (ie, you convert another city to your religion). When you first hit the 50% mark, each Ai should evaluate how best to stop you from winning. It might be to increase (again using religion) Apostles or Inquisitors, or build up for war, possibly gaining another ally The AI should revaluate the situation, when your victory % increases.
     
  5. JH12345

    JH12345 Chieftain

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    which file do I edit, because I can't find a single xml file with the name victory in it.
     
  6. Kruos

    Kruos Warlord

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  7. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    Maybe you can get you *** kicked by a book in a totally new way! Though I suppose that isn't technically Disgaea :p.

    The critical difference is of course that the AI is operating as a competitor with VCs like the player. Knowing that you have X% chance to tip the wagon over when caulking it or Y% chance of fording causing you to lose supplies wouldn't have hurt the game, and you could have seen some interesting text if attempting to ford a 15ft depth river!

    In contrast, I would actually argue that precise AI weighting is reasonably kept under the hood, since that is a choice of a fill-in for the role of a competing player...however the AI should nevertheless attempt to win if it's operating as a competing civ that can win, and that includes attacking other agents that are ahead.

    Note that this does not extend to city states, which are operating under a different rule set.

    You're not wrong that alternative VC become pointless/false choices/things done as diversion. However, the AI's behavior is *not* the avenue by which to fix it. It CAN NOT be the avenue; the cost tradeoffs themselves must be altered so that more than military control is a credible path to victory in competitive settings.

    Did Firaxis give a rationale for this? I thought it was to help level the field in skewed map scenarios where 1 or 2 civs spawn in a way that makes more land available to them.

    I also argue this intent doesn't exist, and further argue it is a game-damaging design flaw present in all of the civ game's I've played. I'd happily debate that assertion against the devs, present or past. At best, you can say that the choices they made were done because they couldn't create a design space where the VCs were actually balanced, and so left a weak AI coupled with bonus gouging to provide a semblance of challenge.

    At the end of the day, however, the player is playing civ 4, 5, or 6 and the AI is playing a different game (I stand by the claim that the travesty of "AI trying to win" in Civ 5/6 is nothing of the sort, human players act very differently and are much more likely to win). Why is this bad design?

    - It necessarily creates a gulf in SP vs MP, where you have to sacrifice potential in one to make the other one work decently.
    - There is no consistency with how alleged player-agent AI deviates from pursuing a victory condition to go play electronic tag or tic tac toe or whatever. You get a mild form of trial and error fake difficulty as you adjust to whatever alternative/hidden game the AI is playing instead of civ...then once you're used to it the AI is necessarily less challenging...all by design!
    - It fundamentally damages credible diplomacy, and design of incentives in diplomacy, when most of the players don't act on incentives.

    The historical immersion line of thinking is grating and, in terms of civ implementation, objectively wrong. Strong words, but the reality is that sane historical rulers (IE most of them) were very aware of their incentives and made choices based on those incentives. Historical rulers that didn't were noteworthy for being very unusual...and universally less effective. If you want to model history, you need cause/effect link. The agenda system can add flavor, but right now it does much worse: it causes AIs to ignore the incentives towards presented by the rules of the game and instead act in an arbitrary manner.

    I played Civ 4 for 1000's of hours, and while I didn't articulate it as well back then, I was against AI game-throwing even then. Just as some call AI game-throwing "immersion" and complain that it trying to play the game we bought "immersion breaking", game-throwing AI breaks my immersion. Immersion is a non-starter argument, because immersion = opinion and nothing more. However, what's left is a look at how the game mechanics interact with the players who play it, and what I still see is a large number of players who don't actually play the game.

    If you want "historical agenda" type behavior to be a thing in the game, the non-lazy dev path is to tune the mechanics such that those behaviors are actually conducive to winning. If the mechanics aren't pointing in that direction, neither should the AI behavior.

    Edit: Kingmaker situations are always possible in FFA. The AI's algorithm can be improved, but it's part of reality when everyone is trying to win. Sometimes, the guy trying to win changes the outcome from his top competitor to someone else. There's nothing wrong with that, it's even to be expected according to the rules of civ if you set up a FFA.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017
  8. Archon_Wing

    Archon_Wing Vote for me or die

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    True, but the thing is diplomacy is inherently a human to AI thing and does influence how you win.

    Civ 4 was a game where the diplomatic landscape drastically altered the gameplay, and I would say for some reason 5 and 6 actually have more homogenized gameplay in that regards, beyond your warmongers, because incidentally they are the most competent AIs due to the way the game is designed.

    We don't know. It's just the actual effect which I think we'd agree has more precedence-- if it's more difficult to expand peacefully, then logically it's more effective to attack. Then again, that kind of logic is lacking these days.

    I agree with you none of the AIs are trying to win period.

    That much is true. As I noted in my post that having this kind of gulf further causes the trouble. And I would agree that the AI seems to be playing an entirely different game than you is a problem. And shown by Deity giving 3 settlers (!), it just feels as such.

    In answering a complaint about Barbarians, I wanted to try out some games with deity but due to luck of barbarians only giving one good example (personally, I think that's bad design too because it's only a drastic spike when horse archers spawn), I did have an instance of a deity AI rushing me within the first 30 turns! It failed miserably, gave me extra income and then things proceeded as usual. Stuff like that just skews gameplay and I think would fall under false difficulty and trial and error as it's really something that would only get you the first time.

    It reminds me heavily of the "Vedic Aryan" events in Civ 4 which would happen very rarely and would require a unconventional opening that would ruin you in every other situation, and why people play with events off. That being said, I'm really considering turning off huts in this game as well as the tech boosts seem to skew gameplay too much (though not as badly as in 4 and 5)



    Hah. Well, certainly with things like nuclear Gandhi, nobody would claim they're playing it for historical value. But I do agree that these incentives don't work a lot of the time, except with a few cases like Montezuma and the Kongo dude.

    Was it really a defense via means of immersion, or dare I say it, rather a projection of mindless apoligism since Civ 4 is the holy cow of the franchise?

    Well, to me, the bigger problem for me in Civ IV was the game throwing was almost always anti-human bias, beyond the AI trying to win though. When one civ underexpands and builds few units, it is already unsightly, but for them to peacevassal to another and the mindless gifting a tech is not something that can be defended from any perspective other from a shallow "well it happened IRL too" which it really doesn't; at least not like that. If anything, it breaks.... everything?

    Now, I believe I can definitely argue against "anti-human" behavior. Though it is good their developers have made it apply equally which is a good start.

    I know! That's all and good. But I'm more talking about spite play which really is just another kind of game throwing. The point of that spiel, is rather a discussion about how sometimes it is actually strategically sound to not go after the current leader (at least at that point) and was actually based on a recent game.

    Now I hope you realize, I have managed to separate arguments of immersion away from my main points so the later doesn't impact my argument at all. I do place gameplay over immersion, as it being a game, requires that. Hence my jokes about the Apostolic Palace in my sig and avatar-- I don't have a qualm with abusing things regardless of it being immersion breaking or not leading to player growth as I mainly like to play games multiplayer. (This series being an exception) So I don't play games under an idealized version of how you should play it because, well, that doesn't win games. Though I still would like to discuss things under this manner as this is a forum and I am not competing for anything. (Sorta)

    Ultimately, I am a fan of strategy games, and as a strategy game is one where you must weigh a ton of options and balance between the best ones, I always think that gameplay changes of any forms should change options or provide different ones. So I judge things by the amount of meaningful changes you must undertake due to it. And my opinion of this is that it really hasn't made anything more interesting, it has just caused me to hit the esc button more since I don't need to care about that area that much anymore. I don't like that, because at this point I'm going to break it eventually.

    So I think my proposed change is fairly simple. This should only trigger when the AI has already committed to a victory condition themselves. That should satisfy pretty much every perspective.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017
  9. Ferevat

    Ferevat Chieftain

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    Steam\steamapps\common\civ6\Base\Assets\gameplay\data

    the file is bamed victories.xml

    or you can just download the mod
     
  10. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    Yes, thanks to the overwhelming nature of tech trades acting as an extra post-multiplier multiplier on science and the AI completely refusing to attack based on modifiers you could make permanent, the SP diplomacy in Civ 4 was a separate minigame with drastically different results depending on situation. In essence, it was a means to convince the AI to throw the game, and sometimes other AIs would meet those conditions with each other by chance too. It did benefit from providing more actual things to consider, but the game throwing aspect always hurt it...

    Barbs have long been a problem in civ for the reason that they can completely hose players even if they make reasonable investments (stronger than opponents even) against them. In civ 4, a couple bad rolls could change your game. In civ 6, it is possible to be scouted and swarmed by fast horse units before you can possibly intercept a scout. Both of these are awful, placing undue damage on a civ early on based on pure RNG with no counterplay. Civ 5 is probably the least damaging model among them, though civ 6's isn't beyond saving if they'd bother to address the issue of counterplay/investment.

    I was thinking specifically of Soren's presentation on "good AI" vs "fun AI", which was vexing to watch. Civ 4 did a lot of things right, but that design choice was bad and the rationale given was weak.

    Throwing favoring the player happened too. You could completely ignore military by manipulating diplo and win as nations far stronger and easily capable of preventing it watched on. You could force-vassal someone, treat them well, gift them bonus-driven units to upgrade and watch them smash everything for you (for some reason, they didn't actually break free). You could get them to just decide you win, even if your nation wasn't in position to actually win any other victory condition, using UN or the broken Apostolic Palace. Random AI underexpansion, peace vassaling, and trading with runaways were things on the other side of equation, and both of these represented systemic flaws in interaction between civ 4's AI behavior vs mechanic design. Civ 5 and 6 haven't learned much from that lesson, unfortunately.

    I did get it, but to me that's a matter of how good you can actually get the AI to be. I think you'd need to make its decision break points variable so it's not easy to predict, and quite likely have a better basis for evaluating when to transition to stopping victory of other factions vs trying to race itself. These are some of the hardest areas to make an AI really strong, so I'm willing to give it somewhat of a pass there if the algorithm makes sense, even if it isn't as good as a decent player might be.

    We're not in disagreement there. It's a somewhat shallow implementation and too predictable to force players to consider choices carefully. I also feel the VC balance itself is out of whack (and has been in civ since it offered more than 1-2), and that there is way too much time between "civ will win" and "VC triggers", a problem the multiple-VC-lip-service approach makes difficult to correct.

    Regardless, before we even consider the AI's behavior in these scenarios, the mechanical tradeoff between something like culture vs domination needs to be closer to a point where competitive players can realistically consider one vs the other...in PvP. Without that, behaviors and interactions with non-military VCs are going to be contrived. An AI "role playing" pursuing culture, science, or religious victories is necessarily contrived right now, but that wouldn't hold if these were legitimately attainable VCs in a competitive setting...as opposed to military units just trashing your missionary spam and leaving you wrecked for example. Then an AI opting to do these and play diplomacy might actually make sense.

    Basically, the mechanics must work first, or the AI's approach to players who are "winning" is going to be arbitrary and poorly implemented regardless. Right now, the mechanics don't work.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017
  11. Archon_Wing

    Archon_Wing Vote for me or die

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    Ah, well there was definitely a lot of shady stuff going on like hidden modifiers and I also accept that tech trades and such were broken, and mostly contrivances needed to win at higher levels. Relatively speaking, it's been at least something that was a bit more than gamed at least compared against Civ 5's "bribe for a few gpt" and Civ 6's "ineffectual little barking dog" But then again, I would argue that some contrivances were needed to make things like diplomatic victory even possible.

    RNG combat is probably something I won't miss. Horse units and quadriemes are definitely unreasonable. And yes, before anyone goes "omg just adjust" I've always been able to hold them off.

    I thought it was about the people defending peacevassals, AP religions, and such (and such there were), somehow. =p

    As for the rest, I don't have much to contend that the mechanics currently do need very much tweaking.
     
  12. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    Some of those things are effects of Soren's viewpoint while making the game. Certainly, some of the player base was/is willing to defend these mechanics and their interactions with the AI, but to me the dev seeing it as a good design choice is a fundamental issue greater than that. From my viewpoint, that was an attempt at a philosophical out to avoid the problem of how these mechanics were balanced against victory conditions and optimized play.

    In my mind, civ has never reached the potential of having all of its presented VCs be viable when it's all human players. The evidence to support that is crushing (look at how MP games are handled in each title). Until that changes, AI that pursue some of these alternatives are going to throw, necessarily, and no amount of justification in historical terms will be applicable. Historical leaders did not knowingly/willingly throw...historically there is no "VC". These mechanics need to work if they're included as VCs.
     
  13. Kruos

    Kruos Warlord

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    You may be vexed but SJ understood perfectly the mechanisms which contribute behind the scene to make the 'right' AI. That design choice was one of the numerous one which made Civ4 the pinnacle of the serie and the masterpiece he still is. It is not a hasard if the Civ4 diplo-AI is still taken for reference in every AI/solo play debate..

    I would even add that this design choice was perfect. Why? Because he let the choice to the player (the 'Agressive AI' option switched the AI into competitive mode). Sadly this kind of option is no longer taken into consideration today, and not present in the last update... :(
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2017
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  14. JH12345

    JH12345 Chieftain

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    Wait is there a mod?
     
  15. Kruos

    Kruos Warlord

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    If look 3-4 posts above you will even find a link! ^^
     
  16. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    This new effect has its good and bad points. I think with regard to breaking immersion there is always a silent "my" in there as it's such a personal thing.

    The I am winning mechanic does not break my immersion and even when Tomyris says nukes are the future it's a bit annoying but does not break my immersion. What does make me want to immerse some developers in a deep pool of vitriol is when I get -6 diplomacy for proliferating nukes in the medieval period. It has reduced my urge to play this game to a trickle. Its not like Alliances are easy to get ATM anyway and this just is gah!

    upload_2017-8-14_10-58-5.png
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2017
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  17. Hep Roc Heretic

    Hep Roc Heretic Chieftain

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    Instead of turning lead into gold, your alchemists are turning gold into precursors of lead. That's some philosopher's stones they have there.:science:
     
  18. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    Aggressive AI did nothing of the sort, and sorry but "Soren said it so it's right" doesn't work. It's a flaw in a title that has several more (including some objective UI ones), but was overall a great game.

    The reason the diplo AI in 4 is considered better than newer ones is that interacting with it had more tangible impact on gameplay and more variables to consider. You can make a system where the AI doesn't throw where that remains true, but it requires actually balancing your mechanics.

    Like civ 5 and civ 6, civ 4 did not do that. It didn't even try. TAP was the worst offender but not the only one.

    It is necessarily so; immersion can't be an absolute thing!

    It would be more reasonable to consider such behavior as bugged outright. I would raise my 2nd eyebrow if a dev actually attempted to claim that's intended behavior lol.

    Also, more addressed to everyone here since I wasn't clear how I'm delineating this topic:

    - The AI should try to win, consistently. If more than one VC is to be viable, it should remain so in competitive MP and under this AI framework.
    - That does not mean an agent attempting to win should tell you its precise logic for determining when to turn on you. That's bad play.
    - The AI SHOULD try to stab people who it considers to be winning, and IDEALLY its break point for doing that should have some RNG so you can't precisely predict it.

    This is different from giving a numerical modifier. Numerical modifiers like this are better suited for mechanics like war weariness, not for player-agents to show their hand. AI choices are not game rules, and it is a mistake to treat them as such. Even if Soren says otherwise :p.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2017
  19. Datian

    Datian Warlord

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    Now for an oddity, it seems the jealousy keeps building up even when a civ is out.

    My neighbour Teddy had conquered all of Norway - at that time, I had a jealousy penalty around -20, playing Persia.

    Much later, after 15 apostles trying to reach my cities, I decide to give Teddy a spanking. Now my jealousy penalty was around -140 so I had nothing to lose. On my way, I liberated two norwegian cities, gave Harald iron and money, just for fun. The next turn, he denounced me, his saviour !

    Turns out, he had the same -140 than the others.
    "Rise and shine Harald, it's time to rules the seas again, here, take some iron and gold !" - "yeah right I hate you with all my guts because you're strong, and also I like a big navy and a big army but you must not impress me."
     
  20. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    dead civ's still have citizens, makes sense to me, just the modifier does not
     

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