#1 29.06.2015 20:03:49

Corbeau
Player
Posts: 217

My personal review on LT34

I've been planning to write this much sooner, but RL interfered. Now that I finally got some things out of the way, it's time to get this over with.

It's no secret that I strongly disliked the final third of the game. Partly it was because I got embedded in a firm alliance that had its agenda pretty different than mine and that there was no space for personal decision-making, but mostly because the last few dozen turns were not really a game of Civilization, but of a slow, turn-based game of Warcraft.

I said this much earlier in a discussion, that this game shouldn't have the feel of Warcraft, and I got a reply that it shouldn't be a Sim City either. Well, guess what, the essence of Civilization is much closer to Sim City than to Warcraft.

However, I respect that there are many people who prefer this Warcraft-style and I have no right to demand that they play it different to their own preferences only to appease me, so I'll stick to my own personal preferences and stick to the terms "I liked" and "I disliked".

First of all, the end game conditions - there can be only so-and-so winners/survivors - was murder (for me). The most important aspect of this game for me is diplomacy; particular goals and hidden agendas of different people, fluid dynamics of player interaction, changable alliances, the occasional backstabbing... All of this was gone the moment firm alliances were established in the first third of the game. After that moment, it was one super-bloc agains the (potential) other and it was all just a tech and arms race; once one block got the upper hand, the balance was irreversible. Once StratThinker lost the first five cities, it was clear to me that the game was over; Wieder kept worrying how some of ST's allies would emerge and counterattack, but seeing the blitzkrieg that wiped ST off the board, I didn't see this as a realistic possibility. Simply, there were too many of "us", too many advanced players, one or two could have been smashed, but in a matter of turns, a counterstrike would have been devastating. If there ever was someone to counterattack, which there wasn't.

And, having the end-game condition we had, there was no reason to stop and consolidate, even less throw people out of the alliance if not really necessary. It was simply a short-term race, not many detours, not much room for plot twists. Find who's next, smash him, repeat.

The other thing that I found utterly unreasonable was too much unit mobility. Triple movement and effectively turning fighters into bombers made the game one-track-minded: get the tech for this one unit, produce as much as possible, smash. Within a few turns multi-continental empires vanished, well established players were annihilated, a hundred days of playing simply deleted.

This isn't the game that I want to play.

Regarding the current point system, I said this in a chat discussion, don't remember where anymore: with this endgame, there are three tiers: winners, "survivors" and losers. All losers lose the same amount of points regardless of how and when they "lost". For example, Fractalhead - gone inactive very early, swallowed by Xandr very soon - suffers exactly the same penalty as StratThinker, who managed his empire brilliantly, and at the same being punished more than, say, Xanox, whom he harrassed enough to throw him off balance and would have destroyed him if it wasn't for the winning alliance. On the other hand, I got more points, even though I contributed basically nothing, simply because I got befriended due to my favourable geographical position. I believe that this is drastically unfair and, more important, destimulating; you play the game very well for months and what have you got to show for? A minus in your score.

So, to conclude, I've decided that I won't take part in future games that have
- x3 movement (or more, gods forbid)
- such powerful, basically game-breaking fast units
- fixed number of "winners" with most of everybody else being "losers"

I am also strongly opposed to a concept of allied victory. It makes alliances block solid and removes a huge amount of diplomacy from the game. And what is a multiplayer game - especially Civilization - without diplomacy?

Wieder has said multiple times that we can run "unofficial", custom-ruleset games on this server, too. I've been toying with a very different ruleset and very different victory conditions for a year now, but RL isn't giving me enough time to make it happen. Also, I don't have too much knowledge about running a server to actually make a different game happen. If someone ever decides to administer something like that, I'd be happy to play, and support with ideas and comments.

Like I said, this is a 100% personal view. I'm not saying that other people shouldn't play it the way they prefer.I'm only stating my case.

Sorry for your time smile

-------------

On a slightly different topic, one of the main remarks arguments about a slow(er) game was that people tend to go inactive. I don't see this as a problem. There were fifty people here. Half of them going inactive, that's still 25 which is more than enough for a nice game. And even peaceful people like me then get to swallow the inactives' lands with great pleasure wink Besides, Civilization is for me a historical simulation, and during history many nations and empires simply evaporated and were swallowed by their neighbours. No, I'm not against war, I'm simply against blitzkrieg that swallows half the planet in two weeks. So, I'd be willing to try a VERY long game, just to see how it goes.

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#2 29.06.2015 22:23:09

maho
Player
Posts: 155

Re: My personal review on LT34

re 3x movement - I think that it's neccesary at beginning. Waiting until your settler goes to end of island with 1 tile per day, makes me eating my hat ...

But I admit, that later 3x movement makes game too much RTSish. What about reducing speedup to 2x near muskeeters and to 1x near alpine troops?

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#3 30.06.2015 04:56:56

HanduMan
Player
Posts: 91

Re: My personal review on LT34

Well spoken Corbeau!

I tried to find something in there to disagree with but couldn't.

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#4 30.06.2015 07:31:22

wieder
Administrator
Posts: 700

Re: My personal review on LT34

Thanks for the detailed post about LT34.

The perfect game settings of course depends on what you are looking for. If someone is trying to win the game, that quite often includes destroying all the other nations. LT34 was the first game to experiment with a limited number of survivors and most likely this tradition will not be continued on LT36.

I'll try to explain why some things are done the way they are and that way someone may be able to figure out how to fix or change those things.

The things with survivors, winners and losers. In the past games there were some issues with most players just trying to survive and not actually win the game. With LT34 we had this experiment about survivors and apparently it was not that popular so maybe it will not be continues.

The triple movement has been used to speed up the game. Changing from 3x to 2x and then 1x movements as Maho suggested could be done but it would need to be done for each unit independently. In the default ruleset modern units have more moves compared to the ancient units and with this it should be the other way around. How would it sound to you if a warrior would have 3 moves, a musketeer 2 moves and a rifle 1 move? This could be done but it would greatly change the game dynamics.

What it comes to winners, this is about ranking points and it's usually independent from the in-game winners. LT34 didn't actually have any in-game winners when the game was ended from command line. From the rankings point of view I don't really understand what's the issue with winners, survivors and losers since those are effectively players who gain points, lose points or are not affected by either one. If winning/losing feels bad, this could be considered as getting/losing points. If the problem is with ranking players, I really don't understand how to fix this. Most games have some objective players are trying to reach. Even with Sim City you can rank different games by telling how well your city is doing. StratThinker played very well but received a minus for the ranking. I would compare this with a game of chess. You can play a great early game but lose the point in the end when you make one crucial mistake.

Permanent alliances is another thing but this is usually happening because of the people playing the games. There is no reason you can't break an alliance, but some players feel that they don't want to do that. I'm one of those players who would feel extremely uncomfortable breaking an alliance and I know we have several players who feel the same. How should we solve this issue?

Allied victory is something we can fix and allow only one winner for the game. Maybe we could try that out for LT36. Longturn had at least one game where allied victory was forbidden and only one player was able to win the game. Some people have been commenting how this would be limiting the options and it would be unrealistic to disallow an alliance from winning the game but if that's not an issue, then why not.

Then we have the end game and huge empires vanishing in just few turns. With LT34 this was made possible by fighters, but fighters are not the only units making this kind of action possible. I have seen nations fall in just few turns when someone nuked them. Howizers were also popular for taking down entire continents in just few turns. Alpines makes it possible to reach far away cities surrounded by mountains. In one game a chain of islands was conquered one by one with marines, howizers, alpines and transports. One huge island every turn. This can be done even with restrictinfra on because once the cities are conquered, the ownership of the land changes and the units can reach even further without being slowed down by the restrictinfra. With almost every game we have seen a point where someone builds enough units and has superior techs for conquering everyone else. This can't be fixed with increased upkeep since powerful nations have no problem supporting huge armies even with shields and gold. If someone knows how to fix this, please let me know.

In general blitzkrieg is something that has happened in the history and since people know how to play a blitzkrieg scenario, that one becomes really devastating on a Freeciv game since the real world mistakes can be usually avoided. Blitzkrieg is also speed up by disallowing tech trading. That makes it really hard for less developed countries to defend against more developed enemies. This brings us another problem since bringing back tech trading is not that easy. In LT33 tech trading was highly disliked because lots of people thought it was a popularity contest. We didnät have that much luck with tech trading penalties either. In LT31 one nation lost 15 techs in just few turns when some other nations attacked it. How to fix this?

For a non-ranking custom game you don't need to know how to create a ruleset. I can do that for you if you make plans for how to edit the ruleset. Anyone can post a suggestion on how to create a ruleset and we can see if that idea becomes popular. The most limiting factor is what can be done with editing the ruleset. Coding is usually out of the question since no one usually has time for it. Then again lots of stuff can be done with the ruleset.

Please post ideas and stuff for the future games smile

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#5 30.06.2015 08:54:32

evan
Player
Posts: 70

Re: My personal review on LT34

I like what Corbeau said about the problem with Fighters essentially becoming long-range bombers because of the 3x MPs.

In general I think the 3x movement works well in speeding up the game, since it just means taking a different perspective about the time-frame involved per turn. The same can be said about larger city sizes - one just looks at the map in a different way.

But having these planes covering ridiculous distances, or Alpines moving from - say - Barcelona to the Ural Mountains, or Tibet in one turn, has a bad effect on the gameplay.

I also think something needs to be done to limit the 'snowball effect' that comes from Communism's  benefits, especially considering that Trade is disabled, which effects Democracies and Republics more.

Even the 2x martial law is a pretty good benefit in itself. But add to that the 'no cost for 1 upkeep buildings', 3 free units and just 1 shield upkeep, 0% waste (after Trade researched, almost certain), no corruption by distance after Corporation, 28 cities before unhappiness, and finally veteran diplomats and Partisans, and you get a dynamic where the relative power of a winning nation gets reinforced, and the end-game can become predictable.

I don't think there should be something that makes it inherently harder for successful nations to win, I just think that Communism is simply too powerful.

I think they should have to pay the 1 upkeep cost for buildings. Communist countries aren't exactly well known for their strong, efficient economies.
The militaristic, expansionist player shouldn't suddenly receive a 'get-out-of-jail-free' card for his over-stretched, unsustainable war-economy.

And I think the corruption and waste by distance should remain. There are enough obvious benefits already from conquering your enemy and expanding your territory - there's no need to have the difficulty of managing a large empire removed.

As for the other benefits, I think the 1-shield-only could be changed, it shifts the balance too much. But the other ones seem good.

3 free units, and 2x martial law - for a militaristic nation/player
28 cities - because it's one of the 'modern' government forms.
30% / 0% split between corruption and waste - you're willing to fall behind in the tech. (But presently your costs drop so much you can just lower taxes)
Veteran diplomats - it was much easier for the KGB, Stasi, etc. to infiltrate the open societies of the west.
Partisans - necessary for balance, but historically, well, there's probably different points of view depending how you look at it.

Anyway, I've been wanting to write a post about that for a long time.
Perhaps we could make Federation stronger too. Maybe the only government type that just automatically has no waste or corruption by distance, no revolt but also no bribe, and no civil war possible. But still no +1 trade either.
It could be an especially good option for a player whose start position forces them to look to the seas for territory.

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#6 30.06.2015 10:09:19

wieder
Administrator
Posts: 700

Re: My personal review on LT34

Just a quick note about the governments. If I remember correctly, all the nations on the winning alliance were running a democratic government. Communism was not really that good option for us because of the increased trade with democracy. Only once the game was decided some of us switched to communism for checking how well we were doing with that. I was myself running a republic well past T100 because 2 turns of anarchy would have cost too much at the time.

Making those changes to federation might be worth trying out. Opinions?

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#7 01.07.2015 04:37:38

xandr
Player
Posts: 12

Re: My personal review on LT34

Corbeau wrote:

Regarding the current point system, I said this in a chat discussion, don't remember where anymore: with this endgame, there are three tiers: winners, "survivors" and losers. All losers lose the same amount of points regardless of how and when they "lost". For example, Fractalhead - gone inactive very early, swallowed by Xandr very soon - suffers exactly the same penalty as StratThinker, who managed his empire brilliantly, and at the same being punished more than, say, Xanox, whom he harrassed enough to throw him off balance and would have destroyed him if it wasn't for the winning alliance. On the other hand, I got more points, even though I contributed basically nothing, simply because I got befriended due to my favourable geographical position. I believe that this is drastically unfair and, more important, destimulating; you play the game very well for months and what have you got to show for? A minus in your score.

Need to give Fractalhead some credit - he did not quit until he lost a LOT of units and his central city and initial attack was very-very early and with veteran units hence hard to counter. Not sure how do you take this into account when you decide who fought at the maximum level of their abilities or who just quit right away when they had minimal trouble.

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#8 01.07.2015 07:00:37

evan
Player
Posts: 70

Re: My personal review on LT34

An island map is not the norm

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#9 01.07.2015 07:56:13

wieder
Administrator
Posts: 700

Re: My personal review on LT34

"An island map is not the norm"

What do you mean by that? I don't consider any map type as a norm.

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#10 01.07.2015 11:41:47

Corbeau
Player
Posts: 217

Re: My personal review on LT34

xandr wrote:

Need to give Fractalhead some credit - he did not quit until he lost a LOT of units and his central city and initial attack was very-very early and with veteran units hence hard to counter. Not sure how do you take this into account when you decide who fought at the maximum level of their abilities or who just quit right away when they had minimal trouble.

Fair enough. He was my neighbor, I sent him some messages, but he was completely uncommunicative so I wasn't aware how active he actually was.

The main original point being: if someone did get inactive very early or really sucked at building his empire, he got (lost) the same points as some brilliant player who got defeated by the end of the game.

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#11 01.07.2015 12:03:24

Corbeau
Player
Posts: 217

Re: My personal review on LT34

First, a technical side-question:

"In LT31 one nation lost 15 techs in just few turns when some other nations attacked it."

How did this happen? Why would a nation lose a tech if it was attacked?

As for everything else, first I'll just repeat some things I said in many places on the forum:
- a scoring system based on individual rank; just an example: 1st gets 100 points, 2nd gets 95, 3rd gets 91 etc. Not necessary to be linear, it's a matter for a discussion
- definitely x2 movement (or, for some units, maybe even less: catapults: 1; cavary: 3... just an idea; another question: does strict x2 have to be changed for every unit in the ruleset or is there some global way to replace one number and it changes everyting?)

Next, solving the Slow Start problem:
- get more Settlers at the beginning, maybe even some migrants; say, 5 settlers and 5 migrants?
- create a non-producible unit: Founder, effectively a Settler, but can't be produced, ever; movement 3 (or even 4), maybe creates a size 2 city (is this one possible? If not, stick to migrants)

As for everything else, like I said, I've been working on a pretty different ruleset for ages, will probably never become the default for anything because it is TOO different (although you never know). I posted the specs here. And I can manage a ruleret, I just wasn't sure about administering the game. But either way, I'm not starting anything before September, with the holiday season coming along...

One more thing about Alpines: this is EXTREMELY unrealistic. Ignoring terrain effects is fine, that's what special forces do. But at the same time having the ability to move as if they were on roads? That's a bit too much.

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#12 01.07.2015 12:37:47

wieder
Administrator
Posts: 700

Re: My personal review on LT34

""In LT31 one nation lost 15 techs in just few turns when some other nations attacked it."
How did this happen? Why would a nation lose a tech if it was attacked?"

LT31 had a 30% chance for the giving party to lose the tech that was either traded or stolen from that nation. I think this value must be the same for both trading and stealing techs by conquering/stealing with spies. It was introduced because in LT30 everyone almost instantly got all the techs because some players distributing all the techs for free after stealing/trading those. This system was replaced with tech leakage (techs becoming cheaper every time someone invents them) and preventing tech trading/stealing.

We actually knew that LT34 would end with someone winning the game really fast in the end. This was obvious because of no tech trading preventing the less developed countries from getting defensive techs fast when attacked.

"does strict x2 have to be changed for every unit in the ruleset or is there some global way to replace one number and it changes everyting?)"

All the units have their own individual setting for the moves. It's not really that much work to change them all by going through the file. There aren't really that many units after all and if you have a good idea about what you are doing, changing a single value for every unit can be done really fast even by hand.

"- create a non-producible unit: Founder, effectively a Settler, but can't be produced, ever; movement 3 (or even 4), maybe creates a size 2 city (is this one possible? If not, stick to migrants)"

Might be possible, but would probably need more than 5 minutes to do and test smile Adding more settlers can be done by changing just one line.

"-creating a new class of units - Militia, very cheap (almost free) and ineffective, but possible to raise quickly; units are Warriors, Skirmishers (parallel to Musketeers) and Partisans"

I thought about this but then again the green units effectively are militia even while they are not cheaper. LT35 will have barracks I cost 70 instead of 30 and now all the green military units will have 66% probability to become v units if they win a battle.

"One more thing about Alpines: this is EXTREMELY unrealistic. Ignoring terrain effects is fine, that's what special forces do. But at the same time having the ability to move as if they were on roads? That's a bit too much."

How would you change the alpines without making them just another infantry unit?

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#13 01.07.2015 14:56:40

HanduMan
Player
Posts: 91

Re: My personal review on LT34

wieder wrote:

"One more thing about Alpines: this is EXTREMELY unrealistic. Ignoring terrain effects is fine, that's what special forces do. But at the same time having the ability to move as if they were on roads? That's a bit too much."

How would you change the alpines without making them just another infantry unit?

This could be achieved by creating a new unit class without "TerrainSpeed" flag just for alpines. But it's not a small modification. That new unit class should then be added to all land terrains' native_to lists, transportation units' cargo lists and wherever.
On the other hand, this might lead to alpines not taking advantage of rivers and roads. Not good if so, haven't tested.

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#14 01.07.2015 15:00:42

evan
Player
Posts: 70

Re: My personal review on LT34

MP = 1
(x3 for roads)=3, which is enough, and captures the essence of this as a 'special forces' unit, rather than 3x3 =9.

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#15 01.07.2015 15:19:38

evan
Player
Posts: 70

Re: My personal review on LT34

May we please have a new 'topic' for LT36.

Many players seem to not like to join and play team games.
Perhaps I will come to agree with them, but at the moment I am very much looking forward to it.
Anyway, discussions regarding general issues should be elsewhere, and where exactly are they supposed to go?

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#16 01.07.2015 15:23:05

wieder
Administrator
Posts: 700

Re: My personal review on LT34

I will open a new forum for LT36 once LT35 has started. I expect this to happen next week.

LT36, as we know, is supposed to be a 2.5 game and I'll start figuring out the ruleset in September. The game could start later this year, maybe November.

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#17 01.07.2015 15:58:23

evan
Player
Posts: 70

Re: My personal review on LT34

Thankyou for responding so promptly,

but I must ask, why on earth would you seek to limit and constrain discussions? Surely every day we all see enough of that crap.

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#18 01.07.2015 16:42:16

Corbeau
Player
Posts: 217

Re: My personal review on LT34

Who is limiting and constraining discussions?

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#19 02.07.2015 15:38:24

evan
Player
Posts: 70

Re: My personal review on LT34

I edited it out.
I hadn't thought of that.
Simple smile

Last edited by evan (11.07.2015 21:02:37)

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#20 06.07.2015 01:09:28

evan
Player
Posts: 70

Re: My personal review on LT34

Sorry, I've done it again. I should leave politics out of this foum, or the chat.

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#21 11.07.2015 05:58:40

evan
Player
Posts: 70

Re: My personal review on LT34

In LT34, did the 'effects' ruleset's

; 3 turns of lifetime for Caravans (and no recover at cities)
;[effect_caravan_hp_regen]
;name   = "Unit_Recover"
;value  = -4

mean that the caravans would die? It was the first time I'd noticed it in the ruleset, but I forgot to pay attention to the HP count since the distance they were covering was so short.

I was thinking about it in relation to the Explorer unit, and how it could possibly have the same rule applied to it for use in a game where ZOCignore is restricted, like in LW3.
It's good for the explorer to be able to get past other units in the early stages of the game, so that it can carry out its purpose, but later on it can be used to break ZOC (and as recon).

So in a game where one of the goals was to have ZOCignore restricted (possibly LT36...), perhaps the explorer could have a limited life-span?
And if the only way to reduce HPs is through whole numbers, then it could have more hitpoints. This might also make it in some ways a Champion which one could choose to keep in the Capital, or a strategic position, rather than use to explore.

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#22 11.07.2015 10:33:25

HanduMan
Player
Posts: 91

Re: My personal review on LT34

evan wrote:

In LT34, did the 'effects' ruleset's

; 3 turns of lifetime for Caravans (and no recover at cities)
;[effect_caravan_hp_regen]
;name   = "Unit_Recover"
;value  = -4

mean that the caravans would die?

It would if the semicolons (;) were removed from the beginning of those 3 lines. They mark the lines as comments so the rule is not effective as is.

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#23 11.07.2015 17:01:01

evan
Player
Posts: 70

Re: My personal review on LT34

Thanks, I didn't see that.

I'd noticed that the semicolons were used to give some intro info/help text, but hadn't noticed that they were used where the variables were given too.

What role are they playing here if you look at these two examples? I had assumed that "nreqs" means something like "not this/these ones", but that would make some kind of double negative here. And now when I look closer and compare other examples I can see "nreqs" doesn't seem to mean that at all in some cases. What does it mean? Sometimes it seems like the "n" stands for noun, other times it seems to mean "not this".


; 1 + 1 = 2
[effect_waste_distance_ancient]
name    = "Output_Waste_By_Distance"
value   = 1
reqs    =
    { "type", "name", "range"
      "OutputType", "Shield", "Local"
    }
nreqs   =
    { "type", "name", "range"
      "Tech", "Trade", "Player"
    }





; Vision benefit from mountains (for every land unit)
[effect_mountains_vision]
name    = "Unit_Vision_Radius_Sq"
value   = 4
reqs    =
    { "type", "name", "range"
      "Terrain", "Mountains", "Tile"
    }
nreqs   =
    { "type", "name", "range"
;      "UnitClass", "Land", "Local"
;      "UnitClass", "Small Land", "Local"
;      "UnitClass", "Big Land", "Local"
;      "UnitClass", "Merchant", "Local"
      "UnitClass", "Sea", "Local"
      "UnitClass", "Trireme", "Local"
      "UnitClass", "Helicopter", "Local"
      "UnitClass", "Air", "Local"
      "UnitClass", "Missile", "Local"
    }

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#24 11.07.2015 20:27:21

HanduMan
Player
Posts: 91

Re: My personal review on LT34

Does this forum include a method for splitting irrelevant posts from one topic to another? If so, could someone please do that?

Not that these questions were irrelevant as such, but because they do not belong to this topic.

"nreqs" can be read as "but not if". Meaning, the effect is cancelled if any of the "nreqs" is true.

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#25 11.07.2015 21:47:26

wieder
Administrator
Posts: 700

Re: My personal review on LT34

"Does this forum include a method for splitting irrelevant posts from one topic to another? "

I don't really know if splitting would be possible. If someone knows about that, please speak up up now smile Then again I'm old school what comes to topics and stuff big_smile

Btw. About the changes. I didn't dare to do more changes to LT35 since I'm not playing that game.

Also, please comment about the 5% chance of stealing techs by conquering and the 2% chance of stealing techs by stealing. This if how it should be for LT35. For a teamless game it might have been 10% and 4% or what do you think?

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