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Do you still think GalCiv 1 is fun even with GalCiv II out?
758 votes
1- Yes
2- No

My thoughts on the GalCiv's AI
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by Citizen JimmyEatWorld - 1/12/2006 3:11:52 PM

First of all, I'm new to the forum. So hi!

Now, I have some issues I wish to discuss with all of you, and hopefully - the AI programmer of the game (if he's viewing the forums). He's names Brad, ain't it? Hey Brad! You're invited.

Before I say what I have in mind, I wish to let you know that indeed GalCiv has a really deep and sophisticated AI that I haven't seen in any game before. Brad, all my bases are belong to you for that.

However, there are a few things that disturbed me while playing a huge-map game, where all of the AI's were on 'intelligent' level. Thus, all of the AI scripts were availalbe.

1. I chose to play a good civilization, and thus became an ally to the Torian and Altarian civs. After spending a lot of time in an alliance with them, I noticed that every war we shared against this-and-that civ (whether it was a major or a minor one, doesn't matter) - I noticed that my allies weren't paying any attention if I was ACTUALLY taking part in the war. What actually happened is that they spent a lot of money\resources\ships on that war, while I just sat back and watched everyone rip each other apart. I grew really strong over them because of this. I believe a player can use this feature in order to exploit others, and I think this takes some elements of fun out of the game. I mean, in real-life, when you'll have to declare war on your allies' enemies, wouldn't your ally get angry on you if you just 'declared' the war but wouldn't actually do anything about it? For instance, not sending some ships to help him or not attacking along with him. Don't you think he'd feel a little bit cheated? I found it less fun that the AI's didn't notice whether I was participating in the war or not.

2. I eventually won the game through the Technological victory, altough I could win by an alliance victory really early, since my allies took the Drengin out and I helped by exterminating the Yor myself. The Arceans were on a close relations with me, so I could easily ally with them. However, I preferred waiting a bit and researching the final frontier, thus winning a technological win. I also took some planets from my allies by using cultural means, thus our alliances were kept and I controlled almost half the galaxy. Even with a lot more resources than the others, and spending most of my resources on research, it took me a REALLY long time to win, and I was always ahead of everyone technoligcally since the middle of the game. I finished the game in Aug 2226. And I tried to win it as soon as possible (technologically). The last quarter of the game was totally peaceful - whereas I didn't spend any resources on military and such, and everything was going to research. Don't you think it takes too much time to make this kind of win relevant? I'd rather try to win using the other methods (cultural, military, etc.). This was really boring just hitting the 'end turn' button for a couple of hours until I reached the final frontier.

3. My main war in the game was with the Yor. I found out that they weren't as tactical as I was - I Prepared 3 combat transports with protection fleets near 3 of their planets, then declared war and conquered them one by one instantly. However, the Yor just sent some corvettes and battleships around to wipe some of my ships here and there, perhaps trying to conquer a planet with a regular transport on a planet with a population of 13,000 ~. Of course, the invasion failed. It even attacked alone. You'd expect an evil, militarised civilization to try harder than that. I know that the Drengin are more military intelligent, but c'mon - attacking one of my largest planets with a regular transport? What're the chances that'll succeed? I wish that the AI's would be more deadly on such high AI levels. It could be fun to get hammered with a couple of enemy fleets going down on my planets in just three turns.

4. The Drengin are a conquering race. A warring race. But don't you think they could be smarter by focusing on a single or two enemies one at a time, and maintaining the war until they achieve something, and not just taking out a dozens ships, sustaining some losses and then signing a peace treaty and go pick on another race. What I saw they did in the game was warring with a race, signing a peace treaty with him without conquering anything, and then do the same to another one. Eventually they spent to much money and ships, fell into war with everyone at the same time, due to alliances, and surrendered to the Arceans. You'd figure they'd be cautious declaring war on the Torians when they're allied to me, the Altarians and the Arceans. The Yor were really weak at that time and very close physically to the Drengin empire's planets, and still they preferred to go against the Torians. I know that perhaps the Torians declared war on them instead, but this happened a couple of times throughout the game, so I believe one of these wars were planned by the Drengin.

5. During the game, about 3 random events repeated themselves at least 2 times each. Kinda wierd.

6. It appeared that several minor races which were really close phsyically to the Altarians weren't conquered by them at all. I conquered those minor civs myself close to the game's end. Why were the Altarians so peaceful against a planet or two they could easily take? It is said that a Good civilization is still a conquering civ.

7. Oh, no race tried to influence my planets. no one. This maybe just a one time case due to the game I played, taking the alliances into account. But I believe this should be noted.

I really want you to confront me on everything I said here. I really love the game and I'm going to start a gigantic-map game with 7 races (I have the Altarian Prophecy) just becuase I wish to enjoy this wonderful game even more.

I want to create a deep discussion here and I wish you to prove me wrong and explain to me if I'm looking at things from a wrong angle. Even an answer from Brad could be nice.

Thank you very much,

#1  by Citizen Walldorf2000 - 1/13/2006 2:54:05 AM

Hi JimmyEatWorld,

welcome on board

1. It's true, the AI has some weaknesses. Another problem is that it is nearly impossible for the AI to get peace, when two pairs of allied AIs are in war with each other. But it is your decision if you want to avoid or exploit it.

I guess Brad is alway interested in proposals. But I doubt that it is very easy to give a AI a human sense of justice

2. With full equipped research ressources it should be possible much quicker. You can usually get all techs in one single turn (with the exception of the very last ones) and you don't need to research everything. Only the direct path to the final tech. But when you are interested in submitting to metaverse, switch off the technology victory. You don't get a reasonable score for it.

3. As far I know the AIs get additional intelligence on Maso-Level in this area. But they are still not the very best in conquering systems

4. Focusing is the big advantage that the humans have. This makes it possible to win on Maso.

5. Get some of those nice mods. But I guess after a view hundred of games you really get used to repetitive events

6. After a while good AIs tend to love other good AIs and wont attack them any more. They usually only attack neutral or evil races as of midgame. Or maybe they had a lot of trade with this minor?

7. Onother weakness of the AIs. They don't know how to make use of influence. Neither to defend nor to attack. (The same is true for terror stars.)

I want to create a deep discussion here and I wish you to prove me wrong and explain to me if I'm looking at things from a wrong angle. Even an answer from Brad could be nice.

That would be nice but maybe it's too late. On the other hand Frogboy (alias Brad) announced the possibility of another update of GC. There is some hope after all.

#2  by Citizen JimmyEatWorld - 1/15/2006 12:55:14 AM

Alright, reading your replies, I have this to say.

1,2. Okay, thanks. However, I read that StarDock are going to develop updates for GalCiv 1 also. This is the reason I chose to write this.

3. As far as I know, and as far as I read, and I have read pretty much - Intelligent level is the highest AI level. The upper levels just makes the AI's cheat - They gain more from taxes, etc.

4. When I'm playing a challenging game I expect my rivals to give me a challange. When they are playing passive-style, like defending and not trying to conquer much - It isn't much of challange. As far as I see it - Once you get through the first part of the game where you have to establish yourself throughout your region in the galaxy - conquering everyone is just a matter of time. Perhaps a long time, but it is still inevitable. The AI's don't exactly work hard to do the same to you. Even the opposite-nature ones (good VS evil, evel VS good).

5. I played only one game (never played anything to the bitter end but the game I wrote here). At that single game these events repeated themselves. A couple of times.

6. Dude, it's a neutral minor race, they're ain't good. The Altarians shouldn't have had any favor for them. And I believe a conquered planet is worth a lot more than a minor, single-planet, trade partner. Don't you agree?

7. Well, it's kind of dissapointing that your rivals won't be trying to conquer using this method. This means that they only try winning using a military or a technological victory. Kinda takes a large element of fun from the game.

I do not believe it is late. As I have said, StarDock is going to update GalCiv when they'll have the time. I'm writing this for Brad to see. I hope he replies, also.
[Message Edited]

#3  by Citizen Walldorf2000 - 1/15/2006 7:20:22 AM

3. Brad added more aggressive combat script later on for incredible AIs.

4. The AI has some flaws but it definitely is challenging.

5. I know that there was a version out there where a bug caused this behaviour. Did you update to the current version 1.22 / 1.52 ?

6. In my last game all four minors where conquered by the Altarians and the Dregins. But no, sometimes a good trade parnter is worth much more that another planet.

7. It's right that they don't make use of influence actively. But when obne AI got the majority of the influence ressources they could still get half of the galaxy accidently

Overall I can only advice you not to concentrate too much on the weaknesses of the game but on the fun you can have. Some players gave themselve their own rules to get the kind of fun they like. e.g. to declare every major AI war direclty after you met them etc.

The AI of GalCiv is still the best AI I ever played with and that's the reason why it is still my favorite game. Other game use scripted events to give you some challenge. The AI of GalCiv does not need this crook. This gives the game the incredible replayability.

#4  by Citizen JimmyEatWorld - 1/15/2006 3:46:01 PM

yes, i know. This is why i'll keep playing this game. well, at least until galciv 2 comes out.

I really appreciate the time the delevopers spend on the good ai. however, as a human, you always look for ways to improve.

#5  by Avatar Frogboy - 1/16/2006 2:39:32 AM

Much of this is addressed in GalCiv II.

#6  by Citizen JimmyEatWorld - 1/17/2006 12:53:18 PM


But is everything I said adressed?

Thanks for the reply, Brad. I really appreciate it.
[Message Edited]

#7  by Citizen JimmyEatWorld - 1/20/2006 8:13:54 AM

Please answer.
If perhaps my typing was bad and you didn't understand, I meant that you said the much is adressed, but not everything.

What isn't adressed, and why?

#8  by Veteran kryo - 1/21/2006 7:12:42 PM

Feel free to preuse some of the many dev journals Brad's written about the GC2 AI over on Link

#9  by Avatar Frogboy - 1/22/2006 2:15:21 AM

Your best bet is to do what Darth Kyro suggested.

But briefly, 2,3,4,5,and 7 are substantially changed.

Item #1 isn't changed.  Alliances are what they are.  Some allies are pretty useless.


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