Multi-shot Diplomats/Explorers in civ2civ3 considered harmful

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chippo
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Multi-shot Diplomats/Explorers in civ2civ3 considered harmful

Postby chippo » Thu Jan 16, 2020 10:46 am

I'm aware of the discussion that led to Diplomats and Explorers getting longevity after creating embassies (someone thought that 30 production points was too much to just get an embassy). I initially agreed and have had a lot of fun in civ2civ3 with the starting Explorer and Diplomat. I've changed my mind. With the tech leakage in civ2civ3, embassies are WAY more powerful that those lame embassies in the default ruleset.

In the attached savegame (3.0.0-alpha3+ (41e42cbc47)) (you need to change the '.txt. back to '.sav.xz') I started with civ2civ3 defaults and changed:
- 100 tiles/player to 200
- 6 players to 15
I specifically kept pseudo-fractal height (when I normally select fully random) because that's what new players will get when they try out civ2civ3. Note that the point I'm about to make doesn't apply for any of the map generators other than pseudo-fractal.

The 2 changes I made only exacerbate the point I'm about to make; with only 100 tiles and 6 players the issue would have been absolute and completed ages ago.

In the savegame, it's turn 97, I've just acquired (or researched) trade, a city is getting ahead of tech in it's worklist and needs to pause with a Wonder to let research catch up. So which wonder? I consider Marco Polo's Embassy. Then I see that out of the 15 players, I'm only missing one embassy. And while my Explorer recently bought it, I still have my starting Diplomat to get that last embassy.

The combination of a free Diplomat at startup, Explorers getting embassy-creation, Diplomats and Explorers getting multi-shot and the choice of the pseudo-fractal map generator have conspired to make Marco Polo's Embassy obsolete (before Democracy ever could).

What to do?

1) Change the reward for Marco Polo's Embassy to something that you might want. Sticking with the Trade theme, maybe give the city that build it double (or triple? or quad-damage?) gold for it's 2 trade routes? Or maybe every trade-route in your empire gets one extra gold?
2) Change the default map generator to fully random height. Then you need caravels to get your multi-shot Diplomat and Explorer all over the world.
3) Remove the multi-shot ability for Diplomat and Explorer and just swallow the 30 productions points you have to spend per embassy. 30 pp is NOTHING compared to the gold you save via tech leakage over the life of the embassy. (this is my favoured solution)
4) Remove tech leakage so that embassies are less valuable, putting them in line with the now massively reduced cost (basically free) of getting them all. This would also need the reward to be changed to make it worth the effort of building it. (this is my least favoured solution, 'cos I love tech leakage and (especially) tech upkeep)
Attachments
freeciv-T0097-Y-0100-auto.txt
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chippo
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Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2020 10:48 am

Re: Multi-shot Diplomats/Explorers in civ2civ3 considered harmful

Postby chippo » Thu Jan 16, 2020 11:13 am

Another solution:
5) Remove multi-shot embassy-creation from the Explorer. Take him back to single-embassy only, or maybe further back to no embassies at all. In the savegame, my Diplomat only did 4 of the 14 embassies. If the Explorer hadn't done 10 of them, there'd still be some point to an unchanged Marco Polo's Embassy. Although, I'll need to actually play a game with the default map size and players to check. It's possible that with the default 100/6/pseudo-fractal map and careful use of the Diplomat's double-move that one can still grab all 5 embassies by Turn 100 (without using the Explorer).

Wahazar
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Re: Multi-shot Diplomats/Explorers in civ2civ3 considered harmful

Postby Wahazar » Thu Jan 16, 2020 2:26 pm

You are right, early diplo units multi-shots doesn't mix well with embassy tech leakage.

chippo
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Re: Multi-shot Diplomats/Explorers in civ2civ3 considered harmful

Postby chippo » Thu Jan 16, 2020 10:16 pm

chippo wrote:It's possible that with the default 100/6/pseudo-fractal map and careful use of the Diplomat's double-move that one can still grab all 5 embassies by Turn 100 (without using the Explorer).


Turns out that it's trivial. I started a default defaults civ2civ3 game, changing nothing except turning the AIs to Hard. I didn't collect any embassies with my Explorer or via diplomacy, only with the free Diplomat establish-embassy orders. Attached is a savegame on Turn 50, where I collect my 5th and final embassy (remember I guessed 100 turns). What's more interesting is that the AIs all have 4 out of the 5 embassies, although, admittedly, they also used their Explorers. But, no one even has Currency yet, let alone Trade. If we don't change anything, and someone plays civ2civ3 with the defaults, then the AIs will each have all embassies before Trade is researched.

So, Solution 5) proposed above, is a non-starter.
Attachments
marco-polo.txt
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bard
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Re: Multi-shot Diplomats/Explorers in civ2civ3 considered harmful

Postby bard » Fri Apr 16, 2021 9:26 pm

I agree this might be a game breaker issue. Current implementation of tech-leak makes embassies more important in the early stages of game than anything else.

When I added "multi-shot" diplomat/explorers in 3.0, my plan was to use the new "tech_leak_pct" (https://www.hostedredmine.com/issues/764944) to reduce (to half or so) the bonus of tech leak. I wanted to recreate the effect of civ3 where you get reduced costs for every tech known by nations that you have contact with (embassies are not needed in civ3, and tech_leak_pct is around 1,75).

In my "earth" version of civ2civ3 for v2.6, I opted to remove tech leak and to reduce the cost of techs from 3x to 2x, and I was liking the result. But I have been unable to play freeciv for some time, and I was unable to test the latest changes properly.

Now I'm playing freeciv again, I'd like to make some patches for civ2civ3 ruleset, although I'm not sure if I will be in time before 3.0 release. I'll try to check the forums and HostedRedmine for other suggestions by players, and I'll open a thread here with my suggested changes before I create the patches.

If I'm not able to patch this issue myself before release of 3.0, I'd suggest to revert the patch that allowed multi-shot diplomat/explorer.

Thanks for the feedback, chippo.

bard
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Re: Multi-shot Diplomats/Explorers in civ2civ3 considered harmful

Postby bard » Tue Apr 20, 2021 2:01 pm

After thinking about it, your 4 suggestions looks to me like the best alternatives too. But I can't find a combination that I fully like.

1) Change the reward for Marco Polo's Embassy to something that you might want. Sticking with the Trade theme, maybe give the city that build it double (or triple? or quad-damage?) gold for it's 2 trade routes? Or maybe every trade-route in your empire gets one extra gold?

I like this suggestion. I was also considering for Marco Polo to give +1 move points to caravans and diplomats, in order to make it easier to steal techs from enemy cities.

Another thing I don't like about Marco Polo's default effect is that it might spoil the exploration of other continents, for example in scenarios based on the discovery of America. Sudently you have contact with every nation in the world and you exchange techs with them even when travel might not be possible yet.

2) Change the default map generator to fully random height. Then you need caravels to get your multi-shot Diplomat and Explorer all over the world.

I prefer if we find a solution that suits different map styles. I always tried to design civ2civ3 to suit earth-like maps were many players start in the same continent.

3) Remove the multi-shot ability for Diplomat and Explorer and just swallow the 30 productions points you have to spend per embassy. 30 pp is NOTHING compared to the gold you save via tech leakage over the life of the embassy. (this is my favoured solution)

I agree this will surely work in games against the AI. But allied players can exchange embassies with no cost (iirc), and I liked the "multi-shot" as an oportunity for lone players to create embassies without costs too (just the need to explore and survive).

Another alternative that I wish it was possible: to require the presence of an embassy before you can establish an alliance, so players can't exchange them for free, and they must spend the 30 pp of a diplomat before they can start exchanging techs.

4) Remove tech leakage so that embassies are less valuable, putting them in line with the now massively reduced cost (basically free) of getting them all. This would also need the reward to be changed to make it worth the effort of building it. (this is my least favoured solution, 'cos I love tech leakage and (especially) tech upkeep).

I like the concept of tech leakage, but it requires some micromanaging in order to take full advantage of it. The players are encouraged to continually monitor how costs of techs vary each turn, to try to research them just a few turns later than your rivals, getting a similar result for a fraction of the bulb costs. At the end it might reward a poorly played start.

Also, I don't like that the reward you get from 1 embassy is so dependant on the number of players. With few players and tech leak, an embassy is worth the 30pp from the start, but with many players I'd say most other constructions end being better than 30 pp for 1 embassy, at least until techs reach a high cost.

Summarizing, I vote for option 3 (Remove multi-shot) for now. Compatible with option 1 (Change reward for Marco Polo's Embassy) too.
For later, I'd like to open a ticket to ask for an alternative tech leak that requires contact, in stead of an embassy (like civ3). But I'll try to finish some of my pending patches before that...

cazfi
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Re: Multi-shot Diplomats/Explorers in civ2civ3 considered harmful

Postby cazfi » Tue Apr 20, 2021 2:12 pm

Multi-shot has already been removed a while back: https://osdn.net/projects/freeciv/ticket/41929
I hope we don't need to further adjust this for 3.0 (only if it's still really broken), but options for 3.1 should be investigated.

bard
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Re: Multi-shot Diplomats/Explorers in civ2civ3 considered harmful

Postby bard » Wed Apr 21, 2021 12:54 am

Ah, ok, thanks. Then I suppose no further changes needed for v3.0.

My comments were also ment about possibilities for future versions (either 3.1, or "earth" submod). I still don't know if people (and developers) want me to keep introducing changes to civ2civ3 ruleset now that is going to be the default one. But I'll surely continue the development of my civ2civ3_earth version.

I'm aware this topic was from a year ago, but I checked hostedredmine for all tickets related to civ2civ3 and I didn't see it. I didn't know you moved to other host (OSDN?). I did not find any announcement about that in the forums either, sorry.

I'm glad to see all the developers I knew keep working on freeciv. That is an example of commitment. I wish I could do the same.

cazfi
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Re: Multi-shot Diplomats/Explorers in civ2civ3 considered harmful

Postby cazfi » Thu Apr 22, 2021 4:28 am

bard wrote:I still don't know if people (and developers) want me to keep introducing changes to civ2civ3 ruleset now that is going to be the default one.

Obviously I cannot speak for other people, but I think there should be healthy development of the ruleset, within the limits imposed by the compatibility concerns; savegames from older versions should work in the newer version (so you can't do things like dropping units that might be in use in old games).