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WhiteTreePaladin

Lowering Default Population Limit

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I've been playing on both 200 and 150 pop recently. A lower population limit makes it more difficult to defeat another player by using quantity of units alone. A variety of units types and some tactics are required. This makes it easier to survive the computer player's attacks because while the AI's growth is good, its tactics are average. This increase in survivability allows the game to be more accessible to new players. It also increases performance by quite a lot. Because of this, I think we should lower the default population limit from 300 to 150 (or maybe 200).

One caveat with a lower population limit is that wonders become necessities for longer games because of the hardcoded population increase. Perhaps the population provided by a wonder should be a percentage rather than an absolute? (Would be nice if there were some visual indication when the max population limit was reached. This would prevent building additional houses just to see if the limit increases when the max is not readily known. For example, because the Persians have a 10% bonus, their max pop is 165 when the global pop limit is 150.)

I think the AI should be encouraged to build wonders more often when the population is constrained. Even with deathmatch resources, the AI does not tend to build wonders. I found a workaround: wonder victory with a maximum timer forces the AI to include a wonder in its strategy and the long timer provides enough time for the players to be defeated naturally. It would be nice if a workaround were not required so that wonders would be built with other victory conditions.

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I think AoK had 75 for default and 200 max. AoE3 was 200.

Another nice feature in AoE3 was that ships didn't use population. They had build limits instead which worked very well. Considering that our game mostly occurs on land, I think using build limits rather than population for ships would be a good idea also.

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Imarok    173
On 16.8.2017 at 3:10 AM, WhiteTreePaladin said:

I think the AI should be encouraged to build wonders more often when the population is constrained. Even with deathmatch resources, the AI does not tend to build wonders. I found a workaround: wonder victory with a maximum timer forces the AI to include a wonder in its strategy and the long timer provides enough time for the players to be defeated naturally. It would be nice if a workaround were not required so that wonders would be built with other victory conditions.

@Sandarac?

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elexis    974

From my personal player pov, 200 would be ok for me and 300 have always appeared like pure spam games. (Also often players just the 8 players without reducing the population limit, which totally doesn't work performance wise if everyone reaches the limit.)

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elexis    974
On 8/16/2017 at 3:10 AM, WhiteTreePaladin said:

Would be nice if there were some visual indication when the max population limit was reached. This would prevent building additional houses just to see if the limit increases when the max is not readily known. For example, because the Persians have a 10% bonus, their max pop is 165 when the global pop limit is 150.

The objectives dialog shows the maximum population set in the match setup. Indeed that excludes the civ and wonder bonus.

The exact number is seen in the tooltip of the population counter. But that doesn't help if anyone knows about it. In fact most people also don't know that there is an obejctives dialog. So I don't really know what to do. Even if we would show a message box on gamestart, people would click on Ok without reading it. xd

On 8/16/2017 at 3:10 AM, WhiteTreePaladin said:

One caveat with a lower population limit is that wonders become necessities for longer games because of the hardcoded population increase.

Is it really a necessity? By default, we play 150 pop without wonders in multiplayer 4v4s for performance reasons. It really depends on how the units are used, which is something we can expect from players, but how does the AI deal with 200 pop? I can't imagine that it only functions reliably with 300 pop.

@mimo has the most experimental data I guess.

Index: binaries/data/mods/public/simulation/data/settings/population_capacities.json
===================================================================
--- binaries/data/mods/public/simulation/data/settings/population_capacities.json	(revision 20009)
+++ binaries/data/mods/public/simulation/data/settings/population_capacities.json	(working copy)
@@ -1,4 +1,4 @@
 {
 	"PopulationCapacities": [50, 100, 150, 200, 250, 300, 10000],
-	"Default": 300
+	"Default": 200
 }
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I was not aware of the max population in a tooltip or the objectives. The objectives could be shown off in a tutorial and the max pop could also be mentioned in a tutorial. You are probably right that many may forget or ignore it.

The AI handles the lower populations fine, but is dramatically easier to beat. This is because the AI cannot overwhelm the enemy with large forces as easily because some have to be reserved for civil duties. This makes skirmishes more defensive which favors newer human players who are not as skilled in the game. (It makes turtling much easier.) Once an adequate defense has been built, a large army can be constructed. The human player can opt to build a wonder and/or make all gatherers into fighters for a significant population advantage over the AI. This works well against the AI because the it will generally not do either of those.

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mimo    298

Currently, the AI has been tuned with 300, and a simple empirical factor (sqrt(maxPop/300) is applied on its objective numbers (for example, it requires a 40 pop before switching to phase 2, and 80 workers for phase 3: such numbers are scaled when maxPop < 300).

This scaling is only a "reasonnable guess" (as i've never played with smaller maxPop), but should be improved by somebody with such experience. If you could tune them, that would be great.  You may see that the code doing that is in ai/petra/config.js

Concerning the wonder, the code to make the ai builds one is simple, but we have to define some conditions (so that it does not try to soon, or too late), and i'd no time to test what would be adequate. Here again, if you are ready to contribute to such tests, that would help.

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elexis    974

Since r16548, a good amount of config numbers already take the maximum population into account. But if brian witnessed that the AI is drastically easier to beat, we should refrain from lowering it until the numbers are optimized.

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This would provide new players with a better experience because it is easier to manage 200 than 300. (The increase in performance would also help with first impressions.)  Itthink it is something we should still do even if we want to wait for some AI work first. Should probably put a ticket in. I'm going to be too busy to add the ticket for awhile, but if no one else does, then I'll try to add it eventually.

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