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Poor AI and poor computer strength allocation

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  • barryem
    I ve been playing Empire now for a week or so with the new game and while I really like some of the new interface features, I have to say that overall I m
    Message 1 of 14 , Oct 3, 2004
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      I've been playing Empire now for a week or so with the new game and
      while I really like some of the new interface features, I have to say
      that overall I'm pretty disappointed. I wish I could go back to
      playing the old 3.1 version. This is just not a lot of fun.

      The computer player is a poor player even on expert level. I usually
      beat the computer player in the old game but I had to work at it.
      Now I just have to go through the motions and not do anything really
      dumb and I win easily. Bad!

      But worse of all are the way the strengths have changed. For
      example, the defending infantry used to have the edge when it was in
      a city. Now it seems random. Before, artillery had an edge over
      infantry but not anymore. And before, equals in a battle favored the
      defender, now not.

      This makes strategy pretty haphazard. Now I win by just not doing
      anything dumb because I know the computer player will do plenty of
      dumb things. It's just no challange anymore. Come on, guys! Fix
      this.

      Frankly, if I'd been wise enough to play the demo a while before I
      bought this I wouldn't have bought it. But I saw what seemed to be
      the same as the old game and I could play it on XP and I paid. Live
      and learn.

      I was about to get rid of my old Win98 laptop but I guess I'll keep
      it and just play 3.1 on it. It's too bad. I much prefer it on my
      19" monitor. But that's life.

      It's obvious that the programmers put a lot of work and a lot of
      thought into the new game. But it seems to be just for real people.
      All the goodies for a challanging game against the computer are
      gone. Why?

      Barry
    • Mark Kinkead @ Killer Bee Software
      All the goodies for a challenging game against the computer are gone. Why? Barry, I cannot give you a good answer to this because of one reason: It has not
      Message 2 of 14 , Oct 3, 2004
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        "All the goodies for a challenging game against
        the computer are gone.  Why?"
        Barry, I cannot give you a good answer to this because of one reason: It has not changed.
         
        Empire Deluxe Internet Edition is, in fact, the original source code that was released in '93,
        modernized for today's OS, with some additional needed interface features.
         
        Besides some bugs that have lived in the game for a decade, the code was not touched such that
        no rules changes were made and the AI code was not altered. This was a conscious design
        decision, to maintain ED the way it was, for it is a most beloved game as it was. It was very important
        to me. The 'changes' have been saved for the Enhanced Edition.
         
        The comments on the battle odds are the same. The only thing I did there was bring the odds to
        the forefront, with the calculator and the stuff in the status display, to take out the mystery and misconceptions.
        The code was not change to take away the 'advantage' from one unit to another. I learned a lot of things that
        I had "perceived" to be true were really false as I studied the code. What I did learn was that there are surprisingly
        few battles in a game of Empire. So you must pick them carefully.
         
        I really think in the end, that is what is different...your perceptions of what the game was like in regard
        to play are not quite reconciled with what it really is. Could it be you're a better player than you were
        then? Could it be that you have had some luck, good or ill, in the games you have played the past
        week or two?
         
        I am in no way defending the ineptness of the AI against an experienced human player. But he has always been
        that way, and is a huge reason why EDEE will have the open AI API.  I am insisting that the odds and rules have
        not changed, and will assert that any perceived changes are just that.
         
        Perhaps it is time to seek human play. The ladder is an excellent place to start.
         
         
        --Mark
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: barryem
        Sent: Sunday, October 03, 2004 9:06 PM
        Subject: [empire-deluxe] Poor AI and poor computer strength allocation


        I've been playing Empire now for a week or so with the new game and
        while I really like some of the new interface features, I have to say
        that overall I'm pretty disappointed.  I wish I could go back to
        playing the old 3.1 version.  This is just not a lot of fun.

        The computer player is a poor player even on expert level.  I usually
        beat the computer player in the old game but I had to work at it. 
        Now I just have to go through the motions and not do anything really
        dumb and I win easily.  Bad!

        But worse of all are the way the strengths have changed.  For
        example, the defending infantry used to have the edge when it was in
        a city.  Now it seems random.  Before, artillery had an edge over
        infantry but not anymore.  And before, equals in a battle favored the
        defender, now not.

        This makes strategy pretty haphazard.  Now I win by just not doing
        anything dumb because I know the computer player will do plenty of
        dumb things.  It's just no challange anymore.  Come on, guys!  Fix
        this.

        Frankly, if I'd been wise enough to play the demo a while before I
        bought this I wouldn't have bought it.  But I saw what seemed to be
        the same as the old game and I could play it on XP and I paid.  Live
        and learn.

        I was about to get rid of my old Win98 laptop but I guess I'll keep
        it and just play 3.1 on it.  It's too bad.  I much prefer it on my
        19" monitor.  But that's life.

        It's obvious that the programmers put a lot of work and a lot of
        thought into the new game.  But it seems to be just for real people. 
        All the goodies for a challanging game against the computer are
        gone.  Why?

        Barry





      • Andrew Platfoot
        Mate I think you dreaming. I have played empire for years in every form on all sorts of hardware apart from the PC. I even have the old VAX / VMS version here
        Message 3 of 14 , Oct 3, 2004
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          Mate

          I think you dreaming. I have played empire for years
          in every form on all sorts of hardware apart from the
          PC. I even have the old VAX / VMS version here
          somewhere if you want to have a play. Alternatively
          you can buy the source code for the very early version
          from Baldwin and make your own.

          The current version of EDIE that Mark brought out was
          the same as before including some of the old bugs and
          all the nightmares with the blasted random number
          generator. However the core game is unchanged. However
          it now runs on current operating systems without going
          mad every now and again or commandeering the computer.

          I suspect the new version (EDEE) will be a vast
          improvement once all the coding heroes get at the AI
          system and tweak it. Rumour has it that the Beta has
          started and is going well. I think it will be a vast
          improvement from real players once it comes out in the
          near future. I think Killerbees are going to put out a
          playable demo soon and you should have a go at that
          one.

          However if you want real game, join the EDIE ladder
          and take on another person. There is a player called
          Green Hell a go. I am not sure what the significance
          of Green is, but he is Hell to play. However it
          probably will be a short game. He usually kills off
          most opponents in discouragingly quick time.

          Alternative stick with EDIE and give the AI Production
          and Combat advantage. Advantage 3 ought to do it. It
          will be all over you like a bad rash in double quick
          time. It is not to bad at carrier warfare and once it
          has a few of those with battleship escorts in the
          water you will under pressure and have to be smart to
          outplay it

          Enjoy

          A


          --- barryem <barryem@...> wrote:

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

          I've been playing Empire now for a week or so with the
          new game and
          while I really like some of the new interface
          features, I have to say
          that overall I'm pretty disappointed. I wish I could
          go back to
          playing the old 3.1 version. This is just not a lot
          of fun.

          The computer player is a poor player even on expert
          level. I usually
          beat the computer player in the old game but I had to
          work at it.
          Now I just have to go through the motions and not do
          anything really
          dumb and I win easily. Bad!

          But worse of all are the way the strengths have
          changed. For
          example, the defending infantry used to have the edge
          when it was in
          a city. Now it seems random. Before, artillery had
          an edge over
          infantry but not anymore. And before, equals in a
          battle favored the
          defender, now not.

          This makes strategy pretty haphazard. Now I win by
          just not doing
          anything dumb because I know the computer player will
          do plenty of
          dumb things. It's just no challange anymore. Come
          on, guys! Fix
          this.

          Frankly, if I'd been wise enough to play the demo a
          while before I
          bought this I wouldn't have bought it. But I saw what
          seemed to be
          the same as the old game and I could play it on XP and
          I paid. Live
          and learn.

          I was about to get rid of my old Win98 laptop but I
          guess I'll keep
          it and just play 3.1 on it. It's too bad. I much
          prefer it on my
          19" monitor. But that's life.

          It's obvious that the programmers put a lot of work
          and a lot of
          thought into the new game. But it seems to be just
          for real people.
          All the goodies for a challanging game against the
          computer are
          gone. Why?

          Barry





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        • barryem
          ... reason: It has not changed. I had read some things implying that that was the case and that was my expectation. You suggest that maybe I don t remember
          Message 4 of 14 , Oct 4, 2004
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            --- In empire-deluxe@yahoogroups.com, "Mark Kinkead @ Killer Bee
            Software" <mok@k...> wrote:
            >
            > Barry, I cannot give you a good answer to this because of one
            reason: It has not changed.

            I had read some things implying that that was the case and that was
            my expectation. You suggest that maybe I don't remember the computer
            player but I've never really stopped playing Empire for long. I did
            stop for a few months and then started playing again when I decided
            to give away my old computer since I'm going to move soon. I played
            for a few weeks and then tried out the new Internet edition and
            bought it. So I had been playing recently.

            I can't deny the possibility that the computer is having a spell of
            bad luck. But it's very consistant bad luck if that's the case.
            Totally consistant. Defending infantries don't usually win, for
            example. In the old game I could have a city building infantries and
            an enemy city nearby and as long as I had infantries built in time
            there was a very good chance that the city could hold out for quite a
            while. In this game that just never happens. The defending infantry
            gets close enough and I attack and lose as often as not.

            In the old game a bomber attacking a fighter usually loses. 10 to 1
            or thereabouts. In this game it's not much more than 50/50. In the
            old game the defender wins considerably more than half the time.
            Maybe 2 to 1 but I'm just guessing at the numbers. In this game it's
            fairly even.

            In the old game if the AI's cruiser begins to attack infantries and
            take damage you can be pretty sure there's a transport coming soon.
            Not always; but nearly always. Not so anymore. They just do it.

            I don't think you're making it up. I appreciate your reply and it's
            obvious sincerity and I won't attempt to explain why I don't buy it.
            I had a friend that I had known for years to be an honest and
            truthful and trustworthy guy without exception who insisted that when
            he was 12 his hand was burned to the point that the bones were
            exposed and that it was cured in one day by the prayers of a
            Christian Science practitioner. I don't believe that happened but
            I'm equally certain that he does believe it happened and I can't
            explain it. Sometimes I just don't get it. I guess this is one of
            those times.

            It's very obvious to me that a lot of thought went into the
            improvements in this game. I'm a retired programmer of 35 years
            (nothing to do with games or AI) and I have an appreciation for that
            and I can recognize good work. But something important is certainly
            missing. I don't know why.

            Do you play a lot against the AI? Have you played the old version a
            lot against the computer? If not, maybe you just can't see it.

            I am thinking of looking into playing against people after I've moved
            and have a new email address. My last experience at that wasn't a
            good one but it's only one experience and I would like to take
            advantages of some of the things this game has to offer in that
            regard. But playing against the computer will always be my main
            interest. I can do that spontaneously when the mood strikes. The
            game is always there waiting for me.

            Again, thanks for your reply.
            Barry
          • barryem
            ... I played against a person once, a long time ago. Even though I was already able to beat the computer pretty regularly, I was no match for him. People are
            Message 5 of 14 , Oct 4, 2004
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              --- In empire-deluxe@yahoogroups.com, Andrew Platfoot
              <andrew_platfoot@y...> wrote:
              >
              > However if you want real game, join the EDIE ladder
              > and take on another person. There is a player called
              > Green Hell a go. I am not sure what the significance
              > of Green is, but he is Hell to play. However it
              > probably will be a short game. He usually kills off
              > most opponents in discouragingly quick time.

              I played against a person once, a long time ago. Even though I was
              already able to beat the computer pretty regularly, I was no match
              for him. People are much more suprising and inventive than
              computers. :)

              I probably will try that again in the not too distant future. I
              don't expect to win a lot at first though.

              Barry
            • David M. Bott
              ... I do not have time to play other human opponents regularly, so I play EDIE as I did ED, to fill in the time when I have my computer and nothing better to
              Message 6 of 14 , Oct 4, 2004
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                At 10:12 AM 10/4/2004, you wrote:
                >I can't deny the possibility that the computer is having a spell of
                >bad luck. But it's very consistant bad luck if that's the case.
                >Totally consistant. Defending infantries don't usually win, for
                >example.

                I do not have time to play other human opponents regularly, so I play EDIE
                as I did ED, to fill in the time when I have my computer and nothing better
                to do. I play with the ED settings, I often use the production Advantage
                for AI's and I always set the AI to EXPERT in pregame setup.

                I do not experience the same things you do. If I have an infantry on clear
                ground and the AI has an infantry of clear ground, over the long run I
                don't see any domination by the attacking infantry. It's about 50/50. I
                have had my Armor totally defeated by an AI infantry (which requires 2 to 1
                advantage). I haven't kept strict tabs by terrain and unit type, but I
                would have noticed a pattern as you describe.

                I wonder if it's possible that your computer hardware and software has some
                glitch in it that affects the game mechanics? It's probably extremely
                rare, but could some glitch in RAM or in the processor affect battle
                outcomes? I don't know, I'm not a programmer or a hardware
                professional. I just want to find an explanation that allows for you
                seeing what you are reporting, me seeing what I'm reporting and Mark's
                statement that nothing in the code affecting battle odds has changed.

                > In the old game I could have a city building infantries and
                >an enemy city nearby and as long as I had infantries built in time
                >there was a very good chance that the city could hold out for quite a
                >while.

                Wouldn't this depend upon the number of total units you have, the %
                capacity of the two cities, and the terrain as well? I'm also confused,
                because here it sounds like you're saying your infantry and being destroyed
                faster than the AI's where above it sounded like the AI's infantry was
                losing all the time. Attack and defense are relative terms. If you are
                "defending" your city by moving your infantry onto the AI's infantry square
                during your turn, your infantry is considered the attacker for computing
                odds and the terrain in the AI's unit square is used to adjust the battle odds.

                > In this game that just never happens. The defending infantry
                >gets close enough and I attack and lose as often as not.

                This means your unit is the "attacker" not the defender. What is the
                terrain in the AI's defender square? Perhaps you're misreading the terrain
                adjustments?

                >In the old game a bomber attacking a fighter usually loses. 10 to 1
                >or thereabouts. In this game it's not much more than 50/50.

                Now this I have wondered about since I noticed the AI will attack with a
                bomber against my fighter and wins more than I expect. But I remember that
                I never want to attack a fighter with a bomber, so it could be that I do it
                so few times that I have small numbers and don't notice the trend except
                when I up the production values and the AI starts attacking my fighters
                with bombers.

                > In the old game the defender wins considerably more than half the time.
                >Maybe 2 to 1 but I'm just guessing at the numbers. In this game it's
                >fairly even.

                Again, it depends upon terrain effects. In the VERY old game, terrain
                didn't matter. In ED and EDIE, it does matter. And if I remember
                correctly, it's the terrain in the defenders' square that matters. So if
                you attack an AI infantry defending in the mountains with your infantry,
                you will lose more often than if the same battle took place in clear terrain.

                >In the old game if the AI's cruiser begins to attack infantries and
                >take damage you can be pretty sure there's a transport coming soon.
                >Not always; but nearly always. Not so anymore. They just do it.

                I never noticed this, but I also didn't see the cruiser attack my land
                units that often because I used fighters and bombers as scouts and tend to
                move my shoreline units back if there are no transports in the vicinity.

                >It's very obvious to me that a lot of thought went into the
                >improvements in this game. I'm a retired programmer of 35 years
                >(nothing to do with games or AI) and I have an appreciation for that
                >and I can recognize good work. But something important is certainly
                >missing. I don't know why.
                >
                >Do you play a lot against the AI? Have you played the old version a
                >lot against the computer? If not, maybe you just can't see it.

                I have played EDIE exclusively against the AI since it was released because
                I just don't have the time to play a game to the end on a consistent basis
                with human opponents. However, I used to play ED against AI and human
                opponents on a regular basis since ED came out in '92 or so. And I played
                the old DOS ported ASCII text version prior to that.

                I'm not sure what's going on, but I believe all involved. Perceptions of
                odds in a game can be tricky though and comparing experiences is almost
                impossible. Perhaps we should set up some scenarios that allow us to test
                this issue. I have the old DOS ED version 3.1 and it will run if I set it
                up in Win2000 (which is my OS). I'd be willing to share my DOS version
                with some folks who have EDIE to compare. Someone could try the same
                scenario in both games (say all clear terrain and only build infantries
                fighters and bombers) and keep strict track of the wins/losses. It would
                take time, but then you'd have some real data to compare, rather than
                personal recollections from a few of us.

                Dave
                ________________________________________________________
                David M. Bott david.m.bott@...
              • barryem
                ... play EDIE ... nothing better ... Advantage ... I ve always played with a single computer opponent on expert level and left all the other settings balanced.
                Message 7 of 14 , Oct 4, 2004
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                  --- In empire-deluxe@yahoogroups.com, "David M. Bott"
                  <david.m.bott@d...> wrote:
                  > At 10:12 AM 10/4/2004, you wrote:
                  > >I can't deny the possibility that the computer is having a spell of
                  > >bad luck. But it's very consistant bad luck if that's the case.
                  > >Totally consistant. Defending infantries don't usually win, for
                  > >example.
                  >
                  > I do not have time to play other human opponents regularly, so I
                  play EDIE
                  > as I did ED, to fill in the time when I have my computer and
                  nothing better
                  > to do. I play with the ED settings, I often use the production
                  Advantage
                  > for AI's and I always set the AI to EXPERT in pregame setup.

                  I've always played with a single computer opponent on expert level
                  and left all the other settings balanced.

                  > I do not experience the same things you do. If I have an infantry
                  on clear
                  > ground and the AI has an infantry of clear ground, over the long
                  run I
                  > don't see any domination by the attacking infantry. It's about
                  50/50. I
                  > have had my Armor totally defeated by an AI infantry (which
                  requires 2 to 1
                  > advantage). I haven't kept strict tabs by terrain and unit type,
                  but I
                  > would have noticed a pattern as you describe.

                  That's about what I'm seeing but in the old game the defender had an
                  advantage. I don't have a battle calculator to verify that so maybe
                  I've just had a 15 year run of luck. But I'm pretty sure I'm right.
                  Giving the defender an advantage makes for a more interesting game.
                  It makes attacking costly and makes it require planning for a
                  successful attack. I've always thought that was a clever part of the
                  design.

                  > I wonder if it's possible that your computer hardware and software
                  has some
                  > glitch in it that affects the game mechanics? It's probably
                  extremely
                  > rare, but could some glitch in RAM or in the processor affect
                  battle
                  > outcomes? I don't know, I'm not a programmer or a hardware
                  > professional. I just want to find an explanation that allows for
                  you
                  > seeing what you are reporting, me seeing what I'm reporting and
                  Mark's
                  > statement that nothing in the code affecting battle odds has
                  changed.

                  I'm sure that's not it.

                  > > In the old game I could have a city building infantries and
                  > >an enemy city nearby and as long as I had infantries built in time
                  > >there was a very good chance that the city could hold out for
                  quite a
                  > >while.
                  >
                  > Wouldn't this depend upon the number of total units you have, the %
                  > capacity of the two cities, and the terrain as well? I'm also
                  confused,
                  > because here it sounds like you're saying your infantry and being
                  destroyed
                  > faster than the AI's where above it sounded like the AI's infantry
                  was
                  > losing all the time. Attack and defense are relative terms. If
                  you are
                  > "defending" your city by moving your infantry onto the AI's
                  infantry square
                  > during your turn, your infantry is considered the attacker for
                  computing
                  > odds and the terrain in the AI's unit square is used to adjust the
                  battle odds.

                  Yeah there are a lot of variables. I was thinking in terms of things
                  being kind of equal.

                  > > In this game that just never happens. The defending infantry
                  > >gets close enough and I attack and lose as often as not.
                  >
                  > This means your unit is the "attacker" not the defender. What is
                  the
                  > terrain in the AI's defender square? Perhaps you're misreading the
                  terrain
                  > adjustments?

                  Well, it's both the attacker and the defender. It attacks an
                  infantry that's just moved up against the city, in order to defend
                  the city. In the old game, and I'm pretty sure I saw this stated
                  somewhere, either in a strategy book or on the web somewhere, the
                  infantry attacking from within the city had a big advantage. I know
                  for sure that that's my experience. But it doesn't seem to be the
                  case at all in the new game. All in all I'd say this is the biggest
                  single problem I'm finding with it. This is kind of a showstopper, I
                  think.

                  > >In the old game a bomber attacking a fighter usually loses. 10 to
                  1
                  > >or thereabouts. In this game it's not much more than 50/50.
                  >
                  > Now this I have wondered about since I noticed the AI will attack
                  with a
                  > bomber against my fighter and wins more than I expect. But I
                  remember that
                  > I never want to attack a fighter with a bomber, so it could be that
                  I do it
                  > so few times that I have small numbers and don't notice the trend
                  except
                  > when I up the production values and the AI starts attacking my
                  fighters
                  > with bombers.
                  >
                  > > In the old game the defender wins considerably more than half
                  the time.
                  > >Maybe 2 to 1 but I'm just guessing at the numbers. In this game
                  it's
                  > >fairly even.
                  >
                  > Again, it depends upon terrain effects. In the VERY old game,
                  terrain
                  > didn't matter. In ED and EDIE, it does matter. And if I remember
                  > correctly, it's the terrain in the defenders' square that matters.
                  So if
                  > you attack an AI infantry defending in the mountains with your
                  infantry,
                  > you will lose more often than if the same battle took place in
                  clear terrain.

                  I'm thinking of clear terrain and an infantry attacking an infantry
                  or an armor attacking an armor. Or a plane or ship attacking another
                  of the same type.

                  > >In the old game if the AI's cruiser begins to attack infantries and
                  > >take damage you can be pretty sure there's a transport coming soon.
                  > >Not always; but nearly always. Not so anymore. They just do it.
                  >
                  > I never noticed this, but I also didn't see the cruiser attack my
                  land
                  > units that often because I used fighters and bombers as scouts and
                  tend to
                  > move my shoreline units back if there are no transports in the
                  vicinity.
                  >
                  > >It's very obvious to me that a lot of thought went into the
                  > >improvements in this game. I'm a retired programmer of 35 years
                  > >(nothing to do with games or AI) and I have an appreciation for
                  that
                  > >and I can recognize good work. But something important is
                  certainly
                  > >missing. I don't know why.
                  > >
                  > >Do you play a lot against the AI? Have you played the old version
                  a
                  > >lot against the computer? If not, maybe you just can't see it.

                  I've played almost exclusively against the computer in all versions.
                  I've played Empire in one form or another since the early to mid
                  80s. I forget when I first got it. It's the one game I've stayed
                  with and I suspect no single month has gone by since without playing
                  at least one game. I normally play several games a month. Usually
                  small short games but occasional long large ones. Probably half the
                  time I use a randomly generated scenario and the other half is either
                  a named game or a downloaded scenario.

                  > I'm not sure what's going on, but I believe all involved.
                  Perceptions of
                  > odds in a game can be tricky though and comparing experiences is
                  almost
                  > impossible. Perhaps we should set up some scenarios that allow us
                  to test
                  > this issue. I have the old DOS ED version 3.1 and it will run if I
                  set it
                  > up in Win2000 (which is my OS). I'd be willing to share my DOS
                  version
                  > with some folks who have EDIE to compare. Someone could try the
                  same
                  > scenario in both games (say all clear terrain and only build
                  infantries
                  > fighters and bombers) and keep strict track of the wins/losses. It
                  would
                  > take time, but then you'd have some real data to compare, rather
                  than
                  > personal recollections from a few of us.

                  I agree that what I'm describing is subjective. But I'm pretty sure
                  I'm right. I thought about this a while and played a while before I
                  posted this. Since I got the new game I've spent a lot of time with
                  it. I'm retired and I have all the time I want for it.

                  I also have or had a dos version of the game. I hadn't thought of
                  that. I'll have to see if I still have it somewhere. I probably
                  do. Way back when I bought a CD with Empire Deluxe, Classic Empire
                  and the Dos version on it. I somehow lost that CD but I have copies
                  of the game, I think. I still have that manual and the manual from
                  the regular Empire Deluxe game. I'll look for that and try
                  installing it.

                  I've kept a copy of the classic Empire on my HP 200lx palmtop and
                  played that a lot over the years when I had to wait in line for
                  something. It's been a lot of fun.

                  I think everyone has figured this out but just to be sure, I'm not
                  trying to be a troublemaker. I'm disappointed but I'm not angry and
                  I'm not blaming anybody for the problem I see. I spoke up about it,
                  maybe a little harshly but I hope not, in the hope that it might get
                  better or that I might find out about that setting that fixed it that
                  I didn't know about. And also because it's pretty frustrating to
                  think I'd renewed an old friendship only to find out it's not the
                  same old friend.

                  The truth is that I'm not much of a game player. This is the one
                  game that's stayed fun for me. For the most part I've enjoyed trying
                  out other games from time to time and soon gotten bored with them.
                  Empire and Minesweeper and Tetris are the only ones I've ever come
                  back to. And sometimes Age of Empires. Empire is the only one I've
                  truly stayed with.

                  Barry
                • Matthew Shelton
                  There s a phenomenon worth considering, which I ll call the stacked deck syndrome, that s attributable to EDxE but could be endemic to any computer game with
                  Message 8 of 14 , Oct 4, 2004
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                    There's a phenomenon worth considering, which I'll call the "stacked
                    deck" syndrome, that's attributable to EDxE but could be endemic to any
                    computer game with a (pseudo)random number generator. It's more
                    psychological than technological. If a player has a run of bad luck in a
                    game, they may get to thinking that the game is actually stacked against
                    them, or that there's a programming bug in the game, in the OS, in the
                    hardware, etc., or that there's an "undocumented feature" that allows
                    the AI to cheat or have the odds go in its favor from time to time.

                    So the player starts looking for the "stacked deck" phenomenon to
                    reoccur, and in so doing, they become biased against the system and
                    essentially over-exaggerates any situation that goes against them and
                    neglects to be truly objective in their judgment. The game may have a
                    fair (pseudo)random number generator, but they're looking for the
                    negatives to pop up, and when they do pop up, the player's suspicions
                    are simply magnified more and more.

                    That's not to say that a program or OS or computer system can't have a
                    flawed RNG or that some games aren't designed to have a bias, but that
                    perceptions can sometimes get skewed if you're not careful.

                    The original ED had frequently been accused of "deck stacking" but it
                    was eventually proven that the RNG was actually pretty fair even though
                    it seemed like the computer had invincible cities and units at times.
                  • David M. Bott
                    ... FWIW, the original Railroad Tycoon was right there for me with the games you mention. It still beats all the other later fancy ones with eye-candy because
                    Message 9 of 14 , Oct 4, 2004
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                      At 12:48 PM 10/4/2004, you wrote:
                      >The truth is that I'm not much of a game player. This is the one
                      >game that's stayed fun for me. For the most part I've enjoyed trying
                      >out other games from time to time and soon gotten bored with them.
                      >Empire and Minesweeper and Tetris are the only ones I've ever come
                      >back to. And sometimes Age of Empires. Empire is the only one I've
                      >truly stayed with.
                      >
                      >Barry

                      FWIW, the original Railroad Tycoon was right there for me with the games
                      you mention. It still beats all the other later fancy ones with eye-candy
                      because it's FUN. The others may be MORE realistic, but who wants that in
                      a past time? I didn't become a business executive in real life and the
                      closer to "real" the game gets, the more I find I don't want to be one in
                      game life either. Same with war. I don't want to have to be the person
                      making the command decisions that gets people killed. ED and EDIE are fun
                      to play because they exercise the mind at a level that doesn't necessarily
                      drain you as the real life version would do.

                      I hope you find a version that keeps you happily occupied in your
                      retirement! I find EDIE is that game for me, but your mileage may vary. I
                      find the game has ways to keep me entertained by varying the density of
                      cities, by changing terrain emphasis in map building and by varying the
                      number of opponents. But of course, those are my tastes and interests. I
                      hadn't noticed any differences in defender success in the past, but then
                      again, I probably have a different style of play that de-emphasizes that
                      issue. Best of luck and thanks for bringing out something new to discuss!

                      Dave
                      ________________________________________________________
                      David M. Bott david.m.bott@...
                    • barryem
                      ... the stacked ... any ... in a ... against ... the ... allows ... Well, maybe the computer player is having this problem. I know I m not. :) I m winning
                      Message 10 of 14 , Oct 4, 2004
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                        --- In empire-deluxe@yahoogroups.com, Matthew Shelton
                        <matthias_mls@y...> wrote:
                        > There's a phenomenon worth considering, which I'll call
                        the "stacked
                        > deck" syndrome, that's attributable to EDxE but could be endemic to
                        any
                        > computer game with a (pseudo)random number generator. It's more
                        > psychological than technological. If a player has a run of bad luck
                        in a
                        > game, they may get to thinking that the game is actually stacked
                        against
                        > them, or that there's a programming bug in the game, in the OS, in
                        the
                        > hardware, etc., or that there's an "undocumented feature" that
                        allows
                        > the AI to cheat or have the odds go in its favor from time to time.

                        Well, maybe the computer player is having this problem. I know I'm
                        not. :)

                        I'm winning easily against the AI. I don't think I'm having a run of
                        bad luck, although I agree that could account for it in individual
                        battles. I don't think so but I can't really say for sure. I think
                        I've played enough already to eliminate that. But who knows.

                        I've been playing the 3.5 game and I just tried the 3.1 game for a
                        few minutes. Too soon to be sure but I seemed to find some of the old
                        and some of the new. But I didn't play long enough to know that I
                        was seeing real patterns.

                        I did play with the battle calculator (nice feature, by the way) and
                        that shows me that I'm either right in part of what I'm saying or
                        I've always been wrong about the old game. The odds are essentially
                        even for the attacker on clear ground attacking a similar piece. I'm
                        pretty sure that wasn't the case in the old game. I've learned over
                        the years that I can do much better by letting the computer attack
                        me. That's been an important strategy. In emergencies, when I can't
                        take the chance on waiting, I've found that I lose by attacking more
                        often than not by far.

                        I also downloaded a sheet of battle odds that someone claimed to have
                        accumulated over a few years (I think it was years) of ladder games
                        and my memory of that is that he said the defender had a significant
                        advantage, as well. I might have that file in my archives somewhere
                        but I haven't looked yet. I'm preparing to move and some things are
                        already packed so I might not find it till next month if I still have
                        it.

                        Barry


                        Barry
                      • barryem
                        ... games ... eye-candy ... that in ... the ... one in ... person ... are fun ... necessarily ... I completely agree. I suppose realism is nice but I want
                        Message 11 of 14 , Oct 4, 2004
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                          --- In empire-deluxe@yahoogroups.com, "David M. Bott"
                          <david.m.bott@d...> wrote:
                          >
                          > FWIW, the original Railroad Tycoon was right there for me with the
                          games
                          > you mention. It still beats all the other later fancy ones with
                          eye-candy
                          > because it's FUN. The others may be MORE realistic, but who wants
                          that in
                          > a past time? I didn't become a business executive in real life and
                          the
                          > closer to "real" the game gets, the more I find I don't want to be
                          one in
                          > game life either. Same with war. I don't want to have to be the
                          person
                          > making the command decisions that gets people killed. ED and EDIE
                          are fun
                          > to play because they exercise the mind at a level that doesn't
                          necessarily
                          > drain you as the real life version would do.

                          I completely agree. I suppose realism is nice but I want good game
                          play. There's not much that's real about ED. The rules are designed
                          to make it a good game.

                          Civilization and Age of Empires are the same sort of game in some
                          ways, with heavy emphasis on realism. While they're very elaborate
                          and there is much that's realistic about them, overall they're no
                          more real than ED and playing them isn't nearly as much fun.

                          Barry
                        • Gryphin Rampant
                          I guess if someone wanted to test it all they would have to do is setup a scenario that would generate as many battles of what ever type they would like to
                          Message 12 of 14 , Oct 4, 2004
                          • 0 Attachment
                            I guess if someone wanted to test it all they would have to do is setup a scenario that would generate as many battles of what ever type they would like to test and keep track of the results.
                            -----Original Message-----
                            From: barryem [mailto:barryem@...]
                            Sent: Monday, October 04, 2004 3:56 PM
                            To: empire-deluxe@yahoogroups.com
                            Subject: [empire-deluxe] Re: Poor AI and poor computer strength allocation


                            --- In empire-deluxe@yahoogroups.com, Matthew Shelton
                            <matthias_mls@y...> wrote:
                            > There's a phenomenon worth considering, which I'll call
                            the "stacked
                            > deck" syndrome, that's attributable to EDxE but could be endemic to
                            any
                            > computer game with a (pseudo)random number generator. It's more
                            > psychological than technological. If a player has a run of bad luck
                            in a
                            > game, they may get to thinking that the game is actually stacked
                            against
                            > them, or that there's a programming bug in the game, in the OS, in
                            the
                            > hardware, etc., or that there's an "undocumented feature" that
                            allows
                            > the AI to cheat or have the odds go in its favor from time to time.

                            Well, maybe the computer player is having this problem.  I know I'm
                            not. :)

                            I'm winning easily against the AI.  I don't think I'm having a run of
                            bad luck, although I agree that could account for it in individual
                            battles.  I don't think so but I can't really say for sure.  I think
                            I've played enough already to eliminate that.  But who knows.

                            I've been playing the 3.5 game and I just tried the 3.1 game for a
                            few minutes. Too soon to be sure but I seemed to find some of the old
                            and some of the new.  But I didn't play long enough to know that I
                            was seeing real patterns.

                            I did play with the battle calculator (nice feature, by the way) and
                            that shows me that I'm either right in part of what I'm saying or
                            I've always been wrong about the old game.  The odds are essentially
                            even for the attacker on clear ground attacking a similar piece.  I'm
                            pretty sure that wasn't the case in the old game.  I've learned over
                            the years that I can do much better by letting the computer attack
                            me.  That's been an important strategy.  In emergencies, when I can't
                            take the chance on waiting, I've found that I lose by attacking more
                            often than not by far.

                            I also downloaded a sheet of battle odds that someone claimed to have
                            accumulated over a few years (I think it was years) of ladder games
                            and my memory of that is that he said the defender had a significant
                            advantage, as well.  I might have that file in my archives somewhere
                            but I haven't looked yet.  I'm preparing to move and some things are
                            already packed so I might not find it till next month if I still have
                            it.

                            Barry


                            Barry





                          • dtsdesign
                            ... the ... artillery in 3.1? where did you get that copy?
                            Message 13 of 14 , Oct 12, 2004
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                              > a city. Now it seems random. Before, artillery had an edge over
                              > infantry but not anymore. And before, equals in a battle favored
                              the
                              > defender, now not.
                              >


                              artillery in 3.1? where did you get that copy?
                            • barryem
                              ... I meant armour. Barry
                              Message 14 of 14 , Oct 24, 2004
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                                --- In empire-deluxe@yahoogroups.com, "dtsdesign" <dtsdesign@y...>
                                wrote:
                                >
                                >
                                > > a city. Now it seems random. Before, artillery had an edge over
                                > > infantry but not anymore. And before, equals in a battle favored
                                > the
                                > > defender, now not.
                                > >
                                >
                                >
                                > artillery in 3.1? where did you get that copy?

                                I meant armour.

                                Barry
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