Civ 4 Multiplayer experiences

Tried a few games multiplayer.

First off, the obligatory I HATE THE GAME BROWSER.

  1. It randomly freezes for 10 seconds every few minutes.
  2. To choose games, browse with keyboard (not mouse) so the list of games doesn’t jump around so much. The games with a little column are the ones that already started.
  3. Joining games seems iffy - there’s games that show up as 3/7 players on the browser that I cannot join. Ten minutes later they still show as 3/7 so I’m guessing it’s not just me.
  4. What i’ve found is it first goes “Contacting Host” followed by “Contacting peer”. If it hits the peer step it’s pretty much done, otherwise one it doesn’t work (unless it takes more than 2 minutes to join a game, in which case I just canceled and looked for a new one)

On to gameplay:
The first game I started on a continent with two other civs. I started off in the rough equivalent of the Spanish Peninsula, with enough room for 4 cities (a bit crunched in). I was expanding like mad since the French were immediatly to my east (about 8 spaces off). Unfortunately, I had to run off for a bit and let the AI take over after I founded my third city.

When I came back, I had five cities, all in the same peninsula. The french had blocked me in and later on I find out they have over a dozen cities. They had also allied with the germans on the same continent so I was looking at some nasty battles.

I managed to hold two forested hills with praetorians, battles went on for 20 turns or so.

                                                   *****************

*My cities ** * french bastards

  •         **                                  *    HILL           here
    

single square, fort HILL*******

Praetorians have an extra fortification bonus so it was pretty handy. I also had a few spearmen, axemen, and one catapult to scare him off. The rest of my army were praetorians and Longbowmen (scary combat fortified on a hill!)

Battles were at a standstill for about 20 turns here - i must have hurt the german pretty bad because he stopped sending troops and I was left facing french crossbows, pikemen, and elephants (guess he had construction and was gearing towards gunpowder for his unique unit)

I lost one of the hills for a while so I retreated to one hilltop and the fort to my back -the fort was in my cultural borders so it allowed units to heal up.

I snuck a ship to their north and managed to raze two cities. One last city I captured and then got desperate when I saw 5 troops moving forward. I then gifted the city to an AI player who had taken over for England.

He immediatly retook the city and declared war on England. At this point they offered peace to me.

Being vindictive, I told them they could keep on wasting their units on me while the other two civs to the southern continent built up their strength.

Host then crashed. I would have undoubtedly died eventually but it was a very fun game. I was in numerical weakness so I would trade territory for time (more units getting sent up and fortified). Meanwhile playing viking raiders was fun because it forced them to fortify their back cities.

Great underdog game.

===

Second game:

I chose random civ and ended up with Gandhi on a 5 player game. Three humans, two AIs. I was on the only continent with the AZTECS (AI). I managed to discover Hinduism and Judaism. Unfortunately the Aztecs grabbed Buddhism so I was not able to get a cheesy AI empire as my ally.

Right about the time I discovered Confucianism the aztec rushed and took the holy city. Took quite a bit of time but it was easy to start rolling the aztecs back. Through the war four players would join in. Some would quit immediatly after seeing the strength of my position while a couple of players were STUPID and attacked heavily fortified positions (across a river for example).

Lesson:

AI is very good about deciding combat odds. However, it had a horrible tactical awareness and doesn’t plan ahead. (For example, have units fortified so they can take out any lone horse archers that try to go pillage)

It lacks a grand vision and cannot predict humans. For example if you do not have any ships and the land route is fortified, you can minimally fortify the back cities and move the units towards the front.

One last comment on multiplayer - quite often I will see an annoying OUT OF SYNC SEED message. In other games it would imply the game packets are being lost or something. I suspect thought, message shows up when people are playing separate versions. IE pirated versions.

I guess after the first patch comes up this won’t be so much of a problem (pirated version not able to play?)

I’m surprised multiplayer has no key check of any kind, yet the game still has a CD check. CD checks tend to annoy me a lot but it doesn’t really matter in this case since the only thing i’ve been playing is civ.

I had some friends over to try a four player LAN game last weekend. We decided to play on the same team against the AI civs. It was fun, but we got carried away with the strategic layer. Every few turns one of us would put grafitti on someone else’s land. And anyone who took too long to finish their turn would get one or more pings on their capital.

Honestly, that makes it sound more fun to me.

Chris Woods

Rereading my post, it seems like I was disappointed with all the strategic layer shenanigans. Didn’t mean to give that impression…it was amusing, actually. Putting signs down was also helpful for indicating where we planned to send our settlers.

Does anyone know how the AI difficulty is determined in multiplayer? Each individual human player can have their own difficulty setting, but you can’t set the AI difficulty.

It’s the average of all the human difficulties…

So far my experience with LAN multiplayer has been good, except for the fact that the game responds very very slowly in simultaneous turn mode.

This can be very frustrating, and frankly I don’t really understand why there is this lag. It seems even worse than it was in Civ3.

Sometimes if I want to examine a city, for example, I’ll click and then have to wait 10 or more seconds for the city screen to come up.

What gives?

Sometimes if I want to examine a city, for example, I’ll click and then have to wait 10 or more seconds for the city screen to come up.

Weird. I’ve played several games online over the internet and never experienced that, so it seems odd that it would do it over LAN. I’ve really not noticed any lag in my games so far, but maybe I’ve been lucky.

I like the multiplayer, but I dislike waiting for people to finish their turns. :(

I also haven’t found any pauses in examining cities.

The only pauses I’ve found is while a player is quitting or joining in, you will be unable to select units or cities.

There’s also some sort of deadlock condition for units that are being attacked - so you have to wait for them to finish before counterattacking (not a big issue since defense is almost always with the advantage of picking the best defender on the stack, and fortification bonuses.)

We played again, and we discovered that one player had very bad performance on his ethernet card, and this was slowing the entire game down massively. Some quick driver updates and the problem was solved…

The game runs fairly smoothly. There is some delay in moving units since the actual movement of units in simultaneous play seems to be on a round-robin basis, or have some timers attached to it.

It would have been nice if Firaxis had worked out some sort of genuine simultaneous movement scheme, where orders are given and then all moves processed when everyone’s turn is complete.

Multiplayer is fun. I especially enjoy the team games.

Hopefully they’ll include some options to help speed up the game:

Let the host have the option to make passwords required.

Add the ability fast auto-reject of people trying to join games in progress.

Add the ability to specify whether other players can join a game in progress after a player leaves/drops. This should be visible from the browser as well. “Yes, please join” or “Game is Locked”.