Broken Game

Everything Caesar IV that doesn't fit elsewhere
Sandra Linkletter
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Broken Game

Postby Sandra Linkletter » Tue Oct 06, 2015 7:49 pm

I know this is an old topic, but I am feeling the pain brand new. I had skipped most of the combat-oriented scenarios years ago, but decided recently to take them on. This game is so very broken. At first I was not certain whether the game was just that poorly programmed or if it had been programmed to recreate the conditions of siege by an enemy or attack by Rome regardless of the provisions that the player had taken. Now I know that it does not matter which is the case. Even when you meet the AI head-on with troops versus troops, it locks up your troops, or sets its troops on-target regardless of orders you have issued to interception. The sad thing is that it still loses. I will continue to play this game in peaceful mode.

Oh, and should I mention that winning your own custom scenario, according to your own criteria, is labelled as "You Cheated!"? Come on, is using the editor to make your own scenario a cheat? I guess so, since creative content wasn't paid for to someone else. Thank goodness this game isn't tied to an online process to play.

Herodotus
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Re: Broken Game

Postby Herodotus » Wed Oct 07, 2015 8:20 am

I think you are being a bit hard on the game.
I've played all the military scenarios on hard and a seriously difficult military contest on CBC, and the Military Tutorial available in the custom scenarios on the forum, and got through them all. (Several years ago now though)

I agree that manual control is useless, but if you position your troops and let the AI do your fighting, and have a lower game speed (makes the AI smarter), it all works pretty much the same as C3 battles.

The one thing I never bothered with was the training yard (whatever it was called) - that was buggy, but don't place one (it's not necessary) and you don't have a problem with it.

Sandra Linkletter
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Re: Broken Game

Postby Sandra Linkletter » Wed Oct 07, 2015 1:30 pm

The faulty AI on the combat units was just the tip of the iceberg. The entire AI system broke down every time the walls were under siege. Market cart-pushers were heavily affected during every battle. I play on medium speed, which is the default. In some cases I tried playing combat periods on the lowest of the three available speeds, having read as many of the forum threads on the subject as I could find and seen that recommended. All that did was make the stupidity happen more slowly. I mean, we aren't talking a huge city here, or a huge war. There were three units of heavy cavalry, two catapults, and one ram attacking. There were three food markets all located nearby each other, five specifically designated granaries ditto, and 20 farms also all located as close to each other as possible. This system provided the housing with full larders at all times except during sieges, when the market pushers got stuck on retrieving meat and the houses ran out of food. This is a flaw in the AI which only appears when the system is stressed by battle. At first I was outraged, thinking that they had purposely programmed in famine during a siege, but I eventually decided it was just a break-down of a flimsy AI system. I mean, there was no real reason why the progression through grain-vegetables-meat should stall on the final food except that the program failed to advance those counters, because it was too busy searching for a way through the walls. Said walls were a beachhead blocking access to the bridge to the city, so there wasn't even very much wall. There were perhaps a dozen towers, some of which were taken down by the catapults and some of which collapsed due to the so-called neglect which only occurs during battles. Since there are adequate engineers to keep these towers intact during peace time, this is another indication of an overloaded AI during combat. Because of my method of construction this did not compromise the integrity of the walls, so the game was eventually reduced to catapulting a hole in a wall (they had lost their ram as soon as it approached the first gate, all except once when I actually had troops). After that, the enemy ran in and was slaughtered by the remaining towers and the two gates houses. If it had not been for the problem with the food distribution, I would have ignored the battles and repaired the damage each time once the enemy was defeated. Even the loss in trade income wasn't as bad as paying off the enemy.

During peace time I watched two adjacent engineering offices each emit a walker, which each headed for a nearby building that was about to collapse, and each was cancelled by the game after about three road tiles of walking. I had to destroy one of the two offices before an engineer would actually go to the building and stave off the collapse. I paused the game and checked what each of them was doing, each time, so I am not guessing what was going through their minds. I don't normally over-build either my prefects or my engineers, but that scenario involved earthquakes so I had doubled up on the engineers similarly to the way in which I double up on the prefects in desert scenarios. There is something badly wrong with the engineers, but we all knew that.

When Rome attacks your palace, the game removes wall segments allowing them to path directly there. I tried it several times, just to see, and the path always opened up just before them, from whichever side they decided to attack. I suppose this was to deal with the situation in C3 where people were able to withstand Rome's punitive attacks by making the troops run a twisted gauntlet of towers.

At any rate, I decided to deal with the food bug by going ahead and building three forts, two of cavalry and one of heavy infantry. The cavalry was supposed to attack one catapult each, while the infantry waited inside the beachhead in case the ram survived long enough to take out one gate (which rather amazingly it once did). One unit of cavalry vanished completely and was eventually found stuck in a corner of the walls. The other unit was sufficient to take out both catapults before more than one or two towers were destroyed. I had to demolish a wall before the missing cavalry could run back across the bridge and into their fort after the battle. I can win this scenario eventually, but the battles frankly add nothing to my enjoyment being as they are simply distractions from reaching the ratings goals.

Thus I say that the game is broken, because it was not programmed sufficiently robustly to support all of the required functions under all of the conditions set up by the included scenarios. Not even on medium speed, which is the default. I am perfectly happy to only play peacefully, but then again I enjoyed Descent to Undermountain which could only be played as a non-magic user and had array (or heap, not certain) overflow problems out the wazoo. That didn't mean Descent to Undermountain wasn't broken.

Keith
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Re: Broken Game

Postby Keith » Wed Oct 07, 2015 1:35 pm

I never seemed to have a problem with the training grounds in Caesar IV. Troops in training do benefit over time from an increase in their morale levels when they are trained. This makes them less likely to run from a battle.

As I recall, though, the animation in the training grounds seems to stop after the troops start gaining in experience. That doesn't matter thought as it is only cosmetic.

The only reason I can think that you would get "cheated" message is that you have modified game files installed. The game checks these files while loading for original versions. If it finds a difference than you get the "cheated" message stamped on all games that were played with any altered files.

As far as manual control during a battle goes, you pretty much have to keep an eye on your troop as they march towards the enemy so that you can alter their direction when the enemy does. Using a slow speed in the game during a battle will allow you to keep up with more than one cohort as it moves about the map. As soon as the enemy appears on the edge of the map, put the game on the slowest speed and start all your cohorts on the march while the barbarians stand there for a while.

If you have walls with gatehouses, the gates closest to the enemy will close. This will force any troops you may have on the move to seek another gate to get outside the wall which may take them on a long circuitous route around your city to meet the enemy. So it is a good idea to have more than one or two, or more, gates to allow your troops to exit the city a shorter route if the primary gate is closed.

It is wise to leave on cohort on the inside of the wall in case some of the barbarians manage to overcome your wall guards and towers and get inside.

It is fairly hard to defeat Rome's legions if they are there to remove you from office. You'll have to have a strong army and a well defended city and an economy that will let your favor quickly rise to keep them from attacking again if you manage to defeat Rome's legions in the first place.

Herodotus
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Re: Broken Game

Postby Herodotus » Wed Oct 07, 2015 3:07 pm

Sorry Sandra, I've never experienced anything like you describe and therefore in my experience the game is not broken.
Not perfect but not broken.

The closest to chaos I've noted is during the earthquake in whichever scenarios they were in and that was temporary, and for other people but not for me, experiencing uncontrollable fires due to stupid prefects, on which there are many threads.

Do you experience same on career scenarios? eg Colonia Aggripina or the one with catapults (forget name, sorry)

List of known game problems/ cheats etc can be seen in this thread, compliled over several years. Still currently available.

http://citybuildingcontests.net/vbullet ... .php?t=891

Sandra Linkletter
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Re: Broken Game

Postby Sandra Linkletter » Wed Oct 07, 2015 4:35 pm

This was one of the career scenarios, Herodotus. It is possible that my shiny new gaming machine is the problem, not in defects in itself but in just being "too fast" for C4. It is an Alienware Area-51 running Windows7 Professional, 64Bit. My previous machine was a souped-up office Dell that didn't really run most of my older games without VMWare. I thought I would finally buy a genuine gaming machine, and it does run the games that my Dell choked on. I don't need VMWare anymore, and have not even installed it. Anyway, there is something wrong with a game that falls over when it runs on a faster processor than was available in 2007. I suppose they used some absolute timing loops, and some that are relative to the processor speed? So the game is running ever onward while the slow loops are not coping. That would explain what happened, kind of.

For me it seems that any game made with the editor causes "you cheated" to appear on the win, Keith. I can still play the scenarios distributed with the game without getting that notice. Thank you for the information about the gates. I only had one path out to the enemy, and I can see how that would have caused a problem when the gate closed and the path disappeared. I have always wondered how my troops can get out but the enemy can't get in.

On a humorous note, I have been amused by men in full armor, carrying shields, racing up lines secured with grappling hooks, and doing ninja-style backflips to get on top of the wall. I waited to see if they'd do the cavalry the same way, but reality thankfully kicked in before the horses were required to grow hands. :lol:

vic_4
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Re: Broken Game

Postby vic_4 » Wed Oct 07, 2015 6:15 pm

In my experience faster computers deal better with prefects and engineers. Since I upgraded my computer with windows 7 64 I have never had problems with fires even with a high number of prefects and engineers. I have beaten Rome legions and have not had problems with walls but it is pretty hard and you need a huge number of soldiers and towers.

Sandra Linkletter
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Re: Broken Game

Postby Sandra Linkletter » Wed Oct 07, 2015 7:08 pm

Well, I did finally finish the scenario described above. I went through the next attack on Slow. It was painful in the extreme. The cavalry kept trying to rush off after some other target. But in the end, I won with no losses, which is better than what happened on Medium. On Medium, I lost half a unit of cavalry and quite a few buildings fell down inside the city after the battle music had stopped and the troops were back home. Quite a bit afterward, in fact. That was a new thing to me. Anyway, after winning this pointless battle, I continued on to achieve the ratings goal with two attacks pending, and was told I had defeated the Germans. Yeah, right.

vic_4, perhaps I will try again the scenario where I lost to the invading Romans, but the game's practice of deleting the intervening portions of walls from the pathway of the invading Romans seems to make that unwinnable for me. It's too bad, because I was looking forward to building London afterward. This was a 3rd-party scenario.


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