About diplomacy and war declarations

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dmantione
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About diplomacy and war declarations

Post by dmantione » Thu Aug 13, 2015 4:44 pm

Hello,

It's been much more quite here than on the Steam forums, let's open a discussion here....

There's criticism on the diplomacy and the AI declaring war... So I started to ask myself, what diplomatic tools are missing? And my conclusion was that the diplomatic tools to avoid a war actually exist. In order to avoid war as a player, you have three diplomatic tools at your disposal:
  • Praise the player you fear, so the relation gets better, , so the relation gets better, and as a result less chance of war
  • Offer the player you fear presents, so the relation gets better, and as a result less chance of war
  • Forge an alliance, so the AI is aware it will declare war on multiple players and you will be perceived stronger, and as a result less chance of war.
My impression is that the people who are annoyed at the AI's declaring war do not use these tools enough.

Why?

I think the answer is that the game gives the player no information that allows the player to decide that using these diplomatic tools make sense. Let's take praising as an example. You can do that very often as a player (every turn?). However going to the diplomacy screen every turn and praising the players you fear is repetitive and boring work and most humans will quickly give up on. There is information about a poor relation, but a poor relation by itself by no means means a high chance of war.
There is almost no information that a war is eminent and that the player must resort to diplomatic tools to avoid it.

Can this be solved?

What if the following message would appear when the conditions for a war are almost met:
This is Missy McDee from the Pandora Wire Service, bringing you the latest news and weather, 400 hours a day, 28 days a year.

Unnamed sources report that faction_XXX is spreading a propaganda amongst its citizins against faction_YYY. Their millitary forces are also in a high state of readyness. Is a war unavoidable? Or would it still be possible to find a diplomatic solution?
A report like this would serve as a warning to a player, but it would be also a clear message to the player that it is time to start using the diplomatic tools that the game has, thus I think there would be higher chance players would actually be using the diplomatic possibilities of the game.

Xilmi
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Re: About diplomacy and war declarations

Post by Xilmi » Fri Aug 14, 2015 10:28 am

First of all, I have to admit that there probably has been a bug that made the AI much more aggressive than it was intended. I say probably because I don't know which version it went in. It is, however, fixed in the latest Civforum-Patch:
http://www.civforum.de/showthread.php?9 ... ost6831886

Praising actually is not as effective for avoiding war as it is to boost relations that already are good:
If you praise someone who doesn't like you he will usually refuse to accept the praise and thus halve the effiency. I personally prefer praising people who are on cooperative terms. This mostly gets them to Generous and means they will most likely stick to trade- and science-treaties even if they are getting the worse end of it.
Also praising people that are liked by other people boosts relations with everyone else. This should also be taken into account.
You said praising has no cooldown. This is wrong. You can only praise one player every 10 turns so you have to be careful who to praise for most efficiency.

The very best thing to do for avoiding a war is giving in to a tribute request. But be careful sometimes they try to trick you into paying and then declare war anyways. Usually when the relations already are furious.
Othewise it is the best opportunity you get to boost your relations with someone who dislikes you. It can get you from a close-to-war-relationship to a we'll trade with you relationship.
Many people have a mindset that they generally don't pay tribute. This is what can spoil their games againt the bullies. I, while playing on very-hard, pay tribute quite often. Even when I don't see an immediate-threat. In the long run gaining a trade-partner by these means can really pay off.

Alliances actually aren't considered. But there is a general fear of being backstabbed (which was buggy and did not work in all cases, but is fixed in the version posted above). The fear of being backstabbed will make war declarations by other factions less likely.

All in all, giving a warning to a player that he is at risk of a war might be a good idea nevertheless. But working against that is a long-term thing and a quick fix often is not possible.

With the newest version where the AI diplomacy actually works as intended my observation was:

War is far less likely to happen in general.
If someone is declared war on, it usually is a death-sentence because the AIs now only declare wars if they are really certain.

I have only 3 examples though, since the fixes are relatively new:

Case 1:
I declare war on The Ambassadors. I conquer their capital. Vermillion declares war on the Ambassadors aswell. Everyone declares war on them.

Case 2:
After I conquered the last city of the Ambassadors my relations with Terrra Salvum got wrecked because they really dislike people who erradicate other people. So Terra Salvum declared war on me. After a few turns and losses on both sides Solar Dynasty chimes in and declares war on me too. Then: Everyone declares war on me.

Case 3:
AI-only-observing-game: Long periods of peace but eventually the Ursurpers (from the Mod) feel like it's time to declare war on Solar Dynasty... Everyone declares war on them.

So while it is now easier to stay out of a war, it also is more essential to do it because getting involved in a war, especially an unwanted war, means you are in real trouble.

dmantione
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Re: About diplomacy and war declarations

Post by dmantione » Fri Aug 14, 2015 1:57 pm

I think the AI being less aggressive and more predictable in war declarations would help, but there is a perceived problem with diplomacy and I am not sure tweaking the AI's agression alone would be enough to it. So I think it is a good idea to take a step back and think about what the reasons could be for the perceived issues. As soon as it is understood, we know better what needs to be done against it. Maybe it also helps to fire more questions to players.

Eh.... if alliances aren't considered, then an AI will happily declare war against an alliance that together way more powerful than itself? I think that can be considered a bug. It would also make the wrong decisions for allied victories. I also would consider it desirable that the AI would try to forge alliances itself when it considers itself not powerfull enough... this is an important diplomatic instrument that the game offer to players (including AI ones) that can be used against the death-sentence effect that you now describe.

I think better diplomacy is not just about the availability of diplomatic tools, but also about using them effectively. This applies both to human and AI players.

Xilmi
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Re: About diplomacy and war declarations

Post by Xilmi » Fri Aug 14, 2015 2:42 pm

It would be relatively easy to have the AI consider war-declarations against those with an alliance differently.

However, alliances don't really work as one might expect. All they really do is granting the vision of your ally and acting as another non-aggression-pact. There are no obligations to actually help your ally if he is in jeopardy.

ErissN6
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Re: About diplomacy and war declarations

Post by ErissN6 » Sat Aug 15, 2015 2:18 pm

Xilmi wrote:However, alliances don't really work as one might expect. All they really do is granting the vision of your ally and acting as another non-aggression-pact.
So it should not be called 'alliance', or it should be explained that they're just share of news.

Xilmi
Pandora Community Developer
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Re: About diplomacy and war declarations

Post by Xilmi » Tue Aug 25, 2015 12:45 pm

Seems I'm gliding from one extreme to another.
In my current dev-version AI seems too peaceful.
I'll have to let it give me the detailed analysis of the situation and what lets them come to the conclusion that they shouldn't declare war.
Based on these numbers I shall be able to tweak is.

Thing is: I'm not actually positive that their behaviour even is a mistake.

I've proven it's not a general problem. If I mix Very Hard and Very Easy AIs, the Very Hard's will eventually declare on and kill the Very Easies.
But I had a complete all Medium-Obs-Game where there hasn't been a single war amongst them.

What I did that resulted in that behavioral change was to consider potential backstabing much more realisticly.

If someone declares war, he'll expect that there's a 50% chance that he is going to be backstabbed by each other faction. This is modified by the distance and will cause part of the potential backstabbers army to be added to the required army-size before declaring war.

Example:
Faction A has a military of 200,000, Faction B has a military of 100,000.

Normally Faction A would say: I could take B out. BUT:
there's C, D, E, F and G to be taken into consideration.
Let's say they all have 100,000 aswell and are 5 turns away in average.

So we have: 100,000 * 0.5 * 1/5 * 5 = 50,000

This is added to the strenght of the defender:

So it's 200,000 against 150,000 and this is not seen as enough of an advantage anymore to risk it.

Being in one of the games myself it showed, that exactly what the AI fears is very likely to happen. They love to backstab people who already are at war. So when I declared war first I got trained.

I need more test-data. I feel I'm near the ideal behaviour when it comes to risk vs. reward accessment of the AI when it comes to going to war. It might, however be too rational and can be detrimental to the fun to be had.

In my current game on Very Hard noone declared war on anyone so far. I can't because I know I would lose. AI won't because they fear being backstabbed by other AIs or they like me too much.

Xilmi
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Re: About diplomacy and war declarations

Post by Xilmi » Tue Aug 25, 2015 4:53 pm

Here is an analysis sample for The Ambassadors checking if they shall go to war against me:

=========== Analysis of going to war against: Fanatic =================
Unmodified proWarArguments: 52000
Unmodified antiWarArguments: 24353.6
Backstab-Risk assumption from Economic: 0
Backstab-Risk adds 0 to antiWarArguments.
Backstab-Risk assumption from Industrious: 0
Backstab-Risk adds 0 to antiWarArguments.
Backstab-Risk assumption from Militaristic: 0.034771
Backstab-Risk adds 1537.95 to antiWarArguments.
Backstab-Risk assumption from Scientific: 0
Backstab-Risk adds 0 to antiWarArguments.
Backstab-Risk assumption from Ecologic: 0
Backstab-Risk adds 0 to antiWarArguments.
Superiority of my economy multiplies proWarArguments with: 2.41085
antiWarArgumentsFactor: 6.83361
Final proWarArguments: 125364
Final antiWarArguments: 176933

And here's one for my Neighbour Yun Xi:
=========== Analysis of going to war against: Fanatic =================
Unmodified proWarArguments: 42112
Unmodified antiWarArguments: 23793.6
Backstab-Risk assumption from Diplomatic: 0.0519165
Backstab-Risk adds 2699.66 to antiWarArguments.
Backstab-Risk assumption from Economic: 0.252912
Backstab-Risk adds 15814.1 to antiWarArguments.
Backstab-Risk assumption from Militaristic: 0.376427
Backstab-Risk adds 16649.7 to antiWarArguments.
Backstab-Risk assumption from Scientific: 0.378943
Backstab-Risk adds 15648.1 to antiWarArguments.
Backstab-Risk assumption from Ecologic: 0.0481934
Backstab-Risk adds 2769.77 to antiWarArguments.
antiWarArgumentsFactor: 5.1422
Final proWarArguments: 42112
Final antiWarArguments: 397877

Xilmi
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Re: About diplomacy and war declarations

Post by Xilmi » Tue Aug 25, 2015 5:42 pm

Modified some values...

Ambassadors:
=========== Analysis of going to war against: Fanatic =================
Unmodified proWarArguments: 52000
Unmodified antiWarArguments: 24353.6
Superiority of my economy multiplies proWarArguments with: 2.41085
Backstab-Risk assumption from Economic: 0
Backstab-Risk adds 0 to antiWarArguments.
Backstab-Risk assumption from Industrious: 0
Backstab-Risk adds 0 to antiWarArguments.
Backstab-Risk assumption from Militaristic: 0.0173855
Backstab-Risk adds 768.976 to antiWarArguments.
Backstab-Risk assumption from Scientific: 0
Backstab-Risk adds 0 to antiWarArguments.
Backstab-Risk assumption from Ecologic: 0
Backstab-Risk adds 0 to antiWarArguments.
antiWarArgumentsFactor: 3.83361
Final proWarArguments: 125364
Final antiWarArguments: 96310

Solar Dynasty:
=========== Analysis of going to war against: Fanatic =================
Unmodified proWarArguments: 42112
Unmodified antiWarArguments: 23793.6
Superiority of my economy multiplies proWarArguments with: 3.74408
Backstab-Risk assumption from Diplomatic: 0.0259582
Backstab-Risk adds 1349.83 to antiWarArguments.
Backstab-Risk assumption from Economic: 0.129205
Backstab-Risk adds 8078.96 to antiWarArguments.
Backstab-Risk assumption from Militaristic: 0.188213
Backstab-Risk adds 8324.84 to antiWarArguments.
Backstab-Risk assumption from Scientific: 0.189472
Backstab-Risk adds 7824.07 to antiWarArguments.
Backstab-Risk assumption from Ecologic: 0.0240967
Backstab-Risk adds 1384.89 to antiWarArguments.
antiWarArgumentsFactor: 2.58784
Final proWarArguments: 157671
Final antiWarArguments: 131349

Oh and everyone else also declared war on me in the same turn after the changes! ^^

dmantione
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Re: About diplomacy and war declarations

Post by dmantione » Wed Aug 26, 2015 10:45 am

I way to break this mutual piece scenario, it might make sense to add some variations in the algorithms that different factions use. I.e. both Ambassadors and the Solar Dynasty use an algorithm that makes sense, but different. Being industrial, Solar Dynasty could perhaps judge other factions on their manufacturing capability, while Imperium would use their army strength as primary criterium for determining opponent strength. Aggressive AI's should be willing to take a bit more risk. If AI's have different views of each others strengths they will declare war at different times and therefore an all piece game should become less likely.

Xilmi
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Re: About diplomacy and war declarations

Post by Xilmi » Wed Aug 26, 2015 11:47 am

dmantione wrote:I way to break this mutual piece scenario, it might make sense to add some variations in the algorithms that different factions use. I.e. both Ambassadors and the Solar Dynasty use an algorithm that makes sense, but different. Being industrial, Solar Dynasty could perhaps judge other factions on their manufacturing capability, while Imperium would use their army strength as primary criterium for determining opponent strength. Aggressive AI's should be willing to take a bit more risk. If AI's have different views of each others strengths they will declare war at different times and therefore an all piece game should become less likely.
First of all: Sorry about posting these without much explanation. I wanted to discuss them with Zak0r yesterday and had to upload them somewhere fitting.

I will give a brief history of what had happened:

There was a bug that caused distance to be completely ignored in the equation which meant that the AI was super-aggressive when it didn't like you and if it likes you or not basically was the only thing that counted. This lead to really stupid behaviour and a lot of wars that could not accomplish anything.

Before I fixed this bug I had worked on the backstabbing but it had no effect.

After I fixed it, backstabbing and relationship where just valued too high and economy-superiority was not always factored in. This lead to the aforementioned always peace-scenarios.

What I fixed between the posts before:
I about halfed the fear from being backstabbed.
I made sure economical superiority gets factored in when it should.
I reduced the importance of relationship to about the importance of aggression-value.

Do I think people will complain about it? Yes. They have complained about whatever I tried so far. So I will no longer let me infulence by that and make the AI behave in a way that is disadvantageous for them.

The point is that according to my latest tests with several savegames the AIs diplomatic behaviour now is pretty solid and really does make sense.

It's not perfect but I feel it's pretty close:

I have seen about 20 war-declarations in three different test-scenarios.
Only one of them was questionable and did not lead to the extinction of the faction that the war was declared on.
None of them lead to the declaring faction becoming the victim afterwards.

I'd like it to be tested more, so if you want to here's the download to the "In-Between-Patch":
http://www.civforum.de/showthread.php?9 ... ost6851224

One scenario I liked especially:

I saw the juicy capital of The Ambassadors and wanted to try and conquer it.
What happened was:
Divine Ascension backstabbed the Ambassadors and Solar-Dynasty+Terra-Salvum backstabbed me. It made absolute sense considering the location of the map.

It ended in me losing 1 city to SD, 2 to TS and Ambassadors losing 2 cities to DA before I died.

It was a perfect example about why you have to be wary of being backstabbed and take that into account before declaring war.

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