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  #1  
Old October 8th, 2009, 06:24 AM

happygeek happygeek is offline
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Default Request: Settings or Mods?

I would be grateful to any of you for suggestions in helping me make my SP experience more enjoyable.
I realize that I am in the minority, and that this game really is all about MP, but for a number of reasons (time constraints, currenlty MPing with StarChamber, prefer armies to thugs, am not competetive enough, etc. etc.) I won't bore you with, I would like to continue to play Dom3 in SP, at least for now.

My "problem" is that I believe I can be enjoying it more. That sounds strange, let me rephrase: Almost everything I see about Dom3 appeals to me, and seems great in my imagination and "in theory". Yet I find myself not finishing most of the games I start. That's not bad in itself, but I am not finishing them because I find them to get less and less interesting, and in the end game, sometimes even tedious.

I think I can help clarify what I am looking for even more. I hope this helps:
- I like the "feel" of arrows flying and soldiers crouched in the thick of battle, peering to determine friend from foe: In other words, I simply don't like playing with SCs and Thugs very much, I want armies and troops to play a bigger role than commanders. For this reason, I usually turn "research" on "hard" to de-emphasisze magic and turn site frequency down to 30 or so.
- The further the game progresses and the less important troops become, the less interested I become. But usually, the further the game progresses, the more often it becomes "mopping up", and doing what I had been doing in the previous turns, only more so. For this reason, I try to play on smaller maps. Sadly, I think Parganos is the smallest one I know and like, the random small maps just don't "feel" right to me.
- I am currently playing with CBM (I think the 1.5 version) and Better AI mods, both of which I like. Anything else I should be using?
Basically, I am wondering if there are any tweaks to the settings, maps, or mods I can do to make my SP experience more "fun". I would be happy to answer more questions about what I am looking for, I guess I have not done a very good job of articulating what I mean....

thank you in advance for your help.
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  #2  
Old October 8th, 2009, 07:24 AM
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lch lch is offline
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Default Re: Request: Settings or Mods?

Quote:
Originally Posted by happygeek View Post
Yet I find myself not finishing most of the games I start. That's not bad in itself, but I am not finishing them because I find them to get less and less interesting, and in the end game, sometimes even tedious.
That's normal. You should just stop the game when you are reasonably sure that the AI won't have any chance to kill you, no matter what. Actually conquering every other nation or killing it with your dominion is a waste of time that you should not consider. Since the AI fares particularly bad against some thing, for example powerful SCs, you can essentially stop playing the game as soon as you have build one such unit. Everything that comes afterwards is just for your enjoyment, if you take pleasure in that.
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  #3  
Old October 8th, 2009, 07:49 AM

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Default Re: Request: Settings or Mods?

There are some smaller maps out there.
I basically agree with you as far as SP goes. I do like playing with thugs & mages but the AI has a lot of trouble countering, so once you get to a certain point there's no challenge, just lots of tedious mopping up.
So stop there. If you want more closure on your games, play with victory conditions.

Harder research and lower gem settings both push the game more towards armies and away from magic & SCs, so that might be an option for you.
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Old October 8th, 2009, 08:21 AM

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Default Re: Request: Settings or Mods?

Try even smaller maps. Try giving yourself artificial limitations to make games harder, like role playing justifications for army leaders, having a decadent leader who keeps his elite guard at home patrolling rather than fighting, that sort of thing.

Try NI (no indy) versions of maps.

Stale for 5 turns at the start of every game.

Force yourself to make use of certain pretender choices.

See if you can win a game with all negative scales and an asleep pretender.
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  #5  
Old October 8th, 2009, 09:53 AM

Maerlande Maerlande is offline
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Default Re: Request: Settings or Mods?

Hi Happygeek,

I've been chasing the same thing a lot of ways. Check out my thread in Mods and Maps here:

http://forum.shrapnelgames.com//showthread.php?t=44008

Lot's of the veterans have chimed in with great suggestions. Map commands and the RanDom and SemiRandom utilities by Ballbarian are great to pump up the SP challenge.

Cheers,
Maer
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  #6  
Old October 8th, 2009, 11:02 AM

happygeek happygeek is offline
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Default Re: Request: Settings or Mods?

Hey thank you very much, all.
Maer, I just checked out that thread of yours, thank you. Sadly, I did not understand about half of it. I should say that I really am computer illiterate and I get very nervous when I see people write about #commands and other scary things. I do not know what the SemiRand is, but that sounds good. Is that an application by Ballbarian, or a mod? Is it easy to use or do I have to be computer smart?

How can I go about giving the AI nations I will be up against "good" pretenders? (Do I create those with the "Game Tools", much like I did my pretender, then load up all as human, then say "quit" and let AI take over? But will the AI then be only "normal"? And won't I know where they all are?)

I would like to restate that I am not *primarily* looking for more challenge (but I wouldnt mind that either), but rather for more fun. I do not avoid SCs and Thugs, for example, primarily because the AI is bad with them -- I avoid them because I don't like playing that way, it's just not "fun" for me, it's not the way I want to RPG my Dom3. (For this reason, I know that I will not be a competetive MP player, since I will fail in the late game vs. competetive players who will do what they have to, namely make SCs and thugs, and not worry about armies as much.)

Let me try to restate again (again!): I had a lot of gripes with Civilization IV, which I will not detail here, but one "problem" I had was that I had to set the AI to such a hard level to give me a challenge in the end game that I would often get crushed early game, and need to restart; in other words, the AI seemed to do "ok", but just not the whole game. Here, in Dominions, it is somewhat different; the AI is (because of the complexity of the game mechanics to be sure) simply not up to the job. But what I am primarily looking for is something that keeps the AI doing well in the end game without steamrolling me in the early game. I would like there to be some "closure". Ideally, it would be great if things did go to the end game phase without being clearcut. And ideally, I would like there to be armies, at least when I play a "human" nation (such as Marignon or Ulm or Man, etc.). I can understand that when you play Abysia, for example, you want to populate your world with scary demons; but I like to have "human" matches where armies of "humans" shoot arrows and slash swords at each other.

Thank you all very much

EDIT: Victory Conditions, I forgot that, thank you. Does the AI actually pay that any attention? I mean, will the AI go for provinces with VPs and try to hold them, even at the risk of losing other (non-VP) provinces?

Last edited by happygeek; October 8th, 2009 at 11:04 AM.. Reason: forgot VP
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Old October 8th, 2009, 11:17 AM

Maerlande Maerlande is offline
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Default Re: Request: Settings or Mods?

Happygeek,

Random is a program by Ballbarian that makes great random maps. It also includes SemiRandom that let's you set up the premade custom AI gods from Ballbarian and others. They are much better than the AI's abortions for gods. It's pretty easy to use. And you can use it on your favourite maps like Parganos. Just use only the semirandom part. Check any post by Ballbarian. Link is in his signature.

It's windows based. I find it easy to use. I just got started with map commands to boost it a bit more. Using one or two map commands isn't bad. But you don't have to edit the map files to have a fun game. For real crazy, try increasing "fiddle" provinces. Lot's of nutty independents like Air Queens with sylphs. You'll never blindly expand again.

Hmm, if you avoid building SC's and thugs, the AI will be more challenge. However, I'm not sure you can get a good endgame out of the AI. Maybe. I'm going to try making some god files for SemiRandom and see how they work. I'll post the results.

Cheers
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Old October 8th, 2009, 11:19 AM

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Default Re: Request: Settings or Mods?

I have to be honest, I just don't think dominions is the right game for the experience you seek. You can do certain things to try and help the AI and hinder yourself, but as for making single player more /fun/ and engaging?

Think you need a game with better AI, or to find some folks to play casual dom3 MP with.
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  #9  
Old October 8th, 2009, 12:41 PM
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Gandalf Parker Gandalf Parker is offline
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Default Re: Request: Settings or Mods?

Quote:
Originally Posted by happygeek View Post
I would be grateful to any of you for suggestions in helping me make my SP experience more enjoyable.
I realize that I am in the minority, and that this game really is all about MP,
I was part of beta testing while Dom3 was still being developed. Dom1 was almost entirely MP but Dom3 put about equal effort into SP and MP. And you really are only a minority on the forums. Most SPers are hit-n-run guests who look for answers then leave so SP questions are very welcome.

As for game settings the only one I like to bring up is that new players often turn the strength of independents down when they feel the AI is too strong. Actually it should be turned up. That slows the AI and makes the game longer.

The game itself took kindof an easy route with AI. The AIs are pretty much totally random. Intelligently built AIs get predictable. Totally random AIs can be a surprise, or pretty stupid. On the other hand, the game does allow MODding and MAPing and Command Line switches to empower the player to do something about it if they wish. Adding designed AIs for nations that are in the game is done by map commands. Here is a quicky-ref list just to give an idea of what can be done.
http://www.dom3minions.com/docs/map_qref.txt

There is a program called SemiRand created by Ballbarian which will do that for you. Add random created things that other players have done to the map in order to give you surprises.

You can also try out some of my generated games for SemiRand or for my program (total chaos). They allow solo play.
http://www.dom3minions.com/HostedGames.htm

I love solo play and have a number of maps for it. One that is chaoticized fresh every day, some really huge ones for people who prefer lots of exploration, ones with many more straategic choke points which tend to be better for solo play than for mp play, and some such as the tower map which gives a unique game (it forces the players to be stacked, so basically for most of the game you are only fighting at the most two nations at a time)
http://www.dom3minions.com/maps.htm

Gandalf Parker
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  #10  
Old October 8th, 2009, 07:14 PM
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Default Re: Request: Settings or Mods?

You could also set research at Very Hard, and play with a different victory condition. Victory Points, with 0 random VPs and each capital having 1 VP, is an easy way to approximate how well you're doing. Say, 5 nations in total, you and 3 AIs. If 3 VPs are required to win, the game ends once you've defeated two other nations.
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