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The AI Wars Continue: Civilization V Battle Royale

Angry intelligence

Toward the end of February, Richard Moss documented the great AI wars that were sweeping through the Civ V [official site] community. If you haven't read that feature, you should do so immediately. I'd intended to follow the 42-player AI-only game as updates arrived but when I checked in yesterday, it was my first visit in a good while. And, to my horror, I found that the game had stalled. Something was rotten in the code of Japan and the save file crashed when processing the nation's 239th turn.

The save file ended up in the hands of Firaxis but Battle Royale organiser TPangolin managed to find a solution before hearing back from the devs. A few hours after I checked in, the problem had been fixed. The AI wars continue and, by thunder, they make for good reading.

The AI Battle Royale is a "Historic Speed" game, which means marathon research times and regular production times. That means it'll last a while. The most recent update covers turns 224-239 and the calendar hasn't ticked over from BC to AD yet. There has been plenty of action though and, as you'd expect, there's plenty of room for Game of Thrones' references:

First off, an update on the North American wars with a look at the Winter War between the Inuit & Canada. Canadian Night’s Watch quickly move to establish a wall of defenders against the Inuit Ice Walkers moving either east or south from their base near Kangiqtiniq. The Sioux-Inuit action remains an affair focused to the coast regions, as an Inuit column heading south turns to face the Canadian invasion.

There are enormous battlefronts the likes of which you'll never have seen before in a Civ game. The sheer scale of the conflicts is wonderful and appalling. Looking at screenshots of the Polish-Soviet war, I momentarily forgot I was looking at Civ - eventually, the rows of units resemble a wargame rather than a 4X strategy game.

I've always enjoyed watching AI play with itself, whether that involves fooling Doom enemies into scrapping with one another, or watching Dwarf Fortress construct worlds. I'm not even sure procedural historical generation is actually AI-driven in any meaningful sense. It's probably fair to say I'm as interested in the world that the Civ Battle Royale is writing as I am in the outcome of the individual conflicts.

You can follow all of the action from this staging point and there's a handy collection of the mods used in the Battle Royale on the Steam Workshop.

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