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Civilization 6’s AI has been going mad for science thanks to a few lines of code

The AI has been acting strange lately, so the community went and checked to see if it was ok

Jayavarman of the Khmer Laughs Heartily in Civ 6

Civilization 6 players have been noticing something odd with AI civs ever since the big April balance patch, which capped off the year-long New Frontier season pass of micro-expansions and free updates. For the past few months, the AI has been going gaga over science, to the exclusion of all other concerns.

I mean, who needs wealth, public health, or even a functioning military when you can just science your way out of a problem, right? One enterprising member of the community on CivFanatics decided to go investigate, and discovered that a few lines of code had been changed in the Victories.xml file. You can also read a summary on this thread over on r/civ, which goes into more detail as to why some players feel this is a problem.

Two of the code changes are to do with favoured districts, but the ring-leader of this mad science rush is a line that essentially increases the internal value of science yields by 150%. This means that all AI civs will prioritise science generation over other concerns pretty much from the start of the game, and this bias remains in place until the end.

While we think the Civilization series could do with embracing some modern technology when it comes to AI design, the current iteration does provide players with a decent challenge, even on the higher difficulties.

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This change, though – which some have theorised is a way to try and improve AI performance in the realms of culture and science – detracts from the overall gameplay experience because the AI doesn’t play in a believable manner, even if they do still prove tough to beat.

As the Reddit thread highlights, this fixation on science can lead to everything from Great Scientists being snapped up too early, to neglected military forces, to the AI not even trying to compete in things like faith generation, not to mention triggering science victories too quickly.

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We reached out to Firaxis for comment, but at the time of writing have not heard back. The issue also still persists, although there is advice on how to fix the issue manually if you fancy editing some game files yourself.