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Age of Empires Heaven » Forums » Age of Empires / Rise of Rome / Definitive Edition » Hill berries may actually be better...
Topic Subject:Hill berries may actually be better...
posted 06-10-99 07:11 PM ET (US)         
In light of having had a number of starts with hill berries, I finally decided to do a bunch of testing to see what the effect of the hill is.

Bottom line: It appears to have no negative effect and may have a positive one.

I used the scenario builder to test 6 different sets of hill berries 5 times each. After testing the hill gathering rate, I went back to SB and removed the hills, i.e., set everything to elevation 1, and reran the tests for flat ground.

My data actually surprised me. Not only was there not a decrease in overall gathering efficiency, statistically you can say at the 60% confidence level that with the same placement, hill berries show a very minor efficiency improvement.

Representative pics follow. Click on the thumbnails for larger pics.

This is the unmodified random map with the addition of 6 peons and one granary.

Here is the screenshot immediately after collecting all the berries with the hills still intact.

And here is the same configuration once all the hills are made low.

Anyway, in all my tests, there was only one case where the flat berry collection beat the average time of the hill berries, and since it was the first data point I collected, I suspect it may have been a mistake on my part on getting started.

I may do a little more investigation, or not, depending on what interest this thread receives.

Keep your stick on the ice.

[This message has been edited by Thorfinn (edited 06-10-99).]

Cherub Lobby
posted 06-10-99 07:33 PM ET (US)     1 / 13       

This is a very interesting post and thinking about it makes sense.

You go slow up hill and fast down hill so it should balance out !

In your test though you have arranged for the granary to still be placed fairly close to the berries. The usual problem with hill berries is that you have to put the granary 5 tiles away.

The test is slightly flawed due to the fact that flat ground means you can change the granary placement.

What the test clearly shows that regardless of terrain if the granary is the same distance from the berries then gather rates will not be affected !

posted 06-11-99 00:55 AM ET (US)     2 / 13       
Yes, Lobby (gonna have to get used to that) raises a good point on this interestin' topic - that is, was this the only configuration used in testing? I have seen hill berries on hills so thin you couldn't place the granary on top, with an irregular line near the base of the hills where a granary could also not be placed nearby. And (as you and many others have seen) berries widely distributed on various elevations and at varying distances. In fact, with hill berries, it seems that they are further distributed than on flat ground.

Keep up the testin'!

posted 06-11-99 06:14 AM ET (US)     3 / 13       
Quite, the problem with hill berries is that it restricts the positions in which you can place the granary. Create a scenario where the berries form a line up the hill (like steps). The granary must be placed at the top or bottom. Flatten this and the granary can be placed by the side of the berries - a huge improvement.

You could even lay the berries in a line halfway up the hill and running parallel with it. The granary would again have to be at the top or the bottom and more distant than if it was flat.

posted 06-11-99 06:34 AM ET (US)     4 / 13       
Interesting analysis.

However, like others have stated, granary placement is what makes the difference. Taking the berries in the first picture, if there were no hills, you could have put the granary in the middle of those berries for maximum efficiency.

But I agree, besides that the walking up and down a hill pretty much cancel each other out.... not that i'll be jumping for joy when I find hill berries

posted 06-11-99 10:19 AM ET (US)     5 / 13       
I think in the SB you can change the elevations without moving the buildings. If that is true, he changed the elevations of the berries, and the granary stayed in the same spot. That would give you accurate test data. You can only use this data, however, when you can get a good granary position.

Gonna make you say "Ugh!"
Where's my dogz at?
Save the Penguins!
Delightfully tacky, yet unrefined.

posted 06-11-99 04:00 PM ET (US)     6 / 13       
Yeah, I was going to say that the main problem with hill berries was that you generally only have one choice for your granary. But I got so jazzed up with all the HTML, what with closing tags and all, that I forgot to mention it. And, yes, as I said, I tried 5 iterations of 6 different sets of hill berries, and then flattened the terrain without changing anything else, as Doink mentioned.

But what I thought was interesting was that the average speed travelling up and down hills was the same (actually a little faster) as travelling on level ground. This has some interesting implications for hill stone, gold, etc. It seems that the same "bug" that makes holes in walls going uphill allows you able to mine gold one level higher and one step away as if you were adjacent to it. I had always shied away from hill resources because, well, actually I think it was all the posts about lousy hill berries, and I just assumed that you lost some amount of efficiency right off the top.

Just for grins, I made a gigantic hill country map and placed a peon on Elevation 1 at 3:00. I ran him to 9:00, also at Elevation 1. (I had to clear some rocks, berries, trees, and a few other obstacles.) I then went back and levelled his entire path to flat ground and repeated the test. On average, it took 6 seconds longer to traverse the map on flat ground than it took to walk up and down hills!

Anyway to relate this all back to hill berries and efficiency, remember that for any civ but Yam, Assy and Palmy, each tile further represents an 8% efficiency drop. That is, it takes 22.2 seconds to get a load of berries, and since villagers travel 1.1 tiles/sec, and each tile is counted twice because of the round trip. So 2/1.1/22.2=8.2% efficiency decrease. If your berries are 5 tiles away, (remember, you get the first tile for "free"), it works out to 8/1.1/22.2=33% efficiency drop, i.e., you need 4 foragers to get the same effect as 3 with perfectly placed berries, so to keep constant villager flow under these conditions, you would need 8 villagers, regardless of whether it was hilly or not.

This all kind of reminds me of Tom Lehrer's New Math

You can't take 3 from 2, 2 is less than three so you look at the 4 in the ten's place. Now that's really 4 tens so you make it 3 tens, regroup, and you add the 10 to 10 ones...
Or something like that...

Keep your stick on the ice.

posted 06-12-99 01:48 AM ET (US)     7 / 13       
Very interesting research, Thorfinn!

You are shedding light onto why hill berries can be less efficient, and why other hill resources can be just as efficient as flat ground.

(id: S_Hemlock)
posted 06-15-99 05:59 AM ET (US)     8 / 13       
I did a bit of testing too. What I did was set up two parallel "tracks." (Both tracks were straight.) Each track was 1 tile wide and had walls on either side to prevent wandering. One track went up and down over 4 level 7 hills, the other stayed on flat ground. I also placed perpendicular markers (walls) at the top and bottom of every hill to observe the progress. Then I placed two identical units, one on each track, and raced them. Here's what I found:

Villagers, Hoplites, and Bowmen: All went the same speed regardless of terrain elevation.

Axemen, Horse Archers, and Scythe Chariots: All went faster downhill, but were no slower going uphill.

This is when things started getting weird...

Artifact: I didn't want to wait around while the artifacts went down the track, so I increased the game speed during the test. I found that usually the artifacts do not change speed according to terrain, but if the game speed was 2.0, they would go faster downhill.

Chariot Archer: I couldn't ever nail anything concrete for the CA, except that it seemed to go faster downhill regardless of game speed. It seemed to slow down a bit going uphill on 1.5, and slow down more (relatively speaking) on 2.0. But I also got varying results depending on which direction they were travelling!

Catapult: Fast downhill on 2.0.

Camels: Fast downhill regardless of game speed.

I didn't go back and test the first six units at different speeds... it got late, I got tired, and I didn't feel like testing every speed/direction/unit permutation. It's apparent to me that either a) there's some randomness involved, b) they use very complex algorithms to compute speed, c) there's a bug of some sort, or d) my testing method was totally bogus. (Incidentally, the testing order of the first six units was: Villager, Hoplite, Axemen, Horse Archer, Bowmen, and Scythe Chariot.)

To Lobby and PoisonBerry, if you assume that the speed gained going downhill is equal to the speed lost going uphill (generally a safe assumption), then they do not cancel each other out. The reason is because the amount of time going uphill is much greater than the amount of time going downhill.

To illustrate, suppose you had a boat that could travel at 6 miles per hour. If you drive that boat across a 1 mile lake and back, (2 miles round trip) then it would take 20 minutes (10 minutes each way). Now suppose the boat is on a river that is flowing at 4 mph. How long will it take to drive to a point 1 mile upstream and back? 6-4=2 mph, which means it takes 30 minutes to go upstream. 6+4=10 mph, which means it takes 6 minutes to go downstream. 20 minutes on a lake, 36 minutes on a river. They don't cancel out.

(Of course, since RoR isn't real life, the programmers could have made it cancel out if they wanted too.)

No other success can compensate for failure in the home.

[This message has been edited by S_Hemlock (edited 06-15-99).]

posted 06-15-99 09:26 AM ET (US)     9 / 13       
Very interesting, S_Hemlock. I wonder if that has anything to do with pathing? I mean, would you get the same results without the walls? For instance, a villager has no problem getting through a 1 tile wide hole, while an elephant will have to be coaxed through with about 100 mouse clicks. I feel another test coming on...

Keep your stick on the ice.

(id: S_Hemlock)
posted 06-15-99 02:43 PM ET (US)     10 / 13       
I was watching the units closely because I was a bit worried about that. All units easily went into the "starting gate" (only one click was ever needed) and didn't appear to have any slowdowns caused by bumping walls or pathing confusion.

No other success can compensate for failure in the home.

posted 06-16-99 03:28 PM ET (US)     11 / 13       
In light of S_Hemlock's curious observation on the speeds of units at 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0, decided to see if it that made the difference. I created a map with level 5 hills the entire length of one side, and made a 3 wide path with a set of stone walls. I then put a parallel 3-wide track on level ground and ran villager tests. Sure enough, the villager speeds were identical at 1.0 and 1.5, however, at 2.0 the mountaineer outpaced the lowlander by 11 sec. It seemed odd that across the hypotenuse it would be 6 sec and across the edge would be 11, so I repeated the test with the same map. This time, he won by 25 sec. I started watching closely, and noticed that he only ran down some of the hills, not all of them. Stranger still was that it was not always the same hills!

I repeated my foraging tests with specially made berries -- the first set of 6 berries running vertically up the hillside, the second 6 ideally placed berries, the third 5 ideal berries, one at 2 spaces, the fourth was 4 ideal berries and 2 bushes at 2 spaces and foraged with 4 villagers. I did no micromamagement. As expected, the hill berries lost in all cases at 1.0 and 1.5, but at 2.0, the hill berries with up to a 4 space walk (0,0,1,2,3 and 4 distance berries) actually beat the fourth set of berries which had much less walking (0,0,0,0,1 and 1 distance) one test out of 6, and was never more than 15 seconds slower foraging the entire 900 food.

Keep your stick on the ice.

[This message has been edited by Thorfinn (edited 06-17-99).]

posted 06-16-99 05:32 PM ET (US)     12 / 13       
Well, see, what i do when i find some hill berries is: Right, that's it. You really think i'm playing a game with hill berries?

End of joke. Enough of the technical stuff, hill berries are bad ok? You people are the one and same who tell us red wine may in fact be good for you. Red wine? Come on, no-one actually drinks it because of it's flavour! It tastes of *****for crying out loud. We all drink it because it is a pretty colour and is bad for you.

I'm still attempting to work out what that has to do with this issue

Hey, who censored piss? Come on people!
He's a rabbit...

And he eats them...

Which is why they call him...


[This message has been edited by Wascally_Wabbit (edited 06-16-99).]

posted 03-25-00 03:20 PM ET (US)     13 / 13       
God bless the game testers!!
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