UPDATE 20: Dice rolls no longer random

  • On most evenings I don't have time to commit to play against real players (I have young kids running around the house), so I play the single player option against the bots. This used to be a decent experience despite the boneheaded moves and placements of the bots. However, with this new update playing the single player option has become unbearable...totally, pull-your-hair-out-of-your-scalp unbearable. After playing a few games I sort of felt something was weird about the dice rolls, then about 10 games in I noticed that every other game or so had this series where five 9s in a row rolled, followed by a 7, and then a bunch of 3s over the next few rolls. Now that I've played 30 or so games, this pattern repeats itself every 2 to 3 games. As well, right after that 7 rolls, bots begin to accumulate cards (sometimes up to 30 cards in their hand), before building because they know no 7s are coming up for a long, long stretch. This tells me that the algorithm is not random (infinite), and dice rolls are based on a set number of rolls which repeat themselves after the string of rolls reached the end of the finite algorithm.

    Also, if you happen to take too big of a lead--like jump to 7 when every bot is at 3 or 4--7s begin to rain down like crazy: I had 5 drop down in a row in one game and 7 in a row in another, and I noticed the same thing last night with the mobile app.

    I suggest everyone should play a few single games against the bots (4 players games) to see if you get this five 9s followed by a 7 pattern as well. Hint: build of 5 and 9s, and you'll rake in the resources on your way to victory on those games.

    If dice rolls are not random, this is a serious issue. If people cannot trust the rolls of the dice to be random, how do you expect them to pay to play?

  • You know what? There was an issue with the dice before, and even in the old Catan app.

    When your game crashes and you restart it, it sometimes goes back to a previous "autosave". Maybe 5 turns into the past. If you continue from there, you will get the same dice rolls in the same order. There seems to be some sort of RNG "seed" which predetermines what dice are rolled. And I saw it happen with the Catan Universe AI game too. Either intentionally crash the client in the middle of your turn or have the game crash some other way... When you return you could sometimes roll your dice again. And the result will be the same.

    The same thing happened in Hearthstone some time ago. You can buy card packs there. There was some kind of server issue so they had to roll back the changes. And when the users opened the card packs again, there was a pattern of obtaining rare cards. https://techraptor.net/content/hearthstone-server-rollback-pseudo-rng

    AI can probably cheat too. That is another issue and harder to prove. I guess you'd have to record multiple games to analyze how the dice rolls sometimes favor the AI (e.g. you are not on 5 or 10 and the AI is. The dice will roll 5s and 10s more often in early game to give AI an edge).

  • @Stroom I've noticed bots trade amongst each other indiscriminately; and make insanely stupid trades like trading ore one-for-one for a wood, let's say, to another bot who produces no ore and wood is not a rare resource, etc. And this no-ore bot sometimes takes largest army!!! But when you try to trade with them, and you know they have an excess of the resource you need, and you offer something they need, they ignore you. Regardless, I don't mind that as much as what I'm seeing here in this update.

    This issue with the non-randomness of the dice roll when playing single player against bots is not due to crashing issues. My games have not crashed once; I've had no real issues with the game getting stuck (only once last night). And I've had no problems with dice rolls in the previous version (or the mobile app), so this is related to this update only. Like I said, this non-randomness was so annoying that it totally took any pleasure out of playing the game. I swore at the screen and closed CU for the night. I'll see if I can document the rolls more objectively tonight.

  • The AI is just stupid. Even trading with the 9 VP bot sometimes. And these were Veteran/Master AIs.

    I assure you, the game has had issues (with dice and other stuff) the whole 1.5 years it has been out in the public. You just don't notice the minor annoyances when you are a new user. A lot of players just accept them as "intended features". The Quality Assurance of this game is very low. Probably because they are relying on the player base in finding the bugs. Seems like there is no systematic QA or it just does not test thoroughly enough.

  • I track the dice rolls from my games. So far they pan out to the odds with a 95% margin of error over 26553 rolls.

  • @morsCatan If a well-balance finite series of rolls is repeated ad infinitum, it'll show a balanced distribution. It doesn't mean the rolls were random.

    I mentioned in the initial post of this thread that I didn't believe rolls to be random as I noticed this odd series of five 9s followed by a 7 roll, then a bunch of 3s, and no 7 forever. Well, it happened again last night on the 5th game I played. This is single player against the bots, but I see no reason why the dice roll generator should/would be different against bots than in games against real players (unless unfair dice rolls is how bots are differentiated between their "rookie, veteran and master" designation, which would be totally ridiculous or lacking in sense of fair play). Just to be clear; my computer did not crash or get stuck, etc. Everything worked perfectly.

    This is the series of rolls in the 5th game: 7,8,7,5,3,7,10,6,6,5,4,5,2,7,9,9,9,9,9,7,8,2,9,3,3,9,8,11,9,12,9,8,5,8,6,6,12,3,6,9,3,5,11,2,8,12,4,8,8,10,3,3,5,6,5,2,5,8...I stopped writing them down at this point. But as you can see, it was as I stated in my first post: five 9s followed by a 7, bunch of 3s (sorta) and no 7s forever (over 40 rolls; game ended before another 7 was rolled). As I knew there wouldn't be any more 7s rolled after the string of five 9s, I decided not to participate in the game and just rolled the dice on my turn. See caption screenshot and statistics here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/vk2ywb3ik94fx2b/AABfB7zUy1a_3Ia2cFs98A6ca?dl=0

    As you can see, even though I wasn't playing my resources, and didn't have particularly good numbers or cities, I accumulated 34 cards without any 7s dropping because I knew no 7s would drop (i.e. I'd seen this pattern before; the dice rolls are not random).

    Also, in all 5 games either 5s (first game) or 9s (next four games) were the highest rolled numbers, which I've intuitively felt was the case since the newest update.

    Again, I've only played against the bots using the single game option, but I don't see why the dice generator would be different playing bots. Dice rolls should be random no matter what.

    Random maps have been removed from auto-match, I believe, so maybe it's all a big plan to remove randomness from all areas, including dice rolls. I don't know. But until the developers/administrators address concerns regarding non-random dice rolls, I'm sure there will be significant trust issues moving forward.

  • I suspect that the developers were lazy and used a "cheap" randomizer. Something similar to this:

    In this case it could be possible that the AI has the knowledge of the near future rolls and it plays accordingly.

    If you have found the pattern of 999997 and it actually does repeat the same way then there has to be something fishy.

  • @Stroom I noticed the 999997 sequence at least 3 times 2 days ago out of about 10 games played and once yesterday out of 5 games exactly. After confirming this pattern yesterday I was so exasperated by the fact that I was being cheated so badly that I closed the application in anger. Administrators/developers need to explain this glitch in order for me to gain their trust back. I don't want to play against blatantly loaded dice.

  • It just happened again on the 3rd game I played. As soon as the 999997 sequence appeared I merely rolled the dice without doing anything else. Since Siegfried had a lot of cities on 5 and 9, the game finished before I had a chance to accumulate a ton of resources as I knew no 7s would be rolled for at least the next 40 rolls.

    See second set of screenshots here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/vk2ywb3ik94fx2b/AABfB7zUy1a_3Ia2cFs98A6ca?dl=0

    Edit: And it happened again on the very next game. See third set of screenshots. Just before the next 7 rolled (over 40 rolls later) I had accumulated 66 resources per the screenshot; however, I had recently taken long road away from Siegfried just to prolong the game (that's the only move I made; the rest of the time after the 999997 sequence occured I just rolled the dice). In order to do that, I had to use up 12 resources for 6 roads. So technically I should have had 78 resources before the next 7 hit.

    How do the developers/administrators explain this non-random dice rolls? This is cheating; this is unfair. It totally takes away any enjoyment that should be there from playing a great game. I think I used the word unbearable before. Please respond.

  • Nice work @Poisonguy

    @Administrator - really eager to see how you will get out of this situation. My bet is on "ignore / no reply" :)

    How can they just make the game worse with ever update. Really I am here in CU since 2nd part of 2016 and can hardly remember an update besides banlist implementation which actually made a difference AND did not make the game worse. Even though banlist also worked just partly given reports probably were not reviewed / did not hear about a single case of player ban / ELO rest.

    I even reported in PM players with screenshots and still their stats were left as is by @Administrator

    p.s. enjoying my time not playing CU :-1:

  • I've been tracking dice rolls since I started playing. While some games may seem 'wonky' it's really just the luck of the draw. Here is a snapshot of the odds i've been seeing. This is over nearly 27,000 rolls. 4500 of which are since this last update.


  • @Administrator response please. I remember you mentioning in the past that the dice are truly random. Any comment on this now?

    You can easily have a normal distribution with non-random dice. The distribution really means nothing if the dice rolls are in a predetermined pattern which just happens to form the normal distribution over time. This seems to be the case at the moment.

    The AI could even cheat so that it rolls numbers for itself first (6,9), then rolls a 7, places the robber on your hex (5), rolls that number, then rolls a 7 again, places the robber on your other hex (8) and rolls that number. You get the nice bell curve but actually you were still cheated out of resources.

    1. As mentioned many times. The AI can´t cheat. It is simply not in the code! The AI was designed based on a document created by Klaus Teuber. The AI is a homo economicus. It will always do what is best for it and will have now compassion for others. It has knowledge over the resources you have drawn and the openly drawn progress cards in C&K. like an observant player would have. Nothing more nothing less. You can try to find something but you will not since it is simply not there. It wasn´t there in the Apps , it wasn´t there in our PC or Nintendo games and it isn´t there in CU.

    2. We are using a well-tested and wide spread random generator which is based on Xorshift+ .It is fast and efficient.

    About the sequences i can only guess at this point: The only thing i can imagine is that somehow a fixed seed for the RNG found its way into the live version. We use fixed seeds to make it easier for us to debug the AI since we are then able to influence the outcome of the RNG manually and therefore we can observe the AI and what it is doing and if it´s doing it right. (Looking into a certain behaviour like the expansion to another island or defending Catan etc.).
    If we have to go out of our way to do that ...
    This should be another indicator to you that the Ai doesn´t cheat or knows about the next dice roll ;)

    We will investigate the issue but once again: This is just a guess by @administrators !

  • @Administrator Thank you for responding.

    I don't believe AI cheat in the traditional way. However, they trade amongst themselves indiscriminately, but don't with the player; their sole goal early on seems to be to accumulate development cards and they don't care whatsoever what they trade away for what they want. For example, it's quite frequent that a bot without access to ore on the board will accumulate the most development cards because of this indiscriminate trading. Maybe your programmers can work on this "glitch" to make playing the bots more life like.

    Obviously there is something wrong with the dice as I've shown you. This is a serious issue; it goes to the credibility of your product.

    It's fine to test the behavior of AI in different scenarios to observe its reaction to dice rolls, but this should be done behind the scenes. Once you integrate the adaptations you've made to the bots, the version you provide online should be coupled with an RNG that has not had fixed seeds incorporated in it. This would ensure the RNG is the same when I play, for example, the basic game against the AI as the RNG when I play real people. I mean, why have two different RNGs? If I had to take a guess, it seems this is not the case; the RNG (technically an nRNG; non-Random Number Generator) running for the AI is different than the one for real people games. Please fix this. It has truly become unbearable to play the game (against AI, of course).

  • administrators

    @Poisonguy The RNG is the same for Multiplayer and Singleplayer. I just mentioned the possibility that the seeds could have been locked during the development to test some of the AI changes we made.

    The testing of the AI was entirely done "behind the scenes" on our test servers and with development builds of the game that track a lot more data than the live version of the game you can play. Usually there are many development builds before we publish one so called production build to the early access.

    As I said: we will investigate if something went wrong there (and was published to the live servers) and remove it with the next update.

  • @Administrator If you use the same RNG for Singleplayer and Multiplayer modes, this is alarming. As I've shown here, the RNG is not currently random (unless there's a problem from my end; like a cache thing that's happening with other issues with this update). I hope your guys/gals identify the problem.

Log in to reply