I got the impression that the AI is more aggressive now, at least for those leaders who tend to be aggressive anyway.
The various small interface improvements are definitely welcome, as is the new Civilopedia interface... although the alphabetic sorting should go in columns downward, not in rows across. Harrumph!
Also, I've finally found a way to fix the video playback!
The various Bink performance setting in the ini file had no effect at all, other than making the videos uglier. That was to be expected since I'm running on a P4 @ 3.2 GHz with 2 GB RAM and a GeForce 6600 GT... it's not like that machine is somehow to slow to play back a video in a small window.
What did have an effect was setting the CPU affinity of the Civ4 process (or rather the GameJackal process in which I'm running Civ4 to avoid the CD check) to just one of my two virtual CPUs. My Pentium 4 has hyperthreading, and Civ4 apparently has some serious race conditions in video playback on such a system, or at least on my system.
After a long playtime the videos eventually still lock up altogether -- that's to say, I get a frozen frame while the sound keeps playing. But up to that point, at least, videos now play smoothly.
I've also changed some ini options which seemed to improve playback slightly:
You can set the CPU affinity of a process with the free Process Explorer utility by SysInternals. Unfortunately, it's not possible to set the CPU affinity for an executable, so Civ4 must be started before you can use PE. Another reason to use GameJackal because Civ4 inherits the affinity of the GJ process!
BinkNoSkip = 0 ; CHANGED, was 1
DynamicAnimPaging = 0 ; CHANGED, was 1
D3D9Query = 1 ; CHANGED, was 0
Could anyone else who's having video playback trouble please try this out and let us know what happened? Also, post if you have an MT or dual-core CPU and you don't have these issues, or if you have a plain old single CPU and do have them. If it's really a hyperthreading issue Firaxis might finally be able to fix it in the next patch.