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Sid Meier and the 48-Hour Game

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the crash-course dept.

Programming 58

MMBK writes "Sid Meier is possibly the most influential game designer ever, having developed the Civilization series, among others. This video documentary looks at his past while he travels to the University of Michigan for the 48-hour game design competition, which was hosted by his son."

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these are pretty common, aren't they? (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#31868020)

These one-to-four-day game-making events are usually called "game jams". I believe the idea originates with Chris Hecker [wikipedia.org] circa 2002.

Not that it won't be cool to see what Sid Meier makes, but the idea of a 48-hour video game isn't some insane thing nobody's tried before!

Re:these are pretty common, aren't they? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31868066)

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Re:these are pretty common, aren't they? (1)

dskzero (960168) | more than 4 years ago | (#31871040)

These "game jams" aren't innovative, but given that someone of the fame and influence of Sid Meier attending one is certainly something out of the ordinary. That said, one of the really good things about Meier is the attention to detail. How much detail can you cram in 48 hours?

Re:these are pretty common, aren't they? (1)

holmstar (1388267) | more than 4 years ago | (#31873232)

It could be that he has had an idea floating around in his head for years, that he thinks that he could code in 48 hours. While there is still a limit to what can be coded in that time period, he could still have an innovative and interesting game in mind.

Deadlines (2, Funny)

cosm (1072588) | more than 4 years ago | (#31868036)

These days it feels like all games are being made within 48-hours.

Re:Deadlines (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31868054)

People don't even really make "the games" anymore. The just fill an existing engine with art.

Re:Deadlines (0)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31870250)

Uh, isn't that pretty much making the game (ignoring the over-simplifying). It doesn't make sense for everyone to code their awesome physics engine for every game but use PhysX and the same for graphics rendering, sound systems and so on. I'm actually kind of surprised so many companies still do make their own engines. Just check out DICE's sound environment in BF: Bad Company 2 - it's amazing.

The engine is not what you play. The game is.

sopssa is all talk. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31881278)

See subject above. All you are is another slashdot troll with a big set of talk, but no actual deeds to your credit backing up your bluster, big talker. Do you actually program games or are you just another armchair quarterback talking out his behind? I'll wager the latter.

Re:Deadlines (4, Insightful)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 4 years ago | (#31872614)

I've boycotted cookie-cutter games like that. Same with movies. Do you know how few filmmakers bother designing their own quarks and leptons and stuff? The lazy bastards think they can just fill an existing engine with art.

Re:Deadlines (1)

nbehary (140745) | more than 4 years ago | (#31875878)

Wish I had Mod points. Love that post. Hard to pick between Funny and Insightful. Made me laugh first, but after that it's the latter.

Re:Deadlines (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31868154)

These days it feels like all games are being made within 48-hours.

Nigger penis. That is all.

Re:Deadlines (1)

ElSupreme (1217088) | more than 4 years ago | (#31869730)

Not Starcraft 2!

Re:Deadlines (2, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#31871244)

Ohh, 48 hours to make a game. This being Sid Meier I thought it was 48 hours to complete the game.

Re:Deadlines (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 4 years ago | (#31872856)

These days it feels like all games are being made within 48-hours.

Counter point: Duke Nukem Forever

Jews for Nerds! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31868048)

Jews, also known as kikes, hebes, hymies, yids, gold niggers, oven magnets, hook noses, sheenies, swindlers, criminals, "firewood", and Arabs in denial are a subhuman species of reptilian extra-terrestrials and adherents to one of the world's oldest major religions, called "Judaism", otherwise known as "The Worship of Money" or "Eating Arab Babies".

Judaism was the world's first master race theory. The Jew religion teaches that Jews are the Chosen People of God and that there is a sacred mystical quality to Jew DNA. In olden times, Jew prophets would, under the command of YHWH, frequently lead the Jews on genocidal rampages against neighboring populations, and even today Jew leaders often cite Jewish religious ideals to justify their ongoing genocide of sandniggers. Judaism ironically found its mirror-image inversion in the anti-Jew Aryan racialism of the Nazis.

Despite only being 0.22% of the world's population, Jews control 99% of the world's money. Not only do the Jews control the world, but also the media, the banks, the space program, and LiveJournal's porn communities and Gay communities. All Jews possess the following features: an extremely large nose, fake boobs, curly hair that reeks of faggotry, one of those gay hats, a love of coke, a law practice, a roll of money, a small cock, or shitty taste in dental hygiene.

Jews invented both Communism and Capitalism. Karl Marx, of course, was a Jew, which was why he understood money so well, and in fact he was converted to Communism by another Jew, Moses Hess, the actual founder of Zionism, who ghost-wrote Marx's The German Ideology. Capitalism was created when Christian Europeans threw away their morals and decided to embrace Jewish practices like usury (see: John Calvin). Jews were the first group to create a sophisticated banking system, which they used to fund the Crusades in order to pit Christians and Muslims (both adhering to religions derived from and controlled by Jews) against each other to kill as many people as possible in a macabre human sacrifice to YHWH.

The Jew banking system was based on fraud and lies, so when it inevitably collapsed, the Jews just pwned as many people as possible by unleashing the Black Plague on them. Later, Jews economically controlled medieval Venice (the first modern maritime trade empire), and then crypto-Jewish merchants economically controlled the Spanish Empire, including the slave trade. Openly Jewish bankers orchestrated the Dutch Empire and founded Jew Amsterdam (later Jew York). Later the Dutch Jews moved to London because they thought it would be a better base for a global empire, and actually brought a Dutch nobleman, William III, with them, who they installed in a coup d'état (more like Jew d'état, amirite?) as new King of the British Empire. For hundreds of years, Jewish bankers controlled global trade through their bases in Jew York City and London. European colonialism was, through its history, essentially a plot whereby Jews could gain control of gold and diamond mines in poor countries and increase their stranglehold over the global economy.

Jews also enjoy slicing up baby penises for fun, some even enjoy sucking them. See below.

Jews also created Jew search engine Google, so now they can find all Jew information on Internets.

Some suggest that we should use Jews instead of dogs to sniff out large amounts of concealed cash or anything else worth smuggling at airports due to their sensitive Jew noses. Obviously, this is a horrible idea, because the pay is bad, and the dirty Kikes would probably form a union and demand moar money, thus increasing the burden on taxpayers everywhere.

Hi Everyone (5, Interesting)

bazald (886779) | more than 4 years ago | (#31868172)

I'm one of the three co-coordinators of the contest. You can find out more information about it on our webpage:

http://wolverinesoft.org/event/contest/48hourcontest7/ [wolverinesoft.org]

If you have any questions, I'd be happy to try to answer them.

Re:Hi Everyone (1)

hellop2 (1271166) | more than 4 years ago | (#31869624)

Thank you for your offer.

I see from your link that you have to use approved libraries. But it says, "In the case of a MOD, a copy of the original game must be available to install.".

This raises some questions for me. Co you can bring in any game you want and make a "mod" for it? What's the reasoning behind restricting users to approved libraries, if they can use any existing game? If you're making a mod, you would usually have access to the original game's sound/music/graphics. Does the music, sound and graphics that you use have to be created during the 48 hours? Doesn't the fact that you allow mods seem a little unfair to those who just made everything from scratch?

To summarize, why wouldn't you level the playing field by making the available tools much more restrictive? For example, allow only a few languages (C++, Java, C#, VB) and a few graphics libraries (OpenGL, DirectX, Swing).

Also, did any of the contestants even make a mod? Thanks... just curious. These kind of contests, like ACM, are fun.

Re:Hi Everyone (3, Informative)

bazald (886779) | more than 4 years ago | (#31872960)

Anyone is allowed to write their own library before the contest and submit their code for approval.

1. We need to verify that any such library doesn't contain 99% of a game, just waiting for them to make a few tweaks to fit the theme.
2. We need to verify that the library's license allows anyone to use it for free, and allows us to distribute the games produced for free.
3. We need to give others time to learn how to use the custom libraries, or it doesn't matter that the licensing is permissive.
4. If we know what libraries are capable of, it makes judging effort a lot easier.

You're right that there would be some issues with allowing mods in such a contest, but no, it hasn't come up yet. Still, we would know that we can redistribute the mod for free. We would also know that a lot of work was done for them, so we would be able to take that into account during the judging. Perhaps we should officially disallow mods, but I don't think that making a non-trivial mod for a commercial game in 48 hours would be easy, so it might be an interesting challenge for some of our members in the future. It is an interesting point that the developers would normally have the game's sound/music/graphics available to them when making a mod. By the current rules, I'm not sure that they would be able to use the graphics, but we'd probably have to allow the use of at least some graphical assets provided with the game. We would ask the developers to make it clear to us what assets they actually created.

The only languages I've seen used are C++, C#, Java, and Flash. Libraries commonly used include SDL, OpenGL, zenilib, XNA, ClanLib, and SFML.

Re:Hi Everyone (1)

xiong.chiamiov (871823) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886158)

You should participate in Global Game Jam [globalgamejam.org] . It's like what you're doing, but simultaneously with a few thousand other people. My club participated this year, and it was much fun.

Not commercially meaningful? (2, Interesting)

bughunter (10093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31868180)

While it's an intellectual challenge, and appeals to geek curiosity, how many really meaningful, influential games were written in one of these contests?

I mean, Sid's famous for writing games that required incredible amounts of research, iterative design, playtesting and balance. Those are what most grognards are interested in... not the next casual twitchfest, nor even another NP Hard gem no matter how elegant.

Sid, if your reading this, give us a modern, multiplayer version of NetHack (and not a click orgy like Diablo, but a "the dev team thinks of everything" masterpiece), or an updated turn-based strategy game like Fantasy General... I'm waiting for another trend of well balanced, challenging games to come along. Desperately.

Re:Not commercially meaningful? (1)

bughunter (10093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31868198)

if your reading this

[mimes shooting self in head]

Re:Not commercially meaningful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31868476)

now why would a mime do that?

Re:Not commercially meaningful? (2, Informative)

daeley (126313) | more than 4 years ago | (#31869220)

now why would a mime do that?

Despite being trapped in a glass box, a painfully high wind inevitably rises up, and no amount of invisible rope is going to save you from a pummeling. I mean, you're trapped in a box made of glass! Many of them can't take the pressure and mime shooting themselves in the head. A lot of them miss -- with an invisible gun and bullets, this is perhaps inevitable -- but many hit their mark all too well, causing a great red flower to burst from their temples.

Mimes are a truly misunderstood underclass, deserving of our pity, not our scorn.

Re:Not commercially meaningful? (1)

nhytefall (1415959) | more than 4 years ago | (#31875432)

"Giiit yer Mime Hunting tags right hyere, folks... step right up, one a ta time, just 5 dollars each..."

Anyway... back to your regularly scheduled program.

Re:Not commercially meaningful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31868622)

Actually, Sid says that he does very little to no research for his games. He just makes what seems fun. I think Iterative design, playtesting, and balance are all important things to him though.

Re:Not commercially meaningful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31872000)

Right, thats why the civolopedia is basically empty and I know nothing about any of the founding fathers.

Re:Not commercially meaningful? (1)

rrhal (88665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31872498)

Are you trying to say that by building the Great Pyramids the Egyptians actually got graineries in all of their towns?

Re:Not commercially meaningful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31882402)

No, but they had access to all forms of government, could change to them without anarchy and both of these effects lasted until the development of communism.

Re:Not commercially meaningful? (3, Insightful)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 4 years ago | (#31868804)

While it's an intellectual challenge, and appeals to geek curiosity, how many really meaningful, influential games were written in one of these contests?

This is supposed to be news for nerds, please hand in your /. userid. The correct nerd response to a 48 hour game competition is "that would be fun" and not "what is the point". Some people do actually program for their own fun and not just to give you an updated version of NetHack. Anyone playing the games that result from these competitions are not doing so to find the next big classic game, but to see what people can achieve in a short time.

Sorry to sound confrontational, but I can't understand why anyone could even think that this sort of competition should end up with some meaningful and influential game. This is the epitime of the original, true geek. The goal of the geek is the same as a mountaineer: you climb a mountain or solve a problem because it is there.

Re:Not commercially meaningful? (1)

inviolet (797804) | more than 4 years ago | (#31870104)

This is supposed to be news for nerds, please hand in your /. userid. The correct nerd response to a 48 hour game competition is "that would be fun" and not "what is the point". Some people do actually program for their own fun and not just to give you an updated version of NetHack. Anyone playing the games that result from these competitions are not doing so to find the next big classic game, but to see what people can achieve in a short time.

Yep yep.

Sorry to sound confrontational, but I can't understand why anyone could even think that this sort of competition should end up with some meaningful and influential game. This is the epitime of the original, true geek. The goal of the geek is the same as a mountaineer: you climb a mountain or solve a problem because it is there.

". . . because it is there, and because no matter how remote the mountain is located, a female might see you climbing it and decide to put out."

Re:Not commercially meaningful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31879734)

You act like an updated version of nethack is a bad thing.

Re:Not commercially meaningful? (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 4 years ago | (#31899930)

Somewhere along the line, Slashdot changed from a news for nerds site to news for "Nerds who are so smart that everything sucks and you better agree with my Libertarian views or get off my lawn" site.

I think they haven't updated it because the former is more catchy.

Re:Not commercially meaningful? (1)

bughunter (10093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31903366)

A lot of you have said I'm "missing" the obvious aspect of this exercise.

No, I didn't miss it. When I hit reply, all of the other replies to the main article addressed it. So I chose to open another line of discussion.

Also you seem to have misinferred my comment into, simply, "what is the point of this contest?"

I'm not questioning the point of the contest. If I'm questioning anything, I'm questioning the sensationalism of the news that Sid Meier will be there, when he is famous for an entirely different kind of game.

But even then, it was really taking the opportunity to tell Sid, "moar Sid gaemz plz!"

Re:Not commercially meaningful? (1)

Targon (17348) | more than 4 years ago | (#31869290)

The purpose of these sort of contests isn't to come up with a REAL game, but it is more about the encouragement of being creative in game design and implementation. Remember, those who compete will probably end up working in the industry if they are lucky, and the more they focus on game design and implementation, the better they will be when the time comes for them to make a commercially viable game. The game industry really has been suffering from a shortage of NEW games that are not just a modern clone of older games, and that is a big problem.

How much true originality is there is all of the shooters and World War 2 games you see that are out there? Or RTS games that are more of the same stuff we have seen from the old Warcraft days(original RTS)? Technically games are getting better, but for gameplay, there is a huge shortage of NEW ideas, and that is what needs to be encouraged, new ideas. The reason the game industry as a whole feels a bit stale on the PC is because so few are focused on making something that is really original.

Re:Not commercially meaningful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31875588)

"how many really meaningful, influential games were written in one of these contests?"

The challenge is to take something and make it interesting given constraints, the challenging constraints themselves should spur innovation. What you're missing is that when there is pressure to perform new ideas to deal with the time pressure will emerge adding to our body of knowledge.

Re:Not commercially meaningful? (1)

sowth (748135) | more than 4 years ago | (#31880004)

To make a game as hard as nethack is easy. Here is some pseudocode:

If playeraction and rand(10)==2 then playerdie

Based on my experience anyway. ;-)

48-Hour Game (1)

juventasone (517959) | more than 4 years ago | (#31868184)

When I read the headline I was certain it was referring to the time required to complete a single game of Civilization. I just concluded a single-player civ4 game on standard speed and spent around that amount of play time. It's certainly a change of pace from games like Starcraft where 2 hours is epically long.

Re:48-Hour Game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31868398)

Same. I thought "A 48-hour game isn't that crazy."
But on SC, it's a completely different experience.
Most would probably disagree, but I think SC and SC2 are more cerebral. They truly are modern Chess, and the level of expertise exhibited by those top-tier players is mind-bogglingly astonishing. Yet, like you said, a 2+ hour game feels insane.
The Civ series, ostensibly, has more in common with a massive chess game: slow turn-based, grids, etc, which is why I think it's considered more the "thinking man's game." But the detail, pacing, and ... I guess lore, make those 10+ hour games feel natural. It's driven by a kind of wordless narrative, something neither SC nor chess has.
I just got into the SC2 beta, and I love it. It's a great game. But I'm also exceptionally excited about the prospect of more massive games, whether in the Civ series or not, that'll have me staying up til 5am on schooldays like Civ2 and 3 did.

Re:48-Hour Game (1)

rachit (163465) | more than 4 years ago | (#31868840)

Starcraft? Cerebral? It's a massive clickfest. The amount of micro you have to do to be competitive is mind-boggling.

I'm not saying it doesn't take brains to be good at Starcraft, its like saying basketball is cerebral. Sure, smarts let you make better decisions, but if you are fast and strong, that probably makes a much bigger difference than "smart" basketball.

Re:48-Hour Game (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31869858)

You're also unlikely to win at Chess by making an early pawn rush.

Re:48-Hour Game (1)

HanClinto (621615) | more than 4 years ago | (#31871624)

Though it might apply more to chessboxing [wcbo.org] .

I once thought as you did (2, Insightful)

manekineko2 (1052430) | more than 4 years ago | (#31871324)

I once thought as you did about Starcraft. I thought it was basically real time tactics and click speed contests. Then I watched some pro replays on Youtube, and realized how wrong I was.

The Starcraft community refers to strategy as macro, and tactics as micro, and it's widely understood that both are essential ingredients to play well. You can see games where someone micro's masterfully, but they don't have a big enough picture view of the game and get absolutely slaughtered.

Re:48-Hour Game (3, Funny)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#31872466)

When I read the headline I was certain it was referring to the time required to complete a single game of Civilization. I just concluded a single-player civ4 game on standard speed and spent around that amount of play time. It's certainly a change of pace from games like Starcraft where 2 hours is epically long.

Ha - Hahaha!

Man, I know I've spent Well over 48 hours in a single player civ game - and multiplayer has taken over 100 hours of game time to even reach a level nearing climax.

As for Starcraft, 2 hours isn't epic. I'd say 2 hours is breaching what one might call a long-ish game. A quick game is about 20 minutes. A regular game is about an hour. An Epically long game, which is to say, 3 players on an 8 player Map, goes from 9 pm till 6 am, with all players remaining till the last 20 minutes.

Yes its happened, and yes I have the replay.

Major SEO (1)

majorseo (1791282) | more than 4 years ago | (#31868306)

Sid Meier is possibly the most influential game designer ever!

Brings me back (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31868394)

Wow, that brings me back to why I got involved with programming in the first place. Back then, it was all about fun. Nowadays it's paying the bills, but I enjoy work a lot more than some of my friends.

Whoa... (1)

leachlife4 (638543) | more than 4 years ago | (#31868564)

never realized keanu reeves was into programming

LD48 (1)

kirill.s (1604911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31868818)

There's another game-making competition coming up next weekend: Ludum Dare 17 [ludumdare.com]

48 hours? (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 4 years ago | (#31870490)

sounds like the usual development time for Playfish before sticking it up as a perpetual "beta"...

Influence (1)

mqduck (232646) | more than 4 years ago | (#31871246)

Sid Meier is possibly the most influential game designer ever

What? How could anybody say that with a straight face? Granted, I love his games, but that statement is just silly. For one thing, Civilization was designed as a macro-level version of SimCity. Will Wright would be a better candidate: SimCity, The Sims, Sim.*, Spore...

Re:Influence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31871658)

Miyamoto would be a better candidate.

FTFY

Re:Influence (1)

AdamWill (604569) | more than 4 years ago | (#31872830)

as I was going to put it, there's another guy with the initials SM who might have something to say about it :)

Re:Influence (1)

mqduck (232646) | more than 4 years ago | (#31877610)

You didn't "fix" anything, but you're right. Both Wright and Miyamoto would be better candidates. Miyamoto could have made a quarter of his contribution to video games and would still have been one of the greatest designers ever.

Re:Influence (1)

pydev (1683904) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876998)

For one thing, Civilization was designed as a macro-level version of SimCity.

It was also designed 20 years after the first turn-based strategy game, curiously also called Civilization (also Empire), and years after the first graphical game of this type. And Civilization copied liberally from a board game of the same name.

Irony (1)

kenp2002 (545495) | more than 4 years ago | (#31871278)

Am I the only one that sees irony in the fact Sid Meier, a guy who takes 3 years to make games that take 30 hours to play being mentioned in the same sentence as 48 hour game making session...?

Re:Irony (1)

kramerd (1227006) | more than 3 years ago | (#31881304)

Am I the only one that sees irony in the fact Sid Meier, a guy who takes 3 years to make games that take 30 hours to play being mentioned in the same sentence as 48 hour game making session...?

Yes, because that isn't irony. Also, his son is hosting the contest, the article is about a documentary about Sid Meier.

I find you to be particularly lazy to not read 2 sentences with enough reading comprehension to get the point.

dull (1, Insightful)

pydev (1683904) | more than 4 years ago | (#31872092)

I found the Civ games to be pretty dull derivatives of various UNIX simulation games, including some world and space conquest games. I don't think Sid Meier really deserves that much credit.

why does Sid Meier get so much credit? (1)

pydev (1683904) | more than 4 years ago | (#31876942)

Empire was first developed in 1971, and in 1973 renamed Civilization. There were numerous other versions afterwards.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empire_Classic_(computer_game) [wikipedia.org]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classic_Empire_(computer_game) [wikipedia.org]

xconq was a clone of Empire, later extended, and first released in 1987, and with a graphical user interface.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xconq [wikipedia.org]

Civilization was first released in 1991, 15 years after the Empire game. It was neither the first computer-based turn-based strategy game, nor the first graphical game of this type. It also "borrowed" lots of ideas from the board game Civilization.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civilization_(computer_game) [wikipedia.org]

It's nice that Meier introduced the PC masses to these kinds of games and made a lot of money doing so. But let's give credit to the pioneers, not to the people who copied them.

Re:why does Sid Meier get so much credit? (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 3 years ago | (#31883552)

Hey, thanks for mentioning Xconq! I didn't know about that yet. It looks really interesting!

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