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Ask The Civ IV Dev Team

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the historically-accurate dept.

Programming 384

On Monday, we asked you for questions for industry legend Sid Meier. Today, we're asking for question to put to the folks behind the technology of Civilization IV. Besides the actual coding and development that went into the game itself, the team has made Civilization IV infinitely moddable through technologies such as XML, Python, and a fully developed SDK. Led by lead designer Soren Johnson, the team will answer your questions about the creation of the fourth chapter in one of the most influential game series out there. So, fire away with your questions. One per comment, please, and keep them topical. We'll pass the ten best questions to Johnson and the team, and the answers will be posted as soon as we have them in our hands.

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384 comments

The Civ4 AI (5, Interesting)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668072)

My only question for Civ4 concerns the AI: Have you made it a crafty enough opponent yet that it can compete at the higher skill levels of the game without resorting to the "cheating" that we've seen in previous incarnations of the game?

If so, how?

As a player, I almost always find the key to really taking control of a game is to react well to the overall shape of things. Nuances with the terrain, the way cities are arranged in respect to each other, grabbing some resources at the expense of others -- this all provides opportunities for the human player that I wouldn't think an AI could easily pick up on. How can you get the AI to "consider the map", so to speak, rather than simply reacting to the stimulus around it and carrying out a set of predetermined functions (which, at least in my estimation, is the limitation that prevents it from competing fairly at high difficulty levels in the previous Civ games).

Or does the AI find its effectiveness in, say, it's ability to reexamine every city every turn? Or will it, you know, just continue to cheat to compete at advanced levels?

Thanks!

PS: My wife's traveling on business most weekends over the next couple of months. If you wanted to, you know, mail me an advanced copy... Just tossing that out there.

Re:The Civ4 AI (5, Interesting)

Silverlancer (786390) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668185)

Cheating AIs are always lame. AIs that rely on doing things faster than humans could (see RTSs) are also lame.

A while back I played a game called Galactic Civilizations, a 4X game set in space (compare to Master of Orion). Its best show was the AI, which on the high difficulty levels is simply ingenious. It can spot when you're plotting to do something before you're even half ready to strike, and stop you, without cheating. It is very hard to distract the AI on hard difficulty levels using bait, or any of the classic anti-AI tricks. Even the old tried-and-true get-the-AIs-to-shoot-each-other-until-you-overpowe r-them trick does not work--they will notice that you're circling over the battling AIs like vultures, and team up to kill you.

Re:The Civ4 AI (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668306)

AIs that rely on doing things faster than humans could (see RTSs) are also lame.

Is that what the AI in the original Command & Conquer did? Because in multiplayer mode, the #$!% AI always seems to be able to built his base and defenses WAY faster than I could. I'd barely pop out a small platoon and charge his base only to find that he has bunker walls, turrets, tanks, and plenty o' men!

Re:The Civ4 AI (1)

YomikoReadman (678084) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668386)

While that's the case for Starcraft/Warcraft, it's not for C&C. On higher difficulties, the AI just starts with that much more stuff, similar to handicapping yourself in human vs human multiplayer.

Re:The Civ4 AI (1)

Silverlancer (786390) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668478)

There are two types of "faster than human" AI. Age of Empires 2's AI on higher difficulty levels will actually research/build things faster than you, but is still beatable because its just as stupid as the Easy level AI. In the AoE 3 demo, as far as I've seen, the AI just does everything perfectly, like a tournament player, on high difficulty levels.

Re:The Civ4 AI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13668488)

Is that what the AI in the original Command & Conquer did?

Possibly. I never noticed, because I was always too busy just sandbagging him into his base and winning by default.

C&C's AI was so flawed and easy to beat with trivial exploits that it went right through being so bad it wasn't funny, and started being funny again.

Re:The Civ4 AI (1)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668343)

Cheating AIs are always lame. AIs that rely on doing things faster than humans could (see RTSs) are also lame.

On the other hand, games that can be played well by non-cheating AI are often lame themselves. Chess is the major exception, of course.

Re:The Civ4 AI (3, Insightful)

Ruprecht the Monkeyb (680597) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668391)

Cheating AIs are not always lame. It's when the cheating becomes obvious that it detracts from the gameplay. Sid himself has said on several occasions that (to paraphrase) its the end result that matters. If you can make the game more fun by letting the computer cheat a bit, then go for it.

The real advantage the computer has (IME) isn't the cheats, which you can generally learn to recognize and accomodate, its the infinite awareness and attention span. Games of Galciv, etc., especially during end-game in large galaxies, become exercises in repetition, scrolling through dozens of systems and hundreds of units each turn. This is something the computer is far more able to manage than I am.

Re:The Civ4 AI (5, Interesting)

freidog (706941) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668453)

Just to follow up on that,
Is the AI going to be as moddable and customizable as the rest of the game content?

I know Mr. Caudill mentioned an 'AI SDK' for 'experienced programmers' over on the IGN Civ 4 preview to tailor the AI to their desires. But it was mentioned as a seperate entity from the XML unit files and the basic Phython scripts.
Is this because the AI is more hard coded (less of it in easily accessible scripts) than say unit stats, or just an attempt to give a helping hand to less experianced modderings in a rather complex enviorment like the AI.

Basically I was hoping you could go into some more detail on what AI and other more complex modding might entail.

Mac Version (4, Interesting)

toupsie (88295) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668086)

Will there be a Mac version and will it be released at the same time as the Windows version?

Re:Mac Version (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13668196)

I agree. I would love to have civ 4 on mac os X. Count my vote in.

Re:Mac Version (1)

ilikeitraw (706793) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668499)

here, here. another vote for the OSX question.
i am a CIV addict, but refure to install windows.

i guess that's like a heroine addict refusing to use needles :)

of course, there are many other ways to use heroine... um... not that i know any of them !

Re:Mac Version (1, Troll)

griboyedov (900354) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668510)

Will there be a Mac version and will it be released at the same time as the Windows version?

And if so, will it be the same quality as the Windows version?

The Mac version of Civ3 left so much to be desired (in terms of AI) in comparison to the Windows version that I finally just stopped playing it.

Re:Mac Version (4, Funny)

TheBeowulf (916247) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668604)

Will there be a Mac version

Yes...

and will it be released at the same time as the Windows version?

Heck no... you Mac folks just have to wait 4 years like the 6 other games ported to Mac.
I'm truly sorry, but you bought yourself a gaming platform dud.

Portables (5, Interesting)

BMonger (68213) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668106)

Is there any chance we'll get to see some of the Civ titles moved to portables? I think the game would play wonderfully on the DS.

Linux Support (4, Interesting)

big_groo (237634) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668109)

Will the game ship with a Linux installer? If not, will an installer be made available?

Re:Linux Support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13668174)

I would like to play CIV IV with my Linux Box.

Re:Linux Support (1, Offtopic)

big_groo (237634) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668237)

How does this get modded 'Troll'? Did Civ III ship with an installer? Ever tried playing Civ III with Cedega? It's painfully slow. I'm asking if they will natively support my platform of choice. Like Quake, Doom, UT200x, ET, NWN, Savage, etc...

Re:Linux Support (3, Insightful)

Trelane (16124) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668332)

This is my main question, and will directly affect if/when I purchase the game.

Re:Linux Support (3, Insightful)

Radres (776901) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668508)

I know I'll get modded troll for this, but I hate gamers that insist upon there being a Linux version. I can't think of a greater waste of game developer resources than providing a version of the game that runs on the same exact hardware but under a different OS. Yes, Linux is great and all, and we all want to see it become the next desktop platform, but is it too much to ask for you to either dual boot Windows or have a separate box for your Wintendo? I'd rather see the game developer focus more on making a quality game than have a lesser game that is cross-platform.

Re:Linux Support (3, Insightful)

Skreems (598317) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668605)

A) It's more convenient to have it run in the OS.

B) It lets you get rid of windows entirely, instead of keeping it around soley for games.

C) Lack of games is one of the biggest obstacles stopping Linux from being much more popular among the non-tech crowd.

D) With a tiny amount of planning at the beginning of a project, and using the correct cross-platform libraries, making a game run both on linux and windows is an essentially negligible problem.

Addiction (5, Funny)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668116)

As you are probably aware, your games are highly addictive. They have inevitably lead to some screwed up lives - failing classes, getting expelled, losing jobs, losing significant others, losing families, losing a lot.

By making such a good game, do you think you are culpable of the effects of the game _at all_ and are you thinking about putting in counter measures to allow people to better set limits for themselves within the game?

Re:Addiction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13668197)

Addiction is a perfectly suitable word for the Civ games. The last time I played Civ3 was one rainy Saturday a few months after the game was released. I ate breakfast and started playing around 8:00AM. The next time I looked at the clock on the wall, it was just past midnight. I could not believe I blew 16 hours in a single sitting. I uninstalled the game the next day and haven't played it since.

I have a follow-up question ... (1)

Bearpaw (13080) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668272)

Can we get an alarm clock / periodic reminder option, as in Master of Orion 3? (Not that I really needed it for that game, unfortunately.)

Coupon for "Depends," IV feed kit in every box! (1)

StefanJ (88986) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668318)

I now have a unignorable timer that keeps me from playing games too long:

My eighty pound Belgian Shepherd mix [comcast.net] , who pummels me with her forepaws when she's decided I've been sitting around too long.

Stefan

Re:Addiction (1)

mrtroy (640746) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668430)

Civ 3 mod - The World

It is impossible for this map to playout in less than 10 hours.

We normally began playing in the evening.

We regularly had a rematch

And thats why I missed university classes

Unit Moddablity? (5, Interesting)

EngineeringMarvel (783720) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668120)

Will there be any limitations on the moddablity of the units in the game? This ranges from the textures (the way they look), the abilities (can new ones be added), and stats (A/D/B). Or to rephrase the question, what do you expect modders will look forward to the most when it comes to modding the units in the game?

Wonders (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13668122)

Have you considered maybe making each wonder you do progressively harder? That is to say if you already have 4, then the next one will be harder for you than someone who hasn't made any. It might balance the game a little better and let me build one of the bloody things once and a while.

I'll just ask in advance... (4, Funny)

utexaspunk (527541) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668123)

...since I'll probably be too busy playing it once it comes out... Can I have my life back?

This is Slashdot, so I have to ask it... (1, Interesting)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668129)

Planning on releasing a Linux version? Or any other OS other than Windows?

Adding custom units - how much of a pain? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13668132)

In regards to adding units with custom/new graphics to the game..
In civ2 adding units was very simple. Cut/Paste an image, add a line to a single text file. In civ3 this was a serious PITA, we needed to use external software to render in hundreads of animation frames, hope things were on scale and lined up correctly, then edit no less than three config files just to add a single unit. Can you give me, any hope that adding custom graphics for a unit to civ4 will be easier in the vein of civ2 and less like the crosspatched swamp that was civ3?

-GenTimJS

Please, get some decent programmers. (-1, Flamebait)

NerveGas (168686) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668137)

CIV 1 was dog-slow on hardware at the time. Civ 2 was dog-slow on hardware at the time. Civ 3 was dog-slow on anything but the most cutting-edge hardware at the time. The kicker is that NONE of these games were anywhere nearly as intense in graphics, AI, or *any other aspect* than other games that performed much, much better.

I haven't checked Civ 3, but Civ 2 still used an idle loop - consuming 100% of any CPU just to blink a unit on the screen. That sort of silliness was outdated half a decade (or more) before the game came out.

Please, please, do us all a favor, and get some decent programmers this time.

Re:Please, get some decent programmers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13668235)

Sounds like you were running these on crap machines.
I never had that problem with any of my Civ games (1 - 3).

Re:Please, get some decent programmers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13668549)

Mod this question down. It's fucking insulting, and would be poorly representative of the Slashdot community.

(actually, it would be perfectly representative of the Slashdot community. We just don't want it go get out.)

Q. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13668140)

Why is Zonk still an editor? Bring back simoniker, anyone.

name? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13668141)

What is this guy's name, Sore Johnson?

Civ Disease (4, Funny)

Comatose51 (687974) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668155)

My question is, do the developers suffer from the same Civilization Disease as the players? What I mean is telling yourself, "Just one more turn..." and the next thing you know, the sun is out again, the dog's starved to death, and your cloth is back in fashion again. I really hope not because I can't wait that long for Civ IV.

Re:Civ Disease (1)

LowneWulf (210110) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668195)

This was released in a special Civ3 collector's edition with a video about the making of Civ3.

The answer is yes.

I believe it involved realising it was 3 in the morning, that the Aztecs were never going to crumble, and completely forgetting what bug they were looking to reproduce.

Extensibility (5, Interesting)

Frac (27516) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668157)

With Civilization IV being so flexible and moddable, do you see a Civilization V in the future? Or do you see IV becoming a platform where new content become expansion pack, just like The Sims franchise?

Family Gaming (5, Interesting)

carambola5 (456983) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668165)

Growing up, playing games with the family meant getting out classic boardgames like Monopoly, Risk, etc. The Civilization games seem like a prime candidate for breaking into the family-game-playing field. What, if any, steps has your team taken to bring your game(s) to the level of "game night with the kids?" What technologies, such as display and control, need to be developed before such an environment is realized?

Re:Family Gaming (1)

DJNephilim (832695) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668257)

Umm...there is a Civ board game you can buy. Saw it just the other day at the Discovery Channel Store.

Politics... (5, Interesting)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668168)

How much will CiV4 use political shifts in countries as a cyclical change in approaches (e.g. new democratic leader with a different political alignment will form different alliances).

Use of Python as a modding language (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13668179)

Civilization IV will use the Python programming language for modding purposes. It is not the only recent game to use it; the Battlefield 2 developers have followed the same path. Is this a coincidence? Why have you chosen Python over other languages, such as C or Perl for example?

How much is Sid involved? (5, Interesting)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668184)

It seems like every sequel that comes out Sid is less and less involved in the product. How much is Sid involved in 4? Does he help code? Help design? Help produce? Or stamp his name on the finished product?

No bad vibes, meant to the Gaming God... just curious how involved he is with the 5th (counting "Alpha Centauri") cantation of his classic...

Unmoddable parts and Multiplayer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13668188)

I have a two-parter. Which parts of Civ IV *will not* be moddable? And also, from my (extensive heh) reading, I'm concerned that there will be no way to play modded multiplayer games. Is that the case? As a developer myself, I can see why you'd want to avoid that can of worms altogether - but which methods have you considered (if any) to allow for multiplayer mods?

Why to purchase (4, Interesting)

jkmartin (816458) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668194)

What was done wrong or poorly in Civilization and its numerous sequels and expansion packs that is being addressed now and provide a compelling reason to purchase Civilization 4?

Other games in the genre. (1)

Luke727 (547923) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668199)

How does it feel to have you ass handed to you by the Age of Empires series?

LOL @ captcha == "cities"

freeciv.org - opensource civ (1, Offtopic)

Lord Satri (609291) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668211)

Well, someone had to provide this link :-)

http://freeciv.org/ [freeciv.org]

Ok, graphics are not are great, but the gameplay is still interesting :-)
Opensource, of course.

Re:freeciv.org - opensource civ (1)

Mr Guy (547690) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668454)

Nonsense, the graphics are perfect for a STRATEGY GAME. You can tell the difference, at a glance, between the peices and which player they belong to. What else do you need, graphic wise?

The emphasis on 3D graphics is more of a warning to me that the gameplay will probably have problems.

Python questions (1)

mrseigen (518390) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668220)

What version of Python are you using? Is it a mainstream distribution or one of the performance-oriented distros like Stackless?

Time Delays (4, Insightful)

ranton (36917) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668246)

In Civ III there were unmanageable time delays in between each turn at the mid-late stages of the game. If you played on a large or huge world, it could take five minutes or more for the AI to complete its turn. And you couldnt just go and eat a sandwitch, because there would be prompts along the way for diplomacy and such that you had to be ready to click on. Is this new version of Civilization going to run faster, even on non top of the line computers?

Mac version? (2, Insightful)

Naum (166466) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668255)

Or is it suited for single platform (Win OS) only?

Multiplatform development has been wildly successful for Blizzard, it would profit Civ IV.

Re:Mac version? (1)

Radres (776901) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668477)

I call troll. Civilization is one of the most popular games ever, and it only makes sense that they release a Mac version. [apple.com] It may be slightly delayed after the PC version, but I see no reason why they wouldn't follow suit with Civ4 for Mac.

How customisable? (5, Interesting)

m50d (797211) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668264)

Civ3 was wonderfully customisable as long as you were sticking with a civ-type game, but even basic reaching beyond this ran into trouble, e.g. I found no way to get the map generator to have different weighting of tile types, or extend the number of varieties beyond the land/sea split. Have all these kind of limitations been removed? How possible is a total conversion? What about conversions to a different game type?

3D Modeling (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13668277)

Will modders be able to create and modify the 3D models used in Civ4? If not, the modding will be somewhat limited (although the Python scripting and XML based configuration will be great). As I understand it, there are no open-source or free tools for modding the NIF 3D models used by the new version of Gamebryo, which Civ4 is using. With closed-source 3D models, no creating your own units or modding the look of existing ones. Maybe there's a tool in the SDK? What's in that SDK anyway?

Civ Economy (5, Interesting)

reynard_ze_fox (831911) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668279)

Do you have any plans to include other means of warfare, such as economic warfare and the use of interest rates, bonds, companies and good old fashioned money to conquer? It could add another layer of depth once players approach the modern age.

Imagine a small country becoming a trading / banking power, sort of like the Dutch (minus the whole tulip fiasco), or Switzerland, countries that can buy their immunity and economically dominate other countries.

Just a thought...

Re:Civ Economy (0, Flamebait)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668565)

Don't forget to add features like securing contracts for your cronies to make money from reconstructing defeating countries, placating your oil hungry population by securing and maintaining oil pipelines that span potentially hostile countries, the ability to impose forms of government and constitutions on nations you invade and manipulating the media in your own country to gain support for overseas actions that might otherwise lower the morale of your population.

Massively Multiplayer Civ (1)

neo (4625) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668281)

What would be required to make this version of Civ Massively Multiplayer, with expansive lands and server hooks for 10,000 players per game?

Re:Massively Multiplayer Civ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13668492)

Did you ever PLAY civ? Even the original Civ could take anywhere from 6 to > 24 hours of gameplay to finish - and that's with one player making changes and decisions. You'd have to sacrifice the gameplay entirely to do something like that. Like WoW, they killed their RTS roots and plucked characters from the series to give a familiar cast, unfortunately Civ only used world leaders, so it would be more like "History of the World Part 4" or something.

I get dibs on the first raid to kill Gandhi and his Peacemaker entourage.

Do you think 3D graphics will enhance gameplay? (5, Interesting)

Anubis333 (103791) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668288)

As a long time Civ player, I would have to say that I really didn't understand why it moved to 3D graphics. The 3D rendered sprites weren't really comparable to the 2d artwork, and it didn't really feel like a needed addition. Will having the engine be entirely 3D actually add to the gameplay in any way, other than have objects occlude one another?

When I say 'add to the gameplay' I mean, add to the game experience in a way 2D sprites couldn't. For example: Physics, multipls views, wind, etc.. (I have only really seen the 3D globe, and like the idea)

As a 3D game developer, I have seen so many of my favorite games rehashed into 3D versions just because the developers thought that a 2D sprite-based game cannot make it in this market, and that annoys me. From Pirates! to Monkey Island, it seems developers would rather make a 3D game without any real need for 3D art or gameplay elements. Do you feel this pressure, or do you feel that a 3D game is inherently better because it has a new dimention? (Even if it still has the same locked off camera angle and usually poorer quality art assets)

Re:Do you think 3D graphics will enhance gameplay? (2, Interesting)

stretch0611 (603238) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668485)

I Agree. I am an oldtime gamer now. I want to know what game play enhancements you are creating. I am not interested in how the new version is pretty and uses 3d graphics. What are you doing to the underlying game to get me addicted to it?

Religion (2, Insightful)

karvind (833059) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668299)

From an earlier IGN article [ign.com] : The first Civilization to discover a technology attached to the founding of a religion will establish a holy city for that religion and it will begin to spread, although slowly. To speed up the process, you can create missionaries and send them out to try to convert other cities. Also, just like the Civics, AI leaders may try to get you to convert to their religion.

My question: I have recently adopted Pastafarian [wikipedia.org] and would like to know if Civ 4 will support it ?

Master of Magic (1)

Rocko Bonaparte (562051) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668311)

I'm curious if this new framework will make the game moddable something that plays like Master of Magic. I'm sure they don't want to get into any legal trouble with their claims, so I'll be a little more vague. Could it be readily feasible to have a spellbook to perform various affects from both combat and the overland map? Can the way combat is done be overhauled so that stacks of units can be controlled in a separate combat setting?

Empire (0)

Urusai (865560) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668313)

I used to play (in fact I'd hacked the dox check of) an old game called Empire circa 1989. The original Civilization's core gameplay appears to be copied directly from Empire. When Civ came out, I said to myself, "This is Empire done up right." Is it true that Civ is basically just a pimped up version of Empire?

Which user-requested features? (3, Insightful)

jiawen (693693) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668319)

Which user-requested features are you implementing?

One of the things I've wanted most is the ability to name geographical features (Commander Taco Mountain, The River Sid, etc.). This is helpful both aesthetically and practically. Any chance of such an improvement in Civ IV?

I hope that rivers make more sense generally -- i.e., movement by river should be faster than overland. The model in Civ III leads to explorers going from mountaintop to mountaintop, which is not at all historically accurate.

Oh, also -- any chance you'd be willing to pay for a new computer for me, so I can actually run the game?

System Requirements (1)

oliana (181649) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668324)

The posted requirements from here [softpedia.com] list the following requirements:
In an interview for StrategyInformer, a 2K Games representative stated that the minimum requirements will be: 1GHz processor, 256MB of RAM and a video card with T&L support.
The recommended requirements are: Pentium 4 processor, 512 MB RAM and a video card with performances as good as ATI's Radeon 9800.
In this version will there be methods of turning off the new and fabulous looking, but inevitably cpu/gpu killer graphics and animations so that mere mortals can play this on their current PC?

CLR Script Engine (1)

JoelMartinez (916445) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668329)

Wondering if you guys ever considered using .NET as the scripting language (potentially using mono for cross platform ... ness). For background, see what the second life guys are doing with it [blogs.com]

Re:CLR Script Engine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13668523)

More formally:

Why Python? Why not .NET, Java, Ruby, Lua, etc? What are the pros and cons that Python brings to the table?

what was the worst technology decision you made? (5, Interesting)

Surt (22457) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668333)

And what would you do differently if you could go back and reverse that decision?

Working with Sid (5, Interesting)

Avacar (911548) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668356)

As the Dev Team, how do you feel working with Sid? Did you play his games before you became a game developer? If so, do you feel intimidated working with an icon of the industry? Were you part of Sid's original team? If so, how has project management changed throughout the years on his projects?

One Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13668380)

Why Python over Ruby?

Please make a short mode game (3, Interesting)

spicydragonz (837027) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668409)

Is there any plan for a short form game? It would be nice if i could sit down and finish an entire game in 1-2 hours instead of many many hours.

Re:Please make a short mode game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13668463)

There is a short-game option. And a medium length, and a long length.

This is the best listing of game details I've seen to date.

http://www.civfanatics.com/civ4/info/ [civfanatics.com]

Terrorism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13668429)

In light of recent world events, will some form of terrorism be included in the game?

Re:Terrorism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13668594)

Terrorism was already in the game, albeit state terrorism. You could blow up cities' improvements or poison its poor citizens.

Obligatory Bash Zonk Thread Here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13668431)

For all you whiney little fucktards.

civ2 - civ4 (5, Interesting)

N3wsByt3 (758224) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668442)

As many, I started with civ1, which was a nice game, for its time. I simply adored civ2, which I have played over and over again, and it continues - even today - to be a game I (re)play now and then. This may seem as no big deal, until one realises I have *never* felt an urge to repeatedly play a game several times; mostly I play it once through, and I'm rather bored by it, be it an RPG, a first-person-shooter, or a strategic oriented game - which usually I like the most and on average I play 3-4 times. After a while, *no* game can hold my interest I've noticed, the notable exeption being civ2.

Alas...when civ3 came out, it didn't do it for me. Despite the poor graphics compared to civ3, I still prefer civ2. It's not easy to put the finger on the the reason why, but I suspect it's because civ3 has become a bit *too* complex. It's all very nice to have borders of influence, and insurgents in cities, and elaborate negotiation...but, somehow, I find civ2 is just easier and more fun to play. Sometimes, one just wants to 'go for it', without all the extra complexity. Now, will it be possible to play Civ4 in a 'easy' mode, which makes it more simple and user-friendly according to the lines (and rules) of civ2? I really think such a 'easy' setting would be greatly appreciated by those who want less complexity, and more simple, user-friendly gameplay.
Alternatively, will you place the civ2 game (and engine) under the GPL or similar licence, so people might freely hack and expand on that?

Mandatory ... (2, Insightful)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668474)

After the Ubisoft PR department pretending to be the dev team:

  "Is this really the developer team answering these questions?" ;)

Responsibility for user-created mods? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13668500)

Recently, there was the big furore over the "hot coffee" mod for GTA, resulting in the game being taken off the shelves and recoded, and a patch being issued to invalidate the mod. Although the data was already in the game, and the mod only made it accessible, this has still had the apparent fallout amongst the general public and the government of making it seem as though developers are responsible for the actions they allow modders to make to their game.

Your game looks to be one of the most modable games ever, and presumably it's possible to make an offensive mod with it (for a given value of offensive.) Are you worried about possible ramifications of modders actions with your title, have you taken any action to limit potentially offensive content within your mod, and what are your feelings on the issue as a whole?

(Posting as anonymous coward because I've been IP banned for way over a year, and had no response to e-mails regarding the issue.)

Tedium (1)

Beetle B. (516615) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668525)

Does Civ IV solve the tedium of moving a huge number of troops from one place to another? That seemed to plague all the three previous Civilizations...

Portability (4, Interesting)

Parity (12797) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668530)

On my Linux box, I have the Firaxis game 'Alpha Centauri', ported by Loki Games. (As far as I know, Alpha Centauri is the only Firaxis game that runs on any non-Microsoft platform.) While any game could eventually be ported to any platform, choosing to use traditional sockets for networks and OpenGL for graphics and so on will make such action significantly smoother, and I believe is a strong consideration in choosing games for the Linux porting houses. Is there any thought going into portable design, any plan to release on any operating system other than Windows, and in particular, any plan - or thought of - releasing on Linux?

Can we "flag" points on the map? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13668547)

I agree with another poster above...

I'd like not only the ability to name geographical locations (like Salty Dog Sea or Cmdr Taco Mt.) but similar to SimCity 3K be able to plant named flags -- that the other players don't see, of course -- so that I can remember my strategy when I come back to the game. Kind of like you see in old movies where the Generals are discussing their war strategy.

For example, it would be really nice to be able to put a pin onto the map and label it "objective 3 - after tanks invented" or "Don't forget to reinforce here from London".

That way I could take a break, eat some food, get some sleep.... heck even wait for the next weekend. That would go such a long way towards convincing my wife I wasn't obsessed.

Modability / Portability (1)

plaisted (449711) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668555)

I understand there are 4 levels of "modability" - The world editor, editing XML configuration files, editing the game logic in python, and modifying the AI via an SDK.

I am wondering exactly how much of the game logic is written in python. What will the limitations be when we are modifying python scripts. Could we do something like add a fourth resource type (in addition to gold, hammers, and food)?

Also, if all of the game logic is written in python, would this make it easier to port Civ IV to a platform such as the Nintendo DS? This is something I would really love to see.

Thanks,
Daniel Plaisted

Building off of existing work (1)

ChefAndCoder (902506) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668558)

When it came to Civ 4, did you decide to write the entire system from scratch or did you build off of parts (or all) of Civ 3?

If you did have to throw out a substantial part of the original code base, how did you go about deciding what was worth keeping and what needed substantial reworking?

Classic modes (5, Interesting)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668564)

With the extreme modability will we be able to get classic modes of play?

for example will I be able to play Civ 1,2 or 3, and not just their rules, but their units, tech trees and civilipedia?

Will this be provided or will it (if possible) have to be user add-ons?

If they are user add-ons will the team help a serious community effort to help them get the propper algorythems for combat resolution and what not (so our precious bomber can still be killed by the phalax that walks away undamaged)?

Is this one question? I think it counts as such.

Groups of units (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13668586)

Will there be any method of creating a group of units that move together. I'm thinking about assigning a military unit to travel with a non-combat unit. You could have a group of workers building a road with infantry to defend them, or control a fleet of transports and warships as if they were one unit.

Micromanaging large numbers of units bores or frustrates me (depending on my mood) and limits the amount of time I can continue playing in the medium to late parts of the game. I have never completed Alpha Centauri or Civ 3 because of this.

Civ IV as Novel (1)

rzed (918612) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668628)

Playing a solitaire version of Civ is like reading an interactive novel, one where the player can affect the storyline, but not in all ways. With enhanced scripting, will it be possible to * change point of view? * bring about unplanned upheavals (civil war, natural disasters, famine, etc.) in the player's (or opponents') territories? * account for sudden dynastic changes (forcing political and cultural revolutions, say)? ... these things would make playing the game more like *writing* a novel, another step forward.

Other views / tiles (1)

Juiblex (561985) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668639)

I heard it will be very extensible. Will there be support to plain 2D top-view graphics (something like a "classic"-mode), maybe even non-isometric? Sometimes the 3D graphics is too distracting from the gameplay... Also, will there be support for hexagonal tiles?

Macro and Micro Management (5, Interesting)

kenp2002 (545495) | more than 8 years ago | (#13668641)

How, in constrast to how Masters of Orion 3, will the Civ team be addressing macro and micro management aspects of the game? RTS games are forced to place heavy consideration into managing in real time units and control and the scope of an RTS prevents a snowball effect. Turned based games become burdened by logistical considerations as a result of not having that same focus on micromanagment. Managing 55 workers in Civ3 along with 35 cities becomes a logistical nightmare when governor AI doesn't learn from your play style. Directing 22 to build 13 fortresses across a continent while running rail lines to each with production queues rallied to those location but only to a max of 25 units per fortress ares and having to manually intercept an invading force resultsed in a single turn while playing Civ3 that took 2 weeks to process (thats 2 weeks of play time. It actually took about 2 months to move to the next turn.) Additionally having a stack of 75 units attack a city is a rather dull event, even worse when the computer attacks.

Ken's Rule of Gaming: Complexity in feature should be inversly proportional to the amount of player control.

The more complex a process is in real life, the less direct control a person has, this is what MOO3 tried to resolve.

MOO3 was a real shock to many players but once you learned to let go of micromanagment the game becomes rather plesant and suprising. A good contrast is what Sim City is To Civilization as Civilization is to M003.

Which Direction is Civ4 taking?
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