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The History of Civilization

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the canon-with-cannons dept.

Games 106

You may recall back in March, when a group of smart folks got together to form a game canon. They essentially nominated the ten most important games, ever. Gamasutra has begun a series of articles which will explore the storied history of each of these titles, and they've started with Sim Meier's Civilization series. Benj Edwards' history of Civilization begins with a rundown on the series itself, and wraps with a lengthy Sid Meier interview. Required reading, essentially. "Meier [is] comfortable with a legacy inextricably tied to Civilization: 'I think that if that's what's on my epitaph, "Did Civilization," that would be fine.' In musing about the fate of his beloved series, Meier finds himself satisfied with what the future might hold for the franchise: 'There's probably somebody getting ready for their first day of college that's probably going to be a part of Civilization in ten to fifteen years from now. I think it'll be around for quite a while.'"

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The History of Civilization (5, Funny)

GrayCalx (597428) | more than 7 years ago | (#19903891)

I believe Douglas Adams said it best...

"In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry, and is generally considered to have been a bad move."

Re:The History of Civilization (1)

Hangin10 (704729) | more than 7 years ago | (#19904013)

Damn right, it really pissed me off. I sent them an angry letter.

Re:The History of Civilization (2, Informative)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 7 years ago | (#19904677)

The ver excellent Civilization strategy guide "Civilization, or Rome on 640K per day" or something to that effect, had a section on modding the game.

One of the mods was editing the text that was part of the opening cinematic, and the example the guy used was, in part that very sequence, as well as the digital watches bit.

Just The History of Civilization I (2, Informative)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 7 years ago | (#19904847)

They only make slanting references to Civ II onward. No mention of the fact that Civ spawned an entire user community, a complete user created manual on the early internet describing all the intricacies of the game and "cheats" (utilizing bugs) that could stretch the game score far beyond what was envisioned.

Then there's the entire segment of history regarding CivNet, the user community generated effort driven by the fact there would be no Civ II originally. Or the fact that CivNet's efforts were wrapped into Civ II. There's a whole set of firsts buried in that time period that probably deserve mention. Civ was the first computer game I'm aware of that spawned such a large and intense interest in it that a user community spawned up around it that also culminated in new code being written.

Re:The History of Civilization (1)

njfuzzy (734116) | more than 7 years ago | (#19904771)

I prefer Neil Gaiman's (I think) version: "In the beginning, there was nothing. Then the Lord said 'Let there be light'-- and there was still nothing, but you could see it."

Re:The History of Civilization (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 7 years ago | (#19911779)

"In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry, and is generally considered to have been a bad move."

In Civ 1, we replaced its original creation text ("the earth was without form and void" etc) with quotes from Douglas Adams. Worked very well.

Re:The History of Civilization (1)

mike2R (721965) | more than 7 years ago | (#19911913)

We Apologise For The Inconvenience

Just one question Mr Meier... (4, Funny)

HexRei (515117) | more than 7 years ago | (#19903967)

All I want to know is how the damn Zulu spearman could possibly defeat ALL my tanks. HOW!?!?!?

Re:Just one question Mr Meier... (2, Funny)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 7 years ago | (#19904163)

Any Italians here that can answer that question?

Re:Just one question Mr Meier... (5, Funny)

uberjoe (726765) | more than 7 years ago | (#19904197)

All I want to know is how the damn Zulu spearman could possibly defeat ALL my tanks. HOW!?!?!?

That's easy, hundreds of them getting squashed gum up the treads immobilizing the tank. From there hundreds more take turns sticking their spears down the barrel of the turret causing the tank crew to expend all their ammo unclogging the main gun. Then its only a small matter of blocking the air vents of the tank with zebra skins and elephant dung and waiting for the crew to asphyxiate.

Re:Just one question Mr Meier... (4, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905291)

All I want to know is how the damn Zulu spearman could possibly defeat ALL my tanks. HOW!?!?!?
That's easy, hundreds of them getting squashed gum up the treads immobilizing the tank. From there hundreds more take turns sticking their spears down the barrel of the turret causing the tank crew to expend all their ammo unclogging the main gun. Then its only a small matter of blocking the air vents of the tank with zebra skins and elephant dung and waiting for the crew to asphyxiate.
Ok, Mr. Smart Guy, now explain how the spearman shot down my stealth bomber.

Re:Just one question Mr Meier... (4, Funny)

east coast (590680) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905341)

Ok, Mr. Smart Guy, now explain how the spearman shot down my stealth bomber.

Two words: Cheerleader pyramid.

Re:Just one question Mr Meier... (4, Funny)

Belacgod (1103921) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905383)

Seen Black Hawk Down? What I want to know is how that phalanx sank my battleship.

Re:Just one question Mr Meier... (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905799)

Seen Black Hawk Down? What I want to know is how that phalanx sank my battleship.
Pretty sneaky, sis.

Re:Just one question Mr Meier... (1)

Slider451 (514881) | more than 7 years ago | (#19906421)

You're thinking of Connect Four.

Re:Just one question Mr Meier... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19907345)

... Phalanx likes to take a swim every now and then?

Re:Just one question Mr Meier... (1)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 7 years ago | (#19910207)

B5 was a hit.

Re:Just one question Mr Meier... (1)

bentcd (690786) | more than 7 years ago | (#19912585)

What I want to know is how that phalanx sank my battleship.
The ship ran aground while maneuvering to set up the barrage.

Re:Just one question Mr Meier... (1)

CthulhuDreamer (844223) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905661)

In Martin Caiden's "Dark Messiah", a primitive African tribe knocks down a helicopter gunship squadron using hundreds of giant crossbows. Since the stealth aren't armored, they should be even more vulnerable to giant crossbow bolts than the helicopters.

Re:Just one question Mr Meier... (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905767)

In Martin Caiden's "Dark Messiah", a primitive African tribe knocks down a helicopter gunship squadron using hundreds of giant crossbows. Since the stealth aren't armored, they should be even more vulnerable to giant crossbow bolts than the helicopters.
I bet they would be even more vulnerable to giant catapult boulders. The question is, would they really be flying so low and what are the odds of hitting them?

Re:Just one question Mr Meier... (1)

NeilTheStupidHead (963719) | more than 7 years ago | (#19906981)

Attack and stealth reconnaissance helicopters frequently fly and hover very low to the ground to remain hidden. I can't speak to the odds of hitting one, but I think it might be possible, if unlikely.

Re:Just one question Mr Meier... (3, Insightful)

uberjoe (726765) | more than 7 years ago | (#19906327)

Ok, Mr. Smart Guy, now explain how the spearman shot down my stealth bomber.

OK here goes. It's not a matter of the spearman actually shooting down the stealth bomber. Rather the stealth bomber 'rolls a 1' to put it in RPG context. He fumbles. Catastrophic engine failure, the bomb fail to explode, or they explode in while still in the bay, etc. The spearman doesn't take down the plane, the plane just utterly fails.

Sorry, I can't have a cute/funny explanation all the time. I tried to come up with one but I'm tired.

Re:Just one question Mr Meier... (1)

bentcd (690786) | more than 7 years ago | (#19912561)

Ok, Mr. Smart Guy, now explain how the spearman shot down my stealth bomber.
Technical malfunction. Happens all the time.

Re:Just one question Mr Meier... (1)

steveo777 (183629) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913095)

The very essence of "Built By the Lowest Bidder" combined with Zulu efficiency.

Re:Just one question Mr Meier... (0, Troll)

IrquiM (471313) | more than 7 years ago | (#19904253)

Maybe they were made in France?

Re:Just one question Mr Meier... (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#19904259)

Ask the North Vietnamese.

Besides, that's what you get for not softening them up with artillery first.

Re:Just one question Mr Meier... (1)

Trent Hawkins (1093109) | more than 7 years ago | (#19904493)

Magic? They seem to be able to thwart not only F-22s, helicopters and tanks but have been known to eat nuclear ICBMs for breakfast.

Re:Just one question Mr Meier... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19905255)

The spearmen probably had a piece of Voldemort's soul in them, letting them sacrifice themselves Lilly-Potter style to defeat Voldemort without dying for good. Wait, no, that was Harry in Book 7. I always get him mixed up with Zulu spearmen.

Re:Just one question Mr Meier... (1)

SpottedKuh (855161) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905389)

All I want to know is how the damn Zulu spearman could possibly defeat ALL my tanks. HOW!?!?!?


Unfortunately, this isn't just a problem in Civ. I was playing Rise of Nations the other day, and had a very similar experience. I watched in awe as an archer sunk a missile cruiser that was sitting just off shore. Why is fixing this such an issue in all of these historical RTS or strategy games?

Re:Just one question Mr Meier... (2, Interesting)

SEE (7681) | more than 7 years ago | (#19907889)

Why is fixing this such an issue in all of these historical RTS or strategy games?
It's an inherently difficult problem to scale things so near-tech-level rivals have approximately correct interactions while zeroing the chance against far-tech-level opponents. You need lots of special-case rules to handle interactions; numerical "unit strength" values and formulas don't work. Call it the "Hot Lead" problem, because it was bedeviling Steve Jackson long before any of these computer games came along.

Re:Just one question Mr Meier... (2, Funny)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 7 years ago | (#19909033)

It's an inherently difficult problem to scale things so near-tech-level rivals have approximately correct interactions while zeroing the chance against far-tech-level opponents.

World of Warcraft has an extremely effective way of dealing with a similar problem.

If you are significantly lower level than an opponent there is no way at all that any number of you will do any damage at all to an opponent. When the level difference is in the tens its pretty well impossible to harm them.

In the case of the spearmen though, there may be a reasonable argument;

Those 'phalanx' units that survived until the 20th century do not represent spear-wielding bronze-age warriors somehow mystically frozen in time or some kind of 'ceremonial unit' whose methods and equipment have been preserved in the name of tradition.

It may be presumed that their personnel and gear have been upgraded in the intervening centuries. It might be more of a SWAT team (for want of a better analogy right this minute) by the time it goes up against the missile cruiser. And, yes, I'd give a SWAT team *some* chance of taking out a missile cruiser.

Re:Just one question Mr Meier... (2, Informative)

drsquare (530038) | more than 7 years ago | (#19910679)

But Civ 1 has more modern units like riflemen and mechanised infantry. Phalanxes aren't upgraded, they stay exactly as they are.

Re:Just one question Mr Meier... (2, Interesting)

a_ghostwheel (699776) | more than 7 years ago | (#19911135)

For those of us who old enough to remember Galaxy e-mail based game (and other variants like VGA Planets and Galaxy Plus): when ship had offence 4 times opponent defense it meant automatic kill (and when defender had defense 4 times greater than opponent offense attack did absolutely nothing). And this was long before even Civ 1.

I am not sure why such logic was not included into Civ. Personally, I am going with "catastrophic failure" explanation given by somebody above.

Re:Just one question Mr Meier... (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913693)

Maybe they're somewhat realistic, but the odds are a bit off. If a butterfly flapping it's wings can start a hurricane on the other side of the world, there's no reason that a spearman throwing a spear can't sink a battleship nearby.

Re:Just one question Mr Meier... (1)

ggKimmieGal (982958) | more than 7 years ago | (#19906005)

The Zulus are tricky, but it's Montezuma you've really got to watch out for. He just loves to back stab you.

Damn you, Sid! (4, Funny)

Fyz (581804) | more than 7 years ago | (#19904183)

There's probably someone just starting out in college who will be there for the next ten to fifteen years because of Civilization!

Re:Damn you, Sid! (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905343)

Mod parent +1 insightful. I thank God that I didn't find out about Civ until right at the end of my college career. My friends and I used to take "Civ" days instead of sick days. Those were the days we'd call in sick to work because we'd been up all night playing Civ. Now I play on lunchtime and a turn or two at night on a PBEM game. Just enough to feed the addiction!

Re:Damn you, Sid! (1)

WhatHappenedToTanith (1126905) | more than 7 years ago | (#19908055)

Sounds like some people need the Civ Anonymous support group at http://www.civanon.org/ [civanon.org] !

Celebrate Diversity (0, Troll)

heauxmeaux (869966) | more than 7 years ago | (#19904205)

Go Fuck Yourself!

The History of Civilization (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19904291)

That's easy!

1. Build an army
2. ???
3. Profit!

Shouldn't smart people know what a "canon" is? (3, Insightful)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 7 years ago | (#19904375)

You may recall back in March, when a group of smart folks got together to form a game canon. They essentially nominated the ten most important games, ever.


Shouldn't smart people know what a "canon" is? (Or is "smart folks" a knock on their intelligence to begin with?)

http://www.google.com/search?num=20&hl=en&safe=off &defl=en&q=define:canon&sa=X&oi=glossary_definitio n&ct=title [google.com]

(In other words, 10 specific games cannot be a "canon", unless you are saying that these games are a "bible" and all other games are heresy. 10 specific game design principles, however...)

Words mean whatever I want them to mean. (1, Insightful)

FatSean (18753) | more than 7 years ago | (#19904497)

I think it is delightfully ironic that a religious term is having it's meaning twisted to further a secular goal.

Considering how religious people have been claiming their own definitions for well-established words these past few decades...

Re:Words mean whatever I want them to mean. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19905029)

Get off of your wanna-be high horse. There's nothing insightful about your post; how is the term "canon" having its (no apostrophe, faggot) meaning twisted to further a secular goal?

Oh, it's not. That's right. Fuck you.

Re:Words mean whatever I want them to mean. (1)

neomunk (913773) | more than 7 years ago | (#19912881)

Oh look, the Anonymous Fucktard rides again!

Dripping with incorrectness and obnoxiousness, the Anonymous Fucktard is sure to bring you a laugh, or at least a derisive snort.

Re:Words mean whatever I want them to mean. (1)

steveo777 (183629) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913739)

Canon has ment this since about 327AD when the Bible was canonized with all its current texts. Not sure what it would have meant before that, but it's also used in music and composition. There could be a connection there. Perhaps you're thinking of 'cannon'? Any other words have been used by the religious that were 'well-established'?

Religion redefines words. 'Marriage' for example. (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 7 years ago | (#19917669)

Of course many groups do it...we nerds are sticklers for accuracy...hence the angst over 'hacker'/'cracker'.

Marriage...? (1)

steveo777 (183629) | more than 7 years ago | (#19919315)

I understand that angst about "hacker/cracker". One deals with computers, the other is a white guy. I kid, I kid...

The word 'marriage' has been around since the 12th century AD or so. It was developed within the Church, and has since then up until recently meant the union of a man and woman. It's only in the recent decades that people have tried to instill the word 'marriage' with ambiguity.

The idea of all sorts of partnerships, life arrangements and what have you has been around since a social stratum was built. You know, back in the day when a caveman would hit a cavewoman on the head with a club, and drag her away and keep her all to himself.

Re:Shouldn't smart people know what a "canon" is? (1)

Perseid (660451) | more than 7 years ago | (#19904579)

Game Canon. Isn't that a new unit in the new expansion?

Re:Shouldn't smart people know what a "canon" is? (1)

Seraphim1982 (813899) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905043)

Neither a film canon nor a literary canon have anything to do with a "bible", so why should a game canon?

The Answer (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905271)

Neither a film canon nor a literary canon have anything to do with a "bible", so why should a game canon?


First, film or literary canons are specific to a particular author/artist, genre, era, geographic region, etc.

Second, film or literary canons do not arbitrarily limit themselves to "10 items"; they instead include as many as are required to provide a well-rounded assortment of high-quality examples of the film or literature of the particular author/artist, genre, era, geographic region, etc.

Re:Shouldn't smart people know what a "canon" is? (2, Informative)

disassembled (977342) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905351)

The term "canon" is used in literature to describe a generally-accepted set of "great" literary works, and it makes perfect sense to extend this concept to games.

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

Perhaps next time you'll educate yourself (or at least read your own link) before denigrating others!

Re:Shouldn't smart people know what a "canon" is? (1)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905689)

The idea is to establish a level of quality which other works can either reach or not (thus deciding whether they will join the "canon").

I think 10 is an arbitrary number but you need to be arbitrary in deciding such a cut off so it's a good start, pretty soon other people will bring up games of a similar quality which they think should be included, some will be included other's won't.

That's the purpose, to establish a baseline level of quality for "excellent", "provocative" and "insightful" games.

This is not the bible in that other works CAN be added, this is just establishing a sense of quality to which games will hopefully aspire in the future.

I think Quake 1 is a great game, it's fast paced and the 1 on 1 elements are as deep as chess (I play both quite well)... but I don't think it falls under gaming "canon." They are trying to help people make this distinction. While you might think this is a clear distinction, I imagine your perceptions are probably quite different from that of others.

That is the purpose of a "canon", to coalesce a standard of judging and expose people to games widely considered to be high quality (so they know what their personal preferences are being judged against).

Mod parent down, mod siblings up (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 7 years ago | (#19912033)

Shouldn't smart people know what a "canon" is?

Smart people know "canon" has more meanings than the one you know about.

I generally don't like people complaining about weird modding on slashdot, but this time the ignorant post got modded up to +5 insightful, and the insightful/informative posts didn't get modded up at all. Read this message's siblings for more details.

The real Sid Meier? (4, Funny)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 7 years ago | (#19904391)

Or did they interview the robotic dopelganger, Sim Meier? Not Sid Meier, but an incredible simulation.

Re:The real Sid Meier? (1)

PixelScuba (686633) | more than 7 years ago | (#19908707)

Will Wright is working on that for his next game. You have to live the life of a video game designer who makes turn based strategy games. You start out in the 80s making EGA games, then you learn and research VGA graphics, Pentium chips, 3d Accelerators, and then you start new companies and then get contracted to make games for your former employers.

Ultimate Civilization (2, Interesting)

Yold (473518) | more than 7 years ago | (#19904461)

I can't wait until you can build and empire over 2000 years, and then walk through the streets ala GTA3. Maybe steals some cars and hit some pedestrians too, it would probably be straight if you didn' build the courthouse improvement.

Re:Ultimate Civilization (4, Interesting)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#19904639)

You know, I've given some thought to a game like that. You know the 'great people' of Civ IV? What if, to gain the benefits of a great person, you had to play that person and complete a short RPG style quest in the civilization you've created? Like the 'Rush Hour' expansion to Sim City 4, where you can gain cash, popularity, and other benefits from completing driving missions.

Re:Ultimate Civilization (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19905061)

I think that a game that can take you from civ level, down to RTS, down to FPS, would be incredibly interesting.

Re:Ultimate Civilization (3, Interesting)

HoboCop (987492) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905421)

I really like this sort of idea, but taken a bit further out. A game like civ, that creates content, for another game, like WOW or another MMORPG/RPG/ or even FPS. With the right kind of infrastructure and reporting / management tools. It's a neverending cycle of content and players that can evolve together. I think some games are drifting towards this, but I don't think anyone has seen the really big picture yet. Couple this with some good competition, prizes, and a serious rendering engine, and you have a reality-based TV show on top of it. It's all technically possible today, there just needs to be a visionary to put it all together in a way that pleases the masses, and caters to different groups of people with different wants. You get something for the hardcore gamer, something for the creative (and/or technical) gamer, and something for the casuals too.

Re:Ultimate Civilization (1)

Evangelion (2145) | more than 7 years ago | (#19907207)

And then we can finally accomplish our goal of building virtual cities in the shape of a giant wang [penny-arcade.com] .

Re:Ultimate Civilization (1)

Zarhan (415465) | more than 7 years ago | (#19907267)

Such things have been done before, see

http://free-game-downloads.mosw.com/abandonware/pc /strategy_games/games_q_r/rules_of_engagement_2.ht ml [mosw.com]

Basically Breach series was tactical combat like UFO/X-Com or Laser Squad, and Rules of Engagement was tactical space combat - two completely independent games.

Well, install'em both and you get the boarding party sequences (capturing starships) from RoE to play through in Breach.

I do wish this was used more often elsewhere, definitely.

Re:Ultimate Civilization (5, Funny)

roystgnr (4015) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905895)

What if, to gain the benefits of a great person, you had to play that person and complete a short RPG style quest in the civilization you've created?

Yes, that would certainly fix my number one complaint about Civilization: it's not time-consuming enough.

Re:Ultimate Civilization (1)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#19906437)

My number one complaint is that it isn't addictive enough. I mean, to my knowledge no one has ever actually died from starvation or dehydration while playing Civ. We need to combine it with an MMORPG and a collectible trading card game. That should have players dropping like flies.

Just, you know, doing my part to combat overpopulation.

Re:Ultimate Civilization (1)

stephencrane (771345) | more than 7 years ago | (#19909047)

That, my dear chap, is the funniest thing I've read in a long time. :) j.b.

Re:Ultimate Civilization (1)

PatientZero (25929) | more than 7 years ago | (#19911949)

I laughed so hard, I spit up yesterday's milk. And yes, I just spent the last four hours playing cIV.

Re:Ultimate Civilization (1)

Gospodin (547743) | more than 7 years ago | (#19907037)

Interesting.

Personally, I would hate this. Civilization is (to my mind) a strategy game with a large-scale strategic focus and, furthermore, an open-ended strategy. That is, there are almost no "wrong moves." But quests are closed-ended with fixed goals, which completely reverses the Civ paradigm. I don't think they would mix well.

Re:Ultimate Civilization (1)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#19907223)

I had originally thought of this in the context of adding civ or sim like elements to an MMORPG. Then I thought about a game where you play the ruler of a noble house, not quite as wide of a scope as Civ, say a few hundred years. But it boils down to the major problem with most computer RPGs, they don't have a game master. You can still have a dynamic environment if you incorporate elements of a sim.

In a Civ style game it doesn't make as much sense, even if the quests are minor and optional. I see it as something to add a little spice to single player. You can play and win Civ IV without ever generating a single great person. You could play and win my version without finishing a single quest.

Quests would be like wonders. You don't have to build wonders to win, but they each add a minor bonus, usually for a limited time period. Currently, there are several ways of getting experience bonuses for your troops. A great general, a barracks, various civics, etc. I see these quests as just another way of adding minor bonuses such as combat experience, increased production, gold, happiness and so forth.

Wonder races are closed-ended with fixed goals too. The goal is to build the wonder first, or you don't build it at all. I don't see that much difference in that regard. This wouldn't change the open ended nature of the game, it would only add to the available strategies. Again, this is obviously something that would only work for single player games.

Re:Ultimate Civilization (1)

Gospodin (547743) | more than 7 years ago | (#19907475)

I guess the difference is also that your concept of quests introduces a sense of randomness into the game that currently doesn't exist (much). When building a wonder, I know how long it's going to take. I know that if I shift one of my citizens from working that irrigated grassland square to that mined hills square, I'm going to finish the wonder exactly N turns faster (modulo events later in the game). I can balance the short-term goal of finishing the wonder against the longer-term goal of expanding the population of my city.

The great people system works the same way. You know when you're going to get great people; it isn't random at all. You can control it. You can make trade-offs. If you need a great person for something badly enough, you can basically focus a city on great people and get it, especially in the late game when you have flexible civics.

Quests change this dynamic because now I have to play a little RPG - which would presumably have randomness built in, or else it's a pretty boring RPG - to see whether I get the great person at all. It's a similar problem to the way Civ 3 handled Great Leaders. They were generated randomly via combat. So you could improve your chances of getting one by fighting a lot. Since Great Leaders were actually pretty useful (until the late game they were the only way to build an Army, and ISTR that they would finish a Wonder in one turn, too), this encouraged lots of senseless combat. But the real problem was that they were useful and random.

But I guess fundamentally I just don't want to play an RPG when I'm really playing a strategy game. Sure, I wouldn't have to play the RPG to win, but why should a major piece of strategy be denied me? To get Great People in the current system, I just play the game. Great People Points are just another resource to accumulate. Jumping into an RPG would be too much cognitive dissonance.

Just my opinion, of course.

Re:Ultimate Civilization (1)

Phisbut (761268) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913891)

Personally, I would hate this. Civilization is (to my mind) a strategy game with a large-scale strategic focus and, furthermore, an open-ended strategy. That is, there are almost no "wrong moves."

Yesterday, I declared war on the Romans while understimating their military... trust me, there are "wrong moves".

Re:Ultimate Civilization (1)

doombringerltx (1109389) | more than 7 years ago | (#19906105)

Check out Streets of SimCity. It was a Twisted Metal style car combat game where you would load your games from SimCity 2000 to play in. I thought it looked like a bad game, but its kinda similar to what you are talking about

Re:Ultimate Civilization (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19911969)

Sounds like you want to play Dwarf Fortress: http://www.bay12games.com/dwarves/ [bay12games.com]

Re:Ultimate Civilization (1)

KoldKompress (1034414) | more than 7 years ago | (#19912233)

Screw cars, if we can build up an empire, I want to steal a CARRIAGE! That'd be awesome, trampling pedestrians under my hijacked horses..

Ghandi the warmonger? (4, Insightful)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 7 years ago | (#19904731)

What I'd like to ask Sid is why was the AI behind the Indians so agressively warlike when their 'face' was Mahatma Ghandi?

It always seemed strange to see that kind old man on your screen and to know that you had a huge long protracted war ahead of you.

Re:Ghandi the warmonger? (1)

Zaatxe (939368) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905193)

I was once playing Civilization and Ghandi told me something like "Give us what we want. And take notice that we have NUCLEAR WEAPONS!". Very not ghandish...

Re:Ghandi the warmonger? (1)

orkysoft (93727) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905327)

And the worst thing is, he'll ally with most of the other AIs too! So he is a diplomatic genius, just not on your side ;-)

Re:Ghandi the warmonger? (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905715)

I always hate playing against Ghandi. Usually, he expands quickly and makes friends with everyone...making the only way to be successful is to take him out. Of course, when you attack him, you get attacked by all his friends. I try to kill that peace lover early if I can.

Re:Ghandi the warmonger? (1)

Prien715 (251944) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905931)

I always love playing against Ghandi (at least in Civ4) because if I'm nice to him, I always have a useful ally the whole game. He won't randomly declare war on you despite 1000s of years of peace like say, Julius, Catherine, or the worst, Alexander.

Re:Ghandi the warmonger? (1)

vigmeister (1112659) | more than 7 years ago | (#19906007)

Worse yet is that the feller's name was Gandhi. So was Indira's last name... Although she fits the war-o-phile portrayal of 'Ghandi' on Civ.

Cheers!

I always wanted to see more nonmilitary victories (3, Interesting)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905381)

My computer isn't up to the task of playing Civ4 but I see from the strategy guides that more attention was given to peaceful expansion and influence. The problem I always run into with these 4x games is that you have to claim a lot of territory early but it's tough to strike the balance between research, industry, and army. I'd always end up buttoned up in my cities/solar systems/castles until I had an economy together, constantly fearing attack by strong enemy forces, then by the time my fleet/army is ready to kick ass, the enemies have collapsed. Anyone else remember Master of Orion with the massive fleets of 32,000 weak-ass ships constantly attacking your planets and fleeing before the mass of defense missiles?

So, for people who have played a lot of IV, how are the non-military victories? Are they better than just building spaceships?

Re:I always wanted to see more nonmilitary victori (3, Interesting)

EMeta (860558) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905647)

In Civ IV, you can win via Space, Diplomatically, or Culturally. Space is by far the easiest (and the easiest for the computer if you let them). The cultural victory is hard, but doable. The corruption rates are scaled very well in that a few cities can easily have the same or better technology learning rate as a similar Civ with lots of cities. If you keep ahead of the Tech curve & get most of the cultural wonders, you can win with 3 uber cities. The opponents are rather aggressive on higher levels, but culture enhances your defense, and computer opponents lose their aggression if you keep giving them techs & money (Which you can get by selling techs to others). You might need the right leader to pull it off on any significantly hard difficulty (I'm thinking Industrious + Philosophical would be best).

You can also take other cities via culture, and much more reliably than in III. So yeah, get a new graphics card & play. It's worth it.

Re:I always wanted to see more nonmilitary victori (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 7 years ago | (#19909393)

I think it was Civ III where, after my civ started getting really powerful, all the other civs would eventually switch to fundamentalism and declare war on me. Naturally I felt I had to crush them by switching my massive industrial capacity to wartime production. I was relieved when Civ IV fixed the problem so that other civs behaved a little more reasonably. Honest, I don't LIKE nuking continents.

Re:I always wanted to see more nonmilitary victori (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 7 years ago | (#19910211)

I think it was Civ III where, after my civ started getting really powerful, all the other civs would eventually switch to fundamentalism and declare war on me. Naturally I felt I had to crush them by switching my massive industrial capacity to wartime production. I was relieved when Civ IV fixed the problem so that other civs behaved a little more reasonably. Honest, I don't LIKE nuking continents.
Funny you should mention that. These games really allow for some broad mental role-playing, you get out of it as much as you put your imagination into it. I was playing the first Master of Orion and had a good alliance with the bird people, we were tight. Now sure, I know it was just a random roll of the random number generator but the bird people went and broke the alliance, attacked one of my planets, betrayed me. So I systematically crushed their empire to dust. Their emperor kept getting on the line, begging for mercy, pleading for peace. I would hear none of it. They were exterminated to the last planet. By the time I was done I felt a bit ill, like I'd just crushed a basket of kittens. I attribute this in part to being tired since the game lasted into the pre-dawn hours. I really geeked out on these games as a kid, really put myself into the reality portrayed on screen rather than just looking at this as sprites and code on a computer. But man, I felt like a genocidal space tyrant, like a Palpatine or a Republican.

Now of course it seems kind of funny how much I was sucked into the reality of the game these days but the tech is good enough now to suck anyone in, provided the designers know what they're doing. The first Aliens vs. Predator game really squicked me out when I was playing as an alien vs. humans. Sure, it's a first-person shooter but the designers did good work with the human behavior. They freaked out when they saw you, would fight or flee based on what you did. The civilians would run as far as they could. Once they were cornered, they would crouch down and whimper. It made me feel a bit disturbed to actually carry through with the killing. Black and White had the same thing going with the avatars there. The game was crappy and I never got the avatars beyond chibi stage but they did sit there and move about in a realistic fashion. You could beat them with the mouse hand for discipline and the sound that the blows would make and the way the creatures cried out was just a little too realistic for comfort.

I think the graphics are already too good to do realistic gore levels in games these days. It was cool to see the pixelated blood in Wolfenstein and Doom. Fatalities were sweet in the original Mortal Kombats. But we're getting very, very close to photorealistic these days. The models are certainly detailed enough that it would be squicky to see the bones and internal organs simulated for dismemberment. I think we're very close to the point where realistic levels of gore in a game will look like shit from rotten.com. I think that some designers will make a conscious choice to tone down how realistic they'll go while others will play up the carnography angle for kicks.

Re:I always wanted to see more nonmilitary victori (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 7 years ago | (#19910403)

Yeah, the modern super realistic stuff is fairly easy to understand. But the way the best of the old games could suck you in and make you care about a handful of pixels.... the evil Ur-Quan blowing away my little Arilou skiff and the Shofixti making the ultimate sacrifice. Or (was it Independence War II) where you're with the remains of the fleet facing the advancing infected ships and the only option is to blow the jump gate isolating yourself and the other survivors forever from the doomed Earth.

Re:I always wanted to see more nonmilitary victori (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 7 years ago | (#19912785)

Yeah, the modern super realistic stuff is fairly easy to understand. But the way the best of the old games could suck you in and make you care about a handful of pixels.... the evil Ur-Quan blowing away my little Arilou skiff and the Shofixti making the ultimate sacrifice. Or (was it Independence War II) where you're with the remains of the fleet facing the advancing infected ships and the only option is to blow the jump gate isolating yourself and the other survivors forever from the doomed Earth.
Star Control II! Yeah, hands down one of the greatest games I've ever played. The designers said they wrote the equivalent of a full-length scifi novel with all the dialog and descriptions. They weren't joking. And the in-jokes, oy. I remember how happy the Syreen were when you found their Penetrators. And fucking with the Illwrathi religion... not to mention their ships looked like the Rebel Alliance logo. And the Vux! "Sorry, we just can't stand the sight of you." Such fun. And I remember the shock of the Earth commander at hearing stories of me selling crew to the Druge for resources. Those dudes were creepy.

Re:I always wanted to see more nonmilitary victori (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 7 years ago | (#19921141)

Remember when every game came with a hundred page novella in addition to the manual?

Re:I always wanted to see more nonmilitary victori (1)

Tofystedeth (1076755) | more than 7 years ago | (#19906755)

I won my first few games of Civ III by culture, without ever knowing how I managed it at first. I just was very cultural it seemed. I once won a game of the original Master of Orion in about half an hour with the humans. I just expanded like mad, made friends with everyone, and pumped spending into population. The game quickly reached the threshold for voting for galactic emperor, and I had a relatively large population and was allied with everyone but the Silicoid I believe, so I won.

Re:I always wanted to see more nonmilitary victori (1)

Tofystedeth (1076755) | more than 7 years ago | (#19906831)

Also, in the original Civ, this is sort of a non military victory. I once had a game where I built only my first three cities in the best spots I could find in the near east of the Earth map. I then buffed the heck out of them. Diplomats back then had no support, so you could build as many as you want. I pumped my economy, and got the united nations wonder. I then surrounded enemy cities with diplomats so they couldn't work the land. When the population got sufficiently low, I would send a diplomat in to buy the city for dirt cheap, then open communications so they would offer peace. By the time I started preparing for war, I owned everything but the America's, with still only 3 original cities, and only capitols taken by force. I even had one city, and an enemy tank give a negative number as the asking price for conversion, because their satisfaction or whatever was so low. The tank paid me something like 1500 gold to join my army. Now that is persuasion.

Re:I always wanted to see more nonmilitary victori (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 7 years ago | (#19911965)

Yeah, amazing what you can do on the easy levels.

Re:I always wanted to see more nonmilitary victori (1)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 7 years ago | (#19906785)

I once won a culture victory as the English in which the only battle I ever fought was when a barbarian attacked one of my spearmen during than beginning. This wasn't because I was trying to play pacifist...it's just the way that game worked out.

Re:I always wanted to see more nonmilitary victori (1)

sporkme (983186) | more than 7 years ago | (#19906801)

I find the diplomatic victory to be occasionally frustrating. Build the UN, get elected permanent Secretary General by being extra nice to everyone. The point of the game is playing, not winning though. I find it to me much more rewarding to forget about victory altogether and focus on experimenting with the game mechanics or toying with the AI. Meticulously micromanaging every city can make a few turns last all evening. It is worth the upgrade and purchase. I would also like to point out that there are official expansions and many fine mods.

Re:I always wanted to see more nonmilitary victori (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 7 years ago | (#19910253)

I find the diplomatic victory to be occasionally frustrating. Build the UN, get elected permanent Secretary General by being extra nice to everyone. The point of the game is playing, not winning though. I find it to me much more rewarding to forget about victory altogether and focus on experimenting with the game mechanics or toying with the AI. Meticulously micromanaging every city can make a few turns last all evening. It is worth the upgrade and purchase. I would also like to point out that there are official expansions and many fine mods.
Looks like I need to upgrade the graphics card and start playing.

The best victory I've ever heard of from any 4x game was in a game I don't even know the name of. It was a space game. The way planetary conquest worked, you had to occupy the planet for an amount of time to reduce resistance. Once it was at zero, you were in control. The guy relating the story said he had his last planet taken over by another computer player. He thought the game was over but he kept getting the turn button. He looked at the planet and saw it simply had not been fully conquered yet. So he kept hitting next turn after the computers had their chance. As it happened, the computer moved ships away from his planet and his rebellion rate raised enough that he was able to regain control and was back in the game. From there he played his cards right, got a proper fleet going, and went on to win the game. Now that's cool.

Re:I always wanted to see more nonmilitary victori (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#19908137)

So, for people who have played a lot of IV, how are the non-military victories? Are they better than just building spaceships?


A full blown military victory (world conquest) is actually pretty difficult in a normal speed game in IV, IMO. Depending on teh size of the map and the number of civs. Playing Epic or Marathon speeds make it easier, if only because you have more time to move units around... even if you're not technically producing them faster. Spaceship victory often becomes the "default" win for me unless I'm just so far ahead of anyone else.

But generally speaking, military conquest is just more fun. But you still need to play diplomacy. You can't just go to war with everyone and expect to win like older versions of Civ. Also, larger civs take a big hit to their economy. So you could dominate nearly half the world and still have some a much smaller civ going neck and neck with you as far as technology. And if you're not careful, they'll get the spaceship before you.

Anyway, I just started playing the "Rhye's and Fall of Civilization" mod for Civ IV and it several new dimensions to the game. A big one is the concept of Unique Historical Victories (UHV). Each civ gets its own set of victory conditions based loosely on real history. For example, China has to have 2 Taoist Pagotas and 2 Confucius Acadamies by 1000 AD, no cities lost to Barbarians or Mongols by 1300 or so, and 120 military units by 1600. It is a real challenge. If you get bored trying to reach one Civ's victory conditions you can try another civ and get a completely different game. You can also play multiple civs at a time if you want. Oh, and different civs start at different, more realistic, times in the game. Normally in Civilization, all civs are created more or less equal. Not so in Rhye's and Fall.

Also, there is a concept of Civ stability in Rhye's mod. You could be kicking ass all over the place and suddenly lose half or even all of your cities to revolt or the resurrection of another civ if you don't maintain stability.

Civ IV is the best Civ yet, by far.

-matthew

Call to Power! (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 7 years ago | (#19909089)

'Call to Power'

That game gives (gave) all kinds of ways of winning.

My favorite was the lawyers/corporate branch/advertising campaigns method followed up by ecoterrorism. Lawyers can stop production in enemy cities, corporate branches can sap productivity into your own economy and advertising can make their populations very unhappy. Theres no real need to resort to anything so primitive as open hostilities. Unless you *want* to :)

Theres a unit in the game which can convert surrounding developed squares back into pristine wilderness (the marvels of nanotechnology). So what you do is you make friends with the biggest power in the game and start mass producing these units.

You then send them to your 'friends' nation and park one next to every single one of their cities.

Then, when the time is right, in one turn you activate *all* of them.

In one turn your 'friend' becomes your (temporary) 'enemy' right before they get zapped back into the stoneage.

Page 1 of 10! (1)

fat_mike (71855) | more than 7 years ago | (#19907647)

Can't I just read the whole goddamn article? Put ads in both columns on either side all the way down, I don't care. That would be better then reading what amounts to four paragraphs with two screenshots and an ad to justify creating another page.

Do you really thing we all have ADD? I'm not going to click through 10 pages when it could be one page. Even magazines and newspaper articles give you something to bite on before they say continues on Page ***. Christ, I know you web people want to make money off of ads, but please knock it off with this crap.

Re:Page 1 of 10! (1)

triso (67491) | more than 7 years ago | (#19908239)

Can't I just read the whole goddamn article? Put ads in both columns on either side all the way down, I don't care. That would be better then reading what amounts to four paragraphs with two screenshots and an ad to justify creating another page.

Do you really thing we all have ADD? I'm not going to click through 10 pages when it could be one page. Even magazines and newspaper articles give you something to bite on before they say continues on Page ***. Christ, I know you web people want to make money off of ads, but please knock it off with this crap.
Search for the word "print" and you will find the "Printer Friendly Version" link. Click on this and you will have all ten pages in one long html file.

Re:Page 1 of 10! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19908241)

Click on "Printer Friendly Version". It's all on one page, and you lose the spiffy ads and background color. All images remain, though.

Re:Page 1 of 10! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19913081)

I think his ADHD got the best of him and he couldn't sit still long enough to look for it.

Better line for his epitaph... (1)

Steve Cox (207680) | more than 7 years ago | (#19911671)

Rather than 'Did Civilization', how about
'Created Civilization'
or
'Creater of all Civilizations (or at least the first two)'

I would have put Rogue on the list. (1)

teflaime (738532) | more than 7 years ago | (#19914819)

Can't remember how many hours I spent trying to get to the bottom of that danged dungeon to get the necklace. Only saw it happen once, actually. And it was the earliest game that could create interesting and fairly consistent random levels.
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