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Civilization III Is Out, And It Rocks 470

Posted by Hemos
from the making-it-rock dept.
ruebarb writes "At 5pm last night, I proceeded to unwrap my shrinkwrapped Civization III box (purchased at EB) - I had spent the last two weeks broke and playing the old Civ II just for entertainment, so I've got the experience of that fresh in my memory. I went to bed at 3am 8 hours later...yikes." I've attached his review below - I've been playing it, and it is amazing. Not a revolutionary change, but definitely a big evolutionary change.
First off, this game is a major change in structure and feel to the Civ. series. Quite honestly, this is probably a good thing. All too often, updates or sequels to a game system are one or two more bells and whistles that justify a $49.95 price tag. Civilization II was such a flexible system to begin with. Dozens of websites with hacks, special units, mods, and changes created a game system that could pretty much be changed into any type of game out there. (I even saw things like X-Com mods where you were soldiers fighting X-Com Aliens) In order for this to maintain it's consistant high level of quality, some changes were required at the fundmental level.

Your cities with the cultural borders now work a lot more like an actual country, and not just a collection of city states. This is nice...I was always less then impressed with having cities and colonies scattered across the globe with no detrimental value. The changes to the Trade system require networks of highways and roads/harbors to cultivate commerce, so it's in your best interestes to keep those things close together...Finally, we're dealing with an entire culture instead of just city-states. And if you're a real monster, you can use the gigantic maps and pull up all 16 civilizations.

Armies can be more decentralized, and wonders of the world are useful, but there are fewer "Killer" wonders that can completely upset the balance of the game. For example, in the previous game, The Sistine Chapel created a cathedral in every city, which made it a prime target for large civilizations...now the advancement simply increases the effects of cathedrals, which forces each city to get off it's butt and develop it's own resources.

Espionage and Trade have been abstracted. Trade and Commerce are now dependant on roads and resources and money comes from trading with other civilizations. And no more of that horribly unrealistic plan of sending the spy in to destroy city walls before the invasion. (I mean, come on...destroy city walls?)

My favorite new aspect is the cultural assimilation of other cities. For example, if you have a strong cultural identity (basically, borders) - and you are close to cities that don't...they may rebel and join your side...much in the way that several cities/territories that once belonged to Mexico joined up with the U.S.

I haven't finished a game yet...I made the mistake of getting my spies busted one too many times...First one country declared war on me...then I attacked and a second one with a Mutual Aggression Pact came at me. Then a couple of them started trade embargos against me, then a couple of turns later the other two guys around me declared war, just like Russia and Germany did with Poland. I got beat up pretty bad and chalked it up to a learning experience...

I have a couple of minor issues....most of the menus are relocated and are kinda hard to find. And I never liked those advisors in the first couple of games..and now they're intergrated...but overall, it's been a long time since I've been pleased with a game like this...This is the game you feel like telling the /. community is worth buying a copy of Win98 for.

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Civilization III Is Out, And It Rocks

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  • Another one (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 02, 2001 @09:39AM (#2511613)
    Joystick101 also has a nice review [joystick101.org] which gives a good summary of the changes (couldn't verify yet, though).
  • Can't Count :-) (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tim C (15259) on Friday November 02, 2001 @09:40AM (#2511619)
    5pm -> 3am = 10 hours, not 8

    Someone needs to brush up on their base 12 arithmetic ;-)

    Cheers,

    Tim
  • by Xentax (201517) on Friday November 02, 2001 @09:45AM (#2511634)
    I've played Civ3 a couple nights now since I got my copy. I knew going in that it was 'evolutionary not revolutionary', and that's definitely true.

    But (and this is NOT a flame, just honest criticism), it's not even all that evolutionary. Most of the "new" features as compared to Civ2 were in SMAC (Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri) -- the borders, most of the enhanced dipolomacy options, and so on.

    The AI -- I'm sorry, but if this is supposed to be new and improved, I'm not seeing it. Enemy empires will send forces willy-nilly into my borders (and I'm talking 10 or a dozen at a time). If I demand that they leave, they declare war. If I send so much as a _single_ unit into THEIR borders for a SINGLE turn, they immediately demand that I withdraw or they declare war. This kind of behavior is just too unrealistic, IMHO.

    So, all an all, I'm not very impressed. It IS a much needed update to the series, but it feels a lot more like a status-quo release riding on Sid's reputation for sales, than an honest attempt to make a solid follow-on to this legendary game title. I'm much more interested in Master of Orion 3 (www.moo3.com), which while still a few months away, is daring to be Revolutionary in a time of Evolutionary games.

    Xentax
    • Re:SMAC (Score:5, Informative)

      by CrusadeR (555) on Friday November 02, 2001 @10:22AM (#2511779) Homepage
      Yeah, it does sound like most of the features were introduced in Alpha Centauri (aside from the Culture aspect, which sounds like an interesting new tool for asymmetric warfare ;))...


      For those that don't know, Alpha Centauri (and it's add-on pack) were ported to Linux by Loki and released earlier this year:


      http://www.lokigames.com/products/smac/ [lokigames.com]

    • by Zathrus (232140) on Friday November 02, 2001 @10:39AM (#2511862) Homepage
      Uh... the AI is _vastly_ improved. Did you consider that the reason the AI is sending mass amounts of troops through your territory is because it wants to attack? When they send only one unit they'll certainly claim to be leaving in short order (but I will say that there's no way to immediately foist them out of your borders like there was in Civ1/2 -- and like they can to you). I don't see how you think this is unrealistic anyway - I don't think many modern countries would let another countries forces wander around their country without raising a stink.

      The computer doesn't throw one or two units against you either. It amasses troops and then attacks with all of them at once - just like a human would. It will also avoid well fortified points and go after weaker ones, again like a human. It expands very fast, will grab onto any point of land it can find, and will willfully corner you so you can't expand. They'll control strategic resources like iron and saltpepper.

      Thus far I've only played on Chieftan, but Firaxis has stated that the "intelligence" of the AI doesn't change regardless of level. There's only a slight difference in aggression and huge differences in "cheating" (for or against the player) between the different levels.

      The biggest complaint to date is the overbearing corruption. Firaxis has posted on this some as well, but I still suspect that they'll eventually patch the game to lower the corruption effects somewhat. (Or you can just change it in the editor if you want).
      • by mrogers (85392) on Friday November 02, 2001 @12:42PM (#2512487)
        They'll control strategic resources like iron and saltpepper.

        Then when they've broken your spirit with a diet of bland food... THEY'LL ATTACK!

      • (but I will say that there's no way to immediately foist them out of your borders like there was in Civ1/2 -- and like they can to you)

        Actually, that's not true. Ask twice. The second time they'll apologize profusely and pop outside of your borders.

        Unfortunately for me, I was trying to use my borders in a land grab to prevent their settlers from going through. They ended up popping out on the wrong side!
  • Difficulty? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gergi (220700)
    Is it just me or is Civ3 incredibly difficult? I play Civ2 on King level usually (second-most difficult) and I lost last night in Cheiftan mode in Civ3 (the easiest). Has anyone else noticed this?
    • Re:Difficulty? (Score:5, Informative)

      by crawling_chaos (23007) on Friday November 02, 2001 @09:54AM (#2511668) Homepage
      Is it just me or is Civ3 incredibly difficult? I play Civ2 on King level usually (second-most difficult) and I lost last night in Cheiftan mode in Civ3 (the easiest). Has anyone else noticed this?

      I'm just getting started, but Sid mentioned this in an interview. If you try to play Civ 3 using Civ 2 strategies, you will get your butt kicked. Despite the visual similarities, it is a different game. So far, I like it.

      • by ahde (95143)
        New and improved Maze game!

        you can't win by going R, R, L, R, L (you have to go L, R, L, R, L) -- and the walls are a more subtle shade of blue-green!
    • I noticed this too, but I'm guessing it's just the differences in the game that we all need to get used to. Civ3 seems to play a lot slower than previous games; takes a lot more time/effort to get cities up and running, make discoveries, etc.
    • I agree also. It does seem harder. Personally, I love it. If I'd been able to just play it the way I played Civ2 and win, I'd have been disapointed.
    • Re:Difficulty? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Saige (53303)
      I discovered the same thing. I started my first game of Civ III on a huge map, with 16 civs. My Persiam civ started right near the French, Babylonians, and Zulus. It wasn't long before I was cornered in with only 6 cities and no room to expand, and started getting beat up pretty badly by the Babylonians.


      My second game I started near the Zulus, Babylonians, and Aztecs. This time, they all teamed up and declared war on me. I was fighting them off, somewhat, then they razed two of my cities, and I gave up again.


      The AI is incredibly efficient at getting their civ built up at the beginning, and they attack in larger groups of stronger units. I was never a big military player in Civ II until the modern age, and that's going to HAVE to change, I can tell.

  • LINUX (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I heard that there will be a LINUX version of this game coming out soon from RMSCo. It will be known as Communistization III. I will wait for that one.
  • Civilizations (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Pentagram (40862)
    I was quite disappointed to see that they've left the Celts, my usual choice of civ, out of the game this time. Any idea how they decide on what civs to include/leave out?
    • Re:Civilizations (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Pope (17780)
      I don't remember EVER playing as one of the included teams: I always customized the name of my leader / civilization depending on how goofy I felt that day.

      After getting *far* too addicted to the original Civ on my 386, I was afraid of having the same thing happen with Colonization or Civ 2 so I ended up running them a couple of times to see what was different, then not playing them. My roommate gof sucked into Civ 2 so bad, that often I'd go out at noon on a Saturday for brunch and movies with other friends, come back at 5, and Moose would still be sitting there at my desk in his bathrobe, no lights on, stereo on but no music, transfixed.

      That fear has now returned with 3! :)
      • often I'd go out at noon on a Saturday for brunch and movies with other friends, come back at 5, and Moose would still be sitting there at my desk in his bathrobe, no lights on, stereo on but no music, transfixed.

        My roommate had a similar problem with the original. I'd go to bed at midnight, wake up at 7, he'd be landing on Mars. It wasn't a serious problem until the Friday afternoon that he mixed in some rum, got excited, and blew the speakers on my stereo...
    • Civ III has 6 unique characteristics for each Civilization - Expansionist, Militaristic, Commercial, Scientific, Religious, Industrial

      Each of these attributes gives a starting bonus, and each civ starts with 2 of these. The starting 16 civs are on a chart on the civ3 website (http://www.civ3.com/devupdate_civspecific.cfm). Now my math says that with 6 characteristics, there should be possible 15 unique combos (and there are on the chart).

      So, you can make more civs somehow (haven't figured out how, but there is supposed to be some type of editor), but they will just be cosmetic changes.
  • Evolution (Score:5, Funny)

    by sql*kitten (1359) on Friday November 02, 2001 @09:52AM (#2511663)
    Not a revolutionary change, but definitely a big evolutionary change.

    I'm always a little confused when people use this analogy. Revolutions are abrupt and bloody and may kill lots of individuals... but evolution make entire species extinct.
    • Re:Evolution (Score:3, Informative)

      by nahdude812 (88157)
      Revolution = Drastic (and usually sudden) change. It doesn't imply better or worse. A revolutionary new fashion design would be for everyone to start wearing aluminum foil helmets. Definately not a forward step in fashion, but revolutionary nonetheless.

      Evolution = Slow (but not always needed) change, typically considered to be forward movement, though again that's not necessarily the case. An ape born with out the genetic sequencing necessary to produce arms is a evolution of the ape line, albeit under negative effect.
  • I love CIV (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ACK!! (10229) on Friday November 02, 2001 @09:57AM (#2511672) Journal
    It is very exciting to see to see a new version of this classic. I have to respect said creator (Sid the Man) for doing other things like Alpha Centauri and Gettysburg (awesome game).

    What is intriguing is that they did not throw a few short movies and 3D graphics on top of this venerable turn-based classic and call it a new game. Some of the dynamics mentioned by the author make this sound like an awesome game.

    So it sounds like the time for a new poll. I have a Win ME partition that I kept on my Dell 4100 just for playing games because VMware would not let me install Red Alert II from CD (the error is unimportant here but it related directly to the use of a virtual machine).

    Anyway, the poll is how many people still have Windows machines for playing games? How many still have Winblows partitions for playing games?
    How many people live comfortable running their games on VMware, Wine etc..?

    • I vote FOR keeping a Windows gaming environment.

      Why? LAN parties. Every LAN party that my brother has always has its problems getting the various Windows versions to talk to each other correctly 100% of the time. Try playing a network game with Red Alert 2 under a mixed Win2k/Win98 network, and if you don't have things configured just so on your network card in Win2k (we learned this the hard way), you won't be playing much at all. I can imagine the headaches that come into play when you throw a couple completely different Linux distros & kernels and different WINE builds into the mix.

      Besides, I haven't gotten around to messing around with WINE yet, and some games don't even like Win2k, let alone trying to run them in WINE. I'm not moving to WinXP, ever, but I also can't ditch Windows yet. Too many absolutely excellent games (Like these Sid Meier classics which I have played EXTENSIVELY: Civilization, Colonization, Civilization 2, Gettysburg, Alpha Centauri). If I didn't have a wedding to go to this weekend, I'd be playing Civ3. :)

      This all brings up a good point. Wouldn't it be a better idea for today's PC game development shops to distribute their own customized OS' with their games, so that rather than firing up the game in one of 5 different Windows OS', and trying to support all those versions, they could just boot a lean & mean OS straight from CD to run their game, rather than trying to navigate through Windows' DLL hell? Maybe there's legitamite reasons for not doing this, but it seems like most new motherboards support booting from CD-ROM. Besides, game companies have usually been the computer companies really pushing the limits of home PC's in their attempts to wow and impress the gamer, so I don't see why they wouldn't do something like this to be able to tout their game as the most feature rich, crash-free, highest FPS game out there. Anyone have any further insight on this idea?

      • just boot a lean & mean OS straight from CD to run their game, rather than trying to navigate through Windows' DLL hell? Maybe there's legitamite reasons for not doing this, but it seems like most new motherboards support booting from CD-ROM.

        The main reason this wouldn't work is because that lean & mean OS would have to have drivers for all the hardware attatched to the users computer.

        Do you think you could fit drivers for every sound card, network card, and graphics card on one CD-ROM - and still have room left for a game?

        Even if you could then you'd still have something that wasn't great - because even "high" speed CD-ROM's are slow compared to hard disks..

      • Re:I love CIV (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Greg W. (15623)

        Wouldn't it be a better idea for today's PC game development shops to distribute their own customized OS' with their games

        This has been tried before. Some of the really old games, like Wizardry < VI, ship on a floppy diskette. The system requirement says "100% IBM compatible computer", XXX kB RAM, etc. You boot from the floppy, and the game loads.

        I've seen a few people talking about bootable Linux-based CD/games that would work the same way. The problem here is the astronomical complexity of the "PC" hardware platform, with thousands upon thousands of different cards for video, sound, networking; SCSI vs. IDE; ATAPI vs. proprietary CD-ROM interfaces; etc. Your game would have to support all of that.

        Also, people do not like to reboot their systems to play a game. If playing Civ3 meant I had to give up the rest of my Linux desktop (including xmms playing music for me), my distributed.net [distributed.net] client, etc., then the cost (hassle) of playing the game may be too high.

  • by Lord_Pall (136066) on Friday November 02, 2001 @09:57AM (#2511673)
    I picked this one up on wednesday, and sprung for the limited edition...

    Its 10 bux more, but comes in a very nice tin box.. It also includes a foldout tech tree, and a making of video cd...

    I'm not sure if the making of cd is any good, but the tech tree is nice.. And the box absolutely rules...

    My impressions of it so far (after a VERY short play period)..

    It feels like old school civ, but much nicer.. Very clean art, smooth animations, decent music.. The interface is updated quite nicely..

    The inclusion of culture will take some getting used to, as well as the rest of the changes.. I think the tech tree is smaller than the older ones, or i've become spoiled with the gargantuan tech trees of Alpha Centauri/MOO2..

    The only downside i've seen so far is that the mouse scrolling seems very choppy.. it scrolls using tiles, and the tiles are fairly large.. so its sorta chunks around when you move the mouse to the edge of the screen.. (This is on an 800 with 512 megs of ram)..

    There are a few known bugs, mostly relating to the game trying to set an incorrect refresh rate in windows xp (Solution is to put xp into 98/me mode)..

    Hoepfully this weekend i'll be able to get a better idea of the changes.. But so far it looks great..
    • Culture (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tycage (96002)
      The inclusion of culture will take some getting used to, as well as the rest of the changes.

      I personally love the culture aspect so far. What a rush it was the first time a city asked to join up with me because they were so impressed by my culture. (This was on the easiest level, I'm still in my "learning mode" right now.)

      I'm looking forward to woking my way up to the higher levels.
  • by Markvs (17298) on Friday November 02, 2001 @09:58AM (#2511678) Journal
    I've been addicted to this game since I got my hands on Civ I the first week IT was out. Each version of the game has fleshed out what the others are lacking, and I gotta say: FOR ONCE THE DIPLOMACY ROCKS! Finally, the ability to trade what you want! The AI is much better as well.

    Sid's cleaned up lots of the failings of Civs I & II, and the graphics are pretty, but not obtrusive.

    I like the minor wonders (can be built, rebuilt...) and that the I especially like the Culture concept. That major wonders are only destroyed with a city makes sense, and that you can finally liquidate cities without going the "bleed settler" route is a big help.

    I'm not particularly happy about losing my Diplomats and Spies as units, but it does make the gameplay different.

    The best new improvement? The game is no longer "city oriented" but NATIONALLY oriented, so support for your units comes from the state, not each city. Much better.

    BTW- To make your own civilization at startup, choose what "traits" you want (ie: Scientific, Expansionist) and click on the picture for that culture. :-)

  • I had played CivII to death back when it came out, then dropped it. Now recently, I've seen a coworker playing an expansion or variation called Civ II - Call to Power, which appears to have nicely updated graphics and some changes in logic.

    So, my question is, is Civ 3 even all that different from Civ II - CtP, or just an add-on to it?

    • by gergi (220700) on Friday November 02, 2001 @10:45AM (#2511880)
      First there was Civ and unto the world was brought great happiness for the tech-savvy masses who found it except when they were fired from their job, their wife left them without them even realizing, and his feet started sprouting moss.
      Time passed and the tech-savvy masses found a new wife, a new job, and cleaned their feet of all foliage.
      Alas, it was not to be, for out came Civ2 and true enlightenment was brought forth to the world. Unfortunately, this resulted in the second wife leaving, the boss leaving a message on the machine indicating your jobless status, and the moss came back for all those tech-savvy folks.
      Many years passed and though the masses found yet another wife, yet another job, and cleaned their feet for what they hoped was the last time, many bad things also happened. First Activision got up in arms and forced Microprose to allow them to create their own bastardized form, Civ2-Call To Power. Microprose then went bye-bye and up to the big software company heaven in the sky. The great ones (Sid and Brian) then struck out on their own, without rights to lengthen the TRUE Civ legacy. They did colonize other worlds in Alpha Centauri but it just wasn't the same to many.
      Fortunately, the sun broke through and shined on the tech-savvy masses and Sid has brought a new Civ, true to the legacy...

      In all honesty, just divorce your wife now, call your boss and tell him you aren't coming into work for a few months, and get some Tinactin for your feet.
      • First there was Civ and unto the world was brought great happiness for the tech-savvy masses who found it except when they were fired from their job, their wife left them without them even realizing, and his feet started sprouting moss.

        The first Civilization came out just before my freshman year of university. I still remember the die-hard Civ fans in the computer lab, spending hours and hours mesmerized by this game. I also remember discovering the game, and becoming one of them, discovering Robotics at 3 am and unleashing hell on the Mongols with my new artillery units. I remember the running, clandestine battles we fought with the sysadmins to keep the game installed on their systems (and whenever we lost, the game could be reinstalled from two 3.5 inch floppies). I remember playing into the wee hours of the morning the night before a physics final ... it seems to me that most of us did poorly that year.

        Here's to a new generation of freshmen, taking up the latest incarnation of the beautiful game. All you need to remember is: first year doesn't count, "D" means Degree, and everything important you need to learn in University, you can learn from Civilization.

    • by Saige (53303) <evil...angela@@@gmail...com> on Friday November 02, 2001 @11:37AM (#2512156) Journal
      First of all, CtP (Call to Power) was just Activision's bastardized version of Civ - I've always been a big civ fan, and I bought CtP as soon as it came out - and after the first day I had it, never, ever touched it again. It was not created by the Civ or Civ II teams, and while the first CtP had Civilization in it's title (due to the legal status of the name), CtP II doesn't.


      As far as the Civ II/Civ III differences, yes, there are a LOT.


      - AI is much improved. AI empires can spread and develop very fast, especially at the beginning of the game, and if you're located near them, they'll try and pin you in fast. The AI also is much better with the military. No longer does it send in a few random units, but large groups of stronger ones, using the terrain to it's advantage, and picking where it attacks more carefully.

      - World sizes can vary by a lot. The smallest world is, I believe, 80x80. The largest that comes in the standard setup is 180x180 - and you can use the included editor to change that up to 255x255. And the amount of tech development varies based on the world size - the larger the world, the more science is needed for the same advances, to keep people from going through advances too quickly.

      - And in that vein, advances seem to come more slowly. You can actually field armies of swordsmen, of horsemen and catapults, of knights, before they're all obsolete. In every Civ II game I played, a lot of those units were almost obsolete before I could build the first one.

      - Trade is important now. Caravans were removed, fortunately, as they were obnoxious. But because resources are required for certain units, you'll need to either find, or trade for them.

      - They've actually removed quite a bit. You no longer replace settlers (now workers) with engineers later on that can radically alter the terrain. Also, no supermarkets to create incredibly huge cities. A number of other advances and units are gone, and I believe the total number of wonders has shrunk.

      - 16 civs can play on the world, at least on the largest maps.

      - The other civs now no longer gang up on you - they'll ally with you against other civs, and such. It's no longer them vs. you.

      All in all, it's definately a different game. As far as playing strategy goes, there's a bigger difference between Civ 2/Civ 3 then there was between Civ/Civ 2.

    • Civilization: Call To Power is not an expansion or particularly a variation of Civ II, it's a different game by a different company. Some legal weirdness with Microprose allowed Activision to create a game with the Civilization brand (You'll notice CTP II has dropped the "Civilization" name altogether). Same time as that, Sid Meier and Brian Reynolds (creators of Civ I and II respectively) formed Firaxis and released Alpha Centauri, which most consider the legitimate sequel to Civ II. Civ III is by Firaxis, minus Brian Reynolds, who left Firaxis to form Big Huge Games, which seems solely dedicated to the production of press releases. I would imagine Civ III would include some features from AC, but if Sid is right about Civ II strategies (which worked perfectly in AC) not working in Civ III, it has to be quite a different game.

      CTP was roundly excoriated as a buggy, poorly playtested game with sub-literate diplomacy and rock stupid AI (despite its configurability), but it did have a few good points to it, like the Public Works pool for improvements, and a plethora of covert units. It still couldn't make it a good game though.
      • CTP was roundly excoriated as a buggy, poorly playtested game
        Yes, I played it for exactly four minutes, and twenty-two seconds. The game design was actually less intelligent than Civ1, after 8 years. And I still remember when the developers claimed, straight faced, that the phalanx-defeats-fighter jet phoenominon was 'the pilots falling asleep and crashing into hillsides' resulting in the little before known 'hypnotic phalanx' which could induce sleep. :-)
  • The problem with Civ3 is that all the ideas needed were tried out in Alpha Centauri. So if you like Alpha Centauri, you'll love Civ3 because human history is way more interesting than fantasy future techs. The blue/green Earth is also easier on the eye than the gloomy reds and blacks of Alpha Centauri. Overall, my feeling is that this is a superb game built using the experiences of previous games and that you only take from your own enjoyment if you start fussing about this tech was dome here before or that diplomacy was done that way before. Just play enjoy and try to remember to sleep.
    • I don't agree that human history is way more interesting. I personally usually find it depressing to think about the past. I found that the factions in SMAC provided some interesting thinking about idealogies. I won't bore people to tears in an attempt to describe that to people, it was more of an experience than an overt mental process.

      Overall, I play games to explore new ways of thinking or to have new experiences. I don't play them to re-live history. I do have to admit though that games like CivX, if they're historically accurate could be a valuable learning tool for real students of history. I certainly would have found history to be a much more interesting topic with the sorts of presentation that are possible in a simulation like CivX. But that's the crux of it for me: I don't consider realistic games to be games. They're simulations.

      Now, I suppose I present an internal conflict here. Since "I play games to explore new ways of thinking or to have new experiences" and since I could not have possibly lived through all historical episodes (even with the possibility of literal re-incarnation), I might have to conceed that playing simulations might lead me to new ways of thinking and new experiences.

      In this sort of introspection is why I hardly ever think out loud.

      *sigh*

  • The one thing I didn't like about Alpha Centauri was how quickly everyone went though tech advances. It was a waste of time to implement anything but defensive units and a few fast striking combat units.

    Is Civ 3 like this?
  • My favorite new aspect is the cultural assimilation of other cities. For example, if you have a strong cultural identity (basically, borders) - and you are close to cities that don't...they may rebel and join your side...much in the way that several cities/territories that once belonged to Mexico joined up with the U.S.


    Funny, I had the impression that the large piece of the former Mexican territory was either stolen or forcefully acquired from Mexico 150 years ago or something.
    • by pacc (163090) on Friday November 02, 2001 @10:27AM (#2511808) Homepage
      Depends on who wrote your history book.
    • Funny, I had the impression that the large piece of the former Mexican territory was either stolen or forcefully acquired from Mexico 150 years ago or something.

      I read once that Mexico was mad at America, because we stole half of their country; and not only that, we stole the half with all the roads.

      History isn't written by the winners or the losers, it's written by Comparative Lit majors who didn't have the alcohol tolerance to be inscrutable authors.

      • I read once that Mexico was mad at America, because we stole half of their country; and not only that, we stole the half with all the roads

        The US took the least populated, least developed territories of 1840's Mexico. I doubt that that was were all the roads were.
    • The above post was modded DOWN at 5PM EST US time.

      There doesn't seem to be anything "trollish" about the comment. In fact it's even perfectly "on-topic", since Hemos asserted the American Southwest [voluntarily] "joined" the USA, and the poster merely pointed out the truth. What's wrong with that??

      For moderation to work, it has to PUNISH outragously bad moderation. This moderator should be on "probation" or suspended since they can't handle the responsability.

      It's not the posters fault that Hemos learned his history from Walt Disney movies (and for that matter, CT learned to spell from badly translated movie subtitles).

      If people studied more at school...

  • Excellent! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Spudley (171066)
    Great. I'm planning to buy this. My "one game per year". But I think maybe I'll wait till the premium price copies have been snapped up by the insanely eager.
    It'll be cheaper in six months, folks! ;-)

    (hmmm... and I wonder how long before FreeCiv catches up?)

    • It'll be cheaper in six months, folks! ;-)

      Yeah, but I'm playing it now ;-)

      and I wonder how long before FreeCiv catches up?

      Probably a very long time, since most of the FreeCiv developers will be obsessed with playing Civ3 rather than re-writing it.

      Carpe diem! Buy it now! $50 is cheap for hundreds of hours of enjoyment :-)
  • ...if you stay up till 3am playing that game work will be hell tommorrow!

    I agree, this is a great update! Not without it's flaws but very good! I never played SM:AC, so there is much more new content for me then there is for folks who did!

    Corruption is a HUGE issue now. Two things affect the amount of corruption. Distance from Capital and your number of cities. Even with the "enlightened" governments of Republic or Democracy, corruption can really sap the production of your outlying colonies.

    I also like the special units that each race gets, let me tell you...don't [] with the Aztecs. Those Jaguar Warriors (2/1/2 I think) are nasty! They actually retreat from battle if they are losing making them a PITA to kill.

    The new "mini-wonders" are pretty nice. For example you can build "Battlefield Medicine" if you have 5 hospitals. This allows your troops to heal while in enemy territory.

    I like the idea of strategice resources as well! They don't show up on the map until you have researched the technology. You can't build units without it either! For example, Musketmen require saltpeter. You must also connect your cities to these resources via roads. If a city can't get to the resource via a road, it can build units that require that resource! VERY cool! Nothing like starting a war to take your neighbors only source of saltpeter! :)
  • Another Review: (Score:5, Informative)

    by mESSDan (302670) on Friday November 02, 2001 @10:15AM (#2511739) Homepage
    Avault's review gave it 4 stars. I hold their opinions higher than most, so this game is worth atleast a look.

    Avault's Review [avault.com]

    For those who are link wary:

    http://www.avault.com/reviews/review_temp.asp?game =civ3
  • There are several features of the new Civ that remind me of the original:
    - Units to create tile improvements instead of the Public Works used in Civ II
    - Full City screens detailing everything in one place
    - Similar unit movement as in the first game (ie no linking units together into one force)
    - No Zoom on the isometric view like the second had
    - Critical message fly by like in the first rather than accumulate in a message queue like in the second

    It seems to me that Sid discarded much of what was put into the second. Too bad, I liked a lot of those changes. That being said it's a very beautiful game.

    IMHO, as per

    J:)
  • Let me chime in with my love of this game also.

    I'm thrilled that someone has finally made a sequel to a game that has the right balance of the old and the new.

    I've played too many sequels where I can't even tell it's the same kind of game. And I've played too many where I think I'm still playing the original and I wonder why I paid for it again.

    Civ3 [civ3.com] has a good balance. I've not come across a change yet that I don't think improves the game. I admit it's still early, and I've only played at the easier levels so far to give myself a chance to adjust.

    I think that overall this is a wonderful example of developing a game to make it better and not to just use the name to sell games (Civilization: Call to Power) or to rebrand the original in a new box.
  • by FrankBough (173822) on Friday November 02, 2001 @10:22AM (#2511778) Homepage
    My favorite new aspect is the cultural assimilation of other cities. For example, if you have a strong cultural identity (basically, borders)

    Borders, Starbucks, McDonalds, KFC - presumably there are a number of options that help impose your cultural identity.
  • I have played a couple of games of CivIII now, although not to completetion, and I have to say that I'm not very impressed with the depth of the game as compared to CTP. Call To Power had so much more, it really felt like an extension to the Civ games, a real enhancement. Nice graphics, cool movies, deep tech tree, all the things a top notch release should have. So far CivIII feels like it's a five year old release. Cute graphics, but Age of Empires would give it a run for it's money.

    The game engine however does seem quite improved, and having played all the previous Civ releases, Sid is right (surprise surprise). Old tactics just don't work. In both games I've got my butt kicked, or just barely survived. I'm learning that this is a much more realistic engine with regard to expansion and improvement. Expand too fast, and you spread your resources too thin.

    I'm dissapointed that there is not more in this game, and that the improvements were mostly just improvements over an older game. However, having played a few days now, I'm beginning to feel the urge to come back that this game is generating. Although at first highly sceptical, I am now being won over by the subtleties of the new system.

    M
    • you're kidding right?! i didn't think anyone out there liked CTP. it got terrible reviews, everyone i've ever talked to said it was worse than terrible, and it sold poorly. civ1,2,3 and ac all have the depth and balance to create a truly immersive game... something CTP really lacked
  • Does anyone know if the Civ3 AI cheats at higher levels? In Civ2 I seem to remember the manual telling you how the other civs cheated at the higher levels. (Needed fewer shields to produce things, less science needed for new advances, etc.)

    I'm not done with the manual yet, but the section on the play levels doesn't mention anything about it this time.

    Has anyone heard if it just has a better AI this time at higher levels, or if it still cheats? If it does still cheat, I'm disapointed they weren't up front about it again.
    • Re:Cheating? (Score:5, Informative)

      by abelsson (21706) on Friday November 02, 2001 @10:49AM (#2511894) Homepage
      The game cheats for the player at levels below prince, and against it at levels above. *At* prince difficulty there is no cheating. So there's probably where you want to play. Supposedly not even the firaxis people can beat the AI at Deity level.

      Acctually, they are upfront about it. But i don't remember where they told you. :)

      -henrik

  • Chock full of bugs (Score:4, Informative)

    by StrutterX (181607) on Friday November 02, 2001 @10:39AM (#2511859)
    Infogrames test department should be ashamed (or more probably the product manager).

    This game crashes, locks-up and fails to display on far too regular a basis.

    The portions of the game I have been able to play have been great (once I got over units moving onto the defeated opponents square). I just wish it was more stable (or would even run on some of my machines). Having to save out every other turn, just in case, is hugely irritating.

    I tried the game on machines running NT, 98 and 95, with Radeon, GF2, GFIII, Matrox Millenium, ATI Rage and Voodoo 3 cards. The game screws up on every one of them. (Oh, and with a variety of sound blaster cards and drivers and a couple of Philips cards).

    It is also full of memory leaks (watch the swap file behaviour).

    I could have waited an additional month for these bugs to be fixed. I really, really hope a decent patch comes out soon.

    Of course, test probably listed all these bugs and management decided to release anyway. If you are going to have a test department you should actually listen to them!

    StrutterX
    • I'm running Win XP, p3 933, 512MB ram, audigy and Geforce 2 GTS with original XP drivers. My pagefile is 1-2 GB. Only 1 crash in a few days playing. Thank God for autosave. Otherwise everything works fine.
  • by DavidBrown (177261) on Friday November 02, 2001 @11:04AM (#2511983) Journal
    I picked up Civ III on Tuesday night, and I've been playing my first game (Chieftain level, Americans, random map with two other civs) ever since.

    Resource development is crucial, and it adds a touch of historic realism to Civ that wasn't there before. The luxury resources (silks, incense, etc.) make happy citizens, and if you can corner the market on, say, incense, you can trade those resources for other things you need.

    But the strategic resources (iron, coal, saltpeter, etc.) are the most important. When I finally discovered gunpowder, I couldn't find any saltpeter for about 10 turns. But then, I spotted it, hidden in the desert in the no-man's land between the three civs. I quickly built a bunch of workers, and sort of force-built a road about 30 squares from any of my cities so I could plant a colony (and a fortress) on top of the saltpeter. It's the only source on the continent, and that means I'm the only civ who gets cannon (the Aztecs and the Iroquis are still building catapults). I had to do the same thing a century later in order to get a source of rubber (the only other source was right next to an Aztec city, and the Aztecs hadn't developed the tech necessary to see it yet.

    The point of all this is that Civ III's emphasis on strategic resources needed to build certain units creates a stimulus to expansion and building colonial empires, mirroring what Western Civilization did to the rest of the world because we needed resources. Remember the story on African Tantalum mines months back? Civ III models this sort of thing in a way never seen before.
    • The downside, of course, being that when my little contenant was at war with the Greek (to the left) and the Zulu (to the right) and I teched up to Iron Working for my beloved Legionairres, there was NO BLOODY IRON on my map! Had JUST made it to gunpowder and started upgrading my SPEARMEN (no iron; no pikemen) to musketmen when the greek Knights (again; no iron, no knights) took my capital and started razing my cities. Oh well; I think it's great. Guess what; sometimes you get the short end of the stick.
  • by Tim Doran (910) <timmydoran.rogers@com> on Friday November 02, 2001 @11:07AM (#2512002)
    You're not a *real* Civ fan! ;)

    Hell, back in the day, I had Civ in my autoexec so I could crawl out of bed and boot into the game while I wolfed a bowl of cereal!

    (No, that's not an exaggeration... *shudder)
  • The review on Adrenaline Vault indicates that there is no multiplayer option. If this is true I won't be buying the game. These days multiplayer play is an absolute necessity.
    • Exactly what I was thinking. I pre-ordered the game, all hyped-up ready to kick my boss' ass, and boom...No multiplayer support.

      What a *total* let-down. Every game coming out these days has multiplayer support. What the *hell* was Firaxis thinking?

      Just as well. I'll wait for Civ III Gold Multiplayer, and dump another fifty bucks to them.
      • Just as well. I'll wait for Civ III Gold Multiplayer, and dump another fifty bucks to them.

        Good call, it didn't occur to me that this omission was probably just a clever marketing ploy. (Do I recall that they did the same thing with Civ II ??) Since with this knowledge I am now forewarned, I will be holding off buying Civ III until the inevitable multilpayer release.
  • by dipfan (192591)
    "And no more of that horribly unrealistic plan of sending the spy in to destroy city walls before the invasion. (I mean, come on... destroy city walls?)"

    Why not? It's not like spies need to literally knock the entire city wall down (although they might ruin it with a well-placed bomb). The spy's activities could include (in ancient eras) stealth move like opening a gate, finding out passwords ("Halt! Who goes there?") or bribing/subverting guards. In more modern eras it could be getting the defence's blueprints... all things that render a city's defences weaker. Think like the Trojan horse. A city wall or defence doesn't need to be destroyed to be compromised: one weak spot is enough. Half a city wall ain't half as good, it's next to no good.

  • Mixed results... (Score:4, Informative)

    by dcr (145627) on Friday November 02, 2001 @12:06PM (#2512309)
    I bought the Limted Edition the day it came out and my impressions are mixed at best.

    I spent over four hours trying to get the game running on my primary system, which has been able to handle any game I have thrown at it (it's an Athlon 1.3 GHz, GeForce 256, 512 MB of SDRAM). The game locks my system hard within 5 minutes of launch. So far, I have been unable to get any sort of response from Infogrames (the 48 hours they promised on the support web-site appears to be a promise made with fingers crossed) and the verious forums I have read show that I'm not alone.

    I have been able to get it running on my laptop (PII/333, 192 MB SDRAM, integrated graphics), albeit a bit slowly. Also, my work system (PIII/866, 512 MB SDRAM, TNT2/64) runs it without complaint. Having run it, I can make a few comments...

    1) The graphics are better than previous versions of Civ/SMAC. This is a minor concern for me. SMACs graphics were muddy, but the game was great (I'd rather have the game play well than look beautiful and be totally unplayable).
    2) Some of the features I really liked in SMAC (the unit workshop being foremost among them) are not there.
    3) No Multiplayer. Hopefully, when they get around to doing this (if they do it) it will be cross-platform (unlike SMAC).
    4) The borders (in SMAC, but not as important) and culture aspects are nice and add a lot to the game.
    5) The tech-tree is disppointingly small after looking at the trees in SMAC and Call to Power.
    6) I may have missed it in the manual (I have not yet had a chance to read it cover to cover - got to play the game 8^)), but some useful information appears to be absent - what triggers the ability to build the various Small Wonders, for example. I'm sure that the in-game help might have this (honestly, I have not yet looked for it), but it would be nice to have it in print somewhere. The poster for Civ II was nicer.
    7) The Limited Edition is not really worth the extra money. I bought it because the Tech Tree chart was only mentioned with the LE. For what I got, I could have saved the $10 extra. The tin is nice, though.
    8) The differentiation of civilizations (a feature that first appeared in SMAC) is great. The unique units are good as well. I have not played the game enough to see if the countries that get their specialized units early on (Greeks, Romans, Aztecs) have an advantage (or disadvantage, for that matter) compared to those get their specialized units later on (England, America, Germany). I suspect it balances out somewhat except when you start right next to each other (which has happened to me each time so far!)
    9) The revisions to trade are a major improvement. The old system never made sense to me and SMACs way of handling was too abstract to be meaningful.
    10) Likewise, the resources are a major improvement - it never made sense to me that you could see resources in Civ II long before you would have had a reason to actually even understand what the resource could be used for.
    11) The colony feature looks good, but I have not actually seen it work (though I have tried several times). I'm not sure if there is something I'm missing (ie a tech advance needed - the manual doesn't list one) or doing wrong.

    All in all, it has promise. I miss some things from SMAC (and will continue to play it - the ability to custom-design units is just too cool and other features keep me tweaking my plans), but some of the new features look interesting enough to keep me playing. I just hope that a patch gets released soon to address the display issues (and that we don't get the finger pointing game that sometimes happens). Right now, Firaxis/Infogrames appears to be pointing at Microsoft (DirectX) and nVidia. nVidia and Microsoft don't appear to have taken notice of the problems.
  • my attention span is too ... Wow! That sunset is a beautiful colour! What's for tea? What was I typing this for anyway?
    42, thats it. That always answers my questions.
  • Something about tanks being defeated by pikemen and cruise missiles being shot out of the sky... by archers.
    I'll keep on keeping on with SMAC until they get a patch out to address these blindingly obvious issues.
    • Something about tanks being defeated by pikemen
      Historically accurate. The 'tank' unit is circa World War 1. The 'modern armour' unit, on the other hand, is akin to an M1A1.
      and cruise missiles being shot out of the sky... by archers
      Actually, cruse missiles being transported and destroyed by archers. Launched missiles don't travel like units.
  • "Yikes"? (Score:2, Funny)

    by ari_j (90255)
    At 5pm last night ... 3am 8 hours later...yikes

    That is not yikesworthy. What scares me is that playing Civ III apparently takes away the ability to add mod 12. 5 + 8 = 1 (mod 12) but 3 - 5 = 10 (mod 12) Scary.
  • Destroy city walls (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ahde (95143)
    most seiges in history were won by spies destroying city walls. One example: When Hannibal took Tarentum (in southern Italy) his spied bribed men inside to open the city gates at night. His army then walked right in, through a gap in the city wall -- the front door.
  • I typically play (and win) CivII on diety level, so I started expeirementing with CivIII on King level (or whatever they call it, about the middle setting). I've been wiped out everytime. Being good at CivII has nothing to do with this new game.

    Some of the more interesting changes are the "non-combat units". Any combat unit can capture these guys and use them (like workers or settlers). Additionally things that I'm used to being combat units are now non-combat units! Like catipults (I haven't survived to later technology yet ;( You can't attack with catipults as you onece did, they now "Bombard", you press B and a target site appears and squares within range are highlighted. You pick your target and it fires. If any enemy unit attacks the catipult, it is captured!

    I've also noticed that the civilizations seem to be placed much closer together (either that or the maps are just smaller), as I find my self always in early conflicts.

    One additional thing (inherited from MOO2 I believe) is that each civilization starts with different attributes. For example the Aztecs start with a Jaguar Warrier which attacks at 1, but moves at 2. When it attacks and starts losing, it will automatically retreat. Different civilizations start with different specialized units.

    JimK
  • ... Ye Olde Commando Raids. Fill a couple galleys full of pikemen and longbowmen and drop them behind enermy lines. Destroy all his roads on his iron squares. Watch his front lines crumble. That's so cool.
  • Oh No! (Score:2, Funny)

    by rsimmons (248005)
    Crackheads!!! Its payday!
  • Built in Scenarios? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Galvatron (115029) on Friday November 02, 2001 @03:36PM (#2513441)
    I always loved the WWII scenario in Civ2, and the Greek one was pretty interesting too. Any good ones in Civ3?
  • Civ III thoughts. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 02, 2001 @03:47PM (#2513507)
    For the most part, Civ III worked beautifully on my desktop. (PII/450, 128 megs RAM, fairly old nVidia card.)

    The game moves a little slower than is usual for, say, Civ2. Also, the music sometimes skips. These factors are slightly annoying, but not nearly enough to hamper my Civ3 experience in any significant way.

    Things that I like about the game:

    Strategic resources. (Yes!!)
    Barbarians are now actual tribes. I /like/ this. You now deal with Scythians, Huns, etc., etc.
    You can play against up to 16 other civilizations in a single game.
    The expansion of borders: Brilliant.
    Culture as a significant game factor: Brilliant.
    The AI is /much/ smarter.
    The diplomacy is /much/ /much/ better than Civ2's.

    My usual Civ2 strategy is to expand my enemies to death -- expand at the maximum possible rate your civilization can tolerate. This is harder to do in Civ3, mainly because your rivals all have the same idea! (I've found that choosing an Expansionist civilization will help you get the edge in this area, though.)

    Things I'd like to see:
    Female rulers. While female rulers were historically uncommon, they were there. (Catherine the Great, Cleopatra, various European queens, the current president of Finland, Indira Gandhi, etc., etc.) I almost always choose to play female rulers in Civ2.
    More options for civs. I tended to play Celts, Vikings, Carthagenians (sp), etc.
    Multiplayer, but this is a given.

    I agree with some of the posters above that Call to Power was horrible. I had originally purchased it, with strategy guide, around the time it came out. Within a week, I had returned both (for a full refund) because the gameplay was so awful.

    Alpha Centauri was and is a great game, though. ;)

    I give Sid and company a big "Yay!" for CivIII.
  • Wonderful Stuff... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Pathos78 (398591) on Friday November 02, 2001 @04:07PM (#2513639)
    By now I'm sure you've all heard that certain resources are needed to build certain units. No big deal right? Well...

    My first game, as the Japanese, I've reached the tech level to start needing Iron to build the good units... and there is only one iron resource on the coninent I'm on! The Chinese are rushing their workers towards it, and I'm at peace and don't want to fight them (not without my swordsmen!), so I start a line of workers building a long road through the jungle towards the precious iron... I get there first, build a colony and start pumping out units, when the chinese build a city next to my colony and take all that beautiful iron away from me!

    I went to war over _one_ square on the map.

    I used horsemen to cut his roads to his capital and other good cities so he couldn't use the iron there (which was so cool, really), rushed my very few swordsmen to the fore and was finally able to take his city next to the iron. Just then I got chivalry, and it's sword swinging Samurai time! The tactical and strategic importance of the map is way beyond anything in civII or SMACX even.

    What other games challange you to deal with a single point of failure in your road system? :)

  • by sonatine (533868) on Friday November 02, 2001 @09:02PM (#2515027)
    The problem I had with Civ2, SMAC, and the other Civ-like games was that the scope of the management decisions you had to make didn't scale with the game size. Towards the end of the game, in order to stay competitive, you had to have zillions of cities, "engineer" units (settlers, terraformers, etc.), and possibly military units (if you wanted to wage war). You had to manage all this stuff yourself, and implementing high-level strategic decisions (i.e. the interesting ones) involved more and more tedious mouse clicks as the game went on. The AI-automated build queues in SMAC helped some, but it made a lot of bad decisions (such as building infrastructure whose maintenance you couldn't pay for, or tons of military units you didn't need), and there was no help at all for performing routine military operations like transporting a bunch of units across an ocean. Can anyone comment on whether Civ3 has made any progress in fixing this problem?

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