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Remaking Civilization In Your Own Image 36

Posted by Zonk
from the moddin'-cities dept.
Gamecloud has a piece on the moddability of Civilization IV. The article goes into detail about the numerous levels at which content creators can change the game of Civilization. From the article: "The next level offers Python and XML support, letting modders with more experience manipulate the game world and everything in it. XML (eXtensible Markup Language) files can be edited in standard text editors or in special XML file editors that have ease-of-use features like a grid view. Editing these files will allow players to tweak simple game rules and change or add content. For instance, they can add new unit or building types, change the cost of wonders, or add new civilizations." This is a more detailed look at a topic we've discussed before. Gamespot has a preview of the upcoming title, as well.
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Remaking Civilization In Your Own Image

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  • PC console (Score:4, Interesting)

    by spyrochaete (707033) <spyrochaete@@@hyppy...zapto...org> on Friday September 23, 2005 @06:43PM (#13634074) Homepage Journal
    DIY content is why The Sims is so incredibly popular, and it's why the PC is such a great platform for gaming. Sid has obviously done his homework. With the game, mod implementation, mod development, and access to the community all on the same box, Civ 4 will undoubtedly be the most popular iteration of the series.
    • Re:PC console (Score:5, Insightful)

      by servognome (738846) on Friday September 23, 2005 @07:08PM (#13634291)
      DIY content is why The Sims is so incredibly popular

      I doubt it, most people who play the Sims don't know about mods, or even care. What made it so popular was how it appealed to a wide audience
      NWN and Total Annihilation were very mod friendly, but didn't have the same level of popularity.
      • by hsoft (742011)
        The fact that NWN was mentioned here forces me to say: *sigh*, NWN would have been SOOO much better if it was using Python instead of NWScript. *sigh* Their NWScript thing kinda suck (even if, on the other side, it is very good because few games have this level of customization). For a non-developer or a C developer, I guess it's kind of ok, but for someone who is used to the greatness of Python, it's hard to bear.

        I can't wait for Civ 4 (That's funny, I was saying the same thing about NWN back in the days..
      • You are mostly right, but actually both extremes are over-simplified IMHO.

        For starters, let me assure you that probably most people who play The Sims know about those mods, since they're linked to right on the game's web site and Maxis itself offered one of its own each week. They might not think about it as "mods" or give them as much thought as, say, CS or TeamFortress get, but virtually everyone has downloaded at least one recoloured bed or dress for their The Sims game.

        It can also be pointed out that at
  • by MiceHead (723398) on Friday September 23, 2005 @06:51PM (#13634136) Homepage
    Games have been moddable for some time, but the industry's recent adoption of general-purpose languages such as Python, Ruby, and Lua should make it easier for modders to pick up and play with a new game. Being a Python fan, I'd like to know more of the details about how they're implementing and exposing things. One interesting thing is that they're using Boost.Python [boost.org]. From the Civ IV Fanatics' website:

    The game will be written entirely from scratch using flexible XML data files, as well as the Python scripting language. Boost.Python (this allows for seamless interoperability between C++ and the Python programming language) will be used as the interface layer between the C++ game code and Python. Python is used in the game for map generation, interface screens, game events, tools, tutorials, etc. If you want to see how this will affect customization of the game (or any other aspect relating to customization).. The new 3D engine will also allow for greater possibilities.
    The open-source Vega Strike [sourceforge.net] also uses Boost.Python.
    _______________
    www.dejobaan.com - Making games one game at a time.
    • Not that simple (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Moraelin (679338)
      _Some_ games have been moddable to _some_ extent, yes, but not all and typically not by much.

      The gaming world doesn't start and end with the HalfLife and NWN engine, you know. Yeah, there the only "problem" was that you needed a C compiler or to learn Bioware's script respectively. But in other games you didn't even get that.

      E.g., I was one of the people who whined at the authors of "Die Gilde" ("Europa 1400: The Guild" in America) to let us mod the damn thing at all. They never released any tools or specs
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 23, 2005 @06:58PM (#13634188)
    Open Source FreeCiv

      Oh, there are -also- folks running Civilisation
      as [ great, big ] DIY board games.

          http://www.civproject.net/ [civproject.net]

      Total control, if via "appropriate" paper
      technology.

      Hey, I'm going to a professional develop-
      ment seminar today (for teachers) on how
      to use the paper-version to help students
      better understand History & related sub-
      jects.
  • will hopefully change a lot of peoples views on gaming... instead of just sitting there for days on end, it can be used as a learning tool and actually encourage creativity a step in the right direction to bring a nice light on gaming, what with all the bad press GTA and MMORPGS bring along (not that they're bad in my eyes, but they do get a lot of bad press)
  • Would be the August 2005 issue of Game Developer Magazine. While it's not the most in-depth article, it does describe in better detail the modding features of Civ4, how they work, and a bit on why. There's also some sidebars on city layout and making the planet round. I don't know if the article has made it to Gamasutra, but if it has, it's much more worthy of anyone's time than that Gamecloud article.
  • Fluff (Score:5, Interesting)

    by great throwdini (118430) on Friday September 23, 2005 @10:14PM (#13635554)

    As in, the article is a complete puff piece.

    I have two hopes for Civ IV: (1) That they contemplate an OS X port and don't treat it like the red-headed stepchild it will likely be, if at all; and (2) That the game is put together more cleanly than the string of Civ II-Alpha Centauri-Civ III titles, each of which were plagued with bugs and, in some cases, unbelievable sloppiness that eventually saw clean-up in patch after patch (but never fully). Love the series, more or less, but the games have never been standouts in stability, balance, or efficiency out of the gates.

    I halfway fear that the ballyhoo surrounding the player modification system(s) is nother more than another "oh, shiny!" meant to distract from yet another patchfest for the game's core.

    Ah, but who am I kidding? I'll probably buy it regardless.

    • Yeah, I have hopes for IV. If it keeps the same kind of Go-like strategy that III had with Culture and Resources, then I'm for it. Otherwise, I'll stick with III when I wanted to get buzzed and veg out to a game.
  • Yep, SimCity 1,2,3k, and 4... Civ 1, 2, 3...

    And now 4 will be my next additiction without question. Weeks of free time spent civ'ing! I can hardly wait.
  • Classic Civ (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AvitarX (172628) <me@brandywinehun ... g minus math_god> on Saturday September 24, 2005 @01:17AM (#13636307) Journal
    Is it so moddable that we can get classic civ from it?

    I mean Civ 1,3, or 3 but with the new graphics, better multi player and huge maps.

    that is what I hope for, since it seams they are going for a shallower more assasable CIV (which will be great most of the time, but some 3-day weekends call for 60 hours of Civ). The changes sound fun, but I imagine I will want a large complex tech tree and hundreds of different units sometimes.

    More offtopic. My favorite mod of all time was a Piracy mod for Civ 2 that was real elaborate with canons and ships and stuff. It was great, but only ran on the first expansion pack, I could never get it to run on fantastic worlds (Macro Error).

    Really I think the dev team themself should offer classic Civ modes that exactly replicate the previous games as a proof of conept of the modding and to make people obsessed with Civ 2 happy (there are lots of them).
  • Huh? (Score:5, Funny)

    by JamesTRexx (675890) <m,nystrom&mbitz,nl> on Saturday September 24, 2005 @03:19AM (#13636645) Homepage Journal
    Hey, I didn't know Al Gore invented [gamespot.com] the Internet. And then they say games can't teach you anything...
  • Alpha Centauri (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Gertlex (722812)
    The 'new game' that I'm hoping to get out of this modability is a remake of Alpha Centauri, a futuristic version of Civilization (both created by Firaxis).

    There are quite a few people over at Apolyton.net that are hoping to be able to accomplish this. In general, it's a subject that's been actively dreamed about for months (over a year perhaps).

  • by popo (107611) on Saturday September 24, 2005 @11:06AM (#13637892) Homepage
    While this idea might sound great at first glance, I think it speaks volumes about what kind of play balancing we can expect from this title. I played CIV III and always felt that while the historical permutations were pretty cool, the play balancing was quirky at best. The end result is that the CIV series has started to feel like a MAXIS "Sim" title, and less of an actual game. Or rather, the title is a "toy" and not a "game".

    Its funny how a promise of "open source" and "modding culture" early on in a title so often means -- "We're not going to spend much time on play balancing". Morrowind was another perfect example of openness vs. gameplay. In Morrowind the emphasis on open-endedness, freedom and expandability ultimately translated into a disastrous in-game economy, weapon imbalances, impossibly overpowered characters and ultimately a play experience that depended on story-line (which was actually excellent) rather than the aspects of the game itself.

    I think I'll wait before breaking out my wallet [jfold.com] on this one.

  • Master of Magic is a game I still fire up under DOS occasionally. While a Civ 4 mod (probably?) won't have the tactical combat portion of the game, the rest can be be done.
    • MoM is by far the greatest 4X game ever made. I _strongly_ urge any geeks who enjoyed the Civ, MOO, etc. games to seek it out. Takes the whole genre in a completely different direction and does it spectacularly.
      • MoM is by far the greatest 4X game ever made. I _strongly_ urge any geeks who enjoyed the Civ, MOO, etc. games to seek it out. Takes the whole genre in a completely different direction and does it spectacularly.

        Actually... strictly speaking it's crap. The game balance is so dire. There are so many completely game-breaking strategies that it's only a question of just how munchkin you can possibly be. Ultra-Elite Adamantium Halfling Slingers with Flame Blade, Giant Strength and added blessings from an accompa

        • All the early 4X games had serious play balance issues. Anybody here play the first MOO? Fleets of 32767 ships anyone? The game was still a work of genius for it's time, and still is way more fun to play than anything newer - it just needed a helluvalot of tweaks.
          • Anybody here play the first MOO?

            No, but I played MOO2 to an unhealthy extent.

            There was a delightful bit of rules-abuse you could do with a Phasing Cloak and a Timewarp Facilitator, if I recall aright. Decloak, fire, recloak, all before the enemy had a chance to even move.

  • Some things just work better in 2D. Think chess. Think Baldur's Gate, and soon Fallout. Unfortunately, I believe Civ will soon prove itself worth of making this list. Going 3D will only complicate issuing the same orders, not to mention bump the hardware requirements. And it's just not pretty. Hopefully the game would have enough redeeming qualities (AI that doesn't build as big a fleet when you're playing in a Pangaea-like world, less tedious and more effective bombardment units, the new religion scheme) t
  • Not what's needed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jkmartin (816458) on Saturday September 24, 2005 @04:20PM (#13639590)
    Did anyone notice that the article references early 2006 as the release date? The Civ4 site still says winter 2005. Anyway, the problem with content creation for Civilization has never been in the type of units or gameplay rules. Look at Conquests. The content creation problem has been in the art department...something which doesn't add anything to gameplay but is difficult for individuals or small teams to do with high quality. Is Civ4 going to ship with 3D modelling tools? Frankly the screenshots I've seen look awful. Full 3D is a mistake for this series. Even the unit animations in Civ3 are probably taking it too far. I'd much rather see changes to the glaring problems with gameplay - airpower, unit stacking, combining units, civilization size, civilization attributes, better resource and luxury usage, and production orders to name a few. From the previews I've read some of these are being worked on. It's funny some have mentioned rebuilding SMAC with the Civ4 engine. I think Civ4 would benefit by trying to be more like SMAC, especially with the unit editor.

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