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An Early Look At Civilization V 286

Posted by Soulskill
from the new-and-shiny dept.
c0mpliant writes "IGN and Gamespot have each released a preview of the recently announced and eagerly awaited Civilization V. Apart from the obvious new hexagon shape of tiles and improved graphics, the articles go on to outline some of the major changes in the game, such as updated AI, new 'flavors' to world leaders, and a potentially game-changing, one-unit-per-tile system. No more will the stack of doom come to your city's doorsteps. Some features which will not be returning are religion and espionage. The removal of these two have sparked a frenzy of discussion on fan-related forums."
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An Early Look At Civilization V

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  • New AI (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Thursday March 11, 2010 @06:18AM (#31436116) Journal

    I love diplomacy but it sucks when you know the AI is going to cheat. I hope Civ V will finally have an AI that doesn't cheat.

  • by nanoakron (234907) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @06:40AM (#31436202)

    My pet gripe with Civs 3 & 4 (never played 2 but LOVED 1) was the time-constrained tech tree.

    I used to love dumping all my resources into tech just to get nukes by 1000AD and then quickly ruling the world. Why shouldn't I be allowed to do that in later Civs?

    Why can I only get electricity within 100 years of when we discovered it in the real world? Or metallurgy? Or whatever I choose to dump my nation's resources into?

    (Oh, and please do an updated version of Alpha Centauri as well...)

    -Nano.

  • Hmmm... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by denzacar (181829) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @06:43AM (#31436214) Journal

    The pieces can represent anything (battalions or regiments, for instance), so it makes perfect sense.

    But then it would also make perfect sense to be able to combine two or more decimated companies into a battalion, while maintaining the experience and combat abilities.
    Also... combine companies into a battalion, battalions into regiments, regiments into armies.
    You know... as it is not a single tank (or a man) out there on that hex.

    Also, turn your infantry or marines into air cavalry by combining them with helicopters. Make a decimated artillery unit into a "artillery support" bonus for your infantry or armor.
    Balance it out with experience bonuses and additional turns necessary for combining (training turns).

  • Removal Of Religion? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FinchWorld (845331) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @06:44AM (#31436218) Homepage
    Religion, whilst not game changing as many other factors (Hello pratorians!), made an interesting difference to diplomacy and a slight boost to gold. It was also useful to spread to opponents cities to allow spying/gold generation, and was one of the few reasons to consider open borders. It'll be interesting to see how the civics will be altered to reflect the lack of religion. On a side note anyone know of a decent guide to get Civ 4 (or generic guide for games) running under Ubuntu 9.10 x64 with ATI propriety drivers (HD4600)? I've got it working on a different comp using a Geforce card but not the ATI.
  • by sonicmerlin (1505111) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @06:49AM (#31436236)
    You can get your techs very early relative to the time period if you play the marathon or epic versions. I've always been more disappointed in the lack of future techs. I know a few mods tried to address that, but they simply weren't as well thought out or professional as Firaxis's work. I want techs extending into the science fiction future. That would just be so cool. It feels kind of silly that the greatest weapon on earth is... a 40 hit point armored tank.
  • 3D In Strategy Games (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pandrijeczko (588093) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @06:50AM (#31436238)

    I don't think I've ever really understood what happened to strategy gaming on the PC around about the turn of the new Millennium.

    I was (and still am) a huge fan and player of Heroes Of Might & Magic (I, II, and III), Master Of Orion (2), Total Annihilation and Civilization (I, II, Call To Power and Test Of Time) - likewise I've played and enjoyed PC FPS games from original Doom & Duke Nukem 3D through to STALKER, Half-Life 2 and Fallout 3 today.

    Clearly, the FPS genre exists *BECAUSE* of good 3D graphics but who decided that they were needed for strategy games? Fortunately I totally avoided Master Of Orion III but at various points when they were cheap enough to justify rebuying some games I already had, I bought boxed compilations of all the HoMM and Civilization series, the C&C "10 Years" box set (that has everything up to C&C Generals) and Supreme Commander. In each and every case, the introduction of 3D in those games series has felt, to me, like a "dumbing down" of the games...

    Firstly, let's look at HoMM and Civilization. These are both traditionally turn-based games where essentially you need to find and control resources at an "empire" level, as well as defeat enemy armies. They are not solely about combat, they are about using your armies to their best advantage - so what in hell does the game gain from a playability perspective by being able to zoom in to see each individual unit in the middle of a fight, i.e. Civilization III/IV and HoMM IV/V?

    Secondly, Total Annihilation/Supreme Commander and C&C/Red Alert. There are RTS games but solely focused on small unit skirmishes and resource management, where development speed is core to winning each game... in which case, why in hell do I want (or even need) to mess around with zooming in and twiddling camera views? Just give me a single isometric view with sprite graphics...

    These days, as half-Linux half-Windows user, I tend to play Freeciv [wikia.com] quite a lot and IMHO it feels more of a logical progression from the original Civ I/II games.

    I just wish that if games companies have finished with sprite-based RTS games, then they'd hand out the source code of the games on the Internet to let some good programmers loose on them. The great thing about the pre-3D games is they've low resource requirements and power consumption so great for laptops, netbooks & long flights.

    Incidentally, there are a couple of exceptions to the rule - Stardock's Galactic Civilizations II and Sins Of A Solar Empire are fantastic strategy games with built-in 3D but presumably were designed from the ground up with 3D in mind... ...but otherwise 3D graphics have killed any idea of buying any new strategy games.

  • Re:Hmmm... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Rockoon (1252108) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @07:04AM (#31436298)

    But then it would also make perfect sense to be able to combine two or more decimated companies into a battalion, while maintaining the experience and combat abilities. Also... combine companies into a battalion, battalions into regiments, regiments into armies.

    This may very well be the case. I could see leaving the current healing mechanic behind, instead requiring units to recruit from cities (or combining existing units) in order to regain full effectiveness. City recruitment costs could be used as a balancing mechanic as well, by requiring production proportional to the "damage" being "healed." Currently we can have a hundred units all healing for free simultaneously, which is equivalent to an amount of production far greater than the entire civ commanding those units.

  • by blahplusplus (757119) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @07:21AM (#31436356)

    "For my money, I personally think that the best "Civ" game ever made was, by leaps and bounds, Alpha Centauri."

    It was also the weirdest, nerdiest and buggiest game in the series. Lots of the features were neat but the 'design your own unit' things were god awful looking, even though it was cool to do so. I'd love to see AC updated with modern graphics and real effort put into it, a lot of AC was so campy it was a bit disturbing - i.e. religious people in the far flung future, seriously?

  • by Ailure (853833) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @07:43AM (#31436438) Homepage

    Just wondering, did you at some point try Civ IV?

    I play Civ IV and Freeciv and... I actually find both good to their own points. I find Freeciv Stronger than Civ I/II/II balance wise, but Civ IV have way different strategies which makes it interesting, especially with how you specialize cities. After getting used into thinking of terms of "cottage spam" and "specialist-based economy", I can't help but to find Freeciv rather basic. The irony is that while they removed a lot of old annoying micromanagement in Civ IV, they introduced new kinds of it. (I belive FreeCiv removed some micromanagment elements, such as making the game handle production/commerce "overflows" of various kinds).

    Personally I don't find the 3D view a nuisance. I actually find it useful in RTS games, where you can pan the camera around buildings that blocks the camera. Isometric 2D games are annoying when it comes to handling buildings that is in the way. If it's a 2D RTS, I prefer a birds view style ala Dune 2/Tiberian Dawn/Red Alert.

  • by FlyingBishop (1293238) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @07:58AM (#31436500)

    The interesting thing about dwarf fortress is that despite its primitive appearance, it's actually one of the most advanced games out there.

    Aside from the fact that it's an alpha, it partially doesn't have graphics because most hardware can barely handle the game. The only thing that makes graphics feasible is the fact that the game engine is single-threaded.

  • by darkstar949 (697933) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @08:08AM (#31436552)
    Religion actually added a pretty interesting dynamic to the game play in Civilization IV, so I'm actually in the group of people that is disappointed to see it go. It gave another route to victory beyond the military or technological routes.
  • by c0mpliant (1516433) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @08:10AM (#31436564)
    The rumor circulating is that it will be part of an expansion pack later on.

    Certainly the element of religion is receiving a lot of attention on fan forums. A lot of threads with 70%+ in polls for it to be kept in the game. I also think that given how much community interaction is put into the game (i.e. mod support) that the developers wont simply ignore the outcry of the community
  • by alen (225700) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @08:22AM (#31436648)

    welcome to the real world. go read a history book, this is exactly how things happened. Look at Britain and France. Mortal enemies for centuries, but as soon as Prussia/Germany rose to power they are now the best of friends. and Britain had a falling out with Prussia in the mid 1800's after centuries of being allies against France.

    Same with Russia. Allies in the wars against Napoleon but come the mid 1800's Britain goes to war against Russia because they expand in the Crimea

  • by FatLittleMonkey (1341387) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @08:39AM (#31436754)

    I've often wondered if Civ would work if the subsequent branches of each option on the tech tree were semi-random. A different "universe" created for each game; you wouldn't know what lay ahead.

    For example, is a universe technological or magical, with corresponding unit types. Do psychic powers exist in a particular universe, and how early are they discoverable. Genetic engineering, discovered early enough, affecting unit types. etc.

    Every new game would be a "new game".

  • Workers? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wjousts (1529427) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @08:43AM (#31436788)

    How will the one unit per hex effect worker units? I could imagine it getting very frustrating when you can't move your armies out of your cities because of the gaggle of worker units building stuff around it. Personally, I'd like to see them do away with workers altogether. I've been playing CtP 2 recently (thanks GOG.com) and I'm really liking the lack of busy work moving workers around. I also like the fact that I can create trade routes without having to painstakingly move caravan units around.

  • by zach_the_lizard (1317619) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @08:54AM (#31436874)
    Unfortunately for your quick dismissal, there were reasons that they made the switch; they wanted to maintain a balance of power, they were threatened with a greater common enemy, etc. In game, none of this makes any sense whatsoever. If the game AI was running the world, there would be almost constant warfare in every last corner of the globe for the great offense of being neighbors. Estonia would be waging an aggressive war of conquest against Russia, and despite having no money, no army, and their last province under siege, they would refuse a white peace with the far more powerful Russians. In fact, the offer of peace would insult them, and they would be more determined to be conquered in a futile war.

    That is how it works in the latest incarnation of the TW series. Worse, the factions have little in the way of differences in terms of units (save for the differences between the Western nations and the Marathas and Ottomans), and you only really get infantry that changes your tactics late in the game. The older games have more faction differences such that the battles don't get very old fast, and you mostly want to focus on battles anyways. I mean, you encounter chariots as the Romans for the first time, and you wonder what you have to do to win. You do the same when you fight the Greeks, the Easterners with the heavy cavalry, and so on. You then change factions and have to learn and grow again. In ETW, there's not much of that.
  • by MRe_nl (306212) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @09:20AM (#31437062)

    I have to agree Civ 4 wasn't a step forward.
    But for me personally a top down 2D map is easier for tactical Civ type games.
    An ideal mix, AFAIK, would be Civ III Conquest as the basis, Priest, Slavers, Future Techs and Space Combat from Civ Call to Power, and battles/combat like Rome Total War Gold/Barbarian invasion. A hex based map is nice. Alpha Centauri-style "design your own" units are nice.
    But 3D only in the battles, not in the "worldview"-mode.

  • Re:Both Good and Bad (Score:5, Interesting)

    by T.E.D. (34228) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @09:29AM (#31437140)

    You are absolutely right about the sillyness of removing Religon from a game about recreating history.

    OTOH, Sid Meyer is rather famous for removing gameplay features that detract from the fun of the game. Quite often over the loud objections of simulation purists. It could just be that this was one of those cases. Religon's biggest long-term effect in the CIV4 was just to give AI Civ's one more thing to get pissed off at you about. There was no winning with it either, as no matter which you picked, you'd tick somebody off. This made persuing one of the peaceful victory options (like a cultural win) damn near impossible. At least for me.

  • Re:Stack o' Doom (Score:4, Interesting)

    by blahplusplus (757119) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @09:41AM (#31437238)

    "..the only problem is, the civ4 stacks of doom arrive thousands of years before aircraft are invented."

    This is what catapults are for, and they come long before aircraft, did you even play Civ? Seriously?

  • by pandrijeczko (588093) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @09:54AM (#31437360)

    I admire anybody who can play a single game many times over using different strategies - I always end up being "Mr. Highly Advanced" and/or "Mr. Super Nice".

    I tend to take the viewpoint that if I've got the most advanced hardware then I need less of it protecting my cities (Civilization) or planets (Master Of Orion 2/Galactic Civilizations). Because I pump so much focus on technological advancement, my defences are always very light so I end up having to be super nice to everyone so they don't pick any fights with me during the early parts of the game - at least in GalCiv 2 you can "sell" older technology to other races that not only subsidises the huge tax deficit because almost your entire population are scientists, but also makes them a bit more friendlier to you anyway.

    Even in Fallout 3 I've tried being Mr. Evil but that lasted about 4 hours before I got bored with it!

  • Re:Both Good and Bad (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mongoose Disciple (722373) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @10:13AM (#31437664)

    Religon's biggest long-term effect in the CIV4 was just to give AI Civ's one more thing to get pissed off at you about. There was no winning with it either, as no matter which you picked, you'd tick somebody off. This made persuing one of the peaceful victory options (like a cultural win) damn near impossible.

    I will respectfully disagree with you:

    - Yes, your choice of religion will most likely piss somebody off. (It's not completely unheard of for everyone in a Civ IV game to end up with the same religion, but mostly rare.) But that's just a reflection of the nature of diplomacy in Civ IV in general: nearly everything you do pisses somebody off. Sign a defensive pact with Russia or trade and you make them happy, but their enemy Germany gets surly about it. Diplomacy in Civ IV is less about trying to make everyone happy and more about choosing who to befriend.

    - Along those lines, religion added something interesting to the game in making you weigh the costs and benefits of a religion choice. Most of my cities are Buddhist, but my Aztec neighbor is Hindu. Is it more important to me right now to maximize the happiness/production of my cities by choosing Buddhist, or to make Montezuma happier with me by being Hindu?

    - The Apostolic Palace, especially in the votes that result from it, add an extra layer of complexity. Ideally you'd like to be the religion that covers your country the most, build the Palace, spread your religion to other civs, and use it to push them around. But there are opportunity costs in achieving all of that, and there's always the chance that someone else spreads the religion more than you have and uses the Palace to push you around instead. In a lot of ways it's a more complex early-game U.N., which I think would be right up your alley if you like diplomacy.

  • by thesandtiger (819476) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @11:27AM (#31439274)

    In Civ 1 and 2 I would beeline to Republic, then Gunpowder and then whatever tech gave me Armor - every game was pretty much the same strategy, the only difference was how I was able to go about implementing that strategy (do I found 50 cities as close as possible to each other, or do I just build 10 super cities? Do I trade for basic techs while going to Republic, or do I go it alone?) In either case, while there were other strategies that *could* work, this route through the tech tree was pretty much optimal - even on high difficulty level games I would often have an extremely substantial tech lead on my opponents, and the difference between tech levels was VERY pronounced.

    What I like about Civ IV is that I can actually use different strategies, and different focuses depending on my starting situation. Rushing towards a high-tech producing civ isn't always the best move, early wars with nearby foes aren't necessarily bad, and it is entirely possible to fight really effectively despite being behind in the tech race as long as you aren't *too* far behind.

    I like that Civ IV lets you do other strategies without feeling like you're intentionally hobbling yourself or playing sub-optimally if you try different techniques.

  • Re:New AI (Score:2, Interesting)

    by PincushionMan (1312913) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @11:38AM (#31439472)
    Err, wasn't that game Master of Magic [wikipedia.org]? I don't think Sid Meier did that one. Nope, that was done by the Master of Orion [wikipedia.org] folks. Whatever happened to those guys, anyway? Wiki is very sparse on details.
  • Re:Stack o' Doom (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Rockoon (1252108) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @01:10PM (#31440962)
    It is you that seems to not be playing any competitive Civ4.

    Catapults damage at most 4 to 6 units. A stack of doom is 20 to 30 melee units, also with 5 to 10 catapults. You can slam my stack with collateral catapults, but then I slam your city defenders with collateral catapults. Unless your city has a big stack in it, its going down to my stack.

    You've got exactly 1 turn to hit my stack with catapults, because I blocked the path to my stack as it approached your city.

    In human vs human play, the only defense to big stacks is bigger stacks.
  • by DavidTC (10147) <slas45dxsvadiv.vadiv@neverb o x . com> on Thursday March 11, 2010 @02:08PM (#31441824) Homepage

    I hated having to rush for a religion. I find it exceptionally absurd I can end up without one. What primitive people didn't have a religion?

    What I wish that you could do is essentially build your own religion.

    Not the tiny details, but if you took over another nation you could, for example, incorporate their gods into your pantheon and gain some extra culture. Or do the inverse, demonize someone else's god in yours, reducing war weariness as you fight those 'evil worshipers'.

    Or switch to monotheism, which would keep reduce neighboring cultural exchange, both ways.

    Or if a religion was in more than one place, you could attempt to 'hijack' it and make your county the HQ. Or you could fork it.

    Likewise, you could have various 'holy people' that showed up, like great prophets, but you'd tell them a bunch of different options, and they'd be remembered, and you could direct which of these 'saints' your society focused on. Like, on of them was a great warrior, one of them feed the hungry, one of them was a great mother, whatever.

    And it would be interesting to allow various rules, like how you treat sex, for example. Harsh controls on it could result in a lower birthrate but more financial gain. (As children grow up in supported families and hence aren't a drain on society.) Likewise, perhaps certain foods cause sickness for people unfamiliar with them, so you can outlaw them.

    And, of course, changing any of this would cause unhappiness for a bit, as people don't like change.

    The problem is that Civ IV used real religions, which people don't like mucking with. (And even then only five of them...where were the Greek Gods, or the Eygption ones?) So all you could do is alter how they interacted with society, and not what they were.

    Which was rather dumb...I mean, you can make societies and leaders operate totally out of how they actually were. But whatever...if people are going to complain, just name them random things.

  • Re:New AI (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ultranova (717540) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @02:17PM (#31441994)

    If we're going to abandon reality, why don't we just add wizard units and inter-dimensional portals too?

    Done [civfanatics.net].

    Altought if you want portals you can pass, you'd need to go back to Master of Magic. Perhaps that could be the defining new feature of Civ 5: allow multiple separate maps, to model the colonization of Moon and nearby planets? It doesn't make any sense to send a spaceship to Alfa Centauri, when Mars is closer and pretty close to habitable.

    That, and I'd really like to see undersea colonies/tunnel roads. I think one of the Civ II clones had them. That way, the next Fall from Heaven version could actually include the Octopus Overlords as a playable faction ;). Or maybe they could be included in the current one - I haven't taken a look at the SDK yet.

  • by ajlisows (768780) on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:03AM (#31449308)

    I wouldn't say that you would "End up without one" unless your game ended really quickly. Obviously you are trying to say you may not found one. When you think about it....did the Romans really "found" their religion or did they pretty much adopt their Religion from the Greeks, just as you would adopt Buddhism from the neighboring Isabella. Eventually, you can start a Crusade to take over Jerusalem...er....Madrid. The holy city of the Religion.

    In a way, you can "Hijack" a Religion by building the Apostolic Palace. If you are the major practitioner of that religion, you are more likely to end up being the leader of that Religion. You don't get the benefit of the Shrine city, but you do gain some pretty nasty diplomatic benefits (Give me that city back or your people will be really pissed.)

    And not to nitpick, but Civ IV actually had seven religions, not five. Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Confucionism, and Taoism.

    I do however, like your idea of being able to start a Holy Crusade against a civ that followed a different Religion and gaining the benefit of less war wariness because of it. Something like that would make a lot of sense. Perhaps even let you burn that Religion out of cities and any city you conquer...or something like that.

    I think in the end it did not have a major enough impact unless you were going for a cultural victory. Sure, shrine cities produced some nice income and it did have some effect on diplomacy...but just not enough. Some of the other suggestions you had seem cool but at that point it starts making the Religious aspect waaay too complicated for what may amount to minor gains in terms of actual effects on the game itself.

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