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Programming Entertainment Games IT Technology

Remaking Civilization In Your Own Image 36

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 ) 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.
  • 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.


      Total control, if via "appropriate" paper

      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-
  • 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.

  • Classic Civ (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AvitarX ( 172628 ) <`gro.derdnuheniwydnarb' `ta' `em'> 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).
  • Alpha Centauri (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Gertlex ( 722812 ) on Saturday September 24, 2005 @10:48AM (#13637807)
    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 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 Shipwack ( 684009 ) on Saturday September 24, 2005 @12:59PM (#13638357)
    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.
  • by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Monday September 26, 2005 @07:12AM (#13649338) Journal
    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 least the first two expansion packs were little more than collections of such little mods. Unlike the later ones which did offer new areas and whatnot, "Livin' Large" and "House Party" were nothing more than getting a ton of new objects and skins on a CD. So I'd say it's inaccurate to say that most people don't care about mods, since a helluva lot of us even paid money to EA for just that.

    EA also seems to think it's enough of an advantage to at least look moddable, since (A) they released _some_ modding tools for The Sims on the game's site and on the Deluxe and Super-Deluxe releases, (B) one of the hyped things about The Sims 2 was the Body Shop program.

    I can tell you that everyone I know that played The Sims 2 has at least colour-swapped a t-shirt or skirt for their Sims. (I don't even have much artistic skills myself, yet I must have recoloured a hundred or so with the Gimp so far. Not works of art by any definition, mind you. But simple stuff like giving the hue an 120 degree twist to make a green formal dress for my elvish family out of the red one, or recolouring the blonde mohawk to a neon blue one for a punk teenager sim, that's simple enough even for a purely coding nerd like yours truly.) And whoever didn't, got pointed at someone or some site that could do it for them.

    But as I've said, I still think you're _mostly_ right.

    I think it's more like a feeback loop. You're right that the game has to be good to start with, to get enough people bothering with modding it, as opposed to just uninstalling it. (So, yes, there are a ton of mods for Half Life, but none for Daikatana.) But from there it does serve to help the game further.

    E.g., HalfLife was a good game and all, but CS did help sell it to even more people.

    E.g., in The Sims's case, the mods also helped keep a bunch of us still interested in the game until the next official expansion pack came along. And then helped sell more expansion packs, because some items required a certain expansion pack to work. So you'd go to some site with items for download and see some cool hack, like a gadget that keeps your robot active all the time, sorta like a permanent buttler. And maybe think "cool, this should save my sims a bunch of time." Except it needs the robot from Livin Large, since the hack just keeps reactivating that one. So a lot of people then went and bought that expansion pack.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982