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The Father of Civilization: Profile of Sid Meier 208

An anonymous reader writes with a link to Kotaku's recent profile of Civilization creator Sid Meier, and includes this snippet: "One year, as [coworker John] Stealey recalls, the two men went to an electronics trade conference. On the second night of the show, they stumbled upon a bunch of arcade games in a basement. One by one, Meier beat Stealey at each of them. Then they found Atari's Red Baron, a squiggly flight game in which you'd steer a biplane through abstract outlines of terrain and obstacles. Stealey, the Air Force man, knew he could win at this one. He sat down at the machine and shot his way to 75,000 points, ranking number three on the arcade's leaderboard. Not bad. Then Meier went up. He scored 150,000 points. 'I was really torqued,' Stealey says today. This guy outflew an Air Force pilot? He turned to the programmer. 'Sid, how did you do that?' 'Well,' Meier said. 'While you were playing, I memorized the algorithms.'"
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The Father of Civilization: Profile of Sid Meier

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  • Hmm (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    This is what Red Baron looks like:

    I don't think being a Air Force pilot would help a lot. The reason Sid won was because he was better (or more used to) playing computer games, including seeing patterns how the enemies arrives (from left or right etc).

    • Re:Hmm (Score:4, Insightful)

      by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @06:51AM (#44146523) Homepage Journal

      This is what Red Baron looks like: []

      I don't think being a Air Force pilot would help a lot. The reason Sid won was because he was better (or more used to) playing computer games, including seeing patterns how the enemies arrives (from left or right etc).

      back then for most people it was a foreign idea how a plane is controlled, you know, diving, climbing... reflexes. so for the guy who didn't think of them as machines, quite limited machines, it made sense for him to think that he would be better in it.

    • by lxs ( 131946 )

      Looks fun. I'm off to install MAME.

  • by PingXao ( 153057 ) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @07:03AM (#44146541)

    Railroad Tycoon

    Still has never been outdone in the genre. Transport Tycoon, additional editions of RRT, not even the latest Rails, which I believe Sid lent his name to without really being involved.... none of them can hold a candle to the original Railroad Tycoon.

  • Civ is overrated (Score:4, Informative)

    by devent ( 1627873 ) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @09:16AM (#44146913) Homepage

    Now Alpha Centauri was a really good game. I wish I would see innovations like in AC instead the x remake of the same game.
    AC had:

    * real 3D map
    * real atmosphere and a good story
    * innovated combat system
    * innovated diplomacy
    * and in my opinion way better game then Civ III and the remakes (Civ IV, etc).

  • He would have been hired to work at a high freq trading shop.

  • by pezpunk ( 205653 ) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @10:17AM (#44147149) Homepage

    From the childish notion that immense intellect would manifest as gaming skill to the baffling assumption that being a real-life fighter pilot would have any bearing whatsoever on playing a 2d side scroller. Sounds like the perfect kind of imbecile to be impressed with Sid Meier hype.

    • by jeffb (2.718) ( 1189693 ) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @10:37AM (#44147277)

      2D side scroller? No, the whole attraction of Red Baron [] was that it was full 3D perspective, in a day when real-time 3D calculations were well beyond the reach of commodity hardware. (It ran on a 6502, capable of a blazing .5 MIPS, and used custom hardware for the 3D transformations.)

      I mastered Battlezone, its sister game, but the one and only Red Baron game in our town spent most of its time out of order. The joystick mechanism just wasn't durable enough to stand up to drunken teens. (On Battlezone, you'd pull the cabinet over on top of you before the joysticks would break. Don't ask me how I know this.)

      Assuming that a one-joystick "flight simulator" running on 1980 hardware would have anything in common with flying an actual fighter? Yeah, that was kind of silly.

      • Battlezone was a great example of perfect AI play causing a weakness. The enemy tank only fired on you when you were in it's sights. You could turn in place until you heard it's shot, then move forward causing a miss. Repeat until you are almost(but not quite) facing it, then go forward until you pass it, then back up, turn, fire. If it was changed to randomly fire in front of you or at you then it would have been a lot tougher.

  • by StefanJ ( 88986 ) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @10:52AM (#44147357) Homepage Journal

    Well, really my only Sid Meier encounter, if you don't count sitting in an audience.

    So, I'm at . . . COMDEX? CES? One of those big-ass electronics trade shows. Might have been Chicago, might have been Las Vegas.

    I got away from my booth for an hour, and I head for the area where computer games are being shown. I'm totally jazzed to see a dummy box and demo of Colonization. I look over the material about it, and to another totally jazzed gamer next to me say something like "Cool, it's like someone did a decent remake of Seven Cities of Gold!"

    A voice at my shoulder says "Good, that's what I had in mind."


Another megabytes the dust.