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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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  • Re:Meh.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dcw3 ( 649211 ) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @05:26AM (#44146347) Journal

    Times change. Actual stuff might be less interesting or even plain bad, but the breakthrough would remain in history.
    The same happens with pretty much any art. Most literature no older than 100 years looks now dated and plain boring (yes, even golden classics). Music from 2 decades ago is mostly stuff that nobody listens anymore (Yes, i know there are exceptions, but few and far between). However, if it was a huge success or a breakthrough (invention, innovation, something fresh, etc), it's worth mentioning and remembering.

    Yes, they do. There's plenty of good old music, but I'd argue that the reason many don't listen to it is lack of exposure, and dramatic improvements in fidelity. Who want's to listen to something that sounds like it was played in a trash can, or old scratchy black and white movies with poor special effects? As for old art, my wife and I recently visited the Louvre, and while there was plenty of cool stuff, many of the paintings just looked the same (quickly boring). Why? Most likely because they were all commissioned to paint monarchs or similar religious over and over.

    Sid did some great work. But some of the recent stuff with his name on it is just crap in my opinion.

  • 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.

  • by greg1104 ( 461138 ) <gsmith@gregsmith.com> on Sunday June 30, 2013 @10:18AM (#44147155) Homepage

    It's (1), Sid Meier, super genius. I've spoken to the man twice, the tech side of Baltimore where we both live is pretty small. Sid is exactly the sort of guy who will stare at a game, note the patterns, and then figure out what algorithms must be driving them, all while a regular person is just playing. There is not a hint of boasting from the guy in person, he's just that good at what he does.

  • 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."


Thufir's a Harkonnen now.