View Full Version : What IS Civilization?


goodbye_mr_bond
Apr 08, 2001, 09:22 PM
"It's a game," you say.

OK. But what kind of game? In the course of my postings, I've noticed that many of us have what appears to be a fundamentally different approach as to what this game is.

I think that Civ I and II are essentially 'civilization simulators' in the same sense that we use the term 'flight simulator'. Obviously a civilization is immeasurably more complex that an airplane, but the basic idea is to mimic reality as closely as the computer will allow.

Just as flight simulators were very simple at first, so are the Civ games now. But I hope that, as computers become faster and better, Civ games will also become more complex, incorporating things such as weather patterns--which could, as some have suggested, be optional features.

However, in the various forums, some members have written: "Enough with the options!" meaning that we should not make the game overburdened with possibilities such as "autobuild," "customize unit," etc etc. In other words, complexity is bad and the game should be as basic as possible. Or at least, it should just stay as it is.

But to me, this to me is the same as creating the best, most realistic flight simulator in the world and then saying, "Well, there are just too many instruments on this panel. Let's get rid of a couple." What's the point?

Well, it's this: Some flight simulators are played to simulate the sensation of flying, and the operations of the plane are kept simple. Other flight simulators try to give you the full experience of what it's like to fly a specific airplane with as much realism as possible, at least as far as instrumentation, maneuverability, etc. are concerned.

I personally enjoy playing Civ because it lets me experience what it might be like to control a large empire with all the complexities that go with it: war, economics, science. In fact I want more: culture, religion, natural disasters. The effect of individual genius on a society (ie. Einstein). The more realistic, greater the complexity, the better.

What do you think? What is Sid Meier's Civilization, exactly?

VanillaCube
Apr 09, 2001, 01:23 AM
Its a stratigic simulation!

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FearlessLeader2
Apr 09, 2001, 01:38 AM
Civ is, with the sole exception of Dungeon Keeper, the most fun you can have with a computer. It is mainly a way for 30-year old virgins to achieve a measure of self-worth in their otherwise pointless existences. To read more into it than that is an excercise in futility. I am extremely close to the above description, and I can assure you that if I ever had to choose between sex and Civ, it would be a difficult decision. Thus far, Civ has provided far more enjoyment.

GenghisK
Apr 09, 2001, 04:39 AM
I think that Civ I and II are essentially 'civilization simulators'

No no no. It's a civilization and life destroyer simulator http://forums.civfanatics.com/ubb/biggrin.gifhttp://forums.civfanatics.com/ubb/biggrin.gif Everybody contaminated by this plague has his/her life ruined (cf. Thunderfall's poll) http://forums.civfanatics.com/ubb/smile.gif

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Genghis K.
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SlowwHand
Apr 09, 2001, 07:27 AM
"Fundamentally different approaches".
No kidding. Just like the real world.
http://forums.civfanatics.com/ubb/cwm40.gif

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TimTheEnchanter
Apr 09, 2001, 07:59 AM
Originally posted by goodbye_mr_bond:
"I think that Civ I and II are essentially 'civilization simulators' in the same sense that we use the term 'flight simulator'. Obviously a civilization is immeasurably more complex that an airplane, but the basic idea is to mimic reality as closely as the computer will allow.


I have to disagree. It is not attempting to mimic reality as closely as possible. It is using the advance of civilization as a context for entertaining gameplay. I know this may sound like a nit, but I don't think it is. Some of the comments by Sid Meier that have come out in the previews make this clear. Realism will always take a back seat to gameplay.

If they wanted to make it realistic, most civilizations we start would either starve, get killed by someone else, get "assimilated" by someone else, or muddle along in abject poverty and obscurity. No one would reach Alpha Centauri. No one would ever control the entire planet.

There are certain factors that could be made more complex (and often more realistic), but
the ultimate design goal will never be true realism.

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DEATH awaits you all...with nasty, big, pointy teeth.

goodbye_mr_bond
Apr 10, 2001, 12:50 AM
Originally posted by TimTheEnchanter:
If they wanted to make it realistic, most civilizations we start would either starve, get killed by someone else, get "assimilated" by someone else, or muddle along in abject poverty and obscurity

I disagree. A 'civilization' is by definition prosperous and large. You mean that, in the real world, most settlements do no become civilizations, I think. People don't speak of the Inuit 'civilization', for instance. But I think that would be very well simulated in this game if you could have, say, 20 starting civs with more popping up over the centuries.

In fact, it might be fun to play the Inuit and try to take over the Americas!

Alcibiaties of Athenae
Apr 10, 2001, 04:46 AM
As an historian, it allows me to indulge my 'god complex', and rewrite history. I can also play history through the many fine scenarios that are availible on the net. As a simulator, it is too abstract. But it's overall effect is quite good, as is the feeling of accomplishment one gets from winning a game of it. Other historical games are just lacking in the feel of true empire.

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GenghisK
Apr 10, 2001, 04:56 AM
As an historian, it allows me to indulge my 'god complex', and rewrite history

Civ is NOT a god simulator. You should rather play Populous http://forums.civfanatics.com/ubb/wink.gif I even think the worst mistake in Civ is to think you're a god. The real pleasure and fun (at least to my mind) is not to command or order units to live and die for you (nor worship you) but to lead the destiny of a whole nation towards the ages. That's a bit different. Perhaps I'll be misunderstood but that's what I think of Civ.

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Genghis K.
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Fishheads
Apr 10, 2001, 05:31 AM
it's a tactical nukular armmageddon simulator :_)

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@
@@Nuclear Msl.
Perhaps it's time for a nice %STRING0

GenghisK
Apr 10, 2001, 05:41 AM
Originally posted by Fishheads:
it's a tactical nukular armmageddon simulator :_)


I've found the obssessed guy who had tried to put a nuke in my a** http://forums.civfanatics.com/ubb/biggrin.gifhttp://forums.civfanatics.com/ubb/biggrin.gifhttp://forums.civfanatics.com/ubb/biggrin.gif
It's a postapocalyptic slaughtery simulator, so http://forums.civfanatics.com/ubb/biggrin.gif



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Genghis K.
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vladmir_illych_lenin
Apr 13, 2001, 08:48 PM
Civilization is a pleasing, strategic simulation the world and its struggling empires. I can say that every game is different, because if the first ten moves in chess can be take in hundreds of trillions of moves, Civ can be infinite. It's not like Doom, where once you beat the game, you sell it away. Civ is infinitely deep!

Just wondering off topically. How in the hell did people play Civ as a board game? They would've had to calculate production, science, corruption, etc etc. It would be so easy to cheat here and there, and games would take years to complete!