30 years Civ - all the little things you didn't know

The_J

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All of us here probably know the important details of Civ's history: That it was released 1991, that we get a new title roughly every 5 years, and that most titles have had 2 major expansion packs.
But there have been a lot of small things, which you maybe never thought about, or simply did not know about this game. In addition the community here has also produced lots of content, which you maybe should know about. Have a read about all these small things below.


Nuclear Gandhi

image by @kaspergm and @undine.

Most people know Mahatma Gandhi as a peace-loving independence fighter. Most Civ-players know him as a nuclear-weapon loving maniac. But what is this about?
The legend says, according to wikipedia, that there was a bug in Civ1, which made Gandhi go nuclear. Agression settings were set on a level from 1-10, with Gandhi having the lowest number, 1. With the discovery of nuclear weapons, all leaders would have their aggression level reduced by 2, to mimic the nuclear deterrent. But due to Gandhi having 1, and a lower value not being available, this would roll over to 9 instead. Wikipedia also tells us that this is apparently completely based on fiction, and did not exist.
Yet, this "meme" has actually been transferred into a meme, https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/nuclear-gandhi , and has sparked numerous articles about this "feature", see e.g.
At the end, for Civ5, the devs actually made it so that Gandhi did actually have the highest score for nuclear weapons. The different articles claim that 2012 was the first year the nuclear Gandhi came up, and it seems to be indeed the case, at least this seems to be the earliest thread about it, although there were spurious reports before.

nuclear_gandhi.jpeg


The movie clip below is unlikely to be inspired by Civilization, but yet many Civ players will be sympathetic to it.





A grammy for the Civ4 title song


Nobody who has played Civ4 will forget its title song. It's a master piece, we all agree. What nobody expected is that everyone would actually agree to this. In 2010, Baba Yetu, and the album Calling All Dawns, got nominated for a grammy each, and both of them won. It is the first, and until know also still the only piece of music from a computer game to win a grammy.
The composer Christopher Tin also had a look here at our forum and made an "AMA" a long time ago. He is also still popular with the Civ crowd, and was hired for the Civ6 soundtrack.



The devs really check the forums

Sometimes people wonder in how far the developers listen to the complaints, thoughts, and general ramblings of the user base in the forums. We know they do, and you can even check it yourself! While not very prominent, various personel from Firaxis has accounts here, and especially after release you could see them checking the bug reports sections. Even Sid himself has an account here, but he's sadly not an active member. But there is more to it.
The "official" fan mods
Many of the expansion packs for Civ included mods. All official? Well, kinda. The Civ4 expansion included the mods "Fall From Heaven" and "Rhyse And Fall", which are both actually fan-made expansions. The bigger brother of "Fall From Heaven" is it's second part, abbreviated FfH2, which has a giant forum here on CFC, with various modmods, and Rhyse and Fall, well.. Rhye has been modding Civ since Civ2, and is currently working on the version for Civ5.
Kael, the lead designer of FfH2, got, due to this work on his mod, also a job at Stardock, the developers of "Galactic Civilizations", and actually developed his own fantasy game, and many more games have followed.
The Giant Death Robot
In the Civ4 mod "Next War" there was a big, bad-ass robot. Nobody cared. In Civ5, the "Giant Death Robot" was announced as being part of the game. Oh, what outrage. There were so many complaints, from the name, the concept, people demanding its removal and demanding the option to deactivate it.
But you know what? It's probably the most ancient CFC meme there is, from the ancient times of 2004. Who would have thought?
Beta-Testers
You want the last proof that the devs listen to the community? Open your Civ manual. Get to the last pages, and check the credits. Since including Civ3 there have been members of this forum, as well as Apolyton and WePlayCiv, been a part of the beta-testers, and the names are all credited there. In Civ3, the vikings also had a city called "Thunderfall" (after the CivFanatics founder), a greek city called Apolyton (after the other old Civ fansite besides CFC), among other easter eggs. What more proof do you need ;)?
...and... developers themself
The Apolyton user alexman was one of the most prolific posters in the Civ3 days, digging very deeply into some of the game's mechanics, and optimizing his strategies. He got hired at Firaxis as probably one of the first people in the industry to make the transition from community to dev, certainly the first in Civ. So Alex was on the programming team for Civ4, and then led the design work for both expansions as Soren moved on, and today of course Alex is working on Old World.
Jon Shafer was known as Trip back in the day, and was very active on Apolyton. He modded Civ3 and was one of the community members hand-picked by Soren to join the Civ4 playtest group (and, as far as we know, this group, as it started then, has been a pivotal moment for Civ). Jon did some great work on the in-development Civ4 and really explored the modding system, so he got an internship at Firaxis and later joined full-time, working with Alex on both Civ4 expansions and then getting the privilege of being Civ5's lead designer.




Firaxis likes to joke
Well, who doubt that after the inclusion of the GDR and nuclear Gandhi?
But there is more to it. In 2010, they announced the "Extreme Diplomacy mode" for Civilization 5, where you'd battle out wars in a beat-em-up style of mini-game. While clearly an april fools joke, it is not everywhere marked as such, but I don't think anyone will fall for it anymore.



But they can do even more! As we know,
Civ is very addicting. It might ruin your life. So what do you need? A support group to get rid of this addiction! The devs introduced CivAnon, Civilization Anonymous. While introduced here via the devs, not everyone got that it was a joke. The original CivAnon website is sadly gone, but the video is still available, #NoMoreTurn!:


And they also like comics!



In 2007, for the release of Civ4 Beyond The Sword Firaxis had commissioned comics from various comic artists around the net. The above comic is probably the best known one (and has been experienced by everyone), but there are several more, which you can find here.

Sometimes it's also funny, but not a joke:



What happened here? Apparently the boss of 2K, the publisher of the Civ series, said that "Strategy games are just not contemporary". Well, we had a long discussion here, and as we know, damn, was he wrong!



The board games

The original Civ game is supposedly not inspired by the original Civ board game.
But did you know that it also goes the other way around? While today it is common that computer games have board game spinoffs (from Total War over Fallout to Doom), Civ has been longer in this game. There is one board game from 2010, and one from 2017. Both are supposedly easier accesible than the original game, for which also a remake exist. We've seen with our own eyes how someone carried away a copy of this with a sack truck at the "Spiel" in Essen (no pictures, sadly), due to the sheer amount of stuff in this game, so we'd recommend beginner board games to try the one from 2010 or 2017 instead.



Elvis!
Yes, the king of Rock'n Roll has been in most of the games where you'd play an actual king.
In Civ1 to 4 Elvis has been the modern entertainer/artist, and in Civ2 he was the attitude advisor. And if you play Civ3 on the King's birthday, you can see some more gimmicks.
We don't know why Firaxis has decided to not use him anymore, but we are deeply sad :(.

elivses.png





And Sid Meier in the game!
As Elvis, also Sid himself has made it into many games. He is the science advisor in Civ1 and 3, which many people have probably realized. What many people don't know is that he is also twice present in Civ4. In Civ4, the "Barbarians" are internally represented as a civilization. And as every civilization, they need a leader, and in this case it's Sid!
He also makes another guest appearance. Most people will remember that the tech quotes in Civ4 were narrated by Leonard Nimoy, better known as Mr. Spock. When Civ4 Beyond the Sword was released, there were a few new technologies, and many people wondered why someone else was narrating them and why they didn't hire Leonard Nimoy again. The versions in other languages also didn't have the quotes translated, which was somewhat irritating. It turned out that for these few quotes, Sid himself is the narrator.
Can't have too much Sid, can you?

sids.jpg




Community efforts
Computer gaming is stereotypically seen as a rather unsocial hobby.
Yet, we have the "Game of the Month", where you can play the same game and discuss best strategies with other people, and the "Hall of Fame", where your achievements can be logged here publically.
Even despite their ages, we have these going on here at CFC currently from Civ3 to Civ6, and had for a while for Civ2... and even for Civ1, until 2017! Yes, this game can keep you captured for ages.
We even sometimes work together for Civ. Not only for modding, but also for translations. The German community made their own fan translation for Civ4 in addition to the official one, and there exists also a Finnish community translation for Civ4.
And if you're feeling the most sociable, then MP is the way to go. While playing in the CivPlayers league is maybe the most obvious thing to do, the past Civ games also had a very particular community effort: The "Democracy Games" (DG), including the "Intersite Democracy Games" (ISDG). These games were basically play-by-email games, but you would coordinate your empire with a team of players. Some people would take over the military, posting the screenshots, and you'd discuss what move to do next. Other people would serve as ambassadors to the other players, conducting the diplomacy, and so on. Obviously these games were never fast, not even in the slightest sense, taking years at the end. But they were still fun, and definitely brought together the Civ3 and Civ4 community, even over the different fan sites. Maybe we'll see another one for Civ7, who knows?



Civilization in science and education
While we civ players think of Civilization as a historical game, where you might pick up at least some knowledge about the civilizations on this planet, it doesn't exactly teach you history.
Or does it?
Fact is that Civ has been used for teaching history.
HistoryCanada is a Civ3 mod (still available here) made to educate students about Canadian history. Made with the help of real history experts, it features among others the various Native American tribes in Canada and an extensive Civilopedia, always with the "What if" question in mind. It is probably the first and only Civilization mod to make it into international news.
Civ has also been used in at least one course at a school and one high school. We can also go further, at least one scientific paper and one PhD thesis have been written about how history can be learned through Civ3, and similar research has been done for Civ4. This latter paper concluded that the students were more focused and interested in the subject matter, although this might not be Civilization specific. The game made clear though that technological advancement is necessary for a society, and that the students understood this better. I guess it is warranted that Civ3 has been called "one of the most underutilized educational resources of the past decade".
Firaxis had also announced to release an education version of Civ5, CivilizationEDU, but apparently this was never released, which is a great shame.
While searching for the web to find this information, it also turned out that Apolyton, one of the other old civ fansites, has been once called "the place to go" in a journal about online education.

Education is not the only thing the scientists looked at. Computer scientists had a look at Civ:BE, Civ5 and Civ6, and could prove that they are turing-complete, meaning that basically you can simulate a full computer in each of these games.
And before all the current deep-learning craze had started, other scientists had tought an AI FreeCiv, by letting the AI read its manual. This new AI managed to beat the built-in AI in 78% of all cases. Now we wonder... did Firaxis hire these people? Is there a new challenge for everyone who can beat Civ on Deity level? I guess Civ7 will need to show us.



The other games we love
Firaxis and other company have made adventures into Civ-like games. Most people here have heard of and played the space spin-offs Alpha Centauri and Civ: Beyond Earth, the "Call To Power series" and Colonization and its remake. Not to forget that there are extreme civ-fanatics, who programmed freely available open source Civ and Col versions, http://www.freecol.org/ and http://freeciv.org/ .
And the one we didn't

But did you know that there was also a Facebook game? Originally announced in 2009 as "Civ Network" by Sid himself, the games name was afterwards changed to "Civ World". The community here was way friendlier than e.g. the Diablo community after the announcement of the Diablo Facebook game, but Civ World never really took off. While the community played it after its release in late 2011, it was already cancelled in early 2013. Probably the only Civ game, which didn't stand the test of time. I guess empire-building over thousands of years just really does not fit to the concept of Facebook games.



The Civ4 palace, and other lost art


palaces.jpg


The veterans here at CivFanatics will remember Civ1, Civ2 and Civ3: Civ1 had a palace, which you could upgrade to look more worthy for a king. Civ2 had a throne room, which you could upgrade and make more fancy whenever your had a we-love-the-X day in one of your cities. Civ3 did something similar again with a palace. Nothing like them was included in the later games (probably because they didn't have any gameplay impact), yet both were beloved features, and a modder brought them even back for Civ6.
But did you know that there was probably a feature like this Civ4 too? There is a "throne room" folder in the game files, and 2 pictures, which might maybe have been concept art for the throne room.




The developers have in general left quite some pieces of unused art in the files, not only Civ4.
For people who are interested, we have a collection of concept art and unused game art for Civ3, Civ4, and Civ5.
Other relevant links:



The longest game ever
Yes, you can get in the real news for simply playing a game. A few years ago, a 10-years long game of Civ2 made it into various news outlets, even CNN. Yes, this guy played a single game for 10 years. A true civ-fanatic.



Birthday cakes
While researching for this for the civ birthday, we stumbled on cake-related things. Like a virtual birthday cake, a real birthday cake and a civ cake topper. Now... that is maybe even more dedication than the 10-year game.




Forum threads worth reading
This forum has produced lots of interesting threads over the 20+ years of its existence. Some of them are worth revisiting.


News articles worth reading
Articles from the past, celebrating Civ or otherwise worth reading:




Made with also the help of CivWikia.
Other contributors:
- @Solver
- @Blake00
- @shaglio





...ah... and the last Civ meme... that one everyone knows...:spear:
 
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That was a great read mate! So much great stuff and interesting info. Quite a few things I didn't know about! Cheers for mentioning my new Civ HD video series too! :)

Only missing thing I noticed was that under Community efforts you mentioned GOTM forums for different Civ games back to Civ2 but didn't mention the old dead Civ1 GOTM forum which I've recently been doing some stuff in and trying to breath a bit of life into. It was pretty active from 2006-2010 and then from 2011-2017 it started to slow down and become more of a occasional scenario creation forum. Since 2018 it's been pretty dead until I came along and made some noise lol.
https://forums.civfanatics.com/forums/civ1-scenario-creation-game-of-the-month.189/

.
 
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Only missing thing I noticed was that under Community efforts you mentioned GOTM forums for different Civ games back to Civ2 but didn't mention the old dead Civ1 GOTM forum

Fixed :).
 
It's been many years, but I vaguely recall Civ 1 also had a customizable palace like Civ 3. Maybe someone with a better memory can corroborate this?
 
Thank you very much for this nice surprise and all your work invested in the 30 years Civ-story. :clap:

May be a thing to add could be the clue books about the civ series. Per example I have a wonderful cluebook about Civ 1, called Sid Meier´s Civilization, or Rome on 640 K a day, written by Johnny L.Wilson and Alan Emrich. Over 370 pages (!) how to play Civ 1, written in a very entertaining style. Here is one of the cartoons in that book, unfortunately not in a good quality by my scanner. I hope it is o.k to post it here:

Civ1.jpg

Another feature that could be added, is the list of tons of easter eggs in Civ 3 (besides Elvis).
 
The Easter Egg link is placed where the Thunderfall and Apolyton are mentioned, I thought of that :).
It seems we don't have an Easter Egg section for the other games. I might need to check if we have relevant forum threads though.

The picture is nice, might be something for the gallery :D.
Not sure where to integrate it here though, but certainly interesting :think:.
 
Happy birthday, Civ!

Nice thread! Hopefully CivFanatics will be thriving through Civ 7 and beyond :)
 
It's been many years, but I vaguely recall Civ 1 also had a customizable palace like Civ 3. Maybe someone with a better memory can corroborate this?
Yes there was, and just like in Civ3, you could mix'n'match architectural styles (except IIRC Civ1 only offered 3 styles: Graeco-Roman, Feudal-European, or Arabian Nights)
 
Beta-Testers
You want the last proof that the devs listen to the community? Open your Civ manual. Get to the last pages, and check the credits. Since including Civ3 there have been members of this forum, as well as Apolyton and WePlayCiv, been a part of the beta-testers, and the names are all credited there. In Civ3, the vikings also had a city called "Thunderfall" (after the CivFanatics founder), a greek city called Apolyton (after the other old Civ fansite besides CFC), among other easter eggs. What more proof do you need ;)?

And let's not forget that both Civ4 expansions and Civ5 were designed by people who were hired straight from Apolyton!
 
Youngsters these days ;)

alexman was one of the most prolific posters in the Civ3 days, digging very deeply into some of the game's mechanics, and optimizing his strategies. He got hired at Firaxis as probably one of the first people in the industry to make the transition from community to dev, certainly the first in Civ. So Alex was on the programming team for Civ4, and then led the design work for both expansions as Soren moved on, and today of course Alex is working on Old World.

Jon Shafer was known as Trip back in the day, and was very active on Apolyton. He modded Civ3 and was one of the community members hand-picked by Soren to join the Civ4 playtest group (and I think this group, as it started then, has been a pivotal moment for Civ). Jon did some great work on the in-development Civ4 and really explored the modding system, so he got an internship at Firaxis and later joined full-time, working with Alex on both Civ4 expansions and then getting the privilege of being Civ5's lead designer.
 
Youngsters these days ;)

alexman was one of the most prolific posters in the Civ3 days, digging very deeply into some of the game's mechanics, and optimizing his strategies. He got hired at Firaxis as probably one of the first people in the industry to make the transition from community to dev, certainly the first in Civ. So Alex was on the programming team for Civ4, and then led the design work for both expansions as Soren moved on, and today of course Alex is working on Old World.

Jon Shafer was known as Trip back in the day, and was very active on Apolyton. He modded Civ3 and was one of the community members hand-picked by Soren to join the Civ4 playtest group (and I think this group, as it started then, has been a pivotal moment for Civ). Jon did some great work on the in-development Civ4 and really explored the modding system, so he got an internship at Firaxis and later joined full-time, working with Alex on both Civ4 expansions and then getting the privilege of being Civ5's lead designer.

Hi Solver, it is great that you are posting here. :) I have never forgotten, that during the common April fools joke between CFC and Apolyton many years ago (Civjunction?) you helped me to find the mistake in my email address that blocked me to receive the activation mails from Apolyton and CFC.
For that a big thank you very much :thanx: and another big thank you very much to Thunderfall for manually adding me to CFC some years earlier.:thanx:

Solver, there is another at that time very young Civ 3 modder, named Sarevok, who received an offer by Firaxis. Sarevok posted about it many years ago at the former SOC site. He is still a member at CFC (last visit Feb 24, 2021).
 
Hey, good to see other old people here ;) I may totally be remembering wrong, but I believe Sarevok was contracted to produce some of the scenarios that went into C3C?
 
Hey, good to see other old people here ;) I may totally be remembering wrong, but I believe Sarevok was contracted to produce some of the scenarios that went into C3C?

He felt to be too young for a contract with Firaxis at that time. As he is still a member at CFC, may be he posts more about it.
 
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