A Civilization Universe Exposition

Olson

Warlord
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May 5, 2013
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283
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Long Island, NY
While Civ is a mathematical accumulation game, that could be resolved solely through equations, the graphics allow one to assign non-mathematical attributes for use as the basis of a fantasy narrative. As long as the graphics are interpreted figuratively, the narrative can succeed. But if the graphics are taken literally the player may find it more difficult to suspend disbelief to create a satisfying story.

It seems many players have difficulty with "immortal leaders", club weilding Warriors in battle with Riflemen, etc. This is indicative of the narrative failing due to inconsistent interpretations of the graphics and the lack of a more developed exposition or story about the Civ Universe and how players interact with it.

The following is my (partially formed) exposition about the Civ Universe that resolves many of the "realism in Civ" arguments that occassionally occur. Rather than typing Civ Universe repeatedly on this small keyboard I'll use "CU".

The Game - I haven't decided which idea is more comfortable/enjoyable for me to imagine:

- the game software opens a gateway to the Civ Universe (CU) and allows my PC to be an indirect interface with it (the CU), or

- the game designers have gathered data about the CU and developed software which simulates it (the CU)

In either case, the CU isn't directly seen. This is necessary if the graphics are to be interpretated figuratively rather than literally.

Civ Leaders/Leaderheads - placeholders for players (incl. AI players) in a pantheon of god-like beings who create each world setting. Civizens are unaware of Leaderheads except, perhaps, as deities, myths, "the Force", etc.

Unless one opens the WorldBuilder, Civ Leaders are the vehicle through which the player interacts with each Civ World. When a player assumes the role of a Civ Leader they are, in effect, manipulating the conscience of the King (whomever that may actually be during that turn-year) to direct a civilization along a desired path of goals and priorities which are generally followed by successive kings over the years between player turns.

Civ Leaders are a personification of a civization's inherent qualities and attributes, for the benefit of the player to become familiar and identify with that civilization.

Graphics - Each Civ world is as complex as our own. For whatever reasons, such as player comprehension and PC computing power, value judgements were made about what complexities would be depicted.

The Map - Each region (tile) is depicted as one of a finite set of terrain classifications according to the most predominate in that region (tile).

Tile Improvements are a regional (tile) event for the game's simplifications but they represent broader industrial activities.

For example, a player directs a worker to mine a hill. This represents an investment of the worker's time to increase the industrial production output of the nearest city. One can imagine industrial activity occuring all around the city and one tile designated as the graphical representation of a level industrial activity.

The City - It can be reasonably assumed that every city has an undepicted, rudimentary infrastructure to meet the needs of its citizens and "country". Imagine what comes automatically when one establishes a colony in Colonization. This infrastructure would include all that can be upgraded and expanded upon by building City Improvements.

City Improvements - Each building represents an increased sophistication of an entire infrastructural purpose, not just a single building of a particular type. This is pretty well self-explanatory.

Trade - It can also be reasonably assumed every city is in contact with every other in some way via navigable waterways, roads, and trails even when such are not depicted. Such connections would likely be developed for the purposes of the movement of goods (trade) and people (migration). All trade isn't depicted by trade route graphics but by the commerce a city generates. Only the more significant trade route commerce is depicted in the City Screen.

Units - Units are graphical representations of a specified type of capability. Military units indicate a certain type and level of military capability, workers of construction capability, etc. In the case of military units the graphic represents the power-strength level of that capability.

For example, the power of a Warrior remains consistent over time unless resources are used to upgrade it. If the graphic changed only to show "modernization" there'd have to be some differentiation to indicate its original level of military capability. It might be confusing to see several Riflemen graphics each representing a different maximum level of military capability consistent with the original cost to produce the originally depicted unit.

Conclusion - I think I've touched upon the main topics that are discussed in the forum. I hope I didn't fail too miserably in conveying my explanations. And that's all that they are, *my* explanations. These are the explanations that work for me to create a narrative of each game. Make your own, don't make your own. Let mine influence you...or not. But, occassionally, I'll post something that doesn't seem to make sense or seem not quite right. Well, now you should know some of what I'm thinking.

The above has no place in serious discussions of game mechanics. However, I reserve the right to offer ancillary opinions about what things might represent, especially if it helps to understand why some things really could make sense.

I hope, most of all, you enjoyed my wackiness.
 

ZeekLTK

Warlord
Joined
Oct 6, 2002
Messages
260
Since this was one of your main points: what I think would be interesting is for leadership characteristics to change over time, as they often have. There are very few places (if any) where the people are the same now as they were in the 1500s, 500s, or even BCs.

For example, just taking one civ, the different leaders to choose from have different attributes. Lincoln, Washington, and Roosevelt are all designated as the American Civ leaders, but they each are different. It would be interesting if, throughout the game, new leaders took over and the civ possibly changed directions, as has happened in real life.

For example, sticking with my example, start the game with Washington, at some point Lincoln takes over, and then another point Roosevelt takes over. Interacting with the Americans when Roosevelt is in charge would be (at least a little) different than interacting with them when Washington was in charge.

It would also be interesting to see extreme changes. A civ lead by Tokugawa suddenly becomes much more friendly when Mansa Musa takes over, while a civ that was easy to get along with when Gandhi was in charge is now a pain once Montezuma has taken over. Etc.
 

Midnight-Blue766

The filidh that cam frae Skye
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It's called "Rhye's and Fall of Civilization".
 

Olson

Warlord
Joined
May 5, 2013
Messages
283
Location
Long Island, NY
Since this was one of your main points: what I think would be interesting is for leadership characteristics to change over time, as they often have. There are very few places (if any) where the people are the same now as they were in the 1500s, 500s, or even BCs.

For example, just taking one civ, the different leaders to choose from have different attributes. Lincoln, Washington, and Roosevelt are all designated as the American Civ leaders, but they each are different. It would be interesting if, throughout the game, new leaders took over and the civ possibly changed directions, as has happened in real life.

For example, sticking with my example, start the game with Washington, at some point Lincoln takes over, and then another point Roosevelt takes over. Interacting with the Americans when Roosevelt is in charge would be (at least a little) different than interacting with them when Washington was in charge.

It would also be interesting to see extreme changes. A civ lead by Tokugawa suddenly becomes much more friendly when Mansa Musa takes over, while a civ that was easy to get along with when Gandhi was in charge is now a pain once Montezuma has taken over. Etc.

I think this would be an excellent idea and not just because it fits perfectly with my OP. To think a warlike civ remains warlike throughout history is a bit of a stretch as it indicates a society that either will not or can not change its worldview, attributes, values, etc. over time.

I think CivV might have an element of this...as might team multiplayer.:)
 

Pangaea

Rock N Roller
Joined
Sep 17, 2010
Messages
6,390
I think this would be an excellent idea and not just because it fits perfectly with my OP. To think a warlike civ remains warlike throughout history is a bit of a stretch as it indicates a society that either will not or can not change its worldview, attributes, values, etc. over time.

Would fit well with American leaders, mind.
 

Pangaea

Rock N Roller
Joined
Sep 17, 2010
Messages
6,390
Both current events and for a rather loooong time, but yeah, such facts are probably best not discussed here. Tends to get out of control. The US has a relatively short history though; it would be different for just about all other "civs". Just take Japan the last 100 years for example.
 

kingbeef

Chieftain
Joined
Apr 19, 2009
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32
Location
Neath, South Wales
I've often thought of civ in these terms. 1 prime example is the classic "spearman kills tank" situation. Okay, it is very unlikely but it's possible a well led spear unit could ambush a badly prepared tank crew when they are out of the tank or build traps to damage the tanks beyond use. We don't see the tactical results of warfare so all sorts of outcomes are possible.

As for leaders I see them as the guiding spirit of a civ, not kings or presidents. As we all know, different cultures are known for different traits. The English bulldog spirit for example (Churchill), the spiritual wonder spam of Egypt (ramesses) or agressive expansion of the mongols (ghengis). Different leaders represent different eras of civs.
 

Lennier

Emperor
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Mar 10, 2013
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Orange County, NY
I've often thought of civ in these terms. 1 prime example is the classic "spearman kills tank" situation. Okay, it is very unlikely but it's possible a well led spear unit could ambush a badly prepared tank crew when they are out of the tank or build traps to damage the tanks beyond use. We don't see the tactical results of warfare so all sorts of outcomes are possible.
I like to think of the example of the land portion of The Battle of Endor from Return of the Jedi. The Ewoks had catapults and the Imperial forces had armored walkers with directed-energy weapons. Ewoks won. (Not without casualties.)
 

Imp. Knoedel

Simperator Knoedel
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I like to think of the example of the land portion of The Battle of Endor from Return of the Jedi. The Ewoks had catapults and the Imperial forces had armored walkers with directed-energy weapons. Ewoks won. (Not without casualties.)

And the Empire had 99.8% odds. :mad:
 
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