Anton Strenger at GDC: Ahistorical Accuracy: Bringing New Myths and Representation to 'Civilization'


Say No 2 Net Validations
Oct 22, 2008

We talked about it already here, at the end of March Anton Strenger, lead designer of the "New Frontier Pass" has given a talk at the GDC, named "Ahistorical Accuracy: Bringing New Myths and Representation to 'Civilization'". At the time back, the talk itself was not yet available, but Anton told us via Twitter that it is now possible to watch it online. You can find it here, it's 1h about Civ, and we hope everyone can enjoy it :).
"Ahistorical Accuracy: Bringing New Myths and Representation to 'Civilization'"

Representation is already in Civ4. It provides +3 science per specialist :goodjob:

Well his "Great Man theory" myth classification got quickly thrown out of the window with War in U. Experts agree that the war drags on primarily because there is - as of writing this post – no real exit strategy for P. As well as the dominant position of Mr. Z. Its crearly not the only factor, but it makes huge impact.

Moderator Action: Please do not get into discussions about current events. leif

His talk is a very good example on how really good ideas (and yes, they are really) need really good implementation, otherwise they are wasted. For example, I never really gave second thought on selecting a leader in Civ. The fact that I play Alexander or Gandhi makes absolutely no difference to me.

Again, clearly the issue is that developers at Firaxis don't play their games enough. Play for 2k hours and you'll know how ridiculous it sounds that you, as a player, identify with Simon Bolivar or Napoleon.

There are several moments where he mentions that each system gets designed and implemented by another person. I agree that this is a mixed bag. I don't think that currently this is what Civ as a franchise needs. Systems feel so separate and non-connected.
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Role Playing: While I personally try to work my way through all the leaders, as a gameplay goal, I've seen other posts from people here to have a favorite leader and consistently play them. Anton values the players who are still role playing with only 100 hours in the game, as well as players who have thoroughly engaged with 2000 hours in the game.

Ice Cream Toppings: That metaphor works for me. Could mix and match, but were designed *on purpose* to be independent. He said that he believed the underlying systems in Civ VI were well tested and stable, so that the ice cream toppings would affect only a certain portion of the game. Given the schedule (see below), testing for each mode would have to be limited.

Rolling Development Schedule: I heard Anton talk about some struggles and challenges with that model, the difference between Firaxis's past practices of big, complex expansion packs and the episodes of the NFP. He didn't give a full endorsement of NFP releases and he stopped short of saying, "that approach was really painful, I would not do that again." It would be interesting to learn the opinion of people on the current Civ VII team, who lived through both an expansion pack (GS) and NFP; as Anton noted, he has taken a position with a new company.

Valuing Other Points of View: I'm also a cis-gendered white male. As I talk to more and more people who are not, as I learn more stories from people who have other backgrounds, I realize how much it matters to them to see and hear their stories told. Those values appeal to me as human values; I'm glad that those values are also shared by game designers.
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