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Anyone else find the Civilopedia to be kinda garbage?

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by Takfloyd, Nov 2, 2016.

  1. Takfloyd

    Takfloyd Prince

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    (EDIT: The title of this thread is not mine, this thread was supposed to be about the game's writing in general, not the Civiliopedia specifically. Intrusive moderators merged my thread with another one which had the current title)

    Thought I'd start a different kind of complaint thread that doesn't have to do with gameplay.

    Text in civilization, such as the historical flavor text in the Civilopedia, used to be a pleasure to read. But in this game it feels like most of it was written by someone not only inexperienced, but whose native language may not even be English. The Civilopedia is rife with grammatical errors, and uses banal sentence constructions the likes of which I'd expect from children's literature. More jarringly, this also extends to voiced text: In several cases I've seen the advisor girl's voiceover ad-lib her lines because they are so poorly written in text, probably sighing internally at the low quality of the writing.

    Even the very first line you are greeted with every time you load a game is perplexingly stupid: "From the first stirrings of life beneath water... to the great beasts of the Stone Age... to man taking his first upright steps, you have come far."

    This sentence alone has several huge problems. First off, are they seriously implying that mankind walked on four legs in the stone age, or that this was the age of dinosaurs? This fails at grade school level history. Civilization games START in the stone age. How could a mistake like this even happen? Second, who the hell "has come far"? Mankind? But the previous sub-sentence referred to mankind in third person! This sentence closer doesn't work at all and feels like it was tacked on because the writer didn't know how to end his trail of words. I'd also like to point out the unnecessary capitalization of stone age, and the inelegant use of ellipses.

    All this is "nitpicking", I know, but as someone who values writing quality it's really annoying to see stuff like this front and center in a game franchise that used to be known for its academic merits.

    Anyone else bothered by this?
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2016
  2. Krajzen

    Krajzen Deity

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    I really liked civ introduction text in Civ5, its civilopedia was also pretty cool.

    It's really weird how civ6 has visibly lost quality in this regard.

    But the tech quotes, sweet Jesus, they are the worst. From inspiring, "epic" historical quotes (with some of them being ironic and funny, as well as few being mediocre) of various historical sources in civ5, we went to some (completely unknown to most of non American player base) American comedians in ancient era, who are on top of that voiced by the completely unfitting serious, deep voice of Sean Bean.
    Fail.

    I have a simple conspiracy theory that they spent so much money on Sean Bean that they had no budget left for actual good writing for him and the player :p
     
  3. Ashbery76

    Ashbery76 Warlord

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    No they hired them to do all the games QA.All two of them.
     
  4. dexters

    dexters Gods & Emperors Supporter

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    I havent noticed anything the several times I needed to use the civilopedia to clarify game concepts.

    I actually liked how it was written with the end user in mind as it explained things that would have been glossed over in the civ 5. The civilopedia entries avoided reiterating the obvious and explained the concept and mechanic behind something. The trading post , luxury/amenity, housing, national park , theming bonus , espionage entries all come to mind.

    As for your quibble about the opening blurb, it doesn't sound off to me. A bit poetic and starry eyed but by your standards a lot of songs would have been written by interns or non-native English speakers

    Do you have anything more specific that shows badly written passages that is not the intro blurb?
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2016
  5. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    Dinosaurs are not the only great beasts insofar as it's a rather generic term.

    That said, there are two separate topics here:

    1. Grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes in the Civilopaedia.

    2. Subjective dislike of phrasing.

    Now, the latter we can do absolutely nothing about. I recommend you not fixate on them because it becomes an endless argument of subjectivity. The former is a valid criticism of the product and I share your hopes that they will be fixed. However, this doesn't mean that interns wrote them, because this is predicated on the dual assumptions that a) interns can't spell for some reason and / or b) non-interns can always spell and formulate precise grammar 100% of the time.

    Also, the Stone Age is capitalised. Everywhere. Wikipedia is good for situations like this. To be up on your grammar and quality of writing, you're going to be criticised for making mistakes of your own, here.
     
  6. CoconutTank

    CoconutTank Unapologetic Warmonger Supporter

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    The fact that the tooltips for uniques in the starting splash screens are as detailed as "unique land unit" or "unique tile improvement" bothers me somewhat. I see Saka Horse Archer and it's a "unique land unit"; cool so it's a 2 range horse archer that can move after attacking, right?
     
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  7. SheckyS

    SheckyS Warlord

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    I tend to ignore those flavor-text features, anyway. So I hadn't noticed the bad writing.

    But I have noticed that one of the stated goals of Civ VI was to make sure that the game provides the player with better, clearer, easier-to-get-at information than Civ V. And boy are there some huge gaps on that score.

    Just to name a few:
    • You can't see when your city borders will grow from culture, nor can you see which tile you will get.
    • You can't see more than 3 yield types on a tile (the rest are just not shown).
    • Many of the techs and civics in the game have affects that you can only see in the tooltips/civilopedia.

    In a way, it's both shocking and not really all that surprising at the same time.

    It's not surprising because documentation is pretty much the lowest priority for most software. And pretty much every previous version of Civ had the same or similar problems in the initial release. On the other hand... every previous version of Civ had the same or similar problems in the initial release so you would think they might have taken extra care to get it right this time. I expect it was just a question of not enough resources to finish everything for the release date.

    I imagine a lot of the technical stuff will be fixed or improved pretty quickly. At least I hope so.

    I also imagine that the writing style is very low on their priority list. So you might have to wait longer for that. :)
     
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  8. Furycrab

    Furycrab King

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    I think I noticed a typo in one of the great people bios, but nothing major. You should post examples, maybe in a cohesive page with references... Broad statements on the whole thing don't really help anyone.
     
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  9. dexters

    dexters Gods & Emperors Supporter

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  10. CaiusDrewart

    CaiusDrewart King

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    I am so with OP on despising the "first stirrings of life beneath water" sentence.

    The first life emerged about 4 billion years ago.
    The first stone tools date to about 2.5 million years ago, though there's a bit of dispute over this. There's scattered evidence that might put it back as far as 3.5 million years, but the rock-solid evidence comes at 2.5 million years.
    Hominin bipedalism goes back AT LEAST 4 million years ago, and quite possibly further. Some have argued as much as 7 million years ago, but it's not firmly attested until 4 million years ago.

    So they did not get the order right! Bipedalism comes before stone tools. That's actually an important fact for understanding human evolution, because it means that theories that bipedalism evolved in order to make better use of stone tools (by having our hands be free during locomotion) cannot be correct.

    And I agree that the "you" in the sentence is jarring and does not make sense. The reliance on ellipses is excessively dramatic. Terrible sentence.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2016
  11. dexters

    dexters Gods & Emperors Supporter

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    Apes used their knuckles to walk before bipedal apes came along. The walking upright and great beasts comment is a nod at Civ 1 intro which had a completely unrelated sequence on accretion of the stellar dust and evolution of life on earth.

    Again. at worst a stylistic quibble. I noticed the homage to Civ 1 in the narration. Not flaws.
     
  12. CaiusDrewart

    CaiusDrewart King

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    And this is relevant to the intro quote how? I don't understand what point you're trying to make here.
     
  13. dexters

    dexters Gods & Emperors Supporter

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    It's relevant in that the intro doesn't assume man came fully formed as bipedal creatures

    Theme of evolution and progress is all over that intro blurb. A homage to Civ 1 intro.
     
  14. Guandao

    Guandao Rajah of Minyue and Langkasuka

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    Some of the Great People bios are rather short and lacking details about their deaths, I may eventually post them here when I have the time.

    One wonder quote which bugged me a lot was the one for Great Zimbabwe. It's a biblical quote about the Queen of Sheba, whom Europeans used to thought built Great Zimbabwe. I'm sure they knew this, but it has unfortunate implications in my opinion. A quote about Great Zimbabwe by a scholar or archeologist, or even by a Zimbabwean notable figure makes more sense.
     
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  15. CaiusDrewart

    CaiusDrewart King

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    OK, but the intro unquestionably implies that stone tools predate bipedalism. Which is wrong. Not a big deal, I can still enjoy the game and whatever, but it's sloppy.

    That's a really good point. The Kilimanjaro quote bothers me, too. Both of these things deserved better quotes.
     
  16. dexters

    dexters Gods & Emperors Supporter

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    Does it? I don't see it that way.
    As I said the intro is wistful, poetic but nothing wrong with that
     
  17. DramaPhelps

    DramaPhelps Chieftain

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    I look up units and it doesn't tell me strategic resource requirements. I look up bonus resources and it's not clear to me whether the bonus is before or after I apply the pasture, etc.

    Do you guys find this to be useful to you for anything? If so, what?
     
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  18. Big J Money

    Big J Money Emperor

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    The quality this time around is lacking, I agree. It also seems to have weird language. For example, they say things like "Now things work this way", comparing to Civ V. Why compare to a previous version? Just explain how things are rather than confusing new players with information they don't need.
     
  19. Takfloyd

    Takfloyd Prince

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    The Civilopedia is universally agreed to be uniformly terrible as actual documentation in Civ VI. The writing - grammar and spelling errors aside - is subjective, but you cannot defend the gameplay information in it, or rather, lack thereof.

    Type in "nuke" or "nuclear" and you get absolutely no information about how nukes work. You know what you have to search for to get that information? The word "Types". I kid you not. That is the ONLY search term that will get you information about nukes. And the information isn't even correct! The maintenance cost for nukes stated there is different from that in the tech tree.

    Want to know how spies work? Tough luck, there's no information about what they can do, just a short paragraph stating without elaboration that they can go on various missions.

    Want to look up air combat? Sure you can, but everything written there is wrong and not at all how it works in the game. Fighters don't go on "recon missions" or "air superiority missions" like they did in previous games, they move around the map like normal units, and they have unlimited range on rebasing.

    There's zero information on mechanics behind anything whatsoever, your assertion is as wrong as it could possibly be. Spearmen are "effective against mounted units". What does that mean? You better build one yourself to find out, because the Civilopedia sure isn't going to tell you. It then turns out they aren't actually effective against mounted units after all, because their meagre 10 bonus strength only puts them even with the Horseman.

    I didn't play Civ V a lot so it may well be that it had an equally bad Civilopedia, but in Civ 3 and 4, it was a useful, comprehensive tool with such amazing features as... a back button, and actual correct data.
     
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  20. stormtrooper412

    stormtrooper412 Peacemongering Turtlesaur

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    It's rather terribly explained and it doesn't help one bit.

    For example, I still haven't made a National Park, I'm missing something obviously
     
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