Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by ori, Dec 3, 2010.
Thanks for that.
It is interesting to see that the artist lead for Civilization 5 is now working for Stardock (or at least in collaboration with) as well as the guys who built the game engine. The designer Jon Shafer also worked for Stardock for a while, as well.
Stardock also hired the company that made Age of Empires as well as a Battle.net engineer.
Combined with a partnership with Soren Johnson's new company (Mohawk Games), you've got a team working for/working with Stardock that has worked on Civ I, Civ III, cIV and Civilization 5. Combine that with the Age of Empires guys as well as Oxide Games who are working on a spectacular new game engine (check out the demo for Star Swarm http://www.biogamergirl.com/2014/01/oxide-games-reveals-new-demo-for-star.html) and you've got the potential for some really good 4Xing in the future.
Imagine, a quality Civ like 4X game with a great game engine, as well as functioning multiplayer with a battle.net type structure.
I have to agree with you completely. I still love to play civIV and tweek it from time to time. I gave up on V sometime ago and have been waiting and hoping that the next one would get rid of some of the mistakes they made before and i could enjoy a new and better game. Until they come out with though i will just dream and watch the forum from time to time.
My sentiments exactly.
We can all dream of an awesome Civ VI, I agree.
I bought Civ V a couple of weeks ago. Here are my biggest complaints after two finished games:
Cultural borders give 1 visibility, most land units move 2 tiles. This means a lot of worker-babysitting if you want to make sure you don't move them in range of a hostile.
The unhappiness mechanic. First of all, empire-wide happiness stat but local caps for certain buildings (which, IIRC, were added in a patch). Secondly, when you're unhappy, food and hammers just go somewhere. In Civ 4 it was much clearer: You have [unhappiness - happiness] angry citizens. An angry citizen eats food but doesn't produce anything.
The AI's trading logic. One time, Bismarck wanted passage through my territory. He was willing to pay 1 gpt. I offered mutual open borders, but he said "Nein!". The dude would rather pay me than have mutual OB. I took the money and negotiated OB with him in another deal. And then there's the: "We can't offer anything to make this deal fair for you." Look, the deal is already fair for me because I want it. If you don't want it, fine, but don't make excuses.
As a continuation to the previous point, the concept of one-sided OB's (which trade caravans don't have to respect anyways) feels kind of silly to me. Also, every deal lasts 30 turns. Can't be terminated earlier(except by DOW) and must be re-negotiated afterwards. Kind of tedious (although the AI does a pretty good job of taking the initiave in re-negotiation)
1 UPT causes grief from time to time. Especially combined with the fact that roads cost money now. I wish you could at least stack civilian units. It's frustrating to have a single worker build one improvement even when you have 2-3 available.
Those were the ones I was able to list off the top of my head. Now, despite these complaints, the game did give me a bad case of "one more turn" and I will probably play it a lot. Finally (this is more of an observation than a criticism), the game feels a lot easier than Civ 4. I won a culture victory on Prince on my first playthrough and was #1 in everything.
So...in the rare case where they appeal to parents, kids play them? This really doesn't follow.
Not to mention that I know quite a few parents involved in gaming, including both casual and dedicated gamers, and haven't seen much of a connection with neglect. Games are often played after the kids are in bed, for example. And in the case of the kids playing, I'm certainly not seeing the connection - if anything the monosyllabic teen ignoring parents stereotype seems more appropriate then parents pushing children away into games.
Re-reading the rest of this paragraph, and this statement is simply laughable:
That any corporation would want to reduce their consumerbase is ridiculous, especially given a triple-A franchise like Civilization.
And as for your explanation, briefly:
Mechanics they can't compete - the vast majority of players of even the most MP-friendly games, never venture beyond SP, and civ isn't one where quick reactions are important outside MP (and even in many MP settings, where double-moves are banned or discouraged).
Newbie-unfriendly skillbased play - what does this even mean? Again, most games want to attract as many new players as possible, and civ does a pretty good job at it.
Penalizing you for being old - ...WTF is this?
Uninteresting subject matter - certainly more relevant, though I would question how much it really has an effect.
Moving on nonetheless.
I would have to state that the concept behind civilization is along the lines of "progress for progress' sake" - that technological advancement and progression is always beneficial and leads to a better future. Over time, yields increase, people become more productive and (generally) healthier. Whether this is a good message or not is up to the individual, but I disagree that it is promoting nationalism - this is a game, after all, where civilizations are more or less identical, where you play a different one from game to game and so on. And the idea that being able to repeat a game makes one more willing to give themselves for their country is, again, laughable.
To the individual messages:
Barbarians. Certainly, civilization is promoting civilization and, as I said, progress first and foremost. For this reason barbarians are certainly anathema to the gameplay, but that is an inevitable result of making a game about civilization, that non-"civilized" societies are not going to be a central part. And the specific reference you make - Native Americans - are included in several games, as are many other nomadic civilizations (mongols, huns, etc.). Barbarians in general more refer to bandits then they do nomadic peoples.
Slavery. Well, that certainly wasn't their intention. The developers didn't realise the central role that slavery would play for a long time, so nefarious purposes are...unlikely, shall we say. And in general, whilst I whip turnly in Civ4...that doesn't stop me understanding or appreciating the horrors that slavery has caused, nor make me support or accept it in the real world. I'm not THAT obsessed with the game!
Starvation. Starvation isn't very beneficial, at least in any civ I know. It can be almost-exploited, if you will, in Civ4 to concentrate on specialists, but aside from that niche case (niche in context to the civilization as a whole - in a typical game I may starve down 1-2 cities at most, and then likely only for a few turns) it is generally beneficial to feed your citizens as much as possible. And any propaganda planned to only target the immortal-deity players is unlikely to hit even 1% of the marketbase (the vast, vast majority of civ players never venture online), so is a very weak strategy for this evil mastermind to use.
Wonders. I'm sorry, how else do you design a wonder? Who on earth would build something that doesn't benefit their civ??? And that is a relatively narrow view of wonders, which may apply to say the Pyrimids, but not all (see, for example, the Great Lighthouse, the Great Library).
I commented on research above - it's one of the central themes of the civilization series, regardless of it's accuracy. And I can't comment on BNW.
The rest of your comments are rather broad, so I'll instead respond to the post as a whole.
I think you're taking this far too seriously. I agree that it is an interesting question, to consider the influence that games have on our lives and viewpoints, but the issue arises, I think, that you have a very extreme starting position. That is, that the very concept that games are being used as propaganda, which requires an extensive conspiracy - for the developers of Civilization to either have their own agenda they're promoting, or for some powerful third-party to have extensive influence on Civilization and (from what you imply) the wider community. Given the examples you cite, this would need to extend into very specific mechanics and combinations of mechanics with an understanding of, and manipulation of them at the highest level which puts this conspiracy at a level where I struggle to take it at all seriously.
I'm left wondering whether or not you are deliberately trolling this thread. If you believe that Firaxis is trying to deliberately promote a socio-political message at that level then a) that is a matter for another thread and b) this is laughable evidence for it.
If we ignore that, and assume that you simply meant that these are disturbing messages promoted by a game unwittingly, then we move to the message that the game espouses, and then, once again, I think you're barking up the wrong tree. The reason the conspiracy theory above is so in-your-face is because you disregard the fact that this is a game, and these are mechanics designed by developers trying to give out an addictive and entertaining game. An example is the wonders mechanic.
How would a developer design wonders in a way that fits your brief? Even if they did what you suggest, how could it be expressed, in game terms? My only response is an increase in happiness or a decrease in unhappiness - which I doubt would satisfy you. Wonders MUST provide a benefit, because otherwise no-one would build them.
And this is the case for most of the items on your list - they come about through mechanics, unintentional quirks or built in parts of the game, because that is how they work as a design. Slavery wasn't intended to be an essential part of Civ 4, but with the way it developed it was so integral to gameplay that they realised that to patch it out would be to change the game fundamentally.
As Sulla said:
And that matters because Civ, no matter its message or iteration, is not a piece of propaganda. It is a game. If you want to seriously argue that it is intended as a piece of propaganda, then this is not the place. Otherwise, I don't understand what you're arguing here.
And in general, I'm not sure this is the place for that post full stop. It isn't much of a rant on Civ 5 in paticular. Don't we have a general civilizations sub-forum? Fake Edit: Huh, apparently we don't. Odd.
Many of today's parents grew up with video games. I'm a bit disappointed that my stepdaughter enjoys dinky little time management games more than strategy or RPG games, but these things are not foreign to me. These movements happen from time to time. There have been many moments in history, in different places, sometimes more than once in the same place, where there was a jump in literacy in a single generation.
I have little doubt that, in those times, there were people worried about what the kids were reading, while the parents were excluded, and about how some parents would throw a book at their kid to get them out of the way, thus leaving the child alone with the book and possibly dangerous messages.
Well, game over should never mean you have to buy a new game. Being able to restart is an obvious byproduct of buying a game you can lose.
There are so many ways to play the game that it's hard to tell what you think they are pushing politically. From doing CS quests to killing everyone else on your continent, from building a strong foundation in religion to focusing on culture, from grabbing every bit of land you can to raising one city to 100 population, there are a lot of ways that can be successful, and suboptimal play does not mean losing, at least not up to Immortal, where I now play, and where I still feel I have a huge number of choices, but, you get to specifics coming up, so let's take a look.
Barbarians occur in one of two situations. Where there is free land, mostly early, or when your people are so unhappy they rise against you.
In the first case, for political correctness, it should be seen as a victory that not every unit is considered barbarian. It's only been about 100 years that Western ancient history has been anything more than the Romans, the Greeks, the Egyptians, and the barbarians. Carthage, Tyre, all of the Celtic and Germanic tribes (which were often simply grouped, and the Celts actually normally still are), etc. were "barbarians." The Huns? Barbarians. Of course, the ancients saw them like that. In Greece, any non-Greek was a barbarian (Alexander reached India...India was full of barbarians).
Of course, you could make the claim Rome did not often kill barbarians. Rather, they enslaved many. Others, they just took over in the area and romanized them.
Later, if there is still free land, the barbarians rarely attack. You still kill them of course, as you would any major civ. They end up treated no differently.
When they are rebels, you are putting down an uprising. I'm sure I don't need to point out the violent putting down of recent uprisings, and, what's more, you assume these people are being killed, while there's nothing to suggest your army isn't using rubber bullets and tear gas (the combat animations have nothing to do with the 5 years of fighting that happens, after all) to put down the mobs that are crossing your country and burning farms, looting trading posts, and murdering miners.
What's more, notice that the barbarians are at a state of constant war with others and make no attempt at any peace deals. If you were president, and an enemy declared war on you, they come in, kidnap and kill your people, attack your cities, and they are unwilling to even talk, what would you do?
Slavery, or variations of it, exist to this day. Today's form of slavery, working full time and not making enough to live, may be even worse than many forms in the past.
Don't mistake all forms of slavery as the same thing, and don't assume that just because it's not called slavery that the purpose (nearly free labor) isn't the same.
In Brazil, after slavery was abolished, many former slaves stayed and worked for their former masters. In Rome, slaves were people, not simply property, and a master who killed a slave could be tried for homicide. In reality, every people has had it's slaves, no matter if we call it that or not. After all, what is the real difference between a serf and a slave? A minimum wage worker and a slave? They can go somewhere else?
Maybe, unless, as in some countries, employers can impose massive fines on people who are quitting. Fines they can't pay and so must stay in their current job, often making less now that they have a fine to pay off too.
Methinks your political views are clouding your view of the terrible conditions in which some people work in this post-(legal)-slavery world, the not-so-terrible conditions of slaves in some societies in the past, and, above all, the importance it has played in human history.
As a note, I'm glad slavery was taken out of Civ5, because, as I mention here, the forms it took throughout history were massively different and don't all belong under 1 heading. There's no way we should look at slavery in which slaves had rights and were treated as family members and slavery where slaves were objects and slap the same label on them, just as we should not act as if a worker in a factory in Thailand and a paper pusher for Donald Trump are in the same boat as "working class."
Actually, most natural wonders are better.
Salt has been massively important for people though. You can't possibly think that the likes of dye or incense have done as much good for society as salt. I'll take a preservative for my food over fur coats or whale oil any day.
You imagine that a city is starving and then people die? I always imagined that a city was starving and when the food ran out, people moved away.
If you assume the population drop comes because you lock up thousands of your people and don't feed them, that is pretty bad.
Of course, it's very very rarely good to actually run a city out of food anyway. I've only done it maybe once or twice. It seem like every game I end up with some city starving itself, though, and I have to force it to work food.
I understand, I believe, that you are being ironic, but...could you elaborate? I'm curious as to how you think the CN tower or Hubble telescope was built to intimidate the people and deepen loyalty.
As an American, the Hubble telescope and Statue of Liberty never intimidated me (was the Statue of Liberty meant to intimidate the French?) And I have known many Canadians, none of whom seemed scared of the CN tower. In Brazil, the Christo Redentor was always pushed by religious people (first to honor the daughter of Pedro II), and was finished right after one of the (maybe still the single) most popular president/dictators in Brazil, so, again, nothing scary about it.
Some of the ancient wonders were huge points of pride.
If many of them benefit(ed) people directly in some way is often more questionable. Some did (Library of Alexandria) and some didn't (Statue of Liberty), but in every case, those wonders are small works compared to the effort put into other things.
The irrigation systems around the Nile took SEVERAL TIMES the amount of manpower of the pyramids. The Colossus doesn't even start to compare to the aquaducts. In Rio, you might have the Christ statue, but you have a dang floating bridge that connects two major cities, and in the south of the country, there's a dam that provides a good part of the electricity 3 countries use.
Very very little effort goes into wonders by comparison (and note each of those mentioned have been on a 7 wonders list).
From the earliest times, science has actually been one of the most important defining differences in the power of civilizations in a number of ways. I doubt the people who didn't have the technology of spears won many wars against those that did. You realize how important agriculture was for cities to even form, but how about pottery? Before it, if you lost your teeth, you would starve, as you would be unable to bite off anything. I assume you aren't suggesting without new construction techniques you could have a prospering city in real life. Science is key to all of this.
The Mona Lisa was an experiment in a new painting technique. Cave paintings took technology. Mining techniques allowed blocks of stone and marble to be used as materials for artists. The alphabet was a key piece of technology for passing information (and thus, culture) easily on to others, as were ink, the codex, paper, the printing press, and computers...and a HECK of a lot more not mentioned. Language itself is a technology.
Look around, and you're unlikely to see anything on Earth that ISN'T science. Grass? Most likely it was planted. So was that tree. Look up and you might get away from it, but remember that the fast moving star up there is probably the ISS.
The best way to a culture win was always to puppet the heck out of everyone else before BNW. Austria was one of the best culture civs because of that.
The victory for science isn't when your ship lands (now). The victory for domination isn't when everyone else is wiped out (heck, CS's still get to control their capitals, even). Diplomacy isn't won when every last person is on board with your rule.
Why then, would culture be won only when your culture is the only one? You win culturally at much the point Greek culture had on Rome, it seems, which is influential enough that if everyone is like that, no one is really standing on their own two feet anymore, everyone is heavily reliant on you.
You could complain about the old Utopia project though, as if everyone is going to buy into what you're selling just because your people believe in a lot of political, religious, and economic things and they don't.
According to this story, Darius only gained understanding when exposed to both. Having both is better than having only one, and, thus, everyone was "rewarded" for one or the other, but he was better off by being in the middle and having both, making it more logical, not less.
Very very few SP's in the game go against each other. I'm not sure I can think of a pair that is really mutually exclusive.
Our educational systems carry the same problem. You could spend your whole life and never learn history as it was.
There is no history as it was. History doesn't even work like that. Certain things happened, but from our cultural view, we can't say we can understand even those events about which we know as "as it was."
My stepdaughter never saw India when studying ancient history. She never saw medieval Africa. She'll only see the atomic bombs when she looks at Japan in WWII in school.
When I was in school, the "dark ages" were presented as a time of ignorance and lack of technological development.
This is not history as it was, and this is education.
And civ doesn't go as far out there as some other entertainment that uses history. The History Channel has some series that talks about aliens.
However, you'll never find a way to present history as it happened, even in some small way. If you could make the game exactly as you wanted, no single other person in the world would think it was perfect, because history isn't fact. History is not an exact science like physics or math. History has no correct answer (on the scale we're talking about, there is obviously a correct answer for some facts).
Definitely art, video games, movie, etc are all conditioning. Civilization 5 is no different.
Not really a rant on Civilization 5, however.
Anyway, I see that Civilization 5: Beyond Earth is meeting with a lot of tepid replies. I hear comments about awful diplomacy, terrible AI, boring "barbarians", bad pacing and tedious game play. Sounds like the apple hasn't fallen far from the tree.
Civ:BE is reportedly as stupid as Civ V, I hear people talking about it being almost just a reskin of Civ V. 2K is probably raking in the money by now
What did people expect, that's all it was ever going to be given the timescales.
This makes me sad. It felt they believed in this game, but it all fell flat.
I just wanted to believe...
Yep. I figured it would just be Civilization 5 with a pasted on Sci-Fi theme. It might not even be that.
Apparently the diplomacy is even more horrendous.
I want to believe too. I really, really do.
I still hold out hope that Civ VI will be 64 bit, they'll get back to their roots and that it will be nothing like Civilization 5.
Let Civilization 5 just be a bad memory that is relegated to the trash bins of history.
Unfortunately I fear it is to late now http://youtu.be/FlTIk80uBPg?t=2m37s
Yeah, the Civ II advisers were awesome. Really entertaining, along with those Wonder Movies!
Those were the good old days. *Sigh*
I agree with most of your post, unfortunately, you are way off-base regarding education.
What you are describing is a working class education. While it is very seductive to use this as an opportunity to talk about propaganda, that isn't even the most important point. Your stepdaughter is enjoying a working class education in the same way that the working class enjoys news like CNN and Fox, and these are in place in order to suit the needs of a corporate society. This is why schools resemble regimentation.
But a corporate society also needs a liberal elite that actually knows what is going on, and what is important. That is why we have the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times and Al Jazeera. In education, we have "governor's schools" (at least in Virginia) and then institutions like the Brookings Institute and MIT. the WSJ is probably the most poignant example (but all kinds of financial publications follow this model, up to World Bank and IMF): it's reporting is considered liberal, while its editorial positions are considered conservative.
Note that this is "liberal" in the US sense.
I really take exception to your attitude that there isn't an accurate way to characterize things so that you can put junk history and science on the same level as rigorous academic studies. The bottom line is that there are important data that are willfully excluded from narratives that are packaged for consumption, and restoring that information to public awareness can rehabilitate our collective knowledge of history.
However, as it concerns Civ5, I think that the developers made a lot of good choices. The Civilopedia is quite extensive and I have learned a lot from it. It often goes further than Wikipedia entries on similar topics. the bottom line is that Civ5 is a competitive game and when nations compete, they are dividing people to exploit them.
I learned about the "University of Sankore" ink Timbucktu from Civ4, and a few years later it was sacked by Boko Haram. It changed my perspective of the events to have prior awareness of the city.
Been playing Civilization 5 on and off for years, but if there's one feature that's really disruptive to this game it's the AI players constantly "denouncing" you for 30 bloody turns for basically no reason and generally being so adverse to trade.
Either they should quit this bad habit or "Guarded" ought to be the default position for 1:1 trades, not the "all of your luxuries, resources and money are belong to us in exchange for one lousy bale of cotton".
Why, except for messing up your game? Because it feels completely counter-intuitive and wrong. You don't have to be "friends" to exploit the mutual benefits of exchange. If anything, trade is basic to human society and from ancient times has been conducted between frequent enemies. Trade, as a concept, is actually not that distant from war or raiding. People will kill each other one day and meet to make trades the next.
I could accept that trade stops when there is a war on, but as soon as the war ends, trade should in general be welcomed to recommence. I would like to remember that Civ games from before Civ IV used to have a lot more realistic approach to trading when it comes to the readiness to engage in it.
I usually like the diplomatic side of the game and when some Civs denounce me, it makes me easier to pick sides, allies and targets and master my conquering strategy around it. Sometimes a warmongering start has lead to a strong alliance, when a different superpower emerges and has denounced everyone.
Sometimes i denounce someone if i really need to be friends with some other Civs, that has denounced that civ. You get a decent friendship bonus from that (or from city state quest even?). It also opens up some strategies that require strong friendship with a civ... so it's not all that bad.
As it comes to trading, i am as cautios to a warmongering civ as the AI is... Okay, it's annoying when trading luxury goods, but you just have to be more clever with strategic ones, in order to produce...recource penalty to units for example. You don't want to get that from a double-assed Civ and AI also doesn't...
Experience from Deity plays.
It does not denounce you for no reason. When you hover over their attitude in the diplo screen it shows you in red text, what their problem is with you.
For example, Suleiman once kept denouncing me for the whole game because I blocked his expansion into a deserty peninsula with 0 food and he was 2 eras behind anyone else because of it. But because I was playing a nice diplo state nobody cared and I kept trading with everyone else.
If you go wide, that is guaranteed to ruin your relations. If you swallow up more than a singe major warmonger, everyone will start to hate you (and will hate you for the next 100 turns or so).
I always keep getting the conclusion that you're not meant to conquer anyone pre-industrial era and ideologies. For once, ideologies like Order or Autocracy drastically decreases your happiness issues, and for two, your ideological mates are a lot more willing to look the other way when you warmong, as long as your are punching guys from the other 2 branches.
Separate names with a comma.