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Civilization: Beyond Earth's creators are fixing their biggest mistakes

Discussion in 'CivBE - General Discussions' started by Ari Rahikkala, Mar 12, 2015.

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  1. Gort

    Gort Emperor

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    They really need to make miasma stand out more from the terrain, too. I shouldn't have to mouse-over hexes to check whether they'll kill my guys, it should be obvious at a glance.
     
  2. wayneb64

    wayneb64 Prince

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    It's not just miasma, it's hills and forests and swamp as well. Trying to plan tactics with ranged units is really difficult as there are many 'hidden' forests and hills. Moving units is equally challenging with the 'hidden' swamps. Miasma is actually the easiest to spot of all of these most of the time.
     
  3. Matthew.

    Matthew. Deity

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    This is a good post and I agree. There seems to be two major camps. The first are people who expected/wanted a second Alpha Centauri game. I'm not sure if there is a good response here, the game was made and is never going to magically change into something it is not.

    The second camp are people who are disappointed it is a lesser variation of Civ 5. The typical response is "Civ 5 was barebones on release too" but it is not about content, it is about the core game. The flaws of things like diplomacy and 1UPT are not only brought over from Civ 5, but enhanced. If it were just a reskin of Civ 5, it would be tolerable, but it isn't even that.

    What is the purpose of creating additional Civilization games or continuing a franchise in general? Ignoring for a moment that Beyond Earth is a different take, the reason why a series of games persists is to take an idea and continue to polish it. Add better graphics, better gameplay mechanics, better accessibility, better support. When you release a game like Beyond Earth which is not even a side-step but a step backwards, you are not evolving the series. While a Civ 5 version 2.5 now with space theme would have still been met with some criticism, it would have at least been something, but Beyond Earth isn't even that.

    You made a good choice by not reading the article, it is the typical apology non-apology you see in politics. The "we aren't sorry, but we still want a favorable reputation so we are sorry".
     
  4. Victus75

    Victus75 Chieftain

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    This reminds me of what I believe to be the two major complaints of ESO (Elder Scrolls Online). One camp wished it were more like a sandbox Elder Scrolls game, while the other camp wished it played like, and had more elements of, an MMO. Since it tried to be a little of both, nobody seemed happy.

    I can see that similarity with Civ:BE certainly.
     
  5. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    I think the big difference to ESO is that in BE both can be achieved by doing the same thing. Balancing things to allow for "competitive" players to have a lot of fun does not distract the fun of a "sandbox"-player in any way (at least as long as there is no mechanic that is so broken that it would need to be removed), bit instead actually help everyone even though people at the extreme end of being a sandbox-player may not realize a difference. In many other cases though - what would a "competitive" player want? Stronger wonders? More tactical options? Balanced tile improvements? A more balanced "powercreep" through-out the game? That's my list at least and I don't see how any of this would hurt sandbox-players.

    I think it really comes down to them WANTING to balance the game and having people who are capable of doing so.
     
  6. kipwheeler

    kipwheeler Warlord

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    Awesome idea. Where's the "triple-like" button?
     
  7. Gort

    Gort Emperor

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    I do like that idea. It's all the more feasible since they've only got eight factions.

    That's another big disappointment with BE - so few factions, but even with so few of them, they somehow managed to make them less distinctive than the dozens of factions Civ 5 has.
     
  8. sherbz

    sherbz Emperor

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    I wouldnt have minded fewer factions if only they were distinct and unique.
     
  9. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    Well, you sort of need 8 factions when the standard settings use 8 factions. ;) Wouldn't want to play with only 4 factions, no matter how diverse they are. But yeah, more "flavor" would be nice.
     
  10. SupremacyKing2

    SupremacyKing2 Deity

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    It still amazes me how SMAC could have faction specific voice overs for all the techs but BE has a single voice over for all the techs and the voice acting for the factions is just one repetitive line over and over.
     
  11. edingess

    edingess Warlord

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    Wasn't it leader voiceovers tho for certain techs based on different "works"?
     
  12. GAGA Extrem

    GAGA Extrem Emperor

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    In SMAC you got a popup with a quote whenever you researched a new tech, whenever you constructed the first instance of any building or when you completed a wonder (the latter via a short movie).

    The quotes themselves were always the same regardless of your faction, but they were attributed to different people (mostly faction leaders). In a way, each quote was a piece of lore that told you more about the story, the leaders and the society.

    For example, I still remember that one quote from Pravin Lal:
    "I loved my chosen. How then to face the day when she left me? So I took from her body a single cell, perhaps to love her again."
    And it is not only about the text he reads. The voice actor really manages to sound genuinely sad.

    That quote gives: (a) Insight into Pravin Lal's personality, (b) A glimpse at the potential of the technology you just researched, (c) An outlook at the social problems that may happen and (d) A base for you, the player, to think about it on your own.
     
  13. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    Voice acting is a lot more expensive these days. Traditionally, not treated very well either, which is why typically they're externally-managed and have union representatives. A limited set of voiceovers ingame is probably either due to not having the funds to deal with such (and doing it in-house), or only being able to pay for a limited contract r.e. voice work.

    Admittedly, SMAC was also around £30 on release back in the day, but BE isn't meant to be SMAC so why are people still making those comparisons?

    There is a different bent to the faction leaders in SMAC vs. the sponsors in BE. Nevermind the fact that the ability to level each sponsor up in a chosen Affinity completely changes their perspective on the world, which means you'd have to have a "canon" Affinity for each sponsor with regards to these additional quotes, which would break immersion for those not following that Affinity ingame.

    And sure, you might say now "oh but regardless those quotes would be nice", but I can guarantee if they'd done that people would still complain about a lack of immersion, or ironically "trying too hard to copy SMAC". Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and I've seen enough of it in gaming communities.
     
  14. GAGA Extrem

    GAGA Extrem Emperor

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    Because the quality standards set by a game do not disappear over time.

    And, yes, creating a different voiceover for each Tech/Affinity for each faction is impractical.
     
  15. sherbz

    sherbz Emperor

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    Yes, herein lies the great charm of SMAC. You had quotes for tech, and you had quotes for buidlings, and you had them for wonders. Each of them gave a flavour of each leaders personality and also hinted at who out of the rest of the leaders they would be opposed to. The passages are so good you can pick 7 of the best and you should instantly see exactly what they are all about:

    There are a few key points that are worth drawing to in the above. ALL of the passages above appear in game. ALL of the above are voiced by competent voice actors. ALL of the above are voiced by the leaders themselves. ALL of the above are in English (or one language – it doesn’t necessarily have to be English).

    Instantly from the above, I know vastly more about each of SMAC’s leaders than I do about any of the BE leaders. And that is only a small selection of what is included in the game. On top of this you have about another 50 or so quotes for each tech, a number of building quotes, and perhaps most importantly, wonder movies, which in themselves helped to drive a narrative about what was happening in the game. I think its better if these passages are all in one language in a fiction game, because it helps to better communicate the storyline.

    BE has none of this. You have to dig through the lore in order to find anything like it. But why would you bother when none of it happens in game or has any bearing on the game.
     
  16. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    But each game is different and has it's own flaws? People seem to love SMAC's Wonder videos . . . but by today's standards they're extremely sloppy with lots of hilarious MSPaint-over images.

    If you're going to arbitrarily judge small aspects of one game based on another, why not hold the older game to all the standards of the newer game?

    Assuming quality standards don't change, as you are saying.
     
  17. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    You do of course not hold old products by today's standard, that's just stupid. However, if a product of today can't translate "yesterday's standards" into something that is acceptable today and instead just cuts stuff, then you CAN compare the two, because because people will feel like much has lost on the way from back then to now.

    I think there is some validity in your argument though, especially when it comes to stuff like videos/voiceover, etc. - the bar for this stuff to be of "acceptable" quality has just been raised by a LOT and if, for budget reasons, you don't have the ability to crate stuff that is at least "acceptable" (Would anyone really want to have badly done, immersion breaking voiceovers?), then it may very well be the right decision to not try to "bring over" the old stuff over to your new game.

    The problem with that however is that you need to fill the void caused by cutting stuff by introducing new stuff and that is something that didn't really happen here (or, to the extend that it has happened, it has been "hidden" in the Civilopedia). They cut a lot. What is still there is extremely generic. And thus we have a very soulless version of the game.
     
  18. SupremacyKing2

    SupremacyKing2 Deity

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    Just to be clear, I was not suggesting this. I was point out that in SMAC, a tech quote was heard in the voice of the author of the quote. So, a tech quote from Santiago was heard in Santiago's voice, a Lal quote in Lal's voice etc... Whereas in BE, all techs are read in the same voice.
     
  19. GAGA Extrem

    GAGA Extrem Emperor

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    If you're going to arbitrarily judge small aspects of one game based on another, why not hold the older game to all the standards of the newer game?

    Assuming quality standards don't change, as you are saying.[/QUOTE]
    Even if I'd judge SMAC by today's standard, I'd end up with a game that has terrible graphics, but a decent artstyle, poor gameplay and balance, but great immersion, bad game sounds, but good voice over and fantastic writing. And I will get it for a fair 6€ price tag (together with its addon).

    I was replying to Gorb's comment, not yours. I am sure we both interpreted yours correctly.
     
  20. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    That is a lot of what I was getting at. However, even given the "soulless" state of the game (I find CiV and older games even more boring because as a former student of history I know history. I don't play Civilisation for historical accuracy though, because it's a video game) . . . you face problems creating some kind of attachment because the focus is on the player's story - and not the story of the plot (because the plot is what the player crafts).

    It's a dissonance in the difference between SMAC's plot-driven gameplay design (awakening of Planet, factions making Planetfall, etc) and BE's user-driven gameplay design (Affinities, mainly).

    This isn't to say that they can't do more with it - I think the Affinity system is a great start to something that is potentially quite big. But certainly, getting hung up on "look at what SMAC did" isn't going to get anyone anywhere.
     
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