1. We have added a Gift Upgrades feature that allows you to gift an account upgrade to another member, just in time for the holiday season. You can see the gift option when going to the Account Upgrades screen, or on any user profile screen.
    Dismiss Notice

How about playtesting

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by snaktime, Nov 15, 2010.

  1. Dale

    Dale Mohawk Games Developer

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2002
    Messages:
    7,054
    Just want to point out:
    - Testers never get enough time to find all bugs.
    - Developers never get enough time to fix all reported bugs.
    - Designers never get enough time to balance a game.
    - Producers never get enough time to produce the game.
    - Studios never get enough time to deliver to publisher.
    - Publishers never get enough time to put on the shelf.
    - Consumers demand publishers release faster and more.

    Who's to blame for Civ 5? You! ;)
     
  2. snaktime

    snaktime Chieftain

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8
    This is an interesting (and probably common) retort to some of my criticisms, so I want to respond.

    ddd123 is right that many of my complaints about Civ V include the fact that the rules do not "make sense" or correlate to anything real about history, civilization development or reality in general. He's probably not alone in feeling that this is a dumb criticism because "this is a game" and so who cares if the rules make sense.

    I generally agree that it's a game, not a simulation, and so some rules are going to be mechanical necessities that don't really fit as models of reality. For example, the incongruity of strategic and tactical time in Civ. On a reality level it doesn't make sense that in each turn my units only move a few spaces on the map - the turn is 20 years! But this is a function of Civ's game design, which merges the strategic and tactical maps, a design that has a lot of advantages in simplicity and gameplay etc. I can accept that completely.

    But at the same time, I think ddd123 is making a fundamental mistake about what makes a game "fun," not just for simulation lovers but for all game players. I am confident that even people like ddd123 derive a huge percentage of the fun from any game they like from its story, ambiance, etc. It is not "just" a game wherein the fun depends only on the rules and how they are balanced. That's not how games succeed at being fun, and this is universally true, including for people like ddd123.

    I can prove that this stuff matters to everyone by pointing out that we could in theory strip away all reality from Civilization without changing any of the rules. The map could be just a piece of graph paper; the turns would just have turn numbers and not years. You could call a "City" a "Node", a Granary "Food Building One", etc. And so on.

    But this would be incredibly unfun, and why is that? I think we all understand it intuitively. The rules of any game have to correlate to reality in some way for it to be fun. This is even true for simple board games like Monopoly. There is almost no game in the world (maybe checkers?), and certainly no complex strategic game, that is all rules and no "simulation", and that's for good reason. We are not computers and it's not fun to make our choices in games based solely on an analysis of maximizing our chances under the rules. It is fun to take cues from our intuitions about reality to make game decisions - i.e. in CIV we safely expect a tank to be a stronger military unit than a spearman. Not only is it fun for games to work this way, but the rules of complex strategy games would be much harder to learn if they didn't correlate to anything real.

    In Civ 5, much too much of my time is spent maximizing my chances under rules that correlate to nothing. Yeah, I can learn that if I pay 500g to Maritime City X, all my cities get a lot of food. Oh look, my "happiness" is negative, time to build Happiness Building One. The forumlas beneath these game mechanisms are transparently obvious because they have no other meaning.

    So yeah it's a game, but games are fun because of the overlay of rules onto a coherent system, a metaphor of sorts for something real. It is not sufficient to say "it's just a game" about every game mechanic that is completely unmoored from reality. And in Civ 5 almost every significant rule suffers from this problem.
     
  3. SuperJay

    SuperJay Bending Space and Time

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2010
    Messages:
    3,273
    Location:
    Shacklyn
    Great post, very well said. Your OP reminded me of another post a while back that pointed out the same situation with "Happiness" - that it was just a completely abstract, disconnected mechanic with the sole purpose of limiting everything, and didn't correlate to "happiness" at all. The author (sorry, I can't remember who posted it) said something like "we could just as easily call it 'Shafer Rating' instead of 'happiness.'" And I LOL'd! :D

    Anyway, I think you hit the proverbial nail on the head. I agree completely.
     
  4. Aristos

    Aristos Lightseeker

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2001
    Messages:
    3,668
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Deep inside...
    take this man's word seriously, for he is one of the few, if not the only one, who converted from the happy days of "civ5 is the best game ever OMG!OMG!OMG!" to a sober, moderated criticism after knowing Shafer's creature better through gameplay.

    Reconsidering one's own position is something worth mentioning, and listening to...
     
  5. lschnarch

    lschnarch Emperor

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2010
    Messages:
    1,296
    And you've given a great and very true response.
    Very well written, very well explained.

    My respect for this.
     
  6. SuperJay

    SuperJay Bending Space and Time

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2010
    Messages:
    3,273
    Location:
    Shacklyn
    Thanks, but I'm definitely not the only one who started out liking the game and then got bored and felt let down. I don't want to speak for anyone else, so I won't name names, but I've talked to several other CFC members that are in the same boat. We moderates often get drowned out in the back-and-forth shouting in the Great CFC Flamewars of 2010, but those yell-fests have died down quite a lot, and I think many people on both sides are better about moderating their own wording and not just attacking each other.

    And I should make clear that I'm not a firebrand anti-Civ5 type. I'll happily eat another helping of crow if Firaxis turns the game around through patches and free updates. Not expansions, though - I can't justify paying $20-40 for another Firaxis product until I feel that the one I already bought is worth the money I paid.
     
  7. evrett37

    evrett37 Prince

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2008
    Messages:
    346
    I agree.."we" had a chance to change this before release and Civfanatics sat around picking its nose.
     
  8. Aristos

    Aristos Lightseeker

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2001
    Messages:
    3,668
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Deep inside...
    Indeed, but you are the only one from that group (that I know of) that is brave enough to recognize the "initial delusion"...

    And don't get me wrong. I am so harsh towards the developers because I really wanted to like this game, as I have the previous iterations... believe me when I say that my pupils, my 7 and 10 years old whom I initiated in this hobby years ago (because I always found value in civ games, before the present bluff, that is), my pupils cannot understand why the new iteration has been banned from the house's computers after so much anticipation and eagerness... it's hard to explain to them that the new version is not worth their eagerness to continue to develop their brains in a more deep and meaningful way...

    Oh well... nothing that good old BTS with RoM AND cannot "substitute"...
     
  9. jagdtigerciv

    jagdtigerciv Prince

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2007
    Messages:
    468
    Ugh, like many, I originally enjoyed Civ5. But as game mechanics and complete lack of balance became increasingly apparent, I completely stopped playing. Game balance is so important to me, and this game needs *a lot* of work.
     
  10. snaktime

    snaktime Chieftain

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8
    Unfortunately, I've started to feel that even improving balance can't save this game. The most basic mechanisms of this game are baffling and therefore mostly unfun. It is not fun to try to keep your cities/empire "Happy" when "Happiness" doesn't mean anything at all any more. It is not fun to collect "culture points" when the points are overwhelmed by the "one more city screws up your culture" mechanism.

    It is not fun to manipulate relationships with City States that are determined entirely by either (1) incrementally exact gifts of money (you get a 10% discount on influence points if you give money in bulk! what is this, Costco?) or (2) performing arbitrary and absurd "missions" for the CityStates ("Seoul wants a new natural wonder!" What exactly does this model in the real world? Because yeah city states are always very friendly to nations that find cool natural wonders during far-off exploration).

    Diplomacy and trade that works about as well as someone's "Random Steven Seagal Quote Generator" app isn't fun either. You ask me to go to war and then you're mad about me being a warmonger? You are mad that I took land from you that is 1000 miles from your cities? You are 2000 miles away but you want to pay me for open borders so you can send troops across my 7 tiles of territory that you can actually already see across and walk around for free?

    "Great People" who help your civilization in perplexing ways are not fun. A great artist helps you with a "culture bomb" that increases your territory? This is some pretty funky art.

    Your science output is simply proportional to how many people you have in your country? Why?

    Virtually nothing makes any sense. So yeah, better balance would increase the number of viable choices for building or whatever, and that would be more fun. But choosing between options that achieve game-only goals that in reality make no sense is still pretty lame.
     
  11. snaktime

    snaktime Chieftain

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8
    I just want to bump my own thread because all of the complaints still apply after the patch, it's just totally sad.
     
  12. pat4

    pat4 Believe it!!!

    Joined:
    May 7, 2005
    Messages:
    524
    Location:
    Ireland
    Nice post but I think you could make an argument for this. As your empire expands people are living over greater distances and so their cultures become distant. Where as a small empire has a coherent single identifiable culture. Think of the US as a large civ think of the differences in people in Tennesse listening to Garth Brooks and people in LA listening to gangster rap etc etc. Where as in a small civ like Ireland has a pretty singular culture (at least to an outsider).
     
  13. MarkM

    MarkM Cow Herder

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Messages:
    681
    Location:
    America's Dairyland
    You should really try Civ IV. I also played Civ I to death when it first came out, but never quite recaptured the zeal with II, III, or SMAC. Civ IV though ... it started out buggy and weak in the AI and with some design shortcomings, got half fixed with patches and then Warlords, and then ... BTS finally came along and made it a really good game, the best of the series IMO.

    Civ IV Complete can be had for as little as $6 when on sale now ... you really should pick it up.
     
  14. pat4

    pat4 Believe it!!!

    Joined:
    May 7, 2005
    Messages:
    524
    Location:
    Ireland
    Also I have to agree 100% with you on the absurdity of population = science.

    I also hated how gold = science in civ's 1 - 3. I know it makes sense but there is a lot of innovation going on other then goverment funded research.

    This is where I think civ 4 got it spot on. Specialists became a fantastic alternative to just pumping gold into science and it made such sense especially since it produced great scientist which could give your research a large singular boost or a long term effect.

    Honestly I think CIV IV solved a lot of the big problems of the civ series such as ICS. The only one it didn't get in my opinion is stacks of doom which I despise. CIV V didn't fix this but at least it made an effort. I wish they hadn't of changed much else just added to it.
     
  15. UWHabs

    UWHabs Deity

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2008
    Messages:
    4,762
    Location:
    Toronto
    But you can think of pop=science as research done by non-specialists, and the specialists are just set up better to do more efficient research.

    To me, I really don't mind the pop=science. That actually makes sense to me. I think what's missing is that that should only be a portion of the science. I think we need to have more science buildings giving bonuses. So have a library just give a flat +5 science, throw on some other buildings with either raw outputs, or more per pop, or more per specialist, or whatever. So basically early game it'd be pop = science, but by mid-game the science from pop is only maybe 1/2 of your overall tech, and by the end, it's only a fraction.

    Pop from people does make more sense than the random government slider (okay, I know if a government is running deficits, they cut from education and research, but I don't think that's exactly what the slider meant to model...), but it still needs some refining.
     
  16. pat4

    pat4 Believe it!!!

    Joined:
    May 7, 2005
    Messages:
    524
    Location:
    Ireland
    No with specialists pop doesn't equal science. Pop working in a library equals science, thats a pretty big difference. You have to decide whether it is worth the loss of food/hammers/commerce in order to get those beakers. In civ5 every pop contributes to science meaning you don't have a decision to make and with the new nerf on libraries you really don't have a decision to make until unis become available.
     
  17. V. Soma

    V. Soma long time civ fan

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Messages:
    3,887
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Hungary
    perhaps some mods can alleviate your bad mood about the game? :)
     

Share This Page