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

Interview with Firaxis' Dennis Shirk!

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by Shanghai Six, Oct 19, 2010.

  1. Shanghai Six

    Shanghai Six Chieftain

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2010
    Messages:
    2
  2. zonk

    zonk Prince

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2005
    Messages:
    572
    Don't suppose there's a transcript for those of us at work :)...

    Would love to read some highlights, as it sounds very much like you touched on questions I'd want to ask.
     
  3. Morningcalm

    Morningcalm Keeper of Records

    Joined:
    May 7, 2007
    Messages:
    4,075
    Location:
    Abroad
    Dennis Shirk did a decent job at defending the title--but I would have responded to his defense of not including religion by asking--wasn't there a way to design religion so it didn't affect diplomacy so much? (But still include it on a cultural level?)

    He did, however, point out that other "systems" would probably be included into expansions, as was the case with Civ 4 and Beyond the Sword. These systems would probably address missing systems like espionage and religion, he said. I liked that he said that the design team always read forums, and that the best gameplay and feedback come from people who are forumers.
     
  4. dexters

    dexters Gods & Emperors Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2003
    Messages:
    4,182
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Canada
  5. Morningcalm

    Morningcalm Keeper of Records

    Joined:
    May 7, 2007
    Messages:
    4,075
    Location:
    Abroad
    Ok, some more highlights:

    Shirk mentioned how Civ 4 with BtS was considered to be near "perfect balance" by hardcore fans. Making Civ 5, they knew that making a better balanced game would be--"How do you make something over Beyond the Sword?" So they decided to change game concepts and such. And yes, as BtS pleased the hardcore fans, they decided to make 5 appeal more to those who might have loved Rev and wanted something more--but who may not be ready to leap into Civ 4's complexity.

    Montezuma's voice actor did his voiceover in Mexico at a studio there. Shirk also mentioned Darius' Aramaic v. Farsi, and how fans would generally notice historical inconsistencies and such in Civ--concerning the Darius debate, they had the community manager go on to the site to confirm Darius was speaking Aramaic, which was considered more accurate for his time. :)

    Social Policies were made permanent because Shafer wanted people to develop a system over time that would be meaningful and not simply switched around. Shafer would be able to answer more fully the question why Social Policies are permanent, Shirk emphasized--but historically the idea is that you put "ideas into your people"--Americans who are democratic would be hard pressed to suddenly switch to Communism, is the *imo pretty good* example Shirk gave.

    "Balance is ongoing"--esp. with the Civ series. To quote, Shirk said the testing team was a "fraction of a fraction of a percent of the total number of users" and that therefore future feedback and current feedback will play a part in later balance patches etc.

    "We love the people who make enormous complex mods"--Shirk mentioned he knew forumers would include people who analyze, down to tiles and such--who would deliver constructive criticism--and really angry forumers, and people who were ecstatic--and people somewhere in the middle.

    Shirk mentioned he was excited by the "amazing" mods that showed up within the first week of SDK's release, and that giving moddability to fans was one truly exciting aspect of the game for the designers (as the mods etc would surprise/delight them).
     
  6. SammyKhalifa

    SammyKhalifa Deity

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2003
    Messages:
    5,572
    Honestly, Espionage in IV did nothing but annoy me, and I was kinda relieved it was gone.
     
  7. Morningcalm

    Morningcalm Keeper of Records

    Joined:
    May 7, 2007
    Messages:
    4,075
    Location:
    Abroad
    Likewise--in BtS it was a nice feature but added to the complexity to the game a bit much I'd say. I liked the (flawed) Civ 4 vanilla espionage though--I do think espionage of some form should be in the game, especially as many important world leaders like Elizabeth and Genghis Khan used it very, very well. Something involving sight into enemy civs (however temporary) might be nice.
     
  8. zonk

    zonk Prince

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2005
    Messages:
    572
    This - I don't get.

    As I recall, the game setup options allowed one to select "No Espionage" ("No Events" was also an option).

    Unless I'm misremembering, I just don't see how people can be happy something was dropped if it was entirely possible to play without it.
     
  9. dexters

    dexters Gods & Emperors Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2003
    Messages:
    4,182
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Canada
    I always play an expansion with all its features turned on. But I played Civ4 with no espionage/corps for 2 years.

    I really didn't like both features. I have my issues with religion but corps. and espionage where bleh elements for me. And I generally really like BTS for its plethora of stuff.
     
  10. zonk

    zonk Prince

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2005
    Messages:
    572
    Thanks for the summaries...

    This, to me, is the most damning thing... Mods - Can we re-open the "Dumbed Down" thread because it seems we've gotten our verdict.

    Can we close the discussion on consolization and simplification?

    OK - but governments change and evolve. I still think Shafer is dead wrong here -- he just built a pink tech tree (fine - call is a social science tech tree, if you prefer the non-snark description). Don't try to claim SPs are the new "government" -- they're not. I'm perfectly fine with adding SPs. I'm perfectly fine with nerfing government. I'm perfectly fine with virtually ANY sort of mechanic that makes switching governments more costly.... But - don't sell me a pink tech tree and tell me it's the new "government".

    I'd want to call BS on this... presumably, the testers were good civ players... I don't see how ANY even moderately skilled civ player didn't see glaring, screaming, on fire, shining like the sun balance problems.


    heh. Why wouldn't they love them? Free labor.

    I'm being dead serious in saying this -- why doesn't Firaxis just release core engines, make it clear that's what you're buying -- then either leave it to the mods, or partner with the modders for DLC? I mean - Paradox did it with the old Europa engine when they moved to Clausewitz.
     
  11. etipton3

    etipton3 Chieftain

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2010
    Messages:
    79
    I feel the exact same way about religion...
     
  12. playshogi

    playshogi Emperor

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2001
    Messages:
    1,455
    Well, they could take a cue from Paradox, whose flagship series Europa Univeralis is currently on #3. They released another bug-fixing, balancing expansion to EU #2 based on a user mod, long after EU #3 was published. Now, that's real service!
     
  13. SammyKhalifa

    SammyKhalifa Deity

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2003
    Messages:
    5,572
    Well, it threw the balance off without it there.

    I'm not against espionage per se, but it seemed really forced in IV--like they were made to shoehorn it in where it didn't belong because people "out there" were mad it was missing. It seemed like nothing more than a money sink, and the AI never seemed to use it very well. They'd just blow up random mine or something and not really advance their own cause.
     
  14. Haiku

    Haiku Chieftain

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2003
    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    Paris
    Thanks for the highlight !

    Don't want to be rude, but this is just BS and sounds backward justification to me. It may be true that USA won't convert to communism soon (but who will, tell me ?), but we are not talking about 50 years span, but about THOUSANDS YEAR SPAN here. In Civ 5, you are stuck with policies chose 2500 years ago. :lol:

    This does not make sense history wise. Thanks to Meiji, Japan is not stuck forever with their feudal system until the sun collapse. And I could also name many quick institutional changes in history: France went from Monarchy to Empire through Republic in less than 15 years.

    And I don't even mention that gameplay > realism, and that those justification is not only unfounded historically, but also gameplay wise. They are not fun either ! Schafer wanted to streamline the game, so be it. It's his designer choice, right. Just say it.

    ATM, I certainly give more credit to the modder than to Shafer's staff to deliver a improved game experience to my taste.
     
  15. testdummy653

    testdummy653 Prince

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2003
    Messages:
    324
    Location:
    Lab 653
    Real service? Or Unsound business practice?
    I would be concerned if Firaxis decided to start making expansion packs for Civ 3 or Civ IV, and leave CiV alone. I would want all their current resources on the flagship of the series.
     
  16. DuseCutter

    DuseCutter Chieftain

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2006
    Messages:
    98
    Location:
    NE Ohio
    This sounds like he basically admitted that Civ 4 BtS was the pinnacle of the Civ Franchise. It takes a lot of guts to scrap something that you consider "near perfect".
     
  17. testdummy653

    testdummy653 Prince

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2003
    Messages:
    324
    Location:
    Lab 653
    The only game(Sid Meier's) that really used espionage really well, in my opinion, is SMAC. Probe teams that Engineering Choices could make less effective or more effective, building and wonders effect them, if you have another probe team the two probe teams fight it out.
    The SMAC AI uses them quite well at lower difficulties, and they are a pain in the butt at higher levels.
     
  18. Niptium

    Niptium Warlord

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2005
    Messages:
    272
    Location:
    Montréal, Québec
    Me too. Same thing for corporations.
     
  19. Guardian_PL

    Guardian_PL Emperor

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2006
    Messages:
    1,231
    THANK YOU!
    Why the hell people are moaning about features that could be disables at start? I could understand such "streamlining" if new features would be replacing old ones, being polished etc. But no, all we've got is a big gaping hole in game with a note "this is where random events used to be".

    It's the same crap as with "oh I never watched wonder movies anyway". Never? True, that you get to skip them a lot of times, but occasionally when you've just managed to squeeze an important wonder it feels great to watch the movie and feel that warm feeling of accomplishment.
    I totally agree with zonk here - we've got confirmation of the thread whether Civ5 has been dumbed down or not - yes it was :sad:
    fixed for you.
    No more dizzying auto unit cycling
    No more hideous river colour
    It IS amazing, isn't it? I'm sure that designers are so excited about doing less and less while still getting paid! :goodjob:

    EDIT
    I call BS on that - numerous times I got techs stolen from me because some AI invested heavily in espionage (y'know, in Civ4 AI's were different from one another, not rampaging psychos like in Civ5) or happened to build Great Wall (on higher diff level you don't always build that one ;)), and imo Espionage was great. You could win the game with it, or without it (same as religion btw) - the choice was yours. But I guess I understand that it might have been too confusing for some people that like to have choices made FOR them...
     
  20. Aristos

    Aristos Lightseeker

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2001
    Messages:
    3,575
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Deep inside...
    or a lot of stupidity...
     

Share This Page