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Interview with Firaxis' Dennis Shirk!

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

  1. seasnake

    seasnake Conquistador

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    Strange, all I got out of the podcast was

    1) Things were intentionally simplified
    2) A recognition that more complexity and better balance would be added through patches, DLC, and expansions.
    3) Some "Did you know" moments, like the thing with Monty.

    Written it many times, simple =/= dumbed down. You can have simple concept and make it highly appealing. Best example is GO, laying black and white stones on a grid. Mechanics are extremely simple, the game is highly cerebral.

    I don't think the game has been dumbed down at all. I feel the AI is inadequate and unable to deal with everything, so the game feels dumber.

    Face it, it takes a smarter AI to manage a battle line and diverse troop formations than to pile 50 troops onto one tile and point it at a city. AI in the former has to mange several decisions and move his troops quickly and effectively as a whole line, and make use of the terrain.

    It takes a smarter AI to meaningful diplomacy decisions than merely adding up the mods, comparing it to it's scripted personality and computing "I like this person +18, I don't like him -5, I don't declare war if I'm over 10 like, therefore I will not fight this person, I'll just quietly build colosseums as he prepares a death army on my doorstep."

    It takes a much smarter AI to say plan to achieve a space race victory, decide it wants rationalism, and then choose to avoid Piety right now than for an AI to think "I'm at war, I need more troops, two turns of anarchy to get a fascist government!"

    If the AI WERE capable of making these kind of intelligent plans than I don't think anyone would complain the game has been dumbed down. But by focusing on more meaningful long-term decisions and strategies it really puts the onus on the AI to make these decisions properly.
     
  2. afa2000

    afa2000 Time to die

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    Welcome to the postmodern world. More is always better, no matter the consequences, no matter the risk.

    I suppose they think Civ Rev 2 would sell even more than Civ IV if it were just called Civ V. In other words, all they had to do was try to fool the veterans, who would buy the game no matter what they have done, and at same time please newcomers.

    So, that's why we shouldn't stop complaining, regardless of their small bribes .
     
  3. Thormodr

    Thormodr Servant of Civ Supporter

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    Indeed. If we grow silent then they will take that as acceptance in my opinion.

    Civ VI will then be more of the same.

    People simply shouldn't settle for an inferior product.
     
  4. da_Vinci

    da_Vinci Gypsy Prince

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    Own question answered. :mischief:

    An interesting view on the demo delay ... did beta test issue list outrun fix time before release, making release day demo necessary to prevent pre-order cancellations?

    Either that, or demo was as bad as game, and unreleasable before release date.

    Hmm ... Thormodr => Thormondr => next from your critics will be Thormonster :lol: ;)

    Headline: Shirk shirks Shafer!

    (Now say that three times really fast ... )
    2K has said to me that they have "rigorous QA" and "very large and long beta testing". Seems to me that what is large and long is the confirmed bug list here, so they need to re-evaluate those processes (something is seriously wrong).

    Thormodr is a conjoined twin and they rotate sleeping and posting. ;)

    (Or worse, Thormodr and eviltypeguy are conjoined twins! :eek:)

    You are being sarcastic, I assume? ;)

    dV
     
  5. eviltypeguy

    eviltypeguy Warlord

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    There's that royal we again...

    Thankfully, no one has to do that since an inferior one has not been delivered yet.
     
  6. Dun Malg

    Dun Malg Chieftain

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    This bothers me quite a bit. Would Russians who are monarchists be hard pressed to switch to communism? Sure.... but historically they did, and it was a pretty quick change too. A bloody and ruinously painful change, but quick. This ought to have been implemented as an expensive change (perhaps in terms of turns of anarchy)--- forcing it to be gradual is unnecessarily limiting. If you have earned and selected 8 social policies, you ought to be able to "undo" them and select others in their place. The more policies you change and the more "opposed" a policy you change them to (e.g. dumping 2 piety SP's for 2 rationalism ones) the more expensive it should be (longer anarchy) but it should be allowable.

    Like many other aspects of Civ V, it feels like the basic notion was sketched out, but the demands of RELEASE DATE left no time to play test and examine any variation on the original crude concept. Or maybe some hard-ass managing the production was insistent on a policy of "simplify for the console crowd". Who knows? Whichever it is, the result is disappointing.
     
  7. Stefanskantine

    Stefanskantine Angry Partisan

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    I think your example proves the case against you.

    Tsarist Russia = Monarchy

    Soviet Union = Attempted Communism, but ultimately resulted in a country run by a personality cult of strongmen and their lackeys kept in line by corruption and patronage (almost a feudal system). Basically a case of Communism "overlaying" already established principles of feudalism and monarchy ingrained in the culture.

    Russian Federation = Nominally a democracy, but the strongmen and oligarchs persist in their neo-monarchic system.

    Two "revolutions" later, and the monarchic traits persist
     
  8. JLoZeppeli

    JLoZeppeli Prince

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    ????????????:eek:

    Excuse me, can you prove it with pubblications, editorials or something with scientific value????

    Tell me, i like books a lot, and as an ancient historian (well, archeologist) i'm waiting for your sources...
     
  9. Zechnophobe

    Zechnophobe Strategy Lich

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    "We" it refers to a group of people that includes ones self. If I was relating the story of my date last night with one Miss Sophia Jenkins, and said "We had a great time" would you get up in arms because last night you had not such a great time since you had to go to the dentist and get a molar forcibly removed?
     
  10. Zechnophobe

    Zechnophobe Strategy Lich

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    Simple = less choices to make. Are there few choices to make in GO or a lot? In fact, there are an extremely large number of them. For instance, Chess could be construed as a 'dumbed down' go. It is a much easier game since it is considerably easier to consider all future game states.

    There are less decisions, and the decisions have less magnitude.

    This is true, I don't think we are denying this. In fact, comments on the simplicity of the game aren't really talking about the combat mechanics. Few here would say that combat is simpler than in 4. It's everything else we have problems with.

    Oh *really*? And what exactly do you think they do instead? The very basics of AI programming are:

    1) Dictating possible actions to be taken
    2) Weighing the likelihood of those actions
    3) Determining scenarios that change the weightings.

    Whether or not we see a "+10" modifier from a ruler or not, I can just about guarantee the system is still working the same.

    So you are saying it takes more work on the part of the AI in civ 5 to get a space race victory, than it does for the AI in civ 4 to get a conquest victory? That's such a bizarre comparison. It really isn't that hard to get an AI to go after space race, and they don't even need to be doing it from the get go. I mean, unless the AI should be playing for space race from the classic era, and not choose as opportunity allows...

    Once again, problems with AI have nothing to do with dumbed down game play. I'm not sure why you keep saying this. If the AI plays better, it won't suddenly make the choice of what buildings to build any more interesting.
     
  11. da_Vinci

    da_Vinci Gypsy Prince

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    Here is my take on the message of the interview:

    Civ V is entry level PC Civ for Civ Rev fans, and newcomers

    Shirk talks about making Civ 5 more accessable. Then refers in that context to simplifying the UI. But I am not sure that the accessability issue for Civ IV was the UI. It might have been the level of skill needed to play it well.

    And since early frustration must be avoided for newcomers, what may have happened is to make smaller differences between certain choices (genericizing some things). Wonders are less wonderful and more generic ... so getting, or not getting a particular one is not game breaking. Tile improvements make smaller marginal improvements to tile yields. City specialization is less "special". (Someone said that all cities in Civ IV were the same, clearly never learned city specialization). Micromanagment reduced to nanomanagement. Maybe this is so newcomers are not so penalized for mistakes in these areas? Being optimal isn't much better than being suboptimal? Which gives us sentiments like "winning accidentally" or "winning regardless of what I decide."

    These smaller differences make the gameplay seem less flexible. Now it is steering a barge, not tacking a sleek America's Cup racer. Rudder only steers +/- 10 degrees, instead of +/- 90 degrees. Which is more exciting to sail? If it were barges, then America's Cup would race barges.

    Then, Shirk says also by design, we get a few choices making huge differences. The city count impact on policy costs being the archetype. So you can't change from a massive settling expansion to a culture victory very easily. The constraint of these decisions removes flexibility. Now the initial inertia vector can't be altered very easily. We are told this is what Jon wanted.

    Ironic that the huge impact of some decisions, and the minimal impact of others can both conspire to limit options and flexibility.

    The other clear message is that Civ 5 may be the "successor (comes after)" to Civ IV, but it is not the "progressor (builds upon)" to Civ IV. This too, is by design Shirk says.

    We have watched CivSid grow up through grade school (I), middle school (II), high school (III, puberty is always a bit rough), and College (IV, BTS is the bachelors degree). So many were expecting Civ V to be "CivSid goes to grad school."

    But what we get, instead, is "CivSid's little brother, CivJon, goes to grade school". We are back to square one with the "foundation" of something different ... a sibling of CivSid. Looks like we have to nurture CivJon through the same evolutionary process and hope he grows up into something as good as CivSid, BA. And we probably never get CivSid MS or CivSid PhD. The disapointment is understandable.

    A different analogy, if the above doesn't resonate, is we have been upgrading our purchase of sedans from Chevy, to Buick, to Cadillac, and finally to Lexus. Now, we are ready for our Bentley. But the automotive gods deliver us a Chevy Blazer.

    "You didn't want a better sedan, did you?"
    "You wanted something different, right?"
    "Don't worry, in four more tradeups, you can have a Range Rover."

    Now if you think CivJon is cute, if you think a Blazer is cool, then you are ok with this.
    If you wanted to hire CivSid MS, or wanted to drive a Bentley, then you are upset.

    In either case, CivJon needs his hiccups, seizures and dyslexia treated, and the Blazer needs spark plugs and lug nuts.

    That's my take.

    dV
     
  12. Sox

    Sox Chieftain

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    Ah this made me laugh! I just read some post-release interview with Jon saying something along the line of
    "the AI (in Civ 4) was programmed by one person, now we have an entire team"

    Seems to me that Sören has the power of ten hardy men :king:

    I´ll see if i can find that link again
     
  13. Thormodr

    Thormodr Servant of Civ Supporter

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    Good analysis I think and some pretty apt analogies.

    CivJon is pretty funny too. ;)
     
  14. Stefanskantine

    Stefanskantine Angry Partisan

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    Publications refering to Putin as a "new tsar"
    http://mondediplo.com/2007/02/02russia

    http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1690753_1690757_1690766,00.html
    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSL0861321420080209

    On Tsarist elements in USSR
    http://econfaculty.gmu.edu/bcaplan/museum/zarframe.htm

    On Stalin as a Tsar
    http://www.amazon.com/Stalin-Court-Simon-Sebag-Montefiore/dp/1400076781
    http://books.google.com/books?id=_0OxZoAJhNUC&printsec=frontcover&dq=stalin+czar&source=bl&ots=En6Pmpxxn9&sig=zcfHoFF1mz33AbzAujLtF7JsKXU&hl=en&ei=VIi_TMuYMZCGvAPS2_WqCA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=10&sqi=2&ved=0CEsQ6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

    On current monarchist sentiment in Russia
    http://www.sptimes.ru/story/15851

    I only had about 5 minutes and the internet. I'm sure I could find several more scholarly and academic publications if I wanted to take the time and was using the appropriate databases.
     
  15. Dun Malg

    Dun Malg Chieftain

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    It's been shown time and time again that when someone says something of theirs is "very large and long", they're probably exaggerating to impress you.
     
  16. Dun Malg

    Dun Malg Chieftain

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    Yes, perhaps that was a poor example. Substitute instead the French Revolution, perhaps. Still, the abstracted advantage of Communism's command economy (+5 hammers) is based upon the real life example of the Soviet Union. Even if they were still a Bizarro-world mirror image of a monarchy underneath in real life, they sure as heck were cranking out a metric poop-ton of tanks during WW2! Maybe there needs to be a "favored government trait" (where have I seen that before...) and it should always be cheaper to switch to that form of government, or maybe more expensive to maintain a different form of government, or... well... any system more complex than just the "pink tech tree", as some are calling it.
     
  17. Dun Malg

    Dun Malg Chieftain

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    I think that's a pretty insightful observation. Micromanagement has always been an issue with 4X games. Reducing the effect of micromanagement such that there's no longer any reason to micromanage is certainly a valid game design strategy, but as has been noted elsewhere, that sounds to me like "let's change all the rooks and pawns and stuff to flat disks and just have them all move diagonally". Not exactly an optimal solution.
     
  18. Sox

    Sox Chieftain

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    Yes this is a very nice thought! The problem is, you can almost never have the cake and eat it to. Will these "casual gamers" want more complexity ? Are the hardcore, or should i say the fanbase, happy with the current version?

    I think the answer to both are no.

    I would have seen a "real" ciV (imho) and a Rev2 but as have been said time and time again, it´s all about the dollar. Why make two games som similar when you can just merge them?

    Seems to me that Firaxis is making a play for that sweet sweet goldrich "casual gamer", "midstream", whatever market. And why wouldn´t they? The bigwigs get a funny, tingly feeling in their pants when they see the "Sims" sales.

    Problem is, so does everyone else... Everyone want to be the most "accessible, streamlined, easy-to-pick-up-hard-to-put-down" developer they don´t realise that just like in politics when everyone is moving to the middle space is left vaccant at the wings.

    Why they didn´t just say "Hey, we got a nice cashcow here, let´s not pretend that it is something it is not".

    That said, moves like this is probably what opened up a market for companies like Paradox and they are happy to take the customers.

    Europa Universalis isn´t Civ though so I hope they can salvage something this wreck and after five years, countless patches and mods and perhaps two expansions maybe we will have something that will live up to the name.
     
  19. Benzidrine

    Benzidrine Chieftain

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    To me this is a fairly massive simplification of russian history. While both stalin and the tsars were autocratic heads of state, and cruel ones, that is where the similarities start to end. The tsars used an estates based system which favored wealthy landowners and the power of the tsar was considered to come primarily from peasents
    and religion, stalin's power came from factories/urban populations and wealthy land owners ceased to exist. Tsar: head of a state religion considered divine Stalin: State atheism. Tsar: Self suffient army corps with prestigous cavalry, Stalin: human wave army drawing supply. Tsar: relatively continous social policy through sanguine progression of tsars. Stalin: Was Kruschev much like stalin really? doesn't seem continous to me. I could go on and on and on as there are so many reasons why stalin was nothing like the tsardom other then the autocracy and cruelty of course.
     
  20. eviltypeguy

    eviltypeguy Warlord

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    No, because it is clear in that context who "we" refers to.

    When you use "we" on a forum without any obvious context, it implies that the statement is being made on behalf of all forum members.
     

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