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. dexters

    dexters Gods & Emperors Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2003
    Messages:
    4,182
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Canada
    I think espionage is such a difficult system to deal with because it is essentially tactical level play. People complain about warring and 1upt, and espionage essentially is an extension of that.

    I do generally feel there needs to be ways for Civs to play a bit underhanded, but the problem is, it's frustrating when it is used against the player. People only really want it to use against the AI.

    Espionage points was the right solution, but the implementation with spies was kind of shoehorned. I like high level stuff.

    You accure EP and can do operations to steal maps, and do minor sabotaging. Nothing too overpowered.

    but I suspect what we will get instead is a spy unit (agian) and a whole lot of balancing to sort of get it to work.
     
  2. SammyKhalifa

    SammyKhalifa Deity

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2003
    Messages:
    5,502
    Well, it has NOTHING to do with me being confused or wanting things done for me (but thanks for implying I'm stupid just because I don't agree with you). I just felt like espionage as it was implemented didn't fit properly into the game. And after they put it in, playing without the option selected didn't really feel right either--the round hole was there, whether you disabled the square peg or not.

    Now I have no idea why you decided to jump to conclusions like that, but of course I feel like something is missing from V so far, maybe many somethings. And it's not to say that IV as a whole wasn't beautiful, even if some things (corporations) seemed like additions just for the sake of "more."

    It could be that the beauty of SMAC espionage just made everything after pale in comparison.
     
  3. Guardian_PL

    Guardian_PL Emperor

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2006
    Messages:
    1,231
    :confused:
    Have you ever... Tried espionage in Civ4? To me, the ability to see exactly what's going on in their lands, where its army is, what is being build where was amazing. True, you needed to invest into Great Spies for most of that stuff but I wouldn't call 100% visibility AND tech stealing "nothing too overpowered".

    It was yet another way to play the game. Now all we've got is warwarwarwarwarwar... :rolleyes:
     
  4. dexters

    dexters Gods & Emperors Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2003
    Messages:
    4,182
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Canada
    Civ4 had 'spies' before all the EP stuff in BTS, which as I noted was exactly the direction I want them to take it.

    I just dont think there needs to be a spy unit at all.
     
  5. Guardian_PL

    Guardian_PL Emperor

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2006
    Messages:
    1,231
    EDIT
    @SammyKhalifa
    I'm sorry if you took that personally, I intended adress my post in general, using your post as a baseline. And yes, SMAC espionage was better, but at the same you have Civ Rom where you do have super spies, with promotions and everything...
     
  6. zonk

    zonk Prince

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2005
    Messages:
    572
    I'm not looking to jump into a fight here -- I find it much more interesting to discuss this interview because I do feel that there is very much some validation for many of us in what Shirk (that's a Dickens-esque name fits the character, eh?) -- but in all seriousness.

    You're really contradicting yourself.... You say you didn't like espionage and you're glad it's gone -- but you didn't like disabling because it felt "empty" leaving it unselected?

    I mean, I know this isn't precisely what you're saying -- but it really smacks of "I didn't like it, therefore I'm glad it's gone and to hell with those that tolerated or even liked it."

    I can understand an argument for wishing espionage was better but better implemented.... but I just cannot make logical heads or tails of arguments that praise the removal of a feature that was a simple radial button away from disabling anyway.
     
  7. JLoZeppeli

    JLoZeppeli Prince

    Joined:
    May 11, 2009
    Messages:
    598
    SO we were right, they streamlined the game to appeal Civ Rev players and casual...

    I think the statement is clear and now the die-hard fan can't complain more about the dumbed down poll.... we need to post that on 2k forum...:lol:
     
  8. zonk

    zonk Prince

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2005
    Messages:
    572
    I'm telling you...

    The mods should reopen the dumbed down thread -- and one of them can vote for Dennis.
     
  9. SammyKhalifa

    SammyKhalifa Deity

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2003
    Messages:
    5,502
    Yeah, sorry, I was probably being a bit confusing. It seemed to me that after espionage was introduced, they had done some rebalancing to account for the fact that espionage existed (Great Spy points, etc). And I guess, yeah, I was of the mindset that I might as well use it because it was there.

    I appreciated that it gave the player something more to deal with but didn't like how it played out in my games. I wouldn't have a problem with them using some reworked system in future expansions (everyone knows they need SOMETHING else to spice things up), but for now I'm glad they just stuck with the basics (though I wish they had stuck with them a little more).

    That said, I agree with you that I'd rather people discuss the interview. Sorry to derail. :/
     
  10. Clement

    Clement Layman

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2010
    Messages:
    732

    I did not see this anywhere in the run up to Civ's 5 release, if it had been mentioned and i missed it then it's my own fault, but if this is the first time this has been said then i'm pretty unhappy as i would never have bought it, either way it does'nt really matter much now, i'm finished with civ 5.
     
  11. SammyKhalifa

    SammyKhalifa Deity

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2003
    Messages:
    5,502
    Have you ever played Race for the Galaxy? I remember an interview with the developer, where he talked about having this grand vision for a great card game, but testing revealed that there were too many mechanics and too much to learn for people to pick right up and enjoy. So early on, he made the decision to have the original game be a "dumbed down" version stripped of some of the more confusing mechanics. He added those in each expansion, and right now it's one of the most incredible/rich/rewarding board games I've ever played. It worked brilliantly.

    I'm HOPING that CivV evolves in much the same way.
     
  12. Clement

    Clement Layman

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2010
    Messages:
    732

    It seems every cloud has a silver lining, i think i'l check out that game you mention :)
     
  13. Peregrine

    Peregrine The Swift

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2001
    Messages:
    433
    Location:
    The Nether Regions
    SO . . .

    It really WAS dumbed down. I'm just speechless about that. Civ just jumped the shark.

    Espionage; the CIV AI sure DOES do things with it. Can't tell you how many times my water supplies have been poisoned. I will sometimes go to war and eliminate an opponent just to stop this. Just LAST NIGHT played a game and had 3 techs stolen. I've had all varieties of improvements destroyed. What the AI doesn't do is coordinate its spying activity w/its military campaigning. . . which is what I do. I often fight wars in several dimensions. Sometimes, it's an espionage campaign of terror--poisoning water in multiple cities simultaneously. Sometimes, I hit their vital resources; horses or coal or oil or iron or copper. Sometimes, I cut their roads or rails. I usually devote several spies to tracking the enemy SoD. It's also very good to know what tech they're working on. And of course, there is always the tactic of using a spy to generate a city revolt right before my army attacks an enemy city. I'm mystified about what there is NOT to like about this extensive added dimension to the game.

    Social Policies; Haiku was right on target. I see NO historical example anywhere of a nation/state/empire EVER instituting a policy that didn't get changed over time. Matter-of-fact, any state that proved too inflexible in this regard vanished, usually in less than a century. The example of France 1790-1815 was perfect as regards change. I can think of a hundred others. This is why the governments/civics in civ are so integral. Change was the norm. From the historian's perspective, the question wasn't "did they change" but WHEN did the change occur and for what reasons. This is precisely the underlying foundation behind all historical research. The very definition of history at the universities nowadays is "Change over time." Social polices are some of the MOST changable aspects of history. To create a system that fixes these things in place for ALL of recorded history is astonishingly brainless--or just painfully ill-informed. I can see NO rationale for permanent allocation, not playability, nor historical accuracy. It's just bad from every perspective.

    The "go back to CIV if you don't like CiV" stuff; Well, Shirk admits that it's "near perfect," so why on earth shouldn't I do just that? Even easier since I didn't purchase this catastrophe. Sounds to me like someone, no idea really who, was simply out of ideas. Maybe this is why the new designer got his way--no one else could come up with anything. The problem seems to be twofold; 1.) there MUST be a new civ version, and 2.) no one in the position to do so had any ideas as to how that might be accomplished. Which leads to--hire Shafer, and turn him loose. The result, however, is probably not quite what they were going for, which is wreckage compounded by immediate and long-term loss of revenue.

    I'm sure glad that there are other gaming companies out there. There are some good games available, just not from firaxis.
     
  14. Akka

    Akka Moody old mage.

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2001
    Messages:
    13,303
    Location:
    Facing my computer.
    Stole the words from my mouth, I was going to answer exactly that :x
     
  15. EmpireOfCats

    EmpireOfCats Death to Giant Robots

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2010
    Messages:
    522
    Location:
    Europe
    So, now it's official: Civ V was intentionally dumbed down. Told you so. Those of you who were nasty to us for saying so are free to apologize any time now. Go ahead, we'll try not to gloat too much ... I suggest we rename the title of this thread to "Firaxis fesses up".

    Instead of starting over, they should have done what Blizzard did with StarCraft: Keep everything that was good, carefully balance the few additions they made, make the code better (in the case of Civ IV BtS, multicore support would have been the big thing), polish the eye candy and work on the story line.

    Sigh. Maybe Civ VI will be a return to the core franchise?
     
  16. GeneralMayhem

    GeneralMayhem Chieftain

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2010
    Messages:
    53
    how apropros that their beta testers were called the "frankenstein test group," he states that the game was tested by hardcore fans. Seriously, Hardcore fans? Those Frankenstein testers must have been allegorically burned by angry mobs of firaxes devs. i can hear Frankenstein testers yelling "urgh... game dumbed down... urgh"
     
  17. DarkMaster

    DarkMaster Warlord

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2006
    Messages:
    130
    You guys are just reading what you want to read in his words. Or even worse, in Morningcalm's summary of his words (which was really helpful, thanks!).

    They never said they dumbed it down to make it less complex than Civ IV. They said they had to make Civ V appeal to those who liked Civ Rev and were intimidated by its complexity. They did that through the interface, which, despite being clunky as hell, is MUCH less intimidating for a new player than the Civ IV interface. This interface redesign is something they said numerous times they were doing to help new players, as well as saying that the game wasn't dumbed down. In the interview, he is talking about the interface when comparing to CivRev.

    Please, stop with those conspiracy theories. Jon Shafer himself said they tried to keep the same level of complexity. You can argue that they didn't succeed because the game is not well balanced so there aren't many strategies viable. I kind of agree with that. But this "in your face" approach that many forum members are taking to try and spread the idea that this game is made for consoles or anything like that has no basis at all. They didn't say that. There's not evidence that they did that.
     
  18. dexters

    dexters Gods & Emperors Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2003
    Messages:
    4,182
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Canada
    Frakenstein also tested Civ3 expansions and Civ4.

    As I said, some of the best civvers are in that group, and from what I heard, there simply wasn't the resources to implement changes even the beta group brought up.

    I certainly have faith the beta group will be making a lot of comments to represent all spectrums of the community.



    Can you provide an exact transcript of that exchange to avoid the editorializing and spin?
     
  19. Peregrine

    Peregrine The Swift

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2001
    Messages:
    433
    Location:
    The Nether Regions
    There IS evidence they did that.

    The game itself.

    No need to defend the game. No one is saying that those who apparently enjoy the thing are dumb just because they like a dumbed-down version.

    They might just have lowered expectations.
     
  20. zonk

    zonk Prince

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2005
    Messages:
    572
    I just wanted to say thanks for providing this...

    I grabbed the podcast to my iphone and listened to the whole interview and unfortunately, my two single biggest complaints about Civ V were just confirmed... and I'm royally ticked.

    First - yes - dumbed down... I notice Shanghai, you corrected yourself/backtracked ("I don't want to say dumbed down"...) -- but let's be honest. That WAS the question. The answer was yes. We wanted your girlfriend to buy a copy. We wanted your 6 year old playing Wii to buy a copy... etc.

    Second - Shirk likewise confirmed that warfare was the focus of V development. He said it's the one aspect of Civilization that's never really changed over the years (I don't dispute that) -- but clearly, that was the V focus... make better war.

    Thread bookmarked...

    Far as I'm concerned - two key points about V that have been in dispute since the release are now pretty much settled by the game's producer:

    1) Civilization was dumbed down -- call it "accessible", call it "less complex", call it "easier for a new player"... Use whatever euphemism you want -- but to a Civ veteran, that = dumbed down. S6 - there's a reason your question went to "dumbed down" first.

    2) Civilization V's main focus was warfare. The vision was a better wargame. The effort went into wargame. The main focus of development was a wargame. Non-war changes described as "leap of faith" -- did you not do any testing? Did you validate that your non-war ideas would have replayability? No.... everything besides war aspects was spaghetti against the wall -- maybe it'll work, maybe it won't.
     

Share This Page