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Jon Shafer Leaves Firaxis

Discussion in 'News Updates' started by Moss, Dec 21, 2010.

  1. Fanatic Zealot

    Fanatic Zealot Chieftain

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    You know, in all seven pages that I've read, I've haven't heard any particularly logical reasons why CiV is so bad, just alot of people being reprimanded for being too offensive. I'm curious, tell me why it's so awful. Don't say it's broken, WHY is it broken. Don't say that it's not as good as cIV, WHY isn't it as good as cIV? Don't say it has too many bugs, give me some important bugs which ruin the game. Then Jon Shafer can regret not doing those things that he should have done, rather than just regretting "COMPLETELY STUFFING UP THE CIV SERIES" with no idea of improvement.
     
  2. aeligos

    aeligos Chieftain

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    I welcomed the new year as I played Civ V.

    It was better than getting drunk with other drunks.

    In fact, it was the best new years eve time I've had in a long while.

    -.-
     
  3. jacyp

    jacyp Winter Lover

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    Hi!

    Here's my general thought of what happened with this game. I won't extend myself in these points cos it would make a huge off-topic post. But generally:

    1) There is a lot of changing in some of the well stablished paradigms of the game series aiming to simplify the game and this kind of changing have to be accompanied by a lot of testing and balancing. The main problem seems to be the lack of testing and balancing of these new paradigms. Just to specify some of these paradigms that were changed and that the bad implementation of the system is giving some player a headache:

    - happiness system (per city before, now global);
    - unit management system (several stacks per tile before, now one unit per tile);
    - city conquering system (your previous built cities were not affected by conquering an enemy city or were affected by worsening effects that were already in place individually -like corruption or maintenance costs-, now your empire can globaly become "unhappy" and that affect all your original cities equally. This is a direct consequence of the new happiness system but it's a problem on its own due to the fact that you have to build and expensive and impossible-to-buy courthouse to cancel the extra unhappiness a conquered city causes, in a game where production is low and building costs are high);
    - global empire management (you had slides to toogle the percentage of generic "wealth" to convert into science and gold before, now you don't have any slide and the amount of science and gold you get are dependant on other factors directly tied with other mechanic changes like science is tied to city size but cities are harder to grow than before)

    There's more, but these are just some examples of new mechanics that have issues right now.

    2) There's a lot of bad coding.

    - Diplomacy is without depth and complexity cos there's thousands of ways to anger the AI but there's only a couple of things you can do to please them, and almost all the things you can do to please one AI will anger another. This result in a Civilization game that is almost a wargame.
    - Worker's AI are taking the blame for a lot of waiting during the AI's turns.
    - There's a lot of annoying stuff that is, like, basic of programming and that didn't disturbed us in past games like messages of "an unmet player is now friends with another unmet player" - wow, very informative. This kind of stuff didn't happen in any previous versions. Some of them give us the impression that the people that made Civilization 5 have never even heard of any of the previous Civilization games, or that some people in the company never worked in game development before.

    I can make a huge post pointing out all this things to you, but there's already a lot of posts covering all that in the Civ5 - General Discussions area of the forum, including a post with complete list of Civ5 problems.

    Also, my girlfriend is bugging me about me posting this instead of giving her more attention, so... :rolleyes:
     
  4. moscaverde

    moscaverde Prince

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    There are lots of threads and many people saying the reasons why they find Civ 5 bad, but this is the thread of about Jon Shafer leaving Firaxis.

    You might be interested in this thread: http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=404963

    (obs.: for some reason I can't link the page)
     
  5. Burberryan

    Burberryan Chieftain

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    I'm sorry, but that's just plain inaccurate. Civ I 1991 has several aspects that surpass Civ V 2010 in terms of gameplay complexity.

    For instance, it has a Civilopedia which uses hyperlinks to link different articles and texts to each other, an innovative system for a time before even the World Wide Web or Wikipedia came about. Said Civilopedia is also considerably more complex and detailed in its contents than the one in Civ V. Civ I also uses a system of being able to stack multiple units in the same grid position, which not only adds complexity, strategy and detail to the gameplay, but also improves the usage of the limited playing area considerably.

    Civ I has all the complexity that's needed in the right places to improve gameplay quality. The only "complexity" Civ V brings comparatively are heavy 3D graphics which demand more processing power than your average first-person shooter (why would anyone use 3D graphics for a top-view, two-dimensional grid game in the first place, is something I'll leave for the ponderation of the geniuses who decided on that), and a truly "complex" puzzle to beat just to be able to install and run the damn thing, courtesy of another genius decision called "STEAM".
     
  6. Öjevind Lång

    Öjevind Lång Deity

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    Well said! I've been busy myself playing Civ V instead of listening to the endless lamentations here.
     
  7. jacyp

    jacyp Winter Lover

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    It's because everyone is busy playing that everyone find reasons to lament, I thought that was clear.
     
  8. guspasho

    guspasho Prince

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    So, multiplayer works just as well in Civ 5 as in Civ 4? That was an assertion in one review, and I think typical of how horrible the quality of the review are.
     
  9. guspasho

    guspasho Prince

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    Civ 5 is a vanilla version, and as such it is supposed to have fewer features. I don't think that's the reason Civ 5 is so reviled. Removing espionage and religion is a fair move, those can and may still return in an expansion (or, heaven forbid, DLC).

    People hate Civ 5 because what it did try to do, it got fantastically wrong. The mechanics it tried to implement are fatally flawed. It forgot lessons learned in earlier versions and revisited mistakes that were fixed in Civ 4. And on a more basic level, it is embarrassingly sloppy; multiplayer was unplayable at release. Other topics document these problems thoroughly. (Thanks, moscaverde, for the Sulla link.)

    I'm also pretty upset that there are no scenarios, that's all been shoved out to DLC which costs extra - another decision that I, and many others, are upset about. (Yes I realize Mongolia is free, but will it always be free? Spain/Inca is not. What else will be free and what else will not be?)

    I doubt that many of these decisions (ie DLC, and sloppy, embarrassing code) are Shafer's fault, but imposed on him from on high. He was lead designer and I'm sure many big changes were his ideas, but I suspect that, as a developer he would have made sure that his ideas were implemented correctly before the game was released, not halfway and with serious flaws so as to accommodate an immovable launch date. I would have rather played the game Shafer wanted Civ 5 to be next year than play the Civ 5 I have now.
     
  10. DaviddesJ

    DaviddesJ Deity

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    Overall, I think the reviews have been relatively accurate---comparable to other games, and collectively they generally capture how the game is received by most players. Since the vast majority of players will never play multiplayer, the review can be totally inaccurate about the multiplayer features and yet it can be completely accurate in all ways that affect the typical player. Similarly, a review could be totally inaccurate about some detailed game mechanism that just doesn't matter to most players.

    I certainly don't think the reviews for the general gaming audience are accurate or useful for the CFC community.
     
  11. McRoos

    McRoos Warlord

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    He who created CIV V had an EGO too big !!
    He, or she, wanted CIV to look totally different from what it was.
    IMO to just write his, or her, name in history as the one who......
    In stead of that, things went wrong all the way.

    The only thing that he, or she, should have done was improve the game, based on what was already there.
    Not totally alter the game and the way it had been played for a mere decade !!

    CIV V in the end is a game of war, not a game to build a Civilization.
    It's a game where you can't please the AI and are constantly being insulted for no sake by the AI, just to be sure you can't win.
    CIV is not a game that has improved since its predecessors.

    Just like the Pyramids. The ones that are still standing are the oldest. All others have come down !!
    Indeed, strange it is, but those being build after the initial 3 might have had some bad lead designer as well. Or one with the wrong EGO.
     
  12. The_J

    The_J Say No 2 Net Validations Retired Moderator Supporter

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    No, it's worse.
    No PBEM, no PB, it doesn't have animations, it's not really turnbased, etc., etc., etc.
     
  13. Lord Foortwenti

    Lord Foortwenti Chieftain

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    Wow, so he left Firaxis and joins....Stardock?

    Well, if nothing else you really have to give it up to Stardock for how aggressively they've been courting talent after the Elemental debacle. Not to mention how hard they are working to actually fix said game of course.

    In the same breath, I have to think this is a good thing for the Civ series, overall. I mean, at first glance losing the Lead Designer of the latest entry in a series like Civ seems like it could be nothing but negative, and even though I actually do enjoy CiV (unlike most here it seems), I do have to admit that Civ IV was deeper, and more complete at launch, and just seemed to have more potential from a "vanilla" state. Overall, CiV seems to me to have been a large step forward in some regards, but an equally large step backwards in others, and I think that maybe a new Lead has the potential to be a really good thing for the series.
     
  14. jacyp

    jacyp Winter Lover

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    LOOOL

    My faith in Elemental: War of Magic after Kael's arrival was in vain.

    But coming to think again, the combat design of Civilization 5 is a dream compared to Elemental's.
     
  15. TheDS

    TheDS Regular Riot

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    Is it called "Jon Shafer's Civilization 5" or is someone else's name in the title? I'd think it was ultimately THAT person's responsibility to ensure their name continued to mean what it used to, or to have his name removed from the product's title.

    Okay, now you're just making fun of kangaroos. There's no place for that here.

    Absolutely. If they weren't doing their due diligence to make sure that what they bought was what they wanted, or at least raised holy hell about it if they couldn't get their money back, then they've just told the corporates that we're here for the express purpose of being ripped off. Fools and their money deserve to be parted.

    However, I'll disagree with your last sentence. Spore didn't sell nearly as well as it could have because of MASSIVE complaining about its lameness. I would've bought it, but thank God I heard the ruckus first. Maybe it's a cute game for kids, but it's not what I want to play.

    For the same reason you're complaining about the ruckus?

    I'll tell you what: at 15 I had the talent to design something like this. Age doesn't matter. However, experience and attitude do. Jon had certain constraints placed on what he could do, most notably conforming to a schedule. If he didn't have enough force of personality or clout to get his way when he needed it to, then that's an experience problem, not an age problem. There are people who have become self-made millionaires before reaching puberty. Stop harping on the guy's age.

    Civ4 DOES have a lot of feature-creep. I wouldn't recommend it to any casual player. Civ 5? I don't know. There are more casual players than complex players, that's for sure, and they're dumber about their wallets, making them good targets.

    However, this community was sold on the idea that Civ5 was going to be the next step in Civving. It was asserted or implied that it was going to be... ummm... more complex than it turned out to be. Most who feel betrayed do so because of that. We were lied to. Having more or less learned my lesson, I had cautious optimism, and a firm decision to wait for non-pulp reviews before buying. My (irrational?) dislike of Steam destroyed almost any possibility for me to buy the game, though, so I was out of the running a little earlier than most.

    Yes, it IS fans' fault. They didn't do their due diligence. It's our own responsibility to make sure we're not getting ripped off, and that means NOT buying something too soon. Lots of people impulse-buy. The marketing industry gets that, and sells them crap to get them to buy impulsively. They know A LOT about how to push our buttons and get us to do things. I've been studying this for a while now, and it's scary what we now know about the human mind and how it works.

    If fans would STOP pre-buying, if they would DEMAND that reviews be HONEST, and if they would REFUSE to be treated like ATMs, companies wouldn't pull this kind of crap. A bunch of people bought the game because Civ4 was great, and because the marketing people promised the new game would be better than the old. They skewed the information to give us a faulty picture. Originally this was innocently done because details weren't known and were subject to change, but later, it was done purposefully with the bogus reviews, and it wasn't until the game hit the shelves and people could see it for themselves that the game wasn't what they wanted.

    I get why the game mags cave to the pressure. I've had a few people ask ME to do reviews of their products on my site, for which they'd pay me. I took a look at their product, and told them what I'd be saying about it, and I never got the go-ahead to publish. Funny, that. Lucky me, I don't need their money, so I can afford to have integrity. If we demanded that from ALL our news sources, we'd start getting it. They wouldn't dare do a puff piece for fear of losing their customers overnight.
     
  16. Verenti

    Verenti Chieftain

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  17. scratchthepitch

    scratchthepitch King

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    I have to agree with that. Firaxis has essentially been using the same program and have been adding and removing things to it. Sometimes the changes worked, sometimes not. The program is old and outdated. It is also simple. The AI is very basic and more a series of "cheat routines" than an actual working artificial intelligence. Shafer was basically tasked to tack on some substantial changes to this creaking dinosaur and get it to use them. The changes were too ambitious for the poor old creaking dinosaur and it cant use them very well. This is nothing new to the Civ series. It happened in Civ3. The AI could not utilize the new changes (such as bombardment). So the developers pulled some of the things the AI program was failing at, added some other changes they figured the dinosaur would handle better, along with lots of eye candy and called the game Civ4. With Civ5, they decided to take some new directions, but not change the basic program. The game needed a new, modern program to handle AI and the new features to really make them work right. The old dinosaur is simply not designed to be able to handle the complexity, and it cant.

    So in my opinion, it is probably unfair to put the blame on Shafer, or any one else of the designers, because they were given an impossible task from higher on up. It is possible they could have done a better job with the limits imposed, or maybe they did the best that could have been done. Not being in the middle, we don't know, and speculating about that aspect is pointless. The problems with Civ5 (and Civ4, 3, 2, 1) are the result of management decisions to extract the most profit from the least outlay.
     
  18. Negator_UK

    Negator_UK King

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    I kind of agree, but its more than that - even Civ4 has QUALITY problems that were not present in Civ1.

    The one that stands out for me is how stepping through units works.

    In Civ1 stepping through units had some technology that meant you usually stepped through them around a locality and only stepped away when all the units in that area had been stepped through and dealt with by the player.

    In Civ4, when I step though the units I am bounced randomly all over the map - maybe first the unit by the capital, then one at the front lines, then back by the capital, then over on some island.. etc.. ad nauseum. This way I forget to finish attacks, miss workers and misplay loads of stuff, all because of the lack of a feature that has already been invented and built into a Civ game - ie its development cost should be zero dollars and time - all it needs is due care for the user experience to copy it forward.

    This lack of care shows up all over the game and irritates the hell out of me, even though I can see there are also some good features in the game too.

    This is the main indicator to me that Firaxis regards its "users" as drug addicts to be marketed to, rather than people it respects, and develops its products accordingly. This is an company-wide, even industry-wide problem, not just the fault of one man like Jon Schaeffer.

    They will have to seriously change their attitude if I am ever to consider paying full price for their games again.
     
  19. aeligos

    aeligos Chieftain

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    Shaffer is on to better things.

    Stardock is the future.

    Who is Sid anyway? Just another Steamed corporate pony.

    -.-
     
  20. Munchkinguy

    Munchkinguy Chieftain

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    Okay, but that's not really a matter of gameplay, although I must admit that I enjoy reading the Civilopedia.

    This seems to be a matter of personal preference. Firaxis promoted the non-unit-stacking change as opening up new strategic possibilities. Long-range fire is more useful now. I personally prefer the non-stacking rule. It makes CIV a bit more like a board game. Can you imagine if you could stack all of your chess pieces into one square?
     

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