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Realism vs symbolism - or why Civilization isn't a Paradox game

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by JtW, May 29, 2016.

  1. rastak

    rastak Emperor

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    I bought Civ 1 the day it hit the stores and I was 29 years old with a family and a full time job. I have no age colored glasses myself when judging the version of games through the years. It was no more serious then than it is today. At all.

    Individuals as you say can assign some great value to any iteration. Not seeing it here.
     
  2. Rusty Edge

    Rusty Edge Deity

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    Well said :goodjob:
     
  3. JtW

    JtW Prince

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    *Sigh* Does every thread have to turn to a "Civ4 was good and Civ5 is crap" debate?

    Thanks for the responses, everyone. It's good to see other people's perspectives on that topic.
     
  4. Ikael

    Ikael King

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    I want historically realist dynamics and mechanics turned into gameplay-friendy abstractions, instead of the opposite (gameplay friendly abstraction turning into unrealistic dynamics and counter-intuitivve mechanics).

    I love that geography will mean destiny as it happened on history, and that this will traduce into a game mechanic such as eureka moments or terrain giving bonuses to your cities / districts, for example

    I hated that global happiness lead to empires being more unhappy due to the adquisition of new territories, and I hated that stacks of death lead to having to suicide your catapults in order to lay down siegues.

    Let realism lead the design of your game dynamics, even if it translates into abstracted mechanics for the shake of gameplay. The other way around, that is, priorizing whichever mechanic you want to parade irregardless of the dynamic that it latter generates, makes for poor game design, me thinks.
     
  5. historix69

    historix69 Emperor

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    I fully agree ...
     
  6. cakes

    cakes Prince

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    i don't think occupying the position between realism and abstraction means that something is a failure.. it is where art has sat historically. there is no rule where if something has aspects of some concept it must full embrace it or die
     
  7. Westwall

    Westwall Emperor

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    I don't understand the argument either. If I want "all or nothing realism," I already have real life.
     
  8. Iapetus303

    Iapetus303 Warlord

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    I don't think "realism" and "symbolism" (or abstraction) are necessarily at odds.

    The traditional Civ way of representing terrain, cities, production, etc, are all abstractions (or "symbollic"), but they are representations of realistic things.

    Civilizations lasting from 4000BC to the 21st century is an abstraction, but depending on what you consider a civilization to represent, not implausible. No state or polity has lasted that long, but certain cultures (e.g. China) have persisted, with a sense of continuity, for a very long time, and it isn't implausible that others could have as well, if things had turned out differently.

    On the other hand, archers shooting over mountains and seas (and sinking battleships) seems to me to be just unrealistic, regardless of how abstracted it is suppose to be.


    As to my preferences:

    I like Civ to feel as though it is realistic.

    Abstracting the building and development of cities is fine (and I don't think it should be changed unless the change makes for a more interesting game).

    Abstracting combat is fine, although it should be designed so that the outcomes seem plausible. (Archers shooting over mountains to sink battleships is too unrealistic for my liking; a single warrior being able to destroy all the ships in an undefended city, then razing the city, without even having to roll for damage is not only unrealistic, but a very frustrating game mechanic).



    It shouldn't force your game to follow real history, but I'd like it if as much as possible to gives the feel that whatever does happen in a game could have happened.

    I don't want it to force all civs to appear, develop, and fall exactly as they did historically. But I would like it to make that a possibility (possiby subject to game configurations), and to ensure that whatever does actually happen generally looks as though it could have happend that way in an alternative history.

    Civilizations lasting thousands of years is fine - most of them didn't in reality, but depending on how abstract the concept of "a civilization" is, it isn't impossible. And its a reasonable and necessary game mechanic.

    Forcing a civ to rise, develop, and fall exactly as it did in reality might be "realistic" (although not necessarily, depending on how determaistic history really is), but wouldn't be good for a game except in specific scenarios or game modes. (I like Rhys and Fall, but I do find it frustrating the extent to which it forces certain civs to occupy exactly and only the areas they (by certain definitions of "they") did in reality).


    Although I thin what would be the best of both worlds would be to have game setup options to control how "simulationist" the game was. For example, the civilization definition files could include date, unit and technology values for a normal game start, and for a historic start. So in a normal start, the Mongols (for example) would begin in 4000bc like everyone else, with two technologies and a settler and a warrior. But on a "historic start" they would spawn in the middle ages (possibly flipping part of someone elses territory, Rhys and Fall style, with a big stack of horse archers and appropriate technology.

    You could also have options for "geographic (physical)" and "geographic (political)" starts, to make civs spawn in lattitudes or terrain types they historically occupied, or near other civilizations that they historically bordered.

    Add in options for dark ages, rebellions, and other forms of collapse, and the game can be as "simulationist" or as "gamey" as you want it.
     
  9. historix69

    historix69 Emperor

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    Waging a full scale war like WW2 in real life might be a painful and expensive experience, besides the effects on all the other people. Therefore computer programs (games, simulations) are a good way to immerse into a war for a couple of hours and then return to reality (e.g. wife, children, job) without causing too much damage.

    Lack of realism usually disturbs the immersion so many players complain.
    Adding unrealistic mechanics to "balance" a game with historical context is often an evidence of an oversimplified or false design ...
     
  10. Westwall

    Westwall Emperor

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    Not really. A balanced game is a balanced game. "Oversimplified" and "false" are just arbitrary labels.
     
  11. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    It's rather evidence of the fact that the game is designed and balanced around the idea of giving players choices and options instead of running as a simulation.
     
  12. dexters

    dexters Gods & Emperors Supporter

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    Simulation would be CivCity which was the original design. You seed the civilizations but sit back and watch.

    Civ as we know it, with Sods, non representative unit mechanics and army sizes, a religious system designed for gameplay is at the end of the day game elements layered in to make Civ fun.

    People can't project what they want Civ to be (and isn't right now) and use it into tangential rant about modern Civ. It's a bit like complaining Wagner is too German.
     
  13. nyyfootball

    nyyfootball Warlord

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    The first page of the Civ V manual says: "It is the longest-lived and best world history computer simulation ever published, famous for its depth of play and uniquely addictive nature".

    Civilization self-identifies as a "world history computer simulation".
     
  14. dexters

    dexters Gods & Emperors Supporter

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    If you search steam civ is already listed under simulation games. But then Stardew Valley is also listed.

    Doesn't mean anything
     
  15. nyyfootball

    nyyfootball Warlord

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    It does mean that the developers of Civ V intended it to be a "world history computer simulation". If Civ isn't supposed to be a simulation, then why does it call itself a simulation?

    What is so bad about Civ being a simulation?
     
  16. dexters

    dexters Gods & Emperors Supporter

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    It only means that the marketing department thought it should be labeled as a simulation game in addition to being labeled a strategy game. Sid Meier was quite clear what the Genesis of Civilization was. Read up.
     
  17. Ricci

    Ricci Prince

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    Realism, immersion, call it any way, or none. This is certainly a game, nobody in it's senses can believe it to be anything real, of course. The fact stands nevertheless: it would be a more enjoyable, acceptable and comfortable game if things carry along a certain cuota of coherence to what one believes things to be. This 'cuota' varies from pal to gal, making it difficult to agree into one simple and easily recognizable standground, thus the issues with realistic, not realistic, immersive, breaks immersion, etc.
     
  18. Thormodr

    Thormodr Servant of Civ Supporter

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    People are passionate about Civ. :D

    A little back and forth is better than the alternative.
     
  19. Plus Ultra

    Plus Ultra Conquistador

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    @nyyfootball, you sure know how to generate controversy, I'll give you that. ;)

    Who knows, maybe Civ VI will turn out to be a mobile freemium game which plays like a boardgame and is only enjoyed by "casuals". Not many seem to share your concerns, but we'll see son enough, right? :lol:

    Anyway, I've been playing Civ since III and I've considered every iteration better than the last one (with expansions at least).

    Realism is important to me, as long as it doesn't become a limit for great gameplay or changes the Civilization formula. Remember, starting in 4000BC with *almost* any civilization is not realistic. Playing in randomly generic maps is not realistic either. Both things are completely essential for me to enjoy Civilization, and hopefully they will never change, unrealistic as they might be.
     
  20. HisDivineShadow

    HisDivineShadow Chieftain

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    The dimmer switch in my sitting room seems to do just fine. :)
     

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