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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. V. Soma

    V. Soma long time civ fan

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    The way I see this:

    I play Civ for having a game with interesting/exciting/entertaining situations/decisions/actions.
    Of course, every game is played for that.

    Now what does the factor „Civ” mean in this? That is, what do I expect Civ to be in order to achieve all I want to have?

    I want experience, a special experience that will play itself and happen in my mind:
    I want to believe I rule and control a story of a civilization that goes through a story that resembles real human history.

    For this, the game needs elements (setting and plot) that invoke the reality of the history of mankind - this is what my mind needs as ingredients to make up my fantasy story during the game.
    Civ needs historical reality as a framework - this will make me to want to play the game, this is why I play Civ, specifically.

    It also needs to simulate the world and history that is the setup.

    But it is tricky - for I need freedom to make my story in the game, and that will differ from real history.

    So what Civ should aim is not realism and/or simulation as per se, but immersion, for the player to be immersed in a world that is in the context of mankind’s history and world. And for this Civ should use realism and simulation only as means for a goal.

    Immersion and story - these are the key points.
     
  2. UWHabs

    UWHabs Deity

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    That would be where I view it as well. Civ without the historical basis is a whole separate game, and needs to be truly exceptional to be better than Civ. Beyond Earth is very likely a better game than Civ 5, but because you lack the immersion aspect of it, it just feels weird when you play. Alpha Centauri was awesome enough that we didn't need "history" to enjoy the game (although even there, they threw in enough historical quotes to bring you back to earth).

    But with civ games, you need to feel ingrossed in your games, and the historical elements do that. So when you start next to "Shaka", you know you have an aggressive, militaristic neighbour to deal with. Without the (slight) historical aspect of it, it's less fun.

    That's why I'm excited by civ 6. I think with the environment guiding things, and also the social tree separating from the knowledge tree, you'll have some more unique situations, which I think should help the immersion.

    I mean, nothing in the game is realistic. But the more pieces that have a basis in reality, the better you can get immersed in your world, the better the game. However, you also need solid gameplay, or else the history/realism is useless.
     
  3. UncivilizedGuy

    UncivilizedGuy The Village Idiot

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    Well said :goodjob:
     
  4. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    Pah, I don't need no historical figures. This is the real deal:



    :deal:
     
  5. Iapetus303

    Iapetus303 Warlord

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    I'm getting the feeling that people are using the term "simulation" differently, and arguing at cross-purposes.

    I think some people are interpreting "simulation" as meaning "You basically let the game run automatically, and it models how a civilization would develop, with the player only making very high-level decisions".

    Clearly, Civilization isn't that sort of game, and making it like that would be such a radical departure that it wouldn't be "Civ VI", but "History Modeller I".

    In contrast, other people are using "simulation" just to mean that the game represents and allows you to control historical developments. (In the same way that a flight simulator represents and allows you to control flying a plane). Using the same concept, I thnk you could reasonably say that the Total War series is a simulation (of ancient/medieval strategic and tactical warfare), but chess isn't.
     
  6. Westwall

    Westwall Emperor

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    How closely a game simulates reality is entirely the discretion of the developer.
     
  7. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    Two words: Goat Simulator.
     
  8. poom3619

    poom3619 Ping Pang Poom!

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    or even SimCity where I heard it mentioned so many times. Unless you are convicting me that Mayor is immortal being who hold his office as long as he want and could summon tornado/earthquake/alien invasion as his heart's desire.

    That doesn't mean it is bad as a simulation game, anyway.

    "Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep" - Civilization IV
     
  9. dexters

    dexters Gods & Emperors Supporter

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    With Sim City a big part of the simulation is the traffic modelling.

    There is actually a huge modding community dedicated to improving the traffic simulations of city builders like Sim City and Cities Skylines. So gamey elements like loose economic simulations, immortal mayors, unlimited well of populations and the ability to turn off disasters are accepted gamey elements.

    For starters civ is usually considered a strategy game 1st where as a city builder is usually a simulation game first. Also the mod effort is more evenly split between scenarios, balance mods/AI mods and new civs. Granted I'm less familiar with civ mods than I am with sim city/cities skylines mods.
     
  10. KrikkitTwo

    KrikkitTwo Immortal

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    They aren't mutually exclusive.
    Totally realistic is mutually exclusive with a good game (see the 'game' "Outside" tottally imbalanced, Way too complex to really understand, although most people have fun with the mini-games, it forces way too much grinding)

    However, Somewhat realistic is compatible with and even necessary for a good game.
    In monopoly you pay money for properties and development of those properties, you can exchange money and property with other players when both agree. That is a realistic element that makes the game better by enabling players to think about it in a sensible way.

    Imagine a 'pure abstracted' civ. Leave the gameplay, but rename everything to

    Gameplay element 1 (type 1)
    Gameplay element 2 (type 1)
    Gamplay element 3 (type 1)
    ........
    Gameplay element 1352256543 (type1352)

    And try to play that..(that sounds much worse than the "Outside" game) its much easier if I have "hills next to my city:terrain" and "sailing:technology".

    They are Not trying to make civ realistic/simulator, but making it More realistic Can (sometimes) make it a better game, both by making it more understandable, and also by giving the developers ideas for interesting gameplay mechanics)
     
  11. stealth_nsk

    stealth_nsk Deity

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    Yes, that's true. History is both source of immersion and ideas for the game and it's good while gameplay is still first. When I read complains about feature X needing to be in game, because it's historical - that's bad for gameplay. The best suggestions are those which solve some pure gameplay problem AND have historical representation.

    For example, we need to decrease the amount of city management for large empires. We may implement penalty mechanic growing exponentially for full cities and allow people to make uncontrolled cities not affected by this penalty. Or in terms of history we may add corruption, vassals and colonies. This approach is good.
     
  12. TRoosevelt

    TRoosevelt Chieftain

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    I think all the players who think CIV should not be historical or realistic are deceiving themselves. Who would play CIV as passionately if there weren't different leaders to deal with and different civs to rule? Who doesn't have a favorite civ to play as, or a favorite target civ in the game? (For me, it's Alexander; I hate that arrogant :gripe:) Indeed, why all the speculation about what "new" civs are going to be in the game if you don't care if the game is historical?


    And as far as realism is concerned, well, I agree, it's very abstract - more so than I would like. But to those of you who argue that less realism is better, I then will propose that we add a "Pegasus-style flying archer" unit into the game, or a "nuclear-bomb-carrying war elephant". Yeah, who would like to see that in CIV6? :cringe:


    I realize that CIV isn't so much a historical simulation as it is an alternative history simulation. Otherwise, we'd never have certain match-ups like Maya vs Mongolia, or Japan vs Carthage, for example. Realistically speaking, only very few true civilizations ever came close to surviving for 6000 years. That being said, I do play the game, to a large degree, just to recreate an alternative history timeline. I'll never beat it on Immortal level; I know I'm not that good. I just like to be the great equalizer in the game and mess up someone else's plans. :D


    I think we all play CIV because of its historical flavor and replayability. Lack of historical modeling and replayability is why we get bored of checkers, chess, and other simple games. We need the stimulation of a good puzzle-solving game like CIV. I think though we even get tired of CIV because certain game mechanics limit replayability. It seems like it's always the same at the end.


    That could be resolved with:

    1) a more realistic and consistent AI that behaves like a real person would: ex. stop attacking the human player when civs X, Y, and Z are in the lead;

    2) more logical decisions from the AI: settle close by where AI can protect its city, not 20 spaces away just because the AI can "see" a more valuable spot - see below;

    3) more realistic game mechanics that -

    3a) does NOT limit our actions in the game: "Why can't I trade right from the beginning?", "Why can't I capture that AI settler out here in the middle of nowhere? Who's gonna know?" and, "If I do capture them, why don't I now get a settler?";

    3b) nor give us omniscience: "How do I know where all the mineral resources are without looking for them first?" and, "How do I know where all of a civ's cities are located, and they mine?"

    And, of course, about fifty more things on my wishlist....


    I'm sorry for the rant, but after five installments of the game, I expect a lot more realism than you'd get from a game of Monopoly. And more historical flair as well. I would find it exciting if Firaxis would design the game so that you would hear about news from around the world of different events - not instantaneously, of course, but you would find out news about other civs as you traded with them. Gossip and hearsay are irresistible to share. Nothing should be known automatically - NOTHING - including resources not "discovered" by you; civs, their cities, and anything about them not "discovered" by you, and even the tech tree should be unknown - OMG!! This, I think would encourage players to actively trade and seek knowledge like it actually happened in history.


    I know a lot of players could care less about more realism in the game, but I also know that a lot of players feel passionately about it (and the historical flavors); otherwise, why all the mods trying to change the game to make it even more realistic and historical? I know one game can't be everything, but this game could be so much more. I haven't given up hope yet. :please:
     
  13. stealth_nsk

    stealth_nsk Deity

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    I don't know anyone on this forum who thinks this. You're fighting against imaginary enemy :) The "gameplay first" position is about completely different thing.
     
  14. Biz_

    Biz_ Prince

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    civ is basically a competitive multiplayer game where most of the players replace human opponents with AIs

    you really don't want realism in that.
    you want realism in a completely different type of game
     
  15. stealth_nsk

    stealth_nsk Deity

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    Nope too. Civilization is single-player focused game, for good or bad. Civ6 diplomacy is SP-only as the whole "justified/surprise war" mechanic will not work with human players.

    Realism is important as it fuels immersion and immersion is important for the game. However immersion is nothing without polished gameplay.
     
  16. Biz_

    Biz_ Prince

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    when you start a game you select the number of players and the arbitrary victory conditions

    multi player game
     
  17. Acken

    Acken Deity

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    And the part about multiplayer being of poor quality.
     
  18. TheMarshmallowBear

    TheMarshmallowBear Benelovent Chieftain of the BearKingdom

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    Just because you it has the word in it doesn't mean it.

    More than anything Goat Simulator is a satire game. It doesn't take itself seriously and makes "fun" of other Simulators like that are out there (the hundreds, hundreds of pointless simulators)

    To me Civilizatilon has never really been a "simulator" because it's gameplay mechanics were far too streamlined and simplified over say complexity that EU offers, which is a more accurate "historical simulator". Instead, It's the equilivent of a board game (which is fine).

    If anything, civ 4 was a lot more like an Empire Management game whic I would argue was a genre I considered.
     
  19. Stilgar08

    Stilgar08 Emperor

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    this, exactly! I like to second V. Soma, too. Immersion is the name of the game! That is why wonder movies being back is so wonderful, That is why "I hate Alexanders guts" is such a good thing!

    :lol: Count me in... VERY slow tech tree though... :p And it wouldn't be Civilization really... Because indeed one of the main reasons that makes Civilization so attractive and binding is the realworld-related framework - helps immersion A LOT!

    played all from Civ I - CiV - never multiplayer. I'm sure SP-Community is bigger, and more alive...
     
  20. JtW

    JtW Prince

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    No. This is wrong for so many reasons. With this reasoning, every RPG ever was a multiplayer game because there are NPCs, and Civilization I was multiplayer, although it didn't even have an MP mode. Just no.
     

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