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The Civilization Franchise- dead?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by Mouthwash, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. Kaosprophet

    Kaosprophet Chieftain

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    Mostly I'm talking about the jump between '98 and XP. I just recently upgraded to Windows 7 (skipped Vista entirely,) so I might have been speaking pre-emptively on that - maybe it's plateaued off or was revisited instead of dropping further - but I do know that up to '98 compatability was still a design element and in XP it was dropped.

    Not that I've seen, at least not without a bit of work. MoO1 & MoO2 are both running in dosbox emulators, because straight out of the package WinXP wouldn't touch them.

    Only by people either maintaining pre-XP machines or running DOSbox (which - despite it's relative legitimacy - is technically a hack, and exactly what I was talking about.)

    Also, the way the economies scale these days the space between failing into bankruptcy and making a killing is pretty narrow. That tends to blur the line between legitimate concerns of survival and unjustifiable greed.
     
  2. Abegweit

    Abegweit Anarchist trader

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    Win98 and WinXP are completely different operating systems and the idea of keeping compatibility between them was always impossible, especially as application developers on Win98 tended to performed all kinds of nasty little tricks. An emulation layer existed in Win2K and it was improved for WinXP but full emulation was never achieved. With today's virtual PC environments, it could be done rather easily but by this time it's pretty pointless.

    In contrast, Windows 7 will run programs written for Windows NT, an OS which was first released in 1996.
     
  3. Kaosprophet

    Kaosprophet Chieftain

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    That was a design decision. Almost certainly a good one, but they *could* have done things differently and kept compatibility had they decided it was worth pursuing over other goals.

    My point, though, wasn't to criticize that decision. Merely to point out that your games are likely going to be obsolete and require hacking up some workarounds for other reasons long before the e-verification servers shut down. (And that's assuming Steam doesn't do the right thing and push out an update to disable the e-checks before they shut down. But whether they will or won't do that is a degree of speculation beyond the scope of this tangent.)
     
  4. Abegweit

    Abegweit Anarchist trader

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    No they couldn't. They had to go 32-bit, preemptive multi-tasking and security. They couldn't stay with this grotesque thing which was 16-bit Windows. The reason it ran DOS games so well was that the core of it was DOS! :crazyeye: They had to move into the 21st century.

    And my point is that Microsoft will keep everything completely compatible into the foreseeable future. They already have for at least the last 16 years. Maybe more like twenty. For example, the hoops that they had to jump in order to support old programs under the Vista/7 security model were not trivial. Nor are the issues supporting 32-bit programs under a 64-bit OS. They do it because people won't upgrade otherwise.
     
  5. steveg700

    steveg700 Chieftain

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    I don't like being stuck in the position of playing devil's advocate for a game I'm losing interest in, and have a fair amount of gripes against, but (sigh) no, it's not simply aesthetics. When you have squares, you basically get to abuse diagnals. You can cut paths around obstacles without actually losing any movement, because moving north diagnally three squares and then south diagnally two squares will put you in exactly the same spot as if you moved five squares straight towards your destinantion. With hexes, moving in arc costs the extra movement that it should.

    Again...sigh :sad:

    When you select a focus, that automatically selects the tiles and specialist slots that are most advantageous for that particular goal. If you focus on production, then workers go to wherever they can find the most hammers, and that won't be on grassland farms. That's not automation or governership, just the execution of your selection. It shows you the consequence of your choice, including negative food, and allows you to modify the auto-selection so some can go back and farm. If you do want a production-based city where nothing gets worked but mines and lumberyards, yet you don't want cities to experience starvation, then you have to take appropriate steps like constructing food buildings like grannaries and watermills, and/or get policies or city-states to provide food.

    Lot of things about V need fixing, but I don't see how it makes sense to act like it's okay that in IV I can't rely on automated workers, but let's have all this animus about how something in V does what I tell it to. The workers in Civ V actually know that when I just acquired an important resource that they ought to go improve it asap. In IV, I completed Iron Working, found iron in two cities, and the workers completely ignored it.

    Now, having said all that, I think it's colosally dumb that every city is forced to produce its own quota of food. This is antithetical to how empires generally work. Empires have dedicated farmbelts or maritime cities whose job is specifically to output food for your centers of industry and commerce. Instead, we have a bunch of cities that farm first and then whatever they can spare goes and works mines and lumberyards.

    But that's also how IV works, isn't it?
     
  6. steveg700

    steveg700 Chieftain

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    I'm not familiar with those games, but it seems to me that there ought to be a way to simply link adjacent units so that they act as a screen and move together as such. Likewise, great generals need to be attachable in some fashion. That they just move around and get caught helpless is insane.

    AI does a lot of insane, like use GP's for reconaissance. Personally, I'd like to think that Leornardo da Vinci has better things he could be doing. :) That seems like something that could have been coded out easily enough.
     
  7. Mouthwash

    Mouthwash Escaped Lunatic

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    I realize it isn't realistic, but I don't see a way it could be modded in without altering basic gameplay strategies (talking about Civ IV if course.)
     
  8. steveg700

    steveg700 Chieftain

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    Thing is, Civilization Revolution actually has the food bucket, and it works well. In general, if Civ V was going the "streamlined", they would have done well to steal ideas from Civ Rev.

    For instance, Civ Rev's approach to giving civ's unique traits is the best I've seen. You get one trait for each era, and each civ winds up feeling broken in its own special way.

    Btw, gues, just had got invaded by Ragnar. He marched a stack of spearmen and axemen over. Fortified and walls and Statue of Zeus be darned. My stack wasn't as big as his, so no more city. That's all there was to it. No maneuvers, no tactics. Can't say I miss that in Civ V.
     
  9. Antilogic

    Antilogic --

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    Warning: long post ahead. I tried to keep it short, but I've failed.

    I'll elaborate a little on these ideas, for those who might be interested: in many Paradox and AGEod games, there are a maximum number of units that can be committed in any single battle, usually determined by technology and terrain. All units fight together, so you order one attack with a stack against another power's stack, taking into account terrain modifiers, rivers, commanding officers, etc. Instead of fighting until the utter destruction of a unit like in Civ4, it is common to have battles where both sides survive (this is done by tracking organization and strength separately). Units are destroyed when they run out of strength, and retreat with reduced strength when they run out of organization.

    What I would like to see is some evolution of an OOB (order of battle) as the game progresses. At first, you produce units that move and fight individually, much like Civ4. Then, army organization can be researched that allows you to group several units into a single army, and you'll get some bonus for doing so. As an example, 4 units grouped into an army will fight more effectively than 4 independent units (combined arms). As the Renaissance and Industrial eras come, you can research divisional organization, to increase the number of units you can attach together, and corps organization, which acts as an intermediate between armies and smaller units. Corps will support other corps of the same army in neighboring tiles (march to the sound of the guns).

    Thus, in the Industrial and Modern eras, you might have one army on a short border, which has three corps. Each corps has maybe 5-9ish riflemen and grenadiers, a couple cavalry, and a couple artillery units. You might have a couple free cavalry units for scouting as well. So, despite having several "units", you are only moving maybe 5 combined units on this front. On longer borders or against major powers, you might have 4 or 5 armies in operation, each one consisting of a few corps. Thus, even in a large war, you might not have more then 20 combined units to move around on the map, but they are comprised of maybe 100 or so individual units.

    A couple other ideas that work with this are replacements and more generals. It has always bugged me in Civ that the victor in a battle doesn't have to pay any additional production to replenish his unit, it only takes time. Thus, I would suggest at least a Paradox-style manpower system, where your units will only replenish strength if you have sufficient replacements available. Obsolete units could be turned into replacements (which would solve the "upgrades too expensive!" problem), or you could build replacements in your cities.

    Finally, I say ditch the concept of great generals as currently implemented in Civ. Instead, your nation gains leadership points, which you use to buy generals to lead your troops that have random attributes (bonuses to troop morale, movement, attack, defense, quicker sieges, org. regain, war weariness reduction) based on your nation's military traditions. If you have national wonders like the Heroic Epic, West Point, or Military Academies, or tons of accumulated experience in wars, you get better generals. Then, you pick which generals you want to assign to each front (i.e. I want guys good on defense to guard this mountain pass, while I want a fast and aggressive general to lead the army attacking X city). Generals would be automatically retired after so many years.

    This might sound like a complicated system, but with a proper GUI, where you could see the maximum frontage in each tile in a popup with the production, where you have just a handful of buttons to add or subtract sub-units to your corps/armies, and your current manpower reserves are shown on a counter on the main screen right next to your science bar, it would be easy to keep track of all the relevant information. Plus, since the OOB develops gradually over the course of the game, it will not overwhelm new players, and it will allow them to learn the system as the game progresses.
     
  10. gps

    gps Chieftain

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    Well, I have no clue what MoO ist, but I had no problem at all playing any of my relevant 'back catalogue' titles even on my XP notebook. The only game I still would like to play now or then but is unfortunately lost due to compatibility issues is the original '95 Need For Speed Special Edition. But that is a Direct X 2 or DOSbox game, depending on how you install - and was not what I was talking about, my point was direct Direct X 5. You might disagree here, but with the severe changes in hard and software in the last 15 years I think it's rather surprising how many games still can be played three or four OS generations away from what they were designed for - although I am aware there might be issues with some games.

    I really don't want to get into that discussion. I think the Billions of dollars damage companies claim lost due to piracy are highly exagerated. I am pretty sure not every pirated copy (that might or might not really be played, used and enjoyed for what the sales price is really worth) would be bought if there were no way to pirate it. Kids for example have a given amount of pocket money they can spend - and if they can only afford one game and the money is spent it does not matter whether they copy none or five or ten other games. Money they don't have can't be spent on games.
    Also the hundreds of one star reviews at Amazon for online DRM copy protection measures are a clear indicator that some customers are not happy with these 'efforts', which sure have some impact on sales. I leave it to the individual companies rational judgement to decide what's best for them. I on the other hand know what's good for me, and my policy regarding online DRM is: if it's included, then I don't buy it. For the Civilization franchise this means quite practically that - although I allread have the individual release versions of Civ IV Vanilla, Warlords and BTS - I actually spent quite some money and effort to get the copy protection / DRM free US version over to Europe. Because I really appreciate this rare and remarkable move from Firaxis and a company behaving that way has all my support. Civ 5 however is no deal. Call me crazy or whatever. To be honest I don't really care...
     
  11. uat2d

    uat2d ಠ_ಠ

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    Ragnar Lodbrok agrees with you, this is what he has to say about Civ5:



    I'm not even kidding:

    Spoiler :
     
  12. steveg700

    steveg700 Chieftain

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    Antilogic, thanks for going into such detail.

    gps, MoO = Master of Orion.
     
  13. MilesBeyond

    MilesBeyond Chieftain

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    SMAC I get, that was a fantastic game. But why all the love for Civ 3? Offhand, I can't think of a single way in which it was better than Civ 4, aside from running more smoothly. I mean, it was still great, but I would rank it firmly beneath Civ 4.
     
  14. r_rolo1

    r_rolo1 King of myself

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    Well, Civ III uses less computer power, surely , but it also has hardcoded limits ( number of cities, RAM usage ... ) ... Civ IV, for all the issues it has in terms of performance, it does not have any discernible hardcoded limits of that kind. You will never hit a "Limit of cities in map reached" in civ IV and that IMHO is more than enough to forgive any performance issue :p
     
  15. MilesBeyond

    MilesBeyond Chieftain

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    For me the very removal of ICS is enough to place Civ IV above III and even sometimes SMAC, depending on the day (I can never decide whether I enjoy CIV or SMAC more, but they're different enough games that I can be content with playing both to death).
     
  16. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam GiftOfNukes

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    The game does something differently from what you say.

    It swaps tiles AFTER you hit end turn, resulting in starvation (In one of my few civ V let's plays, I demonstrate video evidence of this occurring). I stopped playing the game a few months back but maddjinn told me the game still does it sometimes as of maybe a month ago. In light of that reality, the quoted argument does not stand. The game should *NEVER* swap tiles AFTER a player ends turn...but it will do so.

    The flawed part of this statement is the assertion/implication that units in *either* game will always do what they are commanded to do.

    In civ IV, units can move before you can interrupt them at the start of turns, control/alt/shift click doesn't work, and auto workers suicide.

    In civ V, units can receive commands like "ranged attack" and proceed to move WITHOUT attacking (derp), keyboard shortcuts and UI takes a step backwards (many aren't even available, such as setting hotkey'd build orders), and auto workers still suicide.

    The funny part is that players think these games have acceptably working controls. Wait, no, that isn't funny. It's pathetic that titles from, say, 1993 avoid these issues and yet somehow a 2010 game forgot how to program a game's controls.

    Asserting the competency of worker AI in either civ title does not make a strong case for understanding either game.

    Food bonuses in IV are more significant and corps can factor more, but no civ game has ever been an exception to the localized food model, and there are a few good reasons why that is.

    Quoted back, after seeing numerous assertions by players on either side of the civ IV vs V debate. Changes like 1UPT and hexes were not bad ideas. Social policies, while a new concept, were not a bad idea. Tech model wasn't a bad idea (though possibly leaving RA so strong to copy the idiocy OP strength that was tech trades while making the tree smaller was a bad idea).

    Making the game slow to a crawl while simultaneously pretending the game where players spend 1-2+ hours per game waiting to be able to give inputs caters to a casual audience is a bad idea. Having the governor swap tiles AFTER end turn is a bad idea. Working on expansion content while core features of the game (such as MP OOS issues) are BROKEN (undeniably, too) is a bad idea. Having the UI show one thing and then do another is a bad idea. Forcing players to make triple the amount of inputs (with no keyboard shortcuts) to queue up builds in a city is a bad idea.

    Building a new engine with obviously insufficient #'s of competent programming staff? Bad idea. It's not like civ IV ran well, and then you want to put the construction of a new engine into the hands of programmers who think it is OK to not scale basic gameplay by speed, spend 40+ seconds between turns on machines above specs, bug the game by clicking on basic options like "delay pop-ups", and make it so that in-game keyboard shortcuts clearly stated by the game such as control-clicking marines (instead getting navy or air, even though you're on the marine) DONT WORK? Really? Firaxis had shown PROVEN incompetence with its last few patch choices (and mistakes in coding) in civ IV and civ IV ran embarrassingly slowly too (human beings should not be able to out-play the UI on their own turn in a TURN BASED game, that's a failure).

    Into the hands of guys that couldn't even do that right, the design and implementation of civ V's engine was dumped.

    And now if you play a huge map (part of the default game) on a machine with "recommended" specifications, well over half of your time playing will be spent not playing at all.

    But oh no, civ V is TOTALLY fine with these flaws, according to much of its fanbase. Even most of its haters seem to miss the concept that a TURN BASED game has UI LAG during player turns. Games from 1993 don't have that. At least some other TBS from the past few years don't have that. RTS don't have that. Why does a AAA title that is SUPPOSEDLY at the top of its genre have that?

    Proven incompetence.

    :spank:. No forgiving core aspects of games that don't work X_X.
     
  17. Archon_Wing

    Archon_Wing Vote for me or die

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    The execution of my selection? lol no.

    In IV, the governor would pick the most production WITHOUT starving the city unless you were screwed with food to begin with. It's absurd to even think that starving the city is gonna maximize production by any aspect of the imagination in the long term. And yes, I do know it tells me the selection is going to lose food. That's the problem. I am made aware the button is freaking useless for any practical purpose in a large amount of situations. It is not doing what I'm telling it to do. It's doing something that is utter garbage, much like the how the Civ IV governor acts when you tell it to build wealth. It technically is doing its job, just in an utterly worthless fashion.

    What was wrong with the way IV did it? It did it in a way that reasonably works, "production focus" got you as many hammers as you could without sacrificing population. This button was like, useful, and executed what I wanted it to do.

    At least IV would maximize production and balance food as it needs. That's what it should do. These buttons should try to optimize things.

    Automated workers in IV are terrible too, but at least they won't set you back more than worker turns.

    It's trash. IV may have trash aspects, but it doesn't justify flaws in either game.

    My point is that they broke something that worked right in the first place.
     
  18. Kaosprophet

    Kaosprophet Chieftain

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    98 was already bridging between 16bit and 32bit, and it's not like third party dos-emulators are unheard of. In fact, that's usually what we're resorting to when we do load up those legacy games.

    It *could* have been included. They chose not to.

    Which could have been said of the shift from 16-bit to 32bit, but they went ahead and dropped support for that eventually anyway. And that was less than 16 years ago.

    And it's not like the hoops that the end-user has to go through to take advantage of their efforts to maintain compatibility are exactly trivial either. It's already slipping away.

    MoO = Master of Orion.
    And there definitely are issues. Not insurmountable ones, but then disabling DRM protection isn't exactly an insurmountable issue either.

    No offense, but you kinda did anyway.

    It's speculative, and I won't comment on whether the speculation is accurate or not. (Which is to say, I don't know whether or not it's already taking into account the factors you've mentioned while not wanting to get into that discussion...)

    But whether it is or isn't, the publishers believe in it. And because they believe in it, the developers - whether they do or don't themselves - get dragged along with it. Unless they're capable of publishing on top of developing, which is a venture only a few are willing to take.

    Lot of words for someone who doesn't care, and didn't even want to get into that discussion :p

    As for me, I prefer something like Steam with it's relative convenience and value-added services over some of the previous renditions of DRM. Starforce in particular comes to mind.
     
  19. Kaosprophet

    Kaosprophet Chieftain

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    IIRC, titles from 1993 often fit on a set of floppy disks as well. The download for MoO on Gamestop (complete with emulator packaging) runs about 8.8mb; by comparison, Vanilla Civ4 is 1.5gb

    Similar problems are cropping up all over the place in modern AAA titles. Either there are no more competent programmers out there at all, or the expected complexity of modern games has scaled well past what the traditional design models are capable of handling. Personally, I believe it's the latter; but you're free to believe otherwise.
     
  20. gps

    gps Chieftain

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    Well, MoO 1 and 2 - as far as I know, are DOS-Extender based games. Most of them use special sound hardware like Soundblaster cards or stuff like that. Yeah, so most of those game have serious problems if you try to play them on modern computers. I never said anything contradicting that fact. What I pointed out was that since the release of Direct X 5 in the middle of the nineties we have a quite stable OS platform independent of hardware advances like multi core processors or vastly improved grafics cards. As allready stated before, backwards compatibility was never better and longer lasting than it is today. That's about fifteen years we are talking here - 15 years is nothing for a disk if you treat it with a bit of care, but I have serious doubts online distributors like Steam offer 15 year old games or will keep up games from these days for 15 years. If you don't care, you don't care. But there are people who do...

    Well, there's a subtle difference between making a statement and getting into a discussion. Regarding 'failing into bankruptcy' I made a statement... ;)
     

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