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The Golden Rule Of CivBE

Discussion in 'CivBE - General Discussions' started by MilesBeyond, Apr 28, 2014.

  1. MilesBeyond

    MilesBeyond Prince

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    It is not SMAC 2.


    It's a spiritual successor in the sense that just as SMAC was Civ 2 in space, Civ BE is Civ 5 in space.

    However, it is not a remake of SMAC, it is not a sequel to SMAC, and even at this stage it looks as though it will be quite different from SMAC.

    In other words, BE needs to be taken on its own merits.

    As a long-time SMAC fan, did this game pique my interest? Absolutely. Do I think it will be as good as SMAC? Probably not. I'm guessing it won't even be close. What made SMAC so great was the writing, the voice acting, and the atmosphere. Playing SMAC never feels like a waste of time because I can walk away from it and spend the next couple of days ruminating on one of the tech quotes. While it's not impossible that BE will reach the same level, it's highly unlikely.

    Does this mean that BE will be a bad game? Not one bit.

    BE isn't a sequel to SMAC, and it isn't a sequel to Civ 5. It has similarities to both, but seems to be shaping up to its own game. Maybe it will be good, maybe it will be bad, but so long as we spend our time comparing it to past games, we deprive ourselves of actually being able to see the game for what it is.
     
  2. NASAROG

    NASAROG Prince

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    Okay, deal!!!

    /shreds all notes comparing SMAC to C:BE.
     
  3. Catalytic

    Catalytic Chieftain

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    Game designers learn from other games though. Clearly SMAC did a lot of things right which is why it continues to have such a following. I think you absolutely nailed what that thing was, too - the story. It's the story that keeps me interested in countless games I've played over the years, even after I've learned the game well enough to play it algorithmically.

    I think people want to see that same level of engaging experience in C:BE and so they compare the things they like to the designs they didn't like. That's normal and I'd expect the game designers to have done a similar thought exercise.

    If the story is the question, it's ok to speculate about how the C:BE designers will go about presenting the factions. How unique will they be? How much grounding in near-future Earth history will they have? What types of personalities might they express? Will they follow common Sci-Fi and video game archetypes? I don't think it's unfair or unwise to use comparisons in that sense. Speculating if there will be a Shaka-type AI that's aggressive, militaristic, and expands like mad is fair.

    I do agree it can go too far though, taking it from speculating using SMAC as inspiration to plagiarizing it. Will X tech from SMAC be in? Will Y feature be in? Will there be xenobiology-type techs like in SMAC? I don't doubt it. Will it be Tree Farms and Hybrid Forests and will they do the same things as in SMAC, that's where the speculation goes too far.
     
  4. Chapel

    Chapel Chieftain

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    I approve of this topic. SMAC was amazing. But it is not being remade. CivBE is not a sequel. We need to assess it on its own merits and not think features will be ported over exactly as they were in SMAC. Although I would like some things we have not seen in the Civ series since SMAC to make a reappearance. IE wonder/special project movies. If only for the wonders you build to win the game. Although at this point I am pretty sure they have decided on what they are doing with that either way.
     
  5. Fabio1701

    Fabio1701 King

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    While I do like that cbe is not a direct remake, I think you cannot deny the connection nor ignore comparisons. It may not be comparing civ4 with civ5, but both cbe and Smac are tbs in the same Era, made by the same people. People compare warcraft 3 with starcraft 2 because they are both rts made by the same people even though they are not sequels. I think some comparison has merit.

    Here is a thought experiment: if firaxis had the rights the Smac, would they create a smac2 or cbe? I think they would create cbe. The reason is that Smac had a specific storyline and that story has already been told. They want to tell a new story and the setting allows for this. Who would not take the opportunity to tell a new story? It more fun game design wise.
     
  6. blackchimes

    blackchimes Chieftain

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    The game is not even Gold yet and you are already making excuses for it?
     
  7. Fabio1701

    Fabio1701 King

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    not making excuses of the game, just making excuses of people comparing to smac. :p
     
  8. Aeson

    Aeson orangesoda Retired Moderator

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    I think if the rights weren't an issue we would have seen SMAC II probably after Civ IV, rather than Colonization. It seemed whenever the topic came up that the community was more interested in a SMAC remake than Colonization, but the answer was always "We don't have the rights to that".
     
  9. sendos

    sendos Immortal

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    As a SMAC player myself, come to think it, I agree wholeheartedly, but we still have to wait to see whether CIVBE going to be better or worse than SMAC.
     
  10. Rubin

    Rubin King

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    The "rights" issue has been the standard answer from Firaxis whenever the question of a sequel has come up. However, during Soren Johnson's (lead designer of Civilization 4) time at Firaxis relations with EA were apparantly not all that bad, and an Alpha Centauri sequel was "within the realm of possibility". I conject the real reason we didn't get a sequel has to do with the same reason as to why Alpha Centauri became so memorable.

    Here's the quote from Three Moves Ahead Episode 134 (September 16, 2011), at around 01:11:20:
    As to the "Golden Rule", it seems only Dennis Shirk respects it, while the rest of the development team (happily?) references Alpha Centauri to fuel the hype train.
     
  11. Aeson

    Aeson orangesoda Retired Moderator

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    I'm aware of what Soren said. There's a big difference between that and having the rights. Also, Soren had left in the time-frame I was talking about.
     
  12. Rakshasa72

    Rakshasa72 Warlord

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    I don't know about you but, a little piece of me died inside when I learned the news of Civ:BE. That little piece was the hope that there would ever be a SMAC2. Although in some ways it's sad. in the end I think it's for the best SMAC will remain the timeless classic that it is.
     
  13. Lord Tirian

    Lord Tirian Erratic Poster

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    I think it's because Firaxis understands the importance of getting it right and I assume at this point they were already sketching out future projects, XCOM started development in 2008, probably taking a fair bit of Firaxis' manpower.

    And even with having a good relationship with EA at that time, it's not the same as having the rights and that is also the timeframe when 2K started to push its own position by pushing IPs like Civilization and XCOM. Hence, Beyond Earth bears the Civilization title.

    I think it's XCOM, not Civ4:Col, that resulted in the current situation.

    Personally, though, I'm fine with it. Updating XCOM was, in a way, an easier task: game design has changed a lot more since the original XCOMs and the fanbase is a) smaller and b) has less overlap with their current fanbase - mess up the SMAC remake, you mess up people's trust in the Civ franchise.

    I hope Civ:BE is as mod-friendly as promised (and more so than Civ5), because I think it's a great basis for a SMAC mod that's more faithful to SMAC, it's the best of both worlds, to me: we get a new game and a skeleton to build a fanSMAC on.
     
  14. AriochIV

    AriochIV Colonial Ninja

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    There will be hundreds of SMAC mods, and they'll all be crap.
     
  15. Lord Tirian

    Lord Tirian Erratic Poster

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    Of course, that's just Sturgeon's Law. But I hope one or two might work out. While I'm biased (since I spent time on making graphics assets for it), I feel Planetfall for Civ4 was serviceable and an unique take on the theme. It's also the only one out of a dozen attempts or so that materialised into something lasting.

    Or, to get away from direct SMAC examples, Civ always produced dozens of terrible fantasy mods, yet Fall from Heaven was a very solid product with a large fan base and a creator that got an actual game design job because of it.

    And, in the worst case, we'll still have Civ:BE as what it is.
     
  16. beetle

    beetle Deity

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    I think OP nails it.

    I would love a modern SMAC update that doesn’t try to change the storyline. Sure, it would not be new to me, but as others have pointed out, even with surprised SMAC had plenty of replay. No one complains that Civ 5 is a thematic repeat of 4, so why should SMAC2 have a radically different storyline?

    But that is not where they are going. I think CivBE will suffer the more it compares to SMAC. I would love to play Civ5 in space, and I think that’s enough. The lower the expectations, the better IMHO.

    My understanding is that SMAC was not regarded as a commercial success. Is that correct? If so, why does Firaxis think civ-in-space will work this time around?

    Was Brian Reynolds the narrative genius behind SMAC, or just the game mechanics? If not him, then who? If it was him, why has he not been able to repeat the feat? (Granted, plenty of great books are by one-hit wonders. Games could be the same.)
     
  17. Darsnan

    Darsnan Emperor

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    +1! :goodjob:

    I guess that is a perspective issue. In the SMAC forum here at CFC I created the Altera Centauri, which is a comprehensive listing of all the scenarios ever created for SMACX. And a lot of these scenarios include their own modified alpha(x).txt files. Or to put it slightly differently, they are mods for SMACX. These scenarios were highly enjoyable to the greater SMACX community. So my thought would be that I hope BE is modable in a similar fashion, such that we can create a myriad of worlds and playing environments (i.e. a virtual Diaspora of Man) for the greater BE community to play in.

    D
     

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