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They sold an unfinished game. :(

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by Urederra, Apr 28, 2006.

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  1. Underdawg

    Underdawg King

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    Yeah. The tone of your *piece* was rather deceiving. It made it seem like you were saying the game was crap. How come no one ever thanks Firaxis for making such a great game that is also very customizable (i.e. mods).

    But hey, domination is pretty damn easy for me. It goes like this.....

    Build 2-4 cities. Build axes/chariots/phalanxes/whatever you can get your hands on and rush the other civ's cities. First off with his capital. Fight until your initial force comes down to about 35-50 percent of its original strength. Cease fire, rinse and repeat. :crazyeye:

    Applies to about every difficulty level except Immortal or Diety in which you would have to fend off the insane barbarians first before going off to war for the next few millenia off and on.

    :goodjob:

    "When you release a crappy product, consumers say its crap. When you realease a good product, consumers say they didn't get enough. When you release a great product, some will love it and some will just hate it, and some will still say they didn't get enough. Damn us humans."
    -Me

    :crazyeye: :king: :scan:
     
  2. Yzen Danek

    Yzen Danek Warlord

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    And 'Star Wars' was an unfinished movie; I had to go see two more just to finish the first storyline!

    I don't really see what the gripe is here. The goal of any game developer is to get a really good game out the door in a reasonable time frame. Quality is of top importance, but so is ending the development cycle and actually getting revenue, because without revenue, these games wouldn't be made for you to enjoy in the first place. The more things they try to include in the original release, the more bogged down the project gets, and the further release is pushed out. Better to cut the project to a reasonable size that produces a solid, fun, coherent product, get it in the hands of your customers, and then come back to them with more content as you can.

    Civ IV plays really, really well as is. In my opinion, it has more interesting decisions to be made than did any of its predecessors. More tactical bells and whistles to spruce up combat? Great for some of us, largely useless for others who prefer to play the building game.

    If the original release had included all the features coming in Warlords, we'd just be seeing the release of the game now, which means that we wouldn't have had it to play every night during this past winter.
     
  3. Thunderfall

    Thunderfall Administrator Administrator Moderator

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    I don't think Firaxis left out anything intentionally. One thing they planned but left out is the throne room, but it was because they couldn't finish it in time. Barry Caudill mentioned it in an interview in January:

     
  4. Dale

    Dale Deity

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    Come on guys! Be reasonable. Firaxis is a company there to make money. T2 is a company there to make money. We're the consumers.

    They know they can get us to buy 2 products: game + xp. So what? What do you think will fund SMAC2? Or CivCity? Or any other project they undertake? PROFIT!

    So the bottom line is, if they can't make profit they can't make games. If we don't buy games, they don't make profit. The consumer circle.

    So Firaxis releasing an xp with what you're saying is "intentially left out items" is perfect business sense. They know SMAC2 will sell big-time. But they need money to make it. Civ4 + xp = money for SMAC2.

    Dale
     
  5. KrikkitTwo

    KrikkitTwo Immortal

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    Well there might be something to this... if you look at Take 2, and not at Firaxis

    T2 position:
    We give Firaxis X amount of money/time and they give us a game=profit
    If we give them more than that, we still sell the game for the same price, so we make X Just enough to get a decent game out.

    Now if we want to make 'another game' well an expansion is good because a whole lot less X is needed (core programming/ideas already there at Firaxis) to get a new 'game' out.



    So I would say that Take 2 (And all game publishers) deliberately limit the time/money the developers are allowed to build the core game... but not specifically so they can sell expansions, but so they can get the best profit out of the core game... and then profitting from an expansion is the next step. (if an expansion would be expected to double the amount of people that buy the game, then it wouldn't be an expansion it would be made part of the core game... and the publisher would just give the developer ~50-80% more X)


    I think the idea is that Firaxis did this work and is then just sitting on it to sell an expansion. The fact is when you bought the game you are only paying for the work that went into the core game, when you buy the expansion you are paying for the additional work done to make the expansion.


    As for the types of win
    Civ 3
    Diplomatic... was actually diplomatic
    Culture was a type of Domination win
    Space was either, rush with Tech, or I've got a big empire but getting to the limit will be hard.

    Civ 4
    Diplomatic...winnable either through 'Domination' or Diplomacy
    Culture.. requires early planning, the only one that Isn't really helped that much by a big empire (beyond a certain point)
    Space... about the same idea as before.


    So basically the change from 3 to 4 was Diplomacy became a 'Big Empire' win, and Culture was no longer a "Big Empire" win.

    An actual Domination may require more dedication to the 'Warmonger's path' in 4 than 3. (that tends to depend on the game speed v. mapsize.. slower speed, smaller maps means its easier to 'catch up' in military conquests with a well developed civilan infrastructure)

    Space Race Is probably the only Victory you can put off thinking about until near the end of the game... Cultural/Domination/Diplomatic requires some planning (at least by the mid part of the game.)
     
  6. armchairknight

    armchairknight Warlord

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    I so agree. :goodjob:
     
  7. King Flevance

    King Flevance Deity

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    I do credit Firaxis on improving the mechanics of Civ. I have also credited them on diplomacy upgrades. I love the new barbarians as an actual threat, Raging Barbs is an option I never have unchecked.

    However, these are only individual aspects to a game I have played upon release since 1. I got lucky my "video game guy" thought of me a month before the game was release and hyped me up on it. Since then I have always gotten Civ titles upon release. (Well, the main ones Civ 1, 2, 3, and 4. I seemed to keep the other titles like CTP at an arms distance as those kinda veered off some... although I liked some also. My fav was Fantastic Worlds for 2.)

    Civ 4 is the only release where elements were left out. No doubt it was due to the fact they stripped the game down to the bare bones. Sad but True, I find it funny that a game that was "built from the ground up for multi-player" has so many problems with firewalls, sync errors, and connection problems besides that of firewalls. No offense to Firaxis but I am a critic to titles I buy and companies that make them. It seems Firaxis was great until T2 showed up. Anywho, as I said this release had parts missing. There was alot to explore for a couple months no doubt.

    But once I had explored the game I thought "Hey where is warmongering?" This was around the time, I believe, that all kinds of anti-warmonger threads were started on a daily basis. That may have even made me start investigating it. Although one of my games I remember the most also around that time made me recognize it too. As I ended up butting heads with Mansa and (pre-patch) basically I took alot of his land as he turtled in his cities. This was back when the AI would only pillage at war too if you had decent defenses in place. 1.09 I think - as I believe 1.52 addressed this. (Not sure as a good month or so after 1.09 was released I uninstalled until about 2 weeks after the 1.52 release.)

    Yes, I believe warfare was going to be addressed last in v1.00 as they wanted to make sure all the cool stuff we do in our cities walls had flavor and texture. I think they saw it as an easier section of the game to deal with, having the new strength only system. I think this is why we have basic units in later eras. (They probably only needed a fighter and a bomber, in playtesting at this time to represent an era with planes. Same with the navy ships, Catapults, etc.) By only putting in the basics they could "not concern themselves with military" as they focused on inner-empire stuff and diplomacy.

    Then (I think) T2 pushed up the release 3 months ahead of time? Which made Firaxis basically think "OK we have to finish up what we are working on and make sure the code is presentable to QA" So think of a factory that didnt hit its quota that day, they still have to clean up for the next shift so to speak in the last hour to make sure that the switchover goes well. They were out of time, and had to do what they could to get it as presentable as it was, which wasn't too great as it probably hit them unexpectedly.

    Exactly. This is just my view on it only through guesses I make through gameplay as I mentioned above. I feel what Thunderfall posted supports this as it seems Firaxis is not "afraid" to admit it. I am not apologizing for it, to the contrary I think it sucks and is a load of crap on T2's part who obviously does not care about the quality of the game they publish. This is why I have stated I am not buying warlords on release. Same with any other civ title as long as it is held by T2. I want T2 to sell it, just not to EA or something. My choice would be Blizzard but yeah right. I didn't mind Hasbro Interactive... was there any issues there? (BTW please dont post comments on WoW, I dont play it and I dont care.)

    Now as for the idea that a game is never "finished". Yes, you can take it as that. I think the wording is wrong as I see Civ 4's release incomplete - I base this on the fact that I have seen 3 civ games upon release that all held fair content in each area of the game than what 4 does. Comparing 4 to all the the 3 previous titles w/o expansions shows that the game was incomplete upon finishing. 3 had military GP in a way and none others. Why toss it out for everything BUT this. I strongly think that combat hadn't been went into yet as they figured on having 3 more months to get it in there. Instead, those 3 months were used on patching.

    Any programmers out there, if your still reading this long arse post, what is easier to do in 3 months? Fix coding in a game not yet published, or patch one that is published? I am seriously asking BTW, I am curious on this.

    I no doubtedly have more to say on this but I went on long enough for now.
     
  8. Mutineer

    Mutineer Deity

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    I never like Greate Leader, that fuature is that stop me from enjoying civ3.
     
  9. warpstorm

    warpstorm Yumbo? Yumbo!

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    Or it could be that different teams at Firaxis did the core game and the expansion and the team in charge of the core game didn't like warmongering and wanted to tone it down and the team in charge of the expansion did. (FWIW, the core team of the main game has moved onto the "Next Big Thing" months ago).
     
  10. warpstorm

    warpstorm Yumbo? Yumbo!

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    Closer to two weeks. From a mid-November release to an end of October. Now there are a lot of hours of game programmer time in there, but there are limits.
     
  11. Olleus

    Olleus Deity

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    Domination is hard?
    Just got one on Prince, large fractal map in 1832. Final score = 48 000
     
  12. Sullla

    Sullla Patrician Roman Dictator

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    It never ceases to amaze me what people will manage to convince themselves is the truth in the bizarre world of Internet bulletin boards. :crazyeye:

    Clearly, Urederra, you are unhappy with some of the design decisions that were made with regards to Civ4. I perfectly understand and respect that, it being impossible after all to make a game that fits perfectly with the vision that each and every individual has in mind. Yet to then turn around and claim that the game is unfinished, just because the game doesn't correspond to YOUR vision of what it should be, well that's a bit of a cheap shot. It's one thing to disagree with a design decision, another to charge that Firaxis was being deliberately dishonest to its customers. I hope you can see the difference.

    As those of us who worked on Civ4 have posted (time and time again), the game was not rushed out the door. It was, in fact, finished at release. The one area where there were some goofs was in compatibility testing, and everyone knows the story about how that turned out. But as far as actual design, you have the game that was intended. Maybe you don't like it, which is fine, but it is indeed the gameplay that the designers were trying to create. As Warpstorm posted above, a different team is working on the expansion, and they (not surprisingly) want to introuduce some new features. The notion that features were deliberately withheld for the expansion is not only false, it's rather insulting to those of us who were involved in the whole process.

    You do not know that of which you speak. :king:
     
  13. Boomer ang

    Boomer ang Chieftain

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    The very big issue is that they cut the free and easy editor of Civ III in order to introduce the concept " if you are a programmer you can edit " , but if I was a programmer I would have released something better than Civ IV,adding lot of burned units first of all giving the player the feeling they havn't removed the war concept from this game,like they did BTW.


    Boomer ang
     
  14. Commander Bello

    Commander Bello Say No 2 Net Validations

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    Sullla, I have to admit that you made it even worse.

    I agree with you about the point that it is just impossible to please each and every customer, no doubt about it.
    I agree as well about that there are some design decisions, which the customer just has to accept. In this area I see the siege weapons, which according to my view are a complete mess, yet undoubtely are a mess by design. The design decision I can accept, the effect is harder to accept. As we have been told prior to release day, the new artillery type units were meant to cope with the infamous SOD's. Unfortunately, this was completely and utterly missed. All what was achieved was to have even more the necessity to have SOD's as anyone can prove for himself by launching a bigger military campaign.
    But, ok, this was design.

    Then, there are elements like naval and air combat. Here, as I have to admit, it is much harder to believe in the fact that both are as they have been intended to work.
    The AI plainly has no idea what to do with naval or air units. Even worse, the human player can't do anything senseful or meaningful with those units. They work in a completely counter-intuitive way. You have fighters, which can do some intercepting, but which just can't fight. The struggle for air superiority is just not possible. You may have 10 fighters against your opponent's 1 fighter, yet you are not able to fight his unit. Sure, you may launch an air attack against his city and after the first attack, his unit will stay grounded until the next turn. Yet, this is nothing which would be anything like at least partially realistic. Even with the same unit type, you will face a 50% chance of losing your unit, and another 25% chance to have your unit damaged.
    I could go on, but I would like to mention the naval combat as well.
    Naval units are everything which makes them unfun to use. They are too slow, they have only two domains to work at: fight other naval units - if by sheer luck they meet somewhere, or bombing down city defenses. Now, after you have manouvred your fleet towards the enemy shores, what will happen? If he has a fleet as well, there may be some naval battles. This is good and ok.
    But, how often will the AI send out just one destroyer against your complete navy - while others stay in the harbor?
    How often will it send out an unguarded transport, while your destroyers and battleships are waiting within the line of sight of that very harbor?
    And then, after the naval battle has been decided, what is next? Your fleet will bomb down the city defenses. It will do so without being threatened at all, as the enemy's air power is almost useless against ships. There are no ordnances available to protect a harbor against an enemy's fleet. It will just take 2 turns, and his previous 80% of defense will be gone.
    And after that? What will your navy do? Just one word: nothing. Nothing, since there isn't anything to do. They just cannot support ground troops with their firepower, since this is an non-existing concept. They cannot obliterate the last mine, since this has not been foreseen.

    With all due respect, but the game gives the impression to be unfinished.
    I have to admit not to be a programmer. Yet, as a layperson, it is hard to understand why it would be easier to program the use of suicide siege weapons than to program the use of artillery as we know about artillery. Units, which just stay in the background and try to wear down the enemy.
    And even, if one accepts this un-intuitive concept, and taking into consideration that Civ4 gives benefits to the defender where ever it can, then one asks himself about where the defensive shots have been gone? Something, which is one of the main uses of artillery, has not been taken into account for this game.

    Frankly, I too have the impression that the game has not been finished in this area. It just gives me the impression that these concepts have not been properly tested, as so much seems to be missing.
    Don't get me wrong, these things seem to miss not only because I would like to see them in the game, but because it would be intuitive to find them. Intuitive, because they would reflect the use of such units as we know it from reality.

    (Marking by me)
    And this is most probably the worst thing about your whole statement.
    You can easily get units which by Woodsman and Guerilla move double the speed through forests and hills as they are able to do at plains.
    You have all these irritations with siege weapons, air and naval units.
    You have a tech tree, which in the later areas is anything, but flexible.
    You have screens like the indicator for your spaceship, which seem completely unfinished - or better, which seem to have been added at the very last minute. You will have to count your components at the first screen of the F8-advisor, but you won't see them where your spaceship has been painted.
    You have borders, which follow almost exactly the course of rivers, yet your ships rotate like crazy when firing.
    You have a gazillion of polished things at the ancient ages (although the "blob" of religious techs at the beginning doesn't appear convincing, either), and at modern times everything just looks "cobbled together".

    This game looks unfinished by all measures.

    You say, it was intended to look this way? Honestly, this is a complete disappointment.
     
  15. Catcher

    Catcher Chieftain

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    If you still have your Civ2 manual, check out the Afterword. I distinctly remember being told that a fighter-bomber unit was designed and later dropped from the game. CIV is not the only Civ to have elements dropped during the design. ALL of them have; it's the nature of design itself.

    This whole desire for more units has me puzzled. What Civ has had more than the two basic plane types? Why would they be "finished" while CIV is not? Why wouldn't the addition of Promotions be considered something for the warmongers? It certainly doesn't enhance a builder's or diplomat's game.

    And yet, GP's in CIV were far more than the ones in C3. Leaving aside the Great Prophet (since C3 didn't have a real religion component), GLs from C3 could only do one of the functions of one of the other 4 Great People from CIV. Some of those abilities (like rushing a militarily useful tech or the Culture Bomb) are very helpful to a Warmonger. Great Leaders could build Armies, but these were a broken feature in the original release of C3 and unused by the AI even after they were fixed in C3C. Any wonders that the CIV team might hesitate using them without some really complete testing in CIV?

    My own theory: they put out a game with the stuff that worked well in Balancing and QA and didn't include stuff that didn't work or didn't seem to make sense. No conspiracy needed just the ususal getting what you can on a limited time and budget. No doubt some of the stuff in Warlords will be from cuts, but that's to be expected now that they've had six-eigth months to hone them.
     
  16. King Flevance

    King Flevance Deity

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    If this is true, then now do I not only ditrust titles of Civ released under T2, I also distrust Firaxis at any time Soren is involved. If Soren did indeed decide that an aspect of the game didn't need attention because HE didn't like it. It should come as no surprise there are many warmonger players in Civ. I don't always warmonger, but I find myself having no real hope to in Civ 4.

    Yeah, I did not pay attention to the pre-release stuff. I only happened to see the box at a Gamestop before knowing a 4 was even suppose to come out. I don't read any "video gamer" magazines for any news of this stuff, I was not positive of the times T2 pushed up release.

    An idea being dropped is different than an idea not being involved. I am under the impression upon my perspective of the game that is that some areas have not been touched. And claiming that the expansion team was suppose to come behind them and address it is saying that the game was only addressed by what Soren wanted to work on and then selling us his "favorite parts of the game" or in other words selling us half a game on purpose. Promotions are the only thing given to warmongers. Take them away and what do you have? What ELSE did warmongers get?

    So they had time to strip a game to the bare bones and build it from the ground up, including GP of all kinds - except a military one. BTW researching paper, meditation, etc isnt that useful. I fail to see how anyone but the great artist is useful to the warmonger's strategy.

    As I have stated there are features I feel have been improved upon by alot. However, I don't see it was a fair trade for what wasn't even touched. Advisor screens are still a joke. Does anyone ever look at your military advisor all game? I don't I can see the big map just fine in normal mode. I think the foriegn and domestic screens are ok. And the science if only because it is a tech tree as always.

    @Sullla: Bello hit alot of good points in response but I only wish to voice an opinion on that matter. I too see the game giving the impression of not being finished. It isn't about "what I think the game should be" so much as based off years of playing this title, my vision is of what I have always percieved Civ to be. If I was wrong, this game is pretty bland. As for this:

    This is nothing more than the opinion of somebody gave information upon a needs to know basis. I doubt you were in the meetings discussing what would and would not be able to be completed by a date. A more accurate phrasing I think would be "all areas tested" were finished. As to the part I bolded, where is this fact so that I may find it. A simple quote by Firaxis is nothing more than them justifying the end product, I want agenda notes or something. :p

    EDIT: To add to the above statement; in the post of Thunderfall's it is admitted that some stuff had to be shelved for expansion packs because they had overextended themselves. I.E. Stuff that was suppose to be in v1.00 was not included due to time and resources. Hence the game was finished before it was completed.

    Now I understand that some people feel the game was finished and that its spectacular and all. I do not see it this same way. I understand a game cannot be perfect to my liking as I haven't ran by many I didn't think "it would be cool if they did this or that" but in concerns to Civ 4 I find myself thinking "How could they not have noticed this given that there are 3 previous versions of civ out that involved this"
     
  17. Boomer ang

    Boomer ang Chieftain

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    Commander Bello and King Flevance and many others, I can assure you about that, are more than right stating Civ IV is not finished or at least it has been finished in a way that gives the sensation the game misses tons of strategic gameplay talking about how the air and naval stuff are managed,not to mention artillery leaks, helos that can't cross mountains etc etc....

    The military part of the game has been ridiculed to a vary basic roll dice battle,sadly supported from the fact that units have been decreased in terms of quantity and efficiency.
    F.i. look at the missing nuclear submarine and her strategic capabiliyties, the cruise ICBM, the AEGIS Cruiser etc. etc..in addition their role has been reduced to a cosmetic part definetly useless. The warfare has always been the core of the game and this is beeing told from a real life pacifist that inside games like to play at war.

    I have played Civ series since the first one ( the one made by Sid ) ...yeah I'm quite an old strategic gamer ;) ..... and this cartoon edition disappointed me a lot.

    I will look , just for the curiosity , Ages Of Men III , at least over there,there are dozens and dozens units to choose from,beside the DNA of the game that seems really consistent.

    Boomer ang
     
  18. warpstorm

    warpstorm Yumbo? Yumbo!

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    This is the lead designers' perogative (on any game). When you are lead designer, you make the game you want to make (within limits that vary from company to company). That's why it is such a sought after job in the industry.

    If it sells, they let you do it again.
     
  19. King Flevance

    King Flevance Deity

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    Well, then I must repeat another section of that same quote.

    I don't think he should have lacked in the military department as much as he did. Although, as I stated I am not a heavy warmonger, in civ 4 you really dont have any option to be one on a larger map.
     
  20. Dale

    Dale Deity

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    Actually, quite a lot of what you call "cut" or "missed" or "left for an expansion" was dropped because of us testers. They just didn't work.

    Dale
     
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