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What Soren Johnson Has Been Up To -

Discussion in 'Civ3 Future Development' started by Ozymandias, Feb 18, 2021.

  1. Ozymandias

    Ozymandias Archivist, redux Supporter

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    About 1,000 years ago, in the midst of (I think) the last open discussion about obtaining the Civ 3 source code, @WildWeazel opined:

    "Oz, whenever you bring up AI I always wonder if we could coax anything definitive out of Soren Johnson - or if he would even be able to talk now that he's left Firaxis."

    Now, THIS looks very much like ... Well, have a look.

    For an better look - sign up for an "Epic" account and check out: https://www.epicgames.com/store/en-US/product/old-world/home

    Now, I burned out on trying to get the Civ3 source code during that same, past epoch as WW - But, does this make anyone think that our Holy Grail might somehow be accessible?
     
  2. WildWeazel

    WildWeazel Carthago Creanda Est

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    I was in the private beta for Old World last year- great game! It combines a lot of what I like from Civ, Endless Legend, and Crusader Kings. It should be coming to Steam later this spring, or at least when it leaves early access.

    Anyway, Soren did an interview on Civ3 a while back with the podcast Explorminate and shared some interesting memories. I'm too distracted at the moment to give a proper synopsis but one relevant point was that the AI was entirely data driven, no hard coded choices. Also I mentioned to him the various clone attempts just to gauge his response and he seemed unaware, but supportive.
     
  3. Ozymandias

    Ozymandias Archivist, redux Supporter

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    ... It never occurred to me how well connected you are! :worship: (NB: sans sarcasm!)

    :hmm:

    ... :confused: ...
     
  4. Quintillus

    Quintillus Archiving Civ3 Content Supporter

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    Old World has been on the periphery of my radar for a long time. It looks like a really interesting game to me as well. I tend to forget the Epic Game Store exists, so it's only been on the periphery and I haven't picked it up yet, but if anything I'm looking forward to it more than to Humankind.
     
  5. Civinator

    Civinator Blue Lion Supporter

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    ... and also to mention is Soren Johnson´s skilfull analysis about Civ 3 in the handbook of Civ IV Vanilla pg.159ff (less about the Civ 3 AI, more about Civ 3 game mechanics).
     
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  6. Ozymandias

    Ozymandias Archivist, redux Supporter

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    Is there a place I can d/l a copy from?
     
  7. Civinator

    Civinator Blue Lion Supporter

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    I only have it in German language. As Soren Johnson´s analysis helped me in creating the CCM mod (per example the workers with MV 2 and to distingish "unfun" and "fun" game elements), I gave it credit in page one of the CCM thread.

    Edit: Attached is the Civ 4 manual of the GOG version of Civ IV Complete. The analysis starts with page 175.
     

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  8. Quintillus

    Quintillus Archiving Civ3 Content Supporter

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    Thanks for posting that! I'd read it when Civ IV was new and at least once since, and it is indeed a good analysis. Alas, I believe my copy of the Civ IV manual is currently at my parents' house, so the GOG PDF version is a much more convenient reference.
     
  9. Ozymandias

    Ozymandias Archivist, redux Supporter

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    I feel like, "Shooting the moon," as no harm can come of it. Can anyone speculate what the best way to get in touch with @Soren Johnson might be?
     
  10. WildWeazel

    WildWeazel Carthago Creanda Est

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    If he's not logging in here, Twitter DM would probably be next best
     
  11. Ozymandias

    Ozymandias Archivist, redux Supporter

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  12. Quintillus

    Quintillus Archiving Civ3 Content Supporter

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    The Old World Discord (https://discord.gg/BNVpEgJ) might also make sense as an option, given that he is one of the founders of Mohawk Games (Old World's developer). Their corporate website is mysteriously devoid of contact options; I found their forums (https://www.mohawkgames.com/forums/) via DuckDuckGo, but I suspect that they are internal forums? There's an option to register, but there isn't a link on the home page so I suspect it isn't a general forum like CFC or ParadoxPlaza.

    Designer Notes is pretty cool. I've only read a few of the entries, but always wonder why I don't read it more often when I come across it. The answer is that I forget about it between updates... so I'm going to subscribe to its RSS feed in hopes of rectifying that. I see he interviewed Meg Jayanth relatively recently; that one certainly sounds like it's worth a listen, as a fan of the game 80 Days.

    But more relevant for us is this entry from last March on Civilization III. The summary:

    I just discovered it, so I haven't listened to it yet... but if nothing else it's something I expect I would find fascinating.

    Along with cleaning up my bookmarks and using RSS to keep track of blogs I find interesting, I should figure out a good podcast solution, too.
     
  13. Ozymandias

    Ozymandias Archivist, redux Supporter

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    Gracias, as always. I missed that one, as I don't listen to podcasts. (I'm of the impression that most people who do, do so while driving; I'm a Manhattanite: to me, an "automobile" is a yellow vehicle which I pay to get out of.)
     
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  14. WildWeazel

    WildWeazel Carthago Creanda Est

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    Yes, that's a good interview. It's the episode I referred to here. Don't know if you saw my comment in the other thread, but he listed his Gmail address on the blog's About page so I guess that's fair game.
     
  15. Civinator

    Civinator Blue Lion Supporter

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  16. WildWeazel

    WildWeazel Carthago Creanda Est

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  17. Ozymandias

    Ozymandias Archivist, redux Supporter

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    I think I'm repeating myself, but Soren was "parachuted in" midway through Civ3's development, undoubtedly inheriting quite a boatload of already built-in features - yet it has his name on it. C4 was his first "solo" project; I've never played C4 but, as I'd contacted him in yet another failed attempt to obtain the C3 source code ( :wallbash: ; :wallbash: ; :wallbash: ; :wallbash: - one for each attempt, over the last 10 years or so) I was invited into the Old World beta, which might be viewed as the pinnacle of scripted "4x" games, to date. (I would still love to give my C3-based "emergent behavior" notions a go, one of these lifetimes ...)
     
  18. Quintillus

    Quintillus Archiving Civ3 Content Supporter

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    That was interesting; I hadn't realized Civ3 introduced the bargaining table. Considering Civ3 was arguably the second full-fledged strategy game I played (after AoE2), I'd taken it for granted that it had been present for a while. And it's not just GalCiv3... it is present in GalCiv2 as well (which is newer than Civ3, IIRC, about the age of Civ4).

    But he's not wrong about the "tech cartel" perception, and the nickel and diming. I think it might have been GalCiv2 that made the rival leaders only entertain one or two counteroffers, and to not have the advisor give a surefire indication of whether a deal would be accepted, to try to eliminate that problem. But you've still got the tech cartel one. I've taken to playing most of my Civ3 games with tech trading disabled to counteract that problem.

    I want to say that I do want them to behave like a human... but having played against a modded Civ4 AI that did gang up on me when I approached victory, that might not be true.

    My idea along this line would be that how much the AI behaves like a human, at least in terms of trying to win/metagaming, should be configurable by difficulty. At Warlord/Regent/Monarch, the AI won't really try to stop you. But once you start getting significantly above average, they should be more likely to try to stop you from winning. By the time you turn it up to Sid, if you are approaching a 20K victory, you'll be drawing a huge target on your 20K city.

    Although I'll be pleased if the AI in C7 is simply more difficult than a cakewalk. Having to teach the AI not to pursue such optimal strategies because the human can never win will be a good problem to have.
     
  19. Ozymandias

    Ozymandias Archivist, redux Supporter

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