June 12, 2012

Sid Meir's Civilisation

It's awesome having my blog 'back' again, as it allows me to focus on things that I want to focus on which just won't fit in a Facebook post. AS you can see from my previous recent posts, these are computer-games based at the moment. I make no apologies for that, I'm obviously going though a computer game phase at the moment and therefore that's what my blog is expressing! I'm sure in 6 months or so I'll be wiritng about something different but for now, computer games it is.

I've already mentioned Under A Killing Moon as a computer game that captured my imagination many years ago, and I'm SO glad that the team have reunited to bring us Project Fedora. However, before there was Under A Killing Moon, for me, there was the one, the only, Civilisation:

(image from Moby Games).

For those not in the know, Civilization is a computer-strategy game where you start off with a single settler unit and from there spawn cities, grow a civilization and try to survive through the centuries. If you're good you can even win the game by winning the space-race or destroying the other civilizations in the game.

(image from Moby Games).

The above shows a typical Civ 1 map screen. You can see the city of Leipzig, a fairly new city (hence the 1 denoting its size); there are also some units on the right of the screen and menu across the top for various controls.

I can't even remember when I started playing Civilization. I do remember that I was a child and I'm fairly certain I was in primary school so I must have been perhaps 10 or so? However old I was, I remember it took me a LONG time to grasp the game. Which wasn't too much of a problem as the game actually came with a manual that, to my memory was hundereds of pages long. I remember trying to plough through that thing to better understand the game and make my civilizations better.

The idea of controlling everything about your Civilization from roads to research and war really captured my imagination in a way that only Civ 2 ever did. I remember spending many a summer day with a friend of mine playing Civ 1 and Civ 2 trying to survive against the Romans, Greeks and Mongols. Such GOOD memories that only an open game such as Civilization could inspire.

To the best of my knowledge, I never WON a game of Civilization. I never won the space race, I never ruled the world or such like. That does not mean I did not have fun, far from it! Every game was different, every game was a new challange and I played game after game and loved each one.

So what inspired this post? It was this Reddit update by user Lycerius who states that: "I've been playing the same game of Civ II for 10 years. Though long outdated, I grew fascinated with this particular game because by the time Civ III was released, I was already well into the distant future. I then thought that it might be interesting to see just how far into the future I could get and see what the ramifications would be. Naturally I play other games and have a life, but I often return to this game when I'm not doing anything and carry on. The results are as follows..."

This post is fascinating. It describes the state of the nation in Lycerius's game of Civ 2 that has been on-going for 10 years! He includes a screen grab link here http://imgur.com/a/rAnZs.

The fact that a game like this can be played for 10 years is mind-blowing in and amongst itself. What is also mind-blowing is the fact that Lycerius's post has attracted (at time of writing) 2919 comments. Each comment is suggesting different ideas of how Lycerius could continue the game and progress.

I never got very far with Civ 3 and only had a brief experience with Civ 5 a few weekends ago when it was on Free to Play thanks to STEAM. This post on http://www.garath.net/Sullla/Civ5/whatwentwrong.html shows what I realised when I played this free trial, that the game has, in many ways been simplified and seems to have made some drastic mis-steps with regards to the actual design of the game.

I wonder if I can find my Civ 2 CD? See you in 10 years!!

If you've never played Civ then it seems that Civ 4 was a good update, though it created Multiplayer problems but was great at single-player by all accounts.