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CIV IV Comments/opinions/suggestions


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#1 sleyes

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Posted 10 July 2006 - 11:58 AM

OK, I thought this might belong in a new post, 'cuz we're five pages deep on the "I just got it" thread.

First off, despite my initial trepidation, I'm really starting to like this game. I loved Civ3, but it got too easy to predict the enemy's moves --  or it arbitrarily cheated in harder game modes. Civ4 seems to be very well thought out, not only as a sim, but as a game.

The graphic/sound glitches are a pain -- they've been noted elsewhere, I won't repeat, short of saying that I've had all the problems I've read that others are having on my brand new MacBok Pro 17" 2.16GHz Intel Core Duo/2GB RAM/100GB-ATA@7200 rpm/SuperDrive 8x. I've almost gotten used to the glitches, even... a restart to the desktop will clear things up, but IT TAKES FOREVER to start this game!!!

So, (to the powers that be), suggestion #1: FEWER LOADING SCREENS! I mean, c'mon, i understand that alot of people worked on this game, but couldn't I have the option to "skip startup movies" rather than click my mouse six times to clear each one individually?

Suggestion #2: Bigger Buttons -- Maybe it's just the resolution I've played at so far (default, whatever that is), but a lot of the things I have to click on are REALLY tiny!

Suggestion #3: Let me Right-click. I know, I know, right-clicking is for moving units... but i absolutely HATE having to reach for the SHIFT key to access contextual menus... SO not what I'm used to.

Suggestion #4: Bring Back the Advisors -- I know, this is not gonna happen, but it be nice if you actually got some sort of "real" notification of events outside of your borders... like two other countries going to war, for example. Maybe those Itty-bitty text meassages on the upper left could be user-set-able to pause or beep or pop up in a floating window; I'd hate to turn this into Europa Universalis (WAAAAY too many popups), but sometimes I'd liek the ability to know what's goning on.


Other thoguhts?

#2 Fourth Horseman

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Posted 10 July 2006 - 12:14 PM

I don't have my copy yet, but I played for an hour or two on my buddy's PC and I have to say that so far, with my admittedly limited game time, I just don't understand the need for this to be a 3D game. I felt that the interface and main map screen were awkward and required a lot of zooming in and zooming out to see detail while maintaining a strategic situational awareness. After that hour or two of playing with it on my friend's PC I had absolutely zero desire to play with it again.

That said, I'm definitely going to pick the game up and try to give it more of a chance to win me over. I just don't understand why the traditional 2D sprites approach had to be chucked for a full 3D interface.
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#3 sleyes

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Posted 10 July 2006 - 03:20 PM

View PostFourth Horseman, on July 10th 2006, 11:14 AM, said:

... I just don't understand the need for this to be a 3D game. ... I just don't understand why the traditional 2D sprites approach had to be chucked for a full 3D interface.

I'm sure it was dimension-envy; how could anyone, in this day and age, release a AAA title that DIDN'T use 3d? Pure marketing b*ll.

The 3d is kinda nifty at times - being able to "see" wonders in their cities, even if it is an abstraction, is nice (I was never 100% committed to the "overlays" used in Civ3, though it _was_ more realistic). And as far as I can tell, the movement that shows up in the 3d tile improvements (like the windmills that spin, the itty-bitty mine car unloading) shows you which tiles are actually being used by a city... again, nice to know without exanding the city view, but is it worth the processing overhead?

I had to check the ReadMe to figure out how to rotate the view, then only did it once in either driection; it only rotates 45 degrees, and doesn't make pplaying any easier. Zooming out to the "planet" view is cute, but that's what I have the mini-map for.

I'll echo what someone else said on another thread - the game SCREAMS out for a "pause" button or function, if only to keep the heat from my MacBook from burning a hole thru the earth's crust while I take a break to pee.

#4 tiskippy

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Posted 10 July 2006 - 04:49 PM

View Postsleyes, on July 10th 2006, 04:20 PM, said:

Zooming out to the "planet" view is cute, but that's what I have the mini-map for.

I have found a use for this that I've learned to appreciate quickly - turn on the resource icons (cmd-r, also an icon in the bottom right area of the screen), then zoom all the way out so you can quickly see where resources are on the map.  Very nice when you get a tech that enables a new resouce (iron, coal, aluminum, etc.), especially if you don't have it readily available in your current empire.  Note that when you are zoomed out to the planet view, you have more control over what resources are marked with icons.

Also, for all of your suggestions, maybe with the exception of right-click, they are decisions made by the original developer, not Aspyr...so they can't/won't be changed in the Mac port by a patch.  Just making sure you are aware of that.
Brandon
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#5 Beamup

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Posted 10 July 2006 - 06:12 PM

View Postsleyes, on July 10th 2006, 01:58 PM, said:

suggestion #1: FEWER LOADING SCREENS! I mean, c'mon, i understand that alot of people worked on this game, but couldn't I have the option to "skip startup movies" rather than click my mouse six times to clear each one individually?
Edit Civilization4.ini, there's an option to turn off the intro movie.

'sleyes' said:

Suggestion #3: Let me Right-click. I know, I know, right-clicking is for moving units... but i absolutely HATE having to reach for the SHIFT key to access contextual menus... SO not what I'm used to.
Stopped by the Options screen recently?
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#6 xmacintosh

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 01:02 PM

View PostBeamup, on July 10th 2006, 05:12 PM, said:

Edit Civilization4.ini, there's an option to turn off the intro movie.
Stopped by the Options screen recently?

Where is Civilization4.ini?

#7 Beamup

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 03:03 PM

~/Documents/Civilization IV/CivilizationIV.ini

It is IV, not 4.  Slip-up on my part, sorry.
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#8 xmacintosh

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 06:32 PM

View PostBeamup, on July 11th 2006, 02:03 PM, said:

~/Documents/Civilization IV/CivilizationIV.ini

It is IV, not 4.  Slip-up on my part, sorry.


Thank you!!

#9 Skippy Kangaroo

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 10:36 PM

View PostBeamup, on July 11th 2006, 10:12 AM, said:

Edit Civilization4.ini, there's an option to turn off the intro movie.
Stopped by the Options screen recently?
Yeah. I love it that you have to edit the .ini file to change so many things. So many useful things that most sane people would put in an in-game options screen.

Does it really get rid of the endless advertising or only disable the opening movie?

#10 Skippy Kangaroo

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 10:53 PM

Suggestion #1: Give us a decent pdf manual. The pdf file they have included is a horror. It's just a pre-press proof for a printed manual and reads badly on a computer screen with different orientations for different pages. Let's not forget the huge expanses of white space around the edges - if I'm reading on the computer screen I don't need registration marks.

Suggestion #2: Don't bury so many options in the ini file. Particularly annoying ones like "Make me click four times through endless splash screens before the game starts up".

Suggestion #3: Some Mac-like qualities to the port - some passing acknowledgement that you are in fact playing on a Mac. For example, the command to open a saved game is not the Mac-standard cmd-O but the non-standard cmd-L. I have opend the options screen so many times trying to load a game. And seeing my hard drive called C: is, as even Brad acknowledged, an abomination.

Suggestion #4: Allow the processor to idle if you aren't using it. I mean, come on, 180% usage to display the opening menu? 180% usage to do nothing when it is idling in the background and hidden? 180% usage to flash 'press return to continue'? There's got to be something wrong here.

#11 Eric5h5

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Posted 12 July 2006 - 02:26 AM

Suggestions 1&2 would probably be better directed at Firaxis, and I wouldn't expect Aspyr to implement them.  Suggestion #3 is reasonable, but I'd be willing to let it slide for appropriate CPU usage and complete sounds.  I have to wonder what happened with this port...seems way below Aspyr's usual standards.  I mean, I wanted "Civilization IV", not "Civilization IV: The New Improved Silent Edition (Except For the Excessive Noise of Your Computer Fans)".  Judging from what I've heard some people say they got back as replies from Aspyr, it was a deliberate decision to ship the game with broken sound, because of difficulties with the port...can that be true?  Since when does Aspyr's quality control allow stuff like that, especially with a major series like Civilization?  Come on, they ported the gargantuan Sims 2 codebase with apparently hardly any issues!

Yeah, it's pretty disappointing.  I must have at least a couple of dozen Aspyr games and nothing like this has happened before...I figured the problem reports were from a few people with isolated issues, but that's not the case, alas.  Well, OK, I'm also a bit disappointed by the continuing lack of properly functioning surround sound in Doom3, but that's at least understandable given the relatively few Mac gamers with a surround sound setup and Apple's unwillingness or inability to get OpenAL working right.  But I don't really understand the Civilization IV issues given the sort of ports Aspyr has done until now.

--Eric

#12 pumilamac

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Posted 12 July 2006 - 02:46 AM

View PostSkippy Kangaroo, on July 11th 2006, 09:53 PM, said:

Suggestion #2: Don't bury so many options in the ini file. Particularly annoying ones like "Make me click four times through endless splash screens before the game starts up".
These seems like something they could add to a secondary preferences dialogue. Thats what I'm calling the hidden prefs that some games have where you hold OPTION, launch the game, and you get extra options in w window.

#13 XxtraLarGe

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Posted 12 July 2006 - 05:26 AM

View PostEric5h5, on July 12th 2006, 08:26 AM, said:

Suggestions 1&2 would probably be better directed at Firaxis, and I wouldn't expect Aspyr to implement them.  Suggestion #3 is reasonable, but I'd be willing to let it slide for appropriate CPU usage and complete sounds.  I have to wonder what happened with this port...seems way below Aspyr's usual standards.  I mean, I wanted "Civilization IV", not "Civilization IV: The New Improved Silent Edition (Except For the Excessive Noise of Your Computer Fans)".  Judging from what I've heard some people say they got back as replies from Aspyr, it was a deliberate decision to ship the game with broken sound, because of difficulties with the port...can that be true?  Since when does Aspyr's quality control allow stuff like that, especially with a major series like Civilization?  Come on, they ported the gargantuan Sims 2 codebase with apparently hardly any issues!

Maybe they couldn't afford to keep working on it past the deadline? It may have been a financial situation where they had to get it out the door or else they'd lose money. Besides, I'd rather have the game now as is, and hope for a patch to come out in the near future than not have it at all. It's not like it is unplayable.

#14 Cain

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Posted 12 July 2006 - 02:18 PM

Brad Oliver over at Civfanatics had the following update regarding performance:

Quote

OK, I've missed the forums for a few days, so I have some catching up to do with reading on the old posts, but I do have some news to share about Civ4 that is hopefully useful to you all.

1. Kernel panics

Looks like these will happen with *any* version of 10.4.7, and mainly on Intel Macs with ATI cards (iMacs and MacBook Pros). This is actually a driver regression and happens with some other apps (World of Warcraft is also affected) and we're working with Apple on a solution. In the meantime, as some of you have discovered, there are two categories of solutions. One is to downgrade to 10.4.6. The other is to turn off multisampling or run Civ4 in a window.

2. Bad performance

We've isolated a major performance problem that affects some, but not all, Macs. If you are seeing very high CPU usage on dual-CPU Macs (like 180%) or it's super-choppy on single-CPU Macs, then you are encountering this specific bug. We've got a fix in testing for this now.

3. Sound problems

We've been able to reproduce these here with great consistency. As some of you may have noticed, downgrading to a different version of OSX is not necessarily a solution for this, so we don't have a short-term fix. However, our sound programmer has been working on a fix for this one.

I'm really sorry about all this. It's been an unusually rough launch for us, but we hope to have a patch out very soon that addresses 2 of these 3 issues (the kernel panics being the exception).


#15 Eric5h5

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Posted 12 July 2006 - 03:27 PM

Sounds encouraging...I do so wanna play a proper game of Civ again, properly!  (Civ III just isn't doing it for me these days; the severe corruption is less and less fun.)

--Eric

#16 XxtraLarGe

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Posted 12 July 2006 - 04:31 PM

View PostEric5h5, on July 12th 2006, 09:27 PM, said:

Sounds encouraging...I do so wanna play a proper game of Civ again, properly!  (Civ III just isn't doing it for me these days; the severe corruption is less and less fun.)

--Eric

You know, that's where the Civilization games really were at odds with reality. Everybody in America knows that our capital (Washington D.C.) is the most corrupt city in our country  :lol:

#17 patrick18m

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Posted 12 July 2006 - 04:32 PM

I'm hoping this patch will make my Civ IV expiercence much more positive. I'm suffering from poor performance and sound issues. I wonder how much the patch will enhance performance on some machines. After just finishing a full game, I must say that I really enjoy the game, and hopefully the patch will keep me playing the game over and over again, just like i've been playing Civ II since it came out.

#18 eschatz

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Posted 12 July 2006 - 11:47 PM

I would prefer if Civ 3 was patched first to fix its sound issues then patch Civ 4. On the other hand, I've been bitching about Civ 3 for a while and they know about it. I just want a fix sooner rather than later (or never).
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#19 Mister Mumbles

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Posted 15 July 2006 - 03:37 AM

I really like the way resources work, and, depending on the situation, how the lack of them can limit one's growth/advances. They can make for some very important commodities that do make me think about expanding more quickly to lay claim to them. Also, cutting off the enemy from them via pillaging his mines and pastures can definitely give one a significant tactical advantage since then the opponent won't be able to build any more units that require those resources.

Another thing I also like a lot is the quick info I receive by merely moving the cursor over a city, terrain, or stacks of units. Not having to spend a lot of time in the city management screen is definitely a plus, although the transition from and to it is fairly quick and painless.

The border system I still have to get used to a bit, but so far it seems like it works fairly well.

I'm still trying to figure out what much good religion does besides giving me the slight culture bonus - which is seemingly the same for all of the religions. It certainly didn't seem to affect my diplomatic relations much, but maybe that's due to me playing on the easier difficulties while I'm still trying to figure out the mechanics of this new version of Civ.

So far, though, I've been enjoying it, especially now that I have some sound with the beta patch.
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#20 pumilamac

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Posted 15 July 2006 - 04:00 AM

View PostXxtraLarGe, on July 12th 2006, 03:31 PM, said:

You know, that's where the Civilization games really were at odds with reality. Everybody in America knows that our capital (Washington D.C.) is the most corrupt city in our country  :lol:

I don't know, Vernon, CA, is pretty bad too. At least Washington has two parties no one likes!  :D  :D