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Friday, July 7, 2006

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Civilization IV Retrospective
6:54 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

A new retrospective from Computer and Video Games examines the design process of Civilization IV through an interview with Soren Johnson and Barry Caudill of Firaxis Games. The retrospective covers a variety of issues including the introduction of religion, the focus on multiplayer, and the improved computer AI.

Johnson: Religion was the one really obvious, interesting topic from history that we had never dealt directly with. It was clear to everyone that was the most likely place where we could make some good progress gameplay-wise, but we'd never done it before because it was an area of potential controversy and people getting upset and everyone hating us. We were pretty conservative though. Religions are pretty much flavours. Fundamentally there is no difference between Islam, Christianity and Hinduism - from a pure gameplay point of view they're functionally identical. The interesting part comes from how it actually plays out in the game - religions getting founded, spreading through the world and their effect on diplomatic relations. It took a lot of time to get the right version - that was one of the systems out of 5 or 6 different versions we tried before we hit the right one.

Caudill: One of the big differences in the earlier versions was that the player was a little bit detached from religion in the game. There was a hidden algorithm going on in the background that would determine how religion was spreading through the world, spreading along rivers or trade routes between civilizations that had diplomatic relations. You would see your religion naturally spreading throughout your cities, and you could do a few things to affect it, but it was only a secondary effect. It sounded good on paper, but fundamentally when you're playing Civ all the games systems work because the player is in control.

To read more about Civilization IV head over to the website below.

Computer and Video Games: Looking Back... Civ IV
Aspyr Media
Civilization IV
Buy Civilization IV

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