Posts Tagged ‘Civ4’

PCG: Soren Johnson

By Kieron Gillen on March 1st, 2008.

Soren again.

And the remaining fragments of my interview with Ex-Civ4-er Soren Johnson interview emerge as PCG republishes it online. Here he talks about influences, the future of games, Why Guns, Germs and Steel would make a rubbish strategy game and why he was attracted to work on Spore. He says stuff like…

“It’s a field where you’re writing the rules right now. Some day 100 years from now, they’re going to writing about the stuff we do now, because this is the crucial moment for games. Beyond that… well, 100 years ago, if I’d been born, I think I might be making board games. It’s not just games for me – I come from a real board game, strategy game backdrop.

This is what I’m about. I feel that games are such a broad category. You can do so much with games. People put it up and compare it to… well, are games like music or movies or books? I see games not like a new medium, but a new way of communicating – a new language, so much broader than a specific artistic medium.”

More here.

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Making Of: Soren Johnson On Civ 4

By Kieron Gillen on February 20th, 2008.

We're all about the arty cuts in our photos, us.
The Interview I did with designer Soren “Ex-Civ, Now Spore” Johnson in December could be roughly divided into two parts. The bits which were not about Civ 4 and not about Spore. We published these in January, where we talked about the future of the PC being Punk Rock. The second half were the bits about Civ 4, which we publish below, where Soren talks extensively about Firaxis’ desires for the project, why Civ multiplayer had never worked in the past, and the difficulties of moving the old warhorse into 3D.

The non-existent part where we talked about Spore will never be published, as it didn’t happen. Pay attention.
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RPS Exclusive: Soren Johnson on Everything PC

By Kieron Gillen on January 9th, 2008.

Soren Johnson looks like this.

Soren Johnson has many things to be proud about. Most gamers would argue that being the designer of the magisterial Civilization 4 heads the list. We’d probably agree. But if you go way-way-way down the Good-Stuff-Soren-has-Done document, beneath even things like buying an expensive round in a bar a few times and opening a door for an old lady, you’ll find that he was the first developer to ever mail RPS, saying that he’d like to do an interview. We’ll probably love him forever for that.

After some of RPS’ usual cheery incompetence, we finally got around to it after he’d returned from Brazil, visiting a games conference. The following hour long conversation wandered the entire expanse of PC Gaming – what’s important, online sales, how smart Introversion are, how ace Desktop: Tower Defence is, how PC Gaming relates to Peru Ubu, the Sex Pistols and Television and pretty much everything else which wasn’t to do with his current project, Spore.

How PC Gaming looks at the end of an exciting 2007, from one of the PC’s most interesting designers. It all starts beneath the cut.
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Officially Unofficial Patch

By Kieron Gillen on August 14th, 2007.

While Meer’s been battering his way through it, I haven’t had a chance to actually play the new Beyond the Sword pack yet (Though the hype around it has caused me to have a vanilla-Civ4 relapse). However, it looks like I’m never actually going to get a chance to play it as the developers intended, as – by all accounts – I should immediately patch it with the latest Unofficial patch from Solver over at Apolyton.

Where this becomes officially unofficial is that the patch includes a load of fixes that Blake – responsible for the improved AI in Beyond the Sword, among other things – has developed. There’s a long list of general improvements, but let’s go for some of the Blake specific ones.

* Fixed AI airstrike bug
* AI now only capitulates to the team which has done them a majority of the damage.
* On non-aggressive AI, the AI’s are more aggressive early in the game.
* AI trains more units early in the game.
* AI SHOULD do a better job of bribing other AI’s (this may or may not work)
* The cost to Bribe AI’s into war now uses a new algorithm, it better reflects the impact of the bribe (ie a large AI charges a lot more to be ordered around). Generally bribing will be more expensive, especially cases where it used to be excessively cheap.
* AI’s tell you to sod off if you try to bribe them onto a victim with an intact nuclear arsenal.
* AI brags about it’s nukes more.

That Blake has managed to make the game act like I do when I play Defcon is proof that the Turin test is about to be completed. Our robot overlords live among us.

As a quick aside, I find this sort of blurring the lines of the official/unofficial releases for games fascinating. See also the guy who made the improved Shaders for STALKER which just made the game much better… which was then worked into the next patch.

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