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Sid Meier's Civilization IV

3 months ago

Feature: Victorious pacifism

How video games consistently fail Gandhi

Gandhi is one of the most unique figure in history. His adherence to non-violence, his establishment of a full-fledged philosophy behind it and, above all, his success, are practically without precedent. Kings, empires and leaders can often blur into each other. The locations change, the dates are different and the numbers differ, but the essence remains the same. Gandhi was something completely different, and yet…

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10 months ago

Civilization 6 launches its dystopian battle royale mode Red Death

In the words of 60s rock group The Byrds, to everything there is a season. A time of love, a time of hate. A time to dance, a time to mourn. For game developers, this past year has been one long summer of Battle Royale season. Which I guess sort of puts the song into a different perspective considering it less a season than one…

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2 years ago

Feature: We can rebuild you

The best Civilization games are these total overhaul mods

I’ve been playing Civilization long enough to remember building gaudy palaces that combined Arabic minarets with Ionic columns, and the sight of pixel-drawn Stalin grimacing at me with his retinue of Asiatic advisers. But after 20-something years and untold in-game millennia, I’ve finally begun to feel its insatiable fantasy of empire-building subside. Luckily, total overhaul mods exist.

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Feature: Changing history

Soren Johnson on challenging the norms of 4X games

“Sid [Meier] didn’t know he was inventing a genre back in ’91 - if he had he might have been a lot more careful. He was just making it up as he went along.”That’s how genres begin. By mistake. Somebody creates a set of rules and systems for the needs of a particular game, and then either people adopt and adapt those rules. Soren Johnson,…

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Civ VI: Rise and Fall’s new features explained

I get knocked down, but I get up again, you're never gonna keep me down. That's what I'll be singing when I play Civilization VI's upcoming Rise and Fall expansion. There are loads of new features but the unifying theme is, as the title suggests, success, failure and recovery. That means dark ages that come with hardships but also bring about the possibility of a…

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3 years ago

Feature: Culture and colonisation

Cree concerns hammer home why Civ needs to reject its own traditions

In Civilization, civilization is a competition. Land and resources are limited, and even those nations that don't expand through military might are attempting to climb to the top of the league table in other ways. Geography, technology, culture, religion, diplomacy – they're all, to some extent, weapons to be deployed, or at least arenas where an advantage can be gained. Culture and history are the…

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Feature: The Loose Canon

The greatest PC games of all time

There are more wonderful games being released on PC each month than ever before. In such a time of plenty, it's important that you spend your time as wisely as possible. Thankfully, we're here to help. What follows are our picks for the greatest PC games ever made.

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Feature: Master of maps

Jon Shafer on designing Civilization 5, joining Paradox and making strategy games better

Jon Shafer was 21 years old when he became lead designer of Civilization V. Now working at Paradox on an unannounced project and on his own historical strategy game At The Gates in his spare time, he says he's learning from the likes of Spelunky along with the more obvious strategic influences. We spoke about how the second half of every Civ sucks, the part…

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Feature: And how they can do it better

How historical games integrate or ignore slavery

Video games always come with an expectation that the player will suspend disbelief to some extent. Genetically engineered super-soldier clones don’t exist, radiation has never and will never work like that, and overweight Italian plumbers could never make that jump. In most cases, if we are unwilling or unable to suspend our disbelief, we may well struggle to enjoy the game and our questioning of…

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4 years ago

Feature: Deep and revolutionary

Civilization VI: Four Hours Of Wars And Wonders

Last month I spent four hours playing Civilization VI on a very hot day in central London. I came away wishing I could play for another four hundred hours, and also wishing that I had an ice cream. Mint and choc chip preferably.Since then, I've spent a lot of time thinking about what Civ VI is doing and how its many systems create a brilliant…

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Feature: A series of tubes

A Lament For The LAN Party

Before broadband and the connected world of information, we found different ways to mix our social life and our games. LAN parties. Where our PCs had a big group hug and let us kill one another in peace. Michael Johnson remembers those times.Growing up as a PC gamer in the 90's was a curious experience, the dawn of the internet age was upon us, but…

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Offworld Trading Co Comes On-World Later This Month

Offworld Trading Company [official site] is the combat-free, trading-centric sci-fi RTS from Soren Johnson, best known as the lead on the beloved Civ 4. It's been kicking around in Early Access for a while now, and both Adam and I rather liked it. If you've been holding off because you fear the unfinished, you may be glad to know that the Mars-set building'n'business game gets…

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5 years ago

Feature: Abandon all hope

Lost Worlds: The Saved Games I’ve Abandoned

These are my personal Edwin Droods. Stories that I've failed to finish, for one reason or another, and that are left suspended. In the manner of somebody reversing out of a relationship like a heavy goods vehicle, trundling slowly and beeping nonchalantly, I'd like to say to the games included: “It's not you, it's me.”

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Feature: AI Showdown

Why People Are Making The AI Fight Itself In Civilization

A strange thing happened in the Civilization community r/civ on January 10, 2015. Inspired by similar, smaller-scale offerings by a livestream and fellow redditor DarkLava (from whom he explicitly sought permission), user Jasper K., aka thenyanmaster, shared the first part of an experiment he was conducting wherein he put 42 computer-controlled civilisations in their real-life locations on a giant model of the Earth and…

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6 years ago

Feature: Mohawks And Martians, Pt 2

Former Civ IV Lead On Strategy’s Future, Making Another Civ

Once upon a time, Soren Johnson was the main brain behind Civilization IV. Now he has a mohawk. An indie mohawk. Also, he's making a game about managing a crazy intricate (yet disarmingly accessible) economy on Mars. Last time around we talked about how a Mars economy simulator even works, boardgames, and the current state of strategy gaming, and today we continue that discussion with…

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Feature: Mohawks And Martians, Pt 1

Former Civilization IV Lead On Mars Game, Revitalizing RTS

Mohawk Games is an excellent name for a company. And so it is that former Civilization IV lead designer and Spore man Soren Johnson approaches me sporting the company haircut. It's a recent trim job for the old headshrub, he tells me, but he wears it well. However, the brain beneath the mohawk - the mind behind some of strategy gaming's greatest greats - is…

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Life After GameSpy: Civ 3, Civ 4 And Borderlands Go Steam

You might well cheer the demise of GameSpy Technologies, but an awful lot of games will lose official online multiplayer support when the service shuts down on May 31. Publishers scour the battlefield running triage measuring pulses peeling eyelids shining lights flexing smashed bones jabbing fingers in wounds licking blood. "We've got a live one here!" they cry occasionally and haul the game up on…

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Yikes: GameSpy Shutdown Will Affect A Lot Of Games

GameSpy, a relic from times long before the modern Internet - or indeed, games and spies - existed is closing down. This on its own is not surprising as the multiplayer service is, by modern standards, buggy and kind of a joke, but it leaves a startling number of games with their e-wings clipped and their online-heaving hams strung in its wake. How many, you…

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Feature: Now With Special Guests!

A Game And A Chat: RPS BFF GDC Ultra Force Go, Day Two

The GDC War Train of Impossible Enrichment trundles on, and RPS is on the scene with gusto, aplomb, and a stuffed lion. Each day this week, I'll be gathering impromptu panels of colossal brains inside frail (but very handsome) human bodies to dissect the show piece-by-piece. Yesterday, John, Cara, Hayden, and I did so by crawling into bed and talking about our socks. Also games.…

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