Master of maps
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 the series played in his life, the perils of boredom in strategy design, how much we love maps, and what the future holds for both Shafer and Paradox.
I began by asking how he ended up sitting at the Paradox Convention, in Stockholm, the city that has now been his home for two weeks: “It’s quite a long story, actually.”
That story begins in Denver, around 2003.
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A great free update, a good DLC
Utopia is the first major expansion for Stellaris, Paradox Development Studio’s 4X, grand strategy space hydra. It’s a term that normally conjures up images of a perfect society, all green and chill and maybe a little like Star Trek’s United Federation of Planets. That’s nice, I guess, but what if your idea of perfection is building a civilization on the backs of robotic slaves? And what about a monstrous hive of ravenous beasties that won’t rest until all matter in the universe has been consumed? What would its utopia look like? I’ve been experimenting with a galaxy-sized petri dish to find out. Read the rest of this entry »