Dec 16, 2010
This week brings a wealth of RPGs! We all knew Mass Effect 3 and The Elder Scrolls V were coming someday, but now that they're officially announced we can officially begin the speculation.
Also, strategist/columnist/podcaster/PhD Troy Goodfellow joins us to give his detailed report on the updates for Civilization V and Elemental, in addition to Call of Duty: Black Ops and Fallout: New Vegas bug fixes.
And in the spirit of getting things done before the year is over, give us a call toll free: 877-404-1337 ext 724 and leave us a question for the next show!
PC Gamer US Podcast - 252 Three Monitors Ahead
Mass Effect 3 trailer
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Trailer
The Humble Indie Bundle 2
MLG's Top 20 StarCraft II replays
A series of maps that were originally included in the Civilization V digital deluxe edition have been released as DLC. The four map packs include a series of real maps designed by Firaxis, which can be played with historically accurate Civilizations or random leaders. The maps can all be tweaked in the World Builder so players can make their own scenarios on the new terrain. The packs cover the Americas, Asia, the Mediterranean and Mesopotamia. They'll cost £1.99 / $2.99 each, or can be bought in a bundle for £6.30 / $9.99. if you're interested the packs are available now on Steam.
Nov 12, 2010
Civilization Network plans to take Civilization to Facebook, letting friends team up and forge new civilizations online. The game was announced way back in October 2009, but Take Two have just confirmed that yes, it's still alive, and it's definitely coming next year. Not much is known about the game right now, except that it will be free to play, but more details are set to emerge soon on Civilization Network's Facebook page, where Take Two have announced that they will be looking for some beta testers in future.
Nov 12, 2010
Firaxis have set about outlining the content of the next big patch for Civilization V. The next batch of changes are going to concentrate on improvements to the AI and diplomacy, and contains fixes you'd only ever see in a Civ game, like "adjust Napoleon to make him more likely to go for culture", and an "update to tactical AI pillaging code". You'll find the complete list of changes are below.
Worker AI improvements .
Update to tactical AI pillaging code. Additionally, always check to make sure it’s not trying to pillage in an enemy dominance zone.
AI victory emphasis improvements (more efficient end-game when focusing on Science and Diplo victories).
AI should colonize other continents regularly.
AI will emphasize production of an Ocean going explorer unit when the time comes.
Adjust Napoleon to make him more likely to go for culture.
More aggressive second wave expansion (mostly off shore) after initial empire building and consolidation has occurred.
Optimization when finding routes (pathfinder improvement).
Multiple tweaks and bug fixes.
AI will now build ranged and mobile units more in line with the flavor settings.
Multiple defensive AI tweaks.
Cities heal more quickly.
Only allow one upgrade per unit from a goody hut.
Tweaked the single-player score list to hide the civs of unmet ai players.
AI's attitude towards you is now visible in the diplo screen and diplo drop-down.
Added info tooltip for an AI leader's mood. Lists things that are making an AI player happy/upset.
New diplo system: Declaration of Friendship (public declaration with diplomatic repercussions).
New diplo system: Denounce (public declaration with diplomatic repercussions).
New custom leader responses (Serious Expansion Warning, Aggressive Military, Luxury Exchange, Borders Exchange, Gift Request).
Parent category counts now include counts of child categories.
Selecting/deselecting a category now automatically selects/deselects it's children and its parent.
Tweaked category name truncation to better fit names.
Hide categories w/ no children and a count of 0.
Added support for fallback languages (if mod is not translated, fall-back to English so text keys are not showing).
Fixed save format which causes saves to increase the memory footprint of the game drastically when loading frequently over the course of the game.
There's no ETA for the patch just yet, but the devs are keeping the patch list updated over on the 2K forums.
Deathwing's bringing a fiery cataclysm to World of Warcraft next month, but imagine if instead of a colossal dragon bringing the apocalypse, it was an army of giant robots, supported by tanks and fighter bombers. Now you can make that a reality, with this wonderfully crafted map of Azeroth for Civilization V.
Below you'll find a massive overview of the map, you can click to enlarge it. Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms have been lovingly recreated using Civilization V's Worldbuilder tool. From the Night Elven homelands of Teldrassil to the spiralling maelstrom at the centre of the great sea, every corner of Azeroth has been crafted, given accurate terrain and dressed in resources.
You can download the map from the Civ Fanatics forum, simply drop the extracted files into your Civilization V map folder and you're away. If you fancy creating some new worlds of your own, check out our guide to using Civilization V's worldbuilder.
Oct 25, 2010
Attention PC gamers! We’ve got a giveaway so momentous that it stands to eclipse epochal moments in history going all the way back to the discovery of fire by an unfortunate troglodyte in a lightning storm about one and a half million years ago. In fact, it’s so spectacularly massive that it may create a singularity unimagined by even Stephen Hawking at his most fanciful after a fifth of bourbon. What could be so huge? How about this: a magical Steam code that will grant you free, permanent access to Valve’s entire catalog—which includes some of the finest PC games ever made—and every game Valve ever will make. That’s right: you can win Portal 2, Dota 2 and even Half-Life 2: Episode 3.* It’s the prize that keeps on giving, year after year!
But wait, that’s not all! Click through to see what else, and how to win it!
Update: Winners have been drawn, and notifications are going out. We'll post the list of winners soon!
Update 2: Winners posted!
We’re also giving away sweet, shrink-wrapped, aromatic Collector’s Editions of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, Fallout: New Vegas, Civilization V, Mafia II and Plants vs Zombies. That’s a total of six fabulous, planet-shattering prizes, all up for grabs. Click here to see them all!
But wait, there’s even more! We’ll pick a seventh lucky dawg who’ll receive a copy of Borderlands Game of the Year Edition! The giving just won’t stop!
So how do you get in on the action? Just “like” us on Facebook, then comment on this post on Facebook (not our comment area below) with a list of the three games you’re most looking forward to in 2011 (in order of preference). That’s all! (If you're already a fan, just comment with your list.)
On Monday, November 1 at 10am Pacific time, we’ll draw seven winners from the comments (with the help of everybody’s random friends at Random.org,) and contact them via Facebook. Winner #1 gets first choice. (We suspect they’ll pick the Valve code.) Winner #2 gets to choose between the remaining prizes, then winner #3 gets to pick, and so on.
This contest is open to US residents only. Sorry, rest of the world! We’d let you enter if The Man would let us.
*Provided the sun doesn’t burn out before it’s released.
Our winners are:
Michael Hudak: Magic Valve code
Craig Fender: StarCraft II Collector's Edition
Phillip Front: Fallout: New Vegas Collector's Edition
Jeremy Sanchez: Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition
Darien Sumner: Civilization V Collector's Edition
Justin Anderson: Mafia II Collector's Edition
Zack Jones: Plants vs Zombies Collector's Edition
Thanks to everyone who entered!
Oct 20, 2010
Tim, Tom, Graham and Craig take a second stab at a podcast that was destroyed in a fire. We weigh in on whether Dota 2 can make Defense of the Ancients fun for the masses, how big a deal Fallout: New Vegas is, the philosophy behind BioShock Infinite, the ability to use feces as a writing implement in Duke Nukem Forever, the wisdom or otherwise of scaling difficulty in Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the prospects for Civ 5's AI, and our ever-changing opinions of Team Fortress 2 selling items for real money. Tom also does an impression of the police baton from Deus Ex 1.
This is an extra-long bonus ultra podcast, bonusly ultra-soon after the last one, to make up for our unexpectedly long hiatus. And as a special favour to anyone sick of hearing about them, we barely mention StarCraft 2 or Minecraft. In two week's time, we'll be countering this with a favour to anyone who isn't: a Minecraft special about why the game has taken such a firm hold of so many people.
Download the MP3, subscribe, or find our older podcasts here.
Oct 19, 2010
Firaxis have announced the first two items of DLC for Civilization V, they're coming out next Monday and one of them will completely free. Read on for details.
The Mongol Civilization and Scenario Pack will be free to download next Monday 25th October for free. The update will let you become Genghis Khan and take charge of the barbarous Mongols and their famously terrifying armies of horseback warriors. The new scenario charges you with conquering four major civilizations in one hundred turns, but competent cavalry and the massive bonuses when attacking City-states should help Mongol players get a strong foothold quickly.
The second slice of DLC was originally released as part of the Civilization V: Digital Deluxe edition, but will now be made available to everyone else next Monday at the price of $4.99. the Babylonian Civilization pack puts you in the shoes of Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon and gives you access to elite Babylonion bowmen. For more information, check out Civ V's official site.
Oct 14, 2010
Civlization V hasn't been out for long, but there’s already a wealth of user made maps, mods and scenarios available. Here’s our pick of the best from the early rush of Civ V mods. Whether you want to rebalance the economy, change the pace of the game, or play on a huge, scale version of the planet Earth, there’s something for you in the selection below.
Civilization V has a great mod browser built into it. It helps you search for the highest rated mods as voted by the community. All of the mods on this list can be downloaded and installed from inside the game, but you can follow the links for information on each one.
1. Dale's Earth Map
Civilization V has plenty of nations, each imbued with their own sense of personality, but the game's randomly generated worlds means you're never playing on the actual countries they represent. Dale's True Start Map Pack adds a decent world map with a built in scenario that puts every nation in its right place. For some, playing on a carefully modelled facsimile of our own planet takes the surprise and discovery out of the exploration element of the game, but the more you play, the less familiar the world becomes until you’re looking at a vision of what the world would look like with the Songhai Empire as the dominant superpower.
2. Queen of the Iceni
This mod adds the Celts as a playable faction. Led by Queen Boudica, the Celts represent a menacing military threat. Their two specialised units include a Gaelic Warrior, who operate much like traditional Warriors, but move more quickly over difficult ground, and the Sons of Morrigan, a special unit that gains health every time it defeats an enemy unit. Combine these guys with Boudica's Battle Fury trait, which grants nearby units extra attacks in combat, and the Celts represent an excellent choice for players of a military mindset.
3. E3 Combat Scenario
This is the professionally designed scenario used by Firaxis to demonstrate Civ V's combat and diplomacy at E3. If you don't feel like clawing your way up from the the dirt and just want to jump straight into a well developed world then this is the map for you. It puts you in charge of Ceaser's forces, poised to kick off a massive war with surrounding nations. There's a variety of techs already on the map, from cannons to attack helicopters, so it's a great way to get to know a lot of different units without having to put in all of the time and effort associated with researching and building them.
4. R.E.D. modpack
R.E.D. has been around since Civ IV, it stands for Regiment and Ethnic Diversity, and aims to give all the units in the greater variation. It also addresses some of the more ridiculous scale problems that combat can throw up, such as a squads of twenty foot tall infantrymen fighting tiny tanks, or 18th century Ships of the Line dwarfing Aircraft Carriers. The new units aren't precisely to scale, so you'll be able to see them easily on the map, but they're a bit more realistic. A load of formations have also been added, so your units won't always line up in exactly the same way, making your units seem a bit less like mass produced counters on a board.
5. Economy Mod
Many players have found that Civ V’s economy growth and research speeds are out of whack, with players often reaching Medieval tech decades before they should. A small team of modders has set about rebalancing the entire economy of the game with this mod. Tech costs have been increased and building costs reduced to slow down research rate and bring technology in line with the level of infrastructure in your empire. This mod also incorporates a couple of UI tweaks, the best one being DireAussie's build order overhaul, which improves the UI for putting together build orders, and adds some useful shortcuts to help you manage your cities' production more easily.
One of the very first mods to appear, Legions removes Civlization V’s insistence that military units occupy separate tiles. The inability to stack several army units on top of one another has added a whole new tactical element to combat in Civ V, but if you couldn’t care less where your archers should go, and the formation of your troops when attacking a city, then this mod will handily remove those restrictions.
7. World War X
If you think that diplomacy is just a load of useless chin wagging, and define ‘peace’ as the bit when you build your forces up before crushing everything, you might want to check out World War X. It's an all out war mod that ramps up the aggression of the AI, lowers the cost and build times of all military units and turns the world into a snarling bear pit of angry, tooled-up nations just spoiling for a fight.
8. Copasetic UI Update
Civilization V’s UI is already miles better than the previous games. Where once you had to wade through a world of menus and construction screens to get anything done, now everything is a few clicks away. That doesn’t mean it’s perfect, though, and modders have already gone to task on the slick new system, adding more information to the interface, and streamlining the experience even further. The Copasetic UI update from Cope makes a few small but extremely useful changes, such as having city labels showing how close a city is to expansion and, in poorer towns, the number of turns left until citizens start starving to death.
9. Larger Scale Mod
If you're bothered by the one unit per tile stacking restrictions, but don't want to use Legions as a workaround, there are other mods out there devoted to making Civ V a less fiddly game by increasing the overall size of the game. Db0's Larger Scale Mod aims to allow more space between cities, giving units more room to manoeuvre and allowing for larger empires in general. Happiness penalties have been reduced, so an average empire can cheerfully exist with a dozen cities. City defences have been buffed as well, which makes military victory that much harder, and gives all nations more opportunity to expand.
10. Useful Extras
And finally, here's a few smaller mods that have proved popular with the community. They may seem menial, but they fix a few niggling problems with the game, and add some useful extra UI tidbits to make managing your empire easier. Searching for these in Civilization V's in game mod database should turn them up fairly quickly, and they're a breeze to install. First up we have the second most popular of all the mods in Civ V's mod database is the Simple Clock mod, which simply adds a clock at the top of the screen, making it easier to stop yourself from playing until two in the morning. The Luxury Resource Display mod gives you another version of the strategic resource display that lets you see luxury resources instead, useful when your capital city starts demanding fur, or uranium, or something. Last but not least there's the surprisingly popular Simple Spacebar Mod, which lets you end turns with a tap of the spacebar.
For more Civilization V mods check out the in game database, and the ever expanding list of projects over at Civ Fanatics. If you fancy creating a scenario yourself, check out our map making guide.
Oct 12, 2010
It’s surprisingly easy to play god in Civilization V. Creating a compelling and carefully balanced scenario can be almost as addictive as playing the game. The good news is, thanks to the slick world editor, making maps in Civilization V is surprisingly easy as well. You don’t need to know how to code, and you won’t need to sacrifice your firstborn to the cyber gods to create your first map. Follow these six easy steps and you could be playing Civilization on a planet of your own creation in no time at all.
1. Tools of the trade
First of all you’ll need to download the Civilization V world builder itself. Open up Steam and head to the ‘Tools’ section of your games library, find Sid Meier’s Civilization V SDK and install it. Once the small download has finished you can launch the SDK at any time straight from this menu.
On launching the SDK a pop up menu will offer you several options. Specialised editing tools for artists and modders can be found here, but the one we’re interested is the ‘WorldBuilder’. Select this and, once it’s loaded up, select ‘New Map’.
2. Brand new world
This is the first screen you’ll be confronted with when booting up the SDK. The two sliders at the top left represent the x and y axis of your map, use these to change the size of the world and then press the ‘Generate Blank Map’ button to see your resized map in the main view.
Now you have two options. You can take your naked, oceanic world forward into the main editor, and lovingly hand place every tile, or have the editor randomly generate some terrain for you to work from. To do this, use the drop down menu at the bottom left of the screen and select the type of world you want the editor to create. You can choose anything from ‘Archipelago’ to ‘Ice Age’. The drop down menus below will let you edit other aspects of your world, such as how old it is, the amount of rainfall and the sea level. Select the options you want and then press the grey ‘Generate with…’ icon to see what the SDK spits out. Once you’re happy with what you’ve got, press ‘Accept Map’ to head into the editor proper.
3. Mould the earth
This is where the magic happens. On this screen you’ll be able to fine tune every aspect of your map. The first thing we need to do now is create some terrain.
This part’s really fun. You can raise mountains, throw down jungles and sew rivers into the terrain by simply painting tiles onto the ocean. At the top right you’ll notice a series of tabs under the heading 'Map Editor Tools'. The fastest way to create your world is using the ‘paint’ tab. First, set the size and shape of your brush with the top two options, and then make sure the ‘Terrain’ pip is checked in the list of options below. In the drop down menu below ‘Terrain’ you’ll be able to select anything from grassland to mountains. Now simply paint your map into existence in the main view.
If you want to add rivers, go to the ‘River’ tab. Clicking this will turn your map into a horrible mess of blue dots. Click on the dots and link them up to add bubbling brooks into your world. To add ruins for players to discover, head to the ‘Plopper’ tab and select the ‘Improvements’ pip. The attached drop down menu will let you place special tiles such as encampments, ancient ruins and ready made mines in the world.
4. And then there was man
Good work. You’ve created a paradise. It’s a quiet and peaceful place that belongs to nature alone. There’s no war, or death, or squabbling politicians to trouble your idyllic new Eden. In other words, it’s boring. Let’s add some civilizations to the mix!
Look to the top of the screen and select the ‘Scenario Editor’ tab. This will let you set the general parameters of the game, including the speed of the game, the starting date and win conditions. At the bottom left of this window there’s a blank box with a ‘Players’ tab at the top. Hitting the small plus sign will add a nation to your scenario, and open up a series of options in the centre of the screen. These will let you tailor choose which nation you want to add, their policies, their starting relationship to other players on the map and even the technologies they start with.
I have decided to create a small single player scenario that will sandwich the player between two warring states. The first nation I’ve added is America. Here I’ve made sure that the ‘Playable’ tab is checked, and that the nation belongs to ‘Team 1’. Then I’ve added the two antagonists, the old foes England and France. To spice things up I’ve given them a series of military policies right off the bat, set them to belong to ‘Team 2’ and ‘Team 3’ respectively, and then made them hate each other using the diplomacy options on the right. To do this I selected ‘At war with’ from the diplomacy drop down menu, and then made sure ‘Team 2’ (England) was at war with ‘Team 3’ (France).
To place cities belonging these nations into your map, select the ‘Cities’ tab from the now familiar ‘Map Editor Tools’ section at the top right of the screen. Select the nationality of the city you want to place and then simply click a tile in the main view to plop down a city. Checking the ‘Edit’ pip in the ‘Cities’ tab will then let you rename the city, set its health, population and add additional buildings.
5. There’s Uranium in them hills
We’re nearly done, but there’s something very important missing from our map. Our civilizations won’t last long without resources. These are probably the most important element in creating a successful scenario. You can manipulate the nations in your scenario by giving them technologies and policy tendencies that will cause them to want one type of resource, then you can stick that resource somewhere dangerous or hard to get to encourage conflict, and add some strategic depth to your map.
If you want a straightforward, even scattering of resources to work from, select the ‘Misc’ tab in the Map Editor Tools, and then press ‘Scatter Resources’. You can press this a few times until you’re happy with the overall layout, and then customise the most precious resources from there.
6. Play your map
There's one final thing you need to do before you can dive into your creation. Exit WorldBuilder and start up the Civilization V SDK. This time, instead of the WorldBuilder, select ModBuddy. Once in Modbuddy, select File > New > Project, then select 'Map Pack' from the two options and press 'OK'. Enter the title of your mod and a description, if you eventually publish your mod, this is the part that players will see before deciding whether they want to download it. Finally click 'Add Map' and add your creation from the list. With this done, head to the taskbar at the top of the screen and select 'Build' and build your map pack. This should install your map in the Civ V directory. If you want to make any future alterations to your creation, be sure to rebuild it in ModBuddy.
Phew, with all that done all that's left is to boot up Civilization V and actually play your map. Select 'Mods' from the main menu, head to 'Single Player' choose your scenario from the list of installed maps. Make sure the scenario box is ticked if you want to play according to the rules you set up and you're away.
Congratulations, you have become a virtual deity! All that's left to do is play your map, fine tune your scenario and share your creation. If you're inspired to create more complex mods for Civilization V then check out this superb guide, put together by Civilization Fanatic community member, Kael. Even without Kael's huge manual, it's perfectly possible to create a brilliant scenario in about half an hour, using nothing more than Worldbuilder's paint tool and a few drop down menu. Happy mapping!