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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.
The ‘Digital Deluxe Edition’ of Civilization 6 [official site] is to receive some extra little DLC packs for free, publishers 2K announced today, which is jolly surprising given that the game has been out for six months. 2K say that it wasn’t good enough value, so they’re making it better. And yup, folks who’ve already bought the Digital Deluxe Edition will get ’em too. Digital Deluxe Editions of games tend to strike me as cheeky ways to exploit fandom, offering trinkets and baubles in exchange for an extra 10 or 20, so it’s weird to see a publisher actually care about whether one is good value or not. … [visit site to read more]
The march of progress is slow in civilisation and hey, Civilization can take time too. Civilization 6 [official site] developers Firaxis today launched the 4X strategy game’s Spring Update, bring changes and fixes that may not be mega-huge but are certainly welcome. Warmonger penalties are reworked so your people are no longer forever cursed with the mark of Cain just for twatting your neighbour with a ruler, for starters, and the AI is fixed-up a little too. The patch is a 1GB download now percolating through the pipes so fire up Steam and let’s have a look. … [visit site to read more]
If you’ve been living off the grid and wiping your bum with nettles in the hope that Civilization will one day have a ‘try before you buy’ policy, today is your lucky day. The latest in the venerable strategy series, Civilization VI [official site], now has a demo.
Players who download the Sid Meier s Civilization VI demo will be able to play as China, led by Qin Shi Huang and take their first steps building a new civilization for up to 60 turns in to the game. For those completely new to the Civilization series the demo also includes the tutorial from the full game to introduce and guide beginners to the world of Civilization.
That’s just about enough time to get to grips with some of the new features, though not enough time to really unpack your capital city and to see all the districts spilling onto the map.
Australian will join Sid Meier’s globedwar for the first time in new DLC for Civilization 6 [official site], 2K have announced. WW2-era Prime Minister John Curtin will rise from the grave to lead them. Continuing the theme, 2K have also announced that the ‘Australian Summer’ update is “coming soon” to add neat-o features like official mod tools with Steam Workshop support and the option to play as teams in multiplayer. … [visit site to read more]
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 the basics of its reality would probably make us insufferable to be around.
There are some games however, where the realities of our world are key to enjoying the game. These are the builders like City Skylines, simulators and sports games like Prison Architect and FIFA, and even crime games like Grand Theft Auto. One genre has a particular problem when it comes to maintaining a foot in the real world yet still creating a setting where one can have fun without becoming mired in morally questionable events and choices: historically based games. And among historical games, few subjects are as complex to represent as slavery. Many have tried, from Europa Universalis IV and Victoria II to Civilization and Assassin’s Creed: Freedom Cry, and in this article I’ll investigate the portrayal and use of slavery in these games and more to explore what they get right, what they get wrong, and how games could do better in future.
It’s the weekly Steam charts! These are the games which sold best on Steam last week. This week, it’s the first true> chart of 2017, as the last one covered the arse-end of 2016. All change, all change.
I’m even going to do this one upside-down. New year, new rules! And I don’t want to spoil the surprise right away.
Recompile your kernel, grep your vim, and prepare yourself for The Year Of The Linux Desktop For Really Real This Time: Civilization 6 [official site] is coming to Linux. Porting house Aspyr Media announced yesterday that they’re turning the latest Civ penguinoid, as they have several Civs before it. They’ve already brought Civ 6 to Mac. Unlike The Old Days, Aspyr’s ports tend to come free for folks who already own the game on other OSs, so hooray huzzah for l33t Linux d00dz. … [visit site to read more]
Merry Civmas, everyone! Sidta Claus has arrived with bulging Sid Meier’s Sack full of Sid Meier’s Presents for Sid Meier’s Civilization 6 [official site], giving all of Sid Meier’s Players a big update with Sid Meier’s Fixes and Sid Meier’s Tweaks, while Sid Meier’s Flush Sid Meier’s Players can Sid Meier’s Buy new Sid Meier’s DLC. The most exciting of the two new DLC packs adds Poland as a playable civilization, ruled by Jadwiga, while the other adds viking-y scenarios. But first, the foundations: let’s rap about AI improvements. … [visit site to read more]
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. It’s THE mosssssssst wonderful tiiiiiiiiiiiime ahaahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah I wish I had a machinegun ho ho ho ahahaha, get stuffed 2016. … [visit site to read more]