Thanks to the brilliant insight of some of Activision's (former) game developers, the most distinctive feature about the Call to Power games is without a doubt their customizability. Of course, now that the source code has been released, this has feature has become infinitely stronger than it already was. The community that has been modmaking and customizing these two games and that has lobbied for the release of the code has a history going back 5 years. But only a handful of people have been regulars at Apolyton since the site's inception, so many people are probably not aware of some or most of this history. In this article I will dive into the deepest corners of my mind to try and tell the tale of the CtP modmaking community, and how the release of the source code came to be. (I apologize in advance for leaving out any important people, mods, events, etc -- my memory has more holes than Swiss cheese, so I probably didn't mean to.)
|PowerSLICs adds a lot of new messages to the game (including a variety of rankings) and streamlines existing message dialogues|
Even before the first game in the Call to Power series was released (as can for example be witnessed in the Civilization: Call to Power preview Apolyton published in early 1999) it became obvious that customizability was an important goal for Activision's development team. And when the game finally came out, it soon became clear that this was by far the most customizable game in the Civilization genre, and quite probably even one of the most customizable games ever: easy-to-modify text files, a modifiable AI, a powerful scripting language (called SLIC), a good scenario editor, etc. And after the game's release Activision actively supported the fan community's modmaking activities by releasing numerous documents and tools (see the CtP1 Callings, Features, Modification, and Downloads sections), and by frequently posting in Apolyton's CtP1-Creation forum.
|The Apolyton Pack incorporates Harlan's Graphics Mod, which adds (among other things) new city styles, such as these Meso-American pyramids, and realistic leader graphics|
This all resulted in numerous fan-made creations being released on Apolyton early on, such as Lee Water's mod, TP's PowerSLICs, Dutcheese's Scenario Pack, WesW's True Terrain Mod and of course the (then) legendary Celestial Dawn's Mod. There were many others of course, which can all still be downloaded from the CtP1 section of the Apolyton Directory. After some time, many of these earlier mods were combined into a single modpack: the Apolyton Pack (thanks to the efforts of (among others) MarkG, Paul and skorpion59). After that, even more advanced and comprehensive mods were developed by a large group of Apolytoners working together: Awesome Aips (primarily by WesW and Nordicus), which enormously improved the AI, and the still famous Medieval Mod, which initially just added the Medieval Age to the game but ended up being a complete overhaul of the game, created under the leadership of WesW.