OK, it's finally here! CTP2 is in our hands (well, ok, mine and Dan's hands) But first a disclaimer for the following and for the rest of what you will read in these in the next days:
The following is strictly the personal opinions of Markos Giannopoulos and Daniel Quick. We wont try to express the average fan of Civ2, CtP1, SMAC or Quake here. Just ourselves. There is no guarantee that what we think of the game will be anything like your own opinion if you choose to purchase this game. If you want to get an idea of our other previews, you can check the ctp1 preview.
And a final note: if the following doesn't look consistent, it's because it is simply impressions of a few hours, and not part of a normal preview (wait for "Part 2").
Installation, System Requirements
And now to more pleasant stuff. I got the CD and a copy of the manual(which has a "not final" note on the front page) this morning. Many thanks to Lt John btw, for getting us the copies. Installation took 7-8 minutes. I did the full installation which takes 550MB. But here are the exact system requirements:
320 or 550MB of hard disk(depending on your choice)
150MB of virtual memory
16bit, 4MB video card
16bit sound card
4x speed CD
DirectX 7.0a(included in the CD)
By the way, my system is an Athlon at 600Mhz, with 128MB RAM, a Riva TNT, 8MB video card, Soundblaster Live! sound card, and a 8x DVD, running Windows 2000.
Difficulty Levels, Screen Resolutions
The first surprise came when I went to start a new game. The difficulty levels are no longer the classic ones: beginner, easy, medium, hard, very hard, impossible! Luckily, the names of the levels are in a text file... .
The second surprise came when I saw the possible resolutions: up to 1280x1204! I chose 1024x768, but I'll definitely try the others too in the coming days.
Inside the actual game, the first thing you will notice is the changed system for moving the units. No more point, click and it goes there. You actually drag-and-drop to set the route of the unit(or of course use the keyboard, for which btw there are much more default combinations than in ctp1). This means the end of wrong movement orders, although it will take some time to adopt by an experienced ctp1 user. I myself, had learned not to make mistakes and the new system requires extra effort. Still, it is now much easier to change the route of a unit, and generally things feel like they are under your total control in this area.
When you right-click a unit, you get a menu with all the commands. It's really great, to the point of making the buttons on the units tab of the "control panel" worthless(for me) One problem is that they are not "context sensitive". If my unit is not on a trade route, there is no reason why i should see the pirate command, is there? Still, an improvement over CTP1.
Small iritatings things: if you walk into a ruin and you discover an advance, there is no link to the Great Library (GL). In a similar manner, when you discover a science(the "normal" way) you do get a link to the GL of course, but it would be better if there was the info on what I get from it. Inside the GL, for some entries there is no historical info, yet the tab for it appears clickable. Also, the new "tech tree" tab shows the part of the technology tree which leads to the entry, but not for all the entries. But these are probably small things compared to new great additions: first, GL is searchable! Don't tell me that you want me to explain why this is good? The other really helpful additions is the possibility to set goals. You simply select an entry in the GL and click on the "Set Goal" button. After this, when you get to choose what advance you will research, a star will appear next to the advances that you need to meet your goal!
There are new characterizations for the AI. An example: ideologically aggressive academic! All I have to say is "WOW" I'll have to play ore to find out what exactly that means.... Other things: You can now actually declare war! Sounds ridiculous, but it's true. There is also an "Embargo" button which i haven't figured what it actually does yet. On the diplomacy screen the... smileys showing the other civs' stance towards you are now looking like ancient Greek drama faces. Nice idea (what did you expect from a Greek?), but they not big enough on 1024x768. Good thing that there is on-mouse-over help from practically everything in the game.
As for the proposals, they are a step ahead SMAC, I could say. You get to form your proposal exactly as you want it, the combinations are uncounted (OK, you can count them if you're really bored and have nothing to do). You can even set the tone of your proposal. If rejected, you can threaten with war, embargo, or even the destruction of a specific city!
I think one should be careful though with diplomacy, as it seems that actions towards one opponent have an effect on the regard of all the other nations. More "research" is needed on that...
Yes! At last CTP has an autosave feature that works just right. When I first saw the feature being checked by default, I thought about it for a while. In the game though, I never noticed that the computer was saving each turn! One thing I missed from SMAC was the ability to have autosaves from 5 or 10 turns ago. You only have one, of the last turn
It's only the first day, I only checked if the setting is there. Well, the userprofile.txt is there with the same and more options. I didn't try to do more than 8 though... Tomorrow
I run the game for 3 hours, with Photoshop and Notepad (to which I changed often for screenshots and notes) also running, and I had no crash....
Enough for today, check again tomorrow!
Index, Day 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7