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    by Published on November 24, 2005 17:34

    Review by Chris "Velociryx" Hartpence

    The fourth direct incarnation of the Civilization series in hand, this Civer wants to believe in a brighter future for the franchise after what he calls the disaster that was Civilization III.

    This is his detailed report. (ACS)


    PART 1: First Impressions (Page 1/2)

    First impressions are important in most things, and computer games are no exception. Make a solid first impression on me, and I'm vastly more inclined to overlook weak spots or contradictions in your design.

    Give me choices, and make them mean something (or at least have the good graces to make me feel like they do), and it'll do a lot to soothe the savage beast that tends to rear his evil head when there's just something wonky or rediculous woven into the fabric of the game. Give me attention to detail and don't skimp on the small stuff, and I'll be far less likely to bite your head off when the game engine does something absurdly unexpected.

    I, with my less-than-optimal desktop rig, dodged a great many of the initial setup bullets I've read in the "horror stories" section of the Apolyton CivIV forums (much to my relief!). The installation ran smoothly, and the game started without a hitch, upon the completion of the customary system restart, so we ...

    by Published on November 2, 2005 17:27

    Thankfully, there are no "super traits" in CIV, so you'll find all the leaders are somewhat playable. As always, if you find your own thoughts differ, please feel free to post here - a good discussion about a leader will benefit us all!

    ...
    by Published on October 30, 2005 16:17

    Please note: Cards MUST HAVE 64MB VIDEO RAM, and this should be assumed for every card listed; I will only mention it for cards that typically may have less than 64mb ram.

    This table also does NOT necessarily reflect actual functionality, but instead theoretical functionality. I will update it periodically with information on specific cards that may have trouble more often than others. The list is roughly sorted in order of least performance on top, but not precisely (more in age order really). Remember that updated drivers are a must for running ANY game, and that other system-specific factors such as motherboard and motherboard drivers, system RAM, DirectX, and installed software.

    These results have not been tested thoroughly, and the author and Apolyton do not take any responsibility for inaccuracies as posted. This is a collation of information from other sites (see top post) and should be treated as such.

    ...
    by Published on October 28, 2005 22:18

    Map Index

    Warning to Single Players!

    All of the maps can be played in single or multi player, at your discretion. However, some maps are specifically aimed at the multiplayer side of the game.

    Balanced

    This script guarantees the key strategic resources are near all civs, knocking out the "risk" to certain civs who require resources for their Unique Units.

    Mirror

    This script is aimed at 1v1 or two-teams play. It's a wild thing to play in single player!

    Hub, Ring, and Wheel

    These scripts are completely artificial, intended to supply balanced environments for MP action.

    ...
    by Published on October 21, 2005 19:15

    The following are a series of questions and answers razed in the forums since the initial posting the preview. I hope it helps answering some very specific (but critical) issues.

    Click on the screenshot to enlarge

    Issues answered on the forums

    A city's health is as important as how much you care about it's growth. for each ...

    by Published on October 16, 2005 18:25

    What Do You Want to Build Today?

    At least, not in online games. CivIV allows you to pit your skills against other human opponents in a variety of multiplayer modes. Under the Quick Game mode with simultaneous turn, it is quite possible to play a multiplayer game in one sitting. Multiplayer in CivIV is fun - I am a single player person ...

    by Published on October 13, 2005 18:19

    And then there are promotions, an entirely new concept in CivIV. This is indeed, I believe, the work of a genius. The idea is very simple: as your units earn points through battle, they can choose a promotion which improves them. The implementation of this is just awesome, as promotions bring a new element to the gameplay and make it more tactically engaging and more fun.

    ...
    by Published on October 11, 2005 16:57

    We have wonder movies. We have a cool intro movie that escapes the classic 'history of the world in 40 seconds' concept. We have a throne room. We have voice-overs when a new technology is discovered. We have pigs and cows moving around on the map. We have hundreds of MBs of music of varying genres to listen to, including classical. We have end-of-game replay with a full log of events that you can also watch after the game is over. Oh yes, we also have the whole world in full 3D and we can see our (conquered) world spinning...

    I guess the only thing missing is Elvis arguing with the hot diplomacy advisor. Expansion pack, Sid?

    I want to MOD the world!

    A ...

    by Published on August 14, 2005 16:41

    1. Make sure your OS is fully updated. This means if you run Windows XP, you should be at SP2. Windows 2000 should be at SP4. This is important because sometimes updated drivers don't work (well) with older versions of Windows.

    2. Make sure your Video Card drivers are updated. Both ATI and nVidia are polite enough to provide simple to use drivers that are 'generic', ie work on most or all cards of their brand. ATI drivers and nVidia drivers Omega: Some ATI cards (and even nVidia cards) have reported greater success rates with the Omega drivers. These are THIRD PARTY DRIVERS that are NOT guaranteed to work with any particular card, and may reduce performance. Back your system up (or set a system restore point) BEFORE installing them. You also should consider un-installing old video drivers before installing new ones (especially Omega); ATI uninstaller will help with ATI; nVidia suggests you simply use the add/remove programs control panel (which should work for ATI as well). This thread discusses the drivers for ATI and the Omega drivers.

    3. Update ...
    by Published on August 14, 2005 15:56

    Click on the images to start downloading the videos.

    Official trailer

    Official Civ4 Trailer (with Martin Sheen on the voiceover!)

    Format: 640x360 WMV
    Size: 13 MB (zipped)
    ALTERNATIVE : Quicktime format (18MB)

    CivAnon trailer

    Can a PC game be too addictive? (Funny)

    Format: 480x360 MPEG
    Duration: 2:57m
    Size: 32 MB (zipped)

    ...
    by Published on August 9, 2005 16:21

    Civilization IV was originally scheduled to be released in November 2005, but that was pushed forward to October 25, 2005. Civilization IV: Warlords will be released in the Summer of 2006.

    The System Requirements for Civilization IV are the following:

    Minimum System Requirements:
    Operating System: Windows® 2000/XP
    Processor: 1.2 GHz Intel Pentium 4 or AMD Athlon processor or equivalent
    Memory: 256 MB RAM (Windows 2000) / 512 MB RAM (Windows XP)
    Hard Disk Space: 1.7 GB Free
    CD-ROM Drive : 4X Speed
    Video: DirectX 9.0c-compatible 64 MB video card with Hardware T&L support ( GeForce 2/Radeon 7500 or better)
    Sound: DirectX 9.0c-compatible sound card
    DirectX®: DirectX® version 9.0c (included) or higher

    Recommended System Requirements:
    Operating System: Windows® 2000/XP
    Processor: 1.8 GHz Intel Pentium 4 or AMD Athlon processor or equivalent
    Memory: 512 MB RAM
    Hard Disk Space: 1.7 GB Free
    CD-ROM Drive: 4X Speed
    Video: 128 MB Video Card w/ DirectX 8 support (pixel & vertex shaders)
    Sound: DirectX 9.0c-compatible sound card
    DirectX®: DirectX® version 9.0c (included) or higher

    Supported Operating Systems:
    Windows 2000: Service Pack 1 or higher WITH Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher
    Windows XP: Home or Professional w/ Service Pack 1 or higher

    ...
    by Published on August 9, 2005 16:19

    In his 2004 GDC presentation, Soren Johnson mentions The List for Civ3, noting that with its 200,000 words it's about 25,000 words longer than the New Testament. He's familiar with this list and therefore the wishes of the fan community. Also, during its development, Soren repeatedly posted in our Apolyton forum to indicate that he was keeping track of The List for Civ IV, and after its completion in January 2005 he said:

    ...
    by Published on August 9, 2005 16:15

    Development on Civilization IV began roughly in the Spring of 2003, it was released 25 October 2005. It is being published by 2K Games, a relatively new publishing label of Take-Two Interactive, which is a historic break from Microprose/Hasbro/Infogrames/Atari. 2K Games will also publish Civilization IV: Warlords (expected Summer 2006) and any other possible future expansion packs for Civilization IV. The following is an overview of the history of Civilization IV's development (and how it relates to other major developments at Firaxis, such as the Civ3 expansion packs and Pirates!):

    ...
    by Published on August 9, 2005 16:13

    Civilization IV has Multiplayer support from the outset. Firaxis already had a working version of MP in the Fall of 2003 and throughout development Firaxians played 4+ hour MP games in their own time on Wednesday nights. For Civ4, Firaxis went ahead and designed a multiplayer game first, which has paid off dividends for the single-player game. "We got all the rules set using the multiplayer engine, and then by using that, we learned what players would do. And that helped us write the AI," Firaxis president Jeff Briggs said.

    There are many different forms of MP available in Civ4. Players are able to play everything from quick games of a few hours -- online with the Fast game mode and simultaneous turns -- to protracted games that are stretched out over months -- turn-based PBEM with the Marathon game mode. The forms of MP that Civ4 supports are: LAN, Internet, PBEM (Play-By-Email), Hotseat and Pitboss. It will support both simultaneous turns and classic turn-based mode. GameSpy will be used for Internet match-making. An improved random map generator ensures equal starting positions for all players. The server browser in the game will include buddy list functionality to keep track of your friends easier. Meanwhile, Firaxis will cull all sorts of statistics from multiplayer matches, which will let it rank players, which is aimed to avoid some of the frustration when you find yourself in a multiplayer match with ruthless Civ pros.

    ...
    by Published on August 9, 2005 16:07

    Firaxis has gone through extremely lengths to give the game unprecedented modding power: all in-game data is stored in XML -- almost nothing is hardcoded -- a scripting language is included and even an SDK with some of the game's source code has been released. Modding in Civilization IV is tiered, there are four different levels on which the game can be changed:

    • World Builder: This is the map editor, similar to what is availabe in pretty much all Civ-like games: you can create custom maps with preplaced cities, units, buildings, etc. Anyone can do this, it's as simple as point-and-click. The World Builder stores the maps created with ...
    by Published on August 9, 2005 16:03

    The production overlay doesn't block view of the main mapAs mentioned elsewhere [see Game World], the world in which Civilization IV is set is fully 3D and very much alive and animated. There are also Wonder movies, and Leonard Nimoy (Spock from Star Trek) has been hired as voice actor to record the quotes that accompany new technologies. For a strategic overview, players can zoom out all the way to space and see the world as a globe. In this Globe View, numerous filters are available to facilitate strategizing: Culture, Resources, Units, etc. The User Interface has gotten an overhaul, it is now much more modern and should be very familiar to RTS players. Left-click selects a unit, right-click moves it. The path the unit will follow is indicated as well as the time it takes him to get to his destination.

    The key phrase for the game is "What You See Is What You Get", or WYSIWYG: the entire game is aimed to be playable on the main map. You can see what Buildings and Wonders a City has, which tiles it's working, what it's producing, when it will grow and what Religions and defenses it has -- all from the main map. When production in a City is complete, a transparant overlay will pop up and let you choose a new item to produce without blocking the main map [see above]. The Advance under research and its progress is also visible at all times, as well as the state of the treasury and the science and Culture sliders [see second image, below]. A list of known diplomatic contacts is also visible on screen, along with information about their State Religion and what deals you have with them [see third image]. Contacting them or declaring war is only one click away. Tool tips and pop-ups will inform the user of what's going on (e.g. the outcome of a battle) and what to do next. When the active unit is offscreen, a marker tells the player where it is [see last image].

    ...
    by Published on August 9, 2005 15:59

    The Gameplay section covers all the gameplay aspects of Civilization IV: Cities, Units, Religions, etc. However, the hardcore fan will also be interested in the aspects of the game that are not directly gameplay-related, such as MP options, modding, development history and fan input, the user interface, and the system requirements. That is what this section is about.

    by Published on August 9, 2005 15:54

    The basic gameplay concept of Civilization IV is the same as that in all other Civ-like games: you take charge as the leader of a band of wandering people and set out to found an an empire of cities, armies and scientists with as goal to eventually rule the world. Compared to Civ3, Civilization IV will introduce some new concepts, such as Religion and Great People, change some existing ones, such as combat and technology, and leave others pretty much the same, such as diplomacy and Wonders. Civlization IV: Warlords adds in addition to that the concept of Vassal States.

    by Published on August 9, 2005 15:51

    Civilization IV is part of the Civilization franchise, and a franchise can usually only be successful if it makes conservatively changes between iterations. So Civ4 is not extremely different from Civ3 -- it will be a conservative sequel. According to Soren Johnson, a good rule of thumb for a franchise is "1/3 old, 1/3 improved, 1/3 new". He believes that the best way to improve on Civ3 is to choose a focus and really improve the game in only a single (or a few) area(s), rather than trying to change a little bit of everything. That doesn't mean that Civ4 will play the same as Civ3, while the essence of previous games has remained, many details have changed and the step from Civ3 to Civ4 is the biggest and most ambitious one the series has made to date.

    ...
    by Published on August 9, 2005 15:49


    Bombardment exists in Civilization IV as well but it is sort of a hybrid of previous games: Artillery Units are stronger than they were in Civ3 and will be able to damage multiple units in a tile. This should discourage the strategy of building one huge stack of Units and mopping up the map with that.

    In Civilization IV, the traditional health bar is gone. Every Unit consists ...


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