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Civilization 4: Development

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  • Civilization 4: Development

    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!):

    • November 2002: Civilization III: Play the Word released
    • ~Spring 2003: Initial development on Civilization IV begins
    • May 2003: Civilization III: Conquests announced, as well as C3C Beta program
    • May 2003: Firaxis strikes publishing deal with Atari for Civilization IV
    • May 2003: Pirates! announced
    • August 2003: Final patch for Play the World released
    • ~Fall 2003: First playable version (MP and SP) of Civilization IV developed
    • November 2003: Civilization III: Conquests released
    • December 2003: Firaxis announces Civilization IV
    • December 2003: Apolyton begins working on The List for Civ4
    • February 2004: At the Game Developer's Conference, Soren Johnson reveals first details Civ4
    • April 2004: Final patch for Conquests released
    • June 2004: A handpicked group of initially around 20 Civ fans begins testing on Civilization IV
    • June 2004: Soren's notes from the GDC are (re)released, with comments included (this section is born)
    • September 2004: Publishing rights for Civilization series sold from Atari to Take-Two Interactive
    • November 2004: Atari announces sale of Civilization franchise
    • November 2004: Pirates! released
    • December 2004: First preview of Civilization IV arrives (PC Gamer), kicking off the PR campaign
    • January 2005: The List for Civ4 completed on Apolyton
    • January 2005: Take-Two announces purchase Civilization franchise, 2K Games as publisher
    • February 2005: 2K Games announces Pirates! for XBox
    • March 2005: NDL announced their Gamebryo engine will be used in Civilization IV
    • May 2005: All major systems are present in Civilization IV and AI is the main priority at this point
    • May 2005: at E3 the PR campaign for Civilization IV kicks into high gear with websites, online previews, interviews, etc
    • June 2005: Apolyton opens Civilization IV section
    • July 2005: Civilization IV enters 'home stretch' phase of development
    • July 2005: Pirates! for XBox planned release
    • September 2005: Preorder version of Civilization IV announced and available, box art revealed
    • October 2005: Official Civilization IV website launched
    • October 2005: Apolyton first fansite to publish (series of) hands-on Civilization IV preview(s)
    • 19 October 2005: Civilization IV goes gold
    • 25 October 2005: Civilization IV released in North America and parts of Europe
    • October 2005: Apolyton hosts online Civilization IV release party
    • October 2005: Mac version of Civilization IV announced, strategy guide released, first mods, modding tools and documenation released by playtesters
    • November 2005: Take-Two Interactive buys Firaxis Games for $27 million
    • November 2005: Civilization IV released in most of the rest of the world, Direct2Drive version released
    • November 2005: Apolyton publishes exclusive Civilization IV audio interview with Soren Johnson
    • November 2005: Sid Meier and Soren Johnson on European promotional tour for Civilization IV
    • November 2005: Patch v1.09 for Civilization IV released, demo released
    • December 2005: Patch v1.52 for Civilization IV released
    • December 2005: Documentary of Yin26 eating Civilization IV box after losing a bet released
    • January 2006: Fire destroys 2K Games headquarters, where some Civilization IV QA testing took place
    • February 2006: Civilization IV declared Strategy Game of the Year 2005, runner-up as PC Game of the Year 2005
    • March 2006: PopTop Software folded into Firaxis Games
    • March 2006: Civilization IV: Warlords announced
    • March 2006: 1,000,000th copy of Civilization IV sold
    • March 2006: CivCity: Rome and Sid Meier's RailRoads! announced
    • April 2006: Patch v1.61 for Civilization IV released
    • Summer 2006: Civilization IV: Warlords planned release

    The Civilization IV game engine has being coded entirely from scratch. This in contrast to Civ3, which was based on a modified version of the SMAC engine. The advantages of a new engine include that the game is now fully 3D, it supports Multiplayer from the beginning and is very mod-friendly. The disadvantage of course is that it requires starting from scratch, which is a lot of work and didn't give Firaxis the solid (more or less bug-free) basis that starting from an existing code-base does. Fortunately Firaxis has taken this into account and has incorporated a lot of pre-existing and proven technology into their design of Civilization IV: they use Gamebryo as graphics engine, Python for scripting, XML for data storage and GameSpy for Multiplayer match-making.

    As said, The Gamebryo 3D grahpics engine developed by NDL is used as graphics engine in Civilization IV. This is the second game for which Firaxis uses this engine: it was used it for Pirates! as well. Other strategy titles that will use or have used this engine include Empire Earth II, Axis & Allies and Kohan II: Kings of War. You can see some screenshots from various games that have or will use this engine on the Gamebryo website.

    Every Civ game has had a different lead designer to ensure freshness. After Sid Meier, Brian Reynolds and Jeff Briggs, it was Soren Johnson's turn: he was the lead designer and overall project lead for Civilization IV. He was also one of the most important programmers, particularly when it came to AI. Sid Meier was also involved in the project, as 'spiritual leader': he's there "to represent the tradition and what made the game fun for the last 15 years" (Sid Meier's own words). He trusted the development team to make a good game, but he regularly came down to play multiplayer and give feedback. He also helped with the management.

    Following is an overview of all Firaxis members of the Civilization IV development team (based on the credits). Internally, Firaxis had some 60-70 people on the team working directly on various aspects of the game but they also had some work contracted out and employed several interns at various times.

    • Sid Meier - Spiritual Leader

    • Soren Johnson - Lead Designer, Project Lead

    • Mustafa Thamer - Lead Programmer
    • Steve Ogden - Lead Artist

    • Barry Caudill - Senior Producer, Writer

    • Jesse Smith - Producer, Programmer, Writer, Scenario Design
    • Dan Magaha - Producer

    • Tim McCracken - Quality Assurance Manager

    • Alex Mantzaris - Programmer
    • Bart Muzzin - Programmer
    • Dan McGarry - Programmer
    • Eric MacDonald - Programmer
    • Jason Winokur - Programmer
    • Jon Shafer - Programmer, Scenario Designer
    • Mike Breitkreutz - Programmer
    • Nat Duca - Programmer
    • Patrick Dawson - Programmer
    • Rob McLaughlin - Programmer
    • Tom Whittaker - Programmer
    • Casey O'Toole - Programmer
    • David Evans - Programmer
    • David McKibbin - Programmer
    • Don Wuenschell - Programmer
    • Jacob Solomon - Programmer
    • Nathan Mefford - Programmer
    • Theresa Bogar - Programmer
    • Andy Szybalski - Programmer Intern

    • Sergey Tiraspolsky - Programmer, Tutorial/Scenario Design, Tester

    • Mike Busatti - Lead Modeller, Artist
    • Mark Shahan - Lead Modeller, Artist

    • Dorian Newcomb - Lead Animator, Artist

    • Dennis Moellers - Animator
    • Ed Lynch - Animator
    • Gregory A. Cunningham - Animator, Artist
    • Alex Kim - Animator, Artist

    • Chris Sulzbach - Artist
    • Gregory Foertsch - Artist
    • Jerome Atherholt - Artist
    • Justin Francis Thomas - Artist
    • Marc Hudgins - Artist
    • Michael Bates - Artist
    • Michael Bazzell - Artist
    • Nicholas J. Rusko-Berger - Artist (was Lead Artist on Civ3)
    • Rob Cloutier - Artist
    • Ryan Murray - Artist
    • Tom Symonds - Artist
    • Steve Chao - Artist
    • Benjamin Harris - Artist
    • Benoit Regimbal - Artist
    • Brandon Blackwell - Artist
    • Darren Gorthey - Artist
    • Jack Snyder - Artist
    • Kevin Bradley - Artist
    • Megan Quinn - Artist
    • Nathan Wright - Artist
    • Russel Vaccaro - Artist

    • Sven Dixon - UI Artist

    • Mark Cromer - Lead Audio Designer, Composer

    • Michael Curran - Sound Designer, Composer

    • Jeffery L. Briggs - Composer

    • Paul Murphy - Lead Writer

    • Michael Soracoe (Sulla) - Writer, Tester
    • Rex Martin - Writer, Tester

    • Ed Piper - Tutorial/Scenario Designer
    • Martin Isaksen (Isak) - Scenario Designer
    • Wouter Snijders (Locutus) - Scenario Designer
    • Dale Kent (Dale) - Scenario Designer
    • Gabriele Trovato (Rhye) - Map/Scenario Designer
    • Robert Thomas (Sirian) - Map Script Programmer, AI & Gameplay Consultant

    • James Copestake - Tester
    • Clint McCaul - Tester
    • Kevan Killion - Tester
    • Patrick Glascoe - Tester
    • Scott Wittbecker - Tester

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