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CTP1: Interview with John Heinecke


  • CTP1: Interview with John Heinecke

    How did C:CTP go in the first days? What is the initial feedback from the stores?
    Civilization: Call to Power is selling very well. It opened up at #3 on the U.S. PC Data sales chart in its first week. Word from our European offices is equally positive.

    At least in the first days following CTP's release, it seems that there were be plenty of dissapointed people for all sorts of reasons. How do you explain it, and what is the response of the team on this negativism?
    Civ2 is a favorite game to many players. CTP has a lot of radical changes to the Civ2 interface and gameplay style. Many players seemed to be uncomfortable with these new changes at first. Additionally, everyone had a different idea of what the game desig n should have been like, and what we delivered to them may not have been in line with what they were thinking. Finally, the game has some flaws, which upset many people.

    What is Activision's long term support commitment for CTP? Is the CTP programming team being assigned to other projects now that the game is out?
    The CTP team is staying together. The programmers, designers, and producer are all going to be working together on CTP 2. They are committed to support CTP.

    When will the first patch be released, approximately, and what is likely to be fixed with it?
    The first patch will be issued in a few weeks' time. I don't want to promise a date, because we need to finish it and then test it, and software dates can change. But the schedule calls for about 2 weeks of programming and 1 week of testing.

    The patch will contain many of the most requested changes from the newsgroup, forum, and email feedback. The fix list is pretty long. As we draw closer to closing up the patch, we will release a complete fix list. For now, I can say that we are focusing on fixing crash bugs, fixing multiplayer problems (chat scrolling, etc.), adding autosave, improving auto-centering, adding an option for viewing one v. one combat (which will eliminate the "I just lost a unit and don't know why" complaint), adding a func tion that stops action when the advancement screen pops up, adding a link from the advancement screen to the Great Library, and adding animation and mouse speed sliders. This may change, if it does, I will let you know.

    Will there be future patches and what are items likely to be fixed or not be fixed with those?
    We are looking to release the scenario editing tools, final map editor, and a graphics editing tool, which would constitute a second patch. There is also discussion about adding hotseat and PBEM, which may be in the second patch, or may have to wait to be released as a third. We want to release more frequent updates, not make everyone wait for one big update.

    Why the delay on so many features that were supposed to be released with the game, and why did you not delay the game to resolve some issues that will be addressed in the first patch?
    During the last month of production, the team was being pulled in a lot of different directions to finish the game. To help them focus, we made a decision to stop production on the map and scenario editors with the intent to release them online after the game shipped. We didn't think that this would have too much negative effect because most scenario editing players are Internet savvy.

    When is the demo release likely?
    The first patch takes priority, since we have to address problems that our paying customers have brought up. Production on the demo will start after production on the first patch has been completed. The demo design is complete -- it will cover the ancien t period, with the corresponding units, advances, and Wonders. There will be no multiplayer in the demo.

    Aside from the World Map [released 12/4/99], will the official CTP team be releasing other maps? Which ones? Historical or fictional?
    Yes, the team will release additional maps. There are already a few new multiplayer maps floating around the Quality Assurance department. When the scenario editor is released, we plan on providing a couple of scenarios as well, although I'm not sure if t hey are historical or fictional.

    What scenarios will be released by the CTP team, and when can those be expected roughly?
    See above.

    Will extra, unused graphics be available to download from the official CTP website? What kinds of graphics would they be and when can we expect them?
    Yes, although there aren't very many of them. I don't know when, I have to check with the designers.

    What kind of additional documentation on file editing will CTP be providing, aside from the file explaining the SLIC language?
    We will release a scenario editing document with the editor, and a graphics instruction file with the graphics editor. We will also answer questions from editors as much as possible.

    How can we pass along questions or suggestions to CTP's programmers? Will all or most questions get an printed response on the offical website? Should we ever expect a private response?
    You can email the programming team at civilization at Scenario and Map Editor questions should go to ctpbuilder at We've been receiv ing a lot of email, and have tried to answer most of them privately. We have also started to post Frequently Asked Questions on our web page.

    Those who are reporting bugs should check out the Tech Support Page first to see if their problem is addressed [click here]. If it is not listed on the FAQ, then fill out a customer support form from here or email support at

    Be as specific as you can about your problem -- what you were doing when it happened -- and your hardware setup. Also, if you have any "crash.dat" files in your CTP_Program folder, you should include them with your email submission.

    Any thoughts yet on what the expansion pack is going to be? (We assume that there will be one. )
    Right now, we're focusing on the patch, the demo and the scenario tools. Couple that in with the fact that many of the CTP team members are taking their first vacation in eighteen months, and you can see that we're running out of bandwidth fast. We'll start thinking about an expansion after everything else is taken care of.

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