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CTP1: Interview with John Heinecke

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  • 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 activision.com. Scenario and Map Editor questions should go to ctpbuilder at activision.com. 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 activision.com.

    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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    • CTP1: List of Interviews
      Martin Gühmann

      For your reading pleasure only , we have arranged a set of interviews with the C:CTP development team, to which we are grateful for this.

      13.Apr.1999
      John Heinecke, Assistant Product Manager
      John fields the most pressing questions from the gaming community during the immediate post-stages of CTP's release.

      8.Jan.1999
      Rick Glenn, Art Director
      Stunning visuals and realistic cinematic animations treat you to front row seats for a game mounting to be as sweet as molasses in January.

      24.Dec.1998
      Steve Mariotti, Lead Programmer
      Read along as Steve Mariotti guides us through the technical process which is helping make CTP just the way we want it.

      23.Nov.1998
      Mark Lamia, Producer
      Mark Lamia talks about the past, the present and future of CTP's production process.

      6.Oct.1998
      William Westwater, Lead Designer
      Have you ever thought of playing with 32 civilizations? Some day you will!

      25.Sep.1998
      Cecilia Barajas, Director
      We ask Cecilia Barajas about C:CTP, the new ideas that it brings, the development of the game and a bit about the future of C:CTP.

      ...
      April 25, 2012, 16:48
    • CTP1: Interview with William Westwater
      Martin Gühmann

      What is your involvement in the development of "Civilization: Call To Power"?
      I am the Lead Designer of Civilization: Call to Power. It is my job to work with the Director to develop the creative vision of the game, and ensure that programmers and artists have a clear understanding of how to implement the design. The Lead Designer is also responsible for leading a team of designers, who are responsible for balancing the game.

      What is your personal history with Civilization?
      I am a huge fan of Civilization games. I remember getting Civ II and playing it for the first time. Two weeks later, I stripped it from my computer and erased all traces of it. Then I got up, showered, and started trying to figure out where my life had gone. That's how compelling I found the game.

      On what other games have you worked on in the past?
      My start was in QA, where I tested Mech2, and was the Lead Tester and a designer on Zork Nemesis. I also did design work for Dark Reign and an RTS called Xtinction, before setting my eyes on Civilization : Call to Power.

      ...
      April 24, 2012, 17:40
    • CTP1: Interview with Cicilia Barajas
      Martin Gühmann

      To start off, what is your involvement with the development of "Civilization: Call To Power"?
      I am the Director of the project - which means that I am in charge of the creative direction of the game.

      What is your personal history with Civilization-style games?
      Other than the fact that I dropped out of life, stopped talking to friends and family, stopped eating, stopped sleeping, stopped working and never answered the phone every time I played Civ2, not much.

      I have always been a big fan of this style of game as well as strategy games in general. Along with Civilization, Warcraft2, Starcraft, and especially Heroes of Might & Magic, are big favorites of mine.

      On what other games have you worked on in the past?
      I Directed and Produced Zork Nemesis.

      ...
      April 24, 2012, 17:33
    • CTP1: Interview with Mark Lamia
      Martin Gühmann

      What is your involvement in the development of "Civilization: Call To Power"?
      I'm the Producer. The Producer is in charge of team operations. It's my job to acquire the resources necessary to implement the vision, manage it and do whatever it takes to keep us moving forward according to plan.

      What is your personal history with Civilization-style games?
      Civilization II is, in my opinion, the greatest computer game ever made. Producing a Civilization: Call to Power is literally a dream come true.

      On what other games have you worked on in the past?
      I have worked on a number of games in various production capacities , ranging from games in the MechWarrior II series, Zork series, Interstate '76, and Dark Reign amongst others.

      ...
      April 24, 2012, 17:23
    • CTP1: Interview with Steve Mariotti
      Martin Gühmann

      What is your involvement in the development of "Civilization: Call To Power"?
      Lead programmer means I did the initial technical design and set standards for code quality. During actual production I oversee the programming effort, provide spiritual guidance, be vigilant over the code stability, compatibility, and so on. I also tend to take the programming tasks that are too banal for any of our experts.

      What is your personal history with Civilization-style games?
      In college I played Sid Meier's Civilization for the first time, and was completely blown away. It was the first game that made 4 hours disappear without a trace. I'd be sitting there at 10pm, playing a game before I turned in for my 8am calculus class, and after "just a few more turns" it was already well after 2 in the morning. I was hooked, and when Civilization II came out, I went right out and picked it up.

      Civ 2 was such a well executed follow-up to Civ, that I was astounded to see that Sid was no longer involved with the project. I gained tremendous respect for Brian Reynolds as game designer who understood what Civ was all about. The opportunity to help carry that mighty torch is truly a great honor.

      ...
      April 24, 2012, 17:13
    • CTP1: Interview with Rick Glenn
      Martin Gühmann

      What is your involvement in the development of "Civilization: Call To Power"?
      I am the Art Director. I work with the director to develop the visual look and feel of the game.

      What is your personal history with Civilization-style games?
      I try to play a bit of everything; Warlords 3, Master of Orion 2, Heroes of Might/Magic but Civilization is the only one that I ever got 'hooked' into. I have played CivI and CivII quite a bit, and while researching for C:CTP played the original board game.

      On what other games have you worked on in the past?
      I was Art Director on Interstate 76, and Xtinction.

      ...
      April 24, 2012, 17:01
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