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CTP1: Interview with Mark Lamia

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  • CTP1: Interview with Mark Lamia

    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.

    When did this team start to work on CTP? There were rumors for a long time but we first heard confirmation about it in June, if we remember right.
    Design and pre-Production work began in September of 1997. By January of 1998 we were in full-blown Production.

    Until now what was the hardest and the most fun part in the creation of the game for you?
    The hardest part for me about creating CTP has been making decisions on the project that put limitations on our design or creative possibilities due to the economic and commercial realities involved in delivering the game within our budget and schedule.

    It would be difficult to pinpoint the most fun part of this production. But I would have to say, it all comes down to the people. The opportunity to work with such creative, talented, and intelligent professionals day in and day out during the creation of this game is very exciting. There is no greater feeling as a producer, then when you are working with truly great team creating something that you all have a passion for.

    The press seems to love C:CTP so far, and there is a very good response from the fans also. What is the impact of all that on the team?
    The team loves it! Their working very hard to make this the best game possible. To hear positive feedback from fans makes it all worthwhile.

    Tell us a bit about the C:CTP team and its people. How many people work on C:CTP?
    The Civ: CTP team is an amazing group of very talented developers that have worked on games in almost every conceivable computer gaming genre. They are completely dedicated to the mission of making CTP the best game possible.

    The number of people working exclusively on the project at any given stage during the production varies from 10-25 with 2-4 outside contractors, who have their own production personnel.

    Is C:CTP being developed entirely by employees of Activision or has their been outsourcing of tasks?
    The design and programming are all being done in-house, along with the majority of the Art. Most of the CG movies for the wonders and the Intro and outro movies were done by Creat Studios in St. Petersburg, Russia. Most of our modeling was done by Viewpoint Datalabs in Utah. Some of the sound effects were done in-house and some out of house. Music was composed by 2 different contractors out of house.

    Speaking of balance, some units and wonders in CivII are just too powerful. With C:CTP extending until 3000AD it must be really hard to balance the game, or not?
    There is no doubt about it. Civilization: Call to Power is huge! Balancing this game is extremely difficult and time consuming. The powerful special units you mention, are just one part of an extremely large balancing plan that has to account for many other factors which are even more difficult to account for and balance. It is a tremendous undertaking that you can be sure our designers are working very hard on.

    Can you tell us a bit about the artificial intelligence being developed for C:CTP?
    I'll save that for when you interview our Lead Programmer. Needless to say, were going all out to make sure it rocks!

    It was announced a little while ago that the beta testing of C:CTP would be made internally and not public. Can you be specific as to why this decision was made?
    Logistics mostly. Being able to meaningfully process all of the information that could come from a large external beta test would inhibit us from getting the necessary feedback that beta testers provide. However, I have been working on a solution to this, where we could let external beta testers test, but restrict the numbers so that their feedback could be heard. Stay tuned.

    Are there any plans to release a playable demo of C:CTP before or after its release?
    Presently we are discussing doing a demo for post-release.

    Do you have any definite plans on porting C:CTP in other platforms?
    Nothing definite, but the Macintosh platform looks promising, as well as a Linux port.

    Finally, is everything according to schedule?
    While the team has done a fantastic job meeting its milestones to date, the play balance period is going to require more time. As you know by now, we have decided that a Holiday release would not be the best thing for the game, and that more time for play balancing would be best for the product.

    That was all ladies and gentlemen. The Mac and Linux fans can hope for a better future. Our next interview is with Steve Mariotti, CTP's Lead Programmer.

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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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