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CTP1: Interview with Cicilia Barajas

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  • CTP1: Interview with Cicilia Barajas

    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.

    How do you feel improving a game which has become legendary in the gaming industry?
    We are aware that we have very big shoes to fill. Sid Meier is one of the greatest game designers in the world and Civilization is one of the best games ever made. It is an honor to work on the game. I also feel a great sense of responsibility to the many loyal Civ players to deliver a game which does honor to the name and gives them a fresh and completely satisfying Civilization game.

    What do you think where the main problems of "Sid Meier's: Civilization II" and how are you try to correct them in "C:CTP"?
    Although Civilization is one of the best games of all time, I do think there are some areas that could have been improved -in particular, the pacing and the end game. I think towards the end of the game, Civilization gets very bogged down and the game-play can become tedious and slow.

    One of the things that I find in the way I play Civilization is that the way I play in the beginning is the exact opposite of the way I play in the end. In the beginning, I like micro managing my empire in infinite detail. However, by the end of the game, my empire is huge and I don't want to have to do tons of micro management. I want to think about the big strategy not the micro strategy.

    We cure this problem with our game by incorporating a macro/micro interface that adapts to both play styles and helps speed the game along.

    In what ways does "C:CTP" add new ideas to the Civilization franchise?
    C:CTP adds a substantial amount of new ideas to the franchise.

    First, we add a score of new strategies to the game- by adding unconventional warfare.

    Second, we revolutionize the interface, by giving the player a macro and a micro interface. This allows the player to micro manage really easily - wait till you play with our tab interface - it makes managing your civilization incredibly fast and easy.

    Third, and we really haven't talked much about this, we have revamped the trade system to make it more integrated into the game, as well as the diplomacy system.

    For C:CTP, did you get ideas from the "suggestions for civ3" sites and various forums? Can we say that the players have been a part of the development of the game? If so, to what extent?
    We definitely got lots of ideas from the suggestions for Civ3 sites as well as the usenet groups. Although it is daunting to make a game that follows one of the best games of all times, in some ways, it was also great in that we had a large pool of loyal and smart Civ players to drawn on for ideas.

    How easy or difficult is it to make a game that ends in 3000 AD? In other words, how do you come up with the numerous scientific discoveries, improvements and units of the next millenium?
    Making a game that ends in 3000AD was actually really fun. We got to go back and read some of our favorite science fiction writers (like Phillip K. Dick and Neal Stephenson)to develop some our visions of the future.

    Because Civilization posits a very interesting and factual account of history, we tried to make our future realistic and scientifically plausible.

    A possible list of civilizations has been publicized. Through what criteria did you choose them?
    That's an interesting question. We tried to fairly represent various diverse and interesting civilizations from around the world.

    How accurate will the game be in terms of civilizations, city names, units, technology tree, etc. to historical records?
    Very accurate. We have done extensive fact checking on all our city names, and civilizations. As far as the technology tree, the design team has done massive research into the advances and technology tree - trying to present an interesting view of history as well that is easy and intuitive for game players to follow.

    One of the great things in "Civ2" is the ease in which one can significantly modify the game. How easy will it be in C:CTP to do the same (especially the graphics)?
    Currently the plan is to actually make the game even easier to modify than Civ2. We plan to allow advanced users out there to substitute art, maps, modify rule sets, behaviors and even AI.

    The multiplayer ability is great (and something which, at the time this interview was conducted, was still under development for Civ2), but what happens in the single player mode? Will the AI be better (i.e. more adaptable to player strategies)? Does it "cheat", like AI engines in past (prime example being Civ2)?
    As we all know, the AI for a game like this is absolutely critical. We have pretty ambitious plans for our AI. We will have very strong AI personalities that will intelligently respond to individual player strategies and use a variety of unconventional warfare as well. While the plan is to not "cheat," honestly, my main goal is to make the game fun. If we need to cheat to make the game fun, I may end up going to hell, but we'll cheat. Knock on wood though. So far, our AI does not cheat and is damn fun.

    Some people have welcomed the new unconventional units, but others ask if they can avoid them. What's your response to them?
    The unconventional units are very awesome, so although I know there may be some skeptics out there, I think once they see the new units and learn of the strategies they allow, they will want to use them. However, for those who don't want to use them, we not only have all the standard military units and strategies that you would expect in this game, we actually have more. So the game will still be great even if you never touch unconventional warfare.

    In what stage is the development of the game now?
    Currently post-Alpha - in the midst of play balancing and revisions.

    Are there any thoughts of a public beta test? Perhaps a publicly available demo before or after the product is released?
    Peter or Jamey can tell you more on this.
    Note: Activision's John Heinecke has said in our forums that there wont be a public beta test.

    Speaking of release, what is the exact release date? (j/k )
    The plan is for Christmas, but we aren't under any pressure to make this date so if we need to hold it for polish, we will.

    In mid-July, MicroProse was purchased by Hasbro Interactive. As Activision bought a liscense from MicroProse to produce CTP with the "Civilization" trademark in the title, how has Hasbro's acquirement of MicroProse (and, at the same time, the "Civilization" name) affected the development of the game and the relationship between Activision and it's liscenser? Or, has it had no affect at all?
    I can happily say that the whole purchase has really had no effect on us at all.

    Finally, in an earlier press release when Activision first announced it was releasing "Call To Power" with the "Civilization" name in its title, also mentioned was the fact that the liscense extended to include an agreement to have one add-on product made to CTP once released. Although perhaps too early to tell, what can you tell us about the future development of this add-on?
    That it will rock!

    That was all ladies and gentlemen. We hope you enjoyed reading it as much as we enjoyed asking. Our next interview is with Will Westwater, CTP's lead designer.

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    • CTP1: List of Interviews
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      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.

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      24.Dec.1998
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      6.Oct.1998
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      25.Sep.1998
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      ...
      April 25, 2012, 16:48
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      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
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      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
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      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.

      ...
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      What is your involvement in the development of "Civilization: Call To Power"?
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      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
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      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.

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      I was Art Director on Interstate 76, and Xtinction.

      ...
      April 24, 2012, 17:01
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