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CTP1: Interview with William Westwater

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  • CTP1: Interview with William Westwater

    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.

    How do you feel improving a game which has become legendary in the gaming industry?
    Let's see, I think that would be a daunting task. Seriously, I feel humbled by the chance and excited at the same time. It's hard enough to make a great game, let alone an addition to the greatest strategy gaming franchise of all time.

    What do you think where the main problems of "Sid Meier's: Civilization II" and what have you done to correct them in "C:CTP"?
    "Problems" is a word used too strongly when referring to such a great game as Sid's. However, I felt the game bogged down seriously in the middle and the end. Changing governments and getting fifty pop-ups for my rioting cities - argh! That experience was enough to pull my hair out.

    Until now what was the hardest part in the creation of the game for you?
    The hardest part is logistics, getting an entire team to work towards a common dream. When revisions start flying - and they always do - keeping twenty people informed of all of the changes is like trying to ride a run-away rhino.

    Where there any features that you wanted to do on C:CTP and had to leave them out?
    Absolutely, we cut many features that sounded great. We believe though that the best games are simple at the core, but thoroughly polished and honed. I think the saying is: easy to learn, hard to master.

    How did you set the minimum requirements? Did you have to make any trade-offs to meet these requirements?
    The game has to play on what we think of as slow machines today - P 90's - because our audience is very broad. Sure that means we're not hardware accelerated, but I don't think that's the buzz of Civilization. In Civ, you need the time to think out your decisions. After all, the fate of millions lies in your hands.

    Something relative. We heard that it might be possible to have more than 7 civilizations. Will it happen?
    Our engine certainly supports up to thirty-two Civs, and for anyone who wants to try it, we're leaving the backdoor open. However in common practice, the games get very long. We want a faster experience, so we're aiming at eight right now.

    Some say that C:CTP is more targeted to war than Civ2. What is your response to them?
    On the contrary, we are not more war oriented. Actually, we set out to expand the non-conventional forms of competition. We wanted economic, religious, and corporate warfare - competitions we see today - to become a part of the Civilization experience.

    That was all ladies and gentlemen. That "32 civs engine" answer will definetely make me dream tonight. Our next interview is with Mark Lamia, CTP's producer.

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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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