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Sid Meier: Focus on Firaxis: A Look Inside the Company


  • Sid Meier: Focus on Firaxis: A Look Inside the Company

    Name: Sid Meier (Sid is on the right in the picture to the bottom)
    Title: Designer for Sid Meier's Gettysburg!

    LDespot: I know a book inspired you to create SMG, but what caused you to start work on it when you did?

    Sid Meier: We were looking for a cool new game to introduce with our new company. We tossed around a few ideas, played with a few game designs but kept coming back to this idea to do a Civil War game. Since we’ve always been interested in the Civil War it was natural, but also, we had gotten numerous requests to do one over the years. We had tried different approaches to the topic, but never found one that kept our interest for very long. Last year, the technology was finally available to present the battlefield as I had envisioned it and it just seemed like the thing to do.

    LDespot: How much influence will you have on Alpha Centauri considering that Brian is the lead designer on the project?

    Sid Meier: Brian and I collaborated on the basic design idea and key game-play concepts in the beginning, and periodically we discuss general design options.

    LDespot: Was there anything in SMG that was particularly hard to implement or design? If so, what was it and how was the problem overcome?

    Sid Meier: The challenge was the AI -- it's different from other games and it was a little more difficult than usual. The solution: hard work and perseverance.

    LDespot: The name Sid Meier is all over the place and it is a well-known fact that you are a game designer. My question to you is: What exactly do you do on a day to day basis? i.e. What is a day in the life of Sid Meier like?

    Sid Meier: My day starts by getting up at 7:00am, making a cappuccino to get a good start on the day, setting the table with bowls of breakfast cereals, and sitting down for a nutritious breakfast. At 7:50am I pull my son away from his latest computer game, usher him out the door and drive him to school for an 8:30am arrival. From there I go to Firaxis and, as many people do, sit in front of my computer and do my job. My job is to design a computer game that will be as much fun for others as it is for me. Designing is fun; and playing what I design is fun; the challenge is keeping at it for the months it takes to write the code to bring it all together. While I'm doing my job, others in Firaxis are developing the art, sounds, video and other programming needed to bring the richness and depth to the games that we’re known for. After work, I often have time to play a computer game with Ryan, my son, enjoy a delicious dinner with friends, read with Ryan, play around with a musical composition I'm working on, watch the news, and voila, it’s bedtime.

    LDespot: How did you become a game designer? Did you always want to do it as a kid or is it something that you discovered later in life?

    Sid Meier: I played a lot of board games growing up and I suppose I designed a few modifications to them throughout the years. I guess you could say I was destined to this line of "work" because even though computers were room-sized machines used by the government and big businesses, as soon as I began studying computer programming in college, I wrote games for those monsters. Hey, I wonder what those folks who revoked my computer privileges for putting a game on it would say today?

    LDespot:What do you think of the growing number and popularity of fan supported web sites? I hear the site called "The 14th Brigade" is pretty cool.

    Sid Meier: We are grateful for the dedication and efforts from those absolutely cool folks that create web sites! The 14th Brigade is supreme!

    LDespot:Paper or Plastic?

    Sid Meier: Paper, it’s easier for our pet bunny rabbits to digest!

    Previous: Brian Reynolds - Next: Jerome Atherholt

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