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In-House Preview Part 7: "Encounters"

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  • In-House Preview Part 7: "Encounters"

    Timeline 2600BC. Our first Warrior has come across an Egyptian unit and we are greeted by Cleopatra. She offers peace; as we hover over the option to politely tell her to stow it she becomes annoyed (imagine that ). She rolls her eyes, flails her hands and then lifts her head in disbelief and disgust when the cursor is moved again – hovering over the consulting advisors option. Her body language seems to scream something along the lines of “Are you kidding me? Do you really need to check with someone else before you, your people’s leader, can make a freaking decision!?” We decide to do so.

    Cleopatra draws her blade as she is pushed into the background by the Culture Advisor who is waving her hands in a dismissive fashion about the threat the Egyptians pose. Sid decides war is the answer and declares it. No sooner is that done than in the next turn, Grey Wolf – leader of the colder climate barbarians – appears. Sid goes on the offensive yet again and is victorious with First once more. It is then that Sid decides to check on Washington and realizes that it is undefended still! Once in a while I forget to do that, Sid says. It doesn't always go well. The second Warrior we had built – let’s call him Second for consistency’s sake – had joined the first in the initial series of battles that were against Brennos' lot. On our behalf Sid ensures that a Warrior is in our capital’s production queue to act as homestead defender when he’s ready.

    On an aside that may be of particular interest to you if you view the accompanying gameplay video: Cleopatra looks notably different from most if not all other screenshots and videos released to date. It is my understanding that this is a temporary change however; by the time the game is released this spring, she will retain more of her better known CivRev likeness.


    So far, so good…
    2200BC. We receive a Caravan unit after capturing and destroying Grey Wolf's camp. The Caravan, whom I’ll Cary for my purposes here, has a base movement of 2 per turn. The discovery of a great river this turn prompts Sid to compare this string of in-game American accomplishments to that of the ‘real life’ nineteenth-century Lewis and Clark duo. We receive naming rights and yet another 10 gold pieces for this event.

    Sid chooses to attack the Egyptian capital of Thebes upon our discovering it. He warns that this might not be a good idea and might is really the operative word here. Unlike CivIV for instance, you cannot see inside enemy cities so we're unable to tell what Cleopatra has defending it until the attack begins. When it does begin, we learn that it's a Warrior unit too. For the first time since the game started, we loose a battle and Second is lost. Oh Second, how little we knew thee.

    Cleopatra responds in kind next turn by attacking our own capital. Thank goodness for the prudence a little earlier in getting a unit built there or the game would really be over... not a saved turn to this game’s name to reload! In both of these instances, the defenders have received a bonus for being in that position. As Third was successful in its defense, the game continues. If you’re wondering who I mean by Third, you must not have been paying that close attention to detail : I’m referring to our third Warrior unit.

    It's now 2100BC and Cary is still on the move. With the ongoing hostilities with the Egyptians, it's unlikely that it would be received well in Thebes or anywhere near Egyptian territory otherwise. But with double the speed of our Warriors, that’s equivalent to a Scout; in lieu of one, Sid decides for us to start using it as such in earnest. Which is fun until you run into a barbarian village, Sid observes. The goody huts, or friendly villages, are alive and well in CivRev. In 2000BC Cary enters one and what he finds rushes our research into Bronze Working to completion. Our Science Advisor then tells us that they have completed our research... into Bronze Working; a minor bug that gives all of us around the conference table a good chuckle. (And no, I don’t know if the Explorer unit is to be in this game or not. )

    That’s what I call an ocean view
    Washington is a size 3 city. There are three workers toiling away in the immediate vicinity around it: one gathering food, one collecting hammers from a southern forest and one procuring trade from the ocean. Sid moves the worker that is working on the ocean to a northern forest to increase our city's production capability at the expense of our gold income. [You can] focus your [city] in different directions, he notes. You can also choose to shift your trade generation from science to gold.

    Speaking of shifts, Sid decides to initially change Washington’s production from a Warrior to Phalanx to take better advantage of this unit type. At Barry's suggestion, production is ultimately changed to a Galley instead. A few turns later Sid returns to our capital’s screen to complete the construction of this Galley more quickly: he rushes it for coin (30 to be exact). It’s true that there are no CivIV Civics to adopt so waiting to switch to Universal Suffrage isn’t possible let alone required. We didn’t even have to wait to be able to switch to the Republican or Democratic government type as in Civ titles before that.

    1900BC. Before we can start controlling “Gal”, our Galley that still retains that new wood smell, it's time to research the second technology in this specific game of CivRev. Back again for 7 turns are Alphabet, Ceremonial Burial, Horseback Riding and Pottery. With Bronze Working now in the scientific bank, Iron Working becomes a possibility at a commitment of 11 turns. Sid chooses this latter most option. At first I am surprised, thinking Ceremonial Burial or Pottery might be a better investment at this point. But one glance at the map towards Egypt and my memory is jogged as to why our focus on metal should continue. Sid moves Gal one tile north and then right back. Sid quickly jumps back to Washington to rush a Phalanx, a.k.a. “Lanx”, for 20 gold from its city screen. The next turn, the Phalanx is loaded onto the Galley.

    We've turned, so to speak, to 1700BC. We now come across Norte Chico, leader of the warmer climate barbarians. Like France's Napoleon, he's a little shorter than life but that's where the comparisons end. He makes a dramatic entrance into the foreground by jumping out from behind a bush, blowgun in hand and body-painted white from head to (presumably) toe. In an accompanying dialogue box, he laugh[s] at our excessive height and warns that we will soon feel the sting of he and his men’s blowguns. True to his word, he then takes a shot with it across out right side: either he forgot to aim, or it's simply intended as a warning.


    Strike a pose! Now hold it, hold it…
    1600BC. We have been exploring further north along the coastline with Gal, and our capital city has built yet another Warrior: Fourth. Sid places Gal beside a tribal village and next turn unloads Lanx from it. One or more of that army division's troops must be related to Lewis and/or Clark as they discover a Great Plains with naming rights and 15 gold to pocket along with it. Sid keeps with the Chesapeake theme going and names the Plains after it. Our Foreign Advisor then appears unexpectedly to tell us the following:

    Our demonstration of irrigation techniques has amazed the villagers. In response, the villagers shower us with gifts worth 25 gold pieces!

    Another silver lining to Lanx’s landing -- in this case, more shiny. But these villagers also tell us of an Ancient Temple located across the waters to the northwest. The map pans to show us where that is. As 1400BC flashes on the screen, Sid says I apologize if I've stopped explaining things and [have] just-- started playing, Barry finishes with a laugh. That's a bad thing, Sid continues. I feel the need to intervene.

    I think it's always a good sign of a good game designer -- they get so engrossed in their own game, they just stop [talking about it].

    No sooner have I finished the sentence then we discover a Great River. You know the drill: more gold pieces – 15 this time – and naming rights. 1100BC comes and we're about to discover a Great Relic. Sid explains the presence of this element in CivRev:

    It's really another motivation to get out and explore the world. We saw a lot of players who would just work on the area around their first city and we wanted to give people an extra reason to explore, so this is a cool [way to do that].

    What’s National Geographic’s number again?
    Our Foreign Advisor returns to announce we have discovered the Ark of the Covenant, ancient holy scrolls revealing the secrets of true happiness! Temples or Cathedrals have been built in each of our cities. Sid says what all of us around the conference table are surely thinking: [t]hat's worth something. We may not have more than one city, but our army is growing large enough for us to be reasonable in calling it that.

    We complete our third Phalanx, “Lanx III”, the following turn. It also seems Cleopatra wants to exchange words again…

    I have touched upon Civilization: Revolution’s graphics in more than one earlier part of my preview but I want to do so in detail one more time. Here’s Barry:

    If you look at the water -- the reflections, the waves, and how there are things living in the water that jump out -- but also this idea that we're still using what's essentially a square tileset just like CivIV but we have a system that actually organically changes the coastlines so that it doesn't feel so square… It’s based on the concept of erosion just like the mountains are. So, no two mountains in this game will look exactly alike.

    We could never create enough art to make the mountains look that different -- we'd take up the whole disc just making mountain and coastline art

    With step in his voice, Sid adds that the worlds in CivRev are richly and vibrantly brought to life in full 3D. Speaking of 3D, different civilizations have different architectural styles. There are 6-7 different styles being used but their appearance and number could change before the game first ships this spring.

    A 04m59s gameplay video accompanies this write-up, complimenting and at times corresponding to what I recount here story-wise. It’s available in Windows Media format and weighs in at 20.1MB. It is partway through it that the camera becomes zoomed in closer on the screen as I promised beforehand was coming.

    It is also my pleasure to bring you an exclusive look at a number of the entertainers that could come to a CivRev Throne Room near you. At 03m16s in length is a focus on the interior of this game feature. Also in Windows Media format, this production is 13.8 in size.

    The next part of my preview will finish the tale of the game Sid led and Barry assisted in demonstration of CivRev -- gameplay video included -- and also touch on some odds and ends from it not previously disclosed. I will also offer some concluding thoughts on the game based on what I saw, heard and have imparted to date in my ongoing reports.

    But there is even more coverage to come courtesy the time I spent with the game myself last fall. (I wonder if Firaxis still has a copy of a save of it somewhere. )

    Stay tuned!
    Last edited by DanQ; January 22, 2008, 18:17.
    PolyCast Co-Host, Owner and Producer: entertaining | informing civ
    >> PolyCast (Civ strategy), ModCast (Civ modding), TurnCast (Civ multiplay); One More Turn Dramedy

  • #2
    The gameplay video link gives me a 404...

    The one at the bottom, that is. The one at the top works fine.
    Last edited by Elhoim; January 22, 2008, 16:48.
    Lead Artist of The Age of Decadence - Isometric, Turn-Based, single-player 3D role-playing game set in a low magic, post-apocalyptic fantasy world.

    Tired of big frigates and small destroyers? Better Ship Scale - New Update! Basic Version for BTS! - More than 3500 downloads! Try it now!


    • #3
      Originally posted by Elhoim
      The gameplay video link gives me a 404...

      The one at the bottom, that is. The one at the top works fine.
      Whoops -- bottom link fixed.

      Hope you are enjoying/have enjoyed the read and the videos.
      PolyCast Co-Host, Owner and Producer: entertaining | informing civ
      >> PolyCast (Civ strategy), ModCast (Civ modding), TurnCast (Civ multiplay); One More Turn Dramedy


      • #4

        Great movies--thanks DanQ. The gameplay is remarkable and makes me consider an XBox purchase even more. Can't say I got much from the Throne Room, seems a waste of good gaming code to me. OK, I suppose it's there for people who miss Vaudeville.
        "Violence is the last refuge of the
        incompentent" -- Isaac Asimov


        • #5
          Re: Movies

          Originally posted by Sid1
          Great movies--thanks DanQ.

          The gameplay is remarkable and makes me consider an XBox purchase even more.

          Can't say I got much from the Throne Room, seems a waste of good gaming code to me. OK, I suppose it's there for people who miss Vaudeville.
          Don't forget the 'Dancing Girls'.

          PolyCast Co-Host, Owner and Producer: entertaining | informing civ
          >> PolyCast (Civ strategy), ModCast (Civ modding), TurnCast (Civ multiplay); One More Turn Dramedy