Sunday, January 3, 2010

Where is Civilization 5?

It has been five years since Civ IV came out and it is a terrible shame that Civ V does not appear to be on the horizon. I've written about wanting the next SimCity and more in depth simulation games before, but maybe PC games are simply dying. Sigh. I can dream though.

If I were to be a creative director for a Civ game there are a number of changes I would like to make. In line with my general wanting to make simulations more accurate, there is a lot I would change with the basic map. The Civ games could have a much more detailed terrain. Hopefully, this could be done in a way that wouldn't require an increase in micromanagement. Perhaps something along the line of the worlds in Black & White, I quite liked that aesthetic. I feel this increased realism could add a great deal to the game. We've got the processing power that much of this could be done in the background, giving accurate climatic simulations and such.

This could lead to a number of improvements, one of which is a better model for spread of domestic crops, which, as per the thesis of Guns, Germs and Steel, were incredibly influential in the course of human civilization. That book does a good job of explaining why the old world ended up with higher population densities, technology and diseases, and I would love to see that modeled in a Civ game.

Furthermore, there are several other points I'd like to see modeled more realistically. I was always annoyed that the Civ games seem to be incapable of measuring population properly. One could rule half the world at 21st Century levels of technology and industry and still have a population of 1 million. I would also like to see economics modeled more closely to real life. Instead of units of shields, express things in real world terms of dollars or tons of steel, etc. I'd like to be able to use Civ to actually run simulation of alternate history instead of simply reading stories on alternatehistory.com.

Also, when working in a game universe, I just love knowing that there is an accurate simulation underpinning everything. If I could play a game of Civ and know that I could stop and look underneath at modeled ocean currants, trade patterns and disease vectors, it would be a thing of beauty. Those items always get ignored in favor of flashier wars.

Sadly, I'll be waiting for this for a long time. Although, I suppose I could go work on Freeciv and try to make this all work. I do have free time these days. Of course, there actually was an attempt to make a Guns, Germs and Steel influenced Civ game, but that seems to have died years ago. Shame.

1 comment:

  1. They made another Civ Game, Civ:Revolutions for Consoles, pretty much just Civ4. Also Guns Germs and Steel is not what you should be basing a video game off of.

    But I agree there needs to be a move for more immersion/complexity in video games.

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