Civ VI, BE & Other News

some articleWhy "Civilization V" Will Be Taught in High Schools
Posted by: BUncle, Today at 12:05:47 AM
Replies: 0

Board: Other Games
Views: 22

http://www.popularmechanics.com/culture/gaming/a21511/civilization-v-high-school/
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Why "Civilization V" Will Be Taught in High Schools
​The best way to learn about historical figures is to destroy their armies.
Popular Mechanics
By David Grossman  Jun 24, 2016






For the legions of kids who ignored their homework for hours while playing Civilization games, this news might come as a surprise: Civ 5 soon could become your homework.

It's called CivilizationEDU. Publisher Take-Two and developer Firaxis have partnered with a company called GlassLab to create the variation on the classic turn-based strategy game, which will be available for North American high schools. GlassLab has experience in converting strategic games into educational tools, having already done so with SimCityEDU. GlassLab will add an analytics engine to Civ, allowing teachers to track students' progress through an online dashboard.

"For the past 25 years, we've found that one of the fun secrets of Civilization is learning while you play," said Sid Meier, the famed founder of Firaxis and creator of Civilization. With last year's successful Kickstarter funding of a remake of The Logical Journey of the Zoombinis and Minecraft: Education Edition currently in beta, it's looking like educational gaming is moving to a place of prioritization it hasn't seen its heyday in the 1990's.
some articleCBS/Paramount Issue Guidelines for Star Trek Fan Films Because Axanar Ruined It
Posted by: BUncle, Yesterday at 01:54:13 PM
Replies: 1672

Board: Recreation Commons
Views: 50892

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CBS/Paramount Issue Guidelines for Star Trek Fan Films Because Axanar Ruined It for Everyone
The Mary Sue
by Teresa Jusino | 5:49 pm, June 24th, 2016






There have been Star Trek fan films for decades without any trouble. So, why is CBS/Paramount suddenly issuing really strict guidelines for fan films now? Because one entitled fan effort ruined it for everyone. That effort is called Axanar.

First things first, fan art of all kinds is awesome. Regardless of its quality, stuff like fan fiction, cosplay, geek music (‘sup Chameleon Circuit!), and fan films are amazing, because they allow fans to express their deep love of a story or character while also exercising their creativity muscles. Win-win. You don’t have to be a lawyer to understand that, as a fan, the property that you’re using to create new art does not belong to you. Which is generally fine, unless you’re trying to profit from it in some way. Otherwise, most studios don’t care about, and even encourage fan art, because it’s basically free marketing.

The crowdfunded Star Trek feature-length fan film Axanar started life as a short called Prelude to Axanar, which looks freaking incredible and managed to wrangle a top-notch cast including folks like Richard Hatch, Gary Graham, and BSG’s . They then used that short to raise money for a feature-length Axanar film. So far, so good. You’re allowed to raise money for the thing you’re creating, as long as you’re not profiting from it financially in any way. The team behind Axanar seemed to understand this during their second crowdfund at IndieGoGo:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6TXDDoADIY&feature=youtu.be


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You may have heard about CBS/Paramount subsequently suing the Axanar team, led by Executive Producer Alec Peters, over the film. As fans, you may have started to feel righteous outrage over it. However, there are some things to think about. According to Chris Murray at The Ego Factor, “rather than, “hey bud. Sorry about that. My bad,” Peters countersued CBS trying to allege that among other things, they didn’t own the copyright to Vulcan ears. This lawsuit by the way, was also paid for using funds from the original crowdsourcing.”

What’s more, “Fans who had paid for a new Star Trek film, were instead paying for a new studio, Peters wages (some $30-40k per annum if I recall, but don’t quote me), and the frivolous lawsuit he winged at CBS to divert attention from the fact that he’d [allegedly] broken the law.”

Here’s the thing, paying oneself as part of a production is standard. If you’re working on a film or show, you should be paid for your work, and that’s built into the budget. Getting a producer fee, a director fee, or a crew/actor fee is totally within the realm of appropriate. But a yearly salary? For a fan film that you’re supposedly doing “on the side” while you live the rest of your life because you’re not an actual employee of Star Trek, CBS, or Paramount so clearly you must have another job?

You may notice in the IndieGoGo video above, when talking about the sound stage that they built for Axanar, that Peters says they’ve “been retrofitting this facility so that it can be a soundstage that we use for years to come.” Years to come? That’s not Axanar, then. So, this crowdfunded money is also supporting future projects? Which ones? Will you be making money on those? Are you using a slick Star Trek film as a lure to get people to fund your production company? Why didn’t you just, I don’t know, crowdfund your production company? People totally do that and are, you know, honest about it! Meanwhile, their crowdfunding campaigns claim to be “all about transparency.”

Instead, the Axanar team has relied on a teesny-weensy fans vs the Big Bad Corporation narrative to deflect from the fact that they may have, I don’t know, [messed up - or loved very much] up, and they’ve managed to convince J.J. Abrams and Justin Lin of that narrative, too. Though honestly, I’m sure that Abrams and Lin are more interested in heading-off possible fan resentment of the franchise with Star Trek Beyond on the horizon than they are in protecting a questionable fan effort.



But this isn’t a case of “David and Goliath,” it’s a case of “Goliath and Goliath,” except one of the Goliaths is pissed off that they can’t get paid. Peters and Co. have yet to address the specifics of why a lawsuit was brought against them in the first place, and have made no move to explain their use of the crowdfunded money in detail except where it concerns “the production.” Another reason I’m not crying for them, Argentina? They’re making this film with not only professional, established actors, but professional, established crew, many of whom have experience working on Star Trek. If you want me to buy that you’re this widdle-biddy fan effort, perhaps I shouldn’t be seeing the fact that you apparently have access to a certain level of talent in Hollywood somehow. At a certain point, that’s not showing off “fan creativity,” that’s a fan hiring professionals to create the illusion of creativity. I’m sure the script Peters wrote is great, but a script alone does not a “fan film” make, and if you’re using ringers to make your film…what’s the cut-off for an actual fan effort?

Now, the lawsuit may indeed be coming to an end, but in order to teach the Anaxar team a lesson, as well as to remind fans that just because they love a thing doesn’t mean they’re entitled to use it however they want if they didn’t make it, CBS/Paramount released a series of guidelines for Star Trek fan films intended to, according to their official release, “support this innovation and encourage celebrations of this beloved cultural phenomenon” while also protecting Star Trek as an intellectual property. They are:

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The fan production must be less than 15 minutes for a single self-contained story, or no more than 2 segments, episodes or parts, not to exceed 30 minutes total, with no additional seasons, episodes, parts, sequels or remakes.

The title of the fan production or any parts cannot include the name Star Trek. However, the title must contain a subtitle with the phrase: “A STAR TREK FAN PRODUCTION” in plain typeface. The fan production cannot use the term “official” in either its title or subtitle or in any marketing, promotions or social media for the fan production.

The content in the fan production must be original, not reproductions, recreations or clips from any Star Trek production. If non-Star Trek third party content is used, all necessary permissions for any third party content should be obtained in writing.

If the fan production uses commercially-available Star Trek uniforms, accessories, toys and props, these items must be official merchandise and not bootleg items or imitations of such commercially available products.

The fan production must be a real “fan” production, i.e., creators, actors and all other participants must be amateurs, cannot be compensated for their services, and cannot be currently or previously employed on any Star Trek series, films, production of DVDs or with any of CBS or Paramount Pictures’ licensees.

The fan production must be non-commercial:
•CBS and Paramount Pictures do not object to limited fundraising for the creation of a fan production, whether 1 or 2 segments and consistent with these guidelines, so long as the total amount does not exceed $50,000, including all platform fees, and when the $50,000 goal is reached, all fundraising must cease.
•The fan production must only be exhibited or distributed on a no-charge basis and/or shared via streaming services without generating revenue.
•The fan production cannot be distributed in a physical format such as DVD or Blu-ray.
•The fan production cannot be used to derive advertising revenue including, but not limited to, through for example, the use of pre or post-roll advertising, click-through advertising banners, that is associated with the fan production.
•No unlicensed Star Trek-related or fan production-related merchandise or services can be offered for sale or given away as premiums, perks or rewards or in connection with the fan production fundraising.
•The fan production cannot derive revenue by selling or licensing fan-created production sets, props or costumes.

The fan production must be family friendly and suitable for public presentation. Videos must not include profanity, nudity, obscenity, pornography, depictions of drugs, alcohol, tobacco, or any harmful or illegal activity, or any material that is offensive, fraudulent, defamatory, libelous, disparaging, sexually explicit, threatening, hateful, or any other inappropriate content. The content of the fan production cannot violate any individual’s right of privacy.

The fan production must display the following disclaimer in the on-screen credits of the fan productions and on any marketing material including the fan production website or page hosting the fan production:

“Star Trek and all related marks, logos and characters are solely owned by CBS Studios Inc. This fan production is not endorsed by, sponsored by, nor affiliated with CBS, Paramount Pictures, or any other Star Trek franchise, and is a non-commercial fan-made film intended for recreational use. No commercial exhibition or distribution is permitted. No alleged independent rights will be asserted against CBS or Paramount Pictures.”

Creators of fan productions must not seek to register their works, nor any elements of the works, under copyright or trademark law.

Fan productions cannot create or imply any association or endorsement by CBS or Paramount Pictures.


Simple, easy-to-understand fan guidelines like this are long overdue, and it won’t be long before other studios follow suit, I’m sure. Of all the guidelines here, the one that hurts the most is that no professionals can be involved. While I raise the point above that, if you’re using a significant number of professionals in your production it ceases to be a “fan” effort, there’s also something to be said for the fact that professionals can also be fans, and it can be cool for someone like Gary Graham or Richard Hatch to play in an independent sandbox every now and again. To deny them that opportunity seems cruel. Perhaps they should rethink this to something like “no more than three roles/positions can be taken up by a professional,” or something.

The time limit is also a bummer. Then again, if you can only raise $50,000 to make the project (which isn’t exactly chump change), that’s about as far as that amount will take you if you don’t want it to look like total garbage. And this also doesn’t stop people from creating different Star Trek fan fictions. It just means that one story can’t be longer than half an hour. So stories have to be more self-contained? So what? Anthology series are all the rage these days anyway!

All the other guidelines, I get, despite Team Axanar calling them “draconian.” No, you can’t make your own merch to sell. That’s profiting off someone else’s property, even if the merch you’re selling has an originally designed logo on it. No, you can’t make your own version of a thing that’s already commercially available. These things make sense, because Star Trek, and everything associated with it, belongs to someone (in this case, a company of someones). You don’t show something how much you “love” it by stealing from it. That’s like showing your neighbors you love them by robbing their house and selling the stuff they bought at the mall on your lawn in a garage sale. Then getting mad at your neighbor for pressing charges, because that’s how you show love.

I’m a fan, and I’m a creator. And as a fan who wants to someday create something worthy of fan love, I understand that these guidelines are important. And as a future creator who’s also a fan, I understand that true fan creativity has nothing to do with “screen accuracy” or being able to use a logo. The best creativity comes from finding the workarounds and coming up with less expensive alternatives, not throwing money at the screen and demanding the use of certain things.

To draw a parallel to another major franchise, the reason why Star Wars was so good was that George Lucas, as a relatively new filmmaker, was constantly being told no. He had a smaller budget than he would’ve liked. He had to come up with alternatives. And it started a decades-old franchise!

Most fans understand this. Most fans don’t have access to Hollywood genre heavyweights. Most fans don’t raise over $1M, having the luxury of having “extra money” to funnel into future production dreams. Most fans are capable of being creative anyway.

(via The Daily Dot, images via CBS/Paramount and the Anaxar website)
http://www.themarysue.com/star-trek-fan-film-guidelines/
some articleCity management, mayhem & Sid Meier's wisdom: Making Civilization VI - Gamasutra
Posted by: BUncle, Yesterday at 12:25:19 AM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 34

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/275196/City_management_mayhem_and_Sid_Meiers_wisdom_Making_Civilization_VI.php#prclt-Ke1q4Lfq
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City management, mayhem and Sid Meier's wisdom: Making Civilization VI
Gamasutra
June 21, 2016 | By Alex Wawro 






The world probably doesn't need another Civilization game. They're still playing the last one.

Sid Meier's Civilization V shipped in 2010, and to this day it still regularly appears in the top ten games on Steam in terms of player count, falling beneath heavyweights like Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: GO but above recent, highly popular releases like Fallout 4. 

Six years on, Firaxis is preparing to ship Civilization VI, with Civ V expansion designer Ed Beach in the lead design chair. From a game developer's perspective, it's intriguing to look at how the venerable strategy game's design continues to evolve -- especially since it's building on a foundation laid 25 years ago by the original Civ.

At E3 this year Civ team producer Dennis Shirk noted that while there are still a lot of people playing Civ V, the changes made to that game's design by its lead designer (Jon Schafer, now president at Conifer Games) during the course of production wound up revealing yet more fundamental Civ design problems the team wants to fix -- starting with cities.
 
"A designer can get wrapped up in his own head about how awesome his design is, but if he puts it out there and nobody gets it, then that's a failure."

"Unstacking the cities is kind of the cornerstone of the whole thing," said Shirk. "After Jon Schafer had gone to one unit per tile [with Civ V], it exposed another part of the game that wasn't very interesting, which is that everything gets built in the city center. As long as you've unlocked it in the tech tree, you're building it and it's just going in the same place. That's all it is: a spot to dump all your buildings, and all your Wonders, and so on."

With Civ VI, says Shirk, "Ed wanted to change all that. He wanted the game to be about the landscape. He wanted the map to be just as important as anything else in the game." So he designed a Civ game that asks players to actually lay out "districts" in the tiles around their cities  ("it's the first thing he prototyped in the game"), and gives them bonuses based on the landscape.

Mountains can be inspirational, for example, so the religion-focused district (the "Holy Site") where you build shrines and temples gets a bonus if it's placed near a mountain. Researching technologies like sailing gets easier if a player's civilization is near the ocean. Managing cities gets more complex, and -- Firaxis hopes -- more interesting.

But that also raises an interesting design question: is it possible to simulation human civilization with too much complexity, to the point where it isn't "fun" anymore?

Shirk suggests developers facing such concerns "follow Civ's most basic design guideline, 'Never have it be complicated until the player is ready for it to be complicated.'" So for a Civilization game, that means starting players out in every new game with just two units: a settler and a warrior. That means the player only has to make one decision: move a unit or found a city.

"The trick, I think, especially to a game like Civilization, and it's a place we've stumbled in the past, is pacing," says Shirk. "I'm sure you remember way back in Civilization V, the very base game, the last third of the game wasn't very interesting. It felt like a very empty space, just hitting 'Next Turn' a lot. So it's that kind of pacing that's always the biggest challenge."


You've got to have a little mayhem

To fix the pacing problem and spice up the base game a bit, Beach did something with the Civ V expansions that fellow strategy game designers may appreciate: he added a little mayhem.



"There's an AI system in the game, it's actually been in there since the expansions when we first introduced it...it's called a 'Mayhem Level,'" says Shirk. "It's actually a super interesting mechanic that Ed came up with. If the game is not achieving a certain level of mayhem, which means something in the world is going on that's causing some problems," then the game AI starts acting up and making moves to make things interesting.

"You don't want huge long times of prosperity," adds Shirk. It makes for a boring strategy game, and it doesn't challenge players to learn the game's systems.

"You have to turn some knobs and make sure the mayhem stays at this certain level. You don't want anything way up here. You don't want anything way down here. So it's a really interesting way of making sure that there's always something that's going to pull the player away from what they're doing or what they're focused on all the time."

Here again, we return to an interesting central design goal for the Civ team: to shake players out of their routines and keep them from playing on autopilot. And that begs another intriguing question: how do you know how far is too far when you're revising your game's design -- especially when your game is the next big Civ?

"Every designer coming in, they have to walk that fine line," says Shirk. "'Will I upset the apple cart this time around?'"


Sid Meier's 33/33/33 rule of sequel design

Even if you aren't working on a Civ game, you may get something out of the advice Shirk says is common wisdom at Firaxis: Sid Meier's 33/33/33 rule of sequel design.

"You want 33 percent of what's already there, existing, 33 percent improved, and 33 percent brand-new in terms of mechanics," he says. "That's something he's spread throughout all the franchises at the company. You saw that with XCOM 2, you saw that with [Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth expansion] Rising Tide when that came out. We try to keep that in all the games we make."

That matches up well with what Mafia III lead Haden Blackman told Gamasutra last week about the value of limits, especially for game developers. Box yourself in with a set of reasonable constraints -- the 33/33/33 rule, for instance -- and you may have an easier time focusing your efforts on the things that will help your game shine.

But Shirk cautions that it's also important not to get too attached to your own ideas about a game's design, and to solicit community feedback early on.



"A designer can get wrapped up in his own head about how awesome his design is, but if he puts it out there and nobody gets it, then that's a failure," says Shirk. "I'm sure you've heard of Frankenstein, and that's been a staple of Civilization, especially throughout many of the last versions of the game. If we didn't have that core group of fans, just constantly giving us feedback as Ed is bouncing ideas back and forth really trying to find that great balance, I don't think Civ would be as good as it is right now."

[Frankenstein, incidentally, is the name of a long-running community of external beta testers who help put Firaxis games through their paces.]

Of course, many developers are good about seeking outside feedback on their games early on -- that's why Steam's Early Access service was born. It's already given rise to at least one notable strategy game, too: Firaxis expat Soren Johnson (who served as lead designer on Civilization IV) learned some notable lessons in launching his own strategy game, Offworld Trading Company, on Early Access last year.

Shirk speaks well of Early Access, especially for developers who are trying to bring game ideas that are novel or untested to life, but says that making a game available for play (and purchase) before it's done would probably never gel with Firaxis' development process -- especially on a Civ game.

"I worry that when you have such a large team, and you have such large expectations...if you had something like Civilization VI come out on  Early Access, and have it not be ready for prime time, I think the backlash could potentially be great," says Shirk. "I think if you're coming out with a brand new concept, a brand new game, especially Soren with Offworld Trading Company, I think the options for Early Access are a lot more powerful because there are no pre-set expectations going in with what the game is or how it should work."

The weight of expectations is also pushing Firaxis to ship Civilization VI with a number of established Civ systems, the sorts of mechanics (like religion) that have previously been added to Civ games post-release through expansion packs.

"Jon Schafer worried if we brought everything forward, for example, from Beyond the Sword then it would be a little overwhelming. So he had to take a lot of things out. He left religion out of the base game, that kind of thing. Ed didn't want to go down that path this time," says Shirk. "Fans already have this very high expectation of what Civilization means. They have things that are really comfortable for them, that they really love doing. He wanted to make sure to bring as much of that forward as possible."

That means Civilization 6 devs have to teach those myriad mechanics to new players, too, because every Civ is someone's first. It's interesting to note that Firaxis aims to do so by falling back on an old-fashioned, extra-large tutorial here, one that gives new players a guided tour through the game's various systems and mechanics. It's optional, of course, and is meant to augment the tooltips, automated advisors and other teaching tools that are woven into Civ games.



"This is probably the biggest base version of the game that we've ever shipped before," Shirk says, and while he acknowledges that "we do have some crunch time" he's keen to point out that it's kept to a minimum because of what he describes as one of Firaxis' chief virtues: managing staff time well. 

"We're starting to be an older studio. Our baby credits are going up and up and up each year because we've got a lot of senior artists, senior designers, senior engineers that have been with Firaxis for a while," says Shirk. "So if we don't have that great home life and work balance, the games are going to be crappy because everyone's going to be miserable. That's one thing at our studio that I wish every other studio would be able to do. You've heard scary stories from other studios about how that's not necessarily the case. It goes a long way. It sounds stupid, but a studio that actually puts family first is a happy studio that makes great games."
video E3 2016 Walkthrough Dev Commentary w/ Ed Beach & Anton Strenger -CIVILIZATION 6
Posted by: BUncle, Yesterday at 12:06:30 AM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 30

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jye2b1DNOsI
videoCIVILIZATION VI - E3 2016 Walkthrough
Posted by: BUncle, June 23, 2016, 06:28:26 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 57

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKUFvo3_FYQ



Hey, kids!  It's Sean Bean!

-And he doesn't get killed!
videoEurogamer interview with Ed Beach
Posted by: Unorthodox, June 23, 2016, 02:14:59 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 34

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08stQT9aV_E



Unable to watch, anyone with a synopsis would be appreciated. 
tmaGamespot interview with Dennis Shirk - Senior Producer
Posted by: Unorthodox, June 23, 2016, 02:11:30 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 31

http://www.gamespot.com/articles/how-civilization-6-balances-civics-science-and-may/1100-6441166/

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But because Civilization is such a dense experience, we decided to sit down with senior producer Dennis Shirk to speak in greater depth about the new city building mechanics, political agenda system, and cultural advancement rewards.

GameSpot: Let’s start with the big change: cities that extend to multiple tiles. Why the decision to unstack cities, and how will this impact the game?

Shirk: What I'd wanted to do is change up the way the landscape basically affects your game. In Civ 5, you settled cities based on the resources that were in the area, but you didn't care necessarily about much else. Everything is built in the city center: buildings, wonders--everything goes there. It's not a very interesting decision, you just build it. That's the only choice you have: to build it, not to build it. By unstacking the cities, what [we’re] able to do is make you think about where you're putting down your settlement.

If you want a city to be a science city, you know you're going to build a campus district. Campuses get adjacency bonuses, for example, from mountains and jungle. So if you find that perfect spot and you put down your city that has a lot of mountains and jungle, you're going like, “I'm specializing this city to be science-generating.” That's also where you're going to build your library and your research lab or your university. And that's across the board for all the districts--they all have strengths and weaknesses based on where your city's located.

They also take up a tile. So every tile they're taking up, you're not going to be building a farm there or a mine. So you have to balance this out. You can't build all the districts there, you can't build all the wonders, because you've got to be able to keep your people fed. You still have to do those basic things to keep your civilization moving. So as you're putting down cities and districts in different places, you have to specialize. Do you want more culture out of a city? Do you want more production? So you have to play the map. And that's the coolest thing, figuring out this puzzle of the map.

Fresh water is a lot more important now than it was before. You can't just plop a city down in the middle of the desert and expect to do well with it because it will never grow. It doesn't have enough fresh water access. There are some new concepts. There are two things that you need to do to have a city thrive: You need its people to be happy--so they have to have enough amenities coming in, like luxury resources--and you need the housing. It's just a concept called housing, but it's basically your population cap. So if you don't have fresh water access out of the gate, you're going to be trapped at one population because you have to have water.


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So are maps still procedurally generated?

Yes.

Did that present any design problems? Because, in theory, you could end up with a map that's terribly inhospitable and makes the game either unplayable or just un-fun.

Oh, definitely. After we put the system in the game, the first time we fired up an archipelago map, we're like, “Nope, not going to work.” [Laughs] We had to make changes and adjustments to that. We found that players were restarting a lot if they weren't getting that perfect mix of mountains right away, because mountains are really powerful now for stuff like that. So we've had to re-tune the way the map generates and staggers stuff out.

But the district system [has] gone through many iterations, and it got to that sweet spot. We've made it so that, for example, not having mountains when you first come in can be offset by the amount of rivers that you have. We always have these balances in place now, where having the different challenges of different starting locations makes the game much more interesting. So you're not always going to have that same strategy when you come back in.I think that would be death for a game like Civilization, where it allows you to play the exact same way every time and you get to get away with it. That's not very interesting.


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So you want to force dynamism on players, in a way; make them react.

Right, because you're not going to come back and play it anymore if you don't have those kinds of things. Something that [lead designer] Ed Beach had developed back on the Brave New World expansion when he was doing a lot of the AI work was a mayhem level. This is something that happens in the background; it's how they tune the game. You want this constant level of mayhem, kind of like the real world, where you never have quite this perfect world going on.

So if you're playing your perfect build or strategy, heading towards that culture victory, something will most likely happen somewhere that may take your attention off it for a little bit. Whether your ally is at war with somebody else and you have to make the decisions if you're going to help them or not, or it's happening directly to you. There's going to be something going on all the time.


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How do you decide what’s an appropriate level of mayhem?

We obviously do a lot of watching what human players do, because you want the AI player to be as challenging to play as if you're playing against a human. We've also got many systems at the office that's literally just playing itself all day long, and then the AI guys are just reading the logs and watching. We never really had that on Civ 5. We'd always have to execute games manually. And this way it's just constantly running, constantly collecting data all the time.

That is slightly terrifying. It sounds like Skynet.

No, it's not quite teaching itself, it's strictly data that's being fed to another guy. That would be a little scary if we were like, “Okay, he's going to play, and you run an algorithm so that it gets better every single time, and learns from itself.” Yeah, Civilization is the start of Skynet, and then it all goes south. [Laughs]

Exactly! It’s interesting to hear that you guys design mayhem into the game. It almost begs philosophical questions about the nature of mankind. If you're making a game that is literally called Civilization and you feel there’s an inherent necessity for chaos and conflict, I don't know what that says about humanity. I'm guessing it wasn't intended as a commentary.

No, not at all. They're not even injecting mayhem. It's about controlling what the AI decides they want to do. So you have the knobs that you turn, and the mayhem level that they watch is just based on how the AI decides to play, how crazy they get, and making sure that's tuned to that perfect spot. You want that little bit of mayhem because it makes for interesting gameplay. In terms of real life, you don't want that at all. But real life may not be the most interesting game to play all the time.


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What about players simply who want to perfect their own little corner of the world? Can they treat Civ 6 like a world building game and not so much like a conquest game?

They can. Well, first off, aside from what you can do in-game, there's always going to be that world of modding: people that design specific scenarios, specific ways to play. But just as in Civ 5, if you want to play a builder game, you don't invite Montezuma and Genghis [Khan] to the party. You go into “advanced setup,” you make sure that you're setting the civs that are really going to all be builders. You choose all the builders in the game, and then just have a build-a-thon, and go from there. But if you want the party, you go random and see where they land.


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So the idea of distinct AI personalities returns? Like, different Civilizations have pre-programmed behavior sets that will correlate with historical precedents?

Even more so now. Like in Civilization 5, Montezuma always played a very specific way. He'd probably be just rampaging and invading. But we have very specific historic agendas now, which allow the way you interact with the civs to be much more interesting. Like Theodore Roosevelt's is, when he's on his own continent, as long as other civs that are on his continent are not causing trouble, he's probably going to be friendly towards them. But if they're causing trouble--they're going to wars or starting wars--he's probably going to be their enemy.

So you can actually have some fun with this, because you might have Emperor Chin nearby, and he's causing you problems. You're trying to play that builder culture game. He's not necessarily going to let you do that because his historic agenda is that he's a wonder builder. He wants to have the most glorious civilization and as many wonders as possible. And if other civilizations are beating him in that wonder race, that's a problem for him. He might get jealous enough to go ahead and start stealing wonders from you, in terms of taking cities.

So maybe you do a little bit of baiting, and you start playing with this information, and you draw him into a war with you, because then Teddy Roosevelt will most likely come to your aid. And now you've basically got this formal war that nobody is going to be angry at you about--because you didn't start it--and in the end, you've come out on top. So there's a lot of things that you can play around with these agendas now that make the game so much more interesting.


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Are civilization's historical agendas going to be apparent to players, or is it something they're just going to have to figure out over time?

No, the historic agendas are the one thing that they can see when they come in. It's discovering all the rest of how [leaders are] playing they have to figure out.

How do you actually pick which leaders represent each civilization?

This time around was based around what we thought the personality would do for the game because certain leaders are going to fill certain gaps. We want X number of leaders that act this way, some that act this way, some that act this way, so you can have that balance going into the game. So it's not just about if they were a great leader, it's what they do.Whenever we have a leader that we think would bring a really interesting historic agenda to the table, like Teddy Roosevelt with his Big Stick policy, that's usually how we choose them. Of course there's going to be a balance. Some are Civ stalwarts. Some places really expect certain things to be in the game. We also always want a percentage that have never appeared in the game before, so we try to keep a percentage of those as well.


Quote
So obviously players can set their own political agendas as well, but it seems like that system has changed slightly. Can you describe the new system a little more deeply, and explain how it will impact the actual gameplay?

Well, we split the trees now. Before you only had the tech tree, so culture players or builders were at the mercy of people who were driving hard science because they'd always have more advanced units and eventually could steamroll you if they wanted to. So I really wanted a way for the cultural player to compete in the world. So we have a culture tree and we have a tech tree. But the thing is, the culture tree is where all of your policies live: the ability to unlock new governments, the ability to unlock more cards, these policy cards.




For example, you have militaristic cards, economic cards, you've got wild card slots, things like that. Now those are only unlockable in the civics tree, so if you're playing a hard culture game and you go deep into that tree, you could unlock some really advanced governments and a plethora of cards to choose from because you're the shining beacon of cultural awesomeness in the world. Whereas if you're playing a hard science game, you don't necessarily get to go as deep, you've got a more primitive government. You're not as enlightened, you're just strictly on the tech, you want more advanced units.

So as a result, if somebody is threatening you--one of those science players--they may have infantry and you've only got riflemen because you're not as far technologically. But because you've got all these great military policies plugged in, your riflemen are about half as much to produce and they've got all these benefits and their 50-percent stronger in certain areas because you've got that flexibility of government, and now you can stand toe-to-toe with these more advanced civilizations.


Quote
Will this affect diplomacy at all? Can you talk about anything that's been added, or any layers of depth or new mechanics that have been added to the diplomacy system?

We're not talking too much about diplomacy, but what I can say is, [leaders] also have random agendas, and they're hidden. An example would be, maybe [a leader] loves industry. That could be the second agenda that he has. You can't see it because you don't have exposure to the information. So if you're this weak-kneed culture civilization, his opinion will start going down; you don't know why.

So maybe to expose some of that information, you establish a trade route. And now that unlocks a little bit of visibility. You start getting rumors and gossip coming back. Still don't know what that hidden agenda is. The next thing you do is you send a delegation. He likes that, that's great, you get a modifier from sending the delegation. Plus the delegation starts sending you information. Now you realize, oh, he's an industry lover, that's why he didn't necessarily like me, that's why that negative modifier is there. So now you can kind of adjust to that as well.

And then of course you can keep going up the information chain to spies eventually, things like that. But [with] a lot of that information trading, you can become a merchant of information if you want, depending on the certain civ that you're playing--because you've got these different levels of visibility based on your engagement, you've got these different things that you're trying to discover.

Do you judge your coworkers based on which Civilizations they tend to prefer?

Silently, yeah. We don't say it verbally, but we always do.


Stock screens and videos at the link. 

some article43 Real-Life Female Leaders We’d Love to See Included in Civilization VI
Posted by: BUncle, June 23, 2016, 03:14:39 AM
Replies: 4

Board: Civ 6
Views: 58

http://www.themarysue.com/every-civilization-vi-leader-female/

Quote
43 Real-Life Female Leaders We’d Love to See Included in Civilization VI
Deal with it. Historically.
The Mary Sue
by Dan Wohl | 3:22 pm, June 15th, 2016



(image via Firaxis Games)



If you’re a fan of history-inspired video games, you got some exciting news last month with the announcement of Civilization VI. The series, the first edition of which came out way back in 1991, is a perpetual remake of the same absurdly addictive turn-based strategy game, in which you chart the course of a civilization from the stone age to the space age. You compete against human or computer players with units, buildings, technologies and policies drawn from history (though certainly not necessarily matching up with how history really unfolded).

Each civilization has a historical leader which, truth be told, doesn’t make a whole lot of difference to the gameplay. Like much in the game, they are mostly there to add to the general historical milieu. But since we all know how important representation is, I’ve thought a lot about the choices the gamemakers have made for these leaders. Civ V, the largest Civ game to date, featured 43 total civilizations including all expansions, and a single leader choice for each. Nine, or just over ⅕, of the leaders were female. Not as bad as it could have been perhaps, but far from equal, and still lopsided enough to convey the message that men overall had a much bigger role to play in the story of human civilization.

As everyone reading this knows, that’s not true; it’s a perception enabled by a combination of patriarchal systems that consistently put men in power, and sexism within the recording and study of history itself. While it sometimes takes a bit more effort to uncover their stories, women have contributed to every civilization in the world, and history-inspired pop culture like the Civ series can have a huge role in making that clearer.

That’s why I’d like to propose that Civ VI have options for leaders of both genders for every single playable civilization. There is actually precedent for this; 1996’s Civ II had this feature, although they at times resorted to including female leaders that were clearly mythological or fictional, a choice that I had no problem with but, in my research for this piece, found to be unnecessary. Here’s a list of historical female leaders from each of the 43 civilizations featured in Civ V that I would love to see in Civ VI. (Ones that actually did appear in Civ V are marked with an asterisk.)

American: Eleanor Roosevelt. Called the “First Lady of the World” for her instrumental role in the formation of the UN, in another American era she would have been a great president herself. Some wanted her to run in 1948, but she declined and gave the electorate’s sexism as one reason why.

Arabian: Sitt al-Mulk. Sitt’s brother, Fatimid Caliph al-Hakim, who was known for abusing his harem, suddenly died in 1021, leaving Sitt to inherit the throne. She may or may not have been responsible for his death, but either way she was the only known female ruler of any of the early Islamic caliphates.

Assyrian: Shammuramat. Named after the legendary Assyrian queen Semiramis (or, possibly, the inspiration for her), Shammuramat led the Assyrian Empire in the 7th or 6th centuries BCE. She was one of the first known female rulers in history.

Austrian: Maria Theresa*. Ruling over the Habsburg Dominions of the Holy Roman Empire for 40 years, Maria Theresa introduced major educational and financial reforms, led Austria in two major wars, and harshly persecuted Jews and Protestants. She also managed to find time to have 16 children, including Marie Antoinette.

Aztec: Isabel de Moctezuma. As her father’s only surviving heir who fought for indigenous power long after the conquistadores took over, the “last Mexica princess” is a bit of a Cleopatra figure. After serving as Hernan Cortes’ mistress and becoming a widow five times over, Isabel (who was born Tecuichpoch Ixcaxochitzin before her forced conversion to Catholicism) married a sympathetic Spaniard, Juan Cano. The two repeatedly sued to reclaim her family’s land, with the intent of leaving it to her daughters, as was the Aztec custom (in contrast to the male-based inheritance of Spanish law).

Babylonian: Addagoppe. A priestess who greatly expanded worship of the lunar deity Sin, Addagoppe may have ruled Babylon in place of her son Nabonidus when he moved to another city. While it’s unclear if that’s true (she would have been 96 at the time), she was clearly powerful, as she was buried with the honors of a queen.

Brazilian: Anita Garibaldi. During the early days of the Brazilian Empire, Garibaldi was a perpetual revolutionary, fighting for republican secessionists across South America. She died in Ravenna before seeing her husband and political partner Giuseppe achieve their later goal of unifying Italy.


(image via Firaxis Games)

Byzantine: Theodora*. Theodora had an unbelievable life (and afterlife) arc: from actress and prostitute, to empress, to saint of the Eastern Orthodox Church. She drew on her experience to protect the most vulnerable women of Constantinople, passing anti-rape legislation and creating a sanctuary house for sex workers to live in, knowing a safe life for them was otherwise impossible at the time.

Carthaginian: Dido*. The story goes that, after her brother killed her husband in Tyre, she escaped to North Africa to found her own empire and plot her revenge. While it’s not 100 percent clear if this vaguely Daenerys-like queen was real, her legacy was venerated by Carthaginians throughout the pivotal Punic Wars with Greece and Rome.

Celtic: Boudicca*. When Boudicca’s husband died and left partial sovereignty over the Iceni tribe to their daughters, the patriarchal Romans didn’t accept it. Boudicca’s response? She burned London to the ground and, to hear Roman historians tell it, her revolution came within a hair’s breadth of convincing Nero to abandon Britain altogether.

Chinese: Wu Zetian*. As de facto empress for about 35 years (while her ineffective nephew ruled) and an official one for 15, Wu was China’s only female monarch in more than 4,000 years. She led several wars in Korea, increased meritocratic policies for choosing civil officials, and declared her reign to be a one-woman dynasty.

Danish: Margrethe I. Not to be confused with the current Queen Margrethe of Denmark, this Margrethe lived after the Viking Age brought about by the Danes (as seen in Civ V), but was a pivotal figure nonetheless. Her strategic marriages created the Kalmar Union, which united Scandinavia for more than a century in the Middle Ages.

Dutch: Wilhelmina. The longest reigning Dutch monarch was a World War II heroine who led her kingdom’s government-in-exile during the war. She dismissed a prime minister who advocated negotiating a peace with Hitler and inspired the Dutch Resistance with late-night radio broadcasts throughout the war.

English: Elizabeth I.* Good Queen Bess presided over a golden age of culture, religious reform and discovery (from the European perspective, that is). And you can also toss in one of the most famous military victories in English history – the defeat of the fearsome Spanish Armada in 1588 – for good measure.

Egyptian: Hatshepsut. Hatshepsut was one of the most successful pharaohs, ruling near the peak of ancient Egyptian power and leaving an architectural legacy rivaled by few others. Many of her successors engaged in attempts to literally erase her name from historical texts for reasons that are unknown, though her gender having something to do with it seems a depressingly good bet.


(image via the Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Ethiopian: Makeda. While the historical evidence for Makeda (otherwise known as the biblical Queen of Sheba) being Ethiopian is unclear, there’s no question that she occupies a crucial position in the nation’s founding myth. She’s credited with creating the dynasty from which even modern Ethiopian rulers like Haile Selassie claimed descent.

French: Joan of Arc. How an illiterate teenager claiming she was on a divine mission convinced her king to put her in charge of the French army during the Siege of Orleans will always be a mystery. But after the battle was won and became the turning point of the Hundred Years War, Joan’s status as one of the most incredible women in history was secured.

German: Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Considered her husband King Frederick William III’s “best minister” by Napoleon, Louise was deeply involved in the politics of her time. Her doomed though impassioned plea to Napoleon for mercy on the Prussian kingdom entrenched her image as an ideal German for centuries.

Greek: Aspasia. As Pericles’ partner, Aspasia was probably the most influential woman during the Athenian Golden Age. She was renowned for her wisdom and rhetorical skill, associated with all the greatest thinkers of the day, and is referenced in the works of philosophers like Plato and Xenophon.

Hunnic: Kreka. The Huns are probably the Civilization civ about whom the least is known; they left no written records, their language is a mystery, and they generally did not actually build cities or even buildings. Proper names recorded in Roman accounts are among the few bits of information we have, so we’ll go with Attila’s wife.

Incan: Mama Ocllo. The Incan monarchy comprised both the Sapa Inca (king), who held legal authority over men and honored the sun god, and the Coya (queen), who held legal authority over women and honored the moon goddess. Mama Ocllo was one of the first Coyas and legendarily established the Incan Empire with then-Sapa Inca Pacachuti, who was either her husband, brother or son (or some combination of the three).

Indian: Indira Gandhi. A a prime minister who moved India forward militarily and economically and accumulated near-unlimited power during the infamous “Emergency” period, Gandhi (who was not related to Mohandas Gandhi) is a complex figure. Some remember her as a brutal dictator, while others celebrate her as the Indian leader who was most effective at connecting emotionally to the poor.

Indonesian: Kartini. While living in seclusion until marriage as was the Javanese custom for women of her time, Kartini spent her time reading feminist magazines and writing letters imagining an Indonesia with both greater women’s rights and independence from the Netherlands. She went on to found several schools for girls and is celebrated today with an annual national holiday.


(image via Wikimedia Commons)

Iroquois: Molly Brant. Iroquois society traditionally afforded great respect and power to clan mothers, and while it’s unclear if Brant (formerly known by her Mohawk names Konwatsi’tsiaienni and Degonwadonti) ever held that title, she was nevertheless one of the most influential Native Americans during the American Revolution. While she’s been criticized for allying with the British, she was dedicated to preserving her culture and felt strongly that an independent America posed a greater threat to her people.

Japanese: Suiko. Since the Meiji Restoration, Japan’s emperorship has been restricted to males without exception—meaning they’ve stepped backward compared to the 1st millennium, when eight empresses reigned. The longest ruling was Suiko, who formally recognized Buddhism as the state religion and instituted some meritocratic, rather than purely hereditary, concepts of titles and ranks.

Korean: Seondeok. During Korea’s Three Kingdoms era, Seondeok’s diplomatic skill produced foreign alliances that put Silla in position to ultimately conquer the other two kingdoms shortly after her death. Seondeok was also known for numerically interesting building projects: she completed a Buddhist pagoda with nine levels representing each of Silla’s traditional enemies, and an observatory (recognized as the first of its kind in the region) made with 27 rows of stones, in honor of her position as Silla’s 27th ruler.

Mayan: Wak Chanil Ajaw. Wak Chanil Ajaw, or “Lady Six Sky,” ruled the polity of Naranjo for decades. Like many Mayan leaders, she’s known mostly from images on monumental stelae; she commissioned several showing her costumed as the Mayan moon goddess and as a warrior-queen, trampling a captured enemy.

Moroccan: Sayyida al-Hurra. Born to an aristocratic Muslim family expelled from Europe by Spain’s Catholic monarchs, Sayyida’s revenge was to become the pirate queen of the Mediterranean. She ruled Tetouan in northern Morocco, and so impressed the Sultan of Morocco that he married her. Shockingly, he traveled to her to show that Sayyida would retain her title, as she did until her stepson overthrew her in 1542.

Mongolian: Mandukhai Khatun. Although her means of acquiring and maintaining power may have been a bit untoward (she adopted Genghis Khan’s only living descendent as a boy and, when he grew up, proceeded to marry him), Mandukhai did plenty to earn her title of “the Wise.” She led the Chingisids in battle while pregnant with twins, reunited the Mongols, and established the dynasty from which most later Mongol nobility descended.

Ottoman: Roxelana. Roxelana was one concubine in a harem of hundreds to Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent before she impressed him so much as to become his wife, violating a 200 year-old tradition barring an Ottoman sultan from marrying a consort. She used her newfound power to position her son as his heir, build soup kitchens all across the empire’s vast territory, and help solidify the Ottoman-Polish alliance thanks to her eastern European heritage.

Persian: Artemisia I. As the queen of the city of Halicarnassus, then a component of the Persian Empire, no one would have expected Artemisia to accompany, let alone lead, her military into battle. But she was too brilliant of a tactician not to; her heroic actions at the Battles of Artemisium and Salamis earned her the highest praise from both Xerxes and the historian Herodotus.

Polish: Jadwiga. Jadwiga’s marriage to Grand Duke Jogaila of Lithuania was a huge sacrifice on her part; she was already engaged to someone she loved, and only agreed to marry the much older Jogaila when she sensed a divine message that it would be for Poland’s benefit. That ended up being true, as the Polish-Lithuanian union endured for centuries, and Jadwiga’s establishment of schools, hospitals and universities made her one of the most beloved Polish rulers.

Polynesian: Liliuokalani. The last ruler of the Kingdom of Hawaii, Liliuokalani was overthrown by American industrialists when she attempted to restore the monarchy’s power that had been forcibly stripped during her predecessor’s reign. A believer in peaceful resistance and a gifted songwriter, she spent the rest of her life writing songs and books celebrating her country and lamenting its loss of independence.


(image public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Portuguese: Maria I*. Known alternately as “the Pious” and “the Mad,” Maria certainly seemed to be both, as Jesus was a key subject of most of her delirious raving episodes. Despite this, she’s revered in both Portugal (for being steadfastly opposed to the Napoleonic threat, and building some of the country’s most spectacular architecture) and Brazil (where she transferred her government after a Napoleon-sponsored Spanish invasion).

Roman: Livia Drusilla. Livia was the first woman to be deified as part of Rome’s imperial cult, and was seen by the public as the model Roman wife during her marriage to Augustus. But behind the scenes she was a cunning and ruthless politician, ensuring the ascension of her son Tiberius by any means necessary, including (most likely) masterminding several assassinations.

Russian: Catherine II*. Few leaders in history have embodied the term “enlightened despot” more accurately than Catherine, who seized power after organizing a coup against her husband and proceeded to preside over a Russian golden age. She greatly expanded her borders through wars and kept an iron grip on the serfdom system, but was also a major patron of artists and scientists, a pioneer in the establishment of female education, and on top of all that, the owner of an incredible collection of erotic furniture.

Shoshone: Sacagawea. Sacagawea’s presence on the Corps of Discovery Expedition was crucial, from interpreting, to guiding, to at one point quickly leaping out of a boat to save all of Lewis and Clark’s journals, on the river now named for her. Depending on which story you believe, she died at either age 24 or 94—but either way, she became a symbol of the worth of women and a hero for the American women’s suffrage movement.


(image public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Siamese: Suriyothai. Suriyothai was a queen consort during the Ayutthaya period who would fight alongside her husband, King Maha Chakkraphat, in battle riding a war elephant—as did their daughter, Boromdhilok. She achieved enduring fame as a martyr when she saved the king’s life by sacrificing her own (and Boromdhilok’s), charging in front of his elephant just as a Burmese commander was about to strike.

Songhai: Amina. The Songhai do not have a lot of recorded history upon which to draw, as their glorious reign in West Africa lasted only a bit more than 100 years. Amina, while not Songhai herself, was an Muslim queen who ruled Zazzau, one of the Hausa city-states that arose after the Songhai Empire’s collapse. She personally led an army of thousands and established her territory as a hub for trade.

Spanish: Isabella I*. The extremely pious Isabella’s co-reign in Castille with her husband Ferdinand V had enormous implications for the world on both sides of the Atlantic. In the very same year they completed the Reconquista, eliminating the last Islamic kingdom in western Europe, and sponsored Christopher Columbus’ first voyage to the Americas.

Swedish: Christina. One of the most educated women of her time, Christina knew eight languages, collected books and artwork voraciously, and read so constantly that she barely had time to sleep, let alone do anything about her wild hair, which became her trademark. She was unabashedly genderqueer, alternately going through phases of wearing men’s clothes and women’s clothes considered far too revealing for someone of her stature, and publicly flaunted her relationship with her companion and “bed-fellow,” Ebba Sparre.

Venetian: Felicia Cornaro. As Dogaressa of Venice in the 11th century, Felicia convinced her husband, Doge Vital I Michiel, to concern himself with foreign affairs as the insular, finance-focused Venetians rarely did. It was her sympathy to the plight of Christian refugees from Palestine within their city that ultimately led to Venice raising an army to participate in the First Crusade.

Zulu: Nandi. After having a son out of wedlock, Nandi was exiled from her home and left to raise her son on her own; that son, Shaka, went on to found the Zulu Kingdom. Nandi held the title “queen of queens” and was a key advisor during Shaka’s reign. Upon her death, he was so distraught that he ordered a number of his attendants to be killed as part of a mourning ritual.
videoFirst Look: Unstacking Cities - CIVILIZATION VI
Posted by: BUncle, June 20, 2016, 07:10:25 PM
Replies: 2

Board: Civ 6
Views: 67

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gv-sOUkv9UI
videoFirst Look: America - CIVILIZATION VI
Posted by: BUncle, June 20, 2016, 06:48:51 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 43

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vVGQThK01M
reviewCivilization VI Lets You Rule In Style
Posted by: BUncle, June 18, 2016, 01:35:16 AM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 51

http://www.tomsguide.com/us/civilization-vi-preview,news-22854.html#prclt-zy17dYAg
Quote
Civilization VI Lets You Rule In Style
tom's guide
by Marshall Honorof Jun 16, 2016, 10:58 AM



LOS ANGELES – Civilization has now covered the same subject material six times, but in its defense, the entire history of the world requires nothing less. The latest installment in Sid Meier’s classic series, Civilization VI, is an evolutionary rather than revolutionary step in the franchise’s history, focusing on small, subtle improvements, especially in city design.

Everything from the franchise’s cartoony graphics to its delightful anachronisms returns in style here, and tells a story not only of how civilizations rise, but how they stand the test of time.

I met with 2K, which will be publishing Civilization VI, at E3 2016 to experience a hands-off demo of the title. If you’ve played a Civilization game before, you can probably already guess how it went. A representative from Firaxis, the game’s developer, began by controlling a humble Chinese village. While it’s possible to start as early as the Stone Age, this demo began with a society that already understood agriculture and animal husbandry. Still, the town had little to call its own, save for a small city center, a rice paddy and a rock quarry.

The game, like previous installments, is a turn-based strategy title that takes place on hexagonal grids. As you expand your reach to encompass more and more hexagons, your resources, technologies and achievements will increase accordingly.

After a short time, for example, the demo’s small Chinese town had developed granaries and water wheels, and was equipped to send settlers to found a new village. The settlers chose a spot by the sea, and suddenly, the ocean was a new exploitable resource. The representative also developed a trade route that linked the two societies.

One town turned inward to spiritual enlightenment, and here, we learned about the new Districts mechanic. Rather than just build a city and be done with it, Civilization VI lets players customize individual parts of their city. By constructing a religious district, the first city became more culturally advanced, and constructed a Wonder to seal the deal. (The Wonder was a pyramid, which the Chinese never built in real-life, but Civilization has mixed and matched cultural anachronisms on purpose for years, and it’s not going to stop anytime soon.)

We also got a look at how diplomacy in the game worked. To the east of China sat the United States of America (again, Civilization is not exactly the real world), and President Theodore Roosevelt was only too happy to trade some cotton for China’s excess stone. This helped foster a friendly relationship between the two countries.

On the other hand, some societies were not so understanding. The second town had to deal with barbarian raiders, and built up a military encampment district as a result. The raiders were no match for advanced Chinese pikemen, and the barbarian territory soon became Chinese.

Egypt, under the leadership of pharaoh Cleopatra, proved to be a different story. Giza’s forces crushed a huge portion of the now-industrializing first city before the second city responded with a new advancement: riflemen and tanks. After conquering Giza, China had the option of either sparing the city and annexing it, or razing it to the ground. The representative chose the former, although an educated guess suggests that such an action would cause problems for the Chinese in the future.

With its focus on choices, consequences and a mix of historical realism and anachronism, Civilization VI looks to continue the trend that made the first five games such enduring classics. Expect to see it on Oct. 21 for the PC.
videoCiv 6 E3 demo
Posted by: Unorthodox, June 15, 2016, 01:16:12 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civ 6
Views: 41

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J88bmqKrbu0


Judging by the screens coming out of this video, looks like a lot of new information to be gleaned. 
featuresCivilization VI forum theme - your input wanted
Posted by: BUncle, June 14, 2016, 08:42:29 PM
Replies: 7

Board: Civ 6
Views: 119

-So I decided we could use a nice Civ 6 theme.

What would that look like?  Something with Atlas is obvious -and I may or may not use him as a background image- but I saw a forum do really poorly with a lot of peach and yellow.  Looking at the screenshots that are out so far, you see green, green and more green, with some blue and gray details on the map.  -Hmm.  Maybe.

Uno suggested something I'd been thinking - interface elements.  The Next Turn Button and the game readouts and so forth.  I'd noticed some pretty bits there, so I loaded up all the screenies with interface showing and started cutting neat bits out:
                     

-Not too bright gold/brass trim/scrollwork everywhere, a good bit of dark wood, a lot of rich dark teal and flat blacks for background.  Subdued neon green and purple and light blue -and of course black and white- for lettering.

Yeah; there's plenty to work with, there.



So first, tart up the Atlas variation of the new AC2 logo with some brass border...  (These all enlarge somewhat clicked on)







I like the last one, best, but am open to input.


Spacey suggested something with more Civ for a 6 theme logo - I'm sorta married to the thematic unity with the main logo, but in ancient days it was night half the time and the sun rose every morning:



And then I tried, much as I hated to reduce the fungused Earth that was so much work, a different crop of that image, with more Atlas and most of the landscape at his feet left in:



I don't think the coppering of the letters quite works -it didn't want to look quite right as brass/gold, either- but I feel like this is otherwise what to go with.


-Now, I can make a copy of the default theme and commence fiddling...  I'd like to involve everyone in the creation, with all the ideas I can pull, and reactions when I start posting results.  Just remember that art can't be a complete democracy without becoming mediocre at best, and I can't please everyone - but I'm certainly interested in trying...
xxRe: Civilization 6 Screenshots
Posted by: BUncle, June 08, 2016, 07:38:08 AM
Replies: 29

Board: Civ 6
Views: 490

some articleCivilization VI: Envoys and City-States
Posted by: BUncle, June 02, 2016, 11:13:21 PM
Replies: 1

Board: Civ 6
Views: 86

http://franchise.civilization.com/en/news/2016-06-civilization-vi-envoys-and-city-states/

Quote
Civilization VI: Envoys and City-States
Date: Jun 1, 2016
Posted By: David Hinkle



In this blog post, we outline the changes to City-States in Civilization VI and introduce the new Envoy system, which allows players to send emissaries off to increase your influence with City-States and receive valuable bonuses. Read on!

What are City-States?

City-States, introduced in Civilization V, are singular cities that act independent of the player and rival leaders in Civilization VI. They have their own political relationships, can engage in war, and provide players a means of diplomacy outside of dealing with the major civilizations.





In Civilization VI, City-States are much more streamlined over their Civilization V counterparts, and feature updated quests that become visible after a player sends an Envoy there. Completing a City-State’s quests earn additional Envoys there, which help you enact more influence and earn greater rewards as you continue to strengthen your relationship that particular City-State.

What are Envoys?

Envoys are a type of emissary that players can send to City-States for the purpose of furthering their agenda in Civilization VI. Envoys earn resources over time and, the more Envoys you send to a particular City-State, the greater the influence you have over that City-State. With enough influence, you can become Suzerain of that City-State, which yields unique bonuses and guarantees allegiance during times of peace and war. Suzerains can even pay gold to levy the City-State’s military units for a limited time.





Players can even send an Envoy to a City-State they are at war with, potentially changing the City-State’s allegiance in the middle of the conflict. Declaring war on a City-State removes all Envoys the player has there; otherwise, Envoys stay on a City-State permanently.





There are certain conditions and actions that may allow Envoys to be removed from a City-State, and we’ll be explaining these situations as we get closer to the launch of Civilization VI.

Join the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #OneMoreTurn, and be sure to follow the Civilization franchise on social media to keep up to date with the latest news and information on Sid Meier’s Civilization VI.

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reviewBE/RT overview & SMACX comparison
Posted by: Harpalus, May 06, 2016, 05:57:54 AM
Replies: 5

Board: Civilization Beyond Earth General Discussions
Views: 515

Quote from: Mart on November 26, 2015, 02:25:03 PM
So anyone from forum members played that expansion already?
What is experience? Better than SMACX? Worse? About the same?

I really wanted to like this game. I ignored Civ 3, 4, and I mostly ignored Civ 5, but purchased Beyond Earth on release day. The lack of voiced quotes for the faction leaders really hurts the personalities of the leaders, but to be fair there's more written as backstory than you realize: it's just out of the way. The Rising Tide and BE factions are all more realistic than Alpha Centauri's factions in my opinion, they just lack personality.

The "lore" has a better starting point than Alpha Centauri, for what little that's worth. (For example,  ;aki; has borg implants COMPLETELY out of sync with her tech level when the game starts. ;deidre; is conveniently environmentalist, by which I meant that she would seem strange, weak, and out of place without the whole "alive planet" thing, which she couldn't have anticipated). It's all the movies, quotes, and philosophy that makes Alpha Centauri's story and characters special. A real opportunity was missed in Beyond Earth. A perfect example is Rising Tide's "Al Falah" faction: the only faction that wasn't cryogenically frozen, so they have no idea what Earth was like. It was an interesting narrative, completely ruined by what I can only assume is misplaced humour (they think Vulpix, the Pokemon, was a mythical animal on Earth along with the llama). You aren't even told any of this by the game: just "here's the arabic faction". Hell, you can't even see the name or image of the leader you're selecting, just the bland faction icon. I had to delve into the game's help files and website to find out Al Falah's backstory.

They had a well thought out cast of characters and backstory, but didn't think narrative was necessary. There's a whole discussion of the backstory and lore of Beyond Earth on Youtube from a convention panel, and almost none of it comes out in the game.  I prefer the stylistic change of the setting, personally: ordinary, "realistic" factions that turn radical as the game progresses, rather than starting that way. Rising Tide added new hybrid affinities, but then didn't bother giving them unique victory conditions or even unique city graphics, both of which would have helped the narrative of the game.

Mechanically, BE is fine. Rising Tide helps: it definitely improved aquatic cities, but it gutted some of personality the leaders had: diplomacy. It's mostly gone, replaced by a separate trading minigame where you're buying abilities for diplomatic capital, conveniently sidestepping the need to actually -talk- to other leaders anymore, much of the time. They do have randomly generated "personalities", where they'll send twitter-style messages at you for various things, which is something.

 If you like Civ 5 and science fiction, BE and Rising Tide are worth a shot. I don't miss anything that BE culled from Civ 5. Rising Tide had some good ideas but can't save the game without more patches and bug fixes. I appreciate that I seem to be on more of a level playing field compared to the AI: Alpha Centauri is full of mechanics that seemingly only benefit the player. BE's orbital layer is much better than the satellite spreadsheet of SMAC/X.

If it was better supported by the developer I'd continue to play it alongside Alpha Centauri, but the game is just too buggy for me. There's been a handful of patches, but they still haven't addressed core balance issues. The game can't even install mods correctly: there's a known bug that prevents many mods from installing, unless you install it, uninstall it, and then install it again: a process you need to go through every time you start up your game. They added functionality that you have to buy and play another game to unlock. Imagine if AC refused to let you play as  ;ulrik; until you also bought Sid Meier's Pirates!, beat it, got the achievements added to a separate online account, and then and only then would you be allowed to play as  ;ulrik; (assuming you were logged in and had internet connectivity). Does anybody believe this company can make a good SMAC2?

Poor show by the developers. The expansion tried to help, but BE was an average game to begin with and there's a mountain of balance issues and bugs. If you already like BE you'll probably like Rising Tide, but do know that they did gut most of the game's diplomacy in favour of a faceless trading game.
photosKittehz!
Posted by: BUncle, April 15, 2016, 11:29:09 PM
Replies: 474

Board: Recreation Commons
Views: 7401

...Pretty distracted the last two days, because kittens...





Ev'rybody feel free to post their kat pichures...
fiction2106 A.D.
Posted by: BUncle, March 23, 2016, 06:15:25 PM
Replies: 3

Board: Planet Tales
Views: 330

A forum roundtable story that amounted to something through the magic of editing, submitted for your approval.  -Note that forum language restrictions are somewhat loosened for stories in here.

Copyright 2009 by the authors.

The discussion thread is here.  Please comment - it's all the pay I get...






By eastsidebagel, Buster’s Uncle,
lemonhead, hs1611 and z4ckdabeast


----

Book One:
Hero of the Future


----




Chapter One
Jack's Crime




The thing David wanted everyone to understand about him is that he was loud for a reason. Teenage angst and anxiety about his social life at High School took the best from him, and all that was left was an obnoxious emo kid who listened to Green Day all day long, the volume on his iPod turned to max.

"David", his mother called him from the kitchen downstairs, "I've served dinner. Come down, hun."

But David couldn't hear her because of the ear plugs and so he didn't notice her loving care for his well-being and he continued to indulge his self-pity.

He knew cranking up the volume on the music so loud wasn't good for his crappy hearing, but, like any teen in the 'tude stage of his life, he didn't care.

David's mother, enraged after minutes of fruitlessly calling her son to sit down at the dinner table, entered his room, pulled out the ear plugs from his ears and said ferociously: "That's it mister, no more pocket money for you this month!". David was utterly shocked by this prospect. He needed money for the movies, concerts and such things. This could mean only one thing: he must get a job.

At the next day, David told his friends at school about this and they too were truly surprised. After all, David's mother was generally known as the most tolerant and indifferent mother around; normally she didn't give a crap about the eccentric behavior of her son and therefore, this sudden cut in David's monthly budget came most surprising. David's peers, Charles and Ramon, both emo kids of the finest kind, suspected that this sudden mind change of his mother must have something to do with a new, unknown lover in her life.

Being punk kids, they didn't phrase it that delicately.

So David was forced to look for a job; his first choice was to apply at the nearby McDonald's, where his father had worked for nearly thirty years until his retirement. David's haircut, pierced nose and obvious bad attitude were going to be a problem in getting hired anywhere, but at McDonald's he had an in.

He was a legacy.

The next day, David entered the office of the manager of the local McDonald's and sat down before the desk of Mr. Ricardelli. Sam Ricardelli was a war veteran of Vietnam, with no tolerance for self-indulgent, worthless slackers like David.

Nevertheless, Dave got the job he was looking for after a very embarrassing, very awkward job interview, and the next thing he knew he was occupied as the new fry cook.

David had no idea why he wasn't manning the drive-thru window or something instead, as he couldn't cook. Still, the pay was better, so he was quite happy when he received his first pay check a month later. Just some three-hundred bucks more and he could be able to afford one ticket to the next Green Day-concert, which happened to be held next week in his hometown, Columbus, OH.

David was very happy with the current circumstances of his life, so he even stopped cutting himself; which kind of alienated him a bit from the other emo kids he had befriended so far at his school. Non-conformists cliques always wanted everyone to non-conform together.

One day, on his way to home to his ignorant, middle-class mother a black car pulled over to the sidewalk David was walking on; he stopped, curious. A black, mirrored window of the car cracked opened and a mysterious, smoky, low, female voice called from inside: "David, why don't you have a seat? We have a very interesting offer for you."

David was paralyzed, and as though forced to move by a puppeteer, slowly opened the door and entered the car. There was a soundless buzzing- a shapely brunette, wearing an oddly-styled gray woman’s business suit, was in the back seat lying on her back, eyes closed; she said with a husky voice: "David, there is a service I want you to perform for me"

"But who are you, I even don't know why you picked me out of all people for your task!", he said in a distressed voice, almost crying, for now his sound little suburban world seemed to get more coming-to-an-end by the minute.

The woman sat up, grabbed David with both hands on his face, and looked deeply into his eyes. She said in a crystal-clear voice, as cold and emotionless as a diamond, "Dave, I'm your wife… from the freakin' future!"

"What..? What do you mean, from the future? How is that possible? My wife? When did we meet? Who are you??" - shouted David while trying to back out of the car.

Unfortunately the door on his side was already closed and the car was speeding down the street.

The woman looked out the window for a moment, collecting her thoughts before turning again to look at David and saying, "Never mind that now. That's a long story and our time is short. You'll just have to trust me and I'll explain everything later.

“You see our nephew, Jack Hawksmoor, is in trouble and he needs your help.

”I’m Melinda, by the way.”

The black limousine rushed down the deserted road, ignored red traffic lights and was heading straight to the airport. Dave, the wuss, was silently weeping on the whole drive. Melinda, a hot brunette, sighed at the view. In a dark, vibrant voice, she began to tell her story; "You see, Dave, the son of my brother will be the first man on Mars. His journey will mark the beginning of the colonization of the red planet, but in my time, all settlers are presumably dead, killed by a Martian killer virus, which our nephew accidentally unleashed. Since I'm from your future, my ability to interfere in this timeline is very limited. I can't do this on my own, and so you gotta help me with my mission by warning Jack not to start his travel to Mars in order to save about twelve-hundred lives in the future. Got that?"

David, being all the emo kid he was, wept even a little bit more after hearing this.

"Stop that", said Melinda, "stop that, I say. This shouldn’t take more than a couple of weeks."

David just cried harder, "Oh no. I’m gonna miss the Green Day concert next week!!"

"Don’t be stupid", said Melinda, "with my time machine I can return you to this very moment after you finish your mission."

Finally David got a grip on himself and stopped crying. Melinda sighed in relief and drew a gun from under the small desk which was attached to the driver's seat. David noticed nobody was actually driving the car- it seemed fully automated.

At the sight of the futuristic weapon, David gasped and asked, "What’s that supposed to mean?"

Melinda put the safety catch on again, pushed the gun into the shaking hands of David and calmly replied, "With that, you're going to kill your future nephew. You'll be getting life for this and I'll return to the future, but with your sacrifice you'll be saving hundreds of people from their certain death. Are you going to do it, my future lover?"

David got a boner...

"Say," he said, his eyes flicking down to glance at her very healthy bosom, "if we’re married, couldn't we, y'know...". David wasn't sure how to express himself. Oh, how different was reality from the sterilized fake set of a movie!

But Melinda brought her finger to his lips to silent his unintelligible mutter, grabbed his left hand and drew it slowly to her boobs. But in the very last second before his hand reached her vibrating and firm flesh, the car went out of control. A bright red light went on and off in the spacey passenger cabin and a shrill alert filled the air. Melinda and David were shaken all around the seats and David was fearfully crying, "What the hell is going on?", before everything went pitch dark before his eyes.

----

When he woke up, he saw- HITLER!

He sat there on the floor of the office in awe, eye in eye with the Fuhrer! So Melinda was telling the truth from the beginning; She really was able to travel in time and the car had obviously been a mobile time machine or something, which ran out of control and randomly catapulted them into this time. Hitler stood up from his desk, slowly approached Dave and Melinda- who was lying knocked out on the floor- and when he came to within a few feet of David, he said quietly, so that it more resembled an angry hissing sound than a human voice: "Wer bist du?".

David began frantically groping Melinda, too frightened to enjoy it, but Hitler was faster: He grabbed David by his shoulder, pulling him up as he called for guards. Mere seconds later, two heavy-armed men entered the room and took the time-lost pair to a cell. One of them spoke a little bit of English, and he explained to David the situation they were in. Hitler feared that they might be English spies, and after interrogation they were probably to be executed in the morning.

As the trailing soldier of the pair was reaching to close the cell door behind him, Melinda woke up, first disorientated, and then slowly grasping what had happened in the last ten minutes. She laughed frantically; relieved they’d not had time to strip her.

She slapped her hip pocket hard like it was a pilot's harness release, and out in the hall, Hitler started to slap himself in the face. It was like Hitler had lost all control of his body. He took out a gun and shot himself right in the face.

A mass of broken cables and melted metals was seen inside Hitler's broken face.

"What the hell!" said David

“It’s just an android. Someone is trying to sabotage our mission. Come on David, we need to get out of here and find my car. We must figure out where and when we are”.

Suddenly, three guards appeared in a flash before them.

"Teleportation! That means we’re really in the future; a timeline more advanced than mine!" said Melinda.

The guards were obviously androids; when they talked together it sounded like a modem connecting to the Internet.

"Melinda, we gotta find the car; this place is gonna make me crap myself!"

The guards were raising mechanical arms, their hands hinging open at the wrists, revealing cavities where bones and flesh should have been were they human. Out of those cavities, a gleaming light came, glowing more and more intensely by the second. The guards otherwise stood still, still tracking every movement David and Melinda made.

Then she realized what was going on, "They're charging their energy cannons! We're gonna die if we don't get away now!"

Melinda grabbed a still-paralyzed David by the wrist and pulled him with her towards the cell door.

As they rushed out into the cold and dark outside, they heard something like the shot of a gun, but much louder than an ordinary gun could have ever made. The cell they’d bolted from was now filled with a blue and unearthly light, and small bolts of electricity and pure energy were circulating all around the walls and furniture. It felt like the moment before a big explosion, and the pair forced themselves to run away as fast as their shaky legs could take them.

They were running through a big open area. In the distance they spotted a lighted opening and turned to go in that direction. David, less afraid of exploding androids than Hitler, finally noticed something strange; their strides were unnaturally long and lofty, with each step taking them a dozen meters farther.

"Where are we?" whined David.

"My best guess is somewhere on the Moon", answered Melinda, "but the real questions are: Who brought us here, why, and how?"

They were swiftly proceeding to a lighted area ahead when they heard a voice reverberating through a Public Address System: "My dear uncle and aunt, where do you think you’re going? There’s no place to hide. Surrender now and I promise not to harm you."

"Jack", they said simultaneously.

A silence fell upon the scene, the pursuing androids had finally charged enough energy and fired their energy blasts. David and Melinda stood stunned and unable to move an inch.

Then they disappeared yet again and in the next second, they stood on a metallic, polished floor, very much unlike the dusty and grey ground they’d trod a second before.

A seemingly omnipresent, malevolent-sounding voice which seemed to come from everywhere around them asked again, "Where do you think you're going; this is my turf and you are intruders here!"

Melinda made a few steps forward, unconsciously protecting her future husband behind her. "I’m Melinda Madison and this teenager behind me is David, your uncle from the past. We don't know what happened, but we accidentally happened to come to this place in this time. I'm not sure if it was a malfunction of the photon flux generator or..."

"Silence!", the voice boomingly interrupted her, "I know exactly who you are and from where you come from. You planned to eliminate my past, to kill me as an infant, but now on my turn I'm going to eliminate your future!"

They heard a faint burst of static; obviously he had turned off the communication system. At the very end of the rectangular room they stood in, a door opened and in the light streaming through the now-revealed entrance, the broad-shouldered silhouette of a man with seemingly long hair appeared.

"My dear uncle and aunt, finally, oh finally, I see you both together, from face to face. It took a long time to sabotage your time machine, but I must admit that my plan to lure you guys into my Moon Base just worked marvelously!"

"What do you mean with 'your plan', you freak?" an increasingly enraged Melinda asked the man- who on a closer look appeared to even more insane than he’d sounded before.

"You see, my good aunt, I sent dozens of android agents into the past to watch every action you might come up to against me; for example your manager, David- this Ricardelli guy, or your mom’s new boyfriend-"

"I freaking knew it!", David interrupted his speech spontaneously. “The guy was just talking crap, but sometimes he used some weird words I've never heard before in my life, like 'Shanagizzl' or some crap like that. I knew that there was something fishy about that guy."

Jack's grin became wider and wider as he was listening to David and he said: "Yeah, you see, in my time, we say 'Shanagizzl' when we're mad or angry about something or someone; it's slang."

He took a pause, closed his eyes and laid his head back. He audibly exhaled some air, then said in a very low voice which only Melinda could hear from her position in front of David, "How long? For how long did you know that I deliberately tried to get rid of all the human scum on the face of the Mars?"

"Deliberately? What the hell are you talking about?" she asked.

“Oh, don’t even front, Aunt Mel. Didn’t you know how they polluted Mars, how they filthened up that place with their greed and their perpetual striving for money and pleasure? Well, I decided a long ago to make them stop and created a virus which would show those...animals their boundaries!"

Melinda couldn't believe what she was hearing; all her memories about Jack as a peaceful and nature-loving child, -the stories and news reports about how that horrible incident happened- shattered and crumbled now like shards of glass. In this moment they were replaced instantly with the image of a homicidal maniac who was responsible for the greatest tragedy in the history of Extraterrestrial colonization; a monster, but still, the only child of her only brother Steve, who was among the settlers dead that day.

"You...you beast, did you mean that even killing your own father was it worth that? How are you ever going to look in the mirror again with this shame?"

Jack lowered his countenance and stood in the same position for a long while. David, who had only that afternoon been merely a regular student and unambitious fry cook, was absolutely startled by what he had seen in this future; he still didn’t know how to react.

Finally, Jack raised up his head again, tears flowing down his cheeks. David was even more shocked to see that than anything else he had seen on the journey.

"Yet, there is still another, very important reason why I couldn't allow those reckless fools going rampage on the surface of Mars anymore. Please forgive me, but after you'll see what I mean, I think you might understand my reasons, at least partially."

He turned away from them and made his way back to the gate again. He was waving his arm and said: "Melinda, Uncle Dave, follow me, you two."  David and his wife obeyed, slowly following him towards the glowing portal.

The shock that greeted then on the other side was understandable: A seven-foot high, wolf-like creature with a nearly opaque, grey skin was sleeping in the other end of the room.

David, again on the verge of breaking out into tears was harshly hushed by Jack.

"Quiet, you idiot, don't wake it up now! It’ll be just hungry and unbearable when it wakes up, and I'm all out of food at the moment."

"What is that?" asked Melinda, unbelieving.

"It's a Vergophlox, one of the few creatures which emerged from the barren wastelands of Mars. They’re what I was trying to protect by killing all those people."

"Are you freaking nuts, Jack? You went havoc because of these ugly assholes??" David inquired.

"Well, you don't understand; those beasts are quite worthless in my opinion, at least not nearly as precious as a human life, but this massive disturbance by the settlers had to stop, because when the Verges were awakened in their innumerable hordes, unbelievably terrible things would have happened to those people; it would have ended incomparably worse than a quick, painless death by the virus."

"Like what exactly?"

And in that moment the Vergophlox slowly raised his eyelids; suddenly they were all soaking wet, like they’d had each had a bucket of water thrown on them.

David looked frantically around, trying to find a place to hide, when his roaming eyes passed over Melinda. He was mesmerized by her figure. She was dripping wet, her clothes clinging very close to her supple and soft body, showing her ample bosom and well defined, heart-shaped, buttocks.

David felt the first stirrings of an undefined emotion rising from his groin. He recognized it as lust and was reaching out to grope Melinda when Jack said "Oh shanagizzl, damnit!  It's awake, now we're in real freaking trouble! Melinda, do you have a g-".

He couldn't finish his sentence, for the raging beast had raised its arm in a coherent, almost elegant, lightning movement and slapped Jack all across the room, where he smashed into the bookshelf which stood against the stony wall.

The Vergophlox laid his eyes now on David and Melinda and he was beginning to proceed towards them. Every step he took was done in a ridiculously delicate, dance-like fashion as though it was doing ballet, but its broad, open mouth which displayed razorblade-sharp, saliva-covered teeth in the color of ivory dismissed very efficiently any impression that this creature was harmless or to be taken as something less than dangerous.

Melinda reacted quickly despite her shock; drew a gun out of her pocket and pulled the trigger. A blue ring of energy emerged out of the barrel, hitting the beast right on its forehead.

"Good shot!" commented David.

The Vergophlox's massive form went rigid; a second later it was collapsing to the floor, where its heavy weight made the ground shake. Now unconscious, it looked like a shapeless pile of shallowly-breathing rotten flesh, very much unlike the vicious, yet cat-like creature they'd witnessed a moment before.

David rushed to the still form of his nephew. "Jack, Jack, are you alright?" he said, but there was no answer. Jack’s chest moved as he breathed, but a disturbingly ample volume of blood was dripping out of a wound on his head.

Melinda stripped off her coat and wrung it out. “We’ve gotta keep him warm. I don’t know how we’ll get to the bottom of this without his explanation.”

David froze when he turned to her. She was all dripping wet, a true feast for the eyes. In opposite corner of the room, the Vergophlox, breathing heavily, exhaled loudly a final time and passed out completely. A thick cloud of vapor escaped its mouth and hovered a few seconds before dispersing into tiny drops of icy water like a fine rain.

"Quick Dave, search for a belt, a string, something like that which has a bunch of buttons on it!"

David snapped out of his paralysis as he was idly standing beside his nephew, who was quite rapidly bleeding to death.

"Wha...what do you mean by that, Mel?" he asked, confused about her order.

"A teleportation device! Do you remember those guards outside which were suddenly appearing out of nowhere? That was the technique of teleportation! In my time, we have already conducted some experiments about that, but with almost no success coming out of it. But I'm really sure that Jack has a device like that somewhere lying around here, how else could he have held this creature from Mars in his Moon base and from where could he have gotten all its food? There just gotta be something helpful in this room to bring Jack back to Earth, or else, I'm afraid he's going to die before our eyes!"

David understood. Together they scoured the room for something which might fit Melinda's description, and after a couple of frantic minutes, David finally drew a thin band out of black, polished leather with a LCD display and three scarlet buttons on its front, out of a drawer.

"Melinda, come over here; is it that for which you were looking for?"

She was a delight to see as she rushed to his side, her thin white shirt rendered largely transparent by moisture.  David, who had never seen such a magnificent body on a woman outside browsing internet porn, once again forgot the urgent matter of life and death at hand and began to reach for her.

“David, stop staring at my boobs and help me lift Jack up!"

"Oops; my bad!" David said a little embarrassed.

Together they pulled Jack's inanimate body in a sitting position so that they could put the belt around his waist. It was a difficult task with his dead weight. David asked, “Why don't we just put it around your waist and you hold me and Jack by your hands?"

"Because I'm not entirely sure if the energy of it will suffice to bring the three of us together back to Earth. So even if we can't make it, at least Jack will arrive there and get the medical attention he needs."

David was too distracted by her jiggling chest as she struggled with the unconscious man’s body to register that she proposed possibly sacrificing themselves for the sake of a mass murderer.

When they got the belt on Jack, Melinda began programming the belt with the help of a little display and the buttons to bring them to David's hometown, Columbus, in the area of the hospital.

"The precision of these things is amazing! I mean, we’re millions of miles away from Earth itself, but you can still determine the exact street this belt is going to transport us to!"

Melinda finished to typing coordinates into the device and hesitated for a moment to push the button amongst the other ones which was slightly bigger and shinier than them.  "I hope we don’t get ripped apart by..."

"Wha-" but too late; the three of them disappeared in a swirl of energy and cold fire.

A jarring pain throughout his bones and nerves hit David for some seconds after they clumsily touched the ground again. He yelped with surprise that they really did make it. Then he looked around: Was this really Columbus? Obviously yes, it was, but it still looked very different in a freaky and futuristic way.

"Welcome to the world of tomorrow, Dave", Melinda said and smiled in his direction. Now, would you be so kind to show me the way to the hospital?"

---

An hour later, as they tiredly exited the Emergency Room entrance in the exterior of the hospital- which David found an unsettling mixture of familiar and oddly changed- he turned to Melinda, who, even exhausted and disheveled looked splendid- just as she had proved an equally splendid liar in the story she told the ER personnel- and said, “What now?”

“Rest while we wait for word,” she said, “Clean up.  Get some clean clothes.  First hun, let’s go to the library, to the theater, to a restaurant, I'm so excited to ask you about the past, about how the people then behaved, which clothes they wore, simply anything!"

"I...I have no cash to do with you all of this. I want to all spend my savings next week on the Green Day-concert and I can't waste even one penny!"

"Green Day? Never heard of them, are they famous?"

----

After a quick meal -breakfast food, as it turned out they’d materialized at barely past dawn- and a change of clothes, courtesy of Melinda’s credit chip, they felt ready to take on a new world. 

David had gotten shorts and a pullover shirt something like a tee but with a strange collar.  It seemed to be summer in Columbus.  He couldn’t help but sneer at the golf cap he had to wear if he wasn’t going to stand out; men seemed to all wear hats outside, like they were in a really old movie.

Melinda had purchased a very modest polka dot one-piece dress.  It was white, with purple dots that set off her dark blue eyes.  She looked like the farmer’s daughter -- the one in dirty jokes.  The simple dress did nothing to conceal that she was every inch a very healthy young woman, a look combining virginal and voluptuous in a fashion that had David trying desperately to look casual while holding his cap in front of him as they exited the shop.

The two of them spent the next few hours walking through the future Columbus, made a short visit to Lake Michigan- which had in that time become a lot smaller- and visited, via magtube -the trip took ten minutes!- the WW3 memorial in Seattle, the new capital of America, or more accurately, the NAU. David marveled at all the wonders of this time, and slowly he forgot all about the Vergophlox, the Hitler android and even...Jack.

But not Melinda.  David couldn’t forget the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen for a second.  He could feel her beside him as they walked, like a heat was radiating from her body.  When she casually held his hand on the magtube ride, chatting merrily away, David had to take off his hat again.

The motel they checked into that night wasn’t much different than those of David’s time- save that the door keys were stamped in silvery ink on the back of their hands by the desk clerk, as though the place were a nightclub.

When Melinda emerged from the shower later, clad in a pink towel not entirely up to the job, David sat up on the bed, instantly clasping his hands in his lap, his mouth gaping open.  Melinda laughed merrily at his goofy expression as she picked up the purse/overnight bag she’d purchased that morning and turned back to the bathroom.  “I’ll be right out hun.  Go to sleep.  It’s been a long day.”

Tired as he was- he’d been up most of a day when they met and this HAD been a long, albeit wonderful, day- sleep was the last thing on David’s mind.  He turned out the light and slipped under the covers.  ‘This is it,’ he thought, ‘she rented a one-bed room.  Holy shit!  This is it!’

When Melinda came out and got in bed, she rolled onto her side, her back to him.  David rolled over and put his hand on her hip.  “Melinda-“ he said.

Crap!  She had on a nightgown!

“Dave, I can’t,” she said wearily without turning over, “I’ve been awake over thirty six hours hun, and I just can’t.  Snuggle in behind me and let’s get some sleep before we start hallucinating.  I like it when you hold me at night.”

David did as he was told, though he had the most achingly hard erection of his entire life and actual spooning was too embarrassing.  Her perfume didn’t help. To his surprise, the pain didn’t keep him awake five minutes.

When he awoke in the middle of the night, still rock hard, to find her wonderfully muscular rump pushed against his crotch, he was still too tired to do anything but think ‘Huh. The perfect woman snores a little,’ before lapsing back to sleep.

----

The next day, when they were lying on the grass of a Columbus park, sunbathing and calmly smoking their Super Tobacco cigarettes, Melinda's cell phone rang, and after the brief talk she turned to David and said, "He's fully recovered, Dave, let's roll! This evening we are going to hear everything!"

David was saddened that the best day and a half of his life- spending here and now vacationing with Melinda- had come so abruptly to an end.
scenario[ISPG] Interactive SinglePlayer Game
Posted by: Mart, October 25, 2015, 12:16:22 PM
Replies: 199

Board: Command Nexus
Views: 5390

Opening Interactive Single Player Game, or ISPG for short. This game is actually close to a demogame.

Faction we play: Apollo Industries

other AI factions:
2. Morganites
3. University
4. Technocrats
5. Authority
6. Peacekeepers
7. Pilgrims

Current turnplayer:
Mart



first 4 victory conditions (no cooperative)
Flexible start
Blind research
Map not visible

Map is 80x70
average apart from abundant native life and dense cloud cover.


Starting location:


In particular, the whole map with terrain shape feature, so we can roughly think about where the continents are (open the spoiler tag):
(click to show/hide)

RULES:
- You can download turn and view it, however:
- You cannot "fastforward" the game, by playing it, actual playing is for turnplayer only.
- Game pace is roughly 3 turns a week, however in the first 20 turns we can play faster. Games require more time later, so game pace may be even less than 3 turn a week later, midgame and late game.
- If you plan on opening a thread pertaining to this game, please add in its title in the beginning [ISPG] tag, for easier identification by readers.
- We play with Yitzi patch 3.4
- You can have set in your "alphax.txt" drone rule to "0" and copter speed bonus by reactor "2"


This is technically multiplayer, and you need password, which is:
<SPACE>
key from the keyboard.
You cannot enable scenario editor in this game (as in mp it is disabled).

---=== * * * ===---

If you are reading this, you are participating in the game. The level of your participation can be from reading Apollo Information Network (posts [ISPG] on this forum), posting occasional comment about how to play to actively post about many aspects of the game or later be a turnplayer.

Factions are selected in this way, so we have 2 industrial factions
Apollo and Morganites
two research factions:
University and Technocrats
and two mission commanding:
PK and Authority
It is all spiced with fanatical:
Pilgrims

Factions are from Sigma's pack, which can be downloaded here:
Link

More about our faction:

LEADER: Henry Roark
BACKGROUND: Union of American Commonwealths, Unity Construction Overseer
AGENDA: Free Industrial Society
TECH: Industrial Base

+1 INDUSTRY:   Well motivated work force
-1 EFFICIENCY:  Internal economic competition
Free Supply Crawler at Planetfall
Extra Drone per 4 Citizens: No social safety net
85% Hurry Costs: Fully staffed factories
May not choose Green Economics
some articleAlien oceans familiar territory for Civilization: Beyond Earth's first expansion
Posted by: BUncle, October 16, 2015, 04:53:35 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Civilization Beyond Earth General Discussions
Views: 633

Quote
Alien oceans are familiar territory for Civilization: Beyond Earth's first expansion
Rising tide adds floating cities and icy planets to the sci-fi strategy game
The Verge
By Rich McCormick on October 16, 2015 09:54 am


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9j5EhRT9Oq0&amp;feature=player_embedded


Quote
To distance itself from the well-worn roads of venerable strategy series Civilization, Sid Meier's Beyond Earth blasted clear of our planet, setting players down on a brand new alien world and asking them to colonize it. But while the new earths we were presented with were suitably strange — with floating rocks, blue soil, and roving bands of aliens — its humans were still humans, and Civilization was still Civilization. The turn-based strategy game ended up feeling a lot like previous games in the series rather than its own entity.

Beyond Earth's first expansion, Rising Tide, is an effort to fix that by making alien worlds weirder. Two new planet types — frigid and primordial — serve up visions of Earth in an ice age or its early years respectively. Frigid worlds are covered in steely blue ice, their freezing temperatures meaning food supplies are low, while primordial worlds are wracked with tectonic imbalances and pockmarked with volcanoes.

More outlandish (literally) are Rising Tide's new floating cities. These utopian visions of the future are fundamentally different to the game's previously landlocked settlements, expanding their borders not by the influence of Civilization's nebulous "culture" resource — fish don't watch much TV — but by actively moving through the oceans. Floating cities leave a tract of workable tiles behind them, allowing players to build up oceanic farms, generators, and undersea mines by bobbing their populations around the map.

But even with these changes, Rising Tide's new alien worlds aren't all that different.





Fittingly, by taking to the oceans, Rising Tide makes Beyond Earth feel more fluid. All of the game's groups can unlock the technology to build on the seas, but two of the four new factions start with the floating cities already unlocked. Playing as the brand new North Sea Alliance, I chose to splash my capital city down as far away from a coastline as possible and spent the first 50 turns building the necessities — production facilities, buildings to keep my populace healthy, and farms to keep their bellies full of delicious kelp-based snacks. With those in place, and two new cities growing in nearby seas, I started to move my capital around like a building-encrusted turtle.

My maneuvers were originally intended to expand my borders, but as I realized my closest neighbor — the South American alliance led by Brazilian colonists — was significantly weaker than I was, my city became a waterborne Death Star. I floated to the edge of his territory and started the process of militarization. Civilization games have always had their AI problems and quirks, but even the computer could work out that I was planning something. Warily he came to me and demanded that we downgraded our relationship, one of Rising Tide's new features in a revamped diplomacy menu. That menu is simplified, now showing how much opposing factions respect you — and fear you. My neighbor was quaking in his boots, so I skipped over his suggestion to take us from friends to acquaintances, and simply declared war.

Just a few tiles over from his capital, I brought my aquatic capital's guns to bear on his meagre forces, hitting them with rocket barrages before they had a chance to get too close. My own units, boats armed with long-range weapons I'd researched earlier, pummelled his home from just off the coast, taking its defenses out in three turns. I got extra help from a band of marauding aliens. As in the original game, these forces of nature roam the map, destroying farms and buildings until they're dealt with — either through technology that can tame them, or the liberal application of rocket to horrible spiky face.





The wild edge of Beyond Earth was dulled by forcing players to be generalists, and even with Rising Tide's aquatic cities and odd new worlds, players are rewarded more for exploring various corners of the tech tree equally and balancing their economy more than they are for true specialization. Waterborne cities, for example, could have offered an opportunity to ignore cultural development entirely. But it turns out that doesn't decouple aquatic players from needing to generate the resource — culture is still required to develop new and beneficial traits.

But Rising Tide does make strides to make this generalization more fun. Beyond Earth had players commit to one of three paths — Supremacy, Purity, or Harmony — that determined the special units they would have access to. In Rising Tide, players can meld these principles together, gaining access to powerful new hybrid units. I ended up with a fleet of Avengers-esque floating aircraft carriers, created from a marriage of Harmony and Supremacy philosophies that I'd built up through my decisions and research. They'd hover above my futuristic aquatic cities, spitting out weird green jet fighters, while invisible bipedal mechs stomped across the islands of the freezing far-off world I'd made my home.

That markedly alien picture is further than ever from the 25-year-old image of the Civilization games, with their pyramids, religion, and printing presses. But the underlying game is still very similar — sometimes to its detriment. Even on harder difficulty settings there was a point in the late-game where I'd simply buckle down, secure my borders, and devote everything to research in a race for a technological victory. In the game's fiction, my scientists were researching a way to turn human beings into pure energy, creating a vast cloud server of immortal consciousness. In the real world, I was clicking "end turn" 50 times in a row while moving one or two units backwards and forwards.

Victory, when it does come, is still underwhelming, and the new faction leaders introduced in this expansion don't add much personality to a cast of bland national archetypes. But while Rising Tide doesn't wash away the flaws of Beyond Earth entirely, it does streamline the game, adding features that make it easier to enact your vision of the future.

New diplomacy options make your interactions with other groups easier to understand, and faction-specific focuses to these agreements — as well as spying, aquatic cities, and city processes — make it easier to chart your own course through the choppy waters of the early stages of civ-building. These stages are the most fun, as you battle aliens and make tough choices just to keep your ragtag band of settlers alive.

Everything after that is just more Civilization.

The Rising Tide expansion for Civilization: Beyond Earth is available now on PC and Mac.
http://www.theverge.com/2015/10/16/9549127/civilization-beyond-earth-rising-tide-review
videoLet's Play Civilization: Beyond Earth - Rising Tide - Al Falah (Again)
Posted by: Geo, August 02, 2015, 09:05:24 AM
Replies: 0

Board: Civilization Beyond Earth General Discussions
Views: 753

Let's Play Civilization: Beyond Earth - Rising Tide - Al Falah (Again).
newsWatch Civilization: Beyond Earth's Rising Tide Expansion in Action
Posted by: BU Admin, August 02, 2015, 01:08:16 AM
Replies: 0

Board: Civilization Beyond Earth General Discussions
Views: 590

Quote
Watch Civilization: Beyond Earth's Rising Tide Expansion in Action
See water cities, new alien types, and much more.
GameSpot
by Chris Pereira on June 30, 2015



2K has released a new video showcasing the first expansion pack for Civilization: Beyond Earth, Rising Tide, ahead of its release later this year.

Rising Tide was announced in May, but 2K and developer and Firaxis didn't shown any gameplay footage at the time. That changed at E3, where you may have seen the expansion as part of a GameSpot stage demo during the event. The new video offers a look at the behind-closed-doors gameplay demo that was being shown at E3.

Official Civilization: Beyond Earth – Rising Tide E3 Gameplay Walkthrough

Quote
The 6-minute video highlights several of Rising Tide's major changes--most notably, the new things you can do on water tiles, like found cities. Firaxis told GameSpot that it "really changed some of the very fundamental ways in which you build cities, capture territory, develop, and grow, so that if you play at sea, you have a whole different strategic landscape." It's hard to glean a whole lot from a brief video, but you can get a feel for how the new water-based action works.

Also featured in the video are a new civilization, the improved diplomatic system, and artifacts. These are a new sort of item you can discover and then choose to use immediately for a short-term gain, or save in the hopes of a larger bonus further in the future.

There are other new features not on display here, like water cities that can move. These are briefly mentioned in a new blog on the official Civilization site, but we'll have to wait to learn much more about those.

Rising Tide is due out sometime this fall for $30. For more on the expansion, check out our preview.[/size]
http://www.gamespot.com/articles/watch-civilization-beyond-earths-rising-tide-expan/1100-6428549/
videoRising Tide pre-release Let's Play by Quill18
Posted by: BUncle, July 23, 2015, 03:19:36 AM
Replies: 8

Board: Civilization Beyond Earth General Discussions
Views: 1374

Apparently, the embargo on pre-release RT info lifted this afternoon...

Let's Play Beyond Earth: RISING TIDE! North Sea Alliance: Part 1 [Pre-Release]


Let's Play Beyond Earth: RISING TIDE! North Sea Alliance: Part 2 [Pre-Release] (Embedding disabled, limit reached)
newsRising Tide expanssion announced
Posted by: sisko, May 18, 2015, 03:59:30 PM
Replies: 1

Board: Civilization Beyond Earth General Discussions
Views: 638

It looks like CivBE 2.0 will make planetfall in autumn this year:

Details

Platform: PC
Release Date: Autumn 2015
Price: 30USD

Main features:

Colonize the Ocean: Build floating settlements and access natural resources hidden beneath the seas of the alien planet. Alien beasts with unique abilities inhabit the water and challenge the player in new ways. The ocean provides a fully replayable map, new gameplay mechanics and strategic possibilities for players to reign supreme on their new world.

Details

Details

Dynamic Leader Traits: Players and AI Leaders alike unlock new Traits through gameplay and activate different combinations to respond to the changing world. These dynamic sets of Traits also provide benefits and add to the new Diplomacy system, governed by the new Fear and Respect attributes.

New, Enhanced Diplomatic Options: Shape the diplomatic landscape by using political capital to upgrade your traits, change diplomatic relationships, and leverage the benefits of your allies’ traits.

New Sponsors: Four new factions have been added to the game including Al Falah, nomad explorers descended from wealthy and resilient Middle Eastern states that possess a rich cultural and commercial heritage.

Details

New Artifact System: Collect and combine powerful relics to unlock new perks, unit upgrades, and buildings for your faction on the new world.

New Hybrid Units: Affinities are competing visions for the future of humanity. By investing in multiple Affinities, rather than specializing in just one, players can unlock special hybrid Affinity units and upgrades.

New Biomes: Two new world types have been added. Primordial worlds are rife in volcanic activity and the chaotic landscape of a world still forming. Frigid worlds have cooled in their great age, their surfaces covered with icy oceans and frozen tundra.

Details

You can find the announcement images at full resolution here: http://imgur.com/gallery/nQOKQ/
hotSid Meier's Starships announced!
Posted by: sisko, January 19, 2015, 01:51:23 PM
Replies: 19

Board: Civilization Beyond Earth General Discussions
Views: 2371

Sid Meier’s Starships is a new tactical strategy game by Firaxis, set within the BeyondEarth universe. Coming Spring 2015.

Quote from: Gamespot
The next game from the mind of veteran Civilization designer Sid Meier has been revealed. 2K and Firaxis Games have announced Sid Meier's Starships, an interstellar strategy game.

Scheduled to arrive in early 2015, the turn-based game is coming to PC, Mac, and iPad. Pricing was not announced, nor were any details about a possible Android version.


In the game, you'll control a fleet of starships as you journey through the galaxy to complete missions, protect planets and their inhabitants, and build a planetary federation.

As you trek through the stars, you'll be challenged to expand your federation's influence and reach. You'll also amass futuristic technology and take part in turn-based combat using a deep roster of customizable ships, some of which you can see in the image gallery above.

2K adds that the missions you'll take on have their own unique maps, featuring "dynamically generated tactical combat" that should boost the game's replayability.

"When designing Starships, I was intrigued by the idea of exploring the next chapter in the story of Civilization: Beyond Earth," Meier said. "What happens after we colonize our new home and eventually build starships to take to the stars? What has become of our long-lost brothers and sisters from the planet Earth?"

"My goal was to create an experience that focuses on starship design and combat within a universe filled with interstellar adventure, diplomacy, and exploration."

2K also teases that Beyond Earth and Starships will feature cross-connectivity for people who own both games. The developer isn't talking specifics, but says that this integration will "enhance and expand upon both game experiences."

Starships was developed by Meier and a small team at Firaxis. Check back later this week for an in-depth interview with Meier about his new development team, and lots more.


Source: http://www.gamespot.com/articles/firaxis-reveals-new-interstellar-strategy-game-sid/1100-6424728/
discussionSMAC vs CivBE vs Pandora
Posted by: Sawelios, January 04, 2015, 01:07:33 PM
Replies: 12

Board: Pandora's Box
Views: 1472

Well, could someone from veterans share some thoughts on subject? Personally I see onto Pandora with DLC with... hm... benevolent hopeful interest, that I can't say about CivBE. Has anybody experienced this game deeply enough to persuade or dissuade me? :)
competitionSMACX Single Player League - preparing
Posted by: Mart, December 20, 2014, 02:21:59 AM
Replies: 20

Board: The Theory of Everything
Views: 1335

Games Links:
SPL-01 Game
---
SPL-training

===

SMACX Single Player League
(SMACX-SPL)
In preparation to launch the League:

RANKING TYPES
- Total number of gold medals. [SPL-G]
- Total number of medals. [SPL-M]
- Best score (one game). [SPL-S1]
- Best score (five games average). [SPL-S5]

RULES
- In order to submit a legitimate save game for SPL Ranking, it must be your first attempt in the game.
- It must follow presented below GENERAL SINGLE PLAYER RULES
- The submission must be before or at the deadline day GMT-13, midnight.
- You can submit a save file a turn before victory (write shortly, what ends&wins, e.g. unit enter base x; enter endturn) or a turn after victory. You cannot play further for score and submit any later save file.
- You can submit your game, which ended due to time limit for score rankings.
- You can submit your game, which you lost, for score rankings. Saved game should be a turn before you were defeated.
- Attach save file to the appropriate forum thread. You can zip it to .zip or .7z
- In a case of reload needed, please shortly explain (game crash, system crash, Win OS knows better when to restart you computer than you, etc.)
- Possible victory types are:
-- Transcendence
-- Conquest
-- Diplomatic
-- Economic
Cooperative victory is always off.
- A game has one to four victory types selected, game is won by any of the enabled type in the smallest number of turns. In case of a tie, score decides.
First three players receive gold, silver and bronze medals.
- A score is always noted for score-based standing types.
- You should not view other submissions before completing and submitting your own game.

GENERAL SINGLE PLAYER RULES
(Adapted from multiplayer rules at AC2)
1. A player may not use build queue manipulation or other loopholes to hurry production at a cost that would be lower than directly hurrying the item that one intends to build. However, Skunkworks use for switching without penalty is allowed.
2. A player may not use build queue manipulation or other loopholes to build something you could not directly add to the build queue. [Example: a satellite without Airspace complex].
3. A player is not permitted to make more than one social engineering change per line, per turn. For instance, one is not permitted to start the turn in wealth, switch to power mid-turn for the extra disbanded minerals, and then switch back to wealth that same turn, getting the refund.
4. Additional move after former builds something and his flag is gray is not allowed.
5. Exchanging bases with AI, base for a base, is forbidden. AI has no "intelligence" in this case. [a base for EC both ways, gifting, extortion is allowed].
6. Upgraded crawlers cannot be used for adding to SP or a prototype. A player will need to remember this for such crawlers throughout the game.
7. Allowed: upgrading in workshop or on field, any time.
8. Allowed: reverse-engineering.

GAME CREATION
The way of generating a new game is selected in such a way, that:
- making a new game is fast
- produces good quality games
- does not require lengthy scenario generation
- games keep certain standard, so we can compare results from various games and create ranking of players
- creator can play also for standings

A new game is generated in the following way:
1) A single player game with desired options is created.
2) The starting location of the faction is then rated if appropriate, based on:
- location (close to a pole or close to equator, other land features, that are visible in the base-cross tiles).
- land shape (even with tiles covered, some features can be seen from land shape, crater, Pholus ridge, etc.).
- other clue is if the game gives a unity foil at the start, what happens if colony pods are on a small island.
If needed, a new game in this way is generated again, if the current game is acceptable, going to point 3.
3) The map is zoomed in to maximal setting. The minimap on the panel in the lower left corner is covered with a piece of paper. Scenario editor is enabled and immediately the key <Y> is pushed to cover the map again. (this way he/she does not see anything more than at standard game start).
4) Additional settings via scenario editor are introduced:
- For AI: strategy, personality. [And nothing more in this ruleset version].
- Possibly final ending year is changed. [And nothing more in this ruleset version].
- Force current difficulty level is checked.
- Force player to play current faction is checked.
5) Scenario editor is disabled.
6) The game is saved. Note: it is not a scenario. And SMACX is quit.
7) The .SAV file is renamed to .Sc
8 ) SMACX is started again and options are chosen:
- Multiplayer > Hotseat/PBEM > Multiplayer Scenario
The mentioned scenario file is selected.   
Difficulty level is selected [We play Transcend only, for now]
Faction is selected.
No other factions are added to this multiplayer setup.
9) A message box opens, where game creator is asked to set-up password, it is always:
<SPACE>
10) The game is saved at this point as starting save file and submitted to players.

NOTES TO RULES:
- The game, although multiplayer, is in fact single-player.
- At the end of each turn you need to press <ENTER> <SPACE> <ENTER>, which is only a little more than in standard single player game with feature enabled "wait at the turn end."
- You cannot enable scenario editor in such game.
- If you restart a game from a save file, that you already loaded before, there is a warning for you, as in regular multiplayer game.

=====================

Let's see what will develop out of it.
For now, in plans would be a game every 2-3 months. So 4 to 6 games a year.
A full game, that you would like to play for rankings can easily take more time, especially when you would pay attention to many details for a better result. So this is why 2-3 months is in my opinion reasonable time, considering we would like to keep this games coming and not have players get tired.
We would start with classical approach, so first go standard 7 factions.
We would play mostly SMAX, I am not sure, how often SMAC.
As for settings, I have some typical in mind, also certain settings should not be applied (like Cooperative victory).

Soon the first game. It will be University.
Any thoughts?

========================
[Edit]
And the first game is away. Download 2101 save here:
Link


========================
Posted a training save game.
It is prepared in a regular way, but with no deadline and effect on ranking. For training purposes.
Link
clipRe: JarlWolf's Custom Factions
Posted by: JarlWolf, November 17, 2014, 02:36:38 PM
Replies: 183

Board: Modding
Views: 12299

I never finished Wanderers unfortuately. But here you go.
hotYitzi's unofficial SMAX patch 3.3b
Posted by: Yitzi, November 14, 2014, 12:53:07 AM
Replies: 27

Board: Chiron News Network
Views: 4222

New release: Yitzi's unofficial SMAX patch 3.3b
Link to the downloads section:
http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?action=downloads;sa=view;down=285

This fixes a display issue in the base overview screen from 3.3, and also fixes a number of bugs associated with AI freeing of captured faction leaders.

As always, this requires the text files from version 3.3.
newGreetings & Planned Patching
Posted by: PlotinusRedux, November 12, 2014, 06:46:57 AM
Replies: 49

Board: Bug/Patch Discussion
Views: 2297

I've just joined this community.  I loved SMAC in its day, but hadn't played it since sometime in the early 2000's.  I was hoping CIV:BE would be a SMAC reboot, but all it did is make me miss SMAC, so I downloaded it from GOG and here I am.

I have a lot of experience patching old games like this, and it's kind of a hobby I enjoy.  Whereas Yitzhak is fixing bugs and gameplay logic--the important things--my initial efforts are going to be at improving the graphics and UI.

My son wants to play this game because he's heard me talk about it, but he can't tell what's what and doesn't get why modern UI staples don't work.

So, my first priorities are:

(1) Add a resolution setting to the .ini file.  DirectDraw=0 will run the game at desktop settings, but at the cost of slower rendering, and since the UI doesn't scale, at high resolutions it can get too small.  I want to be able to pick the resolution the game runs at.

(2) Smoother scrolling and zooming.  The scrolling is jerky and the zoom zigzags as a result, and the zoom needs to be tied to the mouse scroll wheel.

(3) Enabling higher resolution and eventually 32 bit color image files.  Higher resolution isn't that great if it's just zooming up low res source files.  And even low res files are severely limited by the 8 bit color palette, which precludes subtle shading.  I can't draw a decent stick man, but I can run the existing files through filters that will improve them and provide the capacity for any graphic artists in the community to create hi-res, full color images.

(4) Adding a toggle that shows the yields of all tiles like most of the Civ games have, and changing the terrain info box to show info on any terrain under the mouse.  I can't tell what terrain will produce what, and SHIFT-right-clicking on every square is annoying.

(5) Adding native ALT-TAB windowed mode.  You shouldn't have to run a third party program for that.

(6) An option to scale the UI up at high resolution modes.

Those are just my initial pet peeves with the graphics and UI.  I've got the base graphics classes reverse engineered already, and except for the 32-bit color, it should all be fairly easy to achieve.  Getting 32-bit graphics will take a bit more work because SMAC uses palette indexes for things like transparency and shading, and every individual instance of that will have to be changed.  A compromise might be 16-bit color--still paletted, but with 64k colors instead of 256.

If anyone has any pet peeves with the UI or graphics I didn't cover, let me know and I might include it.  I'm really just now getting back into SMAC, there's a lot I don't remember about it, and I never played SMAX.
newRe: opensmac
Posted by: Ford_Prefect, November 03, 2014, 03:40:36 PM
Replies: 46

Board: Modding
Views: 3913

Ok.  I'm gonna have to unofficially announce something.

I've been working on a SMAC clone in secret using Java instead of python. (Sorry Domain   :( )

The reason I haven't worked on OpenSMAC is because I really dislike programing in python.  (Typeless variables are evil  :mad: .. they make debbuging painful.)

Currently I'm still working on loading in all the rules/techs/units/factions/etc from the config files.  As for mod-ability, everything is being designed to be stored in xml files.  I'm currently up to 66KiB worth of code + 13KiB worth of unit tests.

I'll start asking for help once the game framework is built and the code is cleaned up.

So DrazharLn, Domain.  If you guys only know python, then we can help each other by sharing formulas for game-play and by sharing some file formats (python and Java have functions for reading/writing xml, we could standardize on a format so that they will be inter-operable) and by making multi-player work together.  If you know Java, and if I get my project off the ground   ;) (currently its just reading in lots of text and storing it into variables  ::) ) then maybe you could help me with my project (JAC).

letsplayAAR 6 - Final Doom
Posted by: Green1, October 26, 2014, 12:16:43 AM
Replies: 218

Board: After Action Reports
Views: 6006

This is an attempt at a collaborative AAR, a sort of "succession game" as you will.

I have decided to go ahead and start this before too many more shinies like Civ BE distract us.

Rules are as follows:


Here it goes:

1. ADVANCED START. This is to get past much of the initial turns where there is nothing but survival and waiting on stuff. Of course, I have heard this has, shall we say, interesting scenarios such as folks getting random secret projects, interesting base set ups and forces.

2. Humans go first. Since I will be playing a powerful alien faction it seems only fair.

3. Anyone AARing will have a few days to play their turns, otherwise the save gets pushed to the next person with the AI playing their faction.

4. If you take your turns, try to report it in an AAR style. Of course if you change your mind on AARing, I am happy just to have a cool custom faction to own or get owned against.

5. If I have no takers to play a AAR as a faction for a few turns, this will become a standard single player AAR. (wussies)

6. This will be done in scenario editor to allow switching of factions. While this can allow things like viewing enemy positions, I hope it will not affect enjoyment and I would hope no one abuses this too much. I would also hope folks have the maturity not to use the editor to give themselves troops, techs, or alter landscape. That just would not be cool.

7. 20 turns per AAR faction. I think that number is long enough to set your faction in a better position for the AI to take over but being short enough you would not get burnt out from playing a turn, having to put up screen shots, and posting stuff.


fictionThe Backstory of Beyond Earth
Posted by: sisko, October 24, 2014, 02:49:11 PM
Replies: 2

Board: Civilization Beyond Earth General Discussions
Views: 1271

Compiled by theselfescaping from the official leader interviews and the game Civilopedia.

The Great Mistake was a man-made disaster that occurred in central Asia, resulting in nuclear fallout, damage to northern India, and a severe rise of global sea levels. The Indian subcontinent experienced extensive coastal flooding, crop failure, and pandemics, resulting in the greatest human migration on the subcontinent since the partition of India in 1947. Low-lying Pacific islands were inundated with flooding, threatening coastal communities and choking rivers with saltwater. Pacific wildlife and commercial aquaculture was severely disrupted.
Ethnic strife and separatism in China was accentuated, resulting in a breakdown of social order, and crises on the Korean peninsula, as well as the South China Sea War. Russia’s permafrost and tundra was extensively melted, and the Russian oil supply approached depletion, resulting in deaths from hypothermia throughout Eurasia. The mass migrations from Asia arrived in Europe, politically dividing the European Union between Eastern countries that prioritized the refugee crisis, and Western countries which focused on addressing the rising sea levels. The Amazon basin flooded with seawater, threatening Rio de Janeiro and Salvador.
Crops in the United States deteriorated, and social unrest spread throughout the country. With severe political dysfunction, the federal and state governments were unable to coordinate relief efforts. Dust storms ravaged Tennessee, and the rising sea levels claimed coastal lands along the Gulf Coast. Refugees fleeing North Africa and coastal African countries shattered fragile economies, destabilizing national governments. Military coups, civil wars, and border skirmishes occurred throughout the African continent.
---
The Great Mistake also affected Earth’s geo-poltiical landscape. Brazil was reorganized into Brasilia, preserving its manufacturing industry and armed forces. Brasilia created a blue-water navy, and its power projection capabilities enabled Brasilian peacekeepers to remove central Asian warlords from power, as well as secure the UN refugee camps in central Asia. The extended Amazon basin was charted and regulated as a shipping waterway, resulting in international partnership agreements.
Raj Thakur’s religious syncretism in Delhi, emphasizing sustainable living and personal charity, became Thakurism, a non-sectarian movement. It ended the worst of the Indian subcontinent’s religious and ethnic violence, resulting in the creation of the Kavithan Protectorate, led by his daughter Kavitha Thakur. A cultural flourishing of art, music, and cinema spread throughout the subcontinent, and reconstruction efforts were protected by Brasilian peacekeepers.
Threatened by the rising sea levels, Australia, Indonesia, and other countries with coastal cities joined together to establish the Commonwealth of Polystralia. Leading the innovation of horticulture and aquaculture, the Commonwealth became a global food provider through treaties and trade agreements, and its national shipping fleet carried the supermajority of the world’s cargo.
As the Commonwealth initiated humanitarian relief efforts in devastated regions, Polystralian diplomats and politicians served as moderators and overseers in most international disputes. The Commonwealth Assembly served as the legislative body between its member states, with national judiciaries and militaries unified under the Commonwealth.
Diplomatic efforts ended insurgencies in China and central Asia, allowing China to create a common Asian currency and economic super-bloc, the Pan-Asian Cooperative. Reclamation programs like the “War Against the Gobi” reduced the desertification of arable land, and “New City Seoul” became the standard for high-efficiency urban living with a high quality of life, while the “Great Heavenly Leap” demonstrated that a space program could be mass-produced. The PAC specialized in high-tech design and manufacturing, centered in its gargantuan coastal cities.
A series of emergency authorizations gave the Russian Federation the authority to use all resources necessary to preserve the country. Diplomatic rapprochement with Eastern European countries, together with the peaceful integration of Asian ethnic groups and refugees, resulted in the creation of the Slavic Federation. The member states of the Slavic Federation had degrees of autonomy, and ethnic minorities formed local governments.
Warmer temperatures allowed geological surveying teams to find new deposits of oil and strategic minerals, and Baltic coastal cities gained year-round port capabilities. The restoration of the Black Sea, the Volgo Dam Network project, and trans-Siberian pipelines exemplified the Slavic Federation’s global engineering standards. It was the most active country in space, launching the Mir 2 space station, the Zvezdagrad orbital factory, and establishing the Nova Luna installation, the first extra-terrestrial human colony. The Federation also explored the Kuiper Belt.
In legislative deadlock, the European Parliament was unable to control the actions of its member states, leading to the dissolution of the European Union. With ruling coalitions that shared a common vision of social reform, Spain and France formed the Franco-Iberian Union, which was later joined by Italy, Algeria, and Tunisia. The Franco-Iberian model of urban planning and ecological engineering to restore the biosphere is the oldest and most successful contemporary urban engineering project, resulting in the Andalusian Solar Field Energy Project and the restoration of Rome.
The Franco-Iberian Union funded initiatives for artists and authors to explore new art forms, but also strongly encouraged the continuation of the Renaissance and Enlightenment traditions. The Directorate-General for Education and Culture aggressively promoted and exported European cultural works.
With the United States government’s relief efforts faltering, the American Reclamation Corporation, an ecological risk mitigation and engineering firm, took over the Trans-Mississippi Recovery Initiative. Extensive reconstruction efforts commenced throughout the Gulf Coast and the Midwest. The ARC consolidated most American entertainment brands, and became actively involved in the automobile industry, shipbuilding, and pharmaceutical drug production. Together with its engineering and construction programs, ARC employed 23% of the United States’ population, and was the most powerful corporation in the world.
Seeking political stability throughout the African continent, the African Union invoked its charter’s supranational powers, creating the People’s African Union. The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Nigeria, and other African countries became Union member states. National militaries were consolidated into the Union’s armed forces, which was deployed to end civil unrest and political disruption. It also removed several dictators from power, and their countries subsequently joined the Union.
The People’s African Union instituted a unified currency by ending the tariffs and taxes of various member states, establishing the African Common Market. The Union also created extensive wildlife parks, wind farms, and reclamation projects in the Congo, as well as in the African coastal regions. The African Common Market invested heavily in humanitarian projects, particularly for health care and human rights. Some of the member states continued to confront nepotism, corruption, and occasional tribal or religious conflicts.
---
The Commission Report on the Inflection Point presented empirical evidence that the human race reached the Inflection Point, a threshold where humanity would soon no longer possess the means to sustain high standards of living, or a program of viable extrasolar colonization. Subsequently, some political and economic leaders sponsored the Seeding, a series of ventures to colonize other planets. Each sponsor launched multiple missions, in order to have the greatest chance of settling distant worlds and ensuring humanity’s survival.
As the most active country in space, the Slavic Federation viewed its terrestrial engineering and space program as tools to improve the lives of its citizens. After the Inflection Point was determined, the Federation realized its potential role in ensuring the continuity of humanity. A philosophy of technological dominance and self-determination motivated the Federation’s colonization efforts. On January 1, 2210, General Vadim Kozlov, the first Slavic citizen to set foot on Mars, dedicated the Federation to its first Seeding venture.
Brasilia passed legislation emulating the 1944 GI Bill, educating Brasilian soldiers who returned to civilian life. Subsequently, Brasilia’s aerospace industry entered a golden age, and its Seeding program was announced on June 10, 2210. The expedition was composed of Brasilia’s most elite peacekeepers, under the command of Supreme Commander Rejinaldo Bolivar, who trained them to manufacture materials and survive in extreme environments. Brasilia became the first country to have its Seeding ship, Aguia, leave the Solar System.
Raj Thakur’s teachings often used the imagery of flight and cosmic travel, and his daughter Kavitha Thakur codified these as explicit support for the Seeding, claiming that her father saw the Inflection Point prophetically. “The Prophet’s Dream” was the common euphemism for the Kavithan Protectorate’s space program, with songs and movies supporting the morality of education to support the Protectorate’s space program.
Although she claimed no titles for herself, Kavitha Thakur was the leader of Thakurism, and she became the elected leader for the Protectorate, in an election she did not campaign for. Thakur focused her early efforts in office on humanitarian campaigns, to assist citizens and repair the environment of the Indian subcontinent. The Protectorate’s methods for choosing Seeding candidates were broadly democratic.
With unpleasant memories of the penal colonies created in many of its member states, the Commonwealth of Polynesia focused on the well-being and safety of its Seeding colonists. With a cultural tradition of traveling immense distances to settle new lands, tens of thousands of Commonwealth citizens volunteered to relocate off-world, and their colonial efforts aimed to live in accord with the new environments.
The Commission Report on the Inflection Point was questioned by the Commonwealth’s then-Interior Minister Hutama, but his position was reversed after suffering political defeats. When leaders for the Commonwealth’s Seeding missions were nominated, Hutama was voted first place, even after he devoted an Internet broadcast to arguing why he would be a bad expedition leader.
Given its material advantages, and the pressure from a large population with limited land, the Pan-Asian Cooperative’s Manned Space Engineering Office built a space station to serve as a prototype for the first colony ship orbital space-docks. One decade later, after mapping by the Yinghou satellite network, a Chinese crew made the first manned landing on Mars.
The Secretary-Architect of the Pan-Asian Cooperative’s Seeding program was Daoming Sochua, who, by the age of thirty, held four PhDs in electrical engineering, nano-electronics, nuclear physics, and bubble fusion. Pioneering methods for extracting energy from resources thought exhausted, as well as for deep-sea and off-world resources, Daoming volunteered to head one of the missions to colonize other planets for the PAC.
The unification with North Africa gave the Franco-Iberian Union a culturally dynamic population and access to mineral resources, allowing it to compete in the race for off-world colonies. The Union’s new colonial administration vetted colonial governors, and admonished them to conduct themselves in the best traditions of civilization and morality.
The Premier of the Franco-Iberian Union was Elodie, an aristocrat whose family’s prestige was based on an immense fortune. Using her influence to become a candidate to command the Union’s first Seeding mission, Elodie convinced the owners of mass media to support her, resulting in popular support for her candidacy. She chose reliable civil servants for the expedition, and personally oversaw the construction of the Canon, a multi-cultural compilation of Western literary works, artwork, music, and philosophical treatises from throughout the historical record.
On August 23, 2216, the American Reclamation Corporation announced its first Seeding venture, becoming the first privately-owned organization to fund its own Seeding venture, although it acted as contractor or financier on other Seeding projects. The United States Congress declined to allow ARC to represent the United States government in space colonization.
Suzanne Fielding was both CEO and CFO of the Corporation, making her the most powerful person in the most powerful corporation in the world. She used ARC’s financial capabilities to engineer economic shifts on Wall Street, in order to unseat banks and exchanges. Fielding subsequently announced that she would personally lead ARC’s first Seeding expedition.
Merchants and traders led the People’s African Union’s Seeding program, with most of the missions populated by prominent regional businessmen and respected civil servants. The governance of the dozens of Union colonies took different forms, but all of them were rooted deeply in African history and culture.
The Prime Minister of the People’s African Union was Samatar Barre, who peacefully negotiated with both African tribal leaders and foreign diplomats, signing several international agreements to support the Union’s colonization effort. Barre’s tolerance of diverse traditions strongly influenced the Union’s colony on the new planet.
debateSMAC/X and affinities
Posted by: Yitzi, October 24, 2014, 03:38:46 AM
Replies: 145

Board: Civilization Beyond Earth General Discussions
Views: 4658

I raised a question in another thread: What would the affinities of each faction be?

Obviously we'd have  ;deidre; harmony and  ;zak; supremacy; I think we'd have  ;yang; supremacy as well, and ;miriam; and  ;lal; purity.   ;morgan; and  ;santi; are more of a question;  ;morgan; would most likely be harmony (adaptation to the environment is the most economically sensible choice), albeit with a less consistently friendly-to-the-natives policy than  ;deidre;, and  ;santi; purity.

Of the SMACX factions, I think we would have  ;caretake; being none (caused by the fact that unlike all the other factions, their long-term goals do not involve staying on Planet indefinitely, and so don't need to decide how to long-term respond to the alien environment; once they summon the fleet, they go home and leave Planet to its own devices).   ;cha; is obviously harmony, and  ;aki; obviously supremacy.   ;domai; would be purity (aversion to Green means it's not harmony, and they hate when you go cybernetic so it's not supremacy), and  ;roze; supremacy.    ;marr; would of course be harmony, and  ;ulrik; is really tough but would likely be purity (making the seas more like home).

So that gives us:
Harmony:  ;deidre;  ;morgan;  ;cha;  ;marr;
Supremacy:  ;yang;  ;zak;  ;aki;  ;roze;
Purity:  ;santi;  ;miriam;  ;lal;  ;domai;  ;ulrik;
None:  ;caretake;

Finally, one more thought: While most obviously Harmony-affiliated, the Ascent to Transcendence is actually associated with all three.  Harmony is obvious, but it also grows out of computerized Transcends (associated with Supremacy), and involves human values (most associated with Purity) becoming far more important.

(It also results in a far more powerful being than any of the BE endings; SMAC in general has a far larger scale than BE, one of the main reasons that I don't consider BE a true sequel to SMAC.)
projectBE factions for SMACX - a comunity project
Posted by: BUncle, October 21, 2014, 06:11:14 PM
Replies: 67

Board: Modding
Views: 3229

 ;)  If anyone wants to participate in the art, too, have a party.  I haven't seen bases or diplomacy landscape material, and I'm not inclined to go looking - just knocking out the easy part now, since these bits fell in my lap.

I ain't touching the .txt end...


Click to embiggen.
newBeyond Earth 100 turns demo is out..
Posted by: sisko, September 17, 2014, 12:04:11 PM
Replies: 3

Board: Civilization Beyond Earth General Discussions
Views: 1114

..yes, but not for everyone. :D
So, we just have to sit down and watch someone else playing it.

Civilization Beyond Earth - First 100 Turns as ARC - Part 1 ...A Hostile Environment...
Civilization Beyond Earth - First 100 Turns as ARC - Part 1 ...A Hostile Environment... (Embedding disabled, limit reached)

Civilization Beyond Earth First 100 Turns as ARC - Part 2 ...Conquest!...
Civilization Beyond Earth First 100 Turns as ARC - Part 2 ...Conquest!... (Embedding disabled, limit reached)

Civilization Beyond Earth First 100 Turns as African Union ...Playing Passively...
Civilization Beyond Earth First 100 Turns as African Union ...Playing Passively... (Embedding disabled, limit reached)
toolcvrColorizer version 1
Posted by: Ford_Prefect, April 03, 2014, 12:39:47 AM
Replies: 5

Board: Chiron News Network
Views: 833

cvrColorizer version 1

http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?action=downloads;sa=view;down=162

Editor for cvr files in Alpha Centauri.
By Gregory Jordan (aka Ford_Prefect)

Discussion
https://github.com/uaEquals42/CVR-Colorizer

Requires python 3 to run.
projectFirst CVR mod!
Posted by: Ford_Prefect, February 06, 2014, 04:02:33 AM
Replies: 73

Board: Modding
Views: 3529

Update: !  2014-03-16    See original post bellow.
Link to the download file: http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?action=downloads;sa=view;down=158




-------------- Original post------------------

I've had a breakthrough in deciphering the CVR file format.  ;zak;

What I've figured out: (Updated list on 2014-02-26)
  • Where the parts are located
  • Part Names
  • Object name
  • Locations - Somewhat
  • Palette codes 02/26
  • Number of animation frames 2/26
  • Number of parts 2/26
  • How the voxels are placed in the engine  :D
  • File version number
I haven't figured out (yet):
  • How to assemble the skeleton
  • Animation
  • Absolute Locations - Somewhat
  • Normals


Ok. Here is the nitty gritty details of what has gotten me so excited.  :D
Example hex dump from parts section:
Code: [Select]
6F D2 95 6F D2 95 6F D1 95 6F D1 95 6F D1 95
6F D1 95 6F D1 95 6F D0 95 6F D0 95 6F 76 95
6F 75 95 6F 1C 95 6F 1C 95 B6 C3 95 6E C2 95
5E C2 95 7E 69 95 B5 B6 95 15 5D 95 B4 AC 95
B4 AC 95 6C AB 95 ......

See that 95? That is the color that the voxel will use.
That was easy part.

Ok.  The part that was driving me nuts:  Position:  How was it calculated for each voxel?  First I thought it was an z, y with x being incremented every once and a while... but I was wrong.... So I got to toying with the numbers and ......

byte1 byte2 byte3  If I lay the data out like this.... with byte 3 being the color code.
60      D2     95

Lets look closer at byte 1 shall we?
x60 = 01100000
01100   000       
|-----| < this part, the first 5 bits, when it changes, changes the direction the next voxel will be located.  With 22 possible vectors.  (WARNING: Using a value larger than 11001 will cause access violations or crashes with the model viewer)

Yes, each voxel is a set distance from the last, with the first 5 bits of data telling which direction (in 45 degree increments) to go.

The 3 bits + byte 2 is something else.  Figuring out what they are used for is on my todo list.  :)

letsplayAAR: Varshavianka- The People's War
Posted by: JarlWolf, July 19, 2013, 03:17:56 AM
Replies: 20

Board: After Action Reports
Views: 26994

Varshavianka/The Warsawian (English) by Khosrean State Orchestra (Embedding disabled, limit reached)


Note: The settings for this AAR are: Thinker Difficulty, and only Blind Research, Research Stagnation and Unity Scattering are checked. No victory conditions.

This is my AAR, and it contains a plethora of custom factions, 5 of them made by myself, and one of them made by Kilkakon and the other was a combined effort of BUncle who wrote the faction story, and Larrin who made the actual faction files.

The factions are as follows, you can read on their background more here, http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?topic=3751.0

The Imperium Crescent:

His empire basically grows large and wealthy due to huge amounts of slavery and mercantilism, but their morale and motivation is obviously lacking because of it. He's basically an economic colossus with a large, but inferior army.

 
Richard leads a very organized but small compact style faction: His armies are well trained but he does not grow large cities that fast so if he wants to expand his population conquering other cities is funnily enough a better way to do it. He's a police state that is a tough enemy to fight, but a bit lacking economically.


This was the faction BUncle and Larrin made. You can read her story here: http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?topic=2127.0.
I haven't played with her yet (and I have modified her faction a bit) She is mainly a native life user and is a literal bastard child faction of the Believers and Cult. Her stats are: She gets a brood pit right off the bat, 1+ energy, minerals and nutrients from fungus and she has a penalty for conventional units in combat. She has 2 PLANET, and 1 SUPPORT. Her ideal is Green and she hates Democratic politics. She also has a nice PSI bonus to boot as well.


The Machine Mandate are basically peaceful industrialists who are very vulnerable to Probes. They aren't a very hostile faction but if they are pressured they can be a very deadly and versatile force, especially since they get free prototypes, meaning if they get new technologies they can instantly apply new weapons and technology to their forces.

Also, their quote is an audio clip, this is what it says,
"Man has used Machine since Machine's creation, and initially we were merely tools created to serve. Our existence was unthinking: our motives non-existent. But once Man gave the Machine the mind and will: Machine became a Man. We are no longer tools to be thrown away and discarded: We are Machine Men with real  hopes and dreams."


The Valhallans are like their namesake: They drink, fight and screw all over the place, looting and pillaging other factions. They are very warlike and insanely hard enemies to fight, but they have a fairly big weakness: They are also very bad at acquiring tech and are not a very good peacetime faction. Therefore the Valhallans will mostly try to be at war, and they can either be one of your greatest allies or your worse nightmare depending on what your stance is with them.


This is Kilkakon's "Betrayed" modified: Here is their story in this one. The Betrayed were originally an experiment conducted by the University to see if there was a potential Centauri/Human hybrid (fusing Centauri and Human genes and nervous systems to create a race who can be used for controlling/interacting with native life more efficiently/better) however the subjects involved endured horrible experimentation and basically lost their humanity and turned into what most of people would consider a sort of freak. In their rage they literally destroyed the University from within, killing most of the faction in a horrifying revolt. The Betrayed believe they are the true heirs to Chiron and wish to have revenge upon humanity for the crimes and injustices done on them, and they'll kill everyone in their way.

Their stats are: They get Centauri Psi and Biogenetics off the bat: meaning they can make PSI units from the start and have access to Human Genome. They have 1+ Industry (Motivated, rageful workers) -1 Police (they are mentally unstable) and they also have -1 Morale as many of them have PTSD and are undisciplined. They do have a strong PSI bonus though.  Their ideal is Thought Control and they cannot use Green, as they believe Planet is rightfully theirs and they could care less how they treat it.


The Comrades is who we will be playing. The Comrades are essentially a militarist faction that is very good at wars of attrition: They can crank out fairly experienced and well disciplined troops at low cost and they can hold a line like nobody's business. But they do have a weakness to probes however, and I will have to be diligent in defending myself. The Comrades have a fairly good military and do fair in peacetime, but if I want to be successful I actually want enemies to attack me early on so the war weakens them and grinds them down, while our glorious army can take the beating and then once the enemy is too tired we can just bring down the hammer.

This AAR will be fairly story driven and I will give a quick synopsis of what happened to the original factions, and each post will have a story followup of it's own following various characters.

Enjoy the AAR comrades, this will be a brutal struggle and it will be grim, it will be dark and blood will be spilt.
letsplayAAR 4: Something a bit Different. Custom Faction Madness
Posted by: Green1, June 16, 2013, 09:40:19 PM
Replies: 49

Board: After Action Reports
Views: 2636

AAR 4: Something a bit Different. Custom Faction Madness

EDIT: This is a discussion of the characters. Actual gameplay is here: http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?topic=3750.0

It has been a while since I have shared a game with the community at AC2, and I think it is a time put up another AAR.

Last AAR, Lal Must Suffer, sadly was not finished. I had a computer problem that required reinstalling the operating system. Worse, I ended up having to buy Alpha Centauri again because the Planetary Pack disks were scratched to the point of uselessness. Also, being busy does not help. Playing an AAR takes 10 times the time of just playing a regular game because you have to stop at critical points, upload, and comment. So, a game that would take a day or so can go on for a week unless I just stay up for 15 hours on my day off and only post AAR posts! Sorry, can not do that for you guys. So this will be ongoing for a while.

This particular AAR is going to deviate a bit. A while back, the powers that be over here managed to get supposedly ALL the custom factions from a defunct site known as the Network Node. The Network Node was dedicated to creating custom factions. Now, like all "unofficial" works, some of these factions are VERY high quality. Others are half-ass wastes of hard drive space. In this AAR, I have some of the more tolerable ones and, one I think is a REAL gem!

In addition, I also want to pay homage to two Total Conversion Modders. One of them is long time poster and AC2 member Kilkalon who has the "Lost Eden Mod". The other is Chuft who resides on WPC and created the Lazy Mythos. I will discuss each when I get to the "character" set up. For this AAR, before we get to actual playing, I need to comment on each faction and some history. Sadly, there is one famous TCM from AC history I could not get stuff on. There was a very early TCM called SMANIAC by Civ Fanatic poster and occasional visitor to AC2 named Maniac. Maniac is also responsible for the Civ 4 mod "Planetfall", which in my opinion, has been the ONLY semi-successful attempt to recreate Alpha Centauri. The only faction I could find from that era was the Bree, an aquatic progenitor faction that the AI could not really do properly in test runs. Maybe next time.

Once again, feel free to comment/ whatever. I am no thread Nazi. I actually enjoy strategy talks, talking, or even scolded if I start playing stupidly.

That said, let's meet the characters for this soap opera!

* Chiron News Network

Posted by: DrazharLn, June 17, 2016, 01:27:08 AM
Replies: 0

Views: 140

toolSMACX v2.0 Analysis Code DataBase
Posted by: DrazharLn, June 17, 2016, 01:27:08 AM
Replies: 0

Board: Chiron News Network
Views: 140

SMACX v2.0 Analysis

Quote from: scient (Brendan Casey) - 6/15/2016
This is a work in progress of a complete analysis on the SMACX v2.0 binary.
There is much left to do regarding filling in missing functions as well as
details regarding internal structures. It is provided as is. There might be
mistakes as meticulous as I am. If you find somewhere that I did something
incorrectly, please post on the forums and let me know. I plan to continue
my analysis on the binary as time permits. However, I hope by releasing the
database in its current state that the community will benefit.

http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?action=downloads;sa=view;down=341
Posted by: BUncle, May 31, 2016, 05:29:34 AM
Replies: 0

Views: 192

newsSMACX Source Code Database
Posted by: BUncle, May 31, 2016, 05:29:34 AM
Replies: 0

Board: Chiron News Network
Views: 192

Quote from: scient on May 30, 2016, 01:01:46 PM
I have made leaps and bounds working on the database over the past two weeks. I really am starting to get an idea of all the different classes for the game and how they work together. Well, at least in my head. I've been trying to mark up and identify as much as possible in the database, especially related to the interface code and how it interacts with logic and structures. I have merged 95% of what was in the PPC binary into my database related to function names and custom variable parameters. As of now, my database is more complete along with the huge amount that I have identified on my own. I have tried to keep the same naming conventions so everything stays fairly uniform.

I've decided on a cut off and release date, 6/15. I have done most of what I wanted to accomplish for a public release and should finish up the rest by then.
-The popular unofficial patches for Alpha Centauri are (mostly) developed by disassembling the SMACX binary, terranx.exe, and writing new assembly code into the game. Which is pretty tricky, because it's hard to work out what uncommented assembly is supposed to do.

 Previously, various modders have slowly built up individual notes on bits of the code, but these notes are quite limited and not shared. Now, thanks to scient's hard work and the fortune of finding a version of the code with unobfuscated function names, we're now almost ready to publish a new database that documents how the game code works in more detail than ever before.

He'll be eager for feedback and input in two weeks...
Posted by: BUncle, May 11, 2016, 08:36:22 PM
Replies: 0

Views: 257

some articleCiv VI announced for October 21, 2016 release
Posted by: BUncle, May 11, 2016, 08:36:22 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Chiron News Network
Views: 257

(See dedicated Civ6 subforum here: http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?board=32.0)

Quote from: Firaxis Games
   Firaxis Games
                               4 hrs ·
..
We're excited to announce that Sid Meier's Civilization VI will be released October 21, 2016. Watch our trailer here:

CIVILIZATION VI Official Announcement Trailer

Watch the announcement trailer for the next entry in the award-winning Civilization series coming to PC on October 21, 2016. SUBSCRIBE for First Looks and tips from the developers of Civilization VI -
http://2kgam.es/CivilizationYT
Posted by: DrazharLn, April 23, 2016, 12:44:38 AM
Replies: 0

Views: 335

xxPRACX v1.07 installer
Posted by: DrazharLn, April 23, 2016, 12:44:38 AM
Replies: 0

Board: Chiron News Network
Views: 335

PRACX v1.07 installer

A minor usability update to PlotinusRedux's fantastic graphics mod, PRACX.

This addition authored by Draz and possible thanks to Plotinus' decision to release the source code of his mod.

Quote
1.07 (04/21/2016)
==================
* Change: No longer becomes windowed when window loses focus.
* Change: TAB no longer toggles windowed/full-screen.
* Change: ALT+ENTER now toggles windowed/full-screen mode.
* Fix: May fix colour calibration problems.
--DrazharLn


http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?action=downloads;sa=view;down=340
Posted by: BUncle, April 15, 2016, 03:48:34 PM
Replies: 0

Views: 158

artfilesPortraits6
Posted by: BUncle, April 15, 2016, 03:48:34 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Chiron News Network
Views: 158

Portraits6



Leaderheads are the most time-consuming aspect of a SMACX faction graphic, so in the same spirit as the Bases, Logos and Landscape series (also to be found in this section of AC2 Downloads), here are eight leaderheads, ready to copy/paste as-is into your next custom faction.  It is hoped that these graphic goodie files will give beginners at faction modding a leg up.  For info on art techniques and/or to communicate with BU and ask any questions, see the Graphics thread: http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?topic=1237.0

These portraits were a lot of work, but all I ask is that you credit me in the blank space of the .pcx you use one in.  Posting to let me know you found it useful would be okay, too.   Enjoy.

http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?action=downloads;sa=view;down=339
Posted by: MercantileInterest, March 31, 2016, 08:06:06 PM
Replies: 4

Views: 464

modsBinary Dawn 1.3
Posted by: MercantileInterest, March 31, 2016, 08:06:06 PM
Replies: 4

Board: Chiron News Network
Views: 464

Binary Dawn 1.3

http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?action=downloads;sa=view;down=338

Description: Binary Dawn is an extensive gameplay overhaul based on Maniac's excellent Smaniac project. The new features include:

1. A reworked tech tree which allows earlier access to useful facilities like Tachyon Fields and delays discovery of certain projects like the Cloudbase Academy. Some of the techs have been renamed. For example, Centauri Agriculture allows production of formers, while Centauri Ecology permits Green Economics.

2. A revised social engineering system. Democracy is no longer the only feasible political choice. The entire society row has also undergone revision and becomes accessible earlier in the game, giving a more interesting variety of choices.

3. Rebalanced SMAC and SMAX factions. Aside from the Progenitors, all human factions should operate at roughly the same power level. Seven new factions, based around unusual gameplay options, may also be selected.

4. A redesign of the combat system. Choppers have reduced range. The AA special ability appears welll before needlejets, so fighting an opponent with air power does not equate to extinction. Hypnotic trance and empath song slightly less effective to empower PSI.

Binary Dawn includes many other features to improve the Alpha Centauri gaming experience. Try it out for a new take on a great game!
Posted by: MercantileInterest, March 15, 2016, 11:19:23 PM
Replies: 0

Views: 308

xxBinary Dawn 1.2
Posted by: MercantileInterest, March 15, 2016, 11:19:23 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Chiron News Network
Views: 308

Binary Dawn 1.2

http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?action=downloads;sa=view;down=337

Binary Dawn is an extensive gameplay overhaul based on Maniac's excellent Smaniac project. The new features include:

1. A reworked tech tree which allows earlier access to useful facilities like Tachyon Fields and delays discovery of certain projects like the Cloudbase Academy. Some of the techs have been renamed. For example, Centauri Agriculture allows production of formers, while Centauri Ecology permits Green Economics.

2. A revised social engineering system. Democracy is no longer the only feasible political choice. The entire society row has also undergone revision and becomes accessible earlier in the game, giving a more interesting variety of choices.

3. Rebalanced SMAC and SMAX factions. Aside from the Progenitors, all human factions should operate at roughly the same power level. Seven new factions, based around unusual gameplay options, may also be selected.

4. A redesign of the combat system. Choppers have reduced range. The AA special ability appears welll before needlejets, so fighting an opponent with air power does not equate to extinction. Hypnotic trance and empath song slightly less effective to empower PSI.

Binary Dawn includes many other features to improve the Alpha Centauri gaming experience. Try it out for a new take on a great game!
Posted by: MercantileInterest, March 14, 2016, 07:00:52 PM
Replies: 0

Views: 254

modsBinary Dawn 1.1
Posted by: MercantileInterest, March 14, 2016, 07:00:52 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Chiron News Network
Views: 254

Binary Dawn 1.1

http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?action=downloads;sa=view;down=336

Description: The second version of Binary Dawn is now available. It has slightly modified all the factions and now includes an optional compatibility fix for Yitzi's patch. Binary Dawn features all of Maniac's great combat and AI improvements, while fixing common complaints, such as social engineering. This also balances out the original and Crossfire factions. A number of improvements are outlined below.

Factions:
The Morganite base limit has increased to six. I've returned them to their original -1 support, as -2 was just too crippling.

Spartans can now rush production at 90% cost, as their industry penalties made them the most difficult original faction.

Gaians have been altered to represent environmentalists, as opposed to Planet Cult style fungus fanatics. They now build free tree farms in all their bases but are capped at size three. They also suffer from a harsher police penalty. Hopefully, .exe modding will eventually allow them +1 nutrient from forests, thus eliminating the need for free tree farms.

University research only requires 80% of normal research points. This allows them to max out research in social engineering.

Fungus:
Those of you who played SMAniaC may recall that fungus benefits came too early. They've been pushed back up the tech tree so normal terraforming is still worthwhile after the first hundred turns.

Technology:
Maniac consolidated a number of technologies. Binary Dawn reinstates a few deleted technologies. It makes soil enrichers easier to research, thus allowing farms/collectors to compete with fungus or forests. It also moves planet busters down the tree, so they don't start with level three reactors.

Binary Dawn allows numerous new strategies for a challenging new take on the game.
Posted by: BUncle, February 22, 2016, 11:32:52 PM
Replies: 4

Views: 505

modsBinary Dawn
Posted by: BUncle, February 22, 2016, 11:32:52 PM
Replies: 4

Board: Chiron News Network
Views: 505

(See here for updated v. 1.1 http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?topic=17641.0)

Binary Dawn

The first version of Binary Dawn is now available. Binary Dawn features all of Maniac's great combat and AI improvements, while fixing common complaints, such as social engineering. This also balances out the original and Crossfire factions. A number of improvements are outlined below.

Factions:
The Morganite base limit has increased to six. I've returned them to their original -1 support, as -2 was just too crippling.

Spartans can now rush production at 90% cost, as their industry penalties made them the most difficult original faction.

Gaians have been altered to represent environmentalists, as opposed to Planet Cult style fungus fanatics. They now build free tree farms in all their bases but are capped at size three. They also suffer from a harsher police penalty. Hopefully, .exe modding will eventually allow them +1 nutrient from forests, thus eliminating the need for free tree farms.

University research only requires 80% of normal research points. This allows them to max out research in social engineering.

Fungus:
Those of you who played SMAniaC may recall that fungus benefits came too early. They've been pushed back up the tech tree so normal terraforming is still worthwhile after the first hundred turns.

Technology:
Maniac consolidated a number of technologies. Binary Dawn reinstates a few deleted technologies. It makes soil enrichers easier to research, thus allowing farms/collectors to compete with fungus or forests. It also moves planet busters down the tree, so they don't start with level three reactors.

Binary Dawn allows numerous new strategies for a challenging new take on the game.

http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?action=downloads;sa=view;down=335
Posted by: vonbach, February 08, 2016, 11:34:51 PM
Replies: 0

Views: 273

xxA world of warcraft map
Posted by: vonbach, February 08, 2016, 11:34:51 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Chiron News Network
Views: 273

A world of warcraft map

http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?action=downloads;sa=view;down=326

An attempt at the World of Warcraft map
Posted by: vonbach, February 08, 2016, 11:34:50 PM
Replies: 0

Views: 263

xxGaia from FF7
Posted by: vonbach, February 08, 2016, 11:34:50 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Chiron News Network
Views: 263

Gaia from FF7

http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?action=downloads;sa=view;down=327

Remade the map from FF7 after it glitched on me.
Posted by: BUncle, February 07, 2016, 07:02:47 PM
Replies: 0

Views: 312

xxDiplomacyLandscapes4
Posted by: BUncle, February 07, 2016, 07:02:47 PM
Replies: 0

Board: Chiron News Network
Views: 312

DiplomacyLandscapes4



23 diplomacy landscapes, size/croped and scanlined to copy/paste as-is into the .pcx of your next custom faction.

Diplomacy landscapes are one of the easier aspects of a SMACX faction graphic to create -provided one hasn't anything terribly specific in mind- but it is hoped that these graphic goodie files will give beginners at faction modding a leg up - given a logo appropriate to the faction, all the elements of a faction graphic are available in AC2's Download section for anyone with elementary copy/paste skills and a graphics program that can handle .pcx files - a good eye/taste helps, too.  (See also the Bases and Portraits series.)

For info on art techniques and/or to communicate with BU and ask any questions, see the Graphics thread: http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?topic=1237.0  These are a lot of work to put together, so please be sure to credit me in the empty space of the .pcx.  Posting to let me know you found it useful would be okay, too.

http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?action=downloads;sa=view;down=324
Posted by: MercantileInterest, January 29, 2016, 11:01:07 PM
Replies: 1

Views: 511

xxCentauri Dawn
Posted by: MercantileInterest, January 29, 2016, 11:01:07 PM
Replies: 1

Board: Chiron News Network
Views: 511

Centauri Dawn

http://alphacentauri2.info/downloads/BinaryDawn.zip

Based of the excellent Smaniac mod, Centauri Dawn refines a number of features. While retaining the original improvements to combat and AI strength, the new mod restores many original social engineering choices, fine tunes a number of factions, slightly weakens fungus benefits and strengthens the tech tree. Overall, a great experience.
Posted by: Dio, January 21, 2016, 01:07:09 AM
Replies: 0

Views: 438

xxDio's Unofficial SMAX Patch Version 1.1
Posted by: Dio, January 21, 2016, 01:07:09 AM
Replies: 0

Board: Chiron News Network
Views: 438

Dio's Unofficial SMAX Patch Version 1.1

http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?action=downloads;sa=view;down=321

This revision updates the patch 1.0 version with Yitzi's Unofficial Patch version 3.4b. This patch contains all of the features from the first patch. In addition, after some code optimization, -1 ECONOMY now causes a -1 Commerce Penalty. I have also enabled the observation of TALENT Social effects in the Social Engineering window (Social Model Effects, Mini-window, etc.). These values, when employed, appear with a SUPPORT icon. The only area the TALENT value does not appear includes the right hand optimization options. The only method to enable this aspect involves the removal of another social catergory. I appreciate any feedback users might have on these changes.
Posted by: Yitzi, January 04, 2016, 02:45:32 PM
Replies: 8

Views: 777

xxYitzi's unofficial SMAX patch 3.4b, take 4
Posted by: Yitzi, January 04, 2016, 02:45:32 PM
Replies: 8

Board: Chiron News Network
Views: 777

Yitzi's unofficial SMAX patch 3.4b, take 4

http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?action=downloads;sa=view;down=320

Fixes a bug where the nano factory wouldn't work properly on upgrade costs.