Here is almost three hours of Civilization gameplay and banter with people in chat.
During the stream I said that I was feeling bad for not playing the new Hitman this year. After dumping on Hitman: Absoludicrous last year I kind of felt like I should take a look at the new one, since it was reportedly a return to form. After the stream, someone gifted me a copy. I’m happy to report that it is indeed a return to form. It might even depose Blood Money as the defining entry in the series. The levels are gigantic, there are numerous approaches, the disguise system is better than ever, the tone is right, and it looks gorgeous and runs like a dream. It feels great to pull off a clean hit and it’s hilarious when things go sideways. Is this really the best entry in the series, or am I being overly generous because Absolution was an abomination? Time will tell.
I also said during the stream that I was torn on whether to buy Civilization 6, or wait for Dishonored 2. I’m still torn. This decision is made more complicated by the fact that Skyrim: Remastered Edition comes out today and I’m really feeling like a nostalgia tour of Skyrim is in order. The end of the year is coming fast and there are only so many hours to spend on these games.
The Gradient of Plot Holes
Most stories have plot holes. The failure isn't that they exist, it's when you notice them while immersed in the story.
The Best of 2015
My picks for what was important, awesome, or worth talking about in 2015.
Grand Theft Auto Retrospective
This series began as a cheap little 2D overhead game and grew into the most profitable entertainment product ever made. I have a love / hate relationship with the series.
The Loot Lottery
What makes the gameplay of Borderlands so addictive for some, and what does that have to do with slot machines?
A wild game filled with wild ideas that features fun puzzles and mind-blowing environments. It has a great atmosphere, and one REALLY annoying flaw with its gameplay.
51 thoughts on “Civilization 6 Stream Now on YouTube”
It’s interesting hearing people gush over the leader visuals–they’re rather off-putting to me, almost into Uncanny Valley, even. I much prefer Civ V’s more realistic style. And I love TF2’s art style, it’s just…this art style doesn’t work for me. The world map looks alright, though.
They made Montezuma look like a douchebro.
I’ve watched a couple streams so far trying to decide on a purchase, and that’s one thing I keep coming back to. I’ll be totally engrossed, planning and plotting along, speculating on possible moves, feeling the stakes mounting as this massive land war ramps up…
Then a leader avatar will pop up, looking like it was pulled from the dumpster behind Pixar, and I lose my immersion. I know it’s small and inconsequential, and silly to let it get to me, but still. I want to be able to enjoy a game and really get into it without being reminded every 10 minutes I’m actually just playing Tiddlywinks in the middle of Disneyland.
I don’t know, hopefully I can just get used to it after a bit and pick it up in a bit when it goes on sale.
If you’re worried about immersion, Civ 6 is definitely going to be a problem for you. The AI can be downright schizophrenic, telling you how much they love you one day, and hating you the next. It seems to be caused partly by conflicting randomly-selected personality traits, and partly just lousy AI (no 4X has ever really had good AI, but Civ 6 has seemed a bit below par).
Not a 4x, but the worst AI in history has to be Rome: Total War’s.
Basically, they split the AI into Military and Diplomacy, so the Diplomacy AI would make an alliance, the Military AI would see the open, unsecured border and attack, and the Diplomacy AI would facepalm.
Which meant that the only thing alliances were truly good for was buying 10-15 turns before you betrayed your not-quite enemies and launched coordinated attacks. And after you did that at best twice, no one would talk to you ever again.
Not a fan of galactic civilization I see.
The weird cartoony leaders are the only thing I don’t like about civ 6 so far. I loathe them. I’d really love them to go back to civ 5s realistic versions. So I’m hoping that at least modders will give us tolerable options eventually.
I kinda like them. The AI leaders in the game do not make decisions like humans, so it makes sense to me to not depict them like realistic leaders. Their behaviour in-game is kind of a caricature of public perception of their real counterparts, so it makes sense to me that they look the part.
I’d find it weird if they’d look all realistic and have nuanced characters on cutscenes but then you go back to the rather crude and potentially hilarious abstraction of the actual game. Before I’d accept “realistic” rulers, the game would at least have to do away with things like “Rome only likes you if you expand” and “Egypt only allies with people with a large army” and that sort of simplistic rules of behaviour.
One hour into the vid, and I think I’ve heard Shamus make 2 references to it, so, without waiting to see if any more are (were?) forthcoming……
Apart from better sanitation and medicine and education and irrigation and public health and roads and a freshwater system and baths and public order… what have the Romans done for us?
Concrete. Don’t forget concrete.
Also they died out and left a power vacuum for us.
So much Star Trek history to correct!
Shamus: Kirk didn’t teach the Pledge of Allegiance to a bunch of barbarian Nords. Kirk recited it and by an amazing coincidence it was the same in the past of the planet he was on because it was an exact parallel of Earth’s history after a nuclear war between the Yangs (“Yankees”) and Kohms (“Communists”).
The writers for Voyager made Janeway a bipolar psychopath because like every other Star Trek series, they made it up as they went along and had new writers for every episode. So one would make Janeway a devil-may-care captain who played Renegade, and then the next writer would have her click on all the Paragon options. It was a show whose premise cried out for a head writer, but nooooo, they just ran it like every other ‘Trek show.
Josh: If you liked DS-9, you should watch Babylon-5. In fact, if you watch the shows concurrently, you’ll see how DS-9 cribbed a lot of things from B-5. “Wow, they have an ancient alien threat called The Shadows? Those are cool! Uh… DOMINION! Whoa, their space station declared independence and had a huge space battle. Uh… US, TOO!” I also think you and Shamus would see where the Mass Effect series lifted a ton of material as well.
Also, regarding Enterprise: I always recommend watching the final season minus the finale to see what the show could have been. They had 2-3 episode story arcs about the beginnings of the Federation. They were good, had some decent writing, and made you wish that they’d gotten a better cast.
Edit: And Nero fiddled while Rome burned! I mean, if Shamus is old enough to have lived through his administration, he should at least get the name right. :)
When did DS9 declare independence? The only time it wasn’t under Federation control was when it got taken over by the baddies. There was never any moment (couldn’t be in Star Trek), where DS9 would have seceded from the Federation to protest fascism. The inability to have that arc in Star Trek (while still being Star Trek) meant that the shows could never have the same themes.
DS9 did take quite few ideas from B5, that much is obvious, but it also very much went its own way and despite the similarities, I wouldn’t call the shows all that similar (apart from being Scifi TV shows set on stations).
Both are great at their best and cringeworthy at their worst (but still worth seeing).
I was more referring to B-5 vs. Earth Alliance getting cloned by the Federation arming DS-9 to the teeth and then having the big shootout with the Klingons. They saved the “independence” thing for Sisko taking off his uniform and going rogue for a few episodes.
So many events were mirrored by DS-9. Again, if you watched them when they both aired, it was almost laughable. ‘Trek also had a really bad habit of trying to ride on the coattails of popular movies. Goldeneye is the reason Bashir took to playing a James Bond-style secret agent, which wasn’t too bad. Voyager, however, thought Jurassic Park III was their ticket to ratings and gave us an episode about spacefaring dinosaurs from Earth.
Watching Babylon 5 is absolutely a good decision to make. It has its share of bad episodes, but the plot was actually planned out in advance for the whole show rather than episode to episode or even per season, and it really shows. And the characters are great.
Did they actually stick to the plan, though? I was under the impression they rushed through a bunch of major events because they thought it was getting cancelled, and then it wasn’t so they had to come up with some new plotlines in a hurry.
They pretty much stuck to the plan. The issue about whether they would get season 5, or be cancelled after 4, did produce some changes but JMS (the guy in charge) did say that it only really amounted to 3-4 episodes being changed IIRC. Basically some of the season 4 story that would have carried on in to S5 was brought forwards to wrap up at the end of S4, and some plot elements that would have started in S4 and been mainly in S5 were pushed entirely into S5.
I know a lot of fans felt like the end of the shadow war was rushed and blamed that on the uncertainty, but from what I understand that part stuck with the original plan. It’s just that the original plan was slightly disappointing for many fans.
Or JMS was rather understating just how much got moved around
He had apparently made a habit of planning contingencies in the story for real life issues, such as when actors decided to leave the show or come back (a somewhat frequent occurrence on the show).
He was clearly out of steam by the end of it, though. Call to Arms, Crusade and Legends of the Rangers were all aweful.
Also make sure to watch Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning, a finnish parody/crossover of Star Trek and Babylon 5.
counterpoint: the acting in Babylon 5 is horribly wooden. In addition to that, the writing is decent though it has a bad case of “hello person I’ve been with for 5 episodes, how is [summary of past episodes that we both experienced] going?”
Indeed. While the arcs were great, the actual episode scripts were less so.
Still, I’d say it compared favourably to any arc show of its time or before in those regards (there weren’t many). It wasn’t until after that TV started learning some of the necessary tricks and was safe to make assumptions of viewer loyalty (the last thing an unknown, low budget scifi show needed was continuity overload discouraging late joiners).
Back when we still had Netflix, my wife and I tried to watch Babylon 5. We only managed a couple of episodes before she couldn’t take it any more and we had to quit. Back when Babylon 5 was in syndication I watched sort of intermittently, generally just enough to follow the plot at any given time. There was some stuff that I really liked, particularly the conflict between the Narn and Centauri. (It should come as no surprise that my favorite part of Deep Space 9 was the conflict between the Bajorans and Cardassians.) But there was a lot to dislike, too. The actors in the major human roles–with the possible exception of Mr. Garibaldi–were just not very good. JMS is much too fond of DRAMATIC SPEECHES! And what’s more, he is obviously far more in love with his own characters than any reasonable person could ever hope to be. There’s a fifth season episode–which I think may have been intended to introduce the show to new viewers after the series got picked up by TNT–that follows a couple of janitors around while the station is under attack. The janitors keep wandering in to scenes, swooning as they realize they are in the presence of OUR HEROES, and making over-the-top declarations of love, loyalty, and unearned devotion. It’s dire. Even Star Trek pilot episodes aren’t this clumsy.
Wow… you’ve so badly missed the whole point it’s not even funny.
No, no. The point clearly was to introduce new viewers to the show and convince them that the characters in the show were cool. I got that. But you know how a good writer would do that? He would show the characters doing cool things. Audiences can recognize cool when they see it. And what did JMS do? He instead chose to laboriously tell the audience how cool his characters were. It was forced, awkward, and in my case at least clearly counterproductive.
I doubt that a final season, mid season episode was meant to introduce new viewers to the show. I know the one you’re talking about, and I agree that it was awful, but it pretty much wouldn’t make any sense to newcomers to the show.
It was meant to put a different spin on things, to show an episode from a perspective the viewers weren’t used to to drive home how much weight was resting on the heroes’ shoulders. It did so poorly, but that was the point.
I get that you didn’t enjoy the show, it certainly wasn’t polished as well as most of its competition. But your wife gave up during its weakest season (when money and the production of this show were at best distant acquaintances) and watching a continuing arc show intermittently isn’t going to let it present itself at its best side.
For what it’s worth, I did mostly enjoy Babylon 5. I would not have kept watching after the first season during the original run if I had not. Nor would I have persuaded my wife to try the show on Netflix. I watched the show intermittently because I was in college and I had classes and limited access to television. (Also, there were girls.)
I just really hate that one episode.
I see, my apologies. We seem to be on very similar pages after all :)
No, the point was that JMS didn’t think he’d get a season 5, which is why everything wrapped up neatly in season 4 plus season 5’s finale.
Everything in season 5 was either stand-alone or laying the groundwork for Babylon-5: Crusade, a show that had the awesome Gary Cole, but also suffered from loads of executive meddling until TNT canceled it.
When I said “the point”, I was talking about what I took to be the intent behind the episode in question. I presumed that Yurika grant was doing the same and that we merely disagreed about what that intent was. It seems I was wrong. I hereby confess that I no longer have any idea what anyone else who has used the phrase “the point” in this conversation is talking about.
DS9 only happened BECAUSE of B5 as well. The studio literally stole the idea when JMS pitched it to them. We were fortunate because both shows were great (though B5 blows DS9 out of the water still), but it was still a dick move.
Also, don’t forget they added the Defiant as a result of the White Star heh.
It wasn’t the Pledge of Allegiance; it was the Preamble to the Constitution, AKA the second attempt to form “a more perfect union” because the Articles of Confederation had failed. As SFDebris stated in his review of that episode, the “holy words” the Yangs were so precious about were basically, “We the People–who by the way are really sorry we’ve totally made a crap sandwich out of the country–are calling a do-over.”
From the script of “The Omega Glory,” the episode of Star Trek in question (emphasis mine):
CLOUD: I am Cloud William, chief. Also son of chief. Guardian of the holies, speaker of the holy words, leader of warriors. Many have died, but this is the last of the Kohm places. What is ours is ours again.
(He goes over to the flag and puts his left hand over his heart.)
CLOUD: Aypledgli ianectu flaggen tupep kile for stahn
KIRK: And to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
ELDER: He spoke the holy word.
To spoil something utterly unsurprising about SSE; the UI is still the vanilla version…you know, the eye-gougingly terrible interface?
I’d been wondering about that. I find the disappointment more satisfying than the games now.
It’s also buggy in ways the original version wasn’t for me, like Named Stormcloak Mook #357 at the start getting stuck on the stairs and Alduin’s flame going through the floor of the tower right after that.
You get that far? I’ve started two games, sat through the whole opening cutscene up to character gen twice, and as soon as my PC lays their head on the block, the scene just gets stuck on the executioner standing there–the dragon attack never triggers. ARGH! Vanilla non-SE Skyrim at least let me play a good hour or two without incident.
I downloaded the Enhanced Edition last night because I got it free so why not, and it ran fine for me – but I’m not sure I really even noticed any of the graphical upgrades? I guess maybe people weren’t quite as ugly, but I barely remember what the original version looked like anyway.
I got all the way through the tutorial, then got into a fight with Hadvin when he caught me trying to steal his arrows and died. Thus ends the tale of the Dragonborn.
Put simply, Low in SSE is about the same as maxed in the original version.
That essentially means that the only benefit of playing SSE right now is getting all of the achievements again.
I wonder what is going on at Bethesda that no one bothered to update the interface. The number one mod for Skyrim is a UI mod, it wouldn’t be hard to copy that.
The way I see it, there are two basic possibilities. The first is that Bethesda is completely out of touch and has somehow never heard people complaining about their UI. The second is that a combination of laziness and project budget prevented them from addressing anything other than “Paste in new textures, and add a couple crashes just for old time’s sake”. I’m inclined to go with laziness, Bethesda are never not lazy.
The thing that sells games, especially re-released games, are pretty pictures, not UI fixes.
In fairness, I’m not sure something like SkyUI would work on consoles (both because controllers, and because compressed UIs are harder to see from a couch).
Could they have written entirely different UI interfaces for the console and the PC versions of the remastering? Probably. But that sounds like a ton of work, when they can just let the PC players continue modding it anyway, so if this is laziness, I really don’t blame them.
Yeah, but the current UI doesn’t actually work on PC…
I get the remastered Skyrim for free, but I’m going to wait until I can get the mods I like running on it. Not only do default Skyrim mods not work out of the gate, but Bethesda is taking this opportunity to shove their new mod platform in our faces, assuredly in advance of some kind of paid-mod scheme. I’m very frustrated.
Whales facts: the creatures we know as dragons were originally winged whales. All whales can breathe fire, but wingless whales don’t do so because they spend their time under water.
I listened to a Sid Meier interview just yesterday, in which he said
To be clear, he was talking about Pirates! rather than Civilization. His philosophy with respect to AI in Pirates! was that the player should be able to learn how the AI “thinks” and thus learn to beat it. I’m not sure if he carried that same philosophy into Civilization because the interview–a review of his entire career–doesn’t get that far before they break. He will presumably talk about Civilization in the yet-to-be-released second part.
Of course Sid hasn’t been lead designer on a Civilization game since the first one, so make of that what you will.
I disagree with him somewhat. If a game beats me, it depends on how it did so that I’d consider to be cheating.
If the game is just making my opponent faster, have more resources, or in some way substituting advantages for strategic decision-making, I consider that to be cheating. Having an A.I. that uses the mechanics to good effect such that I have to learn how to counter said tactics (and that there is a way to do so) is fine and welcomed.
Two minutes into the start of the game and Josh found a bug. He really is the old faithful in this regard, huh.
When he got Brazil at first I was so psyched! Yes! pick it! It is the first time we are in a civilization game!
Buy then you started again…
Well, at least Dom Pedro the Second was the first guy you found. Even if mute.
Could’ve sworn Brazil was a thing in civ 5? Maybe in one of the expansions or optional civ packs, but I remember them being really aggressively good at passive aggressive tourism wins.
Oh, right. I forgot about brave new world. Never even bought it because the idea of being able to play a civilization match while doing my masters was laughable.
I miss gaming D,X
Hey, at least you didn’t need to review the expansion to Beyond Earth without having played anything past the base Civ V.
To explain that a bit more, the highest HP a unit could have in base Civ V was 10; changing that to 100 didn’t come until one of the expansions.
About the “say the pledge of allegiance at barbarians to convert them,” there is actually a great general in Civ VI who’s retire ability is converting any adjacent barbarians to your side.
So yeah you can totally do that.
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