Stolen Pixels #231: The History of Civilization, Part 2

By Shamus
on Oct 1, 2010
Filed under:
Column

Here is part 2 of the history of Civilization.

Ok, I was playing on a large map last night and it got to the point where it took the computer so long to process its turn that I actually abandoned the game. A lot of time was wasted hopping around the map and making me watch all these stupid irrelevant battles on the other side of the planet. There’s an option to disable the animated battles, which is only available at the beginning of the game. (And always off by default. And the game doesn’t remember your preferences. So if you’re four hours in and you find yourself watching half a minute of fights you’re not even in, then there’s nothing you can do about it. There’s also no option to show only your own fights. Thank you so much Firaxis.)

But the computer also spends a surprising amount of time simply thinking. It feels like about the same amount of time I spent waiting for turns in Civilization II, which came out in 1996. According to Moore’s Law, processors should have doubled in performance 9 times in the last 14 years. So computers are (very roughly, give or take a power of 2) five hundred and twelve times faster. I can believe that Civ V is more complex than Civ II, but it’s nowhere near hundreds of times more complicated. The simulation is several fold more complex. (Let’s aim high and assume it’s as much as ten times more complex.) That still means the game should be running fifty times faster. Turns should be instant. What is the game doing with all those cycles. (It’s not graphics, since you still get the delay when using the super-fast 2d view. Which is also a great way to crash the game, by the way.)

I’m not accusing the game logic programmers of incompetence. (I save those insults for the dunderhead who designed the interface and left out half the options.) I’m just really curious what’s going on here. My guess is that the combat AI is looking more moves into the future. As people who write programs to play chess have discovered, looking forward through just three or four turns of moves & counter-moves can burn an unbelievable number of CPU cycles. I did notice the game got slower when big wars were going on. This led me to want to make peace between other nations just so I could get back to building my spaceship without having to sit there doing nothing for half a minute between each turn.

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  1. FacelessJ says:

    What will be worrying is if the AI becomes self-aware and realises it can make you lose/ragequit by lagging your machine up via large scale battles.

    However, it might not, because it’d probably also realise that you quitting the game would end it’s own existence. >_>

  2. omicron says:

    The interface follows the Apple standard approach: Define what you want the functionality to be, implement it well, then ignore people who want to do anything else.

    For the other issues: It would be interesting to take an end-game situation in Civs II, III, IV, and V (maybe also Call to Power II, for comparison) and count the turn length for each.

    It’s possible the developers are using the extra time for pathfinding-related concerns: that’s an area where it’s always possible to dump more computing power.

    • Tesh says:

      Pathfinding *kills* our framerate in games we work on. Even when we’re dealing with a lot of assets and characters (and their big RAM footprint), it’s still pathfinding that eats the most memory. Crazy stuff.

    • Garden Ninja says:

      Based on my limited understanding of how pathfinding works, I don’t think that would be the culprit. Pathfinding is largely a solved, or at least standard problem. Most people use A*. (Supreme Commander 2 used a different/modified algorithm that large groups of friendly units move through either other without bumping into one another and stalling). The big way to improve pathfinding is to change how you define your nodes. There are a couple of ways to do this.

      1. Just add a bunch more nodes to your waypoint graph, so there are more possible paths.
      2. Or, you change from a waypoint graph, to a navigation mesh. Instead of each node being a single spot on the ground, each node is a polygon in which it is legal to move. This approach is hard to summarize, but I read about in this article, which explains it pretty well.

      Since Civ is tile based, you don’t need the extra power (and implementation complexity) of a navigation mesh, and you don’t need more nodes than there are tiles.

      (I’ve read a fair bit about how pathfinding works, but haven’t actually written an algorithm to do, so take this with a grain of salt. Perhaps Tesh, Shamus or someone else can expand on this.)

      EDIT: Though, obviously a larger map and more units to move each turn clearly increase the resources required for pathfinding. Still, I think pathfinding probably accounts for a rather small portion of that 30 seconds. Figuring out what to do and where to go is a harder problem that how to get there. For reference, in the Infinity Engine games, you could improve the pathfinding by editing the INI file to increase the number of nodes used, up to 32,000. (I don’t actually know if they used A* in those games, so this may not be a good example, but it has been around 1968, so I think there is a good chance it applies.) Are there Civ maps with more tiles than that?

      • Robyrt says:

        Supreme Commander 2’s pathfinding is a great example of thinking outside the box for a very specific problem. By giving units magnetic repulsion, it lets you move them through each other in straight lines without worrying about individual positions. In exchange, single units are effectively “larger” and thus more cumbersome to move because their exact position is not guaranteed. This fits their game concept of “Epic scale” very well, while Starcraft wouldn’t want to implement it, ever.

      • omicron says:

        I’d guess that pathfinding probably uses some sort of A* lookahead (which would limit the number of steps checked for any given path), along with at least two “ghost” pathfinding grids (representations of the future positions of currently-moving units) to allow the AI to maneuver units around each other. Even in a game like Civ, this is a highly-complicated problem (although, notably, Age of Empires II did it in real-time and Homeworld did it in 3d … over a decade ago) and one of the areas in which developers could easily make use of extra processing power. The ghost theory is also supported by the increased slowdown as you progress through the game – in this model, not only does each unit add a pathfinding routine per-order, but it adds several steps to all other units’ pathfinding.

  3. SolkaTruesilver says:

    Ain’t got a crash yet, but some video card problems.

    So, Shamus, which civ have you played? How do you play?

    Are you a Single-city trying to project power through City-States?
    Are you a rampaging conqueror?
    Do you have alternative playstyle?

    So far, I had only one serious game; Rome. I feel I have been a little frivolous in my choices of Cultural development (2x the “Big Empire” tree, 1x Patronage). Still, a city-state was the only source of Iron (6!) in my game until I conquered Kyoto ahead of Bismark.

    I just conquered the Iroquois who have been nagging at me for many years, again, just before Catherine conquered them. Catherine is, by far, the biggest bitch on the block, with about 20 cities in 3 clusters, one of them on my doorstep. She’s also my only trade partner.

    since I play on “Terra”, I plan to simply go explore and conquer the New World as fast as possible now, and gather City-state allies with further Patronage cultural traits.

    The game really needs you to focus on a specific strategy, which I can’t say I dislike.

    How about you, Shamus?
    How about you, audience?

  4. jdaubenb says:

    I have been putting off buying the game for now like I do with every Civilization installment until the “Complete” or “Ultimate” or “Djingis Ghandi” edition is released.
    You present a great argument in favour of me just waiting some more.

    Out of curiosity: Is the AI equal to/better/worse than the AI in Civilization IV? It better be more impressive if the half-minute turns are actually happening.

  5. RPharazon says:

    I haven’t noticed any video card problems or game crashes in Civ V. At the most, I just get whales popping up on land since they’re a shader animation or something and if you scroll too fast they might go over land.
    I haven’t really noticed any slowdown in between turns. I’ve been playing on huge maps with lots of AIs, and the end-game slowdown isn’t that noticeable for me.
    Maybe I have a beefy computer? It only has an i5 750 though…

  6. James Pope says:

    I’m finding the game rather meh, especially compared to my tricked out Civ IV games. It’s pretty and all that but my issues with Steam not liking my retail box, the single unit per tile issues and just plain weird nonsense with the way the AI acts have all left me wondering if I’m going to have to wait until some diligent programmer mods the hell out of the thing before I’m really enjoying it.

  7. Meredith says:

    I played the Civ V demo last night and while I won’t be spending money on it, I will say it’s better than other strategy (mostly RTS) games I’ve tried before. I like having time to think before a turn. Just out of curiosity, how long does the average game last (in time and turns)? The 100 in the demo didn’t really seem like much at all.

  8. Lupis42 says:

    I will say this for the AI, it’s clear that they consider more options now. For the first time ever, I’ve had the diplomatic AI offer me cities to stop me wiping them out completely.

    • SKD says:

      Surprised the hell out of me when Alexander offered me a pair of cities for peace. My experience with past iterations of Civ has always been that the diplomacy AI will never give up more than a fifth of what it is getting out of any diplomatic agreement.

    • Johan says:

      If I recall correctly, this was common in Civ 2. An AI losing the war would offer cities in exchange for peace. This would come to be a problem sometimes as a Civ would basically commit suicide:

      10: lose a war and give cities for peace, thus harming yourself in every way.
      20: be mad because you lost the war, directing your anger at the Civ that you now strengthened through your defeat.
      30: Declare War against the Civ you hate most
      40: Goto 10

      In 3 and 4, however, it seems cities are like the Arc Of the Covenant, there is simply no way to even put them on the table in 4 unless you have already conquered half their empire and the city in question is >70% your ethnicity (they seem to NEVER be willing to barter for cities that are almost entirely of their ethnicity).

      • Jarenth says:

        There’s also the problem that Civ players tend to be total jerks ‘strategic’.

        In one game I played (can’t remember which version), I was fighting a war with… Germany, I think. Anyhew, they at some point opened Diplomacy and told me, matter-of-factly, that they were willing to settle for peace. I told them to take a long walk off a tall cliff. They told me they were willing to pay a substantial sum of gold if I would accept peace. I told them that I would be dancing on the burning ruins of their capital city soon. At this point, they broke down and offered me all their gold and technologies and a few of their cities in exchange for peace. I accepted.

        Then spent a few turns getting units into position, and then declared war on them again.

        • Nasikabatrachus says:

          It can go the other way around, too. I remember one game in Civ 4 in which I had to give up a city for peace, but I used the time it gave me (plus an ally declaring on them) to catch up and turn the game around.

          I had been embroiled in constant war for most of the game and consequently was lagging economically and technologically, while my neighbor Cyrus hadn’t been in a war the whole game. When the inevitable war came, Cyrus captured two border cities in short order, putting Cyrus’s forces alarmingly close to my capital. However, the AI apparently did not count on the big stack of elephants I had been keeping in an uninhabited area along our border, as I was able to overwhelm one of Cyrus’s important cities (it had Versailles) and in a couple turns I was able use it as a bargaining chip for peace. The war was technically a loss for me, as I wound up with a net loss of two cities, but during our war the other Big Dog on the planet, Ghengis Khan, declared war on Cyrus and went to town on poor Persia’s infrastructure. The peace afforded me an opportunity to finally conquer my other bellicose neighbor, Spain, which allowed me to catch up with Cyrus, who was in turn being held in place by Ghengis. When I was finally able to muster infantry and artillery, my troops marched across a despoiled landscape that had been heavily pillaged by Mongolia. By the time the game ended I controlled the northern hemisphere of the planet.

          So even though Cyrus probably would have been able to recapture the city I took, the AI placed such a huge weight on that city I was able to get a reprieve I really shouldn’t have.

  9. Irridium says:

    Yeah, that 2D map crashed the game for me all the time. Pretty annoying.

    Why would they leave out two options that most people would use? The “only watch your battles” and the “no animated battles” options? Yes your battles are neat to look at, but they get annoying when I have to watch every damn nation fight their petty wars.

  10. SolkaTruesilver says:

    Darn, I forgot:

    Good comic, Shamus. Hilarious :-)

    Just sad you will end this serie at this point. You sure you won’t want to keep going with the History of the world?

  11. I’ve been spending most of my time in the strategic overview. Best way to play imho. It certainly runs alot faster that way.

  12. Vladius says:

    So… honest opinion (open question): Is Civ V better than IV? Don’t go for the cheap answer of “it’s just different,” try to explain the differences and what they mean.

    • Tim Skirvin says:

      No.

      But it’s comparing oranges and blood oranges.

    • Jonathan says:

      For that matter–why play Civ 4 OR 5 vs Civ 3. The graphics in 3 are good enough for me…

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      But it is different.Some things youll like,some you wont.I prefer the plethora of options in 4(religion,all the different tile improvements,spies,corporations,various promotions,…),but I love the cities in 5(they are so large,you dont have to wait for culture but can grow them with money),and how science is not based on money.I also like global happiness in 5,but it can be annoying sometimes.I love what they did with strategic resources,but feel that they shoudlve done the same with happiness and health ones as well.I love one unit per tile,but am annoyed by the lack of follow and undo buttons.

      So it is a mixed thing with me.However,its almost always like that with civ games.If I were you,Id wait for the expansions before deciding for good.

  13. BaCoN says:

    I feel that people shouldn’t honestly be comparing Civ 5 to Civ 4(despite the obviously numerical progression). Civ 5 actually seems like it’s grounded more firmly in the Civilization: Revolutions game(id est, the console game) with some its speed and the way interacting with the game feels.

    I think a LOT of the changes are really cool(yay, no more stack of fifty fucking units attacking me ALL AT ONCE. Yay, no more fifty fucking units defending one city!), and sort of make sense if you actually think about it carefully.

    The AI needs some work, yes, and that WILL be patched. Seriously, I know that Shamus is going to call me out and say that maybe Firaxis shouldn;’t’ve released an unfinished game, and that’s probably true, but I’m okay with waiting a bit for the inevitable patch and balancing.

    Also, I want the FallFromHeaven standalone game to come out. :(

    • SolkaTruesilver says:

      was this part 8 or part 9 of Shamus’s fanboy list?

      8) You can’t judge a game without knowing it’s predecessors!
      9) You can’t compare a game to it’s predecessors!

      Also, FFH standalone won’t happen. Cancelled. Zitch. Un-made :-(

      But they are talking of making a FFH-like mod for CiV, so.. maybe glory will touch us after all!

      • uberfail says:

        Personally if a game doesn’t live up to it’s heritage I just pretend it’s a new IP. eg. Fallout 3 is not a sequel to fallout 2. and they can both be awesome.

        • Roll-a-die says:

          Then why didn’t they name it, I don’t know. Charlies’ Journey Through a Bombed out DC.

          Hell they could even name it something cooler. Why did they have to go out an acquire the license of a dead franchise to mooch off it’s name?

          This goes for all Franchise reboots/inspired by/advertised as successors to. X-Com, Bioshock, Dragon Age et al.

          • Will says:

            Financial security. Building off an established IP removes a huge element of risk, which makes investors happy.

            • uberfail says:

              Sadly what makes them happy is not always good for them.

            • krellen says:

              Investors are idiots, because most of them invest in things they don’t understand, which leads to them making bad decisions.

              If you’re going to invest in something you don’t understand, you need to find someone that does understand it to tell you why your preconceptions are wrong first.

              • Lanthanide says:

                Don’t blame the investors. Blame the game company, who *should* know about such things, saying to the investors:
                1. Create new IP from scratch. Risky.
                2. Buy this IP here and milk it. Less risky.

                Of course the investors are going to pick 2, because they *are* listening to the experts opinion here. The fact is that the experts have gotten the wrong idea, and it should be like this:
                1. Create a new IP from scratch, risky but could spawn a new and very lucrative series.
                2. Buy this IP and milk it. Unless it is done well (not easy), gamers (customers) will hate us and it *may* damage our reputation and hurt our profit expectations in the future.

                Overall, though, there are so many sheeple out that who’ll just buy anything with a franchise name on it that sadly I think #2 is still the better option.

  14. Macil says:

    I’ve been enjoying Civ 5 a lot. Like Shamus, I haven’t really played a Civ game since II (dabbled with Civ 4).

    As far as this AI calculation lag or whatever, I’ve been having this happen to me too. I picked the largest map size and that was a terrible, terrible mistake.

    I have about 20 atomic bombs and half a dozen doom robots embarked on a journey to purify the French scourge across the ocean. I think by the time they get there, though, I could have started a new game on a smaller map and conquered the world all over again.

  15. F says:

    What’s this?

    The website at http://www.escapistmagazine.com contains elements from the site alienradar.ru, which appears to host malware – software that can hurt your computer or otherwise operate without your consent. Just visiting a site that contains malware can infect your computer.
    For detailed information about the problems with these elements, visit the Google Safe Browsing diagnostic page for alienradar.ru.
    Learn more about how to protect yourself from harmful software online.

    • wtrmute says:

      I don’t know, you might be getting a malware ad? I can access the page just fine, and FF doesn’t peep.

    • Mari says:

      I get that from time to time at Escapist. Not consistently, just occasionally, out of nowhere. Usually when I shut down the entire FireFox process through the Task Manager (yes, I’m paranoid about malware) and then start it back up again and reload the site I get not a word or a ping.

      Dunno what it is. My computer is malware free (trust me, I check weekly with a vigor that can only be described as fanatical) so it’s not an internal thing, but I can’t imagine how it’s the Escapist either because I have adblocking enabled with them and so many suppression tools that anything malignant couldn’t breathe.

    • Irridium says:

      Aliens are hacking into your PC. It makes complete sense if you don’t think about it.

    • Friend of Dragons says:

      Yeah; I’ve been getting that too; I just ignore it, but its obnoxious.
      (I hope i don’t have any malware…)

    • Will says:

      I’m pretty sure F here is a bot; the structure of the comment seems less like someone talking about malware and more like an infomercial.

  16. A different Dan says:

    I *was* wondering about the turn processing time!

    I’m decidedly “meh” on the game. Some interesting new mechanics, but I don’t see how this is a huge improvement over Civ IV: BtS. And the CPU load it seems to bring with it would definitely have me ranking it below the aforementioned older game.

  17. Mari says:

    I’m gratified(?) to see that Gandhi is still a war-mongering @ss. It’s always struck me as funny that my most dreaded foe in any given Civ game is Gandhi. That dude has some serious rage issues.

    And I’m seriously hoping that the “War of the Dumbasses” only takes a thousand years. Not optimistic, though.

    And finally, from what you’re saying I think I’m glad that I have two other video games to take up my time and energy while waiting for Civ V to get patched to a point where I can stand playing it. I don’t like crashy games (Looney Tunes Space Race excepted ;-) and I really don’t like games where I can’t change my mind about a setting or option after I figure out that it doesn’t work the way I expected.

    • ngthagg says:

      Interesting, I’ve never had a problem with Ghandi. Montezuma has always been the pain in my backside. That might be because I have never, literally NEVER played a Civ IV game without Montezuma being randomly chosen as an opponent.

      • Mari says:

        I haven’t played more than a couple of games of Civ IV, so I can’t speak to that. But in Civ II and III Gandhi was a right evil jerk. Acronix is right, though. In Civ 1 it was always Shaka Zulu you had to fear. My general approach has usually been to play the leader who was most successfully aggressive myself so that the AI couldn’t have him. I’m a sissy that way.

    • acronix says:

      My great fear is Shaka Zulu, from the first Civilization. He was so far away from any faction that by the time I got there he was ready to kick my out of the continent.

      I´m just glad they didn´t add him in Civ5…yet.

  18. Jennifer Snow says:

    I lol’d at your comment about wars slowing down your space ship. How utterly appropriate.

    I also remembered my housemate telling me about a CS project he had in college where they were designing a program to play tic-tac-toe that was supposed to have options to go from a 3×3 board with 1 look-ahead to a 10×10 board with 10 look-aheads (I think).

    They went ahead and wrote the code, then tried to test it in one of the university computer labs. They couldn’t get the 10×10 to run. It’d sit there for approx 5 minutes then crash. They were baffled, trying to figure out what was going on, so they wound up crashing every computer in the lab sequentially: put the disk in, run the program, boom. Next computer.

    Eventually they figured out that what was happening was that basically they were filling up 100% of all available pc resources with this little tic-tac-toe program. So they told the instructor, and with her help they discovered that EVEN THE UNIVERSITY MAINFRAME could probably not run this beast.

    Needless to say, the project requirements were revised somewhat.

  19. ngthagg says:

    Crashes have been a problem for me. I’ve been trying to finish my first game (Romans, going for a cultural victory), but I’ve had two crashes and I’m losing patience. All I’m doing is sitting around waiting for my culture points to accumulate, so it’s not very exciting. Add in the crashes (and Steam’s refusal to run in offline mode last night) and I’m already losing the urge to go back.

    As for IV versus V: The biggest change is regarding military units. No unit stacking, inherent city defense, and ground units not needing water transport mean you can do more with less. Second is probably going to be improvement in diplomacy. Playing IV I always felt my only two diplomatic options were ignore and destroy, I could never manage a nice symbiotic relationship. But I’ve had a couple in V already.

  20. Samuel Erikson says:

    I have nothing meaningful to add beyond saying thank you for linking to Critical Miss. I’d forgotten about it until now.

  21. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I think most of that time is spent because units no longer stack,so the computer needs to calculate each order in stead of just cycling units in a random fashion.

    Loved the pun in the end.Great one.

    Also,whts ur problem wit teh internetz man?Stfu and go back to ur prehistori old dude!

    • Atarlost says:

      Probably. That’s not the sort of problem you want to brute force.

      In other words the game is now MP only because they made a fundamental part of the game too hard for the AI. Guess what game I’m not going to be buying.

  22. Nyctef says:

    Noes! Moore’s law states that the number of transistors on a chip will roughly double. That doesn’t translate directly to processing power for a number of reasons.
    Firstly, the number of transistors available only really determines one of two things: how complicated you make the processing core, or the number of processing cores you put on each chip. Making the core more complicated doesn’t directly affect processing power, it just allows you to do clever tricks with stuff like pipelining, caching, prefetching etc.
    Recently, cores are becoming so complicated that they can’t be developed quickly enough to keep up with the hardware advances, so multicore, the other option, is becoming popular. There’s a significant limit on how much multiprocessing will speed up your processing time depending on the problem you’re trying to solve. Unless the problem is “embarrassingly parallel” then writing to use a multiprocessor system efficiently is hard.
    Also, memory and I/O speeds haven’t kept up with CPU speeds by a large margin, so that creates another bottleneck.
    That’s the problems in hardware. In software, ever since programmers became more expensive than hardware a few decades ago, more and more software is written to make the programmer’s life easy rather than make the program as efficient as possible. With the size of projects that are being written today it’s pretty much a necessary tradeoff in order to make writing a large software project manageable, but it does place another limit on how much Moore’s law can affect the power available to a computer system.

    And then the AI decides to look one move further into the future, and suddenly has to work a hundred times as hard ..

    • silver says:

      “more and more software is written to make the programmer’s life easy rather than make the program as efficient as possible”

      this.

      As soon as I read Shamus’ complaint about speed I thought, “well, it’s probably programmed to use some mini-language to process the AI, and the implementation of that language is probably, in turn, instantiating a gagrillion objects per line of code.”

  23. Eric Irwin says:

    none of thees things have happened to me yet and I’ve run through the end game 20 times on different maps all set to huge and never once had slow-down. so I’m wondering if its something about your PC that’s causing the issues or if I’m just lucky.

  24. Mike R says:

    I looked in the option menus but I couldn’t find anything like, “hide enemy moves.” What do I click in the beginning of the game to make the end of the game go faster?

  25. Jeff says:

    It’s not a bug, Shamus, it’s a feature.

    Specifically, it’s encouraging an entire generation of attention deficit gamers to choose peace.

    • ClearWater says:

      I think the AI is not actually doing anything. It’s just idling to make the game more realistic; as if you’re playing a real opponent who has to think. Why would you not want that? ;-p

  26. Neil Polenske says:

    Really Shamus? After the tirades you have gone on over games like Bioshock not being SS3 and the new X-Com’s art direction, you’re gonna sit there and tell the Civ fanbase they’re idiots for ranting?

    • acronix says:

      I wouldn´t call the X-Com Turn-Based to Firt-Person-Shooter-eness thing “new art direction”…

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Shamus never called someone an idiot for disagreeing with him.Even people who were telling him how wrong he is about witcher.

    • Shamus says:

      I hate the game, not the player.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Umm,were those links counter arguments to what Ive said?All I see is Shamus telling people to piss off for trying to teach him “how to play a game properly” and being irritated by people dragging him into steam argument again.

        Saying “You are an idiot for telling me how to enjoy myself” and “You are an idiot for liking X that I hate” are two completely different things.

        • Neil Polenske says:

          *shrug* If you say so…

          • Shamus says:

            As a matter of fact, those comments are a good example of me DEALING with idiot fanboys who decide to hate on me because I have different tastes. Which is is why I have such a short temper with them. I don’t hate people who like Halo. But I have no tolerance for people who hate ME because I don’t like Halo.

            Crucial difference.

            • Neil Polenske says:

              Refer to previous statement.

              • Fists says:

                Raises the question: If you have no respect for Shamus (shrugging at him like an indignant child) why are you here? Are you 8″ tall, green and have tusks?

                If Civ V was a puzzler in which you have to fit Gandhi shaped blocks together to clear lines the you could compare it to X-Com, but its not its a variation on the principal mechanics of Civ.

                As for comments on Bioshock I’m sure if they did an LP for Civ V (which I think would be pretty entertaining) he would probably have quite a few points to share on bits he thought other civs did better or features he liked that they left out of V, and that would be his opinion as are his comments on Bioshock.

                • Neil Polenske says:

                  Well maybe cause I’m a standard human being (sans tusks, but I am considered pretty tall), which means I have opinions that can both intersect and disagree with other, equally different human beings. That’s kinda the way things have…y’know…always been.

                  Shamus clearly sees a difference in his behavior and that of the Civ V fans. I say it’s all bitchin on the internet (which has its entertainment value don’t get me wrong). I pointed out why, he responded, and clearly no opinions will be changed in the process, so in my haughty indignance, I decided to drop it. Little did I know such actions would cause a change in my skin pigmentation and substantial enamel growth.

                  Perhaps a youtube link would’ve been preferable…

                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ya8-ZKcOhiY ;P

                • acronix says:

                  But if you wanted to drop the discussion, it would have been more efficient to post nothing. It would have had the same effect (except for the following discussion of why you chose to make explicit your shrug, which is why Fist suggest your change of skin pigmentation, height and orthodontia*). Not to mention that the meaning of “If you say so…” is popularly seen as “Yeah, yeah. Whatever you say, idiot” even when it could mean “I don´t agree” or “I don´t want to argue.” or “Whatever” (the last one would still be detected as unpolite, I think).

                  * He forgot to add the increased regeneration rate. Or that you´d probably turn into stone during daylight. Or that you could be only killed with fire or acid**.
                  ** I don´t recommend testing this last one.

    • uberfail says:

      Xcom looks awesome. X-com is awesome. I just ignore the ancestry of games. Same as i do with people…

  27. kikito says:

    There’s actually a google talk about AI in Civilization, made by the guy that programmed several of the games on the Civ series (I don’t remember if he worked on the last one, though)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJcuQQ1eWWI

  28. Kavonde says:

    I’ve been dealing with some massive load times between turns, too, not to mention how much slower the game runs in DirectX 11 mode than in DX9 (while not looking noticeably better). But my only *real* beef with the game is the lack of technology trading. Alpha Centauri got me into the habit of going pure science and using my knowledge to bribe a more militant civ into protecting me. But if I can’t trade techs, I have to actually build military units myself! It’s very disappointing.

  29. Mazinja says:

    My first Civ game was 2. I remember dropping EVERYTHING to go after Leonardo’s Workshop once it became available, because holy hell was it broken.

    Then was Alpha Centauri, and… well, it was Alpha Centauri! What more can be said? I’m sad I could never get the expansion tho…

    Then Civ 3, in which the AI stunned me by being incredibly aggreeive in city building, often building in THOSE tiny spaces between the rapidly expanding culture of my cities. Cities that would soon turn to me :p

    I believe Civ 4 was the first with religion? Great fun, and the Steam release was the first time I was able to play it online with friends.

    I also played the 360 version (cute, so very short compared to the PC games), and… what was it called… another Civ game that came around the same time as 3? You could build space stations and such, so space was actually its own map, above the world map… and where riflement could somehow lose to barbarian warriors.

    Played the Civ V demo and OH GOD MUST HAVE NEED MONEY.

    … so yeah, addict.

  30. Vegedus says:

    Garh! Would people stop talking about Civ V? I want to get it, but I’ve decided, as I do with a lot of games, to wait until it’s price drops. But everyone talking about it has got me itching to play it. Say some more scathing things about it, please.

  31. Greg says:

    I don’t dare play on the bigger maps. I’m just happy I got it to run on my computer, but then again, I should’ve figured that anyone who claims that they really need 4gb of RAM for a turn based strategy is spouting lies.

    I’d pay for a service that took turn based strategies as they were released and did away with the fancy graphics so they’d run on a mobile phone :P

  32. (LK) says:

    Try playing Empire: Total War when your nation is in multiple wars. Turns take 60-90 seconds on my 3.2 GHz quad-core system.

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