Jon Shafer

Show Us Your Rig: Civ V designer Jon Shafer

Cory Banks at

Welcome to Show Us Your Rig, a new feature where the PC gaming industry's best and brightest show us the systems they use to work and play. 

Conifer Games' Jon Shafer requires a lot of information. As the lead designer on Civilization V, he's understandably used to having a lot of data to process—his civ's economic details or battle data from the front lines, perhaps. Lately, most of that information is the thousands of lines of code for his newest project, the upcoming 4X At The Gates. Still, we were surprised when Shafer told us that his setup for both programming and gaming requires four separate screens. For most people, that'd be information overload. For Shafer, it's just another work day.

At The Gates not ready to open; Jon Shafer's turn-based strategy delayed to 2015

Phil Savage at

Alpha testing is a bit like inviting a barbarian horde to ransack your city. Sure, you might think you've built sturdy walls and impenetrable defences, but sooner or later the throng of testers will find a crack. That's what happened to Jon Shafer's appropriately named turn-based strategy At The Gates. Its alpha testers, having breached the early code, went on to make a number of reasonable and sensible design requests based on the issues they identified. The savages! In response, Shafer is extending the game's development past the planned mid-2014 release date and into 2015.


At the Gates over 200% funded, Jon Shafer discusses the road ahead

T.J. Hafer at

As of the writing of this article, there is just over a day and a half left in the Kickstarter for At the Gates, the upcoming, Dark Ages 4X game from Civ V designer Jon Shafer. The team at Shafer's new studio, Conifer Games, has already demolished the original, $40,000 goal. Notable stretch goals already met include full mod support and two new factions. We caught up with Jon in a follow-up to our announcement interview to get his thoughts on how the campaign went, and what we can expect from At the Gates after it's funded.


Jon Shafer criticizes every decision he made on Civ 5, explains how At the Gates will differ

T.J. Hafer at

Jon Shafer, designer of Civilization V, has successfully funded his upcoming At the Gates on Kickstarter with 22 days to spare. Today, in an update on the Kickstarter page, he took a long and merciless look into the mirror of self-criticism, admitting what he perceives as mistakes in the design of Civ 5 that he hopes to make up for in this new project. Everything from AI programming to unit stacking is dissected.


At the Gates interview with Civilization V designer Jon Shafer

T.J. Hafer at

Civilization V designer Jon Shafer has come down from the mountains, into our frozen world, to reveal At the Gates. To develop it, Shafer's new studio, Conifer Games, is asking for $40,000 in funding on Kickstarter. Check out the video inside for an overview of the game, then dive into some finer details in our interview with Shafer.


At The Gates: new turn-based strategy from the lead designer of Civilization V

Phil Savage at

Jon Shafer, lead designer of Civilization V, has taken to Kickstarter to fund his new turn-based strategy project At the Gates. Set during the final days of the Roman Empire, you play as an emerging barbarian kingdom seeking to fill the resulting power vacuum.