Firaxicon is coming! But while it may sound like Firkraag's big brother has finally launched his quest for vengeance against the child of Gorion, it is in fact the first-ever videogame convention devoted solely to Firaxis Games, the studio behind the Sid Meier's Civilization series. And yes, it is official.
Twice a month, Pixel Boost guides you through the hacks, tricks, and mods you'll need to run a classic PC game on Windows 7/8. Each guide comes with a free side of hi-res screenshots from the LPC celebrating the graphics of PC gaming's past. This week: Yarr!.
First, there were pirates, the sea dogs of the the 17th century Caribbean. Then there were Pirates!, who were very similar, except they lived inside computers like the Commodore 64 and Apple II and were created by Sid Meier in 1987. Finally, there are 2004's Pirates!, who sail the Caribbean as salty 3D scalawags instead of tiny blocky pixel sprites. Pirates, Pirates! and 3D Pirates! all do mostly the same things--plunder booty, trade stolen goods, and swordfight with Spanish sailors. 2013's Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag may have the more exciting swordfighting, but the greatest piracy simulation of them all is still 2004's Sid Meier's Pirates!. Meier's classic blend of fun minigames and strategy hasn't been replicated in a pirate game since, but that's okay—Pirates! still runs just fine on modern Windows, and at high resolution, too.
Sid Meier is a game design legend. He co-founded MicroProse in 1982 and created Civilization, one of the longest-running and most loved series in gaming. Now the creative director at Firaxis—and overseer for both the Civ and XCOM franchises, Meier can be choosy about what he works on. His choice: Ace Patrol: Pacific Skies, a WWI-era turn-based strategy game that's small in price but big on strategy, and even influenced by tabletop games.
PC Gamer spoke to Meier about his interest in smaller game design, and how it let his team take some risks. He also shared his view of the changing strategy game market, and how he thinks all gamers are strategy gamers at heart.
Its all-caps studio name is constantly yelling, but XLGAMES has been quiet about one thing until now: Civilization Online, which it's developing under the command of veteran MMO designer Jake Song. Civ Online isn't a grand strategy board game MMO—according to the reveal at Massively, it's more similar to A Tale in the Desert. Players will control a single citizen in a procedurally-generated world and help one of four cultures achieve a Civilization-style victory over the course of a "session."
Sid Meier is second only, perhaps, to Tom Clancy in the ranking of “guys with their names at the front of game titles.” Unlike Clancy, though, Meier actually had a hand in developing legendary games like Sid Meier’s Civilization, Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, Sid Meier’s Pirates!, and the original X-COM.
You may remember Sid Meier from such games as Sid Meier's Civilization, Sid Meier's Civilization II, Sid Meier's Pirates, and... well, you get the idea. While he's currently taking a vacation from PC development, instead creating the iOS strategy game Ace Patrol, he has had some things to say about the oft-PC centric Kickstarter, and its role in the game creation process. Specifically, he worries about the potential inflexibility of the platform with regards to backers' expectations.
Using certain soldier names in XCOM: Enemy Unknown will activate XCOM Heroes - pre-designed super soldiers such as Sid Meier and Ken Levine. Before activating a Hero, a pop-up will warn you that they're too damn amazing to allow you to continue the game with achievements turned on, and you cannot modify a Hero character after summoning it. If you decide to use one, do avoid killing him with some bull-headed tactical screw-up -- we'd kind of like BioShock Infinite to be finished.
Legendary Civilization game developer, Sid Meier himself, made a cameo appearance in an E3 trailer for XCOM: Enemy Unknown - now the lead developer Jake Solomon confirms he will not be the only game industry stalwart to turn up as a playable character.
“It's not about what you show on the screen, it's what you cause to appear in the player's imagination.”
That’s what Firaxis’ Sid Meier took from The Seven Cities of Gold, a game he lists as a major inspiration. “Even today ... it's still the player's imagination that's the most powerful tool we can stimulate and use to bring the experience to life,” he says.
As reported on Gamasutra, Side Meier, John Romero, Will Wright and Cliff Bleszinski have been talking gaming inspirations at GDC.
The Games Developers Conference has just begun in San Francisco. Devs from every corner of the industry are congregating to talk about their craft. It’s a very exciting time.
GDC is less console iteration and booth babe than E3. It's more about quiet announcements and candid industry chatter. That said, this year’s show is already shaping up nicely, especially for us PC gamers. We have men on the ground, sniffing out scoops in real-time.
Will Valve open the Pandora’s box that is the Steam Box? What’s the mystery game that EA are due to announce on Tuesday? What will Sid Meier have to say in his keynote speech? Are Hitman Absolution’s crowds extremely good or a bit good? Read on for the highlights.
A clutch of Alpha Centauri trademarks have been gobbled up by EA, report Eurogamer. The trademark applications were spotted by NeoGaf, and cover an online service and computer game software. EA originally published Firaxis' cosmic take on the Civilization formula way back in 1999.
Alpha Centauri appears regularly in our annual selection of the top 100 PC games of all time, because it's great. Could EA be planning a long-awaited sequel?
Two new DLC packs are heading to Civilization 5 this Thursday report CVG. The first adds the Korean civ as a playable faction. They're science experts, capable of developing devastating Hwach'a artillery siege machines and resilient "Turtle Boats." The pack also contains a new scenario simulating the samurai invasion of Korea. You can play as the Koreans, Chinese or Japanese and try to defend/destroy the Korean countryside as you see fit.
The second pack adds three new wonders, The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, The Statue of Zeus, and The Temple of Artemis. These give lowly civilisations useful boosts to their cities' growth and military might. The packs will be priced at $4.99 each, or you can grab both as a bundle for $7.50. Catch the trailer for the Wonders pack below.
Sid Meier's social take on Civilization is now live for all to play on Facebook. 2K have been running an invite-only closed beta for a short while, which has been sending Owen slightly mad with power. "Look at all my little men!" he would cry as his city slowly grew "look at them!"
Not only can you look at your little men, you can give them jobs and instruct them to build an empire. As the video above explains, the aim of the game is to earn fame, through economic or military victories. You can form groups with your friends and work together to achieve co-operative victories as well. It also offers the rare opportunity for you to become king of all your friends. Head to the Civ World Facebook page to start your reign of terror.
The long dormant Civilization World project has suddenly sprung to life. A Facebook message from Sid Meier has announced that the project will now be called Civ World, and a playable alpha of the game is set to start next week.