Sid Meier: ‘I’m not sure I’ll be playing Civilization if it comes out today’

Sid Meier: 'There’s a whole new generation of gamers who’ve grown up knowing games their entire life'

Sid Meier launched Zoom from his home in Maryland, and it so happens to me that this minimalist videogame designer caught my attention more than any other artist.

It will take 50 hours or so to watch all of the James Bond movies. To read all Harry Potter, maybe 60. Mayer’s work mocked such evasion. It’s almost unbearable trying to figure out how much time you’ve given up Railroad tycoon, pirates And different versions of Civilization But I am sure it will take more than 1000 hours. When it comes to Meyer, there aren’t many agnostics. Either the name will mean nothing to you or it will inspire you with memories of pirates on the high seas, the railroad oligarchy and world domination.

At the age of 66, after nearly 40 years in the field, Meyer has written an entertaining biography. Its title is Sid Meier’s Diary!, The vulgar exclamation mark in keeping with the style he used throughout his career. The book reviews his career in chronological order, from the early days he was programming 2D action games on lunch breaks, to the multi-million dollar projects he’s now working on, which he shares with the most iconic Hollywood movies of his early work.

As with Buster Keaton or Elvis, Meier’s work is inseparable from technological innovation. During the time he was working, the possibilities of video games expanded faster than any creative field in history. When he got started, game design was a side hobby of his job of designing cash registers. The industry grew up with him. Today it is worth over $ 100 billion annually, and it’s still growing at around 10 percent annually.

Sid Meier’s Diary! Cover art(click on the picture)

His initial pain seems strange. Meyer was relieved when combat aircraft began using the HUD in place of the old instrument panels, as this meant that he no longer had to give up the lower half of his screen for imaging disks and scales. To prevent piracy, they would include coded words in game directories, whose file sizes were too large to be easily distributed.

For all the new possibilities of photorealistic graphics for portraits and online gameplay, you’d also feel Meyer lost.

“For a long time we have been pushing against the limits of what a computer can do,” he says. “We were trying to make the most of the available hardware and then tap into the imagination of the players to provide the rest. That was the art of designing the game, to provide that incentive. You might imagine you are a fighter pilot, a pirate, or the king of a great civilization.” When some games are more like movies, it’s great to look at them but so many technical decisions have been made for you, Meyer’s games are a lot like novels, and invite the reader to fill in the gaps. His sayings.

Meyer made his name with flight simulators in the 1980s and then with Pirates! In 1987. It was civilization, However, its first iteration appeared in 1991 (there were now 12 issues), which ensured its place in gaming history.

For a long time we’ve been pushing against the limits of what a computer can do

Mr. Mayer

Sword , As is known, it put you in the role of the divine leader of a great civilization. Starting at 4000BC, you can control a single settler in the middle of a large and mainly mysterious map. You have found a city that you can use to make more settlers or soldiers, and to search for new technologies to expand and strengthen your civilization. The wonders of the world endow unique advantages to your civilization: Stonehenge, Sistine Chapel, or Angkor Wat.

The action is turn-based, so you have as long as you want to decide what you want to do as much as possible before you hit “Next Turn” and your opponents do their moves.

The “Next Turn” button is a switch SwordMagnetic grip on the attractiveness of players. Who knows what will happen when you pay it? There is always another turn. Minutes become hours, and hours become days. You settle for a quick game at bedtime and before you know the sun is up and you are blown up by Gandhi. You can win militarily or technically by building a spaceship or by amassing wealth. Different governments grant different benefits. Democracy is better for scientific progress and trade, but it makes waging war more difficult.

The game has been criticized for its direction towards a liberal democratic worldview, especially in its early incarnations, and has been cited in academic papers. In 2012, a story came out about a guy who was playing the same game Civilization 2 For more than 10 years, with the year of the game raised to 3991 AD. His world has become a perpetual war between three perfectly balanced forces, with atomic bombs falling on each other without end. The story has been captured all over the world, not least because of its accidental similarity to George Orwell’s vision 1984.

“We’re trying to warn people against drawing too many parallels with the real world,” says Meyer. “It’s a sandbox where you can do whatever you want. We try to give you a broad appreciation for different leaders and philosophies, but no more than that.”

Despite its near-infinite playback potential, Sword It is not easy to pick up and learn many of the popular phone or console games today. Mayer reminds us in the book that the 1998 bestselling games were Civ 2, Warcraft II, Myst, Command & Conquer And Duke Nokum 3D. Aside from the latter, they all require more thought and more participation than Candy crushers or Fortnites That dominate the games today. The competition for eyeball time means it’s hard to imagine those titles would have the same kind of popularity if they were released now.

We try to warn people against drawing too many similarities with the real world

“I don’t think I can civilization Mayer says. “I’m not even sure I’m going to play it. It won’t fit the zeitgeist. It demands a lot from the player, and it takes a while to solve. You have to play it once to understand what’s going on. You have to be willing to spend time with him, and that’s not where he’s in.” Most players these days. Sword I got out at the right time. The computer had just become powerful enough to make it for us, but it wasn’t filled with many possibilities. If it were created for two years, we would have only had four colors and it would have been much shallower. “

‘Addiction’ Sword It’s usually talked about in emotional terms, the worst expression of a laptop locked up at dawn, but in recent years the dark side of gaming addiction has become a controversial topic.

Mayer would encourage us to believe that the “other turn” of his creativity was about storytelling. But there’s a dopamine hit, too. Gaming companies and social media have spent billions of dollars engineering their products to motivate us. You may learn more about the history of gameplay Sword , But isn’t it basically hitting the same points?

“[Addiction] Not a word I would use [to discuss his games]Mayer says. “We’d rather talk about sharing or commitment.” I can imagine the people who run casinos in Vegas making a similar argument, I would say. Meyer replies, “I won’t admit it.” “We tend to think that time is well wasted. You are exercising your mind, learning more about the world, and possibly arousing your interest in a new topic.” The cover notes feature praise Sword From Mark Zuckerberg and Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft.

A typical scene from Sid Meier VI’s civilization(Youtube)

As games became more complex, the types of computer engineers who might have gone to games found themselves drawn to the big tech, working on real-world applications. Much of the early research was done on what we now call “artificial intelligence” in computer games, to create opponents that could give you a game. Demis Hassabis, founder of DeepMind, started his gaming career, writing code for Amusement park, an amusement park When he was a teenager. Did Mayer ever wish he could go into the wider field of technology?

“I think I have the best job in the world,” he says. “There is always another game to write. When I meet people who have played it and want to share their stories with me or with other players or their children, I realize that we can justify the billions of hours people spend playing. It’s about stories.”

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