Project Description

 

chariot_fidgetCivilization III was a very big deal for Firaxis.   Although it was well-understood that Alpha Centauri was the spiritual successor to Civilization II, Hasbro held the Civilization license and, aside from a brief challenge from Activision’s ill-fated Call to Power series, there really wasn’t anything out there giving turn-based strategy fans what they wanted.  So when we signed with Infogrames to do Civ III, there was a lot of excitement internally, for good reason.  Over a period of several years I was involved in many facets of the product’s life cycle.

At the time of the original Civ III’s launch, I was heavily involved in the launch of Civ3.com, which was by far the most ambitious website release we’d ever done.  But I was also involved in several ambitious side projects: one such project, internally codenamed “Play the World”, was to be a feature that allowed Civ III players to connect to the Civ3.com website each day, download that day’s game seed, and, periodically throughout the course of their gameplay session, upload their current game state for comparison to their friends and the best players in the world.   I built what I would later realize was a primitive server backend using ColdFusion as a web application layer and SQL Server as a database, while the Director of Technology built the client routines to send scores and download game seeds using standard HTTP calls.  In the end, it proved too clunky and was abandoned, but it did lend its name to the infamous expansion pack!

psychedelic_editorAnother side project I spent extensive time on was gathering and triaging fan requests and working with one of our engineers, Mike Breitkreutz, to improve the capabilities of the game’s editor.  We would have near-daily meeting to discuss new features, brainstorm ways to work around limitations, and debate interface usability.  The editor itself was a standalone MFC app, and I wrote comprehensive Windows help files for the application.   Though we received a great deal of criticism for the editor’s initial lack of functionality, many fans eventually grew to consider the Civ III editor among the most powerful in the series; indeed, thousands of mods and scenarios were created by fans for the game.

27163624In 2002, I worked with Eagle Games, a boardgame manufacturer known for its massive boxes and high production values in its game pieces, to develop Civilization: the Boardgame.

In 2003, I was the producer for “Civ Console” project, a controller-driven, TV-resolution prototype of a Civ-style game that Sid had developed with the intention of developing for the Sony Playstation 2.    Eventually, the kernel of this concept would go on to become Civilization Revolution, which shipped on Xbox 360, PS3, and iOS.

In 2004, years after the original launch of Civ III, I was asked to build a gold pack compilation of Civ III and all its’ expansions — Civ III Complete.  I authored the autorun, edited the manual and managed QA for the compilation.  The product was released on PC and Mac and remains a strong retailer seller to this day.