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Soren Johnson – “A Farewell to Civ”

Soren Johnson, AI guru behind Civ 3 and Civ 4, posted an interesting tidbit on his “Designer Notes” blog entitled “A Farewell to Civ“. He mentioned that since he is no longer with Firaxis (having moved over to the Spore team), his GDC lecture next week will really be his last hurrah in speaking about his work with the Civ series.

One thing’s for sure, I will be avoiding writing about Civ 4 in Post-Play’em until after I attend this lecture. One quote caught my eye:

Essentially, I will be talking about the difference between thinking of the AI as the player’s opponent and thinking of it as simply an extension of the core game design (what one might call the difference between “good” AI and “fun” AI). There will also be a long section on AI cheating – the bane of my existence for many years – concerning which type of cheats are acceptable to players and which type are not, using Civ as an extensive case study. Further, I hope to prove that, for Civ at least, there is no such thing as – and never could be – a “fair” difficulty level where the AI is playing the same game as the human. Your mileage , of course, might vary.

I don’t want to make the mistake of assuming something he did was cheating, or something I thought was cheating was actually brilliant AI work on his part!

Cheating or not, he has done some exceptional work in making Civ 3 and Civ 4 an absolute delight to play… even as an AI guy. I’m looking forward to meeting him.

Look for updates from GDC both here and in the IA News blog.

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