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Sid Meier On  CivWorld 's Long Dev Cycle
Sid Meier On CivWorld's Long Dev Cycle
July 8, 2011 | By Staff

July 8, 2011 | By Staff
More: Social/Online, Production

Civilization creator Sid Meier and his team at Firaxis this week launched the open beta for the studio's social gaming debut, CivWorld.

Meier is taking a different approach towards the fast-paced social gaming space. Whereas many social games spend a very short time in development before launching (Zynga's wildly-successful FarmVille was built in just five weeks prior to launch), CivWorld has been cooking for around a year-and-a-half.

Asked why Firaxis is taking so much longer to develop CivWorld rather than adopting the launch-now-update-often strategy, Meier told Gamasutra, "Well, this is Civ. I think there's another strategy, which is to kind of throw five games out there and see which ones stick. We don't have five games to throw out there and see what sticks."

"I think we kind of said from the beginning that this game has to be as good as we can make it," he said. "We're not going to have five opportunities to make games. We have to put all of our best ideas to make this game."

"That's part of the reason it took longer. I think also your first game in any new genre is going to require tools and infrastructure and a bunch of stuff that you probably don't already have," said Meier. "So, we did it as quickly as we could, but there was quite a bit involved. I think that's the reason it took the time that it did."

Meier also explained how Firaxis relied on internal, subjective feedback when designing the game, as opposed to analytics, which more established social game developers rely upon heavily.

"Well, we love to prototype, and we love to get feedback," said Meier. "We had a game running pretty quickly, and we were playing it internally fairly early. So, that generated a lot of great feedback and ideas, and kind of the process started... That's more subjective than analytical."

He continued, "Our process is geared toward the idea of fun, whatever that is, so we're basically looking to find the fun. I think that's kind of a subjective process. We didn't do a lot of numerical analysis, how many people are clicking here. I'm not sure whether that's the cart or the house."

"We're looking to find the fun, and we think that if people are having fun, they're probably clicking on the right places or the right buttons at the right time," said Meier. "So, it's more of a kind of subjective gameplay-oriented approach to development than maybe an analytical one."

However, now that the game is in open beta, the designer said that user data will become more of a focus as the game evolves. "I think as we get a larger sample of players, the data becomes more meaningful," Meier said.

Meier talks more about bringing the long-running Civilization series to Facebook in a recently-published Gamasutra feature interview.

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Art Director


Jon Cole
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I would have probably of had a go, but it is asking a bit too much access for my liking:

Access my basic information

Includes name, profile picture, gender, networks, user ID, list of friends and any other information I've shared with everyone..

Send me email

Which address would you like to use?Facebook contact email address ( anonymous email address (

Post to my Wall

CivWorld may post status messages, notes, photos and videos to my Wall.

Access my data any time

CivWorld may access my data when I'm not using the application.

Access my Profile information

Current location

Bryson Whiteman
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If the thought hasn't crossed your mind already, you can always just play with a fake Facebook account.

Dennis Crow
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Hallelujah - intuitive game development instead of analytical game development. Go Sid!

Carlo Delallana
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Odd thing is that the game isn't very intuitive. Its trying to communicate a lot of information inside the limited Facebook canvas that i sometimes find myself unable to track where I am in the metagame. There is plenty of UI noise in the form of the scrolling "player updates".

I'm still giving it the benefit of the doubt and will keep playing, maybe this is a game you grow into. I'm wondering if i'm alone in this assessment.

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.