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  • Beyond Earth is finally here!

    I have to admit, I have been a bit excited for the release of Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth. Although I did not get into it until Civ V, I am really a fan of the gameplay, though I can see how it might get a little tired for those with more time than me. The announcement of Beyond Earth really excited me because, other than the game engine, nothing is truly familiar. The sponsors, planets, aliens, and everything else is coming from imaginations of the developers and inspirations from books like Dune. It is all new and exciting stuff to discover and enjoy. I also like the concept of the tech web, because the linear tech tree of Civ V annoyed me almost as much as the denouncement happy AI.

    I decided I would make a Let’s Play of my first game of Beyond Earth because I thought the learning process would be entertaining. Plus, that is a lot of what my channel is about: learning games by trial and error and trying to improve. I am playing as the American Reclamation Corporation (ARC) and plan to pursue a Harmony affinity path, but I will try to use covert ops to keep enemies at bay and speed along my science progress. I have only managed a couple hours of playtime, so far, but I am really enjoying it. If you want to learn more about the game or see how someone else plays it, please check out my Hep plays learns to play Beyond Earth series:


  • Let’s Play Civilization V as Carthage

    I started a Let’s Play of Civilization V Gods & Kings a while back that continues today (I never realized how many 25-minute episodes it would take to finish a playthrough). I wanted to change it up a bit, so I picked a “ring” map type, which makes it interesting in that it really keeps your attention focused on your neighbors, as movement beyond them, even by sea, is very limited. I learned that the map size can greatly affect how much you can fit on it when only one of the numerous city-states I had planned showed up.

    In this playthrough, I am attempting to be a warmongering civilization. While I am doing a good job of keeping Carthage at war, I have made a lot of missteps along the way that have kept the civilization weak and prevent the technological and economic advancements needed to match other civs toe-to-toe militarily. I have been able to use the map to my advantage, though, and continue to struggle along with my weak forces.

    I invite you to come check out the series. I am still working on my ability to speak continuously, as a Let’s Play of a game like Civilization V needs fairly consistent discussion to remain interesting. I welcome thoughts and feedback on the gameplay, or just general comments and discussion that could be incorporated into this or another series.


  • The Science of Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth

    Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth is one of the many announced games about which I am very excited. The promise of the new space/science-fiction theme, new units and “civs”, and new mechanics (orbital layer, anyone?) have me really curious. The recent op-ed at Space.com written by Will Miller and David McDonough, lead designers for Beyond Earth, has only heightened the hype for me.

    In it, they talk about how science has influenced their game design for Civilization: Beyond Earth, discussing their excitement for this “opportunity to explore ideas about the future — technology, progress and culture — and think about how settling on a new planet could be the next stage for humanity’s progress.”

    Working on “Beyond Earth” has been an amazing opportunity to continue to learn about current directions in research and engineering. Every time we’ve come up with a gameplay idea, and we’ve thought: “If only there were some sort of science we could hang this on,” we’ve found a real and promising current direction being explored. When we were building one of our victory conditions (making contact with a sentient alien species), we wanted to know more about communications over the vast distances of space, which, in turn, led us to reading about quantum entanglement being used in communications. It’s been exciting to learn that no matter how strange our ideas are, reality is often stranger, and the future feels a lot closer for realizing those ideas.

    So, buried through the game are bits of what we’ve learned about thorium reactors or transgenic medicine or climate engineering. As designers, our main goal is for people to enjoy playing “Beyond Earth,” but if our players run across something in the game, and they’re curious enough to look into it a bit more, then we’ll be ecstatic to have done our part to raise a little more love for space and science. Maybe that player will go on to bring us a little closer to the next chapter for humanity.

    I have a tremendous appreciate for the effort Miller, McDonough, and their team appear to be putting in to Civilization: Beyond Earth to make it entertaining, as well as plausible enough for one to immerse themselves in the game world. Civilization: Beyond Earth is set to release in October 2014, and I for one cannot wait.