Developer: Firaxis Games
Publisher: 2K Games
Release Date: October 25, 2005
Modding Sid Meier's Civilization IV
By: Barry Caudill
Senior Producer, Firaxis Games
The 1996 release of Sid Meier's Civilization II represented a huge step forward for the series (which was originally created in 1991), and the change that probably had the most significant long-term impact on the Civ community, was the addition of the concept of fan-created content. The fact that people are still creating and sharing scenarios for Civ II, is a testament to this theory. With Sid Meier's Civilization IV, our team at Firaxis is trying to recapture that level of interest and then completely surpass it. Our goal is to make this the most moddable version of Civ ever, so we created three levels of tools offering fun, accessible modding options for every type of player - from casual to hard-core.
The first level is the World Builder, which is an easy-to-use, yet powerful map editor allowing gamers with little experience to create custom worlds. At any time during a game, players can call up the world builder and change numerous things on the map. They can add rivers, place tiles, resources, roads, improvements, cities, units, and nearly anything else that appears on a map. Players can determine which buildings are in the cities, how many people live in any city, what each city is producing, what each Civ has researched. They can also establish who is at war and each AI's attitude toward every other Civ. World Builder offers a fun accessible way for anyone to create quick, customized scenarios.
The next level offers Python and XML support, letting modders with more experience manipulate the game world and everything in it. XML (eXtensible Markup Language) files can be edited in standard text editors or in special XML file editors that have ease-of-use features like a grid view. Editing these files will allow players to tweak simple game rules and change or add content. For instance, they can add new unit or building types, change the cost of wonders, or add new civilizations. Players can also change the sounds played at certain times or edit the play list for your soundtrack. NOTE: You can have custom soundtracks simply by adding music to the custom folder. You only need to edit the XML in order to assign certain pieces to specific eras or remove certain pieces.
The Python scripting language is fully integrated throughout the game and offers experienced modders a chance to really strut their stuff! People with some programming skills will be able to do things to alter the game in interesting and extraordinary ways. For instance, all of the game interface screens are exposed to Python, so modders will be able to change the information that's displayed, as well as how it's positioned on the screen. We also use Python to create and generate all of the random map scripts that are included in the game. So, players will now have the ability to add scripted events to the game like automatically generating units when a tile is reached, having specific situations trigger automatic war, or get this, bringing back Civil Wars caused by unrest, Civ II style!
So, we've got an integrated World Builder, XML tweaks and additions, and an extensive event system. And that's not all folks. Just for you, we'll throw in a set of Ginsu steak knives, a miracle hair restorer, and... the Civ 4 SDK...all for one low price!
That's right! In early 2006, Firaxis will give Civ fans the ultimate moddability tool in the form of an SDK that will allow players to change the way the game functions at a very high level. Don't like the way the AI reacts? Change it. Want to change the way combat works by adding stack attacks with multiple units fighting at once? Do it. Essentially, modders can do anything short of changing the basic graphics engine, the core Civ engine, or the network code. The sky is truly the limit and we're really looking forward to seeing what the incredible Civ fans create.