Civilization III

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Sid Meier's Civilization III
Civilization III Coverart.png
Developer(s) Firaxis Games, Westlake Interactive (Mac OS, original), and Aspyr (Mac OS, Complete)
Publisher(s) Infogrames (now Atari), MacSoft (Mac OS), and Aspyr (Mac OS, Complete)
Director(s) Sid Meier (creative)
Producer(s) Thomas J. Zahorik (senior)
Michael Gibson
Jeffrey Kennedy
Morris Bill Lévay (executive)
Michael Fetterman (associate)
Designer(s) Jeff Briggs
Soren Johnson
Programmer(s) Jonathan Armoza, Mike Breitkreutz, Patrick Dawson, David Evans, Soren Johnson, Chris Pine, Javier Sobrado, Jacob Solomon
Artist(s) Nicholas J. Rusko-Berger (lead)
Brent Alleyne, Jerome Atherholt, Michael Bates, Michael E. Bazzell, Gregory Foertsch, Marc Hudgins, Alex Kim, Kevin Margo, John Marro, Ryan Murray, Dorian Newcomb, Justin Francis Thomas
Writer(s) Paul Murphy
Composer(s) Roger Briggs
Mark Cromer
Series Civilization
Engine Custom
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, Mac OS
Release date(s)
  • NA October 30, 2001
  • EU November 1, 2001
Genre(s) Turn-based strategy
Mode(s) Single-player multiplayer (with expansions)
Distribution 1 CD-ROM

Sid Meier's Civilization III, commonly shortened to Civ III or Civ 3, is the third installment of the Sid Meier's Civilization turn-based strategy video game series. It was preceded by Civilization II and followed by Civilization IV, and it was released in 2001. The game offers very sophisticated gameplay in terms of both mechanics and strategy. Unlike the original game, Civ III was not designed by Sid Meier, but by Jeff Briggs, a game designer, and Soren Johnson, a game programmer.

Civilization III, like the other Civilization games, is based around building an empire, from the ground up, beginning in 4,000 BC and continuing slightly beyond the modern day. The player must construct and improve cities, train military and non-military units, improve terrain, research technologies, build Wonders of the World, make war or peace with neighboring civilizations, and so on. The player must balance a good infrastructure, resources, diplomatic and trading skills, technological advancement, city and empire management, culture, and military power to succeed.

Gameplay[edit]

Configuring city resources in the game

The game map is made up of square tiles on a grid. Each city, terrain improvement, and unit is located in a specific tile, and each tile can host any number of units, land tiles can contain a transportation improvement (road or railroad) and a land improvement (farm or mine) or a city. Cities must be built a minimum of two tiles away from each other (no two cities can be touching). Each tile is made of a particular type of terrain that determines, among other things, how much food, production, and trade it produces when "worked". A tile can only be worked if it is one of the 20 tiles surrounding a city, a tile can only be worked by one city at a time, and each city can only work a number of tiles equal to or less than its population.

Food is used to grow the player's cities. Each population unit requires two food units per turn to survive, and excess food is stored. Once the food storage fills up, it is emptied, the city gains a population unit, and the size of the food storage is increased (i.e., a larger amount of food will be required for the city to grow again). Only half of a city's food storage is depleted if the city has a granary.

Production, represented in the game as "shields", is used to build units, buildings, and wonders.

Commerce powers the player's economy. This commerce is split up as the player sees fit between technological research, tax revenue, and luxuries, each with a different purpose.

Each city's citizens have a certain mood (happy, content, unhappy, or resisting). If there are more unhappy than happy citizens in a city, the city falls into civil disorder and all production ceases and no food is stored; if a city remains in civil disorder for too long, improvements may be destroyed by the unruly mob. On the other hand, if a city has more happy citizens than content ones, and no unhappy ones, the city will throw a celebration for the ruler called We Love the King[1] Day and economic benefits ensue.

Terrain improvements are built by Worker units. Irrigation increases food, mines increase production, and roads increase commerce and reduce movement costs (to 1/3 of a point) for all allied land units using them. Two civilizations must have Right of passage treaty signed to benefit from each other's roads. Later in the game, the player can build railroads, which provide unlimited movement for allied units as well as increasing the yield of existing tile improvements.

Buildings enhance a city in some way and cost maintenance. Like units and Wonders, each one can only be built when the requisite technology has been acquired. Buildings require financial maintenance each turn, and can be destroyed by many means, including bombardment. Buildings types include granary, barracks, temple, harbor, university, bank, hospital, factory, recycling center, and SAM missile battery. Only one of each type of building can be constructed in each city.

As in previous instalments of Civilization, there are unique Wonders of the World that can only be built once per game. Wonders provide a variety of major benefits to a specific city, all cities on a continent or to an entire empire.

Civilization III also added Small Wonders, which can be built once by each civilization. Small Wonders have, for the most part, a sociological requirement to construct them, as well as a technological requirement. Battlefield Medicine, for example, requires that five of the player's cities have hospitals before building, and Wall Street requires 5 banks in the player's cities in order to begin building.

When a civilization captures a city with a Small Wonder, it is automatically destroyed; World Wonders in captured cities are only destroyed if the city is razed. If a World Wonder is destroyed, it can never be rebuilt. Some examples of wonders are the Pyramids, The Great Wall, and The Colossus; examples of small wonders are Wall Street, the Forbidden Palace and The Pentagon.

One of the major features of gameplay is scientific research. Completing the research of a new technology will make available new units, city improvements and wonders of the world, as well as special bonuses and abilities that are related to the technology.

The technology tree is divided into four ages (Ancient Age, Middle Ages, Industrial Age, and Modern Age); each age requires the research of specific technologies to advance to that age. Additionally, there are technologies that are not required to advance to the next age, but which provide useful bonuses that are often essential for good empire management, or may provide different alternatives to it.

A science slider is used to allocate money from the economy to scientific research, and can be set at 10% increments. City improvements such as libraries, universities, and research labs also increase scientific research, as do some wonders (such as Newton's University).

Technologies can also be traded to and from other civilizations in return for money, resources, luxury goods or other technologies. Technologies acquired in this way can in turn be exchanged (also called 'technology brokering') for other new technologies by contacting one or more other civilizations. In this way civilizations may, in one turn, experience a considerable jump in their technological development, while others can be left out and disadvantaged.

Citizens are the people who work in a city. There are four kinds in Civ III: Laborers, Entertainers, Tax Collectors and Scientists. All citizens are created as Laborers. Laborers work the land tiles within the city radius to yield food, production, and commerce. A Laborer changed into a specialist reduces yield by removing a Laborer from working a city tile, but increases luxuries, science output, or tax revenue. If there are more citizens in a city than available tiles to work, the extra citizens automatically become Entertainers.

The second expansion, Conquests, adds two new types of citizens to the game: Policemen (reduce corruption) and Civil Engineers (enhance building and wonder production).

Civil disorder is caused when more citizens are unhappy than are happy. During Civil Disorder, the city does not create any commerce or production, but food-harvesting continues. Civil Disorder continues until additional sources of happiness are added to the city, or the riots are subdued by reinforcing the military garrison in the cities.

One of the primary distinctions between the difficulty levels is the ease with which cities fall into civil disorder. On a given difficulty level, a certain number of citizens are content by default, and all others produced in excess of that number become unhappy. As the difficulty level increases, the number of content citizens decreases from 6 to 1, making city management more difficult and forcing one to sacrifice resources to entertainment, either by having citizens specialize as entertainers (and thus producing no resources) or by redirecting much-needed funding from scientific research.

Culture is a feature of Civ III that was not present in previous installments of the franchise. Each city in Civilization III has a cultural rating, which is the city's influence over local terrain. Essentially, the culture's outer edge, or "border", acts as the boundary of each civilization's empire. When a city is created, it has a culture rating of 1, which allows influence over the closest 8 squares only (a sphere of influence 1 square in radius). As the city's culture rating increases, so does its sphere of influence, bringing more territory under the player's control.

In addition to influencing territorial borders, culture serves two other purposes. One is allowing the peaceful takeover, better known as 'culture flipping', of nearby foreign cities by influencing its citizens with another civilization's culture. This 'flipping' could happen in Civilization, but the process is clearer and easier to influence in Civ III. Conquest through culture is arguably preferable to military conquest as it does not affect a civilization's reputation in the global community, and also leaves all of the buildings in the city intact. In addition, a civilization can win the game by having a very strong culture total.

Culture score increases each turn, and is based on what city improvements and wonders, such as a temple or the Hanging Gardens, have been built in that city.

Every civilization starts with certain special abilities, specifically two traits that give them bonuses that help in corresponding areas of gameplay; they also determine what two technologies the civilization begins the game with. Each civilization has a special unit that is unique to their civilization and is typically a slightly improved replacement of a standard unit; these units usually have a historical basis (for example: the Japanese unique unit, which replaces the standard knight, is the samurai).

Citizens may be of different nationality

Citizens have a nationality based upon the civilization under which they were 'born.' Citizens have a 'memory' of their nationality and will consider themselves members of their previous civilization until they are assimilated into their new civilization. The time it takes for this change to occur is based upon the relative cultures of both civilizations, taking less time the more the culture of the new civilization is stronger than the previous civilization's. For example, if Persia captures a French city, its citizens will retain their French nationality until they are assimilated into the Persian culture, although they will live and work under Persian control. Foreign citizens become unhappy if their ruling country is at war with their country of birth and may remain so for some time afterward. This gives recently captured cities a high potential for rebellion. Otherwise, they are equally productive. Units that are captured, such as workers and artillery, also retain their nationality. Workers are less efficient than 'native' units; they have no upkeep cost, however.

Combat is an important aspect of the game, and, although not required to win, it is nearly impossible to go through a full game without experiencing warfare at least once. Each unit begins as a "regular" (with 3[2] hit points) and can gain experience and be promoted through battles. Below regular is "conscript" (with 2 hit points); barbarian tribes will occasionally generate conscript[3] units, and a city may also institute a draft to produce conscript units at the cost of some of the city population. Above regular is "veteran" (with 4 hit points) and finally "elite" (with 5 hit points). If a city has a barracks (or harbor for naval units, or airport for air units), it will produce veteran units instead of regulars.

Each unit has an attack and defense value that is compared against another unit's appropriate value (attack vs defense) to determine the winner of each battle. Certain terrain types, as well as large cities, defending across a river, and fortifying a unit provide additional defensive bonuses (e.g. a mountain has a 100% defensive bonus, so a unit with 3 defense will be considered to have 6 defense when defending on a mountain). Ultimately, a random number generator (RNG) determines the outcome of each battle, so it is therefore possible (although very rare) for a Bronze Age Spearman to defeat a Modern Age Modern Armor tank. This issue was supposedly dealt with in Civilization II with the addition of firepower and hit points.

Another important aspect of combat is bombardment, which can be done by artillery units (catapult, trebuchet, cannon, artillery and radar artillery), air units, and more advanced naval units (such as destroyers and battleships). Bombardment can soften a target before it is attacked, and, if attacking a city, may kill some of the population or destroy certain city improvements. Certain units have the ability to kill other units through bombardment (known as "lethal bombardment"). There are also expendable missiles that can only hit a target once but deal greater damage than bombardment:

  • Cruise Missiles fire over a short range from land but can be invaluable tools to prevent enemy civilizations from docking or reinforcing. They can be moved across land or by transport ship.
  • Tactical Nukes launch over a large range to obliterate the target, severely reducing population of target cities and also create pollution, as well as destroying roads and land improvements in the 8 surrounding squares and often turning some tiles into wasteland tiles, with significantly reduced shield, gold and food production. Tactical Nukes can only be moved by land and Nuclear Submarines. They are viewed negatively and their use can cause other civilizations to declare war against the user.
  • Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) are identical to Tactical Nukes but have unlimited range to hit any target on the globe. They cannot be moved from the city they are built in unlike Tactical Nukes and Cruise Missiles.

When an elite unit wins a battle against an enemy unit, there is a small chance that it will produce a Great Leader. A Great Leader has the ability to create an Army, which has the ability to "load" up to three[2] units (four if the player has built The Pentagon). An Army fights as one unit and combines the hit points of all the individual units loaded into it. Once units have been loaded into the Army, however, they cannot be removed or upgraded, but they do gain additional battle experience - however, an elite unit in an army cannot generate leaders. A Great Leader can also be used to hurry the building of a project; this is the only way to hurry production of a Great Wonder.

In Civilization III, there are three types of resources. Each type of resource can be found only on certain types of terrain and can provide a bonus to food, production, or commerce if found within the city radius and worked by a citizen. Bonus resources exist specifically for this purpose, while luxury and strategic resources provide other benefits as well; luxury and strategic resources may be traded, while bonus resources may not. Resources must be 'connected' to a civilization's infrastructure (via a road or railroad) and must be within that civilization's cultural border to be utilized; a resource outside of the cultural border can still be utilized by connecting a road to it and building a colony (colonies are easily destroyed and are targeted by barbarians, so they must be defended).

Luxury resources contribute to a civilization's overall happiness; each luxury makes at least one content citizen happy per city. The effects of multiple luxuries of one type do not stack, for example, if a civilization has two wines connected, only one will provide a bonus; the other is available for trading. Building a marketplace greatly increases the effect of luxuries on that city beyond the second luxury. Keeping citizens happy is important and prevents the city from falling into civil disorder.

Strategic resources are resources required to train certain units or construct certain city improvements or wonders. A certain technology is required to unlock these resources, and they are often necessary for good empire management. Perhaps the most important resource is iron, which is useful from the moment it first appears on the map until the end, as it is a prerequisite for constructing railroads along with coal. Like luxuries, strategic resources do not stack and can be traded.

Though corruption existed in Civilization I and II, it has been made much more severe in Civilization III. In addition to the commerce-decreasing corruption, Civilization III includes waste (Note: Civ II includes waste as well, but it is considerably less severe), which decreases a city's productivity. The productivity of a city, measured in 'shields', is used to build units, city improvements and wonders, with each unit or structure costing a certain number of shields. Shields can have two colors: blue or red. The blue shields represent actual production, while red ones represent production lost to waste. In general, the farther a city is from the capital, the greater the waste will be. It is not uncommon for far-flung cities to have red shields that far outnumber the blue ones. Despite this, corruption will never reduce the shield production to zero. The levels of corruption and waste are dependent on the system of government of a civilization and the distance the city is away from the civilization's capital city. Uniquely, in the communist system, corruption and waste are essentially spread equally amongst all cities. Also, depending on the map size and difficulty level, each civilization has an "optimal city limit." Once a civilization exceeds this limit, it will also gain corruption and waste overall for every new city it possesses.

There are a number of ways to combat corruption which include building city improvements, such as the courthouse and the police station, connecting each city to the civilization's trade network (e.g. roads, a harbor or an airport) and by building two Small Wonders, the Forbidden Palace and the Secret Police Headquarters (Communist governments only). Originally these wonders functioned as second palaces in the cities in which they were built, but subsequent patches removed that function for corruption and merely made them reduce overall corruption in every city.

Units can be soldiers or civilian units. Civilian units include workers, heroes, and settlers. All units (except for warriors and some civilian units) have technology requirements that need to be met before they can be built. Spearmen, for example, need Bronze Working technology.

All units have attack and defense ratings. The spearman, for example, has an attack rating of 1 and a defense rating of 2. This means that the spearman is better at defending than attacking.

All units have levels of experience, which affect the game in terms of their durability in combat. Each unit has a certain number of hit points appearing in its vertical health bar. When all of its points are lost, the unit dies; thus a unit with more hit points has a better chance of surviving any given battle. The different experience levels are listed below:

  • A conscript unit has the least experience. Only barbarians, either hostile ones or those that have joined a nation's army, and units drafted from cities are conscripts. Conscript units have two hit points.
  • A regular unit is also not very experienced, but they are much better than conscripts. Regular is the default level of experience for all units produced by a civilization in the normal fashion. Regular units have three hit points.
  • A veteran unit is moderately experienced. Veterans can be produced by either building the unit in a city that has built the Barracks improvement, or from regular units that are victorious in battle. Veteran units have four hit points.
  • An elite unit is extremely experienced. Elite units are only formed from veteran units that are victorious in battle. An elite unit that produces a Leader (see Combat) may be renamed by the player and is thereafter designated as an "Elite*" unit (rather than merely "Elite"); however, this has no effect on the unit's competency in battle. Elite units have five hit points.

There are several ways to win the game, some of which recur from the previous Civilization games. A player needs to meet only one of the victory conditions to win a game. They can each be enabled or disabled when setting the game rules at the beginning of a new game (except for the histograph victory).

One of the most straightforward of the victory conditions, a Conquest victory is achieved when no civilizations besides the player's exist, a civilization being eliminated when its last city is captured or destroyed. Despite the simplicity of concept, Conquest can be difficult to achieve as other civilizations will, naturally, resist. Along these lines, there is the "settler on a boat" problem, in which the final conquered civilization places a settler unit on a boat and takes to the high seas. The player then spends centuries tracking this boat down. Another difficulty is that Domination (below) is almost always achieved long before Conquest could be achieved, unless the Domination option has been disabled, or if the player razes most of the opponent's cities rather than capturing them.

When a civilization is destroyed, a beaten up picture of their leader is shown, in this case Hannibal of Carthage from Play the World.

A player wins a Domination victory by controlling two thirds of the world's land and population. 66% of the world's land area must be within the civilization's cultural borders, and 66% of the world's population must reside within the civilization's cities.[2] Exactly how the player achieves these two conditions is irrelevant and largely open-ended; any method of achieving the two conditions triggers the victory.

By having a culture so powerful that its civilization controls the world through others' longing to be a part of it, a player can win a Cultural victory. The Cultural victory is achieved when either one city the player controls has 20,000[2] or more culture points, or if the entire civilization meets a certain threshold (100,000 on a Standard map) and has at least double that of any other culture. The latter is more difficult as it is unlikely that any of the other nations will have less than half of the player's total rating unless they have been weakened by war.

By building the United Nations wonder, a civilization opens the possibility of a Diplomatic victory. The civilization that built it will be periodically offered the opportunity to hold elections for U.N. Secretary General. To be eligible for election, a civilization must control 25%[2] of either the world's population or its territory, although the civilization that actually built the UN is always automatically a candidate. If there are no qualified candidates other than the one who built the UN, the civilization with the next highest population is put on the ballot. The civilization with a majority of the possible votes wins the election, and therefore the game. Because the player's reputation matters a great deal to the voting AI civilizations, it is of paramount importance to a player seeking a Diplomatic victory to maintain a trustworthy status throughout the game.

Just as in the previous two games, a civilization not seeking domination through world conquest can build and send a colony spaceship to Alpha Centauri to win the game. Unlike the previous two games, however, the player does not decide how many of several different types of components to build, but rather, builds ten specific spaceship parts ranging from Thrusters to the Stasis Chamber to the Interplanetary Party Lounge. The parts may be built in any order the player desires, but the player must first research the required technologies associated with each part. This method of victory favors a player with several powerful cities as the parts cost many shields to produce, and each city can only produce one at a time.

While the previous games had incorporated elements of speed and survival chance (a player could build fewer parts and thus launch sooner, although at increased risk of it not making it to Alpha Centauri), the game is won immediately once the colony ship is launched, the ultimate success of the colony either being assumed or irrelevant.

The histograph provides a relative indicator of each civilization's score, power, and culture at any given time. When the game timer runs out (at the year 2050 AD by default) if no civilization has met any of the other victory conditions, the civilization with the highest score wins the game. (The player may continue the game beyond this point, but no additional score is counted.) A civilization's score is calculated based on its number of happy citizens, its number of content and specialist citizens, its territory, and any future technology researched beyond the normal technology tree. Each of these factors is weighted, and the score is the sum of weighted numbers. A civilization's overall score (which is the one that matters for histographic victory) is the average of its scores for all the turns.

Civilizations[edit]

Color Civilization Qualities Starting advances Special unit Leader Capital
Aztecs Militaristic,
Religious (in Conquests, Agricultural)
Warrior code,
Ceremonial Burial
Jaguar Warrior (replaces Warrior) Montezuma II Tenochtitlan
Babylon Religious,
Scientific
Ceremonial Burial,
Bronze Working
Bowman (replaces Archer) Hammurabi Babylon
China Militaristic,
Industrious
Warrior code,
Masonry
Rider (replaces Knight) Mao Zedong (in the Chinese version of the game- Taizong) Beijing
Egypt Industrious,
Religious
Masonry,
Ceremonial burial
War Chariot (replaces Chariot) Cleopatra VII Thebes
England Expansionist (in Conquests, Seafaring),
Commercial
Pottery,
Alphabet
Man-o-war (replaces Frigate) Elizabeth I London
France Industrious,
Commercial
Masonry,
Alphabet
Musketeer (replaces Musketman) Joan of Arc Paris
Germany Militaristic,
Scientific
Warrior code,
Bronze Working
Panzer (replaces Tank) Otto von Bismarck Berlin
Greece Scientific,
Commercial
Bronze working,
Alphabet
Hoplite (replaces Spearman) Alexander the Great Athens
India Religious,
Commercial
Ceremonial burial,
Alphabet
War Elephant (replaces Knight) Mahatma Gandhi Delhi
Iroquois Expansionist (in Conquests, Agricultural)
Religious (in Conquests, Commercial)
Pottery, Ceremonial Burial Mounted Warrior (replaces Horseman) Hiawatha Salamanca
Japan Militaristic,
Religious
The Wheel,
Ceremonial Burial
Samurai (replaces Knight) Tokugawa Ieyasu Kyoto
Persia Scientific,
Industrious
Bronze working,
Masonry
Immortals (replaces Swordsman) Xerxes I Persepolis
Rome Commercial,
Militaristic
Alphabet,
Warrior code
Legionary (replaces Swordsman) Julius Caesar Rome
Russia Expansionist,
Scientific
Pottery,
Bronze Working
Cossack (replaces Cavalry) Catherine II the Great Moscow
United States Industrious,
Expansionist
Masonry,
Pottery
F-15 (replaces Jet Fighter) Abraham Lincoln Washington
Zululand Militaristic,
Expansionist
Pottery,
Warrior code
Impi (replaces Spearman) Shaka Zimbabwe

Reception[edit]

Reception
Review scores
Publication Score
Game Informer 8.5/10[9]
Game Revolution A-[6][7]
GameSpot 9.2/10[4]
IGN 9.3/10[5]
PC Gamer US 92%[8]

The initial release of the game had some bugs and glitches. Some of the features that Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri had but were not included in Civilization III (at least initially) included elevation, a working UN system, a social engineering system and a 'group movement' command to simplify managing units on the map.

The first patch came very soon after the game's initial release and other patches were released subsequently, improving gameplay significantly. The patches also added certain features, such as the group movement command noted above. There were complaints about the addition of features and bug fixes after initial release.

Upon release, the reaction to Civilization III was very positive. It won several "Game of the Year" awards such as the Interactive Achievement Awards 2002 Computer Strategy Game of the Year.

Expansions[edit]

Two expansion sets have been published for Sid Meier's Civilization III: Play the World, and Conquests.[10]

Play the World added multiplayer capabilities, eight new civilizations and some new units to the original release.[10]

Conquests offers nine more historical scenarios, ranging from Mesopotamia to WWII in the Pacific. Many of these scenarios have resources, improvements, wonders, music, and even government types that are specific to the scenario, especially the Mesoamerican and Sengoku Japan campaigns.[10]

The stand-alone version is Civilization III: Complete Edition, which includes the two expansions and several patches. (This version came after Civilization III: Gold Edition and Civilization III: Game of the Year Edition.)

References[edit]

  1. ^ The actual title of the ruler may be changed according to the current government type, e.g. "King" for Monarchy or "President" for The Republic)
  2. ^ a b c d e This is a default setting and can be altered with scenario editor.
  3. ^ This is affected by Combat bonus vs. barbarians game setting.
  4. ^ Civilization III for PC Review - PC Civilization III Review
  5. ^ IGN: Civilization III Review
  6. ^ Civilization III review for the PC
  7. ^ Squire, Kurt; Constance Steinkuehler (2005-04-15). "Meet the Gamers". LibraryJournal.com. Retrieved 2007-01-28. 
  8. ^ PC Gamer: Sid Meier’s Civilization III
  9. ^ GameInformer.com: CIVILIZATION GIVETH
  10. ^ a b c "Civilization III Official Website Features Page". Civilization III Official Website. Retrieved 5 December 2014. 

External links[edit]