I've noticed something about myself.
If I have a structure or project to work on, I can learn something or get better at something quickly, but if I don't have that structure, I tend to lose motivation or at least lose the thread of my learning. So I've been trying to think of ways in which to practice my writing skills, in a way that is low-key and hopefully amusing for people to read, and interesting enough to me that I'll keep at it.
I think I've come up with something that fulfills these qualifications, and is also suitably nerdy. I'm creating a diary of a Civilization IV game (as one of my friends pointed out, this also qualifies as a Let's Play). For those few of you who don't know, Civilization IV is a turn based strategy game where you control a civilization from 4000 BC to 2050 AD, researching technologies, developing infrastructure, trading with and sometimes warring with other civilizations, and basically running everything in your country until you rule the world through one of various methods (military conquest, being the first to colonize the Alpha Centauri solar system, being such a cultural powerhouse that the people of other nations want to join yours, etc.).
I will be playing the game, then writing up the diary in chunks of a few paragraphs as a narrative of the events of my civilization, getting input from you guys every so often (in order to make the game more interesting for me). I'd try to write it such that you can follow along without any beforehand knowledge of the game, and I'd try to write it in a way that'd be entertaining to read as well. If interest wanes for some reason, I'll stop posting them here, but baring that, I'll most likely be posting a new segment every few days.Volume 0: THE INTRODUCTION:
Before our civilization can begin its journey through the ages, there are some technical issues to discuss, and there are some choices to make about what sort of world we'll be living in. For each of these choices, I'll be tallying what people choose, and in case of a tie I'll be the tiebreaker. If you only have an opinion for some of the questions I'll be asking, feel free to just respond to those questions. I should also note that this is being posted elsewhere, so votes are coming from multiple places. Meaning if where the game ends up doesn't match up, it just means you got outvoted by my Facebook friends or something.
Civ IV has an incredibly wide variety of land shapes and map types to choose from (as well as numerous historical and fictional scenarios to play through). For our purposes, I've narrowed down the options to three map types: Earth2, Terra, or Fractal. Earth2 uses the shape and location of Earth's real continents, islands, and seas, but randomizes what's on them (so, for example, the Horn of Africa could be a jungle filled with banana trees, or it could be a mountainous realm, rich with gems and gold. The locations of civilizations is also randomized, so the Horn of Africa could be home to the Dutch and the Japanese, for example). Terra uses the general concept of historical Earth, with an Old World (where your civilization starts) and a New World in another hemisphere (and the discovery and expansionism that having a New World brings with it), but continents, islands, etc. are generated randomly. Finally, Fractal is COMPLETELY random. So, Question 1: Earth2, Terra, or Fractal?
No matter which of these is chosen, I'll be setting the climate to Random (to make it more interesting), Sea Level to Medium, and the Size will be HUGE (with a corresponding huge number of computer controlled civilizations). This should hopefully make for a suitably epic game.
For those of you who know Civ IV, I'll be playing on Normal speed, on Prince difficulty. This will be my first full game on Prince difficulty (yeah, I'm not the best Civ player), because I've reached the point where I can consistently beat AI on lower levels of difficulty. Questions 2 & 3: Which Civilization and Which Leader should we choose?
Civilization IV has 34 different historical civilizations to choose from, from the Aztecs to the Zulu. Each civilization has a special unit and special building, for example, America's special unit is the NAVY Seal, and the Dutch's special building is the Dike.
Each civilization has between one and three different leaders to choose from, each who has unique traits that affect their civilization. For example, Winston Churchill is Charismatic and Protective, while Pharaoh Ramsees II is Spirtual and Industrious. Each of these traits have mechanical in-game effects, but don't worry too much about them. Just think of them in terms of pointers for what our civilization will be good at. They all generally line up with history, so Genghis Khan's Agressive and Imperialistic traits make him good if you want to take over the world by force, and Gandhi's Spiritual and Philosophical traits make him a good choice if you don't. Here's a link to the full list of all civilizations and leaders
, though pretty much any major nation or empire from history is represented, so you can just throw out names if you don't want to peruse the list. Question 4: What shall we name our Civilization?
Though we'll be playing with a leader and civilization chose in Questions 2 & 3, we don't have to call them by that name. If we want to play as England, but name our land the Great and Gloroius Empire of Canada, we can do that. If we want to play as the Ottomans, but call our people the Rampaging Space Pigeons, we can do that. We can also rename our Leader, if we wish.
Once a suitable number of votes have been cast, I'll get started. Also, apologies for the wall of text, future updates shouldn't be quiiiite as long.TL;DR: I'm going to make a diary/Let's Play of a Civ IV game (with your input!) to practice my writing! Answer the bolded questions above so we can get started!