Brian Reynolds recalls Sid Meier, who gave him a copy of civilization. “I played until 2 p.m.,” he admits. “It combined the Empire, the equipment, and ‘one more round’ with the civilization experience, the board game. Avalon Hill games were the gold standard, and I didn’t know computer games could do it. She was addicted.”
He had worked on adventure games and tried to compete with Sierra, but it didn’t work and everyone was worried about their jobs. So he started a prototype – a game of discovery and exploration. He showed Meier, and a week later he was transferred to a new congregation to begin the so-called colonization.
Then came SimCity 2000. Its predecessor had been one of the influences of civilization, but SimCity 2000 provided evidence that iterative Followers could work, inspired by MicroProse. At the same time, Reynolds crossed the Atlantic with his wife. “I moved to North Yorkshire on a PC and made a new game: Civilization 2000.” The three departures would eventually be cut off.
In the new land left to himself, Reynolds was entrusted with a daunting job. “No one had ever made a sequel to civilization or even any other MicroProse game. How do you make a sequel game that spans all of human history?” Luckily, he had a long list of desired features from players who went to Usenet groups to tell MicroProse what they wanted to see. These ideas, combined with Reynolds, ranged from allies to practical reports that your enemies had begun to work together on the wonders of the world. There was also a brand new technology tree that had to be built from scratch.
It started to feel very fresh, but for reasons you couldn’t always put your finger on it. They were subtle. But the leaders didn’t get it. They just thought it was Civ, but for Windows. “That didn’t mean it didn’t matter that it was designed to run on Windows 95.” Windows 95 was successfully deployed. It was probably the first Triple-A game to run on an operating system, and we really relied on it. This allowed Reynolds to play on different screens, make the interface modular, and take advantage of the power of the operating system.
The original civilization ensured that there was more than one way to win the game, but with Civ II, Reynolds wanted to double down to peaceful solutions. So there was the aforementioned alliance system, while peace agreements force another civilization to remove units from your territory.
“We’ve worked a lot on diplomatic artificial intelligence in Civilization II,” Reynolds says. “It quadrupled the amount of code you typed.” These changes in diplomacy were also the beginning of a national border system for future civilizations as well as the Alpha Centaur designed by Reynolds.
Despite this focus, conquest was not forgotten. In fact, it has improved dramatically thanks to The Points Hit. The result was much more tactical compared to the basic struggles of civilization. It also made the units of the era more substances. Reynolds wanted to get rid of the moments when the phalanx was able to withstand the battleship.
“It was a long journey that made it tactical,” Reynolds recalls. The master of magic was an inspiration, but he still didn’t like the fight so much. “There was talk that Sid was working on this side of the game, but it didn’t happen. I had already coded the idea of a hit point and was preparing for what I thought would come your way, and Sid said, ‘Yes, the Prototype is no wonder,’ I continued.”
In 1993, MicroProse was sold to Spectrum Holobyte. On the business side of MicroProse, there were always things Civilization II didn’t understand. More was invested in a re-play version of the first game. This was not helped by the fact that the multiplayer game was not on the sequel card. “I put a lot of time into the multiplayer logic of Civilization II, but we couldn’t get it in my pocket in 1995.” After the takeover, things seemed to get worse.