New Platform for Gaming Giant
Firaxis goes mobile by optimizing Civilization V* for the touch-screen Ultrabook™ device
As a turn-base strategy game, Firaxis Games’ Civilization V*—the latest offering in a series of popular titles from Firaxis gaming guru Sid Meier—has developed a reputation as a thinking man’s war game. Players take turns leading a civilization from prehistory into the future by establishing settlements, commanding civilian and military units, managing a food supply, and so on. Lauded by critics and with more than 9,000,000 copies sold, the Civilization series is an engrossing and enthralling titan in the market.
Why, then, fix what isn’t broken?
According to Dennis Shirk, producer of Civilization V for Firaxis, the fans’ devotion to the game offered an opportunity for improvement. With its incredibly detailed environments and need for massive computing power, previous Civilization releases were always tethered to desktop gaming PCs. Not anymore.
“We wanted to bring our strategy games to a more casual environment,” said Marc Meyer, UI lead. “Being able to play Civ V on the couch is huge for us—not having to be at a desk. You spend a lot of time thinking in Civ V. To play in a more comfortable environment is a big benefit.”
After working with the Ultrabook™ device team, that benefit became a reality. Equipped with Intel® HD Graphics embedded in 3rd generation Intel® Core™ i5 processor and Intel® Core™ i7 processor, the Ultrabook device has enough computing power to render even the most detailed environments in Civ V as clearly and smoothly as a desktop computer. And with touchscreen-enabled Windows* 8 Ultrabooks, the game is even closer at hand.
“Touch lets you connect more directly with the user,” Meyer said. “It changes how you scroll the map. Dragging the world around on the screen is very visceral with an Ultrabook device.”
When settling in for a long session of gaming, not only is the couch or a favorite recliner a welcome change, but a long game experience becomes more manageable. “You can play on your desktop PC for an hour,” Shirk said. “And then take your Ultrabook device on the train to extend the game. You can save it, and when you get home later, you can hit the couch or go back to the desktop to play some more.”
With the help from engineers at Intel, the Firaxis team made great strides in optimizing Civ V specifically for the new Ultrabook device.