The latest release in the Civilization series has many improvements, from beautiful new graphics to redesigned gameplay. Many features in Civilization IV have been streamlined or eliminated, in favor of a simplified playing experience that will attract new players to the game. Having studied Civilization IV extensively (most of our publications are based upon research in Civilization IV), we will discuss some of Civilization V‘s many changes and the associated trade-offs in terms of player engagement and motivation.
Matthew Sharritt, President of Situated Research, has an article titled “Designing Game Affordances to Promote Learning and Engagement” appearing in a special issue of the Cognitive Technology Journal. The issue, focusing on “Games for Good”, contains our article (starting on p. 43).
But in his pursuit of conveying a realistic experience for players, he says his logical mind wasn’t taking into account enough what was going on in players’ heads.
“Gameplay is a psychological experience,” Meier acknowledged during his GDC keynote. Today he is director of creative development at Firaxis Games. “By acknowledging that gameplay is actually a psychological experience we … can end up with a better game.”
Meier outlined specific psychological elements that occur in players’ minds, such as “The Winner Paradox.” Game designers are supposed to give gamers a challenge, but the gamer at the same time expects to win. “In the real world you don’t always win, however in the world of games, you always win” in some capacity, Meier said.