E3 2001 Preshow ReportCivilization III

Read on to find out what of Civilization III Firaxis plans on showing at E3.

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In addition to Sid Meier's SimGolf, Firaxis will be showcasing the latest game in the Civilization series, but the demonstration of the game will only take place behind closed doors rather then on the show floor--more than likely because many of the game's features are still in the early stages of development. However, Firaxis will be showing some of the new features that it hopes will give a whole new dimension to the Civilization series.

One of these new features is the culture system, which lets civilizations gain culture points depending on how many cultural structures are built and how old they are. For example, if a civilization builds a library, it automatically gains some culture points, and as the library ages, the civilization gains even more culture points. In effect, these points spread a civilization's influence, making it much easier to take over surrounding towns with little or no force. Having a strong military force is still a part of the game, but Firaxis wanted to give additional avenues for conquering opposing civilizations.

Another new feature, named strategic resources, also has a tremendous impact on gameplay. Scattered across various parts of the map, strategic resources are crucial for building specific types of units. To build swordsmen, a civilization needs to have access to iron resources, but if it doesn't, then it needs to find an alternative method of securing such a resource either through peaceful diplomatic means--such as establishing trade with other civilizations--or by force. In either case, the constant interaction between civilizations is also a strong indication of how much effort Firaxis has put into making Civilization III's diplomatic features a little more flexible than they were in previous games.

But perhaps the most substantial improvement that Firaxis will be showing at E3 is Civilization III's graphics, which are an enormous leap over preceding Civilization games. All units are rendered in full 3D, city screens are incredibly detailed, and thousands of tiles have been created to give each map a much more natural look. While these new features are essentially ready, there are a still a few others that Firaxis plans to work on before the game's final release.

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