Project Description

ColossusAfter re-launching the Firaxis website as a dynamic, ColdFusion-powered site with an online store, Civilization III was the next product to launch, and it would be the first project with our new publishing partner, Infogrames (briefly Hasbro Interactive, soon to be Atari).  Firaxis believed very strongly in controlling its own marketing message and managing those assets — in careful coordination with the publisher, of course.   Civ3.com was a huge endeavor because it marked Sid Meier’s reunion with the Civilization IP, so the website design, staging and update schedule was meticulously planned.

CivTriviaWorking with design firm Anonymous, I took their final PSD’s and sliced the files by hand into nested tables (CSS was not yet a reliable way to render layouts at this time), then used ColdFusion to template specific portions of the site layout for ease of propagation throughout the site.  I also developed and implemented a weekly quiz game called “CivTrivia” which tested users’ knowledge of the Civilization series, awarded scores, and kept track of top scores on a leaderboard on the site.

Every week for 16 weeks leading up to launch, a new Civilization from the game would be unveiled on the site as the “Civ of the Week“.  A new background style and images of that Civ’s leader and unique unit were released, as were two sets of custom wallpapers for each Civ.  Finally, I wrote an irreverent, humorous (yet historically accurate!) description of each Civ that accompanied the new assets and associated game data.

Developer updates, two of which I authored, served much the same purpose as modern dev blogs do, and our “Ask the Civ Team” feature fostered  interaction with fans at a time when 1-way outbound broadcasting was the model for product marketing websites.

The site framework worked wonderfully and was so successful that it was used time and time again for the various expansion packs which were added to the game in subsequent years.