Project Description

What most people don’t know about Civilization IV is that it began life as a real-time resource gathering and stock market arbitrage game set in space, with piracy, espionage, random events and land auctions (!!).  True story!   Back in 2002, Civ III lead designer Soren Johnson began working on what was the company’s first 3D game, and it was, quite literally, out of this world.  The prototype, codenamed “Mars”, went on to become a huge office lunchtime obsession and was one of the most fun games I’ve ever worked on or played.

But none of our publishers could figure out how to sell it, and to put it frankly, we were not ready yet from a 3D pipeline perspective to deliver the game.  And as Take Two had acquired the studio, there was a strong push to get a new Civilization product started, and since the other half of the studio was at work on Pirates!, we were the team to do it.

I was the producer for the first year of Civ IV’s life, which centered on the early game — the early focus on modding and using open XML to store data was something I believed very strongly in, and we frontloaded a lot of architecture there that would not pay dividends until much later (when Warlords, Beyond the Sword and Colonization were able to capitalize on that).


I also wrote the original technical design for the PTBS (later dubbed “Pitboss”) server architecture, recognizing a market need for a flexible “play-by-email”-style system that allowed players to jump in and drop out at will.

By late in 2003, Civ IV was well on its way with a fully playable , moddable multiplayer core, an established concept art style and art production pipeline.  When we were approved by Microsoft to do an Xbox SKU of Pirates!, I had the opportunity to take on that project, which was a dream opportunity for me, so I left Civ in the capable hands of a fellow producer.  I think it turned out pretty well 🙂