Author Topic: Half-height Time Machine  (Read 120 times)

bbmike

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on: February 11, 2021, 03:38:14 PM
The start of what might become a regular feature.


Hard drives. I have A LOT of hard drives. I have really old ones, new ones, dead ones, HDD, SSD, USB, etc. "How did this come to be?" you might ask. Well, every time I get a new computer, I either take the drive out of the old computer and put it away in storage (hoarding!) or copy what I want to keep (just about everything) to another drive and erase the original one. Sometimes I just want more storage space and buy a larger drive. Rinse and repeat for 30ish years and... I have A LOT of hard drives.



So the other day, I was looking for an ancient file on one of those hard drive backups (it was on an external drive that I use for backups (hoarding!)) when I found myself deep down in the following subdirectory:

E:\SeagateBackup\WDPassportCopyover2\Silver1Tb\GreyHDBackup\CompTransfer

From the names of all of those subdirectories you can see how bad my digital hoarding problem is. But that is not the point. As I [virtually] stood there in that "CompTransfer" subdirectory, I noticed yet another subdirectory named "My Games". If you use Microsoft Windows, you will recognize that name. It's the one you have under "My Computer". It's the one that a lot of games use to store information and saved game files. Hmm. I decided to take a look inside that subdirectory (another one of my problems, I'm easily distracted). In there, I saw folders for Civilization 4, Civilization 4 Colonization, and Galactic Civilizations 2. I decided to continue on, down into the Civilization 4 Beyond the Sword saved game subdirectory and take a look. There, before my eyes, was a very long list of saved games. Some were all from the same game, played from 4000BC on into the space age. But there were some that started in 4000BC and ended much, much earlier. I've quit a lot of Civilization games when things start to go south. I know my little empire is doomed and just start over. Rage quit? No, no rage. Just the knowledge that my little empire is beyond saving.

Or is it?

The actual dates I played and saved those games range from late 2008 through the middle of 2009. That's around twelve years ago! I've played Civilization from the first version in 1991 all the way up to the present day. Certainly I've must have learned something in the last twelve years that I could use to aid that abandoned empire! And that's when it hit me.
I've decided to travel back in time to see if I can indeed aid that doomed civilization and help it achieve the glory it so deserved.

The name of the game save file I chose is: Mike BC-0230.CivBeyondSwordSave dated 6/28/2009.

That's all I know. For whatever reason, I left that civilization behind and moved on. The date is 230 BC so either things were going really bad or I just lost interest in the game. Either way, I'm going back to see if I can help that long, lost civilization achieve glory. So get ready as I fire up the Half-height Time Machine. Join me as I return to the past to see if I can, as the Quantum Leap narrator so eloquently articulated, put things right that once went wrong. The next stop, 230 BC.


"My life is spent in one long effort to escape from the commonplace of existence."
-Sherlock Holmes

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bbmike

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Reply #1 on: February 11, 2021, 03:38:40 PM


We made it! You never know with time travel. I have to confess that my first attempt was with another game save file and it was not successful. It warned me that I needed the 'Revolution' mod to continue. Fortunantly, I had the Revolution mod still in the Beyond the Sword subdirectory. I moved it to my Steam folder and tried again. This time, it let me continue but then kicked me out to the desktop screen.
Great Scott!



After some investigation, I concluded that the version of BTS that I was using at the time must have been 3.13 and the Steam version I have now is 3.19. I gave up on that one for now, but I think I can eventually create a 3.13 version of BTS from the old CDs I still have. But that's for another adventure.

Here's a look at where I find myself.  {reminder: click on a picture for a larger view. Righ click and 'Open image in a new tab' for full size}



This is the image I see before I scroll, or zoom, or anything else. It looks like I was playing as the Americans. No surprise there as I mostly play as the Americans when I play Civ. The only thing of concern I see is that there is another Civ's scout unit just north of New York. Could this be why I left this American civilization in the past? I hate it when I start too close to another civilization. Time to zoom out and see the bigger picture.



Did I say I didn't rage quit? That might not be the case after all. It looks likes I lost Boston to the Barbarians! And in addition to the visitor just north of New York (which, it turns out, belongs to Sitting Bull), the Zulu are indeed way too close to me. Even though the Americans are shown to be in second place, I can image my twelve year younger self saying, "Ok, that's enough. Boston is gone and so am I". It looks like I have my work cut out for me.

This is a screenshot of my cities, along with my Civics and Corporations status screens. I forgot all about Corporations in Civ4! I'm not entirely sure I even know what to do with them. As for Civics, I think it's a bit too early to make any changes.



Next up are the Diplomacy and Economic screens. Diplomacy-wise, things are meh. Everyone is 'Cautious' towards me. Money-wise things are a bit better. Income is positive at +4 GPT with a treasury of 203. I'm going to need funds to build up the military.



And now, Religion and Science. Not much happening on the religion front. It says Taoism is my current State Religion even though I didn't choose it. For Science, I'm currently 2 turns away from Monotheism.



Finally, the overall 'how are you doing' graph and the Victory conditions screens. The 'overall' graph looked like it was doing good until Boston fell to the barbarians. The Victory conditions are a bit of a surprise to me. I usually include winning the Space Race as a victory condition. Of the two listed, I think I'd rather try for a Domination victory.



And finally, a world view. Two things stand out. Shaka is too close and I need to take back Boston ASAP.



So, here I am. Back to a game I left for dead back in 2009. I need to put some thought into where to go from here. I think building up my military and taking back Boston is the highest priority. After that, I need to start expanding as fast as I can westward. And third, I need to explore a lot more. It's 230 BC and there is  way too much terra incognita. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on how to proceed. I'm going to need a lot more help if I'm to save these alternate universe Americans. It is a bit jarring to go back into Civilization 4, almost like starting up a new game. Have I been away too long? Do I remember any of the Civ4 strategies that I used to use? Only time will tell.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2021, 03:43:20 PM by bbmike »

"My life is spent in one long effort to escape from the commonplace of existence."
-Sherlock Holmes

My Own Worst Enemy


judgedredd

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Reply #2 on: February 11, 2021, 04:44:50 PM
You know I used to love the Civ games. The music alone was legendary. But I gave up on so many games. There was so much repetition (I found at least) and the world was really small...always so terribly small. I believe I gave up because they were really small and it wasn't long before you were butting heads with each other.

also I do believe I might have been playing on something like legendary speed which, iirc, was very slow for research etc...so moving through the eras took an age  - literally.

By the way - very cool story.

You mentioned another thing that always made me despair...barbarians
« Last Edit: February 11, 2021, 04:46:56 PM by judgedredd »

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bayonetbrant

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Reply #3 on: February 11, 2021, 04:51:50 PM
Sounds like a really cool concept!

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thecommandtent

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Reply #4 on: February 11, 2021, 08:20:52 PM
This is awesome!



Tolstoi

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Reply #5 on: February 12, 2021, 09:48:36 AM
What a great idea! My knowledge about Civ games is very limited. I only played the original, so I doubt I'll be much help. I'll follow along and chime in when I think I have something useful to contribute and that won't happen often. Looking forward to what happens next.  :bigthumb: