Friday, June 02, 2006

Four Weeks of Productivity Left

by Tom Bozzo

Sez Amazon, the Macintosh version of Sid Meier's Civilization IV is due in IV weeks. How much sooner my dissertation might have been finished were it not for late-night nuclear exchanges with the Babylonians — the virtual ones that had nukes, that is.

As it happens, much of my present work is made possible by the massive increase in computing power both on my desktops and screwed into a rack in the company computer room just in my time in Madison. (Astonishingly, tomorrow is my official ten-year employment anniversary. How time paradoxically flies with a little baby-related sleep deprivation.) I should note that this blog exists in part because short computer program runtimes have made me a terrible e-mail correspondent.

Civ IV provides another view of where the computing cycles have gone. In '92, I ran Civ I on my first laptop computer, a Toshiba with a 20 MHz 386sx processor and a 20 megabyte hard drive. Civ IV's system requirements call for a CPU clock speed 90 times faster and 175 times the disk space. MacBook Pro, here we come!

I only hope that for all that, they've finally solved the long-standing annoyance whereby primitive tribes would occasionally shoot down your stealth bombers with spears.
The original Civ killed my junior year of college.

And man, I *hated* it when a chariot randomly defeated a fortified tank sitting in a fortress square. JUST NOT PLAUSIBLE! Sheesh.

I probably will not be getting Civ IV, though, despite all the positive things I have heard about it. I can't afford to spend my time playing it...
About the only thing worse than having the chariot randomly defeat the fortified tank in a fortress square is having said chariot defeat a fortified tank and a mess of artillery units that were poised to assimilate some backward civ.

I am also concerned about the time commitment thing, but it would be my first computer game in 4 years or so. What's a few lost nights of sleep?
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