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UnCiv, a free and open source remake of Civilization V

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What do you do when you want to keep the mechanics of a game you love alive? If you're developer Yair Morgenstern, you remake it yourself like they did with UnCiv.

A remake of Civilization V, although it looks nothing alike as it's gone for a much more retro pixel-art like style it's supposed to follow the same game mechanics. Much like the classic Freeciv which is based on earlier rules and features.

Available for both Android and PC, you can clearly see with it needing a few adjustments to look good on PC. Only in the last few months has the developer actually started bundling PC release files with it, so hopefully if it becomes a bit more popular and/or pulls in some help, it can get an improved flow for PC players. Playable though and always fun to see more open source strategy games appear.

They do have a lot of plans for the project including user interface improvements, city-state quests, adding in missing civilizations, religion, trade routes and so on.

You can find it on GitHub.

Hat tip to RTheren.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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44 comments
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chr 7 January 2020 at 2:42 pm UTC
Long time Civ5 player here. Always was unsatisfied with some of the polish (combat log? 2d-mode?). Would have loved to play the game that Unciv will be in 2-10 years 5-10 years ago. Would have loved to put my mantra "gameplay and UX over graphics" to the test actually. Also in such a hypothetical universe, several of my friends would have actually preferred an open-source community version to the closed-source AAA one. But I think Unciv will get its time to shine as well, since people always seem to want to go back to the loved ones that stole hundreds or thousands of their hours (see Heroes 3, Diablo, Age of Empires, etc etc etc).
Patola 7 January 2020 at 2:44 pm UTC
I am curious. What is so special about Civilization V mechanics (compared to other versions) that is so worth mimicking? Tried to find that on the project page but couldn't.
chr 7 January 2020 at 2:58 pm UTC
PatolaI am curious. What is so special about Civilization V mechanics (compared to other versions) that is so worth mimicking? Tried to find that on the project page but couldn't.

Caveat: I haven't played anything other than Civ 5 and 6. I'm suspecting that the reasons is equally stupid - for a generation of players, this was the most accessible, widespread strategy game. Many people got introduced to strategy games as a whole through this. Several of my friends who had practically never played any games before were able to try this. It is a different topic whether an earlier version of Civ could conceivably have played a similar role. But I think UX and accessibility (as well as visual appeal) played a significant part in its massive popularity.

EDIT: So for cloning - not the mechanics themselves, but accessibility and nostalgia, I guess.


Last edited by chr on 7 January 2020 at 2:59 pm UTC
Kimyrielle 7 January 2020 at 3:39 pm UTC
I will get burnt at the stake for saying this, but having played every single Civ game there ever was, the one with the best overall features and mechanics was Call to Power II (which isn't even an official part of the franchise). IMHO of course.

They introduced waaaay too many micromanagement features in the later releases. For starters, I absolutely hate having to build my nation around randomly distributed resources and managing city districts. Yes, I get the idea it's realistic, but sometimes simpler is better.
Nevertheless 7 January 2020 at 7:08 pm UTC
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KimyrielleI will get burnt at the stake for saying this, but having played every single Civ game there ever was, the one with the best overall features and mechanics was Call to Power II (which isn't even an official part of the franchise). IMHO of course.

They introduced waaaay too many micromanagement features in the later releases. For starters, I absolutely hate having to build my nation around randomly distributed resources and managing city districts. Yes, I get the idea it's realistic, but sometimes simpler is better.

I agree with you, there has been too much micromanagement inside too many systems. There is also too much specialization needed to get anything out of those systems in my opinion. But I think this applies mostly to Civ 4 & 5. You could either micromanage hordes of workers, or you automate them, letting them do all the stupid things you never would have done yourself.
Civ 6 is a much cleaner approach imho. You have to micromanage far less and with more significance. The civics system is transparent and easy to grasp, and the two tech trees for cultural and technological advances make complete sense to me too. I regard Civ 6 as the best Civ since Civ 2 (or Test of Time, which was Civ2 with network support).
Call to Power was a nice approach, but especially CtP2 was a complete code mess. They never got stable network gaming running..


Last edited by Nevertheless on 7 January 2020 at 7:10 pm UTC
Colombo 7 January 2020 at 7:51 pm UTC
Nevertheless: What kind of bull is that? Civ 6 has far more micromanagement and overwhelms you with all these tiny choices that neither previous civ had.

The insane micro of Civ games comes from two primary sources: units and cities. Governments are usually not micro intensive (except in Civ 6 with the policy cards, which can add quite a bit if you try to play efficiently).

Both of those primary sources have micro stemming from quantity and complexity. Civ 1,2 and AC were well known for ICS -- Infinite City Spam/Sprawl (also called Smallpox in Civ2), where you tried to paste as many cities (even bad cities) to on your land as possible. With so many cities, managing them all added quite a bit of micro. Fortunately, the city management, as well as tile improvements, were braindead simple. You could easily queue the same buildings and some other games like Master of Orion 2 had even custom build-order-queues you could set for each colony. The complexity of city-management slowly increased as many buildings were made useful in certain occasions and a variety of tile-improvements also increased. So Civ 5 came with the idea to reduce the number of cities (and units) and make their management more important or rather to move to empire management instead of city management. This was done by introducing global happiness, and later capped local happiness (so that you cannot spam infinite cities just by building some happiness buildings), and by introducing one-unit-per-tile. Fortunately, city management was still relatively simple.

Civ 6 abandoned this and instead went to making city management more important, introducing districts, more tile improvements, builders that have chargers instead of workers, while spamming cities was yet again of primary importance. Which means not only that you have more micro than in Civ 5 just due to the amount of cities, but the new mechanics like districts, builders and policy cards constantly bombards you with these tiny decisions that are nontheless important. This is not helped by the scaling cost of all these things (workers, settlers, districts and who knows what else). Add to that disasters, which might be interesting, but in the end are just random events that force you to do more work.

Sure, Civ 6 might have some neat features, especially with the latest expansion. But claiming that Civ 4 and Civ 5 had insane micromanagement because of the horde of workers, while Civ 6 is somehow cleaner in this regard doesn't make any sense at all.


Last edited by Colombo on 7 January 2020 at 7:52 pm UTC
pb 7 January 2020 at 8:20 pm UTC
Ignorant question: wouldn't it make more sense to create a ruleset for FreeCiv? Hex tiles are already there.
razing32 7 January 2020 at 10:36 pm UTC
Civ5 is my favorite.
I started playign the Civ series propely ( i had tried Call to power and Civ 3 before but in the same way a dog tries a lemon) with Civ 4. The mechanics were different but i did not like that cities had to constantly havve units stationed in them or they get razed by a pack of barbarians.
I played Civ 5 the most with a buddy (before my Linux days) and we had great fun with it. Took forever to beat a game but we just enjoyed ourselves.
This game looks interesting to me so hope it comes along nicely
Philadelphus 7 January 2020 at 10:43 pm UTC
I've got an interesting theory (feel free to chime in with support or rebuttal) that people tend to like either even- or odd- numbered entries in the Civilization series better depending on whether they first played an even- or odd-numbered game themselves. I, for instance, was introduced to Civilization with Civ 3, which devoured hundreds of hours of my teenage life. I really tried to get into Civ 4, but bounced off it pretty hard (the removal of nearly all ranged units, which was one of my favorites aspects of warfare, certainly didn't help). I found Civ 5 to be a little dry at release, but over the years with the release of Gods & Kings and Brave New World I've found it to be my favorite game so far—I'd go so far as to say that the culture victory from Brave New World is possibly my favorite victory condition in a game ever. (There's just something about optimizing my collection of artifacts and Great Works over the years to squeeze out another +1 Tourism that's immensely satisfying to me!) I haven't played Civ 6 because, well, its mechanics just haven't really appealed to me enough from watching gameplay videos to pick it up. (Subjectively, I also prefer 5's more realistic art style for leaders over 6's more cartoony style.)

On the other hand, I've colloquially heard of at least a few people who got into Civilization with either Civ 2 or Civ 4, who didn't like Civ 3 or 5, and like Civ 6, so I'd really like to hear other people's thoughts on this. Is this just small sample size bias, or is there actually a measurable trend here?

PatolaI am curious. What is so special about Civilization V mechanics (compared to other versions) that is so worth mimicking? Tried to find that on the project page but couldn't.
I mean, you could ask that about any entry in the series they happened to pick, no? I guess it's just this guy's personal favorite. But some thoughts of my own:
  • Civ 5 introduced hexagonal tiles (which can allow for somewhat more natural looking landscapes) and city states to the main games (I'm admittedly ignorant of any spin-off games).

  • The build-your-own-religion system in Gods & Kings was new, and interesting, where all the options are not balanced in power because it's first-come, first-serve. Want a powerful religion customized to you liking? Need to get working on it early.

  • The culture victory from Brave New World. I've already touched on this, but I think this is the most interesting and interactive (non-military) victory condition I've encountered in a Civ game to date (with the caveat that I haven't personally played 1, 2, or 6). It's incredibly well balanced over the entire course of a game so that you always end up winning right near the end of the tech tree, but you always feel like you're making progress towards it along the way (at least once you get your first Great Work). And there's just something about making five different Great Work trades to get that extra +2 from your new Museum of Classical Greek Art that's just so satisfying!

  • I also really like the trade route system of BNW, it did a good job of having a number of trade routes that was small enough to manage, but important enough to care about, especially with how it synergized with the culture victory (having a trade route with a civilization would increase your rate of cultural superiority with them, for instance).

Now, having written all that, I looked at the project page and realized they don't have mechanics from G&K and BNW in place yet (though they seem to be on the road map), but those are a big part of why I, personally, like Civ 5 so much.

(This isn't in the list above because it's not mechanics-related, but as a linguaphile I really liked the attention to detail in the leaders in Civ 5 and how they all speak the correct language [as close as we can determine].)
razing32 7 January 2020 at 10:47 pm UTC
PhiladelphusI've got an interesting theory (feel free to chime in with support or rebuttal) that people tend to like either even- or odd- numbered entries in the Civilization series better depending on whether they first played an even- or odd-numbered game themselves. I, for instance, was introduced to Civilization with Civ 3, which devoured hundreds of hours of my teenage life. I really tried to get into Civ 4, but bounced off it pretty hard (the removal of nearly all ranged units, which was one of my favorites aspects of warfare, certainly didn't help). I found Civ 5 to be a little dry at release, but over the years with the release of Gods & Kings and Brave New World I've found it to be my favorite game so far—I'd go so far as to say that the culture victory from Brave New World is possibly my favorite victory condition in a game ever. (There's just something about optimizing my collection of artifacts and Great Works over the years to squeeze out another +1 Tourism that's immensely satisfying to me!) I haven't played Civ 6 because, well, its mechanics just haven't really appealed to me enough from watching gameplay videos to pick it up. (Subjectively, I also prefer 5's more realistic art style for leaders over 6's more cartoony style.)

On the other hand, I've colloquially heard of at least a few people who got into Civilization with either Civ 2 or Civ 4, who didn't like Civ 3 or 5, and like Civ 6, so I'd really like to hear other people's thoughts on this. Is this just small sample size bias, or is there actually a measurable trend here?

PatolaI am curious. What is so special about Civilization V mechanics (compared to other versions) that is so worth mimicking? Tried to find that on the project page but couldn't.
I mean, you could ask that about any entry in the series they happened to pick, no? I guess it's just this guy's personal favorite. But some thoughts of my own:
  • Civ 5 introduced hexagonal tiles (which can allow for somewhat more natural looking landscapes) and city states to the main games (I'm admittedly ignorant of any spin-off games).

  • The build-your-own-religion system in Gods & Kings was new, and interesting, where all the options are not balanced in power because it's first-come, first-serve. Want a powerful religion customized to you liking? Need to get working on it early.

  • The culture victory from Brave New World. I've already touched on this, but I think this is the most interesting and interactive (non-military) victory condition I've encountered in a Civ game to date (with the caveat that I haven't personally played 1, 2, or 6). It's incredibly well balanced over the entire course of a game so that you always end up winning right near the end of the tech tree, but you always feel like you're making progress towards it along the way (at least once you get your first Great Work). And there's just something about making five different Great Work trades to get that extra +2 from your new Museum of Classical Greek Art that's just so satisfying!

  • I also really like the trade route system of BNW, it did a good job of having a number of trade routes that was small enough to manage, but important enough to care about, especially with how it synergized with the culture victory (having a trade route with a civilization would increase your rate of cultural superiority with them, for instance).

Now, having written all that, I looked at the project page and realized they don't have mechanics from G&K and BNW in place yet (though they seem to be on the road map), but those are a big part of why I, personally, like Civ 5 so much.

(This isn't in the list above because it's not mechanics-related, but as a linguaphile I really liked the attention to detail in the leaders in Civ 5 and how they all speak the correct language [as close as we can determine].)

Sorry to dispel your odd-even theory.
I like 4 and 5 the best.
Tried 3 and 6 as well.
5 remains my favorite.
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