10
Jan
08

Sid Meier

Sidney K. Meier  (born 1954 in Detroit, Michigan) is an American programmer and designer of some of the most commercially and critically successful computer strategy games of all time. Meier has won several accolades for both his contributions to the computer games industry and for the titles that have gained huge commercial successes. Sid Meier is a Director of Creative Development of computer game developer Firaxis Games, which he co-founded with Jeff Briggs and Brian Reynolds in 1996.

Sid Meier founded MicroProse together with Bill Stealey in 1982. At MicroProse, Meier developed the game series for which he is most widely recognized, Civilization, although he was not the game designer of any of the Civilization games except the first installment. Meier eventually left MicroProse and in 1996 founded Firaxis Games along with veteran designer and gaming executive Jeff Briggs. Today Firaxis makes strategy games, many of which are follow-ups to classic Meier titles, such as Civilization IV and Pirates!.

In 1999, Meier became the second person to be inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences’ Hall of Fame. The first to receive that honor was Shigeru Miyamoto from Nintendo.

Meier is not always the main designer on titles that carry his name. For instance, Brian Reynolds has been credited as the primary designer behind Civilization 2, Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, and Sid Meier’s Colonization,while Jeff Briggs designed Civilization III and Soren Johnson led Sid Meier’s Civilization IV. Currently Meier’s role appears to be that of a creative director, simultaneously contributing to multiple projects.

Meier worked with a team on a dinosaur themed game starting early 2000, but announced in an online development diary on January 24, 2001 that the game had been shelved. Despite trying various approaches, including turn-based and real-time gameplay, he said he found no way to make the concept fun enough. In August 2005, Meier said “We’ve been nonstop busy making other games over the past several years, so the dinosaur game remains on the shelf. However, I do love the idea of a dinosaur game and would like to revisit it when I have some time.”

In January 2008, CMP Game Group announced that Meier would be receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2008 Game Developer’s Conference.

Meier currently lives in Hunt Valley, Maryland with his wife, Susan, and son, Ryan. He met his wife at Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church in Cockeysville, where they both sing in the choir.

Games

  • Spitfire Ace (1982) — The first project in which Sid played a major role in the game creation stage.
  • HellCat Ace (1982)
  • Floyd of the Jungle (1982)
  • NATO Commander (1984)
  • Solo Flight (1984)
  • Kennedy Approach (1985)
  • F-15 Strike Eagle (1985) — one of the first combat flight simulators
  • Silent Service (1985), a World War II submarine simulation game, and Meier’s first foray out of flight sims.
  • Sid Meier’s Pirates! (1987)
  • F-19 Stealth Fighter (1988)
  • F-15 Strike Eagle II (1989)
  • Covert Action (1990)
  • Railroad Tycoon (1990), an economic simulation game that paints the early development of railroads in the United States and Europe, a time when competition between railroad companies was very fierce. With the release of Sid Meier’s Railroads!, this series now has four installments.
  • Civilization (1991), Meier’s most successful game to date. It has lived through several versions (see below) and sold over 6 million copies. This game is a turn-based strategy game.
  • Pirates! Gold (1993)
  • Colonization (1994), a turn-based strategy game themed on the early European colonization of the New World, starting in 1492 and lasting until the age of independence in 1850. To achieve victory in this game, the player must declare independence, and win in a revolutionary war against their mother country in Europe (France, England, The Netherlands, or Spain).
  • Civilization II (1996) Follow-up to Sid Meier’s successful Civilization; Brian Reynolds was lead designer on the game.
  • Magic: The Gathering (1997) This would be the last game that Sid Meiers worked on for Microprose.
  • Sid Meier’s Gettysburg! (1997) Sid Meier’s first real-time tactical game.
  • Sid Meier’s Antietam! (1998) Sid Meier’s Gettysburg and Antietam are part of his Civil War set.
  • Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri (1999) Brian Reynolds was lead designer on this adaptation of Civilization to an outer space theme. Alpha Centauri is set in a futuristic setting on an alien world, with ideological factions substituting for civilizations. This is a much more versatile version of Civilization, featuring economics and unique military customization, as well as diplomacy.
  • Sid Meier’s SimGolf (2000) A golfing simulation in which the player built their own golf course and played it, against computer players, co-created by Maxis, the creator of the enormously popular family simulation game. Not to be confused with Maxis’ 1996 title SimGolf.
  • Civilization III (2001), Jeff Briggs designed the third installment of the series, with improved rules, graphics and gameplay. New features include expanded Diplomacy much like Alpha Centauri, and also introduces “Culture” as a tool of domination, and “Strategic Resources” required for trade and to produce certain units. Sales of this installment makes the Civilization series the best selling PC series to date.
  • Sid Meier’s Pirates! (2004), follow-up to the acclaimed Pirates! game from 1987, updating the graphics and featuring some entirely new gameplay elements and an all new ballroom dancing segment.
  • Civilization IV, Designed by Soren Johnson and released October 25, 2005. A full 3D engine replaces the isometric maps of Civilization II and III. This installment makes “Religion” (present in earlier versions only as a means of population pacification and control) a tool of domination, alongside the Culture and Diplomacy elements from previous incarnations.
  • Sid Meier’s Railroads!, released October 17, 2006. When Take 2 shut down PopTop Software and folded it into Firaxis, Meier once again became responsible for the Railroad Tycoon series, and this is billed as the sequel to Railroad Tycoon 3.
  • Civilization Revolution, announced on June 28, 2007. A seventh generation console edition of Civilization.
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