Nonviolent Challenge (2013)
Personal Project | PC | Civilization V SDK
Nonviolent Challenge is a mod for Civilization V. It was developed as a result of a collaboration between my team and the Paris-based organisation Nonviolence-XXI. The objective was to mod a game where violence was an option in order to make it nonviolent. This means that the way to win had to be through nonviolent means such as resisting, diplomacy, negoctiation and pacific conflict resolution.
The player takes control of Gandhi and the Indian civilization. Close to his empire is Catherine, and her military might could wipe the player’s civilization of the planet. She has declared war on all city-states, and a large number of them are allied with Gandhi. Having little to no military forces or technology, he must face Catherine and try to win the game using dilpomacy, trading, setting-up blockades and other nonviolent means. Should he enter war with her, there are little chances of surviving the all-out assault from the Russian empire. To win, he must obtain a nonviolent victory (diplomacy, scientific or cultural).
The mod was met with considerable success. Its Steam Workshop has been visited more than 2000 times, and there are more than 190 subscribers. It was nominated to the e-virtuoses Awards 2013 in the Serious Gaming category. These international awards celebrate serious games, and its jury is composed of various professional researchers and developers. The president of the jury was Chris Crawford. The mod attracted even more attention afterwards: we were invited to exhibit it at the Games and Learning Alliance (GaLA) 2013 in Dassault Systèmes’ headquarters in Paris.
We were five game design students on the project. We had one month, April of 2013, to develop the mod, and then we presented it to Nonviolence-XXI representatives. When we were nominated for the e-virtuoses Awards 2013, we worked on it for two more months in order to prepare for the presentation and the final version in June.
This was my first time managing and leading a project. I was in charge of communication, schedule management and production. I had to prepare presentations and meetings with Nonviolence-XXI, all while preparing the documentation needed for the awards nomination. I also gave the final presentation of the mod in front of the international jury.
As a game designer, however, I builded the map using Civilization V’s World Builder tool and tweaked some variables on XML thanks to the Civilization V SDK. I participated in the mod’s scenario settings, the premise and concepts. I also builded the mod and published and maintained the mod’s Steam Workshop page. I also actively participated in playtesting the game in order to make it as fun to play as possible.
What I learned
The mod’s Steam Workshop is available here (you need both Civilization V and its first expansion, Gods & Kings, activated on Steam to play).