Sidney K. "Sid" Meier (born February 24, 1954) is a Canadian programmer and designer of several popular computer strategy games, most notably Civilization. He has won accolades for his contributions to the computer games industry. Meier is a Director of Creative Development for 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. Meier eventually left MicroProse and in 1996 founded Firaxis Games along with veteran 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!.
Meier worked with a team on a dinosaur themed game starting early 2000, but announced in an online development diary on 24 January 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."
Sid Meier's likeness is used in Sid Meier's Civilization and Sid Meier's Civilization III for the game's science adviser.
The gameplay tutorial in Civilization IV is presented by a character modelled after Sid Meier and voiced by the man himself.
Several of Sid Meier's most acclaimed games were inspired by board games designed by Francis Tresham of Hartland Trefoil Ltd. The earliest editions of Railroad Tycoon and Civilization contained acknowledgements of these inspirations: Railroad Tycoon was inspired by a rail building board game "1829" by Tresham (the start of the "18xx" series), and Civilization by a board game of the same name also by Tresham. Tresham also designed a board game called "Spanish Main" which could have been an inspiration for Pirates!, but there seems to be no written evidence for that. In 1998, MicroProse purchased Hartland Trefoil Ltd., eliminating any risk of copyright conflicts.
There is a Hidden Faction named Firaxis in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri and the leader is Sid Meier, unlockable by opening a file with the faction editor.
Games that have been developed by Meier span three decades. Some of the more notable titles are listed below in chronological order.
Spitfire Ace (1982) - Sid's first game, which he made while playing a major role in the game creation stage.
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) - A game where the player takes the role of a pirate in the Caribbean. The player can choose a famous expedition to play, and enter cities, search for treasures, duel with other pirates and navigate the high seas.
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).
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.
Civilization III (2001) - The third installment of the series, with improved rules, graphics and gameplay. This is a turn-based strategy game allowing you to go from the Ancient Times to Modern Times. It features diplomacy much like that of Meier's other game, Alpha Centauri, and also introduces Culture. 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 - Released 25 October 2005. Civilization IV was the newest game in the Civilization series. A full 3D engine replaces the isometric maps of Civilization II and III. This installment adds the concept of Religion to the game, building upon both the Culture and Diplomacy elements from previous incarnations.
Civilization V is the latest released game in the official Civilization series (not counting CivWorld). It received good reception. However, the main complaints against the game were the removal of the Religion (which was reintroduced in an expansion pack) and Civics systems incorporated into the previous installment, and a less than satisfactory AI.