Sid Meier - well, someone who works for him, anyway - has unveiled more details of the latest instalment in PC real-time strategy series Civilization IV. There are some new screenshots, too, which can be found here.
We're promised “faster-paced fun” this time around, with streamlined gameplay, greater accessibility and an easy-to-use interface designed to appeal to diehard RTS fans and newbies alike.
There's a new, flexible Tech Tree, designed to give you more strategic options when expanding your empire, plus more Civs, Units and customisable armies. Units can be promoted for bonuses when attacking or defending on specific terrains, added visibility and increased withdrawal chances.
Other features include the Great People points system - make good use of your talented Artists, Tycoons, Prophets, Engineers and Scientists, amongst others, and you'll earn points which can be used to acquire free techs, start Golden Ages, or increase output.
There are now seven religions in the game, which can be researched in the same way as technologies - they're top for keeping your citizens happy and creating more wealth.
As you discover new techs, civic options will become available - so you can choose between open elections and hereditary rule, for example, or decide whether to allow slavery or let everyone run wild.
Multiplayer modes are available over LAN, net, PBEM and Persistent Turn-Based Servers. There's also a new Team Play mode for both the single and multiplayer games which provides a new way of setting locked alliances, resulting in shared wonder effects, visibility, unit trading and shared territory. The wonder movies are back, too.
If you fancy a bit of modding there are plenty of options, including a powerful map editor - with XML and Python support - and all-new community tools.
Civilization IV is due out later this year.