Civilization V gets a touch-screen update

Out of all the RPG games on the market, my hands-down favorite is Civilization V. Like many of you, I’ve spent many an hour dominating the virtual game world using a complex combination of tactics.

Firaxis, the developer of the franchise, recently showcased an updated version of the game at IDF 2012 in san Francisco that supports touchscreen gaming. It is clearly aimed at x86 tablets and touch-screen Ultrabooks expected to debut next year.

Indeed, the updated version of the video game is designed and optimized for Ultrabooks powered by Intel’s integrated graphics – meaning the update will allow the game to be played on machines with relatively modest GPU specs. The new version of Civ V is slated to launch sometime in Q4 and current game owners can download the update at no cost.

This is obviously good news and should allow people who like playing Civ on their desktops to enjoy the game across other portable devices as well. As you can see, the video above shows the game running on a reference hardware Intel Ultrabook. Santa Clara claims there was no cheating in the latest implementation – with all the features on the desktop still available on the touchscreen. A single finger on the display generates tooltips, scrolling requires two fingers, and pinch to zoom is supported as well.

Judging by the video, graphics appear to be on par with the desktop version most of us are used to. As you may recall, Civilization V received a new expansion pack back in June titled “Gods and King”s that added new playable content to the popular video game. Other than adding new playable civilizations, the expansion pack also offers new tactics and mechanics such as religion and espionage.