With the recent announcement of AGEOD and Matrix Games entering a partnership also came the re-release of Rise of Prussia in a Gold version. Our very own Cenobyte went to see what the new Rise of Prussia Gold is all about.
The game has a quite sophisticated supply system and also a rudimentary economic system for unit recruitment and replacement, but the supply system works largely in the background and does not require much management by the player (on a sidenote, the importance of the supply system depends on the settings, in some higher difficulties it is more important to keep tabs on the supply situation and the location of supply depots). Diplomacy is only involved in a very abstract sense in that some neighboring nations, such as the Netherlands or the Ottoman Empire, might choose to intervene into the conflict if one faction grows too strong. Such an intervention seems to be extremely rare, however, and I've never seen it actually happen in a game.
The game is not only advanced by the campaigns between the two rivals. Instead, the course of the game is further shaped by events that unlock allied troops and represent the warfare in the colonies. Short flavor texts provide some information about these historical events and add to the immersion of the game. Some of these events also offer choices to the player, such as deciding whether to mobilize the forces of Bavaria in Bohemia, close to the Austrian front lines, or rather in Nuremberg at the camp of the Imperial army, which would please France. Most of these events are not random and will happen at their historical date. Random events include events providing additional officers, which is especially important for Austria with its rather weak starting commanders, and events affecting your troops in the field in some – usually negative – ways.
Endless Space: Disharmony is going to be released June 26th.
Some features include:
• A brand new Faction called “the Harmony” with a single objective in mind, annihilate Dust!
• New fighters and bombers units that will completely change the shape of combats, especially with the new Battle Formation and Targeting systems
• A complete rework of the Ship Design Interface giving an improved Weapon System that includes family types for modules (short, medium and long range)
• New Invasion mechanics have been added: prepare your population for bombardments, sieges and land invasions!
• Expect to face a real challenge when playing against AI opponents with the New Adaptive Multi-Agent Artificial Intelligence System (AMAS)
• Other additions and features voted or requested by the community include:
- Four new Heroes (Games2Gether)
- A new option to Disable Exchange of Technologies, as a request from the Multiplayer community!
Codex forum-goer pakoito received an email from the owner of the largest Dominions 3 server talking about how Illwinter's contract with their publisher has run out and how they want to get put on Steam through Steam Greenlight.
llamabeast here. This email is basically a plea to help get Dominions 3 onto Steam, and hopefully expose thousands of new players to this wonderful game. You're receiving it because, as someone who's played in the past on the llamaserver, I thought it was a fair bet that you might take an interest in all things Dominions 3 even if you haven't played recently.
So, a bit of background: Illwinter's contract with Shrapnel has finally run out, and with their newfound freedom they've put in an application to have Dominions 3 available on Steam. Steam has a system called Greenlight for evaluating potential new additions to their catalogue. Basically there is a page for each game, and they watch how many people take an interest in it.
Thus far, according to Johan (the coding half of Illwinter), Dom3 is not on track to make it on to Steam. There has been a fair amount of interest (maybe around half of what would be needed), but right now it's not looking good. However if everyone who received this email went onto the Greenlight page and commented in favour, it would basically be a slam dunk.
If you would like to help, please click "Yes", on "Would you buy this game?", and more importantly, write a short comment in the comments section. For some reason it seems to be the comments that they count.
As of this writing there are about 500 comments. Johan reckons they need maybe 1000 to get onto Steam. This email is going out to 1523 people. (Pretty amazing how many people have used the llamaserver over time! As an aside I also found while preparing this email that a total of 6450 nations have battled on the llamaserver!)
As you may have guessed, I think it would be really great to get Dom3 on Steam. Steam brings access to a huge increased audience and great marketing capabilities, whereas Shrapnel and Desura are at best quite obscure. I'd hope that a renewed influx of players would breathe new life into the modding and multiplayer communities (which are actually both incredibly healthy almost 7 years after release - but more people is always good).
I hope you don't mind me taking advantage of having your email address to spam you this one time. Illwinter don't know I'm doing this, and I don't have a direct vested interest. But as many of you will know, I really love this game, and very much want its community to continue to thrive long into the future.
The Greenlight page can be found here. All you have to do is click Yes.
Well, then here is your chance. Ageod/Slitherine/Matrix/Evil Wargaming Overlords are looking for a producer. Basically a guy who can talk all day about artwork, game mechanics and design stuff. Yup, what you do on the forum but with an actual paycheck included. Or so they say. Anyway, check it out.
Matrix Games / Slitherine / AGEOD are recruiting AGAIN!
We are looking for a Producer to join our ever expanding team at our offices in Epsom, Surrey. Applicants should have a sound knowledge of all aspects of the turn based strategy genre and ideally will be a fan and player of our games. Previous experience in the industry is not a prime requirement. It is much more important that you understand these types of game and be able to analyze what makes them work
Our Producers are very much engaged with our developer partners from the very earliest stages of game development and should be able to provide supportive comment and feedback on all aspects of Game design, UI, Artwork, Marketing and just about any aspect where a developer may need advice. Age is not a criteria here, so If this is a role that might interest you please send over a CV to firstname.lastname@example.org as quickly as possible.
Some actual gameplay footage of Rome 2 has finally shown up on E3. Most of it dedicated to a sparkly 'historical' battle but also a nice look at the campaign map and several of the building options and whatnot.
I like the return of the wonders. Really hope to be able to fight in the shadows of the pyramids once more. There's also a preview at PC Gamer that focuses on what they liked from Rome 2 at E3.
While past entries of Total War have had rigid victory conditions, Rome II will feature three distinct ways to win: military, economic and cultural victories. Any of the three can be achieved on the fly, giving some players the chance to switch up tactics depending on how the ages have treated their empire.
“These aren’t picked from the start,” Starr said. “There’s no pressure. No one ever told Rome, ‘Hey, you only have 200 years. Get to work.’”
The victory options mean more opportunities for the game to fit a specific player’s style. Some players will min/max their way to an economic victory, assuming everything goes their way. In other cases, Ferguson says, the additional victory options will help a player who may feel stuck because of forgotten victory requirements. Trying to control the most territory, but forgot about an obscure island? You may not have to start over if your cultural influence is great enough.
Another element that can affect your victory is the optional Realism mode, where players will be unable to reload save games. Realism mode also limits certain Battle mode user interface elements, like details on enemy units or their location.
They also mention the Roman senate as playing a big role and there being battlefield traps like spikes and flame pits to play around with. Groovy.
With the September release date of Total War: Rome II slowly coming closer it appears that The Creative Assembly is gearing up the media campaign. First off is a new trailer that shows us a bit of the campaign map.
The Creative Assembly's Total War: Rome 2 will introduce a detailed political system that will see players vie for power within their faction, according to studio communications manager, Al Bickham.
Where previous Total War games had players perform diplomacy with outside factions, Bickham told Polygon that Rome 2 will add an internal struggle to the campaign game by having players manage their relations within Rome.
"If you play as Rome, then you have to deal with the great families of Rome at the time as well as the senate," Bickham said. "The history was all about who was going to be the first man of Rome. After Caesar became a tyrant and crowned himself emperor, everybody else was like, this is how Rome is now, we're no longer a republic.
"It just created all these power struggles that were more about personal gain and personal power than running an entire culture and society in a way that was beneficial to the people."
"Politics is a way of providing more intrigue and more of an internal struggle."
According to Bickham, both the player and the houses in the senate have an agenda and everyone has a fluctuating level of political power. Players can increase their political power by having the right people in the senate working for them. But this carries its risks, because if other houses within the senate feel that the player is getting too big for his boots, they may raise their own armies and go to civil war. If such a situation occurs, a player's expansion across the world would have to be put on hold while they deal with the fact that Rome is now at war with Rome.
One way to balance the political power is through marriage. Marrying family members into other families can balance the sway of power in Rome. If the player marries into a lesser house, it reduces one house's political capital but increases the other's, having a slightly equalizing effect. "It's a way of saying to everybody, 'Hey, I'm not as big as you thought I was,'" Bickham said.
On top of managing Roman politics, players will still have to expand and conquer territories outside of Rome, perform diplomacy with non-Roman factions and fight in Total War's signature real-time battles.
"Politics is a way of providing more intrigue and more of an internal struggle," Bickham said. "Previous Total War games — Shogun 2 being a good example — you're the faction leader and that's it. But now that faction has teeth that may bite you."
Sounds like incline. Hope other factions will also have their own political infighting and systems to represent that. And finally Eurogamer has a preview with some attention to the newly revealed campaign map.
And the same philosophy - tweaks to both macro- and micro-management - has been applied to the wider game, too. Switching from the battlefield to the campaign map - it covers the full scope of Europe, a chunk of North Africa, and stretches all the way over to Bactria (or northern Afghanistan) in the east - reveals a Total War game filled with elegant refinements. The number of regions has been dramatically boosted for Rome 2, which allows you a real sense of power as you accrue territory, but they're grouped into provinces to stop them from becoming unwieldy.
Capture the entirety of a province, then, and you're allowed to lay on a few perks and local bonuses in the form of the game's edict system, but you also get to benefit from a centralised capital region, which handles all the bureaucratic stuff while the surrounding territories focus on production. This should streamline management without diminishing scope, and it could hopefully quash the Total Siege end-game of some previous Total Wars, too.
Elsewhere, the new interfaces are still going in, but it should be easy to check the progress of your faction - Rome is divided into three rival families - and it's relatively simple to keep an eye on deeper systems such as how much political capital you have at any one time and how you can spend it. Amongst other things, political capital's handy for tackling the many problems that randomly pop up over the course of one turn to the next. Here comes Cicero, doing all manner of classical-era mic drops about you in the senate. How do you want to deal with him? Support him? Extort him? Discredit him? Or why not just have him assassinated?
Speaking of bloodshed, your armies are as much fun off the battlefield as they are on it. Alongside a series of stances you can select for them, ranging from a forced march to the ability to set ambushes, there's a new tradition system that focuses on building a legacy for your legions. In the new game, these are more than the sum of their parts - even if all your men are lost in battle, the legion itself will prevail.
It's that business of making war personal again: each legion has its own experience meter through which you can earn points to spend on traditions - one might give a bonus to heavy infantry units, say, or engineering expertise. There are ten possible traditions in total, and you can try and capture a broad range, or you could pick a limited handful and then spend points levelling those up to create specialists (Generals can also be levelled up and can both learn new skills and pick up new traits.)
Legendary Heroes is definitely an improvement over the original War of Magic release, and even last year's Fallen Enchantress, and Stardock is making good with its fans by offering this standalone expansion free to anyone who purchased War of Magic in a rare show of goodwill to consumers. But even though Legendary Heroes is a very well-designed turn-based strategy game, it lacks a certain magical something to make you want to play it over and over again. The replayability should be very high - with so much customization available - yet once you've played through a few times, you feel like you've seen everything Legendary Heroes has to offer.
Seems like it's still missing a soul then. Oh well.
Then there’s the new attack, defense and smuggle request missions. These are in fact quite major additions on their own. When you play as a normal empire you can request pirates to attack a particular military objective or to defend a particular colony if you’re short on ships near a certain area. Interested pirate factions will bid, and the one which prevails will take the contract and try its best to destroy the target you designate, or defend a particular colony or base. If you’re the pirate faction yourself, you can consult a list of currently active attack and defense missions, and decide to bid on contracts if you wish.
These are like the “current pirate jobs” in the galaxy bulletin. It’s actually quite fun and disturbing at the same time. At times you really do feel like a guns for hire pirate faction. “So, what do we have here today? Hum, destroy the Space Marauder’s space port for the Securans? They pay 35.000?! Oh, I think we can spare some boys near that sector. I’ll take that!”. This part of the pirate’s gameplay can be quite immersive indeed, but only when you’re powerful enough.
Neat. Still, calling it the best 4x gaming experience available? Really?
For each location on the world map there is a corresponding Tactical battle map. There are a lot of combinations that can make up a location:
There are 5 unique climates: Temperate, Arctic, Blighted, Tropical and Subterranean. Each of these climates are made up out of a variation of terrain types: Fertile, Barren, Forests, Mountains and Swamps.
On top of these climates you have a large amount of structures like Nodes, Mines, Treasure/Visit sites and of course cities for each of the races. These range from small outposts to a large cities, with various upgrades including city walls.
To deal with all these variables and to create unique, great looking maps, we decided to develop a partially procedurally generated system. This enables us to create tactical maps with thousands of variations and an enormous variety.
The Maps are a combination of hand work, asset swapping, procedural algorithms and modular building sets. Level designers are able to pinpoint what obstacles will spawn and in which area. When entering the battlefield a random seed is generated to make the gameplay area unique but still controlled and in the proper setting. Assets are swapped across climes in order to reduce the amount of handwork in creating maps.
Nice to see they seem to put as much effort into those as in the first game. I'm still amazed when playing the original just how many different battlefields there are. Literally every strategic maptile seemed to have a corresponding battlefield. Nice.
He proceeds to blabber about Planetary Annihilation for a good 19 minutes. Looking very much like a working Alpha it is giving me a lot of nice vibes. Do hope they'll do a bit of work on those effects. Ugh. Anyway, check it out.
As a fun extra is here the new Alpha Release Trailer. Nice little bombastic score there.
It took a truly horrific defeat for me to knuckle down and attempt to break through Wargame: AirLand Battle's tough, uncaring exterior. I'd tossed aside the campaign, had one skirmish match under my belt, and I dived head-first into a 10 vs. 10 multiplayer battle where I was undoubtedly more of a hindrance than anything to my exasperated cohorts.
I'd send out my jets -- the most significant addition to RTS since European Escalation -- only for them to explode and pepper the battlefield with debris. Then I'd call in my tanks and weep as they became engulfed in smoke and fire, blown to smithereens by previously invisible opponents. I pounded my fists and cursed my ineptitude, and all around the map my units were dying and wishing they had a better commander.
AirLand Battle is not a strategy title you can just dip your toes into, nor is it forgiving to those who are unprepared. Over 800 units from 12 different countries have been lovingly modelled and given abilities and statistics that are freakishly close to their real-world counterparts, and if you don't know how to use them effectively, you will not survive. I certainly didn't.