Hello there Celeste players! Today we are continuing to reveal various Indian units and buildings as they roll off the conveyor belt.
RamWhen we began building the Indians back in the Spring of 2021, we had already formed complete visions of nearly every unit and building. However, the Indian Ram was the lone exception. In designing a civ’s units, we always start with actual history and facts. Then we take those facts and try to express them into the normal gameplay constraints and Age of Empires Online design rules that we have discussed in these blogs for years.
So the Indian Ram. To begin, remember that the game design essentially dictates that every civ in our game must have a Ram unit that is (1) an anti-Building (2) Siege unit that (3) does crush melee damage, and (4) becomes available in Age 3. Also, other than in the case of the Champion upgrade to the Norse Ram (the Farbjodr), every Ram (5) can attack only buildings.
With that background, we hit the history books. The historical record can be a little tricky with siege weapons, since they don’t often survive through archeology and contemporary written descriptions of machines can get mangled through translation. Meanwhile, in India’s case, it appears that for all purposes, if an Indian army wanted to bust through a wall, they were using an elephant. As one secondary source summarized, “Regarding siege equipment, possibly, battering rams were used, but not much evidence is available here. However, the infantry while scaling the walls would have used ladders or ropes. When it came to assaulting city or fort walls, elephants were given a much more significant role.”
That makes sense but since an elephant isn’t normally classified as a Siege unit, it doesn’t perfectly lend itself to our five-prong definition of a Ram. But certainly if the Farbjodr (giant dude swinging a ball and chain) can be a Siege unit, then so could some kind of elephant. And we certainly want to give the Indians lots of elephants.
But on the other hand, we already are giving the Indians lots of elephant units, and we need to be mindful of not oversaturating them with elephants. If we made too many, we’d cause visual overload and the entire screen would be filled with more elephants than anyone could easily identify. This caused us to think about some kind of mechanical Ram (like most civs) or a human powered one (like the Celts and Norse).
We touched on this in the last blog, but we ended up ruling out a traditional mechanical Ram because we need the unit to train from the Fortress and all mechanical Rams have so far trained from Siege Workshops (which the Indians do not have) and all human powered Rams train from Fortresses.
Over the months we went around and around on this. The historical pressure kept pushing us back towards some kind of elephant ram, and as a group we continued to brainstorm ways to visually distinguish it. Here are some of the highlights.
Here you can see Max’s first concept, which he made simply by plopping a Greek Battering Ram between two existing Elephant assets. He ran with that for a bit and got this far:
This double elephant was very tempting, but Max quickly realized that a unit that wide would have serious logistical issues turning around (especially turning around in place, which units frequently do in battles). There really would be no way to artfully pull that off – either the elephants would magically switch directions or they would need to walk around in a giant circle, which would be super awkward visually and super frustrating in gameplay.
We again put the unit on ice for a number of months to work on other units. Ultimately we arrived at a human powered Ram. About three weeks ago, Eamon took a swing at him.
As for the name, we are simply calling him a Ram, which mirrors the Celts human powered unit. We probably could have given it some kind of Indian-specific name in line with the Norse Farbjodr, but there wasn’t an obvious choice, the Indians already have a healthy dose of immersive names (Gada Warrior, Guru, Turanga, Juggernaut, Vimana) and there is no reason to shoehorn one into position here. Keep it simple. He’s a Ram.
Sacred CowWe first introduced the Sacred Cow back in November, and we return to it now that its model and icon are finished. As you may recall, starting in Age 2, the Indians can build a Shrine, which is a second religious themed building. When herdables are placed before it, the Shrine will generate resources and automatically spawn the Club Monkey and the Fire Monkey (though this is subject to change as we playtest). You can also train Sacred Cows at the Shrine, which act identically as herdables. Essentially, Sacred Cows are identical to regular Cows exactly as Sacred Deer are identical to regular Deer.
But wait, there's more! We are also adding a new type of Gaia Cow to some new Indian themed maps. As you all know, Age of Empires games are constantly expanding its Gaia biodiversity, and we are always on the lookout for new animals and plants to add to the game. This is a cherished, fairly understated part of good Age of Empires design.
More Capital City BuildingsAs more capital city buildings are being built for the Indians, we reveal them to you one by one. There are several buildings that are shared amongst all civilizations, which include the Crafting Hall, Treasury, Trade Dock and Port. You can check the Indian version of these buildings here.
Being the main infantry unit of the Indians, we revealed the Gada Warrior in an earlier blog. But now we have all the different visual variations of the model ready, and here they are!
Gada Warrior Gear Progression
Gatherer Elephant Gear ProgressionFor the the next blog, we will be revealing the artwork of all Indian Advisors, as well as their Milestones. Stay tuned!
Vimana Gear Progression
Thanks for reading, and we look forward to revealing more of the Indians again shortly as we pick up the pace. Please let us know your thoughts and questions below!
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By PF2K on Sep 3, 2022 at 5:27 PM
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