Since we are between seasonal events, we'd like to update you on the Indians. Our team is just large enough now to allow one group to work on the events without having to distract those working on our new civilization. In the last couple of months, our 3D and 2D teams have continued to work through their lists, though at an admittedly slower pace (travel, real life issues, and various other stuff have slowed us -- both Hans and Cain (previously known as Raider) have had drawing tablet problems, etc.).
We are still way ahead, but our breakneck progress has slowed. We expect to get things moving again now that the summer is winding down.
Whereas with the Romans we had a single dedicated team that essentially moved from one project to the next in a linear fashion, with the Indians we have a larger group that is trying to create everything at once. (Though we also have more things to create.) In that spirit, we we are revealing today a little bit of everything – some units, some buildings, some Advisors, and even some icons.
Dock, Fishing Boat, and Merchant TransportOne elegant part of AoEO’s asymmetric civ design is that each civilization takes turns emphasizing different core buildings. This creates unique design within the fabric of the civs, as opposed to grafting a few differences onto a bunch of universal units and buildings, such as in AoE2. The unique elements of AoEO civs vary, so one may have special Houses and Watchposts while another may have special Storehouses, Farms, and Walls, or Barracks, or Temples, etc.
But more than that, much of the game’s design artistry is in how those unique features reflect that civ’s history and accentuate some kind of fitting unique gameplay. So the tech tree, the gameplay mechanics, and the real life history all tie together, and Age of Empires Online does this better than any other game.
Meanwhile, every core building seems to eventually have its day. So we cannot design any one civ in a vacuum. Not only must the special buildings of the Indians fit their history and motifs perfectly, but they cannot overlap with those of other civs – the Indians themselves must fit the game perfectly, too.
While we are now up to 8 civs, there are still several core buildings that so far have not received much special attention – Docks, Markets, and, to a lesser degree, Guard Towers and Town Centers, to name a few. So doing something new with these buildings was obviously on our radar.
But Docks are particularly difficult buildings to emphasize because their usefulness varies wildly based on the map. A civ with a particularly strong Dock would need to be relatively weaker on land. But if the map doesn’t have water, then the civ faces an unbridgeable disadvantage. Therefore, it is not surprising that no civ has yet featured a special Dock and that everyone basically has the same one (with minor differences in cost for the Romans and Babylonians). So it would need the perfect civ.
On the one hand, the Indian subcontinent has historically dominated oceanic trade (they would capitalize on the seasonal winds of the Arabian sea to trade with the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Aksumites by way of the Red Sea. But on the other hand, India is close to the size of Europe and similarly varied depending on the area, and our Indians are based on the northern Mauryan Empire of the Indus Valley along the Himalayas. Our Indians travelled more by river than by sea. Ultimately, there is perhaps room in the game for a unique Dock, but not here. Our Indians need to focus on other things.
But that does not mean the Indians should not have a beautiful Dock or strong Ships. And they have those things. Today, we are revealing the Dock, Fishing Boat, and Merchant Transport. They will all perform exactly as you would expect, and we are super happy with how they look. We will reveal their other ships later.
Gear Hall, Residences, Advisors, and 2D ArtCapital Cities all have the same roster of buildings. Therefore, once we arrived on the Indian architectural style, the 3D team was able to get to work without much direction. We will reveal everything soon enough, and today we have the Gear Hall and the three Residences.
Along similar lines, we are also launching with a full set of Indian Advisors. Every civilization in the game has (at least) 10 Advisors: seven regular Advisors with Common, Uncommon, Rare, and Epic versions plus three Legendary Advisors.
The Indian Advisors mark a huge moment in Project Celeste – until now, we have had the benefit of using the professional artwork from the original developers. Even the Roman advisors are all sourced from original work. But the Indians are completely brand new, so it is on us to make all of their Advisors. We do not expect to finalize exactly what they buff until we playtest, but Hans has already finished them all. Today we introduce you to two of the Legendary Advisors, both of whom will also appear in the game as Quest Givers, Chandragupta and Ashoka.
They were each legendary Indian emperors. Chandragupta Maurya founded the Mauryan Empire and rose to power immediately after Alexander the Great retreated back towards Greece. His grandson Ashoka was India’s greatest emperor of that era (and perhaps of all time). Ashoka ruled the empire at its height stretching from the edge of Persia (not far from modern day Iran) eastward to modern Bangladesh and south through almost the entire Indian subcontinent. The third advisor is a merchant without a name yet. All in good time!
Finally, there’s lots of other needed artwork (icons, portraits, milestones, etc.), and Cain and PF2K have been recently designing some of the Tech icons, which you can see here. Bonus points if anyone can correctly guess what they do. To get you started, one of them is called Varuna’s Haste and is one of the three Age 3 Choose One Techs (the others being Varuna’s Wisdom and Varuna’s Grip). Let us know your guesses!
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Thank you so much for reading, and we will see you all next time!
Project Celeste Development Team
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By PF2K on Sep 5, 2021 at 12:22 PM
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