Hello there Celeste players! We are back with another Roman reveal blog.
As we develop the Romans, each week we will be revealing the Romans to you building by building, unit by unit, and technology by technology. We are not just showing you what the Romans will be, but showing you how we are building them, who is building them, and also why we are building them the way that we are.
This week, we will be finally revealing the Spearman as well as both the Siege Workshop and Battering Ram. It’s very fitting that we are revealing both the Spearman and the Battering Ram at the same time. As it turns out, they have an awful lot in common.
SpearmanWe have been discussing the Spearman for weeks now, so it is wonderful to finally present him. Though he is not coded as a Common Unit (such as the Villager, Caravan, Fishing Boat, and Merchant Transport Ship), every civ has one, and he always appears in Age 1 out of the Barracks -- the only exception is the Persians (Age 2). So including a Roman Spearman was almost a foregone conclusion.
Cosmically, there is nothing particularly special about an anti-cav melee Infantry unit. But that particular combination fits Age 1 perfectly because players need a slow offensive weapon that is decent, but not super good, at harassing villagers. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of an Age 1 rush, you can imagine how awful it would be if your opponent instead had a ranged unit or some kind of anti-infantry swordsman. It is not that we are incapable of imagining an Age 1 with archers or cav, but it would be extraordinarily challenging to balance it. Those archers would dominate everybody else’s spears. And those spears would chew through Age 1 Cavalry. Right now, since everybody has about the same low DPS, fairly slow melee unit in Age 1, an Age 1 rush isn’t about matchups. It just comes down to good micro and good strategy.
But Infantry, Cav, and Ranged are the game's rock, paper, and scissors. If any two of those three units were to face off in Age 1, the balance would shift wildly, and somebody would get swamped. So for good reason, the default position for any new civ is to give it an Age 1 Spearman. Everyone’s Spearmen can just mash into each other while chasing Villagers, who at least have a fighting chance to run for cover. And the more civs that have an Age 1 Spearman, the stronger this feedback loop.
That’s the thing about Spearmen — they aren’t particularly charismatic. Everyone expects to see them not because they are exciting to use, but because they’ve always been there. It’s this circular logic that gives them their value. Because every existing civ has a Spearman, every new civ needs to have a Spearman.
Not surprisingly, every available version of the Roman designs included a Spearman. Though at one time we toyed with replacing him with the Veles, we ultimately could not justify it. Again, we are trying to make our Romans walk the line between striking out in a unique direction while also feeling like they have always belonged in our world. Giving the Romans an Age 1 Spearman gives them an important touchstone with their neighbors.
Certainly, we would love the challenge of designing a civ with a wild, punchy Age 1 military, but we need to pick our moments carefully. Our Romans are intended to be a slow-rolling, heavy late-game powerhouse, so a standard Age 1 Spearman is critical for pacing. They just are not the right civ to experiment with a strange Age 1 unit. Keep in mind that this doesn’t sentence the Romans to an uninspired early game. Using a standard Age 1 Spearman opens the door for us to focus in Age 1 on an aspect of the Romans other than their Infantry. We will be showing you what that means soon enough.
With regards to the Spearman’s 3D design, Chaos and Happy Smurf originally based him on the Greek Spearman before changing gears midstream to use a different one. The Greek Spearman is recycled all over the game as the foundation of all sorts of AI units. Because they all use the same core animations, it can get repetitive and we wanted to distinguish the Romans.
Here you can see the Roman Spearman in Epic Gear, next to their commanding Centurion in Legendary Gear:
PF2K's Note: Notice how their Epic armor is not fully Golden, but a mix between Leather and Golden Metal. This is based on original concept art and is very similar to Persian Spearmen's color set. Consistency is king!
(P.S. I took this picture in red color just for you guys.)
Battering Ram and Siege Workshop
As we’ve discussed in our Building Design Blog, the Siege Workshop is a Custom Building that appears in most Civs. Not only did it appear in every available version of the Roman designs, but thematically, it is a building we always knew was necessary to create our Siege-focused late game Roman civ.
Every Siege Workshop in the game has appeared at Age 3. Even though the Romans will focus on Siege, they will also need to wait until Age 3 to use theirs. This was another decision that was pretty much made for us. Because none of the existing Civs are prepared to counter siege in Age 2, the game is simply not designed for anyone to have an Age 2 Siege unit. If we created one, not only would balancing force us to dull it down almost to the point of ineffectiveness, but we would need to do that all while finding a place to fit it into the Age 2 roster while still having enough units to counter all the Infantry, Ranged, and Cavalry units everybody else would be throwing at them. So like the Age 1 Barracks, the Age 3 Siege Workshop is another example of a Building that can only really show up at the exact same time as everybody else’s.
This feedback loop is best demonstrated by the ram. In a game where every civ has vastly different military unit rosters, a small number of almost identical military units overlap in every civ. Depending on how you count, there are about 5 of these universal military units in the game, and we’ve already touched upon a couple of them. In designing a new civ, these units stand out like road signs. We aren’t required to follow them, but if we don’t, we need to be really sure we know where we are going.
The ram is a perfect constant. You can set a clock to it. Every civ has a siege ram that does melee damage and arrives in Age 3. Even though not every civ calls theirs a Battering Ram (the Celts have a two-man Ram, the Egyptians and Babylonians each have different Siege Towers, and the Norse have the boulder-dragging Farbjoðr), every ram in the game is functionally identical. And for every civ, the ram is the first Siege unit on the field and the only Siege unit until Age 4. You can see all of the 7 rams (without any gear) here:
Again, in designing the Romans, we have the right to deviate from these well-trodden paths, but we do so at our peril. So we must be smart about it. But we also have a duty to keep the game fresh and the Romans interesting.
The Romans are to be Siege heavy, so common sense dictates they should have a ram. And so the Romans shall have a ram. And balancing dictates that the ram should come in Age 3. And the Romans’ ram will. So far we are perfectly following that Age 3 siege ram path. And though the Roman Battering Ram will follow it, we are excited to announce that the Romans will also break from the path and blaze a new section. The Romans will be the only civ in the game with a second Age 3 Siege unit. It’s a wonderful unit, and we cannot wait to see how it works so early in the game. But today is not the day to discuss that unit. Today is the day of the Roman Battering Ram. Let us bask in it.
In the last few weeks, we have spent a lot of time describing unit design rules, explaining that we reserve the right to ignore them, and then justifying why we chose to follow the same old units. Hopefully you can understand that we want to save some of Rome’s biggest decisions for later in the series. Though we still have a few standard units ahead of us, we are definitely starting to get to the heart of the Romans. Stick with us, friends, and we will see you soon.
Before we close up this blog, here are a few points:
1. We adjusted the Praesidium's design based on the feedback we have gotten, this is how the new version of the Praesidium looks like. Can you spot all the differences?
2. In order to spend development resources on the upcoming Summer Event, there will be no Roman reveal blogs in the upcoming week and the one after that. Once that is done, we will have these blogs just as before.
3. You can see the Roman Siege Workshop and Praesidium in all their glorious details here, big thanks to Chaos for making this happen!
Thank you for reading, and we will see you all next week!
Project Celeste Development Team
What do you think about this week's blog? What would you like to see next? Let us know in the comments below!
Missed the Roman Civilization's announcement? Find out about it HERE.
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By PF2K on Aug 3, 2019 at 3:01 PM
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