By PF2K on Aug 3, 2019 at 3:01 PM
  1. PF2K

    PF2K Lead Artist | PvP Balance Team Lead
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    Header_-_Week_11.png
    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.

    Spearman
    ===========
    We 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:

    Week_11_-_Spearman_Closeup.png
    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
    =================================

    Week_11_-_Siege_Workshop_Closeup.png
    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.
    Week_11_-_Concept_To_Creation_Siege_Workshop.png

    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.
    Week_11_-_Siege_Workshop_Lineup.png

    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.
    Week_11_-_Ram_Closeup.png

    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:
    Week_11_-_Ram_Lineup.png

    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?​

    Week_11_-_Praesidium_Revision.png

    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.

    Project Celeste is completely free and always will be. However, we gladly accept donations for our overhead costs, which are larger than we have budgeted. If you want to support us, you can do so HERE.

    Read every Romans related blog HERE.

    Tell your friends! Join our Discord HERE.
    ========
     
    #1 PF2K, Aug 3, 2019 at 3:01 PM
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2019
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Comments

Discussion in 'Romans' started by PF2K, Aug 3, 2019.

    1. MechSmith

      MechSmith Spearman

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      The gear on those spearmen looks amazing, i'm really liking the detail on the Roman units so far.
       
    2. WiriWout

      WiriWout PvP Balance Team Member
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      Those spearmen, so good!
       
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    3. Daantjuh-NL

      Daantjuh-NL Spearman

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      The spearmen look cool, I like how their spears point up, instead of holding them straight. Looks like they form an anti cav formation.

      I love the battering ram, the design, the movement, all looks great.

      I also love the redesign of the Praesidium, looks more like a fortification now

      About the siege workshop, it does look good, but doesn't look like a siege workshop, and that could be hard to identify it on the battlefield. Maybe some more siege related props?

      Anyway see you guys on the summer event :)
       
      Andy P XIII likes this.
    4. RASPUTINPRIME

      RASPUTINPRIME Long Swordsman

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      I can't wait to rip it up with a full legion....mmmmmm

      I love both versions of the Praesidium - to tent or not to tent!
       
      PedroAlmeida72 and Andy P XIII like this.
    5. Kulcsos12

      Kulcsos12 Champion

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      I like the changes on the Praesidium. Its wall finally made by a non-drunk villager. :D

      I also didn't realised what is that building. First thing what I see is the 4 huge stone blocks on the roof. On the roof? Why? And why stone blocks? Is it needed for any kind of siege weapon? Second, its need more "easy to see" siege items.
      My ideas how to change it:
      • Mirror and rotate the building. The crane is really hard to see. The lever part it perfectly fit into the edge of the roof, while the hanging stone block is look like a random stone on the ground. But if you rotate left and mirror the building, the crane move to the right corner (similar to other civs' crane) and its will be more visible. Like here:
        oeh8mD4.jpg
      • Make a little gap between the building and the crane by moving it to the edge. It will be even more visible.
      • Remove the wooden fence. I know the Romans built their military buildings on the front but its not a reason to put those fences everywhere. Here, its totally overshadow the half-built catapult.
      • Are we really need those stone blocks? Change them to crates, cogs, wheels, ramheads or other siege-related items.
       
      Alzerus, zenorhk and Crixler like this.
    6. Andy P XIII

      Andy P XIII Moderator
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      Damn those 3d models. I just checked them out now. Well done, Chaos!
       
      PedroAlmeida72 likes this.
    7. Kenji03

      Kenji03 Berserker

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      Glad to see you all aren't breaking yourselves to get the Romans out. Made a footnote on the wiki that there will be a planned 2 week hiatus.

      I like the new change!

      Makes sense, as I wondered why they would keep the flag out when preparing for a camp siege :tonguewink:
       
      Andy P XIII likes this.
    8. Leow193

      Leow193 Long Swordsman

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      Is it me or that roman battering ram is fast ?
       
    9. Andy P XIII

      Andy P XIII Moderator
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      Unit speed is part of balancing, so its subject to change.
       
    10. PF2K

      PF2K Lead Artist | PvP Balance Team Lead
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      Nope, same speed.
       
    11. Alzerus

      Alzerus Woad Raider

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      Excellent looking Spearmen and the Praesidium looks really cool now, very nice changes to that. Siege workshop looks nicely unique too, but too many blocks, unless the upcoming other Siege units may have a use for them, some form of Ram Head mid construction on the crane may give a better placement and be unique to any other workshop.

      I love the extra effort and detail you guys even put into presenting these updates for us. Amazing presentations and artwork with the 3D modeling and short video presentations. Very helpful and exciting.

      I have to say, I really enjoyed the short video of the Siege Workshop with the Battering Ram, made me smile. The Ram looks like a very happy Ram on it's way to the Pub zooming past the Workshop :)

      Fantastic work guys and look forward to more in a few weeks time.
       
      Andy P XIII likes this.
    12. zenorhk

      zenorhk Spearman

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      Wow, nice job!!
      I see that you really put so much passion into it and this is really important.
      All three designs are very beautiful, although Kulcsos12's ideas are intristing ;)
      Putting 3d models as well as videos is a fabulous thing!!!!!! I can watch everything minutely!
      Don't let us wait too long for the second siege weapon of age 3, that I can't already wait for next blog!!
       
      Andy P XIII likes this.
    13. Elrosthir

      Elrosthir Villager

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      I must say that the spearman, while looking awesome, it just doesn't feel "roman" for me, correct me if I'm wrong, but what I see there is just a greek spearman, not a roman unit, as far as I know there were more options to use as a "spear unit", the triarii, the extraordinarii, even the auxilia spearmen, I think any of them would have fitted much better than just a greek soldier, just my opinion. Still, good work, all of your stuff looks great.
       
    14. Andy P XIII

      Andy P XIII Moderator
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      Respectfully, you are not seeing a Greek spearman. In AoEO, every civ has a unit called a "Spearman" who carries a Heavy Spear and uses Soldier's Gear (and either Cloth or Infantry Armor). The Romans will be no different. We could obviously go down a rabbit hole and give every Roman unit some hyperspecific Roman name, but that would bring the Civ in a direction too far astray from the way the original designers did things. We have a duty to both (a) create a Roman civ that is (b) designed for use in AoEO. We aren't playing an ultra realistic war simulator, so holding our Romans up against that measure will undoubtedly leave you disappointed.

      But if you want us to deliver a Roman civ that perfectly meshes with Age of Empires Online while expanding our game and its features in new and cool ways, we are confident we will hit those beats. Obviously there will be people who don't like what we do. That is the nature of the beast. But we hope these blog posts at least help provide enough information so that those who disagree with what we are doing at least understand and appreciate why we are doing those things.

      In specific response, our Romans set in the late Republic/early Imperial stage of Rome. So we are post-Marion reformation, and obviously will not have the classic formations of the manipular legion of the early Republic, such as the Triarii, Hastati, and Principes.

      Again, we are being forced to narrow down dozens and dozens of possible units into a working set of about 18. We must cut most units. We hope when you see the final product, it will feel right.
       
    15. Dumbesthades87

      Dumbesthades87 Villager

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      Hey,
      First of all I find of those 3D models awesome. Can’t wait to try them in game.
      I was thinking and what about giving them some “Roman” name. I know about a Roman unit called triari that was recognized because of their spears. It could work as a late better armored spearman, maybe like Persians. And I think that maybe giving Romans an armor bonus could make them more unique. Historically their units were well known because of their armor. Off course it depends on the balance you are thinking of. Regards
       
    16. Andy P XIII

      Andy P XIII Moderator
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      You bring up an excellent question about the nature of unit names in AoEO. I have put much thought and research into this. In broad strokes, most units have general names rather than civ-specific names. We have lots of Spearmen, Longswordsmen, Lancers, Mounted Archers, Triremes, Throwing Axemen. Etc. Rarely do we have units with names of a different language.
      The Greeks have the most unique names in the game, but even they have Spearmen and Scouts and Villagers and Battering Rams and Priests. It is not because we do not know the ancient Greek name for these things. Of course we do. It is because the developers recognized the need to signal to the players that there are some very general units so that everybody can immediately recognize what is going on.

      Other civs, such as the Babylonians, have absolutely no units in the original Babylonian language.

      Our Romans, however, will be breaking the record for most civ-specific names. But even they need to make some obvious signalling to players. In AoEO we have Spearmen. Every civ does. In good game design, consistency is king.
       
      PedroAlmeida72 likes this.
    17. Mikey242

      Mikey242 Spearman

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      This looks fantastic, I really love the consitency of the design. The reasoning behind all your decisions seems very solid to me.

      My hype just got pushed to the next level, thanks for all the work guys.
       
    18. Elrosthir

      Elrosthir Villager

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      My concerns were more aimed to how the unit looks rather than its name, what I meant is that in the screenshot the "roman spearman" doesn't look roman, maybe its just because of the epic gear XD
       
    19. TheSpaniard

      TheSpaniard Champion

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      I love the simple yet satisfying design of the Roman ram! In fact, it may now be my favorite ram.

      Although, I must say.... I, for one, was on board with the idea that "Romans were conquerors" and therefore their military and fortification buildings were "less permanent," e.g. glorified tents instead of actual buildings. This makes sense in our context, I think (and that the capital city buildings would be more permanent, Roman-style architecture we think of in the Eternal City itself). Nevertheless, I understand the decision and the Praesidium still looks solid as ever! (see what I did there ;) )

      Can't wait to see what the summer event has in store!
       
      Andy P XIII likes this.
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