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 are revealing our long-requested Roman Villagers (both male and female) as well as the 3d models for both the Age 3 TC and the Pontifex, both of which we have discussed previously.
VillagersEven though Villagers are predictable and uniform across the civs, they are the most important and heavily used unit in the game, so as Developers, we owe a duty to make ours fit perfectly.
Villagers are one of four Common Units, which are hardwired into the game code to be shared by all civs. Each Common Unit appears at the same Age and has the same statistics, regardless of civ, with almost no exceptions. One notable exception: while the standard Villager training time is 15 seconds, the Egyptian Villager takes 18 seconds. This penalty is likely linked to the fact that Egypt can continue to produce Villagers as it researches the next Age (Egypt ages up by building Temples) and that Priestesses of Ra can buff TCs and reduce the training time/increase gathering rates. Though Babylon ages up at the Ziggurat and thus can also produce Vils constantly, the original Devs appear to have decided not to increase their training time on account of its TC having to also train Ox Carts, which gums up Villager production.) Here you can see the Roman villagers gathering resources, wearing Legendary gear:
Therefore, there is precedent for us to slightly manipulate the base villager statistics. Though to remain consistent to the game design, we really should do so only if necessary to offset some fundamental change to Roman Villager productivity.
But as it turns out, it is necessary for us to scrutinize this otherwise unremarkable detail when designing the Romans. Though the Romans will age up at the TC just like most civs, the Roman TC plays a more heightened role that in part affects its Villager production: the Roman Town Center trains more than one unit.
And as you can imagine, toggling any other Villager statistics (gather and construction rates, speed, health, damage, etc.) would have a dramatic impact on the viability of the entire civilization. We don’t touch those buttons without a significant and obvious reason. The Romans will be a slow-moving Age 4 powerhouse. Since we do not need to tweak its Villager to achieve that vision, we should not meddle with them at all.
Ultimately, for reasons we will reveal later, we presently do not plan to alter the Villager statistics. But like many otherwise boring decisions we have discussed in this blog, in order to decide to not make a radical design departure with the Romans, we still need to analyze all possibilities and justify our actions (or inactions) in a way that remains true to the original design rules.
The Romans must be unexpectedly unique in many areas and predictably uniform in others. So long as we intelligently choose which of those areas should be unique and which should be uniform, the Romans will feel fresh and fun to play, be filled with deep new strategies, and yet still feel like a natural addition to the Age of Empires Online world.
Age III Town CenterA few weeks ago, we announced that the Roman Town Center will be an Improved Building, which is an otherwise standard Common Building that contains a special technology or other attribute that improves it in a small but decisive way.
Therefore, starting in Age 2, the Roman Town Center will be more than just a Villager factory. It will produce a second unit. We are super excited about this and can’t wait to share these details soon enough.
Let's have a look at all Age 3 Town Centers from all the 7 civilizations together:
But for today, you can see the Age 3 Town Center, which Chaos and Happy Smurf have worked hard on. It is designed to indicate the obvious progression in the civ as it gets larger and more austere with accents changing from Bronze to Silver to indicate the Age. As you can see, the square frame of the Town Center remains throughout the ages, but the roof and other features become more pronounced in the classic Roman tradition.
We announced the Pontifex last week, and are pleased to show him off today. As the Roman Templum and priest appear to have been late additions to the original designs, we had no concept art or icons to guide us.
Therefore, we hit the books to research Roman religions and roles, seeking some hook to form a historical bond for our unit to attach to our civ. Religion in Rome was anything but standardized, let alone religion across the entire Roman Empire. In addition to their well-known pantheon of gods inherited from the Greeks, the Romans also worshiped and had temples dedicated to countless other deities, such as Isis (Egypt), Epona (Celts), Mithra (Persians), Sol Invictus, and even some of Rome’s own imperial legends such as Julius Caesar.
Yet at the same time, AoEO civ designs paint in broad strokes. And in broad strokes, compared to most of the existing civs, our Romans are intended to focus more on their scientific and practical strengths than with their panoply of mystery cults. So we can’t let the Templum bog us down. We just want a taste. Remember, these guys weren’t even going to have a temple or priest at first.
We ultimately honed in on Jupiter, who is the king of gods in Greco-Roman mythology and featured prominently in Rome. A grand temple dedicated to Jupiter stands proudly on top of the Capitoline Hill in the center of the city near the Emperor’s palace, and was not only Rome’s most important temple, but was considered by some to be the home of the god himself. Similarly, the Roman military traditionally held Jupiter above all others and made offerings to him and dedicated the state sponsored military Triumphs to him.
Though our Templum and Pontifex do not directly reference Jupiter in some specific technology or ability, their models and icons do by featuring Jupiter’s lightning bolts (on the Templum icon’s book and on the Pontifex’s belt). Similarly, historical Pontifexes were priests of Rome and closely tied to Jupiter. So the name fits.
We know that our Pontifex will convert units, but until balance testing we will not be certain of his stats or any other powers (such as healing or something else). Therefore, we don’t want to show our cards on the tech’s use only to later change direction.
As for his visual design, PF2K, Recon, and Andy (the three of us who drafted the final blueprints for the civ) envisioned an old man and originally thought to bring forth a model based on the classic AoE1 priest. In fact, we had intended to borrow Peepaw, dress him up, and promote our dear friend to Pontifex. However, when Happy Smurf and Chaos got to work, he took on even more personality, and we love him. Peepaw is still hiding behind the icon image, though! Also, we love his priestly hats.
The Templum is slated to contain one tech upgrade, Pax Deorum. Though usually translated into English as “peace,” Pax was a compact, bargain or agreement. In religious usage, the harmony or accord between the divine and human was the Pax Deorum (“the peace of the gods” or “divine peace”). The gods instilled Pax Deorum only in return for correct religious practice by the Romans. Religious error (vitium) and impiety led to divine disharmony and Ira Deorum (the anger of the gods).
As the idea and design of so many of our Roman units had been hammered out by the original Developers before we arrived, we feel a special ownership of the Pontifex and Templum. In fact, the Pontifex is the only unit that we named and the only unit we had to visually design from scratch. He’s our guy. (Though at this stage, our sense of ownership manifests more in a nagging sense of responsibility and anxiety.) But we are confident that the Pontifex will make a terrific addition to the Roman roster.
As an added bonus, let's have a look at Roman Villagers hard at work gathering resources, shall we?
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.
By PF2K on Aug 31, 2019 at 1:05 PM
- Similar Threads - Weekly Blog #13