As we develop the Romans, each week are revealing them 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 final core Building, the Wonder. We are also announcing the Roman Milestones.
WonderWithout further ado, we are pleased to present the Roman Colosseum (proper name: the Flavian Amphitheatre).
Wonders in Age of Empires Online are buildings which stand as civilizations' most memorable legacies. (either in architectural brilliance or religious/political/military significance). They are also a victory condition in PvP (and if you so choose, Wonder Victory Mode Skirmish matches.). Even though they might not be as important in most circumstances, they are there in every civilization and as is standard with everything done with the Roman civilization, they will receive a Wonder of their own.
To have a quick comparison, let's have a look at the other 6 civilizations' Wonders, shall we?
On the one hand, that we chose the Roman Colosseum to serve as the Wonder likely comes as no surprise to many of you. In fact, the Colosseum is also the Wonder for the Romans in AoE1 (as well as for the Carthaginians, Palmyrans, and Macedonians). So it really was not much of a leap for us to incorporate it into our Romans.
But on the other hand, the original Devs had other plans. Rather than feature the Colosseum, their concept art indicates they had the Roman Pantheon in mind instead.
This actually makes some sense. Not only is the Pantheon one of Ancient Rome’s most magnificent and best preserved buildings, but it was an absolute feat of engineering and had what was the largest unreinforced concrete dome on the planet for about 2000 years. The Pantheon is also a bit more accurate historically for our Romans, who, again, are based on the late Republic, early Imperial era. Augustus Caesar (the first Roman Emperor and Julius Caesar’s nephew) commissioned its construction during his reign (though it would not be completed for nearly 100 years later). Meanwhile, the Colosseum would not exist for a couple more generations after Augustus. Before then, the area was covered by a neighborhood.
But even though Caesar, Pompey, Crassus, and Augustus never stepped foot in the Colosseum, to our eyes, the Colosseum represents the splendor of Ancient Rome. And since AoEO has always been a combination of history and fantasy, we are confident in our decision. Caesar now gets a Colosseum. It looks a lot cooler from the outside than the Pantheon, too.
Another reason for using the Colosseum instead of the Pantheon is that since Age of Empires Online is an RTS game, the camera angle that it provides players is one from above, which means that most of the Pantheon's glory (which is arguably its front and interior) would be nearly impossible to see, as you can see in the picture below.
As you can see, the Pantheon from this angle isn't nearly as exciting as the Colosseum is.
We also discussed this decision with the original Developers, and they approved of this decision, because ["The Pantheon would probably look too much like other Buildings"]
Happy Smurf and Chaos designed the 3d model from scratch. As you may recall, Happy Smurf is finishing up his architecture degree, and the Colosseum is a great example of how we are putting him to work. Not only will the Colosseum be part of the core civ, but it will also be located in the City of Rome global region. We haven’t shown you that region yet, but we plan for Rome to be the most accurate representation of any ancient city in the entire game complete with the Tiber River, the Seven Hills, the Field of Mars, nearly every major landmark and building, the Imperial Palace, Circus Maximus, Pantheon, and all the rest. This kind of city has never been attempted before in AoEO, at least not at this scale and at these stakes.
Creating all of these assets is a huge undertaking. But, if we can be so bold, Happy Smurf being a professionally trained architect makes him far more qualified to tackle this than anyone who has ever designed an AoEO region before. Rome had several legendary architects who can claim responsibility for its majesty: Vitruvius, Apollodorus of Damascus, and now it will have Happy Smurf. Along these lines, Chaos joins the ancients as one of the greatest Roman Sculptors, Gardeners, and Painters, among other things.)
Much of the challenge is to reduce a historic building into its most necessary elements and then translate it into our art style. With the Colosseum, we’ve simplified its design (as compared to, say, a historic recreation of the original building) but also took care to keep some historic elements, such as the sun shades and the statues. Originally, the Colosseum featured statues under each of the arches in the second- and third-floor arcades, probably honoring divinities and other figures from Classical mythology. Ours will have 16 arches, and so Chaos and Happy Smurf are making a total of 8 different statues to go with the Wonder. They are not all finished, but you can get the point. We also plan to offer larger versions of those individual statues as Capital City decorations, as well. We plan to use the Colosseum in the City of Rome for some special purpose, too, but we haven’t begun working on that and don’t want to get too ahead of ourselves.
Milestones are small modifiers available for each civilization, providing military, economic or utility upgrades for players. Each civilization gets to choose between 2 possible options when they reach Level 5, 10, 20, 30 and 40. Additionally, when playing as each civilization, you get to bring over one milestone from each of your other civilization (regardless of level). For example, while playing as the Persians, you can pick one of your Greek, Egyptian, Celtic, Babylonian, Norse (and soon Roman!) civilizations' Milestones.
Note that these are Work-in-Progress and aren't the final version of the Statues
Like every civ, the Romans offer the choice of two different Milestones as you level up, for a total of five. Milestones are available at Levels 5, 10, 20, 30, and 40. (Since the Romans are a Pro-Civ, you start in Level 20 so the first three are available immediately.)
In our research, we were able to locate the original Roman Milestone icons, names, and code. However, some of the effects had already been assigned to other civilizations, and some were completely out of line with the existing milestones in terms of balance, so we had to make a few changes here and there. But players have been hounding us about these since May, so rather than tell you about the Milestones, here they are just as they will appear in the game:
Note that while unlikely, every single one of these milestones is subject to change during our internal playtesting sessions, which we expect to start in the not-so-distant future.
The Colosseum will continue to keep our 3d team busy next week, and we still have untold loose ends to tie with existing Units and Buildings. However, we are presently still on pace to reveal the final Roman Unit next Saturday (plus some Advisors).
Thank you so much 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 Jan 25, 2020 at 11:37 AM
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