By PF2K on Apr 4, 2020 at 10:21 AM
  1. PF2K

    PF2K Lead Developer | PvP Balance Team Lead
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    Header_-_Week_33.png
    As we develop the Romans, we are showing you how we are building them, who is building them, and also why we are building them the way that we are. Though we have finally revealed every Roman Unit, Building, and Technology, we are continuing to present all of their miscellaneous extra features as we design them.

    The Development team has spent this week working on various projects. Chaos and Happy Smurf have been focusing on Capital City Buildings and decorations. Phillus has been working on various unit animations. Meanwhile, the rest of us have been working on the Roman campaign.

    RecoN and PF2K have been finalizing the Tutorial Campaign. These are a series of very simple quests that will bring Roman players to Level 3. At that point, the Main Questline will open up and quickly splinter into several different directions with Challenge Quests, Naval Quests, Side Quests, Crafting Quests, and Global Quests. This is where JilgueriN will join in.

    NumberOfQuests.png
    When playing the other civilzations' questlines, it is very easy for players to get disorientated in the web of quests. So before we start painting and populating the individual quest maps, one of the biggest challenges has been to study and map out those existing questlines. Not only do we want the Roman Quests themselves to feel like they belong, but we want the Roman Questline to unfold in the same way. So we are scrutinizing their quest objectives, rewards, the number and location of Quest Givers, and even the language they use with the player. Andy has taken the lead in this area.

    We have been playing the quests ourselves, of course, but the AoEO wikipedia has proven invaluable to our research, as have the various youtube playthroughs. So big thanks to all of those players over the years who have contributed.

    At this point, we have mapped out enough of the original questlines to build a framework for how ours needs to play out. We are also considering making a few of changes to Questline design in an effort to improve player enjoyment (both for new players and veterans). To give you a sense of what a questline map looks like, here is how the Greek Questline shapes up in all its dizzying directions.

    Greek_Campaign_Chain.png
    All told, the Roman Questline will contain 40 to 60 mapped quests. But in addition to each actual quest itself (the map, units, AI, triggers, objectives, etc.), each of them need to be assigned a Quest Giver, a Region, experience points, chests, additional rewards, and Quest Giver lines. There needs to be some kind of overarching narrative with various storylines, and it all needs to be tied to actual Roman history (while also maintaining that lovable AoEO tone). And then it has to all get translated several different times by our corps of volunteer translators.

    Andy is in the middle of storyboarding the Questline with the help of PF2K and the input of several Devs. Right now, we have all 10 or so Quest Givers assigned to their respective regions and are slowly shaping the story.

    NewQGs.png
    Our story begins right after the formation of the Roman Republic in the late 6th Century BCE and will likely pop in and out of major moments in Roman history for about 150 years as the early Republic fights its way through Italy. Though Caesar lived centuries later, he serves as our primary Questgiver and tour guide. Some legendary heroes will make an appearance, but we are saving the biggest names for later.

    Storyboarding each quest involves not just studying the quests in the existing Questlines (to match the right kind of objectives and difficulty) but reading a ton of Roman history (Wikipedia, websites, and primary sources like Plutarch and Livy). Meanwhile, Andy has been matching the Quest Giver narratives with language that befits the Romans. For instance, a Roman Quest Giver would never call an enemy a “thug” because that word came into English from Sanskrit. There was no Latin equivalent. But they would absolutely call someone a criminal, a barbarian, or a tyrant. The Romans gave us those words. We also know exactly how Caesar would speak and refer to himself in the third person because we have his writings. We want our Romans to sound like Romans. These are the kinds of details we hope you will never notice but that will end up somehow making the Romans feel right to your ears somehow.

    So things are going slow, but steady.

    As soon as a batch of quest storyboards are reasonably finalized, PF2K hands them to JilgueriN and RecoN to actually build each quest. They will eventually get playtested and finalized. And ideally everything will be ready before the Roman civ itself is ready for release.

    As of last night, the first five quests from the Main Questline are storyboarded and off to Jil. Additionally, there several other Challenge Quests ready to go once RecoN is ready for them.

    Along these lines, we are super excited to announce an additional feature that literally went from pipedream to 3d modelling in about four hours late Thursday. Because we do not want the Questline to delay release, we always intended for every quest asset to be either Roman or from other existing Civs (like the Celts or Persians). However, the low level Roman quests really mesh well with early Roman history. And in early Roman history, the Romans were not a world power conquering the Mediterranean. They were just a small Italian city fighting to survive.

    The more Andy researched and storyboarded, the more we recognized the need for a proper Italian rival for our Romans, similar to the role of the Nubians, Mycenaeans, Sea People, Badari, and Barbarians in the other questlines. Each of these factions have a handful of Buildings (usually a Town Center, House, Barracks, and possibly a Fortress) plus three or four military Units.) For the Romans, we never intended to create a faction because of the labor needed to create those assets. And, besides, there are plenty of Questlines that make due without factions, such as the Fertile Crescent and Northern Invasion. For those quests you simply fight other Babylonians or Norse.

    But on Thursday, Andy pushed a little and PF2K, Chaos, and Happy Smurf brainstormed a pretty darn good workaround to creating additional factions. As it turns out, Chaos and Happy Smurf had discovered a modest trove of unreleased Buildings hiding in our files. When Robot Entertainment was originally building AoEO, the plan was for every Building to have a separate model in each Age. They ultimately abandoned this approach (perhaps because of the additional strain on development). In fact, a number of those early drafts of Greek and Egyptian Buildings found their way into the game in the form of the existing factions. But we discovered that many others are unused and hiding in the files.

    Now these hidden Buildings are all slightly unfinished, but it really did not take the lads much time to reskin a couple of them and repurpose them for our new faction, the Etruscans.

    Etruscan_Village.png
    As you can see, one of the first things that had to be done to these models was changing their Wood color to match that of the Romans' existing Wooden constructs and machinery.

    The Etruscan Fortress, Town Center and Military Units are still work-in-progress and we'll reveal them to you when they are ready!

    Historically, the Etruscans were a civilization that predated the Romans and occupied northern Italy (near modern Tuscany -- thus the name). Rome grew up in the shadow of the Etruscans. While the Romans would later conquer them, the Etruscans dominated the Romans for several centuries. When they finally conquered the Etruscans, in true Roman fashion, the Romans did almost everything in their power to wipe them off the map. They burned Etruscan libraries, shattered Etruscan art, and subjugated Etruscan people (very similar to how the Romans would later treat the Carthaginians, the Celts, and many other civilizations who found themselves on the sharp ends of Rome's swords). Though the Romans absorbed much of their culture and some of it still pervades to this day, we know precious little about the Etruscans. But we know enough to make a decent faction.

    Our Etruscans will have the standard four Buildings, of which Chaos and Happy Smurf finalized three in time for this blog. The Etruscans were said to have originated as a Greek colony and overlapped a bit with Greek culture, so it makes a bit of sense for their architecture to mimic the Greeks.

    They will also have three units: Notably, they will have their own version of a Hoplite, which appears to be something all historians agree they borrowed from the Greeks. The Etruscans will also have a Spearman and a Bowman.

    These three units about match the design of the other nonplayable factions in the game and gives the Romans a balanced opponent for low-level quests.

    As far as the Unit models, we also plan on liberally borrowing from existing assets. The Hoplite is a recommissioned Pezhetairos with a new shield (designed by PF2K) and a romanesque helmet that hints at their influence on the Romans and makes them feel a little more of a blend between the Greeks and Romans.

    This faction will likely play a few roles in the Roman Questline, including stand in for other Italian tribes that may pop up in the Questline (such as the Samnites) However, we may use a different unit than the Etruscan Hoplite for those moments, perhaps a generalized Samnite Warrior. At any rate, it is a relief to have these assets at our disposal for the Questline. Though we originally planned to work around it, using Roman assets would have been dubious, as the classic Roman shield (the Scutum) and SPQR branding on the Buildings are just so iconic. We are super excited to give the Romans a solid Etruscan rival that brings its own Buildings and Units.

    We can't wait to hear your thoughts and learn what other factions you'd like to see some day. And, again, if anyone has any ideas for quests, now is the time to speak up!

    Capital City Vanity
    =================
    Roman_CapCity_Vanity_Lineup.png
    Those of you who take frequent trips to Vanity Island know that every civilization has a set of Capital City Vanity items. Greeks and Egyptians have the lead in terms of unique items and the other four civilizations have fewer Vanity items than those two, but regardless, every civilization has these items available:

    • Large Bush
    • Small Bush
    • Fountain
    • Pillar
    • Statue
    We've made all of these items for the Romans, and more! Check them out in the graphic above and the ones below:

    Fountain_Lineup.png
    Statue_Lineup.png
    These items will all be available in Vanity Island when the Roman civilization is released, so stay tuned!

    ========
    Thank you so much for reading, and we will see you all next time!
    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.
    ========
     
    Mikey242, BOSAIF, Beb77 and 10 others like this.
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Comments

Discussion in 'Romans' started by PF2K, Apr 4, 2020.

    1. zenorhk

      zenorhk Long Swordsman

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      U are simply doing a fantastic job, keep it up!!!
      The fact that the Etruscans have their own buildings and units will make them an excellent unique opponent for the Romans!
      I'd like to see another special civ, perhaps for Magna Grecia (southern Italy), which played a very important role in the growth of the Roman empire.
      This project becomes more and more beautiful with each passing day and for me u are much better than the original dev, u put your heart in everything you do so thanks guys!
       
    2. Aryzel

      Aryzel Champion

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      Awesome stuff, great work everyone!
       
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    3. Fristi61

      Fristi61 Woad Raider

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      Oh dear. Guess I'll be writing another one of those essays.

      I suppose you've already ironed out a lot of ideas, but if it were me, I'd probably touch on some or most of these moments in Roman history, in chronological order:
      (I'm assuming you already have taken note of most or all of these though, and most of them probably don't need explaining)


      -The late 6th C/early 5th C BC wars against former king Tarquinius Superbus and his various allies (Etruscan, Sabine & Latin) who tried to restore him to the throne in turn. Lars Porsena, the battle of Lake Regillus, etc

      -490s/480s BC Rome's struggle against the invading Volsci. This is when the legend of Coriolanus (popularized by Shakespeare) takes place. It is debatable if Coriolanus existed, but history definitely records that Latium and Roman territory was in danger of being overrun by the Volsci during this period.
      For much of the 5th and 4th Centuries BC, the Latins, Romans and Hernici had to band together to fight off repeated incursions from the Aequi and Volsci. It took them decades to stem the tide.
      These guys were arguably a larger existential threat to Rome than the Etruscans, during this period.
      This could be an opportunity for some kind of defensive challenge missions?

      -477 BC, the Roman Fabii family decides to personally carry the war against Etruscan Veii, assembling an army from the male family members as well as their friends and servants, before they are eventually all ambushed and killed.
      Not an event that terribly altered the course of history, but does have an interesting story.


      -396 BC, Rome, under the leadership of Camillus, finally conquers its ancient rival Veii.

      -~390 BC. Brennus sacks Rome. Camillus may have returned from exile to defeat the Gaulish invaders, or alternatively it may have been Rome's Etruscan allies at Caere that drove the Gauls off.
      The details are fuzzy, which is all the better for being creative with gameplay opportunities, I guess.

      -387 BC, if Camillus will be some kind of quest-giver character, you could reuse him here for the Etruscans attacks on Nepete and Sutrium along the Roman-Etruscan border.

      -380s-350s BC The Latins and Hernici start to drop their alliances with Rome, and some Latin cities start banding together with the Volsci and Aequi. There's a bunch of wars here, some of which described in some detail. I'm not sure if any of them stand out (there is a moment in the 350s when the Gauls pop up again which might be interesting), but maybe there could be something here.


      After the first 150 years:

      -343-290 BC. Samnite Wars. I guess this is where Capua will come into play, right? Since Capua was the city to request Roman intervention against the Samnites in Campania at the start of the 1st war.

      -340-338 BC. The Great Latin War. Rome finally completely defeats the Latins and Volsci, becoming the undisputed masters of Latium.

      -280-275 BC. Pyrrhic War. This could be a whole quest pack played from multiple perspectives. Pyrrhus' initial victories against Rome, his invasion of Sicily where he fights against the Carthaginians and Mamertines, and finally play as the Romans when they defeat Pyrrhus at Beneventum.


      After this it becomes more difficult, since you'd increasingly need new factions or mini-factions that don't exist yet (Illyrians, Iberians, Celtiberians, Carthaginians etc) to represent the conflicts Rome got into as it started expanding outside of the Italian peninsula in the later 3rd C BC.

      A Caesar quest pack that goes through his career could probably be entirely done using just the current factions though (mainly Gauls and other Romans, plus a bit of Greco-Egyptians and Greco-Persians), thanks to him being murdered just days before his planned campaign against Dacia. The only thing you'd need to skip are his first battles against the Celtiberians in Galicia back when he was a propraetor.

      Perhaps the gang wars between Milo and Clodius in Rome could present a unique gameplay opportunity of some kind. It could be a nice way to use that map of Rome you've been working on.

      I don't know if this is the kind of input you're looking for, but I'll take any excuse to write about Rome. :p
       
      RASPUTINPRIME, PF2K and Andy P XIII like this.
    4. Fraxure022

      Fraxure022 Berserker

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      I’d really like to see a similar amount of Vanity for the other Civs. Seeing walls and towers for Rome makes me very envious for my Celts. My Celts don’t even have bushes!

      Neat stuff regardless. The wait gets harder and harder.
       
    5. TheSpaniard

      TheSpaniard Berserker

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      I actually really like the look of the Etruscan buildings lol. Kinda reminiscent of some Germanic architecture/color scheme fro AoE2.

      You guys keep outdoing yourselves! Absolutely love that we're getting the Etruscan mini-faction. Definitely wouldn't feel the same without it. Well done!

      I'm just brainstorming here regarding more quest ideas, but... surely there are episodes in Roman history where they relied on diplomacy with the Etruscans, right? I wonder if there could be a quest or two where you have an objective to either tribute so many resources before a time limit or, if you don't do so before the time limit, they will attack and you have to defeat them the normal way. Idk, just thinking out loud!

      I still would love to see a battle-only quest. The enemy has a set number of units, you have a set number of units, there are no production facilities or villagers, and to complete the quest you have to defeat all enemy units and have some units left standing. Would be unique!
       
      Andy P XIII and PF2K like this.
    6. Fristi61

      Fristi61 Woad Raider

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      Yeah, actually in the very, very early days of the Roman Republic, something like this happened with the Etruscan king Lars Porsena of Clusium.

      Lars Porsena agreed to help Rome's deposed king Tarquinius take back power in Rome, so he attacked Rome. In the end, the Romans didn't manage to defeat Lars Porsena, but the Etruscan king was (supposedly) so impressed by their bravery that he ended up making peace with Rome out of respect.

      Something like that could maybe be spun into some kind of diplomacy mechanic in an in-game quest?

      Also diplomacy with the Etruscans was important around the time of Brennus' sack of Rome. Rome's Etruscan allies at Caere sheltered a lot of Roman refugees and artifacts, and possible helped in driving the Gauls from the city.
       
      dmtheripper, Andy P XIII and PF2K like this.
    7. PF2K

      PF2K Lead Developer | PvP Balance Team Lead
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      The Celts will get their Bushes with the Adventures of Brennos and Comontorios Quest Pack ;)
       
      Kulcsos12 likes this.
    8. Andy P XIII

      Andy P XIII Moderator
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      Funny you bring this moment up. It happens to be exactly where I left off in the questline yesterday. The last quest I storybooked is called Horatius at the Bridge ...
       
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    9. Kulcsos12

      Kulcsos12 Berserker

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      And make a Deer Topiary, please! Copy the Gold/Silver Deer from the TC and reskin it. ;)
       
    10. Fraxure022

      Fraxure022 Berserker

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      That’s more exciting than it has any right to be. Any chance we’ll be seeing more Capital Vanity for the other Civs? Those walls and towers have me so excited.
       
      TheSpaniard and Andy P XIII like this.
    11. Andy P XIII

      Andy P XIII Moderator
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      Fraxure we’ve never rejected a well made decoration. We will keep cranking everything out. Could use some more artists.
       
      TheSpaniard likes this.
    12. Fraxure022

      Fraxure022 Berserker

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      I wish I had the necessary skill set to help with that. :(
       
    13. Andy P XIII

      Andy P XIII Moderator
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      I’m not too worried about it. I just like to say it out loud in case there’s someone out there.
       
    14. Andy P XIII

      Andy P XIII Moderator
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      @Fristi61 are you on discord? I’d be curious to show you some of my stuff.
       
      Fristi61 likes this.
    15. RASPUTINPRIME

      RASPUTINPRIME Woad Raider

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      Etruscans! Awesome.

      My wishlist for quests:
      1. Focus on expansion of the empire - quests that embrace the idea that Rome was about building its empire in every direction geographically.
      2. Gladiator quests!
      3. Asterix & Obelix type quests - Romans having to defend against those darn Gauls!
       
      RacketyPurse and Andy P XIII like this.
    16. Fristi61

      Fristi61 Woad Raider

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      I've never used it but I'm sure I could figure out how it works without much effort, if you think I could help.

      Personally I am working on a very detailed modding project for another strategy game, which takes place in ~800-300 BC central Italy (Latium, southern Etruria, Faliscum & Sabinum currently, with plans to expand further south into Campania).
      As it happens, this would seem to overlap very well with the time frame you're currently working on.
      Though I should note I've been mainly focused on geographical/archaeological research so far (identification of settlements and their histories), and linguistics (various stages of Archaic Latin etc) rather than in-depth narrative.
      Though part of the process is to write history blurbs for each settlement and faction, so while it's not a complete narrative I have a good idea of the main events.

      Admittedly I haven't played much Age of Empires in a while and am mostly just interested in the design thought processes (though I will of course be giving the Romans a playthrough when they come out), since I really lean more towards designing/modding rather than gaming myself these days.
       
      Andy P XIII likes this.
    17. ProfessorCatPro

      ProfessorCatPro Spearman

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      Hey I just go for the glitch where you can't actually skip Co-op missions I'm level 40 and everything.

      Also a request for the next version, you think you could try overhauling civilization select screen, I frequently switch between my multiple cities and it's very laborious tap to scroll through them one by one every time. It'd be nice to have the option to just click on the civilization you want as opposed to going over all of them.
       
      CriticalCurio likes this.
    18. Kyku

      Kyku Spearman

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      Such an amazing and detailed project. You guys are doing an stouding work. ¡¡¡Bravísimo!!!
       
      Andy P XIII likes this.
    19. dmtheripper

      dmtheripper Spearman

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      I am really interested in a roman scenario against Pyrrhus of Epirus
       
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