As we develop the Romans, we are showing you how we are building them, who is building them, and 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 their miscellaneous extra features as we design them.
Roman Campaign Roadmap
Speaking of the Campaign, we are pleased to say we are finally turning the corner and have essentially every quest drafted and ready for playtesting. All told, we count about 70 Quests. We have assigned them all Quest Givers, experience points, rewards, and laid out a working map of the complicated order that each quest is unlocked.
Here is a look at how the quests shape up:
PF2K's Personal Note: I spent hours making this graphic! Does it look good or what.
Meanwhile, we are busy stocking the shelves of the various Roman stores and creating Blueprints and Gear. (Jenks has a working list of about 27 different Banners buffing various statistics across the many different levels and rarities. We plan to have store-bought-only, droppable and craftable Banners, just like every other Gear type.) There's just so many tiny details that are all coming together from all directions. It really is feeling like this is happening.
Roman Voice LinesUnit vocals are one of the last frontiers for Roman development. We have been putting it off for the last year while we focused on everything else. (Similarly, we have been putting off Roman music, but we will have an update on that for you soon enough, as well.)
Unit vocals are a deceptively massive project. On the one hand, Unit vocals are almost all basic, one- or two-word phrases. But on the other hand, every Civ requires about 700 to 1,000 of them, and they are spoken in the native language of every civ.
Each Unit has between 8 and 14 different vocal categories. For instance, Units say different things when they spawn (Born), when you click on them (Select), command them to walk somewhere (Move), or to Attack, or to Build, to gather resources (Gather, Fish, Hunt, Forest, Mine), etc.
They also have different vocal tracks when they are bored (Idle), fighting (Melee), get injured (Pain), or die (Death). And each Unit has somewhere between three and 10 different versions for each of these categories. (Many of these versions contain the same words or nonverbal grunts.) At any rate, these add up very quickly.
To give you some sense of scale, in AoEO, the Persians have 798 unique vocal tracks. Compare that to the Persian civ in AoE2, which has 17 (unique vocal tracks). AoEO is easily the most ambitious Age game, and we are learning firsthand how expensive and time consuming it was for a professional studio to keep making civs. But we are determined not to cut any corners. (Fortunately, we make up for lack of funding with our sheer force of will.)
So, we need hundreds and hundreds of Latin words and phrases. And we need our Units to sound as authentic to the game as possible. To write these lines, Andy first studied vocals of not just the other AoEO civs but also the civs in AoE1, AoE2, Age of Mythology, and AoE3, since those games use similar categories of vocals, albeit with only one or two tracks per category per civ. Since all of the civs speak in different languages, he kept track of the English translations. Ultimately, he assembled a list of 473 different words and phrases used in Age games and then boiled those down to 275 unique phrases.
For instance, we have a list of 45 different things that various Units say when you click on them (we call this category Select), including “What?” (AoEO Persians, AoE2 Celts, AoE3 Chinese), “What is your order?” (AoE2 Franks), Yes (AoE2 Britons), Hello? (AoE3 Germans), “I am ready to go” (AoE3 Sioux), and “Order me whatever you’d like” (AoE2 Japan). There is obviously a fair amount of overlap, but this kind of analysis is invaluable for our Romans to remain consistent with the game and the series.
From there, we took those 275 phrases and translated them into Latin. To do so, Andy used both Latin dictionaries (and his 25-year-old rusty recollection of high school Latin) as well some texts discussing how Latin was actually spoken and used by regular people (known as colloquial Latin or vulgar Latin, which was quite different from the way it is was written by scholars and now taught in school).
In doing so, we also added a number of new phrases, too, including a number of common Latin expressions. Some examples: When you Select our Roman Units, they will say things like “Ita?” or “Etiam?” (Yes?), “Heus” (Hey), “Prompto” (Ready), “Ut quid?” (What is your order?), “Me” (Ego), “Quid agis” (What’s up?), “Quid hoc est?” (What is it?), “Dominus” (Mister), “Quantum tempus” (Long time no see), etc.
When Units die in AoEO, they often apologize or say strange things. Ours will say “Vale” (Goodbye), “Bonam noctem” (Good night), “Me miserat” (My mistake), “Mea Culpa” (My fault). We are going to bake in some cool verbal Easter Eggs, too. Some dying Units will say “Requiescam in pace” (Let me rest in peace – which is a slight adjustment from the phrase that gives us R.I.P. in English), and “Sum quod eris” (I am what you will be – which is a common statement written on gravestones to remind the living of their mortality). There's all sorts of others, too, of course. All told, we hope to make some attentive Latin scholars smile.
That said, most of the vocals said by Units from every civ is a watered-down, barely comprehensible version of the original language, so expect to see the same with the Romans.
The final stage is to learn how to properly pronounce everything and record it. Fortunately, linguists know an awful lot about how Latin was actually spoken and pronounced, and there are some great resources online.
Finally, we want to address the most famous of all AoE Unit vocals: Wololo. AoE1's units speak a combination of Latin and gibberish, including the names of some of the Devs' friends. As it turns out wololo (which is spoken by the priest when converting) is the Latin phrase "volo lo." (Romans pronounced the letter V the same way we pronounce W.) “Volo lo” translates to "I want him." (Similarly, the AoE1 Priests also say “Aio” when converting. “Aio” is Latin for “I say.” So you can be sure that the Pontifex will continue the fine Age tradition of yelling “I say I want him” at his enemy’s troops. (In fact, a number of other Priests in AoEO say “wololo” and “aio,” so ours will not be the first. But ours will definitely be the most historically accurate.)
At this point, we are on the cusp of a recording blitz. The plan is for Andy and his wife to tackle the male and female Villagers and PF2K and his family to tackle all of the other Units. Depending on where we are at that point, we will probably bring in some others, too. The neat thing about Latin is that it is nobody's first language, so anyone around the world can pronounce it equally. The real challenge is the voice acting -- we need to give some personality to these units in the way we deliver the lines. Plus all sorts of grunts and death moans, too. We hope the recording will take place in the next few weeks so the vocals will be in the game for when we start playtesting the Campaign.
Grand Roman WarehouseAs discussed in a previous blog, every civilization has 5 different Warehouses. 8, 12, 16, 20 slot Warehouses, which are Land Buildings and have unique names each, and a floating 24-slot warehouse called "Grand [Civ Name] Warehouse" which can be purchased at the Empire Store for Empire Points. The Romans will follow this pattern.
Regarding the 3D model of the Grand Roman Warehouse, it's all @Chaos being an expert in 3D modelling. Basically, every Grand Warehouse is a Ship from the same civilization which has its sails and masts cut down and has a small warehouse put on top instead. So Chaos went ahead and did the same with the Liburnian. It looks awesome, doesn't it?
Here's a quick summary of Warehouses for all civs:
Let's take a look at the Grand Roman Warehouse next to its equivalents from other civilizations now, shall we?
But we can't be transparent without underscoring that at times it feels like we are just slogging through the trenches. The pandemic is taking its toll on many of us, as are the necessary distractions of life. Happy Smurf is out of school and now working. Phillus and Kevsoft are deep in their studies. The rest of us are stretched pretty thin, too. (Andy is building a treehouse for his kids who are stuck at home.) Non omnia possumus omnes -- we can’t all of us do everything. It feels like everyone is a little distracted or a little burned out. People aren't online quite as much. That's absolutely natural and expected and OK. Such is life. It's been a year since we announced the Romans, and we know very darn well that we had never dreamed of still just giving you all updates 12 months later. Tempus edax rerum. Yet here we are. But everyday we take a few steps towards Rome, and we will be there soon. Thanks for hanging in there, everyone.
We know you all are waiting patiently for the Romans, and we appreciate your continued support. Again, we have only so many hands, only so many hours, and a ton of projects in the air. We will be back with another blog as soon as we have more to share.
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.
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By PF2K on May 30, 2020 at 2:33 PM
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