By PF2K on Jan 9, 2021 at 8:49 PM
  1. PF2K

    PF2K Lead Developer
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    As we prepare to finally launch the Romans, we want to take the opportunity to spotlight Paul Flores, who was the one of the original Gas Powered Games developers of Age of Empires Online and the architect of the original version of the Romans. As we have discussed at length, our Romans draw heavily on Paul’s original concepts, though we had to make a number of significant changes to them. For the last couple of years, Paul has generously given us his time off and on to guide us along our journey developing the next civilization in AoEO. Never underestimate the luxury of having an expert to bounce ideas off.

    Paul graciously agreed to answer some general questions for us to give all of you some insight into development over the years.

    Question1.png
    So glad to be finally sharing my story about Age of Empires Online! My name is Paul Flores. I’ve been a game designer in the industry for a little over 10 years. Growing up I always loved playing games and knew it was something I always wanted to do. Some of the games I played the most while growing up were Warcraft 2, Starcraft, Diablo II, and all the classic Nintendo games like Mario, Zelda, Metroid, etc. Among those games was also Age of Empires II.

    Back then my brothers and I would play AOE2 multiplayer on a 56k dial-up modem using a matchmaking service called MSN Games(?), or something like that. It was absolutely awful... hah! I was never good at the game by any stretch of the imagination, but I loved the historical aspect of AoE and seeing the aftermath of a bloody battle with corpses of swordsmen, horses, and elephants strewn across the battlefield. Walls and Castles also offered a very unique experience to the game that I couldn’t quite get from other RTS’s like Warcraft or StarCraft. Later on when I was in college, I would also play a lot of AoE2 with my friends on LAN. Lots of good times playing that. My favorite civ was the Goths because I liked pumping out infantry and countering my friends' archers with the Huskarls (my friends didn’t know how to counter them back… lol).


    Question2.png
    I really hit the jackpot on this one, especially so early on in my career. On AoEO I was solely responsible for designing, tuning, and balancing each civilization. Basically I got to do all the cool stuff. I started by working with a group of testers from Microsoft on balancing the existing Greek and Eyptian civilizations that Robot had created.

    I don’t remember what was exactly entailed in refining the Greeks and Egyptians, but I remember one of the biggest challenges I focused on was rebalancing Ranged units in the game (especially Toxotes). At that time, it seemed to me that Ranged units completely dominated the game. Toxotes had no bonus damage vs Infantry and their base damage was higher. I remember almost nothing countered them except other Toxotes and Slingers. And even when the Tox were closed in on by infantry or cavalry, the infantry and cav couldn’t kill them quick enough because they also had higher base health. What made things even worse was their ability to kite much more effectively back then. To solve this I gave ranged units (especially archers like tox) a significant wind-up time before firing. This drastically decreased their effectiveness at kiting, and their low health made it so that when they were closed in on, then they would be severely punished. The goal was to shift the micro gameplay towards more focusing on initial positioning of Ranged units and protecting them with your infantry.

    If I recall correctly, I don’t think the testers were too thrilled with these core changes… haha! So if you don’t like this general gameplay, then you can blame me! I think as the game continued to evolve and mature, it all worked on in the end... yeah?

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    I didn’t choose which civilizations to make. That decision was up to GPG leadership and/or Microsoft leadership. While I don’t know exactly what went into that decision making process, I know there was a lot of consideration regarding the single player campaign focusing around Mediterranean before going East. Like most businesses, I think the plan was to make new civs as long as the game was profitable. That didn’t last long though, now did it?

    I think that’s something a lot of people (especially younger folks) struggle to understand. I see a lot of people want free new content, but then get upset when the developer or publisher is trying different ways to make money from that. At the end of the day, if they don’t make enough money, they stop updating the game (and even shutdown servers). No one wins at that point. So give your devs of your favorite games some slack when they’re trying to make a buck.

    Question4.png
    Identifying and fulfilling the fantasy in a game has always been my guiding principle as a game designer. Fantasies can be anything like flying or other simple actions, to something more complex and general like being a badass in the city that’s able to do and steal anything. For Age of Empires, I believe the overarching fantasy is, “who would win in a fight between two powerful civilizations from different periods and regions,” which is sort of like, “who would win: a velociraptor or a tiger?” It sounds sort of silly to have to say something so obvious, but what it does it provides answers and guidance for questions that inevitably come up throughout all phases of development. So going back to my previous experience where a coworker said there should be bear riders, I argued it goes against the core fantasy of Age of Empires. It’s like giving the tiger a laser-eye to fight against the raptor… while it’s certainly awesome, it doesn’t speak to or answer the fantasy of who would actually win in a fight had you somehow used a time machine to bring a real velociraptor to a tiger pen.

    Continuing with this tiger vs. velociraptor analogy in a sort of who-would-win fantasy, we next get into what we as viewers would expect, or more precisely, what we would hope to or want to see. While most of us have never seen a tiger fight, we know generally how they attack based on movies and cartoons. They stalk. They prowl. They jump. They bite. They claw. It’s pretty easy to design what a tiger would do in an imaginary fight. But what would a Velociraptor do? What do they look like? Are there any pre-existing fantasies we can harness and bring to life? Velociraptor are actually only 3 feet tall and likely had feathers (they’re basically giant killer chickens), but that’s not something people would expect nor likely like to see. This is a perfect example where fantasy triumphs reality, and I think it can be difficult deciding where to draw the line. If the fantasy is based on reality -- fantastic -- but if it isn’t, that can be okay too. For the velociraptor, I would likely follow the already so well-defined conception of a Velociraptor from Jurassic Park (6 feet tall, jump attack, memorial snarl, that “clever-girl” moment -- all that good stuff that I think people hope/want to see).

    Bringing it back to Age of Empires and designing civs, I apply this same thought process on civilization. I try to find the fantasy of each civ based on what we widely understand today (even if our understanding only comes from Hollywood), then try to filter it through history and reality to make that fantasy work while still upholding the integrity of the original core fantasy of who would win a fight between Civ “A” and Civ “B”. So looking back at the Persian civ, I followed much of the fantasy from the movie 300, featuring “our arrows will blot out the sun” (which I think I named a research tech after?), and the super badass masked Immortals. The Persians the 300 also had other crazy fictitious beasts and personas, but because that wasn’t rooted in history and wasn’t the main fantasy from 300, I chose not to bring in those elements.

    Fortunately the Persian Empire has a rich and well-documented history to fill in the rest of the civ roster and theme, but that isn’t always true for other civs. The Norse (and to some degree the Celts and Babylonians) were much harder to draw historical inspiration from, and so I had to rely more on fictitious and abstract fantasies to fill out. I think I did a decent job straddling the line between fiction and non-fiction, and brought in some resemblance of who they actually were as a civilization (I hope).

    I also consciously made some decisions that broke precedence with established AoE titles and pop culture. For example, the Celts in AoE2 had the best siege in the game, but much to my disappointment, I later learned that wasn't true at all. I also later learned that the Persians didn't make much use of war elephants like I was once again led to believe from the Persians in AoE2. I made it my personal mission not to teach the next generation of kids’ falsehoods about civilizations like I had been.

    Question5.png
    You might be surprised to hear I actually worked very little with the quest designers. I was what you call a Systems Designer, so I didn’t work on any “content” per se, like quests or dialog. I recall having some of the Quest Designers come up to me with some specific requests in mind, but for the most part I worked independently (aside from the testers, who I talked with pretty much daily). I actually worked more with artists than I did with other designers, but mostly I just gave minor feedback on what they were making. The artists were very much self-sufficient in doing their own independent research to come up with quality visual identity for each civ.

    As far as units were concerned -- yes, everyone pretty much waited for me to give the final list. I spent about 1 full week doing nothing but watching historical YouTube videos and scouring the internet for what relevant historical information I could find in terms of culture, weapons, and army compositions.

    Question6.png
    If I recall correctly, concept art either started slightly before or in parallel with when I would be drafting a civilization design. I think the main thing they would be focusing on was what basic units and buildings would look like, like Town Center, Houses, Villagers, Spearmen, etc. I feel like one of the biggest starting points was what the roofs would look like, but maybe that's what I just noticed the most.

    I don’t recall any cool concepts influencing civ design, but there was this one artist who really wanted to do crazy stuff, like making bear cavalry or something like… Haha! On more than one occasion I would get into arguments with him on why it’s not appropriate for the IP, and that (in my opinion) the one place he could push those boundaries was with caravans, since that was already a sort of precedent that had been set by the original developers who created the Greeks and Egyptians.

    Question7.png
    More often than not, I would run out of unique or interesting units to fill a civilization with than have too much. This was especially true with the Norse and Babylonians (which you can probably tell based on some of the odd units like Úlfhéðinn and super boring fillers like “Bowman” and “Horseman”). The Phoenicians (who I only did a draft on) was even more difficult, as little was known about their military history because they were mostly merchants. I remember it was so sparse, that I had a unit that was generically called “Marauder”. Ugh… I’m really glad we chose to make all the other civilizations instead of them!

    In contrast, I remember the Persians worked out really well in terms of unit roster. I remember everything just sort of fit together, because there were a lot of references to unique, but also simple-sounding names, like “Sparabara” and “Asabara”, and the Immortal provided the perfect poster child that I felt was important for all civilizations. I don’t remember having to make any cuts for them. If anything, I think there were some appropriate units that I ultimately decided not to include like Chariots and Elephants, because I wanted to maintain that unique identity for the Egyptians.

    Romans were more of a unique case. Their history is so expansive and well-documented that it was really easy to bring in pretty much any unit. No doubt there are likely many problems with having such a large roster, but I had justified it in my mind as being something that was historically accurate. The Romans’ reach was extremely vast and they assimilated many different peoples, and their military machines was unmatched. I wanted to bring this out as part of their identity. However, seeing the choices that you guys made to cut a lot of units was probably for the better. The much more important military gimmick was their Officers anyways (which by the way, was largely inspired by the Japanese in AoE3)

    Question8.png
    Honestly, I don’t think I had done much more thinking beyond a super builder that was limited in pop. I just instinctively thought it could lead to some interesting gameplay that would be unique and appropriate for the Romans, seeing how architecture was one the things they were most known for. I think what you guys ended up with sounds great. What likely would have happened had we continued working on the Romans is I would have gotten some early feedback from testers and made adjustments from there.

    Question9.png
    I remember one of the design leads saying the Romans were supposed to be an “adrenaline shot” for the game. Basically what that meant was it was supposed to be a really big deal, so the timing and quality had to be right. Releasing them after the Celts was thought to be too early I believe. I think there may have also been some consideration regarding quest campaign arc or something, but I’m not entirely sure.

    Question10.png
    As I mentioned before, I only designed the civs; I didn’t choose them. However I do remember there being talk about the Carthaginians being too similar to Romans and Assyrians being too similar to Babylonians. I think after the Romans it starts to get very difficult to choose a unique civilization without going east of Mesopotamia.

    Question11.png
    There was talk about eventually going East, but that was quite a ways away. I think India was the last civ I did a rough draft for (as a full civ), but it was all super early and I hadn’t done a deep dive on research yet.

    Question12.png
    Get a job in the game industry, or find a way to make money from your talents. I think it's absolutely incredible what you guys have achieved, but unfortunately making civs is just too much work (as I'm sure you're already well aware). If you REALLY want to continue making new civs, I would just do some like mirror or clone civs that inherit most of the same art and base units from a sister civ, and just a make a small number of flagship units and unique tech (ex. Carthaginians are copies of Romans, Assyrians are copies Babylonians, or Nubians for Egyptians). Basically what they did with civs in AoE2.

    I think getting any or sort of traction or interest in a new game mode would be really hard, and very few people would care. If anything, maybe find a way to make Advisors more part of the core pvp (if they aren't already and you think people would care). Quality of life improvements and new civs I assume would be most appreciated by the community. They are your life blood… unfortunately you just can't directly make money from them on this game.

    Paul has graciously offered to appear in a Developer Stream of the Romans and answer additional questions, so please use the comments below to ask him anything else.

    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.

    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, Jan 9, 2021 at 8:49 PM
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2021
    jaume, BOSAIF, MatrixSoft and 8 others like this.
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Discussion in 'Romans' started by PF2K, Jan 9, 2021.

    1. Servimomia

      Servimomia Woad Raider

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    2. witekgreg

      witekgreg Villager

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      Great post! Waiting for Romans
       
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    3. Andy P XIII

      Andy P XIII Moderator
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      I’m still laughing at his answer to 12. He had said something very different to me earlier as far as future content.
       
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    4. lukipr0

      lukipr0 Long Swordsman

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      Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant.. thank you for this blog, I had a blast reading it. So cool to get such insight.. <3
       
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    5. arkaram

      arkaram Spearman

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      Thank you very much for the interview. It was very interesting to read. I wonder what this guys is doing right now. As I expected, its all about money making. I am so glad that you guys in CELESTE project are not all money driven to make the game better. Its truly a piece of Art, you guys are doing an amazing job
       
    6. TuranianGhazi

      TuranianGhazi Long Swordsman

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      Thank you very much for your time and support to this incredible project, Mr. Paul Flores!

      I find your insights on maintaining the fantasy and unique identity of each civilization/faction as very spot on. I'm a modder myself in other titles, such as Total War series and this constantly comes up to my mind. I've finished my Crimean Khanate Expansion mod adding the Crimean Khanate playable and with custom units, models, textures, horses, equipment, bows, arrows, and so on. However, once I realized that I could expand the map by converting Wasteland regions into Full Regions, I'm now working on adding the Kazakh, Kalmyk, and Khivan Khanates to both the map and with unique units, models, textures, rigs. Basically, my idea was to port EU4 (Europa Universalis 4) units into Total War Empire and Total War Napoleon titles. I've learned the entire pipeline, so I don't just re-texture that's it, I actually port the entire military unit model of the soldier, complete with helmets, weapons, shields, bows, and I re-rig this model to the bones of the variant mesh used by ETW and NTW. It's a slow, painstaking process but worth it! Yet, the issue I'm running into now is that I over-engineered the Crimean Khanate with all the "fantasy" and "unique" goodies leaving little to the three other Khanates. So now, I'm paring down very much similar to what sounds you've gone through with regards to the Persians (no War Elephants, less chariots, I believe there is a scythed chariot via an Advisor but that's it) and the Celts being good at siege (that's more of a Romans thing, I'm glad the Celeste designers highlighted Romans as more siege plus engineer with Millaria construction [I'd love to see some kind of road building by Engineers but Millaria comes close to that]). I dub this project of mine The Last Khanates mod for Empire and Napoleon Total War, in similar vein as the Last Khans expansion for the Age of Empires 2 DE with the Cumans, Tatars, Bulgarians, and Lithuanians.

      I second Mr. Paul Flores suggestion to make copy-civs such as Nubians (there are already Nubian units and buildings/art in game, just make them a separate civ but sharing a lot with Egyptians), same with Assyrians as off-shoots of Babylonians, Carthaginians as offshoots of Roman+Phoenician/Egypt).

      Lastly but not least, I'm really really really hoping that Project Celeste undertakes creating a truly NOMADIC civilization, the Scythians. Once I'm freed up after I finish I finish my The Last Khanates mod for Empire/Napoleon Total War, I'm ready, willing to learn the modelling/texturing/rigging/animating workflow pipeline of AOEO and hoping to contribute.

      Empires Apart with the Mongols really nailed down what I see as nomadic civilization in an RTS game. I have a gut instinct feeling that the Age of Empires 4 would probably steal most of the thunder and ideas from Empires Apart for the Mongol civilization. Here check out the description of the Mongols in Empires Apart: https://empiresapart.gamepedia.com/Mongols

      Already, when I saw Babylonians getting the Ox Cart as a mobile storehouse, that's exactly what I was thinking AOEO needs for a NOMADIC civilization. I still find it very odd that Babylonians who were city and wall builders are so nomadic and with units like Lancer (I think it fits better with nomadic than Babylonians). Shield-bearer REALLY fits Babylonians in my mind. Imho, Babylonians are more of an infantry rather than cavalry civilization. Persians more archer civilization, but I have my own historical biases. I'd rather see Babylonians get extra Palisade walls or an extra mini-Fort/Castle kinda like the Bulgarians got with Krepost' than see them as a cavalry civ. Just my 2 cents.

      Some features of a NOMADIC civilization such as Scythians that I'd LOVE to see in AOEO:
      - Villager drop off 30% of their wood gathering as food, resulting in a wood-focused economy when natural food supplies run out
      - Buildings and siege units are built out of [UNIQUE BUILDING: perhaps War Host] which unpacks into buildings for free and can repack at will, allowing for a high amount of mobility.
      - [UNIQUE BUILDING aka War Host] costs a single population each which disappears when the unit is packed up
      - Town Center can be packed up and transported across the map when resources in starting position run out
      - All buildings produce a small amount of population, NOT just houses
      - Houses are Yurts or Gers and can double up as Outposts with good visibility range or as herdables container
      - No walls
      - Only Cavalry units, no Infantry units of any kind; only through specific Advisors perhaps, that's it
      - Cavalry units with bonus against infantry
      - Cavalry units with higher armor
      - Cavalry units with bonus against spearmen
      - Cavalry with malus against Camels. Camel troops hurt cavalry more.
      - No Farms
      - Instead of Farms, Pastures: herded by a Shepherd as infinite but slow Food resource
      - Hunting bonus food
      - Can't forage berries
      - Instead, placing Pastures near Berries increases yield, perhaps?
      - Also Pastures can train Herdables like Sheep, Horses, Camels for food, cost Wood or Gold. THis is fast Food needed in a pinch, for example
      - Market just like any Scythian/Nomadic civ building can pack up and move around, no need to rebuild it
      - Instead of Castle as a building, it's a [Horde] of Cavalry Archers in an animation loop of the Cantabrian/Central Asian circle, just running when not under attack, but firing animation when under attack. Long time ago, I tried to make this work for AOE2HD... now I'll try to get to that in AOE2DE for Cumans for example.
      - Shaman priest who provides evasion and anti-snare for the cavalry troops
      - Unique building that provides increased speed of the units in its vicinity... aka creep from Starcraft II. Wait, upon further inspection, Millaria built by Engineers is the same thing, huh? hmmm might need to rethink this one then... perhaps Roman Millaria only increases speed of Infantry and Archers, foot soldiers? While the Scythian unique building only increases speed of Cavalry not Infantry/Archers or foot units? Compromise? Or just keep brainstorming something more unique and fitting?
      - Access to Bactrian or Two-Humped camels of their own. So far in-game AOEO I don't think there are any Two-Humped Camels. Actually in the The Last Khanates mod for ETW/NTW, I have obtained/paid for Bactrian/Two-Humped camel model and have made it into a new mount with its own weight and parameters. Working on this right now. Even have an armored version with chainmail. So Cataphract Camels essentially
      TLDR: Bactrian Camel Riders and Cataphract Bactrian Camel Rider units
      - Horse Cart or Bactrian Camel Caravan as a mobile storehouse
      - Wanderlust ability on Scouts and Villagers: If they stop and are idle, their vision grows to 2x the vision of the normal villager or scout... this is to simulate that they take in the surroundings and are good trackers
      - Bloodlust ability on ALL military units: Increases their damage and attack speed as long as they continue to kill enemies. Or vice versa. If they kill X number of enemies in Y amount of time in Z radius, then they can earn an activatable Bloodlust that increases their damage and attack speed for A amount for B seconds. Kinda like Total War: Warhammer 2's battle mechanics for Greenskins and the Dark Elves, you know what I'm talking about?
      - SCYTHIAN/Nomadic economy is weak but simple: their main resources are wood and gold for their cavalry archers and siege weapons, with a bit of food for their melee cavalry.
      - Temple as Kurgan field
      - Altai metalworking and gold-gathering rates are higher than other civs. Scythian Golden Man and many excavations show that they were rich in gold and loved to adorn their noble armors in gold. Altai mountains provided one of the earliest instances of iron-working, stirrups (odd that Norse get it), and prodiguous gold-mining
      - Effectively operate on only three resources. Stone needed for upgrades for blacksmith, and that's it

      I just went bullet by bullet point from the Mongols description from Empires Apart game. I LOVE civ designing like this. I hope that I'll soon have the time to dedicate to this pet project.

      Best regards! Cheers!

      Again thank you very much for such an informative and enjoyable article, Mr. Paul Flores and the stalwart Project Celeste! Can't wait to try out the Romans when they're released this year hopefully!
       
      #7 TuranianGhazi, Jan 10, 2021 at 7:33 AM
      Last edited: Jan 10, 2021
    7. Andy P XIII

      Andy P XIII Moderator
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      @TuranianGhazi thanks for your input and enthusiasm! Your proposed Scythian civ for AoEO sounds an awful lot like the Mongols in Empires Apart, right?

      In designing the Romans, we identified a ton of design patterns that control AoEO civ design -- essentially unspoken design rules that leave room for civs to be unique while constraining those unique features in various ways to keep every civ feeling part of a unified game. I encourage you to read our design blogs on Buildings, Units, and Techs. Right now, many of your ideas in your post for an AoEO civ would push your civ do not reconcile with those rules.

      For instance, every civ in AoEO has Farms, Walls, Infantry, and most buildings are essentially identical to those of other civs, save for perhaps three or four unique buildings.

      So if we were to make a civ like that, we would run a huge risk of making a civ that felt out of place in the game. After 2+ years of development, it would be a real kick in the gut to us to hear that we broke the game.

      For sure, we would face a huge challenge designing a nomadic civ like the Huns/Scythians that was both in keeping with the AoEO design rules but also felt faithful to the historical people. Honestly, I am skeptical that we would want to attempt a civ like this at this point -- it would arguably be too risky to pull off. But we enjoy challenges, too, so they are on the table.

      Thanks again!
       
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    8. Andy P XIII

      Andy P XIII Moderator
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      P.S. Here are links to the design blogs:

      https://forums.projectceleste.com/threads/design-blog-1-building-design-theory.4073/

      https://forums.projectceleste.com/threads/design-blog-2-unit-design-theory.4154/

      https://forums.projectceleste.com/threads/design-blog-3-tech-design-theory.4527/

      These rules are not unbreakable, and we will break them here and there if we continue. But the burden would be on the the person wanting to break them to demonstrate that we should. Otherwise, we'd run a huge risk of the game going bonkers.
       
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    9. TuranianGhazi

      TuranianGhazi Long Swordsman

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      Thanks Andy for your thoughtful and thorough comments! Yes, I'm reading and lapping up deliciously the dense reading material! I for one so far wholeheartedly agree with the Romans civ design from the hints and especially the Tech Design article. I especially like the progressive Techs towards Citizenship and Roma Invicta for officers resistant against conversion and defending fellow Roman troops from enemy Priests! That's exactly how I would approach it too and it's very very unique compared to all other present civs. Gosh, I CAN NOT wait to try out the Romans! :D

      Yet to play Devil's advocate, in your own words: "So all the Roman system simply acknowledges the open secret that Archery Ranges and Stables in AoEO don’t always train whom they pretend to train."

      I guess I'm adopting the Starcraft, Empires Apart, Age4, and A Year of Rain design philosophies of making factions as disparate as possible. Terrans play very differently from the Protoss or Zerg, as everybody knows. I'd argue that the Greeks in AOEO are like the Protoss. I'd argue that mobility of the Terrans was something very different and new from the classic Humans of Warcraft 2 or 3 beforehand. And then Zerg being the most different with the hatchery, lair, and hive and all units coming from another unit, with buildings as just unlocks. Though, I wouldn't mind a civ in AOEO following that design of the Zerg or elements of such a design. I dunno, I'm more for flavorful play rather than competitive play. I do realize that especially for pvp, maintaining the title's "skeleton structure rules" is paramount. Yet again, playing Devil's Advocate, Age of Empires civs were always criticized for being too similar and there's lately an uproar of adding more civs to AOE2DE with Sicilians and Burgundians (when there are already Italians and Franks around, respectively, so the idea of umbrella civs goes out the window). However, I do try to approach my Centaur race in Warcraft 3 Reforged mod and my Crimean, Kazakh, Kalmyk, and Khivan Khanate factions in ETW in a more balanced stretch, not completely a wild stretch as the design choices for the Starcraft II Commanders. They're still largely Zerg, but their foci are changed just enough to be different but still unmistakably Zerg, for example like with Abathur, Zagara and so on. Therefore, I think I get where you're coming from Andy. So, I think that it's possible and a welcome challenge to design a nomadic civlization for AOEO.

      Just let me finish my ETW mods and get acquainted with modding AOEO units/models, and I'll get started. At the very worst, it'll be a nice scenario for people to download and eventually lead to a compromised but palatable nomadic civilization in AOEO.

      Thanks again for your time, efforts, cogent response with spot-on pointers! Cheers!

      PS: You mentioned Huns. That too would make sense, but since Scythians are already represented in-game with the Scythian Mounted Archer available to Persians through the Advisor, I thought Scythians would make more sense in the Antiquity period of Greeks, Egyptians, Babylonians. Yet, I'd argue that Celts, Norse, and now Romans push the AOEO time range wider, allowing for Huns instead. Also, Scythians may be a more palatable civ with walls, farms, infantry because many Scythian tribes were semi-nomadic and established actual towns like Tanais and Aktau. In contrast, Huns did not establish cities or trade networks. Hunnic descendants like the Magyars, Skezelys did but not the Huns themselves.

      PPS: My only gripe with Auxila Camp is that Balearic Slingers were relatively few in number (though renowned) as opposed to Etruscan Slingers or other Etruscan units. Or perhaps you guys will treat the Etruscans as like Badari/Nubians in the Egyptian campaign with own units/skins but not included in the Romans civ/already assimilated. Likewise with Cretan bowmen (they were again very renowned/popular) but they're only coming from one island, meanwhile over the entirety of the Roman history, it was Gallic or Germanic hunters/marksmen that Rome recruited. I just find lack of any Germanic units in Rome's roster as appalling a bit. Lastly, Gallic horseman yes in the first half of Rome but towards the second half of Roman history, it were more Illyrian/Epirus/Sarmatian cavalry. There is even a Sarmatian hypothesis behind the Knights of the Round Table of England as Sarmatian auxiliary cavalry led by a Roman general who later became King Arthur. Round table is Turkic "dastarkhan" when in Roman or most Europe times it were square or rectangular tables only. Sir Lancelot is just a nickname for a rider who liked to lance a lot. I could go on and on. Actually, Clive Owen was in 2004 film Arthur that explored this. They showed that would-be Knights taken from the Sarmatian village of yurts! TLDR: I totally get that Balearic, Cretan, and Gallic were more popular/renowned, but imho instead Etruscan, Germanic, and Sarmatian would make more sense, in my view due to pooling from a larger population and area, than just a couple of islands and a peninsula.
       
      #10 TuranianGhazi, Jan 10, 2021 at 4:04 PM
      Last edited: Jan 10, 2021
    10. Fraxure022

      Fraxure022 Berserker

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      An interesting read. I’m not a fan of the notion of clone civs; it detracts from one of the unique selling points of AoEO, in the form of unique Civs that play and act differently from each other, as well as would dilute the most amazing things this development team has brought to it which is a 100% commitment to do something incredible if you do anything at all. Clone Civs would feel like cheaply done filler, although I suppose with unique art they could pass muster.

      I frequently finding myself wishing I could pay you guys for your work, because you’re honestly more professional and work with more integrity than a lot of other games I spend money on, but, that’s the curse of copyright.

      Mentioning using pop culture to zero in on the historical fantasy is really neat, and a little vindicating. I recall getting into a debate with someone on these very forums a while back where they argued that pop culture should have little bearing on Civ design, so it’s a little gratifying to read that it was part of the original design philosophy for these Civs.

      Also; “As we prepare to launch the Romans”. Who/what/where/when? I can’t wait. I’m gonna explode. I’m not so naive or obnoxious as to be asking for an actual launch window, I’m just expressing how exciting this is. We’re getting close.

      As always, thanks for your work team.
       
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    11. Andy P XIII

      Andy P XIII Moderator
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      @TuranianGhazi, I think you may enjoy plowing through the other 37 Roman blogs. It’d be fairly long reading, but we cover some similar ground with our decisions to use different units.

      At any rate, we followed Paul’s lead and adopted the Balearic Slinger, Cretan Bowman, and Gallic Horseman in the Auxilia Camp directly from his original blueprints. We cut his Numidian Horseman for a few reasons.

      We are adding the Etruscans as a non-playable faction akin to the Badari, Numidians, and Sea People in the original game.

      I love to read everyone’s thoughts so if you read any of the earlier Roman blogs, don’t be shy commenting in them, even if they are many months old. I’ve come into a volunteer project like this with a sense of duty to all other fans to make certain any new content we add is as good as the original stuff. They set the bar quite high.
       
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    12. Andy P XIII

      Andy P XIII Moderator
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      @Fraxure022We likely won’t announce a firm Romans release date until a few days before. I know that’s super weird in gaming to not have announced release dates, but it’s also super weird in gaming to have totally free large scale releases from volunteers. We really want to get the Romans into your hands the moment they are ready, and our development process doesn’t include deadlines or demands like that on our team members. We enjoy inverting the video game industry.

      That all being said, we hope to release as soon as the vocals are completed and we have a week or so to touch up the campaign.
       
      #13 Andy P XIII, Jan 10, 2021 at 4:21 PM
      Last edited: Jan 10, 2021
    13. Fraxure022

      Fraxure022 Berserker

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      My comments weren’t really intended as “release is upon us”, mostly just that “look y’all, we’re getting closer”. I know y’all will release it when it’s ready, and you don’t typically do release dates, and I’m cool with that. I’m just saying that between the recent streams and this post, it’s finally starting to look like reality. I’ve waited quite a while for this, I can wait a bit longer.
       
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    14. Andy P XIII

      Andy P XIII Moderator
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      Yeah for sure. We are hoping for early 2021 sometime after January.
       
      #15 Andy P XIII, Jan 10, 2021 at 6:48 PM
      Last edited: Jan 10, 2021
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