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Rome Dev Diary and New Screenshots

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Level 17 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on January 27, 2012 at 11:24 am

If you follow us on Twitter or Facebook you'll know we've been hinting about a new Rome video for a while now. Well, it's finally out and you can watch it here. In the video, Britt, Rick and I discuss the origins of the Hegemony series, why we chose Rome for the new game and some of the new features you'll see. We're hoping to do a few more of these in the coming months so let us know what you think and if there are topics you'd like us to cover.

And for those who missed the Strategy Informer interview last week, we've now got the accompanying screenshots up on our site plus a couple new ones.

Level 8 Human Senior Business Analyst
Alignment: Lawful good
Location: Denmark
Posted on January 28, 2012 at 3:55 am

Lol tx for the part at the end :)

And I can't wait to get my hands on this game...Hurry up now! :)

Level 8 Human Truffle Farmer
Alignment: Good
Location: Australia
Posted on January 28, 2012 at 8:34 am

Well, I was originally excited for rome simply because Phillip was a good game. I can now say that video has given me considerable interest in the rome game itself. Keep up the good work!

Level 8 Human Test Dummy (MK III)
Alignment: Lawful
Location: Middle of Nowhere
Posted on January 29, 2012 at 3:23 pm

I am really looking forward to this

Level 9 Human Gamer
Alignment: Lawful good
Location: Sweden
Posted on January 29, 2012 at 6:35 pm

Yay. This is going to be awesome! :D

Level 7 Human Ranger Gamer
Alignment: Chaotic good
Location: France
Posted on February 4, 2012 at 4:53 am

I wanted to stress out how much I wait this game =) I've bought Gold some time ago now, and have to admit that I didn't manage to finish it yet ^^' But I don't dispair. Those news about Rome are just convincing me to pre-order it whenever that will be possible (hope that will happen soon).

However, I wanted to say that the only thing that saddened me a bit were the graphics, and more specifically, the color tones (because otherwise, they are top notch !). The colors always seemed a bit dull to me, and that appears to be the same in Rome =( In the latest video, you can see some forests, and sun spots through the foliage, but it lacks "light".

That's all I wanted to point out, because, I can't stress it enough, I highly anticipate this game =) I wondered what sources you are using for it ? Which books, and things ? Could it be possible to add some kind of bibliography ?

Level 17 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on February 4, 2012 at 9:30 pm

I've bought Gold some time ago now, and have to admit that I didn't manage to finish it yet

Don't worry, very few people managed to finish the original game which is why we're actually breaking the campaign into chapters for Rome so that people can jump to the end and play against Vercingetorix even if they haven't had time to play through the earlier sections.

Those news about Rome are just convincing me to pre-order it whenever that will be possible (hope that will happen soon).

Pre-orders are looking likely but we don't want to do that until we can offer a firmer release date and access to the beta and we're not quite ready to do that yet. We had an extensive list of features we wanted to add/refine from Gold and we want to make sure we get everything in even if pushes release back a few months.

The colors always seemed a bit dull to me, and that appears to be the same in Rome

Thanks for the feedback. The lighting engine has been completely redone since the original game so that everything now has consistent lighting and shadows. Admittedly though you still won't see quite the dynamic range you get in some games that use HDR or bloom effects but that's partly because the camera never looks up at the sun. Keep the comments coming, we always appreciate the feedback.

Could it be possible to add some kind of bibliography

That's a good idea, I'll try to remember it when we get down to writing the manual. Off the top of my head I'd say Hammond for Philip, Kagan for the Peloponnesian War and Goldsworthy for Caesar but I could make a more thorough list with a little more time.

Level 7 Human Ranger Gamer
Alignment: Chaotic good
Location: France
Posted on February 5, 2012 at 9:24 am

Don't worry, very few people managed to finish the original game which is why we're actually breaking the campaign into chapters for Rome so that people can jump to the end and play against Vercingetorix even if they haven't had time to play through the earlier sections.

I know it may sound silly, but could it be an idea to edit some sort of comprehensive guide to the game ? Some nice pdf, hinting the player, giving insights on certain topics and such (not a step-by-step guide though) ; as far as I'm concerned, there are many topics I don't grasp enough, and I have to admit that a one-source-guidebook would be a very addition to the overal experience of the game ^^

Thanks for the feedback. The lighting engine has been completely redone since the original game so that everything now has consistent lighting and shadows. Admittedly though you still won't see quite the dynamic range you get in some games that use HDR or bloom effects but that's partly because the camera never looks up at the sun. Keep the comments coming, we always appreciate the feedback.

I understand about fancy effects, and it's great to hear about the consistent light/shadows. However, something I should've done in my earlier post would've been to show a picture comparing what I mostly intended : Comparison ; well, maybe not "as" brightly shining ^^' But I hope you get the idea...

Level 17 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on February 5, 2012 at 11:30 am

a one-source-guidebook would be a very addition to the overal experience of the game

We spent some effort teaching the mechanics in the first games but admittedly we didn't do the best job of teaching the strategies (how to effectively use the mechanics to succeed at the game). A lot of this came down to the iterative nature of our development style and the fact that frankly even we didn't appreciate all of the nuances until we were able to bring everything together fairly late in the project. Also, the way we wrote our documentation as a wiki before exporting to the game was more focused on a series of historical/mechanical articles and, despite a few attempts to impose a structure, it didn't make a great end-to-end read.

Admittedly I haven't had the chance to read it all in detail, but there's a player-generated beginner's guide on our forums here: http://www.longbowgames.com/forums/topic/?id=2202

For Rome, we were able to approach it with a much better understanding of how all the mechanics in Hegemony work together and Rick's been working hard on planning the campaigns from the beginning to introduce the mechanics and let players practice the various strategies that will help them succeed in the sandbox and the later parts of the campaign.

a picture comparing what I mostly intended : Comparison

Thanks, the pictures are great and we always appreciate more constructive comments than they typical internet 'meh'

Level 7 Human Ranger Gamer
Alignment: Chaotic good
Location: France
Posted on February 6, 2012 at 5:29 am

Admittedly I haven't had the chance to read it all in detail, but there's a player-generated beginner's guide on our forums here: http://www.longbowgames.com/forums/topic/?id=2202

For Rome, we were able to approach it with a much better understanding of how all the mechanics in Hegemony work together and Rick's been working hard on planning the campaigns from the beginning to introduce the mechanics and let players practice the various strategies that will help them succeed in the sandbox and the later parts of the campaign.


I'll definitively have a close look at that guide =) I wish I could be better at game-analysis, because I'd love to make a neat guide for the game.

Thanks, the pictures are great and we always appreciate more constructive comments than they typical internet 'meh'

I forgot to mention the screen on the right belongs to Anno 1404 (but maybe wasn't that a surprise ?)

And just as I write this, there's a new game of Gold running on the other computer and I noticed something that always felt odd : there's no constant scrolling when bringing the pointer to the edge of the screen ; maybe would it be a bit more fluid if that was implemented in Rome ?

And finally, I wanted to thank you for being as prompt as you are to respond to community. It's something the indie scene has been cherishing for a moment now, and that's just great =D It makes gaming so much more satisfying.

Level 17 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on February 6, 2012 at 1:26 pm

there's no constant scrolling when bringing the pointer to the edge of the screen

That choice has been a little controversial. If you prefer the classic style, you can switch back to using auto edge panning in the options screen where the camera continually moves when your cursor is on the edge. Although we implemented both styles, we chose to make the "push" or "manual" style the default because it results in fewer accidental camera moves. We've also found that because the map is so large people usually prefer to move out and back in using the focused zoom rather than panning for a long time.

And finally, I wanted to thank you for being as prompt as you are to respond to community.

No problem, we wouldn't be able to keep doing this without the community so we try our best to answer and questions or solve any problems that come up.

Level 7 Human Ranger Gamer
Alignment: Chaotic good
Location: France
Posted on February 7, 2012 at 6:23 am

If you prefer the classic style, you can switch back to using auto edge panning in the options screen where the camera continually moves when your cursor is on the edge.

I feel a bit silly for not having seen that in the options... ^^'

There's another thing I tought about (and I hope it's not just an option I overlooked =P), and that's the possibility to center the focus on a selected single unit by double-clicking on its portrait in the status bar.

Another thing is about objectives : when I select an objective to be displayed on the main screen, it doesn't show in the Objective window if all the main objectives are folded up (for example, if "Ravage their cities" is displayed on the right, in the Objectives box, it's not clear wether it's located under "Vengeance in Illyria" if that topic isn't unfolded)...

And about the chapter division of Rome, how are you going to consider the start of, for example, mission 3 ? Will it be a fixed start, based on average pre-missions objectives ? Will there be some sorts of points to allocate on various items ? And will the game be playable as a long-shot, like Philip, without chapter sequences ? (even though I didn't succeed yet, that one-session campaign is a great mode)

Wouldn't it also something to consider to be able to create food convoys ? I don't know how the forts are going to be managed effectively in-game, but I remember for example the game Battle at Red cliff, where you had to send food chariots along the army to provide food. The chariots acted like cities with a supply radius ; it was also possible to resupply those chariots/camps with food, to make long sieges possible.

Something else that would be handy is the possibility to attribute (or natively implement) colors to trade routes while in strategic overwiev : light red for city connexions, light bleu for mines, etc...

Level 17 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on February 7, 2012 at 12:08 pm

the possibility to center the focus on a selected single unit by double-clicking on its portrait in the status bar.

It should already work that way. Doubling left-clicking on any of the small portraits in the bottom of the screen will make the camera jump over to that unit's location. You can also click the arrow in the bottom-left corner of the command panel or use the 1 key on the num pad.

when I select an objective to be displayed on the main screen, it doesn't show in the Objective window if all the main objectives are folded up

You can click the title of the objective on the right-side of the screen and it should open the objective log up to the matching objective including expanding and scrolling the list if necessary.

And about the chapter division of Rome, how are you going to consider the start of, for example, mission 3 ? Will it be a fixed start, based on average pre-missions objectives ? Will there be some sorts of points to allocate on various items ? And will the game be playable as a long-shot, like Philip, without chapter sequences ? (even though I didn't succeed yet, that one-session campaign is a great mode)

We're still ironing out some of the these details but the best examples are the two Peloponnesian campaigns in Hegemony Gold. In the original Hegemony we tried to please all play styles with the single large open campaign but unfortunately it imposed a number of limitations that meant we couldn't do either the campaign style or the sandbox mode as well as we hoped. Our approach with Rome is to polish these two modes separately so the campaigns will still take place on the full map but they'll have a little stronger structure and story whereas the improved sandbox mode will be completely open with fully implemented AI for those who like the 100 hour campaigns.

Wouldn't it also something to consider to be able to create food convoys ? I don't know how the forts are going to be managed effectively in-game, but I remember for example the game Battle at Red cliff, where you had to send food chariots along the army to provide food. The chariots acted like cities with a supply radius ; it was also possible to resupply those chariots/camps with food, to make long sieges possible.

We're actually moving away from the mobile supply units (slaves/workers) that we had in the earlier games as we wanted to reduce the incentive players had to micromanage convoys. In Rome you'll now have multiple marching orders that you can give to your troops to determine how much supply they carry with corresponding implications on speed and combat effectiveness. This will allow you to duplicate Caesar's rapid light marches like he did to relieve Cicero or to carry extra supplies in order to establish a new fort in enemy territory. You'll also be able to connect the new camps/forts back to your cities with supply lines like in the current game in order to move supplies automatically to your troops on the front lines. We've also expanded the supply ranges for forts and cities so it will be easier to campaign in an area where you've built a camp/fort without worrying about running out of supplies. I've actually just finished an article on the logistics in Hegemony which covers a lot of this stuff which will hopefully get published shortly.

Something else that would be handy is the possibility to attribute (or natively implement) colors to trade routes while in strategic overwiev : light red for city connexions, light bleu for mines, etc...

Interesting idea, I'll keep it in mind. Part of the new supply GUI in Rome will highlight end-to-end supply connections when you select a city on the strategy map so you'll be able see exactly where your supplies are coming and going to.

Level 8 Human gamer
Alignment: Lawful evil
Location: Quebec
Posted on February 8, 2012 at 6:16 am

We're actually moving away from the mobile supply units (slaves/workers) that we had in the earlier games as we wanted to reduce the incentive players had to micromanage convoys. In Rome you'll now have multiple marching orders that you can give to your troops to determine how much supply they carry with corresponding implications on speed and combat effectiveness. This will allow you to duplicate Caesar's rapid light marches like he did to relieve Cicero or to carry extra supplies in order to establish a new fort in enemy territory. You'll also be able to connect the new camps/forts back to your cities with supply lines like in the current game in order to move supplies automatically to your troops on the front lines. We've also expanded the supply ranges for forts and cities so it will be easier to campaign in an area where you've built a camp/fort without worrying about running out of supplies. I've actually just finished an article on the logistics in Hegemony which covers a lot of this stuff which will hopefully get published shortly.

That good news was tired of my legion of slaves:)

question:
Do the legion unit will use the pilum in combat or can only use melee?

The mercenary system what are the change?

What unit can be recruit in allies city ex:Allies legion(the legion rise be Ceasar made of native Gaul),auxiliary unit,velite(skirmisher)?

Do the roads (supply line) can still be upgrade whit gold?if yes than are the more option ; speed of movement of the carts. or do the road will be like "Phillip gold".

hope you can read what i have write ,this game is insane cannot wait.

Level 17 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on February 8, 2012 at 3:14 pm

That good news was tired of my legion of slaves:)

We will still have slaves in the game, Caesar captured a disturbing number of gauls during his campaigns, but their focus in Rome will be more on resource production and construction rather than for carrying supplies.

Do the legion unit will use the pilum in combat or can only use melee?

Our legions are equipped with a pilum and are capable of throwing it but we're stilling working on balancing some of the rules. We don't want to turn them into ranged units like a javelineer but combat is very fluid in Hegemony and it's harder to enforce a 'once per battle' rule like some games.

What unit can be recruit in allies

Caesar will be able to recruit gallic units as auxilaries but we won't be able to release a proper unit list for awhile as we try to balance things out.

Do the roads (supply line) can still be upgrade whit gold

I'm actually still not sure about this one. Supply line caps work a little differently in Hegemony Rome so I was leaning away from using the old upgrade system and putting more focus on building bridges and camps/forts as a means to improving the flow of supplies. I think these are much more obvious on the map and probably less prone to micromanagement.

Level 8 Human gamer
Alignment: Lawful evil
Location: Quebec
Posted on February 9, 2012 at 4:43 am


We will still have slaves in the game, Caesar captured a disturbing number of gauls during his campaigns, but their focus in Rome will be more on resource production and construction rather than for carrying supplies.


That a interesting change ,and a good choice for the era.


Our legions are equipped with a pilum and are capable of throwing it but we're stilling working on balancing some of the rules. We don't want to turn them into ranged units like a javelineer but combat is very fluid in Hegemony and it's harder to enforce a 'once per battle' rule like some games.

Can i make a suggestion ,make the pilum range short so i can only be use when the enemy is close to charge ,or make the shooting delay longer compare to the javelin ex: shooting 1 pilum one time = the time to shoot 4 javelin .



Caesar will be able to recruit gallic units as auxilaries but we won't be able to release a proper unit list for awhile as we try to balance things out.

Thing to do, learning Patience.


I'm actually still not sure about this one. Supply line caps work a little differently in Hegemony Rome so I was leaning away from using the old upgrade system and putting more focus on building bridges and camps/forts as a means to improving the flow of supplies. I think these are much more obvious on the map and probably less prone to micromanagement.

Camps and forts integration in the supply line ,this is like using a fort in the previous game to cut (25t food/wk) road in half (2 road of 50t food/wk)
but will be more mobile be using camps.

Supply line caps work a little differently in Hegemony Rome

so the caps limits can be upgrade this time ..i guess


Thanks for the answers

Level 17 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on February 9, 2012 at 11:25 am

Can i make a suggestion ,make the pilum range short so i can only be use when the enemy is close to charge ,or make the shooting delay longer compare to the javelin ex: shooting 1 pilum one time = the time to shoot 4 javelin .

Those are both ideas that we're playing with. One downside of significantly reducing the firing rate is that every shot becomes much more important and so if we take that approach we're also evaluating whether we need to give the player more control over when that shot is used so that it doesn't get wasted.

There are also a few issues that in some formations the legions don't have enough space to throw and of course they have to sheath their sword when their pilum is drawn so whether that makes them more vulnerable to an unexpected charge is also something we're playing with. As I think I've mentioned briefly elsewhere, we've expanded the formation system from the first games so that it is now a stance and implies both a position on the battlefield as well as a behaviour, so we're looking at whether this can be used to give some direction to your legions as to how they should use their pilums.

Camps and forts integration in the supply line ,this is like using a fort in the previous game to cut (25t food/wk) road in half (2 road of 50t food/wk) but will be more mobile be using camps

The math is a little different now but yes, establishing a camp or fort in the middle of a long supply line will significantly improve the flow of supplies. The big difference in Rome is that you can now put your forts almost anywhere so there's a lot more flexibility than in Gold.

so the caps limits can be upgrade this time ..i guess

Rick's a big proponent of upgrading supply lines but, although it gave the player more flexibility, I wasn't quite happy with the way it was balanced in Gold so we're still debating over this one.

Level 7 Human Ranger Gamer
Alignment: Chaotic good
Location: France
Posted on February 10, 2012 at 8:18 am

Can i make a suggestion ,make the pilum range short so i can only be use when the enemy is close to charge ,or make the shooting delay longer compare to the javelin ex: shooting 1 pilum one time = the time to shoot 4 javelin .

Those are both ideas that we're playing with. One downside of significantly reducing the firing rate is that every shot becomes much more important and so if we take that approach we're also evaluating whether we need to give the player more control over when that shot is used so that it doesn't get wasted.

There are also a few issues that in some formations the legions don't have enough space to throw and of course they have to sheath their sword when their pilum is drawn so whether that makes them more vulnerable to an unexpected charge is also something we're playing with. As I think I've mentioned briefly elsewhere, we've expanded the formation system from the first games so that it is now a stance and implies both a position on the battlefield as well as a behaviour, so we're looking at whether this can be used to give some direction to your legions as to how they should use their pilums.


One idea, close to what the pilum-use seemed to be, could be that soldiers composing a unit each throw a single but powerful pilum attack while drawing near the ennemy ; then, only when the unit's combat is finished can it throw a new pilum (if engaging a new ennemy unit, or make a new charge).

On a related topic, are there slingers units ? One of many tacticsvused, was to send some slingers formations passing between the main combat units of the front line, to taunt and harass the ennemy approaching. Then, when the ennemy line was close enough, those slingers would retreat, and the second-line combat units would march forward, closing the gaps and thus forming a continuous line.

And another question, that I couldn't find a clear answer to ^^' : I suppose we wille be able to create forts as we wish (while supplies last), not like in Gold where they are fixed objects ?

If that's not something I overlooke, a range-radius for distance units would be something nice too =)

(I feel a bit ashamed for asking seemingly obvious questions : is there a clear and quick way to see how many Market nodes are used ? A #/# indication like Population, Garrison... If not, a possibility for Rome ? ^^)(What are the right conditions to add new nodes and expand a city's routes ?)

(And something else I don't seem to find an answer to : do cities "assimilate" over time ? I'm near Labeatae now, and most of the cities behind me still need garissons to prevent rebellion, and I can't recruit but mercenaries.)

Level 8 Human gamer
Alignment: Lawful evil
Location: Quebec
Posted on February 10, 2012 at 8:28 am


As I think I've mentioned briefly elsewhere, we've expanded the formation system from the first games so that it is now a stance and implies both a position on the battlefield as well as a behaviour, so we're looking at whether this can be used to give some direction to your legions as to how they should use their pilums


O_o look like i miss a post to read.

Formation: 1 unit formation/stance OR a group formation/stance<--ex:5 units.In Gold grouping 5-6 units have no purpose because of the lack of group formation for combat, i which i can explain my mind but me English is out ove words.

@rob,rob login to the forum and see a new post and said "NOT worp41 again XD" last post for this week.


Then, when the ennemy line was close enough, those slingers would retreat, and the second-line combat units would march forward, closing the gaps and thus forming a continuous line

a automatic behavior ?!

@Eawyne look like i post 10 min to late

Level 17 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on February 11, 2012 at 12:54 am

are there slingers units ?

They are on our list. Philippe's been curious to animate a slinger since they came up in research for the original game and Caesar made specific reference to his Balearic slingers so I think it's pretty safe to say they'll make an appearance in Rome.

I suppose we wille be able to create forts as we wish (while supplies last), not like in Gold where they are fixed objects ?

For pathfinding and balance reasons the forts and camps can only be built at pre-designated sites on the map, but unlike Gold there are thousands of these sites in Rome. In any one screen you'll have roughly a dozen potential building sites, but of course you'll only have the resources to build a small fraction of these into camps or forts. Choosing the right sites will also take some planning as you can choose from a small mountain fort that can blockade a pass completely or a large fort in open terrain that can hold a lot more units and resources. Also, the resupply range around forts in Rome now depends on the terrain so it extends further across open terrain than over rivers or mountains so you'll want to take into account where you'll be campaigning when you build your fort.

is there a clear and quick way to see how many Market nodes are used

In the line of stats under the city's name in the tooltip there's a trade caduceus symbol followed by a x/x which gives the total number of trade nodes plus those that are in use. Unfortunately it doesn't differentiate water or land nodes.

We're still play testing this for balance but I'm actually leaning towards dropping the supply line limits for Rome. The way supply line limits are calculated now it's not really beneficial to create redundant routes (the game always uses the shortest path between the source and destination) and balancing the right number of nodes in Gold was quite a pain.

do cities "assimilate" over time

No. You'll always need some level of garrison to hold captured cities. I appreciate that this can sometimes be frustrating but we made this decision for balance reasons so you had to hold enough forces back, otherwise later in the game it was too easy to move everyone to the front line and steamroll over the enemy.

Formation: 1 unit formation/stance OR a group formation/stance<--ex:5 units.In Gold grouping 5-6 units have no purpose because of the lack of group formation for combat, i which i can explain my mind but me English is out ove words.

The new stances I was talking about do apply at the unit level rather than a group but I am hoping that linked units will work together more in Rome. The formations and linking systems in Gold never quite lived up to what we hoped they could be but this actually gets into some of our more ambitious ideas for Rome so I won't be able to go into more detail on that for awhile.

@rob,rob login to the forum and see a new post and said "NOT worp41 again XD" last post for this week.

:) I'm always happy to discuss the game with players. We tend to get a very narrow perspective on the game during development so it's always helpful to get some outside opinions.

a automatic behavior ?!

More autonomy for the player's units has been one of our top priorities in Rome but I don't want to make a lot of promises yet until we've playtested and proven some of our ideas. We avoided making the player's units act on their own in the first games under the theory that if the player can pause and issues orders themselves it would be better than having AI make the wrong move on the player's behalf which even the best AI will invariably do at some point. However, we've read the comments requesting units take more initiative for things like retreating from missile fire or attacking weaker enemies and we're working on some solutions for this in Rome.

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