First of all, let me say that I really appreciate you taking the time to answer in detail -- this bodes very, very well for Rome!
Now to the points:
I appreciate that Hegemony has a smaller unit set then most strategy games and this can make the choice of what units to build/use somewhat less interesting.
Yes, I understand and appreciate your concern for historicity. But after, we know that ancient Greek warfare is mostly quite boring -- having longer lances and staggered battlelines were all considered important innovations. This certainly doesn't translate to engaging gameplay easily. Still, it's a game, and IMO making choices are the game.
But let me stress that I'm not specifically looking for more unit types per se -- many games (e.g. Total Wars) provide a dizzying array of troop types that don't really change the strategic implication. What Hegemony needs is more strategically relevant choices.
Historically, RTS game have had mixed success giving player units too much autonomy
True. I do like Hegemony's pausability, this gives the game a deliberate pace that I enjoy. But there's a difference between pausing to strategize and pausing to baby-sit units. I must say it's very annoying to see a phalanx company getting routed by peltasts because they wouldn't walk 10 feet forward to poke the buggers.
We weren't really happy with the level of micromanagement required to bring extra supplies with your army in Hegemony Gold, so we've reworked this stuff quite a bit in Rome.
Good to know you're rethinking the supply system. Not many RTS deal with supplies, and for good reason -- supply management isn't very exciting. But I think it adds a layer of strategy that is both more realistic and more challenging.
In fact, I'd even say Hegemony doesn't go far enough. For the most part supply is plentiful and not much of a concern. Most units, fully stocked, can survive out of supply for a long time. Realistically steady supply is absolutely crucial -- not that I'd suggest making the game that difficult.
Two (little known) RTS games with supplies system come to mind: Celtic Kings (and sequels Imperium) and Three Kingdoms: Fate of the Dragon. I enjoyed the latter although, admittedly, it wasn't a very good game, partly because the supply system made the game so challenging. You could really do a lot of damage just by cutting supplies, and likewise protecting your own supply, even for armies on the march, is critical. They may be worth your look.
We're still not planning on a levelling system for generals in Rome as we do still want to keep their skills and abilities based on the history
I often feel that this kind of "being true to history" is excessive. I'm not a believer in the Great Man Theory, and I think many historical figures achieved what they achieved, at least partly, because of the chance circumstances they were in. For me, being able to play a hand in developing characters' achievements should be as much a part of historical gameplay as changing national borders... But I don't suppose I could convince you to change your mind?
in Rome you'll use xp to promote officers with unique attributes that will affect a much wider range of stats.
Ooh sounds good!
-Modding! Seriously this will do wonders to the longevity of your game! Just look at all the mod-friendly indy games out there.
Yeah, I've begun tinkering with the .xnt and the campaign files. But... anyone's got an extractor for the .arc?
But for the X/C/V alerts it's downright confusing.
possibly I can get it into a future Gold update.
That would be Awesomeness.
We are working on a few tweaks to the grouping system so that it will be more useful to keep them linked together, however all linked units must be following the same command so you still won't be able to issue separate orders without breaking them apart.
Okay, fair enough. But just to point out why it'd be nice to be able to order separate orders:
-When you have a group with different unit types (especially with artillery and cavalry), it'd be much easier to conduct combined arms tactics.
-For recon parties, you could quickly order them to spread out and perform different tasks, and then regroup for defense/retreat.
I particularly liked how Celtic Kings handled unit groups -- you can order units to act individually, or select the whole group to act together at will.
However, there will still be the quickselect groups that let you save a selection of units and you can issue separate orders to those units and then still re-select them all.
Incidentally, in my Hegemony experience so far, I've found the quickselect buttons to not be very useful. The game is too big, the map too big, the units too many, for mere 10 unit groups to suffice. I didn't mention this earlier because I thought there's not much to do about it, but you *might* do like how some hack&slash RPG these days: have multiple pages of quick buttons.
For example, you could use a key to switch between different pages. This way, you could define multiple 1-10 quickselect groups for different fronts/theatres. So for each theatre, each front, all 10 keys could be relevant.
I'll admit we intentionally avoided large in-world banners in Gold because we always thought Total War's pulsing banners looked rather silly but we've had a few comments about the difficulty of selecting units and it is something we're looking into.
Yeah, I'm not asking for banners -- just a way to easily select/target a unit, as well as see its status at a glance.
The game often spams alerts when the enemy is loitering on the border. This can be fixed somewhat if you add an alert cooldown time for each spotter and spotted unit, say 5 seconds
Not the same problem but rebelling cities also spam alerts sometimes. This occurs when there is sufficient garrison but the food stock is low: rebellion is quelled as soon as supply comes in, but rebel again as soon as supply run out. This can happen very quickly, literally spamming everything else out.
Lastly, I want to make a personal point about historical games in general.
Of course, we play historical games because we like history, and there's great fun to be had in recreating history. But I think most of us enjoy more when we are free to deviate from history. The thing about history is that, for the people at the time, it wasn't history, it was reality. Reality is unpredictable, history is not. In hindsight we know phalanx+cavalry kicks ass, that infantry+gunpowder makes shortwork of knights, that blitzkrieg can decimate static defenses, and that aircraft carriers can steamroll battleships. But at the time these things happened, none of these was certain.
I dream of a historical game where the history is used as the foundation to build on, not the walls to shut in. A game where you can win even if you don't learn any lesson from the history.
On a more practical level, I basically want more freedom. Being able to develop generals, for one. Or more interestingly, being able to create your own units. For example, there was nothing distinct to Macedonian culture that made them inclined to use long lances, and there's (probably) nothing unique about Thebes that allow them to form Sacred Bands. With few exceptions, these things came about because somebody had a weird idea, tried it out, and it just stuck. I want to be able to be that sombody. I want to be able to make unique troop types, unique formations and tactics -- even if they all fail miserably.
But, yeah, I know. I dream.