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Map design

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Level 6 Human gamer
Alignment: Good
Location: Germania Inferior
Posted on April 27, 2013 at 8:50 pm

Hello there!

I'm curious, what do you guys think of the design of the campaign map? I mean in terms of graphics?

My own opinion: Of course I really admire the amount of detail there is, all the cities, mountains, coastlines and waters placed with meticulous detail, it is quite stunning. But there's one thing I wonder about...
The map is quite dark, the colours are quite gloomy. But when I think of Greece I think of sunny, hot weather. Eating baklava on a semi-tropical beach... Yummm. (I mean, just google image Greece, you'll see what I mean)
In one way the current graphics are appropiate. I mean, it's war-time. At that, one of the grittier epochs of ancient Greek history.
... But sometimes it feels as if I'm not marching with my peltasts and hoplites through Greece at all...

What do you think? :)

Level 7 Human gamer
Alignment: Lawful good
Location: German-speaking part of Europe
Posted on April 27, 2013 at 10:22 pm

I doubt there weren't any areas in Greece, the Balkan and Turkey that were deserts or desert-like. And there surely were more than one type of grain and vegetable as crops / more animals than sheep / more than two tree types. But like the map ignores the current of the Danube river (and everywhere else as well) it also shows all aforementioned things in a simplified way, because otherwise these would be not only redundant, but would possibly make it more difficult to identify for example if the terrain type is passable forest or densely wooded. On the other hand, the focus on archetypes for more intuitive gameplay has the flaw of being quite undiversified, making even the most accurately created models look less beautiful as the game goes on.

Perhaps Hegemony Rome could get something like climate zones, e.g. about four big zones in which every model of the same type looks the same, while differing from the other zones?
These could be Mediterranian climate in Iberia, Italy and all the coastlines of the Adriatic with things like olives, grapes and some sort of tree that grows there.
The second climate zone would be the big area of France, Germany and Poland (and probably even more) with their huge deciduous woodlands. Crops could be some grain.
Thirdly, the tundra climate zone would cover the Northern part of your map with snow and ice. Coniferous forests and grazing cattle predominate.
Last but not least the mountainous climate zone would show up everywhere, where big mountains exist. Also there, some grain, perhaps coniferous forests and some nice little rivers...
Ah, it would be great if something like this would show up in Rome!

Level 6 Human gamer
Alignment: Good
Location: Germania Inferior
Posted on April 28, 2013 at 1:09 pm

I'm not talking about deserts, lol. :P Although Greece nowadays is certainly more arid than Germany or Gallia. But it's still Mediterannean area. It has the same climate as, say, Southern Spain. The "dark" textures don't really do justice to the climate I think. :)

But yes, would be nice to see climate diversity in Rome.

Level 7 Human gamer
Alignment: Lawful good
Location: German-speaking part of Europe
Posted on April 28, 2013 at 2:07 pm

Well, I did not know the right word in English to describe these steppe-like Mediterranian areas, but sure, deserts are something different. :-D

Level 17 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on May 1, 2013 at 11:35 pm

One of the first things we did when we started working on the Rome map was to research the different biomes/ecosystems covered by the map and then simplify/exaggerate these in order to create relatively unique looks for different regions. Specifically, since many aspects of the game were already divided into the four major faction groups (Romans, Gauls, Germans and Britons) we created relatively unique looks for these areas including distinct ground textures and tree types. Then, since Gaul is by far the largest area of the map, we further broke that down into Alpine, Lower-Alpine, Marsh, Ardennes and a default Gallic look. So, overall we've got roughly 7 or 8 distinct looks to the terrain which we're hoping will add some much needed visual variety as well as help players more intuitively identify where they are on the map. Some of these variations also cross over into the farm types as well. For example, while a generic grain crop is used across much of the map, we also include olive trees and applet trees in different places depending on the climate. We also have cattle farms as a separate resource building and we did at one point have vineyards in the game but decided to drop them for gameplay reasons.

In terms of the light levels in the game, we're aware things could often appear a little dark in the earlier games. This was largely due to a desire to create noticeably different lighting conditions to help designate the seasonal changes. However, in Rome we've now got far more noticeable season cues (leaves now change colour in the fall, fall off in the winter, bloom in the spring, etc) so we've reduced the range of lighting conditions so that it remains pretty bright for the majority of the time (see image below) and only darkens to a brief night effect to signify the end of the season. I have been working on some weather effects that do temporarily darken the game but I think the contrast adds some nice variety.

Level 7 Human gamer
Alignment: Lawful good
Location: German-speaking part of Europe
Posted on May 2, 2013 at 8:17 pm

I have to say that I'm honestly impressed, although you already had the ability to focus on the right things in Philip, so I think I shouldn't be surprised about that...