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Level 6 Human Misanthropic Aficionado
Alignment: Chaotic
Location: The Jungle
Posted on July 12, 2013 at 10:00 pm

I got a sense that Hegemony Gold - Wars of Ancient Greece was designed with the intention to discourage players from campaigning during winter. Historically it was not common for armies to campaign in the winter for lack of supplies. In the game though, I found that winter campaigning was not significantly more difficult than harvest season campaigning in land theaters. Units consumed food so slowly and it was easy enough to maintain reliable stockpiles that any food I needed for a winter campaign could be brought along on the march, even with logistically vulnerable heavy infantry in tow.

What I wonder is if the Longbow development team has ever considered implementing seasonal debuffs to units away from friendly cities during the winter season in order to further discourage winter campaigning. If units were subjected to an exposure debuff to lower morale, initiative, and working speed, players would be in much greater danger venturing away from shelter into an inhospitable climate.

Speeding up how quickly units consume food or reducing the amount they can carry would also encourage players to time their campaigns with more strategically beneficial seasons.

Let me know your thoughts. I know some work has been done to make seasons more visually distinct for the upcoming Hegemony Rome, but I was curious if they would also have a greater impact on gameplay.

Level 6 Human gamer
Alignment: Lawful good
Location: German-speaking part of Europe
Posted on July 13, 2013 at 10:18 am

Perhaps with Macedon food in the winter is not an issue, but (normal) hoplites can only carry 2 units of food with them per unit (so max. 82, if you attached a general, for 40 units that demand food) and are only half as fast as phalangites. And you also have to consider that the A.I. might start a raid during winter or in very late autumn as well and unlike the player it is not guaranteed to find food on its way (not to speak about taking sheep/slaves/workers with it).

Level 16 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on July 17, 2013 at 5:43 pm

There were definitely historical preferences for not campaigning in the winter (in Rome, Caesar generally retreated to his villa in Italy every winter), but we were wary of designing the games so that a large chunk of the year was inactive. Instead, our preference was to make the tactics change depending on the season (ideally in accordance with historically relevant factors), but make sure you always had something to do.

For example, in Hegemony Gold the biggest difference in the winter is probably the rough seas. While the winter weather may prevent you from capturing an island city, you're also free from pesky raiders allowing you to free up more forces for the front lines. Also, a coastal city like Athens that pulls much of its supply from sea trade routes might be a lot easier to capture in the winter when those lines are cut off.

In Rome, you'll encounter the same effects on the water, and food production still varies significantly throughout the year (although less so for livestock), but we're also experimenting with cutting off access through certain areas based on the season e.g. the Alps in winter or the Belgic marshes in spring. This isn't written in stone yet since we're seeing how it plays, but we're hoping it works out.

Level 6 Human Misanthropic Aficionado
Alignment: Chaotic
Location: The Jungle
Posted on July 17, 2013 at 9:59 pm

we're also experimenting with cutting off access through certain areas based on the season e.g. the Alps in winter or the Belgaec marshes in spring. This isn't written in stone yet since we're seeing how it plays, but we're hoping it works out.
I would be excited to see that incorporated. By "cut off" do you mean a barrier would halt units trying to enter the area or that unit attrition would dissuade making the crossing?

Level 16 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on July 17, 2013 at 11:03 pm

By "cut off" do you mean a barrier would halt units trying to enter the area or that unit attrition would dissuade making the crossing?

That's what we're playing with. It's easy to toggle whether an area is impassable, but then you run into the problem of dealing with units that are already in that area when it becomes blocked. There's also the option of giving a severe speed penalty that would likely cause units to starve and therefore become ineffective, but slowing units further can be really frustrating to play. Killing off units could make sense in the Alps, but maybe not as much in the marshes where it was mostly an issue of high water levels obscuring the trails.

We're also hoping to make attributes that allow certain units to avoid these penalties so we can recreate Caesar's successful winter march through the alps or the Menapii's familiarity with the swamps.

Level 7 Human gamer
Alignment: Lawful
Posted on July 18, 2013 at 2:42 am

By "cut off" do you mean a barrier would halt units trying to enter the area or that unit attrition would dissuade making the crossing?

We're also hoping to make attributes that allow certain units to avoid these penalties so we can recreate Caesar's successful winter march through the alps or the Menapii's familiarity with the swamps.


Hmm. This combined with the campaign being carved up into smaller pieces. Curious, will the seasons continue to work as they do now or will they be stretched out based on each individual campaign section to account for the reality of the particular action?

Level 16 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on July 18, 2013 at 4:25 am

Yes, you're correct. Season changes in the campaign will be triggered by actions in the game so that they correspond roughly with historical events e.g. a full winter will pass between caesar's first and second expeditions to Britannia. This also allows us to utilize the seasonal effects in specific objectives such as hunting the Menapii in the marshes.

The sandbox mode will work more like you're used to in Gold, with regularly changing seasons, but you'll have more options to configure how long they are or if you want them to stay fixed.

Level 6 Human gamer
Alignment: Lawful good
Location: German-speaking part of Europe
Posted on July 18, 2013 at 10:39 am

Do you plan the same for the Pyrenees? Or are these not high/rough enough for that?

And looking at the map you posted some time ago I have to say that I was a little disappointed to see you did not implement Danube river (or at least did not make it visible on the map overview). I know Danube river isn't that big around Regensburg (Reginum/Castra Regina), for example, but I think it was big enough to make crossing it in full armor sort of difficult (picture of Danube in Regensburg nowadays). Or was the river really that much smaller in history?

Level 7 Human gamer
Alignment: Lawful
Posted on July 18, 2013 at 10:46 am

Triggered changes will certainly make things interesting and the ability to toy with them in sandbox? Can't wait to get stuck into that.

Level 13 Extraplanar Programmer
Alignment: Chaotic good
Location: Toronto
Posted on July 18, 2013 at 7:03 pm

Do you plan the same for the Pyrenees? Or are these not high/rough enough for that?

And looking at the map you posted some time ago I have to say that I was a little disappointed to see you did not implement Danube river (or at least did not make it visible on the map overview). I know Danube river isn't that big around Regensburg (Reginum/Castra Regina), for example, but I think it was big enough to make crossing it in full armor sort of difficult (picture of Danube in Regensburg nowadays). Or was the river really that much smaller in history?

Actually, both of the things you're asking about are pretty much things that define the boundaries of our map. The Pyrenees demarcates the boundary between France and Spain, so that's our southern border, and the Danube starts in the Black Forest, which is part of the heavily forested area that defines our eastern border.

Incidentally, we like the Danube! It was featured in Hegemony Gold, and was the only river big enough to sail down in that game.

Level 6 Human gamer
Alignment: Lawful good
Location: German-speaking part of Europe
Posted on July 19, 2013 at 12:17 am

I know, it was the river that my triremes needed nearly 4 years to sail up and down to complete that 'Frighten the primitive tribes up there' objective, because in every sinuosity the triremes had to wait for their companions. But the alternative would have been that I designate every trireme's path manually which would have resulted in ships clipping through each other and that felt quite cheat-y for me.

But nonetheless I like the Danube too, that's why I asked...

Level 13 Extraplanar Programmer
Alignment: Chaotic good
Location: Toronto
Posted on July 23, 2013 at 4:48 am

I'd still like to put the Danube in Rome, even if it's only visual.

Incidentally, the Black Forest where the Danube starts was actually part of a much larger forest at the time, called Hercynia Silva, which was also incredibly large; almost as long as the Danube itself. Caesar only went a short ways into Hercynia Silva, and noted how dark and dense the forest was. He also told a very amusing story about the elk that lived in that forest.

Level 6 Human gamer
Alignment: Lawful good
Location: German-speaking part of Europe
Posted on July 23, 2013 at 11:13 am

I know, some thousands of years before that nearly everything north of the Alps and the Pyrenees was deciduous woodland with loads of Oaks and probably also loads of thoroughly happy boars due to the former. Well and then there were some people that thought how wonderful a wooden hut would be or how good a ship out of wooden planks would swim and the decline began... :-D
Sounds very tragic, doesn't it?

Level 5 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on July 31, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Yes, you're correct. Season changes in the campaign will be triggered by actions in the game so that they correspond roughly with historical events e.g. a full winter will pass between caesar's first and second expeditions to Britannia. This also allows us to utilize the seasonal effects in specific objectives such as hunting the Menapii in the marshes.

The sandbox mode will work more like you're used to in Gold, with regularly changing seasons, but you'll have more options to configure how long they are or if you want them to stay fixed.


Maybe then even add the fact of Caesar leaving for winters, well except for specific ones, as you said before, so you'll lose your strongest general for the time being.

That's what we're playing with. It's easy to toggle whether an area is impassable, but then you run into the problem of dealing with units that are already in that area when it becomes blocked. There's also the option of giving a severe speed penalty that would likely cause units to starve and therefore become ineffective, but slowing units further can be really frustrating to play. Killing off units could make sense in the Alps, but maybe not as much in the marshes where it was mostly an issue of high water levels obscuring the trails.

Yes, you're correct. Season changes in the campaign will be triggered by actions in the game so that they correspond roughly with historical events e.g. a full winter will pass between caesar's first and second expeditions to Britannia. This also allows us to utilize the seasonal effects in specific objectives such as hunting the Menapii in the marshes.


Here is a theory how the cut-off could work. I know winter comes after specific events, but there could still be a warning like "Winter in 1 minute (1 month or week or something in-game) and at that time your troops will star marching back out of the "closed zone" and there's nothing you can do about it. So if most of the troops have almost made the pass then they will go on, but the ones who just started going in the pass will turn back. Of course this way your troops will get separated, but this is just a base idea which can be built upon. For example you can choose to make all of your troops go back, even the ones who have already passed or really make the player deal with the fact that some of the troops might not make it through before winter. I personally like the second one more.

Level 6 Human Misanthropic Aficionado
Alignment: Chaotic
Location: The Jungle
Posted on August 2, 2013 at 1:50 pm

By "cut off" do you mean a barrier would halt units trying to enter the area or that unit attrition would dissuade making the crossing?

That's what we're playing with. It's easy to toggle whether an area is impassable, but then you run into the problem of dealing with units that are already in that area when it becomes blocked. There's also the option of giving a severe speed penalty that would likely cause units to starve and therefore become ineffective, but slowing units further can be really frustrating to play. Killing off units could make sense in the Alps, but maybe not as much in the marshes where it was mostly an issue of high water levels obscuring the trails.

We're also hoping to make attributes that allow certain units to avoid these penalties so we can recreate Caesar's successful winter march through the alps or the Menapii's familiarity with the swamps.
So if the goal is to prevent an effective unit from crossing that terrain would it make sense to cause any unit caught in the area during the wrong season to rapidly lose their supplies? If slowing their speed is frustrating to play, but you want to make them ineffective, then just say the units baggage was lost in a flood or an alpine winter storm. Of course, units with the right attribute would be resistant or immune to the accelerated depletion.