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Dev Blog: An Army Marches on its Stomach - Resources Pt 2

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Level 16 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on September 5, 2013 at 6:25 pm
Tagged: hegemonyrome devblog resources screenshot

The last few weeks have been quite busy with GamesCom and the Kalypso announcement, but now that we've settled back into development we're going to pick up the blogs where we left off and talk more about resources. Last time it was wood: harvesting it with logging camps, moving it over supply lines, and using it to construct fortifications and upgrades. Today, we're going to get into the most important resource in Hegemony and talk about food.

Throughout his commentaries, Caesar continually mentions the importance of supplies. Like seizing an enemy baggage train to force their surrender, raiding enemy farms to deter future incursions, or leaving his supplies behind to sprint ahead of his enemies. While a lot of these tactics were supported by the mechanics in Gold, there were still a few things we felt we could improve in Rome.

Resupply Zones

One issue in Gold were the resupply radii - the yellow rings that encircled your cities, farms and forts. While these automated the resupply behaviour and realistically made it easier to fight close to your towns, they also constrained battlefield manoeuvres and created artificial conflicts between feeding the garrison inside the city and the army outside.

We've solved these issues in Rome by significantly expanding the resupply zones so that they now cover the entire battlefield around a city (see the screenshot below). And also, by allowing troops to delay filling their packs until they completely leave the resupply zone so that they no longer drain food from the garrison unless they really need it.


New expanded resupply zones give more space for tactical manoeuvres

While these changes help ensure you're only worrying about supplies when it's strategically relevant (far from your fortifications), we also liked that they encourage following Caesar's own tactic of setting up a camp near a battlefield or siege to supply his troops while they fought in the area.

And, since the range of the new supply zones varies heavily on geography and upgrades, the new system also adds a few more interesting choices regarding where to place your camp and which upgrades to build.

Baggage Train

The other big change we made to the supply system involves workers and slaves. In the original games, we sought to recreate the historical baggage train by allowing workers and slaves to accompany your army and carry extra food. While this did give players some extra flexibility, in practice it encouraged exactly the kind of micromanaging we were trying to avoid.

So in Rome, workers and slaves are exclusively used to harvest resources (see the last blog), and can no longer carry food on their own. Which means now, as I described above, if you want to resupply your troops during a siege, you build a camp nearby and connect it back to your existing network. You'll still need to protect that supply line, but you won't need to manually ferry workers back and forth.


Units automatically pickup food when they leave a fort's resupply zone

However, we still wanted to give players a few more supply options that didn't require as much infrastructure, and that's where the some of the new stances like forced and heavy march come in. But stances are one of the larger new features in Rome and can easily fill a few blogs on their own so we'll have to leave that for another day. As always, if you've got any questions or ideas please post them to the comments and we'll do our best to answer them.

Cheers!

Prev Blog: Fuel for War - Resources Pt 1
Next Blog: Divisa In Partes Tres, Part 1

Level 7 Human gamer
Alignment: Lawful
Posted on September 5, 2013 at 11:09 pm

Sounds pretty good for the most part.

One thing that worries me though, with the talk of forced marches and the campaigns being based in actual history. Are we going to be forced to do a certain thing at a certain point?

One of the better parts of Gold was that we could do whatever we wanted in our own way at our own pace whenever we chose to do it. Is that still going to be the case or are we going to be forced into a forced march because the game says you have X amount of time before Y happens?

Level 16 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on September 6, 2013 at 6:07 am

The campaigns and sandbox in Rome are going to be much more distinct modes than they were in Gold. For those who played the original games, the Rome sandbox might actually be closer to what the campaigns in Philip/Gold were than the Rome campaign mode will be.

The Rome sandbox is completely open with dynamically created objectives arranged around the map somewhat like the Philip campaign. There are no limits on which direction you go or in what order you do any of the objectives.

The campaigns in Rome are a little more structured so that we can recreate some of the key battles of Caesar's campaign. The best example from the original games is the Bardylis objective at the beginning of the Philip campaign. You're given the objective fairly early to scout for Bardylis in northern Macedonia, but there are still a lot of things to do on the way there and what tactics and units you use to defeat him are completely up to you.

Level 7 Human gamer
Alignment: Lawful
Posted on September 6, 2013 at 8:36 am

I see what you are getting at, that is precisely what I mean about the freedom to choose we had. Sure it locked off most of the map but we could take our sweet time getting around to dealing with Bardylis.

I realise now that I had a much easier way of phrasing my earlier question. Will the game say to us "Ariovistus is coming, you have 5 minutes to force march to position X abandoning all your supplies, if you don't campaign failure" or is it going to be the same style of "He's coming, now you know so deal with it as you please"?

Level 16 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on September 6, 2013 at 2:49 pm

Will the game say to us "Ariovistus is coming, you have 5 minutes to force march to position X abandoning all your supplies, if you don't campaign failure" or is it going to be the same style of "He's coming, now you know so deal with it as you please"?

The quick answer is no, there won't be any timers forcing you to run off to deal with a scripted event and there is no way to lose an objective unless you lose all of your cities and units.

The idea behind the campaign in Rome is to give players a chance to follow in Caesar's footsteps and fight the major battles he fought in a way we couldn't in the original games (e.g. Philip's largest battle at Chaeronea was left out). However, we're always careful to make sure that player's have enough flexibility to fight it their own way and to keep the strategy interesting.

Our goal is to give the players the tools Caesar had (the units, the tactics, the battlefield, etc) and to make sure that if the player chooses to follow Caesar's strategy it should work. But frankly, if the player finds their own way to accomplish the objectives than I think that's all the better.

Using the example you gave, the "structure" in chapter 1 is there to ensure you fight the Helvetii first before you go after Ariovistus because it's tied to important events like the Sequani changing their allegiance. However, if after the battle of Bibracte you send a small force immediately towards the Rhine and get slaughtered by the Germans, you're not going to lose the campaign, you'll just need to regroup and maybe approach it a different way.

Hopefully that clarifies things a little, but don't hesitate to follow up if you've got more questions.

Level 7 Human gamer
Alignment: Lawful
Posted on September 6, 2013 at 6:54 pm

That explains it all nicely, thank you. Just wanted to know that we were going to keep the same levels of freedom in the actual gameplay, I have no issues with the campaign setup and doing bits in a certain order, especially given the source material.

I think this is because while it has been a good amount of fun, Rome 2 has been somewhat of a disappointment. On the up side looking forward to Rome more now than ever :)

Level 8 Human gamer
Alignment: Chaotic evil
Posted on September 6, 2013 at 9:53 pm

The more ingame pictures you post, the more i want it! It looks fantastic once again. I have to agree with Bansh, about Rome 2 being a disappointment release. I just know you guys will have a better released product that will bring back all the original fun from Gold. Keep up the good work.

Level 7 Human gamer
Alignment: Chaotic good
Posted on September 8, 2013 at 11:35 pm

The game is looking real nice (graphically), especially the colours are a lot more vivid than in the previous game. Also, from what you've shown, I'm quite liking the user interface. I noticed the units their stats are missing/hidden, very curious as to what you've changed there.

If you ever feel like showing off some more UI screenshots, that would be very much appreciated! (I really like my UIs, what can I say) ^^;

This game is already looking to be even greater than its predecessor.

Cheers

Level 16 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on September 9, 2013 at 4:14 pm

The game is looking real nice (graphically), especially the colours are a lot more vivid than in the previous game. Also, from what you've shown, I'm quite liking the user interface. I noticed the units their stats are missing/hidden, very curious as to what you've changed there.

Thanks. While we don't have anywhere near the resources of the total war guys, the art team has been working hard to raise the bar a long way from Gold and I think they've done a great job. The new detail in Rome not only makes the world feel much more immersive, but it really helps the gameplay by making it immediately visible when their's a garrison on the walls, workers in your farms, or what the current season is.

As far as the gui, our 2D artist Britt joined the team just as we started working on Rome and she's allowed us to put a lot more resources into the interface than we could before. As you noticed, we've moved a lot of the information you don't need as often into tabs so that we can make the interface more compact and the most important stats clearer. The stats you may have noticed missing are likely the old fixed skills (logistics, heroics, etc). These have been replaced with the new officer system, which is accessible in the upgrades tab.