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Level 17 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on November 30, 2013 at 6:41 pm
Tagged: hegemonyrome devblog screenshot

Seasons have always been important in Hegemony, and inspired by Caesar's challenges with the Belgic Morini and Menapii tribes, we've add a few new features that will affect how you strategize throughout the year.

The lands along the Northern coast of Gaul were filled with marshes and thick forests that the Romans had difficulty navigating. For years, the Morini and Menapii resisted Caesar using guerrilla tactics to harass his forces and then disappear into the marshes to evade retaliation. However, in the summer of 55 BCE the marshes dried up and Caesar was able to send in a legion and finally put an end to the rebellion.


During the dry summer months, the water in the marshland recedes opening paths for any unit to move

As you can see in the pictures below, we've recreated this effect in Hegemony Rome by altering the water levels at different times of the year so that paths through the marshes are only available during the dry summer season. But since the Gauls were able to traverse the terrain in all seasons, we've also added a 'Marsh Movement' attribute that allows some units to move there at any time. For some factions, like the Menapii, all units get this ability, but for other factions you'll be able to promote officers or generals to help you out.

We've also got a similar system involving snow in the Alpes, but we're still working on the visual effects for that so we'll get into that another week.


The Belgic marshes are flooded most of the year, preventing access to units without the right skills.

Level 8 Human Delivery Man!
Alignment: Chaotic good
Posted on December 1, 2013 at 2:02 pm

I'm loving that effect. Many of the things you are doing I am liking but this one takes the cake. Any chance of a randomizer that will make some summers not quite as dry or winters not quite as heavy? This allows some years you can never cross but other years the path way is always open. Mind you it should be an option and not used during the main campaign but I can see it having a nice effect for the sandbox.

Level 7 Human Misanthropic Aficionado
Alignment: Chaotic
Location: The Jungle
Posted on December 1, 2013 at 9:58 pm

I'm glad you decided to go this route in regards to enhancing the effect of seasons on campaign strategy. What did you decide should happen to units that don't have the marsh movement trait if they get caught in the area as the season turns?

Level 17 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on December 2, 2013 at 4:15 am

Any chance of a randomizer that will make some summers not quite as dry or winters not quite as heavy?

Generally, our approach to the design is that having predictable seasons/weather allows you to plan effectively and keeps the focus on the strategy, and you guessed right that in the campaign the seasons are fixed because they relate directly to the story and objectives.

However, we're trying to keep the sandbox as flexible as possible and configurable to different playstyles, so we'll definitely keep the idea in mind as we finalize the options.

What did you decide should happen to units that don't have the marsh movement trait if they get caught in the area as the season turns?

The way we set up the navigation rules, you can move from a blocked area into another blocked area, but once in clear terrain you can't move back into a blocked area. This should let you get out, but not enter.

Additionally, while you're in the blocked terrain, you'll receive a debuff to put you at a disadvantage if you encounter units who do have the skills to navigate that terrain.

Level 7 Human gamer
Alignment: Lawful good
Location: German-speaking part of Europe
Posted on December 2, 2013 at 9:33 pm

Is the zone blocked as soon as seasons turn? I mean, even very heavy rainfall should take some time to fill a marsh to a level that does not allow legions to walk over it effectively. What about making the drying up / refilling not an event that pops up during season change, but starts when spring is 3/4 over (or when autumn has started respectively) and lasts for about half a season, giving access or blocking path in different zones, with all zones being accessible from early/mid to late summer and all blocked from late autumn to early spring.

Do the lakes and ponds also freeze during winter (perhaps blocking movement even for the Gallic tribes as the ice is not solid enough to walk on)?

Level 17 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on December 3, 2013 at 3:06 am

Is the zone blocked as soon as seasons turn?

Yeah, it isn't realistic but since the pathfinding relies on a binary blocked/open state we needed to implement the effect all at once. It could be interesting doing different areas at different times, but since this affects a relatively small part of the map I'm not sure the benefits would outweigh the costs in teaching it to both the AI and players. And besides, we've emphasized the season changes in Rome using the day/night lighting so I think it'll be clearer for players if this also marks major gameplay changes like the marshes.

Do the lakes and ponds also freeze during winter

Interesting idea, but there aren't actually that many lakes or ponds in the game so it wouldn't really come up that much. Lake Geneva is really the only notable lake in the game and the south side is a shear cliff so there really isn't anywhere to cross to.

Level 7 Human gamer
Alignment: Lawful good
Location: German-speaking part of Europe
Posted on December 3, 2013 at 3:45 pm

But the marshes are filled by rain in autumn/winter, aren't they? So especially the marshes would be a feature if they would freeze, because as I said, nobody wants to walk over (possibly) thin ice in freezing temperatures - without any heat source nearby.

What about ranged weapons? Can ranged troops fire from A to B if B is blocked? Or when A is blocked and they don't have the marsh movement trait? Experience from Hegemony Gold was that e.g. a catapult/peltast can't reach a ship that is moving near the coastline within shooting range, except if the ship is at beach where the catapult could theoretically move to. On the other hand shooting ships or even cities from one side of a movement-blocking river or sea to another one is possible.

Level 7 Human Misanthropic Aficionado
Alignment: Chaotic
Location: The Jungle
Posted on December 3, 2013 at 5:20 pm

The way we set up the navigation rules, you can move from a blocked area into another blocked area, but once in clear terrain you can't move back into a blocked area. This should let you get out, but not enter.

Additionally, while you're in the blocked terrain, you'll receive a debuff to put you at a disadvantage if you encounter units who do have the skills to navigate that terrain.

Very cool, thank you for the answer.

Can ranged troops fire from A to B if B is blocked? Or when A is blocked and they don't have the marsh movement trait? Experience from Hegemony Gold was that e.g. a catapult/peltast can't reach a ship that is moving near the coastline within shooting range, except if the ship is at beach where the catapult could theoretically move to.
It's not really related to this thread but I also wondered about how land to ship engagements might change. Can ranged units attack ships near to shore but not "beached" in Hegemony Rome?

Level 17 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on December 4, 2013 at 3:55 pm

So especially the marshes would be a feature if they would freeze ...

Having the marshes freeze over definitely makes sense, although it would require some extra graphical work to be clear. Really, our main goal here was just to take the events Caesar described (see Book 4 Chapter 38) and generalize them so we could use them in the sandbox as well as the campaign.

What about ranged weapons? Can ranged troops fire from A to B if B is blocked? Or when A is blocked and they don't have the marsh movement trait?

I'll admit we haven't finalized this yet. We had a discussion similar to this in the office last week about whether ranged units should be able to fire across rivers. This wasn't much of an issue in Gold since there were only two or three rivers on the map, however they play a much larger role in Rome. Visually, it certainly looks like units should be able to fire across easily, but historically this didn't really happen and we're not sure if we want to encourage it.

Ships are a similar issue. I know Caesar used artillery on his ships to harass the Britons during one of his landings, but I don't know of any accounts where his ships took notable damage from land units when they weren't beaching.

Ultimately, I think we're just planning on see how playtesting unfolds and then make a decision based on what plays best.

Level 7 Human gamer
Alignment: Lawful good
Location: German-speaking part of Europe
Posted on December 4, 2013 at 4:08 pm

With the slaves protected by thick logs it would also not be that plausible for a ranged unit that is not a siege unit (did the Britons have those?) to be able to destroy/heavily damage a ship, but it would at least force them to move away from the attackers (or counterattack). So it would make some sense to be able to shoot them down after hours and hours of shooting arrows/javelins as you could explain it by occasionally killing one of the crew members and ultimately neutralizing the ship. Although I agree it is not something that you could effectively use (or that most players would even discover).
By the way, did Caesar have Italic ships that sailed to France to help in Britain or were all his ships built at the Atlantic coast?

Level 7 Human gamer
Alignment: Lawful
Posted on December 4, 2013 at 5:31 pm

Some Roman ships were used during Caesars forays into Britain. Though as the Atlantic was a whole different beast compared to the Med they were found at high cost to be unsuitable, thus most of his fleet was built or captured in Gaul. Mostly the transports were of the Gallic design which made it much safer for the legions and auxiliaries. The galleys performed much better when they were not loaded down with troops and supplies.

Level 17 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on December 6, 2013 at 8:52 pm

Bansh pretty much covered everything - Caesar was originally using traditional Roman galleys, but he ran into trouble because the hulls were too deep to beach and the Gallic ships were too strong and tall to ram or board effectively. For his second expedition to Briton, Caesar adapted the Gallic design and built a new fleet of transports to carry his army across the channel. In the game, you'll be able to build both classes of ships when playing as the Romans.