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Peltasts

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Level 22 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Location: Toronto
Posted on July 30, 2006 at 1:50 pm

This is the third in a series of posts that will discuss a broad range of topics relating to "Hegemony: Philip of Macedon". This post will introduce the Peltast unit.

Peltasts are fast, mobile light infantry suited to rough terrain and irregular combat. They wear a helmet and carry the pelta, a small crescent shaped shield. Peltasts use javelins at range and melee with a short spear or dagger. As an auxiliary force in battle, peltasts can skirmish to disrupt enemy formations and threaten flanks.


Peltasts are one of the most versatile units in the game, taking over many of the functions of cavalry units in the rugged terrain of the Greek World. Peltasts are great on patrol or at reconnaissance against enemy lines-of-communication. Being both fast and relatively good at melee, makes peltasts the ideal unit for raids, whether by land or by amphibious landing. Be careful though, as peltasts can run into trouble when forced to melee hoplites or phalangites.

The Origin of Peltasts

Peltasts originated in Thrace as a simple all-round infantry unit, combining many of the features of spearmen and javelineers. The versatility of peltasts was a direct adaptation for combat in the rough terrain and forests of Thrace.

Level 14 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on August 1, 2006 at 9:55 am

Does Hegemony:Philip of Macedon (HPOM) have forests? if so can you hide Peltast's in the forest and make them attack from there?

And will we have some sort of system allowing players to see the range of long range units?

Level 17 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on August 1, 2006 at 12:22 pm

The terrain in Hegemony is heavily forested. To help the player easily distinguish passable terrain, the forests are generally sorted into two types. Coniferous forests are used solely to cover impassable mountainous terrain whereas deciduous forests may be navigated but with a speed penalty according to the troop type.

Peltasts will be one of the best units to use in forested terrain since they will suffer minimal movement/combat penalties. Missile units can fire out of forests with minimal penalties and have a greater defence against incoming missile fire making ambushes, as you suggested, a viable strategy.

For most units melee combat is largely unaffected by forests. The primary exception are phalangites and their 18ft sarrissas that are naturally difficult to use in forested terrrain. Phalangites will be discussed in greater detail by Jim in a subsequent post.

As far as fog is concerned, there will be a 3D fog overlayed on the terrain to indicate the viewing distance of your troops. Although most of the terrain of Greece was known to Philip at the time, unexplored areas of the map will be covered in an opaque fog until the player has moved units into the area.

The view distance will vary considerably between different unit types e.g., Peltasts will have much longer view range then Hoplites. A unit's viewing distance is also significantly affected by the terrain. For example units can see farther when standing on higher ground but shorted when looking into a forest.

Hope that answers your questions. As we stated before, much of this can change as we continue play testing so we welcome comments and ideas.

Level 14 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on August 1, 2006 at 12:35 pm

another one for you.
With ranged units the father there target the less accuate they are is that included in the game?

Level 17 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on August 1, 2006 at 1:46 pm

To some extent there is a penalty to firing long distances but since the units are always in large brigades the missile will usually hit someone else in the group.

The bigger factors affecting missile fire are formation and movement. Formations that are widely spaced will tend to take less damage from missile fire then tightly packed formations. Also, formations that are moving will naturally be harder to hit then those who are standing still; however, missile units will attempt to throw ahead of moving targets to compensate for this.

Level 14 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on August 1, 2006 at 1:56 pm

One day im going to ask a question you can't answer and on that day i will be waiting.

but for now will there be floods that can destroy any crops near water? And will it be possible to mearge hopilites and Peltast's into one large group or mix and match into multiple groups.

Level 14 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on August 1, 2006 at 3:53 pm

I noticed most of them uses spears... are there any other carrying weapons (knives, swords, etc)... Is there damage per player or just total death and... is there a ammo to be used (number of spears to use) or unlimited ammo?
Thanks!

Level 22 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Location: Toronto
Posted on August 1, 2006 at 5:17 pm

Although peltasts and hoplites won't be able to merge or intermingle as a single brigade, the brigades can be attached to each other and moved as a group. (The video shows brigades being linked into a group.)

A spear uses a fraction of the metal that a sword does, which is why early armies relied on the spear. Bronze was still used for small daggers and even iron was brittle and subject to breakage when used in the longer blades of swords. Damage and defense is per unit. Generally melee will start with spears and can switch to daggers/short swords in close. (By then the spears would often be broken.) Given the scale of the game, javelin and catapult ammo will probably be unlimited.

Level 17 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on August 1, 2006 at 5:19 pm

Generally we're trying to avoid factors that are outside of the player's control such as floods or severe weather since no one wants to lose because of a random event.

The spear was the most common weapon of the time as it was much cheaper and simpler than a sword. However, many of the units, including Hoplites, will drop their spear and pull out a short sword when in close combat.

In combat, each unit fights individually and internally maintains their own health; however, to keep the interface uncluttered we show the combined health of the total brigade.

Presently we are planning on having unlimited ammo since Hegemony is a continuous game and does not have a defined end of battle where units can reload. To compensate for this we do plan to reduce the damage taken from missile fire to what we believe is a more realistic level then many wargames.

Level 14 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on August 1, 2006 at 5:49 pm


Given the scale of the game, javelin and catapult ammo will probably be unlimited.


If only Philip of Macedon had that sort of power.

And while we are at it can you explain the experience system does each unit get experience or the whole brigade.

and will we see moral for every unit or will the whole bridage suffer?

Level 17 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on August 1, 2006 at 6:24 pm

Experience and morale will be for the entire brigade but both are divided by the number of units. This means that a large brigade does not get twice the experience because it can fight more enemies at once and an entire brigade will not rout just because a few of it's units are under fire.

Level 14 Human Unaffiliated Game Maker
Alignment: Chaotic
Location: England
Posted on August 2, 2006 at 4:27 am

I have to say, alot of thought was put into this, you must have been pouring over history books for ages. And to put all this into one game, will definately shake microsoft and Age of empires. :wink:

Level 22 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Location: Toronto
Posted on August 2, 2006 at 7:08 am

We've been doing a lot of research. One of our goals is to be as accurate to history as we can be, while developing an enjoyable, yet not overly complicated gameplay system. I guess we'll find out how successful we've been after it's released.

Level 14 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on August 2, 2006 at 7:10 am

I hope it does well sounds like great fun.

When do we get to see it up and running?

Level 22 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Location: Toronto
Posted on August 2, 2006 at 7:25 am

We hope to get the testers back into it early in the fall.

It's hard to nail down a specific date, as we tend to make major changes whenever we see a compelling reason to do so.

e.g. In June, partly in response to comments and partly as a result of videos released by other games in development, we switched from morph to skeletal animation and cranked up the poly counts of our units from 150-250 to 1800-2000. This also lets us add in multiple LODs while maintaining our target release size at <100meg download, plus allows for a lot of extra animations. Rob has had to take a coding detour to add these features and Philippe has a mountain of extra work to do on the art side.

That said, I don't foresee any other major changes this late in development.

Level 15 Human Jack-of-all-trades
Alignment: Chaotic good
Location: The Void
Posted on August 3, 2006 at 2:02 am

A little not on combat culled from the spurilous bits of detrious floating in my mind.

While armies were are generally trained in modern cultures, a roving army would pick up fresh recruits from the surrounding communities and what ever reinforcements the home nation could transport to the field.

As a consequence, the man standing next to you might be a grizzled veteran several years your senior to a fresh youth of 13 or 14 years of age (even younger, look at Somalia). The older more experience combatants would tend to lead in the ranks and the younger recruits would learn along the way, eventually becoming the grizzled veterans of tomorrow.

The is a science fiction text on war written about twenty six years ago by John Steakley called 'Armor'. There is a very informative numeric survivability scale based on number of campaigns and the level of combat intensity that gave a sliding scale based on experience (number of battles previously fought), rest (fresh from a battle or rested up), and how intense the current situation. Fresh recruits had a high casualty rate in large battles but had high survivabilty rates if brought in later. Relative veteran had good survivabilty rates at first (they remember to duck) but as they grew more and experienced they would become cocky (and forget to duck). It's the best over view I've encountered of understanding how individuals of varying combat experience do and don't survive.

It's worth reading. Otherwise, you could look up the texts these folks are using for their research. Is there a suggested reading list?

Level 22 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Location: Toronto
Posted on August 3, 2006 at 7:40 am

Our replacement system reflects the points that you make.

For practical as well as heroic reasons the Greeks put their best men on the front ranks, which was a natural fit for the approach of intermingling raw recruits with a cadre of veterans to bring them up to speed quickly. In game terms this means that our brigades maintain their experience when they take battle losses (reflecting the strength of the core of remaining veterans). Obviously, I don't want to reveal too many of the details prior to release, but will discuss the logistics of brigade management in a future post.

I hadn't thought of creating a suggested reading list, but it's a good idea, so I'll start putting something together for the site.

Level 15 Human Jack-of-all-trades
Alignment: Chaotic good
Location: The Void
Posted on August 4, 2006 at 8:07 pm

Introduce a geek into a conversation and what do you get? Homework...