April 2017 Update
Hey all, sorry for disappearing for a while there, and thanks to those who have reached out. Everything is fine, just hit a burnout point and needed to step away for a bit. We're taking the scenic route, but still very much intend to finish the game.
We'll be posting updates again fairly regularly, and next week will include a breakdown of all remaining tasks and the rough time each will take in order to give you guys an idea of where we are and what's left to be done. In the meantime, here are a couple things we've been working on recently...
Map Editor & Imported Maps
Jonathan first started on the map editor fairly early on in the project and set it aside to work on more core game tasks, but we've gone back to revisit it and it's now starting to come together. Having spent much of my Civ modding time working on maps, I wanted to make sure this was a robust tool, and that meant adding, above all else, the ability to undo and redo actions. There's nothing more frustrating than needing to go back and reload your last saved map because you screwed something up so badly, so we prioritized this functionality right from the start.
We recently added an extra-special new feature which allows an image file to be imported and converted into an AtG map right from inside the editor. This was actually a project I originally undertook early in my tenure on the Civ 4 team, and I was so happy with the results we decided to bring back the feature in a new-and-improved form.
Here are a few examples of maps that have been created in this manner by pulling source images from Google Earth:
The only real downside to our fancy algorithms is that it has a really tough time picking out rivers, but given the source material I think this is probably about the best we can get. Not too shabby though!
How accurate the map looks compared with the source material will depend on the resolution of the map you produce. The 'standard' map size is around 110 x 80 tiles, which I think is about the right number for an average game, though it will be possible to play on something much smaller or larger (if your computer can handle it!) if you so choose. There will be at least a few maps of Europe in particular that you'll be able to play on, as I know that 'base' experience is part of the allure for a lot of people. It was certainly a large reason why I spent so much of my time making maps back in the day!
The editor also currently lacks the ability to place objects (like cities and clans), and maps loaded into the game can't yet be automatically populated with objects like random maps are, but these two items are next on the list.
The big gameplay advance since the last update is the solidification of the design for the victory conditions. I've decided to make them fairly straightforward, as I think that's better than a less intuitive approach that can be confusing in the early going.
- Roman Conquest: your goal is simply to capture Rome (or Constantinople). The Romans then give in and allow you to build a kingdom without their interference.
- Tribal Conquest: it's unlikely you'll be able to wipe everyone else out before completing some other condition along the way, but should you do so victory is yours!
- Tribal Council: after having met all of the major factions, a tribal meeting will take place a few years later, and you win if you have a certain amount of wealth with which to pay everyone else off. An alternate model would be for players to spend a certain amount of wealth in order to pay off each tribe individually, but the exact details will be worked out during playtesting.
- Roman Successor: you win upon completing 10 quests for one of the two Roman factions, the last of which is guaranteed to be quite tough. Each failed quest counts against you though, and you only have one shot at completing the final quest, so make sure you're prepared!
This should provide a good mix of conquest, economic, and diplomatic goals to pursue right from the start of each game. Things are obviously subject to change between now and release, but these are the four victory types I'm happy with.
That's it for this week - I'll be back next to go over the task list.
P.S. Our email server also crashed a few months ago, so if you tried to get in touch with us that way please try resending your message to firstname.lastname@example.org (e.g. if you've requested a refund, or just said hi and haven't heard back yet).