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An indie strategy game from Jon Shafer, designer of Civ 5. You are a dark age lord trying to replace the crumbling Roman Empire. Manage your clans, explore the landscape around you, harvest its resources, and build a mighty economic and military machine.
An indie strategy game from Jon Shafer, designer of Civ 5. You are a dark age lord trying to replace the crumbling Roman Empire. Manage your clans, explore the landscape around you, harvest its resources, and build a mighty economic and military machine.
3,009 backers pledged $106,283 to help bring this project to life.
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    1. Kiril Trichkov on

      Very interesting read! But you never once mentioned the biggest mistake of Civ V - ditching the World Builder.

      Also, I second Taragon's request for in-depth social policies, laws, traditions, etc. for the tribe. In the update you say you'll just merge these with technology through romanization. But I would much rather have them as a separate gameplay element, perhaps with new options being unlocked through romanization. That would be a much better way to represent the radical changes that happened to these tribes than switching from one Roman tech or concept to another.

      And that last bit sound like quite the silly concept. If a tribe captures a Roman city and learns how to, say, build boats, how can they later unlearn this in order to adopt a social policy or learn how to make siege weapons? Where will the new information come from? If you decide to stick with that idea, I fear the result will be reduced immersion.

    2. Jon Shafer Creator on

      @S.W. Leefers:

      The inspiration behind stability came from a number of places. I've certainly played plenty of EU and I'm sure that got thrown into the pot. I was also thinking quite a bit about anarchy from the Civ series, and how it could be changed into something more appropriate (and strategic) for ATG. I'll be explaining more about how it works in a future article!

      - Jon

    3. Cerberus™ on

      Very interesting and informative update. As to stability and supply, was it perhaps the Europa Universalis series that inspired you there? All sound like great ideas.

    4. Jon Shafer Creator on

      Glad you guys enjoyed this update! I didn't plan on it ending up so incredibly long, but hey, sometimes I just have a lot to say!

      @Karl Friedrich:

      I like your thinking. Reinforcing the might of Rome in any way possible is a great concept, and I'm going to try and play it up as much as possible!

      Oh, and don't worry, we'll be making supply as clear as possible. Extra detail is nice, but only if you can easily understand what's going on!


      The Romanization Perks system in ATG is more like a tech tree than the Policies in Civ 5. We're definitely going to try and add as much variety as possible though, so that it does feel like you're shaping your entire society.

      @Jason Smith:

      I do think that 1UPT can work in a game, but you kind of have to bend the game around IT. In Civ 5 the fit was a bit rough, and it showed, but that's not why I'm going a different direction in ATG. I just enjoy experimenting with new ideas and seeing where things end up. I'm sure my next game after ATG will go in yet another a completely different direction!

      @Are Nybakk:

      Yep, I'm confident we'll be able to accomplish these goals. If you wanted to look at ATG at a very crude level, you could really say that it's almost "done," as you can already play with all of the planned gameplay features.

      From here on we'll be fleshing-out the peripheral systems (things like hotkeys and unit animations) while iterating on the core gameplay - for the next year and a half. I'm sure we'll take several wrong turns along the way, but that's why we're not releasing in August!

      - Jon

    5. Karl Friedrich on

      I hope unit stacks will not interfere with a concept of quickly inidcating supply needs.

    6. Jason Smith on

      Great update, thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. I really love the ambition for a streamlined, deep experience with ATG. I have to admit I'm a bit sad to see you're moving away from 1UPT for this. I really liked the attempt to have a mix of strategic and tactical gameplay in Civ V. I was hopeful that the more focused nature of ATG, such as a smaller, more delineated playing field, as well as a narrower span of time would give the tactical side of the game more room to breathe. However I can respect your overall vision for the game, and I'm sure you will keep the players focused on the most fun aspects of the design.

    7. Are Nybakk on

      That was a bit long for me to read, but it's obvious you are setting very high goals for this game. It surprises me that you've set such a modest budget. Are you sure it's enough?
      Civilization V is a fine game by the way, I very much enjoyed it.

    8. Pedro Timóteo

      Fantastic update. Just doubled my pledge from $25 to $50 due to it.

    9. Missing avatar

      Tom Ogas on

      Thanks for this (long!) but very thoughtful update. I still enjoy playing Civ V. It's not a perfect game, but it's one of my favorite strategy games. It's a game that's given me hundreds of hours of enjoyment.

      I appreciate the comparisons between Civ V and this game, and how your design concepts are evolving from lessons you've learned. In the end, the game needs to be one that offers satisfying challenges with multiple avenues of success. All in all, it sounds like you're well on your way to a great game!

    10. Taragon on

      i have a suggestion about the policies system. I would love to see a huge panel of things, maybe sliders, maybe something else, that denites all different attributes. everything from the relative social status of gender, to how much you coddle children, the social status of craftsman extc. all with tradeoffs, so that you can have multiple ways of achieving certain conditions. such as if youre suddenly experiencing famine and starvation, maybe coddle the children less, so theres less that survive to adulthood, but theyre hardier (with some bonus for that). i just love the idea of tons of policy options

    11. Arthur Cormode

      I stopped reading when I read: Drest of the Picts. Picts! Yay!

      Seriously, I enjoyed the article. I appreciate your honesty about what you say went wrong with Civilization 5 and more importantly, what you've learned from it.

      Sounds like ATG is definitely on the right path. :)

    12. Karl Friedrich on

      Excellent update. Really a joy to read, especially because you're so open about things that worked - or not - and why.

      As I have understood by now this will not be about the epic journey of single heroes or a handful elite core units bringing down the Roman Empire (unmodded, hehe), but about the strategic level, the whole working of your small underdog kingdom doing the impossible.

      That being realized, I still hope that the player will feel that he does something epic - that it is an unbelievable adventure he's embarked upopn. One small starving barbarian tribe against mighty Rome (well which crumbles under its own decadency and courrption, but still... actually I very much like the feel and atmosphere taht this picture of a faling, corrupted, obscenely rich but still mighty and even more unpredictably dangerous titan conveys). And then there's your contender tribes, burning with desire to get these riches first, yet trembling with fear to be crushed like teh maggots they are... allies and foes at once. All waiting for the rigth way to do it, the right moment to strike...

      To feel this epicness it would be very cool to see and smell and touch the Roman power adn superiorness first ahnd durinf a long stretch of the game. Mighty legions passing you by making you lowe r your heads and hide faces, impressive structures like roads and rich fields making you envious in the cold winter, towering cities defended with walls are technological master pieces making you dream of being their master one day... and your ragged tribe stumbles amidst this, slowly building power by cleverly snatching here and there, hoping to not to soon catch too much attention of the still Mighty and very vicious Empire.

      Or to put it shorter: I would like it very much if the personality not expressed by indidividual hero and elite units would be made up for by letting the player experience a co-existing, threatening and fascinating Roman Empire for a long time. Not just as a borderline not to be crossed, but as a defining part of a world aroudn him he has to arrange with. Make the player awe and fear the wonder long before he dares to finally invade it.

    13. Ace Gopher on

      I just doubled my pledge because I am impressed at your thoughtfulness (this update and the previous one) and your communication. Fantastic!