In a previous diary, we presented the various historical battle scenarios that will be in Pride of Nations. The scenarios share a common feature with the Grand Campaign: a detailed order of battle (OOB) for almost all nations, both on land and at sea.
Of course, such a feature is deemed common and mandatory in all ‘serious’ historical strategy games. But, in truth, that is not always the case, and in most cases, the accuracy is somewhat limited, largely to names ‘sounding’ historically plausible.
When we designed the database for Pride of Nations, one of the initial key decisions we made was in regards to the scale we would use for the various units. Because this game is grand strategy on a massive scale – the entire world for 70 years – we wanted to make sure that we would not fall into the trap of micromanagement due to too-small unit size.
So, we restricted ourselves to larger-scale units: squadrons for boats, brigades as our smallest land units, but more often divisions and corps. Nevertheless, our AGE engine has been conceived with an interesting feature in that, whatever the size of unit we have in the game, that unit is made up of ‘components,’ which we call models or elements. Early on, we chose the regiment as the basic element for land units (except for artillery, which uses the battery) and the individual ship for naval units.
To that end, we created two databases. One is the Models database, which describes every element that makes up our game units. The other is the Units database, which lists, for every unit, how many elements and in which proportion they are within said unit.
For the models, every single regiment that is available has a unique name, as well as dozens of features and characteristics, which we shall detail in another diary. As a result, even if there are hundreds of regiments in a given nation (or a dozen individual ships), each can be seen with their own unique name. The UI has a specific window to show this.
At the unit level, the various possibilities are composed of those very same models as well as an extra feature that we have added, called the recruitment (or construction) zone. This ensures that a unit can only be built in the area that it has been assigned to. For instance, troops of the British Army of India cannot appear in the UK or in the Americas; they can only be raised and recruited in the Raj. Similarly, French Black colonial troops shall appear in Africa and nowhere else. But recruitment is not only ethnically specific as it is also restricted to the physical location with other considerations.
For example, Alpine troops will be raised in mountain areas, and your Marines shall not appear in the middle of your hinterland, far away from a port. And where ships are concerned, most (and in particular the largest) will require shipyards to be built, although you don’t need them to build colonial river gunboats.
The whole idea behind this apparent complexity (and a really huge database with thousands of names) is really to offer players a real sense of immersion in the atmosphere of the time.
To further immerse players, names are not the only ‘flavor’ aspect of the detailed OOB as we also have almost 1,000 different uniforms (and dozens of ship models) from the era, so your units will not only have different names, but also different appearances. We have learned from our previous games that players love to see even the smallest details in their units.
For example, if you are playing Britain, you can see the regular British troops (whose uniforms will vary greatly between 1850 and 1920), but also Scot Highlanders, East India Company Sepoys, Gurkhas, King’s African Rifles, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Royal Marines, Sailors, and Camel Corps in Egypt. At sea, the glorious Royal Navy boasts over 25 different ship styles.
And that level of variety is found in every other major playable nation, as well as in many of the minor nations and natives that you will encounter during your half-century-long world conquest challenge.