Today, we’ll be covering some additional mechanics coming in the Marius update, before we take a look at further mission trees coming as part of the Heirs of Alexander DLC.
As the astute amongst you have noticed, we’ve made several references to ‘upgrading’ port infrastructure in recent dev diaries and streams.
Prior to Marius, ports were seeded in numerous historical locations, but could never be altered, removed, or added during gameplay. As Imperator is a game where the ability to build your own civilization is paramount, it seemed natural that this behaviour should be reconsidered.
As part of Marius, shipyards will be a constructible building-type, which along with various local effects, will increase the port level of the territory in which they are built.
Shipyards can be constructed in any coastally adjacent territory, which will have the graphical effect of creating a culturally appropriate port model in the coastal territory. For technical and design reasons, we’ve chosen not to allow the construction of shipyards in river provinces, unless there was a pre-seeded port already present (Pataliputra or Sais, for example).
The level of port in a territory will primarily dictate which ships it is able to construct; low level ports may only build and repair Light ships, for example.
Mega-polyremes will require a port level of 5, but are still gated behind the corresponding military tradition, though due to the tradition tree rework, this unlock can now be attained by any nation willing to invest into the traditions of the Greek Kingdoms.
You’ll be able to distinguish between port levels by map icon; two such examples at the beginning of the game are the port in Alexandria which begins at a higher level than surrounding territories:
Lastly, but not least - ports can now be removed or destroyed by removing shipyard buildings in the associated territory.This will evict any mercenary navies currently present, and destroy the port model.
Your response to the technology trees coming in 2.0 was overwhelming, and I feel we’re on an good course with these. This said, there was some excellent critique on the system, some of which we’ve had a chance to iterate on.
One of the most common opinions we saw, was that the tech tree background appeared bland. To address this, our talented artists have added a diagrammatic background (replete with authentic wine stains) to give some identity to the game view.
One additional and enduring piece of feedback we’ve had during testing, was the lack of contextual identification for inventions in the new system - how does the player know what each invention represents, and how can they easily locate what they’re aiming for in our larger tree structures?
We’ve added two ways to mitigate this concern.
Firstly, inventions now display their foremost modifier icon inside the UI element. This gives an at-a-glance indication of what you’re likely to receive once an invention is purchased. As our regular players will know, however, there are a significant number of modifiers and modifier types in Imperator - it can be tricky to mentally map all of these. Which leads us to the second improvement.
The search bar in the top right corner will highlight inventions that correspond to your search terms. This will parse both names and modifier strings:
(It goes without saying hopefully, that this highlight is WIP!)
In addition to these UI changes, some incidental balance changes have been made to the inventions system. Notably, while we do not wish for it to be possible to unlock all inventions in a single playthrough, the number available vs the number of innovations available were simply too far removed.
To mitigate this, we’ve decreased the expected years per technology from 20 years to 15 years - this reduces the ahead of time penalty accordingly, and should result in more frequent tech advances as time goes on.
Several modifiers previously tied to nation rank (particularly diplomatic relations) have been moved out of their associated rank modifier, and into the tech trees. I’ve never been entirely happy with the number of alliances and relations that were available from the beginning of the game - this addresses that concern, yet retains the ability to focus on this as a valid playstyle for players and AI, should their situation demand it.
As the above screenshot suggests, we have also added more keystone inventions, particularly those which might alter the playstyle of a nation. The wargoal referred to here is the one mentioned in our previous developer diary. Whilst powerful, it sits relatively far down the Oratory tree, as many of our more game-changing inventions tend to.
Before I hand over to @Bratyn, I'm aware that I promised unit model screenshots a week or two ago - due to some final polish on these, I can't show them off just yet - watch this space!