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Millennia | Announcement

Hello, everyone!

We’re excited to present the first Dev Diary for Millennia.

In this, we’ll talk a little about the vision and features for the game and also about
us, C Prompt Games. You can expect additional Diaries that go into more detail on
various features and the thought behind them in the coming months, leading up to
our release next year. If you like what you see, you can wishlist the game right
now!


C Prompt Games

Before we get rolling, we should say a few words about who we are.

C Prompt Games was formed by experienced strategy developers who have worked together on some of your favorite stuff. We are probably most known for our work on the Age of Empires franchise.

We love working in smaller teams – there are around twenty people on Millennia currently. Our office is in Colorado, but we are organized to support hybrid remote / in-office development and the team is in numerous other locations, including Texas, New Mexico, and Oregon.

At our core, we are life-long hardcore strategy gamers and we have basically wanted to make a 4X since forever. We started Millennia in 2019 -- it is definitely a labor of love and we are very excited to start being able to share it with you.


What’s This?

If you haven’t seen anything else about the game, Millennia is a new turn-based 4X that features alternate history, custom tech trees, and deep economy and combat.


In The Beginning…
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We have carried the concept of Millennia around for a long time (please note my intentional avoidance of a pun there). That is fairly typical of our process. We tend to have a lot of rough game directions percolating and these get worked on here and there until we feel like it is the right time for one of them.

In the case of Millennia, a few things motivated us to make this our next game:

  • As strategy game developers, 4X is a cornerstone of the entire genre. It’s something we love and something we want to work on. (Designing alongside Bruce Shelley while at Ensemble certainly provided some motivation in this direction.)

  • As strategy game players, we saw 4X as receiving less attention than it deserved. To us, the amount of obvious player interest was far greater than the number of games being provided and amount of new gameplay being explored. Certainly, we personally wanted more 4X games and we had talked to a lot of fans who felt the same way.

  • Shortly after we started to flesh out the systems that would become the pillars of Millennia, we really felt the spark. Not only did we see how things could fit together, but we also started to see something unique, something we really wanted to play ourselves. (The Age model in particular quickly developed into something that everyone saw potential in and was excited about.)

During the early stages of development, C Prompt shared a prototype of Millennia with our friends at Paradox and happily discovered agreement on those motivations.


Vision

4X is a large genre and can support a lot of different experiences. One of the experiences we felt had been overlooked was that of player authorship, of feeling like you’re the one writing the story. When we played, we often felt less like we were leading a nation and more like we were trying to remember boardgame rules.

So, from a very high level, one of our goals was to steer in the direction of more open-ended, systems-based gameplay - to deliver a feeling of being the guiding spirit of a nation.

First and foremost, that direction informs a lot of our decisions.


Pillar: Alternate History
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A key innovation in Millennia is the Age-based design.

There are ten Ages in a “normal” game, ranging from the Stone Age to the near-future. Each Age provides the experience of the Age – the Iron Age has Iron Age technologies, Iron Age units, Iron Age buildings, and rules specific to the conditions of the Iron Age.

If you keep things within “normal” parameters, you might progress through 10 “standard” Ages, each delivering historical gameplay.

However, Millennia allows history to go off the rails. If you make some different decisions, you might steer your timeline into alternate Ages. These Ages are still historically themed, but explore some “what-if” territory. The Age of Aether is based on a history where the internal combustion engine doesn’t come about as soon as it did and steam-power develops further. The Age of Blood is based on a war raging out of control and spreading across the world.

Ultimately, most of the things you have to use in a game come from the Ages, so you can end up with very, very different scenarios depending on the specific history and alternate history you timeline moves through.


Pillar: Custom Tech Trees
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Millennia features a system called “National Spirits.”

Think of National Spirits as “things a nation can be famous for.” Are your people known as great engineers? Is one of your major cities seen as the center of global banking? Does the world fear your unbeatable warriors?

Mechanically, each National Spirt is a technology tree. You get to pick National Spirits from a set at different points in a game. Doing so makes the technologies of the National Spirit available to you.

Through National Spirits, you get customize your Nation, to decide what you will be famous for, during the course of the game.


Pillar: Deep Economy and Combat
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Economy and combat are key to Millennia.

As you lead your nation, you’ll need to design the right economy for your strategy. Not all resources in Millennia are the same. Cutting down trees for Logs can provide Production, much like mining Copper. However, with the right Improvements, you can create a chain where your Logs are made into Paper which is then made into Books, getting you Knowledge (or Religion or Government or Wealth) instead of Production.

Some resources are (like the Logs) broad and capable of steering into a variety of different Goods while others are more focused and less flexible. How you decide to structure your economy has an impact on your capabilities and your ability to respond to changing conditions.

One of the places this is felt is with combat. The best military for you to field changes based on your economic design (and the Age you have moved into and the National Spirits you have selected). You might be better with more Production to train troops, or more Warfare Domain to support them, or more Wealth to pay the upkeep on expensive elite troops or…

Beyond the economy, combat offers its own interesting decisions. Different types of Units have different capabilities. You design your Armies by assigning multiple Units to fight together, allowing you to create different Army types for different needs.


Next
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This is the tip of the iceberg -- Millennia is a huge game. The outline above is an introduction but there is plenty to cover regarding the pillars, plus a substantial number of major systems that haven’t even been mentioned.

Over the next few weeks, we will present additional Dev Diaries to showcase more of the game and to dive deeper into specific features. Next up, in two weeks, we’ll talk about the building blocks of your nation, Regions, Towns, and Outposts, and also cover a bit of the World Map itself.

We hope you’ll check back and join us for more on the game.

And, of course, if this sounds good, please wishlist the game on Steam and join the community.

YouTube - https://pdxint.at/MillenniaYouTube
Twitter - https://pdxint.at/MillenniaTwitter
Facebook - https://pdxint.at/MillenniaFB
Discord - https://pdxint.at/MillenniaDiscord

Embrace the Chaos!
 
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I'll keep an eye on this for sure but the fact that you are using the Spartans as your "ancient, awesome warriors" doesn't really inspire a lot of confidence about the history-related aspects of the game. Hopefully that won't be a major concern in the end though.
 
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I'm skeptical of turn-based 4x strategy, but I'm cautiously optimistic this will be innovative so far.
 
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I know I'm not the only one who went from Civ into PDX games and never looked back... I'll keep an eye on it but I doubt this one will be for me.
 
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I know I'm not the only one who went from Civ into PDX games and never looked back... wonder if any of them are as disinterested as I am
I wouldn't be surprised if this game isn't intended for PDX's core audience. The 4X market is large, so it makes sense to try to take a share of it if they can afford the risk.
 
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So are you a specific nation like in Civ, or do you hop between nations like in Humankind? Screenshots suggest the 2nd, but that's what killed Humankind for me. It wasn't fun at all as you had nothing to hold onto, and your enemies constantly switched. Led to a lack of personality.
 
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Age of Wonders is turn based too.
Is there Age of Wonders as possible age you can divert to?
 
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I'll keep an eye on this for sure but the fact that you are using the Spartans as your "ancient, awesome warriors" doesn't really inspire a lot of confidence about the history-related aspects of the game. Hopefully that won't be a major concern in the end though.
I feel like the general tone of the game is more "cool alt history" than historicity. There's literally an Age of Aether that is basically steampunk alt history.
I'm personally totally ok with it. You can make games inspired by historical material without trying to be historically accurate.

What makes me a bit unsure would rather be the UI of the game. It looks... antiquated. I feel like I'm looking at the UI a game from the early CK2 era. In fact, everything I see looks like it's 10 years old. I get it, gameplay above looks and all that, but I just don't have time to invest in nostalgic-looking games. The gimmick of ages seems fun, but what we see there seems very classic and old school, and I'm not sure I like it.
 
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Cprompt Games devs are related to RTS games, so it was good misdirect, as this is turn based game.
 
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I will never get this strange obsession by Civ-like games to use real peoples and then just butcher them until there is only a weird slob without real character to it.

Just create your own factions that are inspired by real peoples that have some actual personality to them instead of creating these weird world states where you start a Germany lead by a medieval emperor in some random desert on a random generic map, where you then build the Chinese Wall and Stonehenge and suddenly you have Munich next to Hyderabad on some random arctic ice shelf. Why not create your own lore with some actual consistency?
 
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Uuh... the map graphics look a bit like Humankind. I may be wrong, but I was expecting something more like CIV5-but-modern instead of this style. :confused:
 
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I will never get this strange obsession by Civ-like games to use real peoples and then just butcher them until there is only a weird slob without real character to it.

Just create your own factions that are inspired by real peoples that have some actual personality to them instead of creating these weird world states where you start a Germany lead by a medieval emperor in some random desert on a random generic map, where you then build the Chinese Wall and Stonehenge and suddenly you have Munich next to Hyderabad on some random arctic ice shelf. Why not create your own lore with some actual consistency?
People like history, and using history creates its own personality in a way that a custom setting often doesn't. That's really all there is to it.
 
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Okay good to see there's more than 4 people at your studio which is what their website says.

Sorry to be mean but these graphics are very rough, even if its just beta/concept art its too rough to even be shown yet. Civilization is a super polished game so I would expect a competitor to be able to match them.

I honestly don't have high hopes for this, but at least I will be plesantly surprised if its good.
 
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People like history, and using history creates its own personality in a way that a custom setting often doesn't. That's really all there is to it.
I would add on that using established historic figures allows a lot of worldbuilding to be skipped over. People "know" who the Spartans are. Even if it is just an image build up by via movies and not close to reality. They have an image that is filled with many details. Try and build that on your own and you are suddenly stuck trying to keep everything consistent with all the other historic figures and having to keep the Lore large enough to be engaging.

So are you a specific nation like in Civ, or do you hop between nations like in Humankind? Screenshots suggest the 2nd, but that's what killed Humankind for me. It wasn't fun at all as you had nothing to hold onto, and your enemies constantly switched. Led to a lack of personality.
Going by what the steam page/this dev diary says, it seems to be a hybrid system. You pick "national spirits" somewhat based on either generic or real historic figures and put it all together like Lego. I also have my doubts about such a system, considering how this didn't work out for humankind at all.
 
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That combat screen makes me think this is a game I would've loved to play in 1999
 
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Going by what the steam page/this dev diary says, it seems to be a hybrid system. You pick "national spirits" somewhat based on either generic or real historic figures and put it all together like Lego. I also have my doubts about such a system, considering how this didn't work out for humankind at all.
National spirits make me think of Civ5 doctrines/eu4 ideas more than Hk cultures
 
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