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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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So this is basically a turn-based version of a PDX Grand Campaign?
Technically in some ways, yes. But actually less so than Civilization, considering the alternate technology development.

I would say it's just not a very useful comparison, since it does not have much in common with PDS games. Other 4X games like Civilization, Humankind and Age of Wonders.
 
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So this is basically a turn-based version of a PDX Grand Campaign?
I don't think any comparisons to Paradox developed games are really useful here.
 
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I don't think that this is marketed towards us subjects of the Paradox Interactive Empire(PIE). I think that it will be useful to get more gamers into the Empire's fold. I will be watching development of this, and I wonder just how much longer it will be developed. I wish good luck and high sales to the developers of this.
 
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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.
Spartans were ancient, and were awesome
 
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I hope Millennia can find its own way in the 4x genre and not end up another Civ clone. In that sense, I think Old World is a good example of how to do it and Humankind a bad one.

Old World gave me appreciation of how a 4x can really differentiate itself. On the surface, it's got the classic Civ look, but its kingdom management and event system really puts you personally in the role of your ruler, in a way similar to the CK games. You can fully roleplay or you can play it like a board game and the game really works well both ways.

It's also got the best combat AI of any 4x game bar none, and that's at least in part because warfare was created in a way that was conductive to the AI. Units generally move further than in Civ and the "order" and "forced march" system allows you to spend resources to move your units even further then you usually would (at the cost of paralyzing your kingdom management), meaning combat often involves piling in and lots of attrition, with both sides losing 1, 2 or 3 units each turn until someone is broken. This piling-in is easier for the AI to do than the ultra-precise positional play from Civ, while still requiring a lot of strategy. Maybe it also has the best nation management AI of all, but that's a lot harder to tell.

On the other hand, Humankind never really impressed me because it never gave me a really distinct feeling from Civ. It just didn't give me something new or clever and its AI was also meh.
 
The domains remind me of EU4 Monarch Points, the national spirits remind me of Stellaris Traditions, and the economy reminds me of Victoria.

Personally I can't not draw some level of comparison.
If the only comparisons you can make are extremely surface level things that are very basic game design stuff and are in every game like this (currencies, skill trees, and resource chains), then yeah not very good reason to make those comparisons.
 
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Hey there, so excited for this. I recently stumbled upon something interesting and wanted to share it with you. I came across a Kickstarter campaign for a board game called "Millennia," and I noticed some striking similarities between this game and your upcoming video game release. Both games seem to share not only the name but also some thematic and visual elements.

I'm not sure if this is something you'd like to look into further, but I wanted to bring it to your attention in case it becomes an issue down the road.
 
I like 4x but i somehow hate the civilization concept where you advance through the ages which itself lack depth and are over to fast. Having a more narrow focus on one scenario is much more interesting like Old World or Gladius. Ad more depth to both of those scenarios and you would have not good but amazing games.