Imperator DD #101 - A Most Auspicious Number

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Arheo

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Salvete Omnes!

It’s been a while since you heard from me or the Sthlm team, so I’m here to do a few things today.

Firstly, there’s a few points of confusion to clear up!

The team down at Thalassic began working on Imperator early this year, onboarding and getting accustomed to the game and the codebase - their first feature (Great Wonders) was created in parallel while the Stockholm team produced the 1.5 update which is currently in your hands. This has worked very nicely, however, having two studios working on parallel tracks makes it difficult to produce the kind of interconnected material that makes Imperator unique. Over the last several months, we’ve begun integrating and onboarding the talented folks at Thalassic into our workflow in order to enable the production of more integrated features and content which you’ll discover very shortly.

Our last dev diaries were intended to give Thalassic a platform to show off what they’ve created, without flipping back and forth between the two teams.

Following on from this, I’d like to clarify that the next update you will receive will contain, but not be limited to, the Vitruvius update. Working with a second studio is quite new for us, and we wanted the Great Wonders feature and update to have a unique codename; in this case, it is not tied to a specific and limited release. In this case, it will be released alongside our next major update.

The last point of order I have here comes with a side-note: namely, that you’ll be waiting a little longer than usual for the next content update for Imperator.

‘But WHY?’

Well, this was hinted at a little when the ‘unprecedented’ scope of the upcoming release was mentioned in the last dev diary. The scope and quantity of features coming in the next release is of such gravitas that we are changing the version number to adequately portray what this represents for Imperator.

As such; I can now introduce the 2.0 Marius update.

‘2.0 - is this hubris?’

Well, no. I don’t think so. At this stage I can only commit to a broad overview of some of the things we intend to cover with this update, though I would urge you to make up your own minds after reading the following:

My overarching directives for 2.0 are pacing, warfare, and UX.

Pacing

I want to achieve a more consistent and choice-based progression to the flow of the game. As of right now, much of what the game offers you is available to you from the very beginning, and there are fewer ways to customise your playstyle than I would like. We’ll be looking at overhauling the inventions system and the military traditions system in order to effect a more intuitive system of progression that allows for a sense of advancement and identity to develop over the course of a game.

This doesn’t solely mean gating existing mechanics, however, this will also tie strongly to new features and additions coming in 2.0.

Warfare

This is a pretty big one. I’ve never been happy with the military recruitment and army mechanics being almost entirely divorced from historical reality and being largely set apart from the many other systems in our game. Our main military focus for 2.0 will be on tying the recruitment system(s!) into the rest of our simulation, as well as adding a much larger recognition for the cultural diversity of military forces in different parts of the map.

Several astute forum users have noticed that we’re going to be removing the Raise Levies unit ability. I’ll leave you to ponder over how that might be related.

There are of course many additional improvements coming to the warfare aspect of the game, from forts and sieges, to wargoals and cohorts.

UX

Aaand then there’s this. This is something we’ve been keeping under wraps for a while now, and which has been the sole focus of @jiroro, our UX designer, since she joined the team.

Many of you have expressed a desire for work on the UI, and this is something we’ve heard.

In the Marius update, we’ll be focusing on greatly improving the user experience on an interface level, as well as including a completely new art style. Since it’ll be entirely impossible to avoid showing any features off without teasing at the UI rework, here are some in-progress shots of the state of things on our highly experimental branches.

The bright visual identity of Imperator was tied to too many periphery elements (branding, key art) to change at this stage; it’s something we intend to work with and refine going forwards - we'll be preserving this lighter style, in contrast to some our sister titles such as Crusader Kings, which opted for a darker approach. I wanted a bold style, dropping a lot of the unnecessary cornels and border decorations that took up a significant quantity of screen real estate. You'll notice we still have decoration; this is used more carefully, and serves a purpose of its own - to draw attention or indicate the relative importance of an interface, or to create a feeling of immersion with pictures and scenes.

A significant directive I've pressed home, is to bring out the importance of characters; no more beige backgrounds, more breathing room, additional usability functions (character search, anyone?), and a suite of backgrounds intended to give characters a little more life.

Part of the behind-the-scenes advantages of this overhaul is also to support easier modding, color switching, and the potential for culturally thematic UI themes (though with the scope of 2.0, it should be said that we will not be adding any of this in the immediate future).

It is incredibly important that you are aware that the art and UX overhaul is not complete, and even things which look overhauled or reskinned may well not yet be finished.

Nb: All screenshots are provided at our minimum supported resolution of 1920x1080.

pasted image 0.png


The WIP Character Window. This is one of our larger standard windows in the new UI - we wanted to give characters a great deal more space and personality by doing away with the beige backgrounds, and inserting a more immersive background selection system. Here you can also see that the top bar has been moved to the side, to accommodate more usable screen real estate.

Future plans, inspired by some of the popular user mods (such as the Better UI mod by Agamidae) are to include balance indicators on top bar resources, as well as showing additional contextual information in the top bar.

pasted image 0 (1).png


While function definitely takes precedence over form, it became apparent that we had much more space to work with in our newer style; including larger set pieces adds a lot to the feeling of immersion when using the UI. The astute amongst you will notice that we have a new tooltip system - the recent release of CK3 has enabled us to make use of much more intuitive nested tooltip technology.

pasted image 0 (2).png


I couldn’t resist the opportunity to make the senate feel more alive.

pasted image 0 (3).png


As you can see, we’re working a lot to reduce the size and visual clutter of game interfaces.

pasted image 0 (4).png


Of course, this is not possible everywhere; the distinction between windows you’re likely to need while using the map, and otherwise, has been accentuated. You may also notice a few additional tidbits here ;)

pasted image 0 (5).png


Even the in-game menu has received some attention.

pasted image 0 (6).png


Widely regarded as one of our most confusing windows, we’ve done a lot of work on the Territory window to add some breathing room to information.

pasted image 0 (7).png


There is, of course, much more to show here. Next week @jiroro will take a long dive into the reasoning and specifics behind the UI rework.

As always, I look forward to hearing your comments.

/Arheo
 
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Lord Lambert

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My oh my oh my!
This is a bit of a 180 from last week now ain't it???
 
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Telenil

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These UI changes are an empire-sized improvement. Really glad to see it happen, and quite upset to read that I'll have to wait longer to get my hands on it =)
 
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magriboy0750

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Good afternoon,great DD,this new UI is awesome.Keep up the good work.And looking forward to the other changes of 2.0 'Marius' update.
However,just one thing:
Nb: All screenshots are provided at our minimum supported resolution of 1920x1080.
I play on 1080 p myself but just want to ask.Wasn't the current and older patches support lower resolutions or the minimum resolution always had been 1080p.If not,does this mean you have increased resolutions requirement?
Thanks for any replies about this.
 
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KBKDB

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Fantastic news! The future of Imperator is very bright indeed.

Very excited about all of this!
 
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Jernau_

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Looks good. Any news on a better macro builder similar to EU4?
 
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Not gonna lie, when I heard a new team was taking over, and what not. I was hesitant. I've already uninstalled a year ago, and nothing has made me come back to Imperator... but...

This Dev Diary has made me very excited to see what this new team will bring. Even just from the 3 main goals of this latest update, it looks like this new team is on top of what really needs to be fixed, and how to bring this game from the brink of death and uplift it to what a paradox game should be.

I am very much waiting in arrested excitement.
 
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I want to achieve a more consistent and choice-based progression to the flow of the game. As of right now, much of what the game offers you is available to you from the very beginning, and there are fewer ways to customise your playstyle than I would like. We’ll be looking at overhauling the inventions system and the military traditions system in order to effect a more intuitive system of progression that allows for a sense of advancement and identity to develop over the course of a game.

Yes, happy to hear that. I always thought that IR lacks something like Ideas in EU4. It worked really well in EU4, tailoring your nation to a certain playstyle, and giving special mechanics and abilities to nations with special idea groups. Hopefully this is what you aim for.
 
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I hope UI change is optional, I know many wanted the change and many might not agree but from what I see in screenshots I would prefer old Simplistic one. Just like old impassable terrain coloring. This kinds like a mobile game... One of the reason I dislike CK3 design over CK2. Just give me option to keep it old way.
 
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Finally! This is so good. Will there also be a DLC alongside this? Something something Diadochi?
 
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Brilliant! Now thats a DD thank u! I really enjoy the UI rework, although a minor complaint would be we cant see our ruling Consul's political parties anymore, hopefully that will change :)

Are u able to specify what other features there will be that is classified as unprecedented? And will there be some UI/UX changes for things like family trees?
 
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Samitte

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Colour me excited! What colour is excited anyway? Some really good ideas here, in all aspects you touched upon. I am especially excited for this:

Our main military focus for 2.0 will be on tying the recruitment system(s!) into the rest of our simulation, as well as adding a much larger recognition for the cultural diversity of military forces in different parts of the map.

But the future idea of having thematic UI's at some point is super exciting as well!
 
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Synen

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I have to admit that I have mixed feelings about the new UI. Personally I'm not fan of the cartoony feel and it also doesn't really fit the aesthetics of the map.
 
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Bovrick

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Excellent set of priorities here ;) and so many pictures with much to digest here. First thing I've spotted is the disappearance of War Exhaustion...
 
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Biegeltoren

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The UI overhaul looks amazing. I'm very much looking forward to everything else you have in store for us! Good job team! I'm excited again!
 
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vyshan

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This is amazing. I look forward to seeing what the rest of Marius brings us. Some questions though.

1.) Could the colors be changed depending on the nation. While the bold Red might work for Rome, but not sure for the Mauryans or Celtic Tribes. Let me have Blue for the Athenians, Green for the Celtic Tribes, Saffron for the Mauryans and so on :D

2.) will we see an update to the mission graphics and will this update include painted statues? Considering statues where painted, I think including that detail somewhere would be nice perhaps as a way to show that you have completed a mission in your mission tree?

3.) can we see what the Religious menu looks like?
 
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