Imperator - Sunday Morning Design Corner - May 5th 2019

Imperator - Sunday Morning Design Corner - May 5th 2019

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Johan

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Hello!

It is been a rocky launch in some aspects, with part of the community unhappy. While it is not Hoi3, there are still issues, and I want to make sure you understand that we are looking at them.

Technical Issues
It looks like we have addressed most of the incompatibility issues, and that the game had heavy stuttering on some machines. It is something we will continue to fix immediately as they prop up.

Barebones Games
This is the feedback that I just do not understand. I took everything we had in Rome I, and made every mechanic deeper and more complex, while adding lots more new mechanics to make it into a game. This game was developed the same way we did EU4 and HOI2, the previous games I’ve been most satisfied with, where we used all the original gameplay code of the previous game, and just built upon that.

I’ve not cut away anything when making Imperator to add into future expansions, and every game-mechanic, and lots more, we had planned was in the original 1.0.

I have said before launch that this is the best game I’ve made, and I stand by it still. 1.0 of Imperator is the best 1.0 we have ever made of a game.

Missing UI / Bad UX
I agree that there are things in the UI that is suboptimal. Some screens are bigger than they could be, like the province interface, and some do not have all the information you may need. We are all working on improving that. Some UI I deemed as optional as we ran lower on time, and I wanted to prioritise the gameplay experience, so those will come in patches.
  • Multiplayer Chat will eventually come, but not in 1.1
  • Ledger, I regret cutting it, but there will be a first version in 1.1
  • Macrobuilding functionality: While we hadn’t planned diplomatic or army template macrobuilder for 1.0, we should have focused on having better interface for impact of what you are building.
  • Colonisation & Pop Management. It is functional, but not optimal. We definitely need to improve here.

Here is a small peek at a work in progress UI...

ux_tweak.png


Bad AI
Ironically, this is the game we spent the most resources in writing AI for, both in time and people. Instead of a basically reactive AI, that had no goal, and reusing old mechanics, we decided to write this AI as a new proactive system working with plans.

I understand that effort and intent is not the same as result, but AI was something we did focus a lot on.

Power / Abstracted Currencies
I understand that there is a part of the community that dislike abstracted currencies like prestige, monarch power, influence or political power, they do make it into games that are possible to balance and

In 1.1, with us adding stability, war exhaustion, aggressive expansion and tyranny to the price structure, you could make a really good mod, replacing all power costs with impacts on those attributes. Such a mod could also completely make the instant culture conversion of a pop cost tyranny instead, making it something you do not want to do in bulk, or you could make changing an idea cost 5 stability, which is not much in direct cost, but limits you in other ways.

The base game will continue to use these currencies, as they make for a better game, but I acknowledge that there is a group of people who dislike them, and prefer another experience, so we will improve the game, to be able to support it.

Lack of Flavor
There has been a lot of feedback of the game about how most countries just feel the same to play, and there are no variations. While most people appreciate that there is enough difference between settled tribes, migratory tribes, monarchies and republics, there is not much difference between the different tribes other than their starting location.

While we did not view this is a flaw, we hear you, and will add some distinct flavor to 1.1, some new to our games, and some familiar.

First of all, we are adding bonuses to each religion, so that different religions have different impacts. That in itself does not make the game suddenly great, but it gives a bit more flavor.

Secondly, we are diversifying Omens, so that different religions, or even different countries can have unique omens for them. We will go into more details on this soon.

Finally, we are adding something we call Heritages to countries. This is something they start with, which gives 2 bonuses and 1 drawback. There will be lots of “generic” heritages for countries, which depends on their geography, but we aim to add as many unique ones as possible in 1.1, and then keep adding them.

heritage.png



Percieved Shallowness
A lot of the things that happens has not been visible enough to the player, like you don’t see the things characters do with each other. This will be changed for 1.1, where you will be able to always see what a character is up to, besides just an ambition.

Another thing is that the game has been tuned so a lot of the mechanics is not required to think about, especially when you are a big power. I’ve seen a lot of comments about how great the game is when you play smaller, compared to Rome where you just rofl-stomp everything, and don’t have to care about any challenges. One thing we are reworking in 1.1, is how a characters “power base” is calculated, which is the amount of troops, holdings, wealth or territory he or she may hold, and that power base will have much more impact.


Content
It is hard to compare content between various games, but Imperator shipped with the same amount of events as Victoria 2 with expansions, and more than any game had at release besides CK2.

We also had more character interactions than CK2 at release, and a similar amount of diplomatic actions and relations as EU4 had at release.

Of course, when you have been playing games that have 5-10k of events,dozens upon dozens of unique systems, any new game, no matter how much content they have, will feel light.

We will continue to add more content at each update, with a nice chunk on focus on Italy in 1.1, but it will take years of expansions and patches until Imperator reaches

Cheers everyone, and tomorrow Trin Tragula will show off what we have been doing for 1.1.

/Johan
 

SPAMbuca

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@Johan I mostly wonder what stopped you guys from keeping this game in development somewhat longer, have these admitted missing features added to the base game and just charge €60- for the base game. Considering the reception of the base game, will that be something you will consider for next time?


Fair or not, but people seem to be comparing this new game with products they already have. What incentive is there to switch away from games people already have spent hundreds of Euros/Dollars/seashells to a less complete product, despite this arguably being "the most polished basegame" released so far?
 

Johan

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@Johan I mostly wonder what stopped you guys from keeping this game in development somewhat longer, have these admitted missing features added to the base game and just charge €60- for the base game. Considering the reception of the base game, will that be something you will consider for next time?

You just can't delay games when they are a few months from release just because you get a few better ideas for a feature.

When 1.1/Pompey is ready to release, I'll have dozens of new ideas of how to tweak and improve the game..


I was kinda naive, in that I assumed that people would see the game we were selling, and judge it from that. We streamed enormously, and sent it to losts of youtubers, and were honest about what was in it.
 

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You just can't delay games when they are a few months from release just because you get a few better ideas for a feature.


I was kinda naive, in that I assumed that people would see the game we were selling, and judge it from that. We streamed enormously, and sent it to losts of youtubers, and were honest about what was in it.

It's indeed something you'd decide earlier in the cycle. It's good that you seem to admit that it might have been the better choice in hindsight. But I don't think these admitted missing features mentioned earlier are necessarily new ideas. It's mostly features that have been done successfully in a lot of older titles already like the ledger.

On another note; maybe the streams/marketing people have just been too successful? In case something goes wrong on stream, the understandable response is to laugh it off as "hot code". Your audience/customers can't judge a new game on stability or bugs from streams.
 

Nc-Rm

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This looks good! I agree that the AI isn't bad. It can be improved, but it still puts on a challenge if you play a small country. (of course as Rome you'll find the AI easy).

I think people need to be a little bit patient and wait until 1.1 as well as mods (HOI4 replayability was improved a lot by mods, I believe in ParadoxCon it was mentioned that 50% of players played with mods or something like that?)

While the game needs some improvement like most new games, it absolutely doesn't deserve the negative review bombing that's happening. But it'll eventually disappear as more updates come from the development team and more mods start popping up.

Speaking of feedback, there is some feedback that's reasonable, like moving pops. I feel it can be tedious to micromanage pops. I think you should consider adding a dynamic immigration system.

It's something that's moddable anyway, and I'm personally working on a mod that implements it. But it would be cool if there's some form of dynamic immigration in the vanilla game. Here's an example (it can be something like reducing taxation on a certain pop type to encourage foreign pops to migrate to that province overtime rather than having to move them one by one:
 
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Levant1812

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@Johan why not make culture conversion cost tyrany yourself ? is there a negative side to it (gameplay wise)


edit: also my first thoght when i saw Heritage was that it was too small. only 3 bonuses while EU4 has 8 or 9 i dk i might be wrong
 

magriboy0750

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What are the chances for a CK2 game rule menu in a future patch?Some persons disagree with some of design choices,especially the hard game over when you lose a civil war,i think it should resolve this type of complaints,i haven't seen mods for that,so i guess the game over for this is harcoded.Am i wrong or not?
Thanks for any reply about this and thanks for your great work on this game anyway.
 

Laucian Nailor

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@Johan firstly thank you for providing more information. I'm much more of a forum lurker than poster and having only a few hundred hours in the PDX games I own, still feel like a newbie, but I get immense pleasure from each of my campaigns. After 45+ years of gaming I no longer get caught up in overly optimistic hype nor pre-order anything. I haven't bought IR, but have watched hours of influencer material and WILL be buying it, probably after 1.1 hits.

So as a 'peripheral' member of the community I have still felt, to be honest, embarrassed at some of the derogatory and vicious posts, especially where no attempt is made to suggest a way forward; disappointingly so, as a number of devs have specifically indicated that the growth/direction of IR will be based on considered feedback. It would be so easy for the devs to say 'fuck it'; if thats how we are regarded and treated by 'some' elements of the community, then we'll step back from the level of interaction we have with them. If this happens we will never get the games that both PDS and the community wish. So as a second thank you, thank you for still coming here and sharing your thoughts, honesty, candour and goals; long may that continue and you not be pushed away from this by some.
 

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Looks great you have a roadmap on this. I'm willing to wait and invest to have a deeper experience.

Just a couple of suggestions:
This era was characterized by syncretism since you are adding bonus to religions why not getting a syncretism feature where you integrates other pantheons and eventually get their bonuses.
Rome should start with their own religion Dei Consentes instead of being just Hellenic.

More building to have, aqueducts, baths, libraries to improve, civilization level, pops happiness and tech speed.
 

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What are the chances for a CK2 game rule menu in a future patch?Some persons disagree with some of design choices,especially the hard game over when you lose a civil war,i think it should resolve this type of complaints,i haven't seen mods for that,so i guess the game over for this is harcoded.Am i wrong or not?
Thanks for any reply about this and thanks for your great work on this game anyway.
whatever they do , i hope its optional. i love that game ends when u lose a civil war
 

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whatever they do , i hope its optional. i love that game ends when u lose a civil war
Of course,and it should invalidate achievement since it make the game easier.This option is especially for roleplayers,generally,these persons don't play in ironman anyway.
 

Grzegorz Grzybek

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Thanks for insight into the plans.
I'm in the middle of Roman campaign and while it seemed (too) easy initially, now, when other big powers formed, I need to be more careful with expansion.
After scaling the UI to 0.9, it looks great on 1920x1080. I don't miss ledger (treating it a bit like a cheating).
Just quick thoughts about what could be improved:
  • "b" key for macro builder
  • clicking into pie charts, so I have more details about cultures / religions
  • to check if I still have to keep cultural / religions governor policy, I have to switch between province mapmode (to see borders of provinces) and macro builder (which shows me where I can do the assimilation / conversion)
  • I miss province-level chart for pops / culture / religion
Keep up the great work! You know the sale numbers and can calculate the sales vs. negative review ratio. Remember - people are more willing to post negative than positive opinion.
 
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Thanks for the sunday morning post.

When you are doing stuff to the the macro builder don't forget to add info on map about what a building etc will actually DO. So if I have a market selected tell me oon each city what impact it will have.

Barebones Games
This is the feedback that I just do not understand. I took everything we had in Rome I, and made every mechanic deeper and more complex, while adding lots more new mechanics to make it into a game.

So for me personally I would say while this may be true (never played EU:R) its impossible to not compare I:R features to similar features in your other game. I know those mechanics etc have been worked on for years more but they just present a more engaging version of the mechanics we now have in I:R. I think the large reliance on "mana" also contributes to the feeling of a bare bones experience, you even gave great examples of how modders will be able to deepen the game by bypassing it in your post!
 

Levant1812

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Thanks for insight into the plans.
  • clicking into pie charts, so I have more details about cultures / religions
  • to check if I still have to keep cultural / religions governor policy, I have to switch between province mapmode (to see borders of provinces) and macro builder (which shows me where I can do the assimilation / conversion
  • I miss province-level chart for pops / culture / religion

this and especially 2nd thing
 

KingLevon

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What about soundtrack DLC? Are you planning to continue this treacherous policy against PDX (already former) fans?
 

magriboy0750

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What about soundtrack DLC? Are you planning to continue this treacherous policy against PDX (already former) fans?
I hope they will improve music modding in future patches.Since Waldetoft is not the composer for IR,i have wanted to have the EU:Rome soundtrack instead of soundtrack of the base game,but because they are in a .bank crypted file,i can't.I know there is a tool for modify it but it's a workaround and i don't think Paradox allow that anyway since it's not an official tool.
 

Marissa

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People will claim all governments are the same, meanwhile in tribes a warchief gives cohort recruit speed and in Rome that same government spot gives troop discipline.. lots of things look the same when you're just glancing.

I love this game and am excited to see where it goes! Thank you Johan, and every other dev who worked to make this game happen.
 

Trin Tragula

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Rome should start with their own religion Dei Consentes instead of being just Hellenic.

Omen diversification in 1.1 some cases goes beyond one set per religion. Rome with Hellenic religion will not have the same Omens available to it as a a Greek Hellenic state :)
Likewise a Ptolemaic Egypt patronizing the Serapis cult will have different Omens than the Native Egyptian Dodokaskoinos to their south.
 

magriboy0750

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Omen diversification in 1.1 some cases goes beyond one set per religion. Rome with Hellenic religion will not have the same Omens available to it as a a Greek Hellenic state :)
Likewise a Ptolemaic Egypt patronizing the Serapis cult will have different Omens than the Native Egyptian Dodokaskoinos to their south.
The bonus for religions will be moddable?