Creative Assembly Talk War In Tiny Teahouse

By Quintin Smith on February 28th, 2011 at 9:27 am.

Later, General Nobunaga would regret dressing his infantry and archers in different colours

Morning, my salty denizens of this divided and endless land we call PC gaming. Big Download‘s posted a couple of fun videos with some key members of Creative Assembly talking their way through each title in the Total War series. It’s quite fluffy PR, but there’s some subtext to chew on, too, especially with the developers talking about Empire- “We basically added a new, third game to Empire,” “In less than the time we created Rome,” “We were mental!”. Followed by some interesting discussion of real-life naval battles. Watch it below.

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56 Comments »

  1. latedave says:

    Bit unsure after the demo actually, the AI seems to be as poor as ever, it looks fantastic though, particularly the animals running out of the woods during the fight was a nice touch. Has anyone actually had the ally join them yet, seems to be scripted that they always betray you. Really looking forward to this but hopefully it won’t need yet another patch (i.e. Darth Mod) to be good.

    • Captain Hijinx says:

      The entire demo was scripted, you’ve yet to see any of the battle A.I.

    • Heliosicle says:

      Yea it felt a bit shallow how they always go the same way every time. The campaign battles were terrible, skipping the tutorial in the final game.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Maltose says:

    I love how the first clip just pretends Medieval 2 never happened.

    • matty_gibbon says:

      Why is that? Was it not well-received? Only I was thinking of buying that just yesterday :-s

    • omgitsgene says:

      Actually, I just ended up buying Medieval 2 and deciding not to purchase Shogun or any other Total War title based on this purchase. The AI seems sketchy at best and the game was bug-ridden. Is this game an outlier on these areas or should i expect similar performance from Creative Assembly?

    • GenBanks says:

      Medieval 2 is really good fun, worth getting even now imo.

    • Greg Wild says:

      None of the guys there worked on Medieval 2 most likely – it was made by CA Australia.

    • a.nye.123 says:

      They skipped Napoleon too, and Napoleon was to Empire as Med II was to Med I.

    • Emperor_Jimmu says:

      I played 12 hours of Medieval 2 on Friday night. Stuff my social life, I’m the mother-humping king of Spain.

    • Guiscard says:

      I now have cravings for Medieval II. I loved that game. Damn shame I left my copy 200 miles south of me and all I’ve got is Empire and Napoleon on Steam to work with.

    • Commisar says:

      interesting, I stated off with Medieval 2 gold and skipped both Empire and napoleon. I am looking forward to shogun though

    • Zenicetus says:

      Medieval 2 has some great mods, like Broken Crescent that shifts the map to the East, and focuses mainly on the Eastern/Islamic factions. I think it’s worth getting just for the mods that are available.

    • Werthead says:

      MEDIEVAL II has its issues but the patches take care of most of them. It’s a pretty strong game, and its expansion KINGDOMS is probably the best TOTAL WAR expansion ever made. Plus the mods for MEDIEVAL II are beyond awesome. So yeah, I’d get it.

  3. Tomm says:

    I can’t be the only one that find’s the guy in the white shirt on the right exceedingly annoying?

    Anyway, the only Total War games I’ve played are the original Shogun and then Rome, be interesting to see what’s changed.

    • Duffin says:

      His voice is like a drill boring into my brain.

    • alh_p says:

      Ironicaly, he’s communications director. No wonder their marketing is such guff.

  4. P4p3Rc1iP says:

    Rome’s still my favorite, it had the best atmosphere and (somewhat broken) balance.

  5. a.nye.123 says:

    The first Medieval was my favourite, by a long way. The Napoleonic mod swallowed my Year 12.

    • 12kill4 says:

      Rome went a long way towards saving my yr12 Ancient History mark- great for memorizing aspects of Roman military history and tactics and whatnot… not the most accurate representation of history of course, but it certainly nailed the various concepts into my head like a Persian cataphract charge…

      [of course, having a fire start in the middle of your exam also 'helps' too. Good old special considerations...]

  6. Maxmoaz says:

    Guys, guys, guys! Please stop making me sad =(

    Those of you complaining about the AI.
    First of all, there is NO Ai in the demo! CA said this themselves in their forums. The demo is scripted, why? BECAUSE IT’S A TUTORIAL! There is no AI! (Or like they described it, there’s a scripted tut.ai).

    And also, performance issues! There are 3 things this demo doesn’t support that the full game will.
    1. DirectX 11 <- This will give you a better look, for less memory.

    2. 4-6 Cores <- Demo supports only 2 core processors, the full game will support 4-6, this is VITAL for a game like shogun to run smooth.

    3. Anti Aliasing <- This is one of the most important video options to make a game look supersmooth and superkewl, it will also be enabled in the full game.

    Keep these things in mind guys! NO AI, LITTLE performance support, it's a demo! And most importantly….IT'S A TUTORIAL!

    • Nick says:

      whats the point of releasing a demo that is missing (apparently) vital components to run smoothly?

    • HardLuckRabbit says:

      No AI? That’s… just not true. At all. CA has claimed that they “left vital components of the AI out” for the demo, but that’s ridiculous. You can’t put half an AI in a demo just like you can’t put half a disc in a disc tray and expect it to work. It might be an older version of the AI but I assure you, the demo came with a fully functioning Campaign and Battle AI.

      How do I know? Because there are mods that remove all of the demo’s scripting, letting the AI stand on its own. The Free Play mod for the demo unlocks a whole hell of a lot:

      http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showthread.php?t=428223

      Almost a required experience for anyone who has the demo imo, it’ll tell you much more about the game.

      As for performance? Demos are almost always older versions of the final game engine, so it shouldnt be a surprise that certain options are left out. I agree with you fully there.

    • latedave says:

      Interesting to know HardLuckRabbit, Maxmoaz I don’t believe that, I’ve only played it 3 times and its done something different each occassion, albeit slightly rubbish as usual. Might have to give this free mod a go.

    • Bhazor says:

      Reply to Hardluckrabbit
      Because even when limited to three battles, a tiny portion of the campaign map, around a dozen units, with high end graphics disabled and major AI components switched off the demo was still 6gb.

      Reply to LateDave
      It’s hard to judge from the demo historical battle as I’m never sure how scripted they are. But they certainly put up a good fight in this one.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      The problem with not showing off the actual AI in the demo is that the AI was pretty sketchy in previous releases and is a big complaint. That doesn’t seem like a good marketing strategy to ignore that, unless of course you want to hide the AI because it’s still rubbish.

    • Commisar says:

      i know, but nobody else seems to get it

  7. Maxmoaz says:

    Like I said guys, It’s a tutorial with a 100% scripted AI. Unlike the normal games, these battles are built for you, all units you’re given are pre-chosen for the battles.

    Performance thread:
    http://forums.totalwar.com/showthread.php/8579-Shogun-2-Performance-will-be-better
    Page 3 for moderator answer. (Not official, but reliable) We know for a fact that it only utilizes 2 cores anyway..

    Official answer on DEMO’S AI:
    http://forums.totalwar.com/showthread.php/8359-Demo-FREEPLAY-Mod
    Page 1, scroll down to SenseiTW’s answer.

    Not trying to start a flame war here, you’ll thank me when you realize how much awesomesauce you’d lose if you chose to skip the game based on the demo! :D

    <3

    • ScubaMonster says:

      Poor AI was a big complaint. I think people should be able to see in a demo if they improved it. Only reason to not show it off is because it’s still bad. With as many people who complain about the AI in previous releases, you’d think they’d want to calm fears by saying “hey guys, let us show you the AI, it’s a lot more improved this time around.”

    • Premium User Badge

      Lacero says:

      I guess it’s just about possible they’ve made the AI with some kind of GIANT generated lookup table of troop positions and strengths, and so it would blow the size up by GBs.

      I look forward to someone else blowing money on this and telling me if the AI works.

  8. bonjovi says:

    CA has a hard task, as usual.

    there is a lot of expectations for AI. I for one, don’t care as much, as long as I’d be able to see my huge armies devastate numerically inferior enemy, these are the only battles I get into :-). I play Total War games on normal if you want to know, and if my virtual buddies sometimes stick to the wall or become unresponsive, or turn the backs to the charging enemy, I usually blame it on the company commanders. they drink too much!

    If the game had a realistic AI, I’d be looking how to turn it off, I’m not capable of leading the army really, I’m just trying to have fun! :-)

    • 7rigger says:

      I agree. I’m no strategist, I just want to play a game, and watch cool one-sided battles (That the auto resolve would somehow lose)

    • Chris D says:

      The AI isn’t a major issue for me either, although I think I play differently to a lot of people.

      I tend to play quite aggressively and will have a go as soon as I think I have enoguh troops to do the job. If that means I’m outnumbered two to one then so be it.

      At those odds I don’t really mind if the AI makes a few mistakes.

    • Commisar says:

      well said, plus, if you think the AI is too easy, just put it on hard

    • Zenicetus says:

      “well said, plus, if you think the AI is too easy, just put it on hard”

      If it works like previous TW games, using Hard difficulty doesn’t do anything to make the AI smarter. It just gimps your side with increases to morale loss and movement. If the AI has glaring flaws like previous TW games (for example, lack of battle line cohesion and re-forming), they’ll still be there for the player to exploit.

  9. kharnevil says:

    Rome:
    - Worth playing again, especially with Europa Barborum mod, which to be frank should have been the default “vanilla release”

    Med II:
    - With Stainless Steel mod, again is worth going back to and tbqfh should have been the “vanilla release”.

    Empire:
    - Was fantastic up to the point where you realised that they couldn’t do naval invasions, subsequent patching ALMOST fixed it, still the AI is borked with single units invading continents on their own and such. Would very much like to hear of a mod that does what EB, or SS, did for their respective games, and I’d boot Empire back up then.

    Shogun II:
    - If someone can come up with the tiniest reason as to why I need a 3D rotatable strategic map, I’d be impressed, give me decent diplomacy,ally options and improved battle AI instead please. Failing that, bah, i’ll just go back to Europa Universalis….

    • Bhazor says:

      So in your world AI is programmed by the same guys who made the user interface which is why they can’t have both?

    • Wilson says:

      @Bhazor – It all makes sense now!

    • SirKicksalot says:

      Darthmod is Empire’s SS/EB

    • Wilson says:

      I tried DarthMod, but didn’t seem to notice much difference. I wonder if I installed it properly.

    • kharnevil says:

      No no, in my world, the game would be detailed AND pretty, and not just “pretty”.

      If forum warriors and an army of fan bois can create some of the master pieces such as EB/SS, then why the heck can’t the actual developer?

    • Bhazor says:

      Because one team doesn’t have to spend three years of development working on an engine that can render 15,000 individual units and model a continent. You also seem to think that these mods are unaminously accepted to be improvements when they’re often not.

  10. Gaytard Fondue says:

    Ah, the “good AI” myth. There is know such thing. Show me one strategy game that is difficult because of the AI. And I don’t mean “let’s give the AI huge bonuses over the player so we can pretend it is good” AI like in Civ IV or CoH.

    • Wilson says:

      I think people mean good as in ‘better than the last game/comparable games on the market’ rather than ‘good compared to a human player’. Of course no-one is expecting a commercial strategy game AI to compete on equal footing with a skilled human player. Although that Sunday Papers article about Starcraft II AI was interesting.

    • RadioactiveMan says:

      Good AI can be done. The classic example is Galactic Civilizations. The game sort of like Civilization + Ascendancy. In my experience, the AI in GalCiv is very good. From what I understand, the AI is programmed like a chess-playing AI: it looks ahead and determines the best available move from the possibilities it can compute. On easier difficulties this ability is cribbed by limiting the number of turns ahead the AI can plan.

      Although, I will agree with you that good AI is exceedingly rare. Much rarer than I would like. Massive amounts of money are spent developing better and better graphics. It would be nice if more of that money went into AI development. Unfortunately, AI development is probably much harder than improving the graphics, AND better graphics will probably sell more copies. Thanks, capitalism!

    • Zenicetus says:

      GalCiv2 had challenging AI, even when set at the level where it doesn’t cheat at all. It’s not an apples-to-apples comparison to the TW series though, because all the programming hours could go into just the strategic/diplomatic map level, and not have to deal with tactical battle AI.

  11. ts061282 says:

    Total War hasn’t changed much in years. Made the mistake of buying Empire after getting into Medieval 2. They’re all the same game and the demo of Shogun 2 hasn’t included any content to show otherwise.

  12. ScubaMonster says:

    I’m going to have to read a lot of post release information and opinions before I plunge into this.

  13. bluebottle says:

    Well, at least the demo included some of the campaign, this time, giving a glimpse of the game as I’ll be seeing it for 90% of my playing time. I was actually pretty impressed with how that played out, too. Seems nicely focused, and without most of that arduous Civ wannabe gameplay that has infested the series since Rome.

    Not terribly reassured by the missing AI, though. Especially odd given just how much of the pre-release hype was dedicated to it being massively improved this time, and how they’re trying to make ammends for how terrible it’s been in the past, “Trust Us”. And I’m not expecting miracles, I know it’s never going to compete on a level playing field with humans, but it’d be nice if there weren’t any massive, utterly obvious faults on day 1, for once.

    Will wait a week, or two. Can’t see why anyone would buy CA titles on day one, any more.

  14. athropos says:

    All I’m hearing are a bunch of British guys talking all on top of each other with accents that get harder and harder to understand for a non native speaker. Just slow the hell down and form coherent words.

  15. BubbaNZ says:

    If you want The Full Nerd on AI in strategy games, this is a link to Soren Johnson’s game design journal entry 2010 Media Blast. Check out the Google tech talk vid. Sit yourself down in a nice comfy chair first though as it is loooooooong.

    http://www.designer-notes.com/?p=276

    Someone should send the link to CA, methinks.

  16. Allain says:

    I have sweet sweet memories of a Gaul General riding a Chariot with 12 men wiping out 467 enemies singlehandedly on Hard Battle and Hard Campain before taking out the roman empire.
    I loved the dogs, burning pigs, elephants, phalanx, sacred band cavalry and Companion calvalry of Rome.

    I loved the migrations, taking out a 1700 strong Hun force with a castle with burining oil, a lot of spear men and a couple of well placed archers at 28-5 odds.

    I truly enjoyed the Naval battles. guns and Napoleonic grand strategy, (but hated my much loved elite troops beeing slaughterd by peasants and 12 gauge cannons)

    Shogun looks back to the epic melee battles but seems to forget the little spikes of terror seen when elephants, dogs and cavalry bear down on a 4 times bigger enemy in the back while fighing my almost dead super elite Hastatii, less trained Triarii and pretorian guards.

    Hopefully i will be positively surprised, particulary if “Art of War” AI comes into play and its possible to buys off any one on the battle map….