Ripe Old Carthage: Total War – Rome II

By Adam Smith on December 18th, 2012 at 2:00 pm.

Total Two: War Rome is going to be enormous, like the Roman Empire itself, although hopefully it won’t suffer from sprawling overstretch and collapse, in conflict with itself. Forty units, combining naval and land forces, can take place in the battles, and the developer diary below concentrates on the siege of Carthage, because it’s a big city having rocks lobbed at it. Creative Assembly discuss the historical context for the battle and introduce the tactical map, to help with orientation during the large scale struggles. The next diary takes us to the forests of Germania and Gaul. It’s all impressive stuff so far, although I can’t wait to see more of the game’s strategic side.

The elephants tearing down the street are terrifying. Is the man shouting ‘steady’ going to try and punch them? He’s mad!

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60 Comments »

  1. Discopanda says:

    Oh come on, this isn’t a news article, this is just another lame dev diary.

    …I mean, it should at least be TWO dev diaries! OR THREE! OR THE WHOLE GAME, RIGHT NOW! WGWRSGT#QWGJKLSF

  2. Duffin says:

    All these pre-release videos are starting to get a bit gauling.

  3. AmateurScience says:

    Looks finished to me. I say release it now.

    Please?

    aw

  4. Scissors says:

    If this game fails (say, because they decide to make it “more accessible”) I will be mad. (bro)

  5. Alphabet says:

    I would pay more than the release price of this game for a remake of any of their previous titles where the only change would be good battle AI.

    I think they have consistently used pretty graphics to distract from the horrible ineptitude of their AI. I don’t for a second think it’s an easy problem to solve – it might be beyond current AI tech – but this for me makes the series an illusion (not quite a scam). I’ve never understood the extent of its commercial success.

    • Mctittles says:

      While I agree, it’s hard not to wonder if their AI is as good as it’s going to get for awhile, considering things like we can’t even program a competent AI to play a game of “Go” for instance. Human brains are just too advanced :).

      • Ateius says:

        That’s the thing – it’s not that the battle AI itself is bad, per say (outside of sieges, within which it is and always has been rubbish). The problem is that, as an AI, it’s pre-programmed. It’s got a large repertoire of moves to deploy in response to the player, but it can’t organically react, so once the player learns to recognize and exploit its patterns, the AI is screwed and will stumble into trap after meticulously prepared trap.

        If it’s going to really, honestly get better, then CA needs to create an AI capable of truly learning and adapting on the fly, and by the time we get to that level of games programming Skynet’s only a few months away from destroying the world anyway. Until then, all they can do is throw more strategems and counter-stratagems into the AI’s bag of pre-programmed tricks, which just delays a little longer how long it takes for the player to learn, adapt and begin exploiting.

        • socrate says:

          AI don’t need to learn…the thing most AI do these day is a repetitive pattern with no tactic involved and no genius behind it….you should play some good AI game and actually go and background check the AI reaction to your action…..today there is next to no good AI on the market and no sign of improvement from any dev,people love to win and not be challenged these days and AI is in there eye a big resource drain in money and power required to run it,in game like these they should have a big priority…the Total war game have horrible AI…to the point that every battle tend to repeat themself over and over again and go dull very fast the AI is way to simplistic and for game that supposedly “REPRESENT” historical battle and past war,where tactic and strategy was a big part of a battle,its just do one of the poorest job ever done in the entire gaming history…just like civ 5 does really,what AI need is just a list of different pattern to use on different situation with random roll its that simple yet they wont do it.

          Now about the game….i think they dumb down a load of stuff more and more through the series and don’t offer anything interesting…the intrigue and art of war is just never there to the point were i felt like buying all these total war game always felt like a huge rip off in the end and i will find out another try play this one…shogun2 was actually extremely low quality with a TONS of DLC and i hate how DLC work and are introduced and replaced the really good quality expansion…the unit all look the same…there isnt much fun into it or even tactic,the difference between all the different clan that you read in history book just wasn’t there and just felt like blue army going against red army the entire game,the spy system is just totally boring and uninspired,you would think that with so many class of spy you would be able to do interesting stuff other then rock,paper and scissor….really boring…the only improvement in the series ive seen was in empire total war the map sector were reduced and became a bit more realistic and manageable compared to rome and medieval but then you have a “technology tree” which you end up always taking the same damn path because lets face it,there is one clear good path in that tree,and im tired of false tech tree there just so they are there.

          Another HUGE problem is their game is always buggy as hell and pathing is always a HUGE problem in them just like unit collision is,their save game are still the one that take the biggest space ever,they even beat the sims 3 horrible way to save a game,the economy is just unbalanced to the point of not making any sense at all.

          Shogun also went way to much multiplayer instead of actually improving or fixing gameplay and quite frankly i didn’t enjoy multiplayer AT ALL….the naval battle weren’t improved that much from empire also they still seem buggy,hard to control,manage and stupidly overhyped yet again.

          With game like King Crusader 2 giving you soooo much tactic and way to screw people over and feel like you have so much control and scheme and execute plan that not always work but are still a blast…sure i miss the RTS battle…but Total war don’t do this well at all anyway…its just a series about graphic that doesn’t do anything properly at all and that i always hope it does better and make thing tactical and interesting and they never do and always do worst and worst in most case…the DLC pretty much did it for me il never buy from this series ever again.

          Hey they did milk me for a long time out of hope.

      • 0over0 says:

        As a lowly 1 dan or thereabouts, I would say most humans (myself included) also cannot play a decent game of Go. Go is very difficult to program and should not be used in comparison to computer games, which are much more linear.

        • Mctittles says:

          I always thought Go was a good example to easily see the problems in creating computer AI though because it is so simple to understand.
          How to play Go is as simple as it gets. You place a colored stone each turn. The problem of programming comes in to the fact after a couple of moves the combination of possible future moves grows to incalculable numbers. Which is really the only way we know how to program AI.
          We have been able to make a perfect AI for chess for the sole reason that chess has a “relative” small amount of moves that can be done per turn or per entire game. The computer can calculate every possible outcome for every possible move and make the best move. Most games (including Go and Rome) have too many possibilities to iterate through; especially if you need to do this every frame. Rome is far from linear in terms of movement. Millions of possible locations to move your armies each and every second.

          Our brain on the other hand works so fast that we don’t even realize it. When you play Go, in one glance at the board you automatically disregard hundreds of moves. It’s not even a conscious process, you just start by only considering a handful of moves that make sense. Just as you know how to put a pencil properly in a pencil sharpener without testing every possible angle of entry first. Our brain disregards millions of possibilities and we don’t even “think” about it.

          A lot of AI problems should be broken down into something simple (like the game of Go) to easily understand what we are looking at. Once you begin abstracting them behind layers of game-play and rules it becomes easier to fool yourself into thinking the impossible is actually possible.

  6. Cinnamon says:

    Why would I be worried about it being too easy to give orders to my units to the point where they want to reassure me that I can’t give orders to them at all at certain times? Perplexing. Add tactical view, make sure that the player can’t issue tactical commands in it. Thanks CA.

    • Unaco says:

      Because, having that sort of tactical view, rather than just a camera restricted to your Commander (or to the battemap), would have been beyond the capabilities of military organisation back in the day. No spy satellites or the like. The Tactical View is to allow you to see terrain, and the positioning of your troops, to give you that information… but being able to command and control from that view would be somewhat stretching the whole metaphor or whatever. They probably reassure people in the video because it’s something new coming to the TW games and, as with everything new in video games (and a lot of things), they’ve probably had a lot of people complaining that it would make the battles too easy, or ruin the spirit of the game, or isn’t realistic etc. etc. Thus, they make the point that the Tactical View doesn’t allow command, just a view of Terrain and Troop positioning.

      Total War games have always had this idea that, in the Tactical Battles, you command from a position somewhat close to what an actual Commander in that situation would have commanded from. The Tactical View, if it allowed command, would be stretching that quite a bit. But, with the larger and more complex battle maps, the vast cities etc. it’s a good feature (imo) for keeping track of things, without allowing the direct command.

      • Cinnamon says:

        The game isn’t that realistic and would not be enjoyable to play if it was. You don’t have to rely on messengers to send orders and don’t have to see every single unit apart from the generals bodyguard under individual AI control.

        Besides, the only real heated complaining I have seen is people whining about how it isn’t like Starcraft and it has to be like Starcraft to be a real RTS. As in, you have to control units zoomed in because that’s how Starcraft does it and if you zoom out it means no micro which means no skill. That’s after you get past complaints about how it is too slow or has no base building.

        • Unaco says:

          True, it’s not that realistic… but for some, and the devs themselves obviously, the Command ability from Tactical View would be a bit too much. It isn’t totally realistic, but the ‘realism’ that they do have (restricting camera to Commander, or just to the traditional battle view) they obviously want to keep, or maintain… allowing command from Tactical view would go beyond that, ne? Similarly, but in the other direction, some people are asking for even more restricted commands… things like messengers and orders taking time to propagate etc.

          It’s all about a balance, and the devs feel that effective Command (I think you can actually give limited orders from that view) from the Tactical view would be tipping the balance too much to one side. Just as inclusion of Decimation or vacations for your troops, or very complex diplomacy/Senate interactions, or heavy logistics would be tipping it too much to the other side. The Tactical view is primarily for orientation, rather than Command, and thus the balance from the previous games is maintained. And the Devs are reassuring their audience that they are trying to keep that balance, by not making the view that ‘overpowered’.

    • Jimbo says:

      They should reconsider this decision. I see what they’re getting at, but in practice you will just zoom in, issue the order then zoom back out. That doesn’t achieving anything, it’s just bad design.

      I’m all for them introducing gameplay mechanics to better reflect how difficult it would be to command so many troops, and I think that would bring up a lot of ways they could make the game more interesting (ie. having AI sub-commanders with different skills and personalities etc.). I don’t think adding a layer of hassle to the UI is the way to achieve it.

  7. sdancer says:

    If the engine is as inefficient as those of previous TW games, I don’t even want to see the system requirements. I’m always amazed at how bad Empire or Shogun 2 look in relation to the racket of the GPU fan after the multi-minute load times, and if they keep up that tradition, Rome 2 won’t run on any existing hardware even after it loads from the SSD RAID0.

    I also hope that they finally get around to revising their camera controls (which are among the worst of the tactics/strategy games) and naval battles (which also suck some major donkey, mostly due to putting perceived realism over fun).

    Rome was really the last TW game I enjoyed; everything after that just felt somehow clunky and haphazard. Here’s hope they manage to get back on track.

    Oh, and Total Warhammer. Pretty please?

    • Natti says:

      I’d say Shogun 2 is actually pretty damn well optimized, atleast compared to Medieval 2 or *shudder* Empire.
      Runs and looks nice on my Radeon HD4870, which isn’t a great card to begin with.

      I have really high hopes for Rome 2, and I’m getting a new graphics card next summer just to make sure I can run Company of Heroes 2 and Rome 2.

      And about the load times: yes, Shogun 2 has simply horrifying load times, but you have to consider the amount of textures and models and all things the game uses. Haven’t seen any horrible load times with Empire.

      • sdancer says:

        It runs pretty well on my 6950 too, but I absolutely need to manually put the card into a very-low-power mode, or it will just run its fan at maximum all the time, on the strategic map and in battles. The TW games and Furbench are the only things so far that actually try to melt the card. I hooked the system up to a power meter once, and from the looks of it, those are pretty expensive games to play.

    • Mctittles says:

      The original Rome: TW was some pretty great programming. I can still play that game on my extra PC with 500mhz PIII and a Geforce 3 card.
      Now on my other extra PC with 3ghz Celeron and AGP DX10 ATI card I cannot play games like Dungeons of Dreadmore, Super Meat Boy, or Scribblenauts Unlimited.

      I don’t think anyone is even trying to optimize anymore.

  8. Thing says:

    They speak a but too much about the whole Carthage buisness for me to be comfortable with. If a dev puts an feature on your face and smacks it with a hammer so it sticks, it propably means he does not have much else to brag about.

    • Ateius says:

      Carthage is pretty clearly their party piece. It’s been all we’ve heard about so far.

    • Askeladd says:

      Agreed. These Dev vid blogs only show their lack of new things. If I have to talk in a 3:37 video two minutes about ancient history and show almost no gameplay footage, I might as well don’t show anything.

      Also: Landing actions from the ships are kinda stupid. They land on an empty beach and the enemy build pavises beforehand for them?

      They concentrate imo on the wrong things. Rome has enough bugs that seem to never get fixed. Buggy AI pathing and unit collision patterns are just two of them. And hopefully they improved the economic aspect of the game. But they never seem to talk about those things.

  9. sonson says:

    Can’t see how they’re going to top Shogun 2. They should just drop this and move on to Total War:Hammer. Then I can plan the rest of my life out in advance i.e play Total War: Hammer forever.

  10. ShEsHy says:

    Am I the only one who plays Total War games for the strategic part, and not for the tactical battles?
    If I am, I should say that the strategy part in TW went to the crapper with Empire when they introduced those little vilages and slots in cities.

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