The amazing pace in terms of updates continues… or not. Anyway, before I try to finalize some more screenshots, I guess I better complete my description of the previous one. With the map out of the way, I guess I’d better explain the panels.
The panel to the left of the screen is the basic mini-map; the buttons on that panel perform the fairly obvious services:
- “End Turn” ends the turn
- “Forum” takes the player to the faction screen. This allows the player to manipulate his faction (dynasty, in the case of Pyrrhus), marrying off family members, bringing up children, etc.
- “Empire” takes the player to the imperial overview screen, where the player can conduct diplomacy, set tributes or subsidies, and imperial tax.
- “Menu” takes the player to the game menu (saving/loading/options and so on).
On the right side, is the display panel showing the currently selected person (it can also be used to show recent game messages or the currently selected region). The right side of this panel displays the person’s portrait, while the five bars next to that displays the current skills of the person. These skills are – from top to bottom:
- Command:Â With a rating of 8, Pyrrhus is clearly one of the leading generals of his age. Command skill has a significant effect on the outcome of battles, as you’d expect.
- Combat: The skill of the character at fighting hand to hand – essentially a measure of the person’s survivability in combat. Leading from the front was expected of commanders in many cultures, and Pyrrhus’s stats mean that he will be reasonably effective doing so. Good combat skills will also help the person survive assasination attempts.
- Organization: The organizational skill of a person is required in many situations, particularly in matters relating to construction, supply, and administration. Pyrrhus is a competent, if average administrator.
- Oratory: The skill of the person at talking others round to his or her point of view. This is utilized in all interactions between persons in the game as well as diplomatic endeavours. It is of course supremely useful for Roman politicians.
- Guile: The skill of the person at mind games and treachery. Useful for stirring up trouble, thinking of nasty tricks and recognizing opportunities (such as successfully engineering the betrayal of a city). This is also a very useful skill for politicians.
I am still debating whether to add a sixth skill, but that will wait until I have seen how these five balance out.
Next to the skills, the forces of Pyrrhus are displayed (number of troops and land factor on top, fleet and sea factor below). The order column displays which order Pyrrhus is currently set to (nothing). The list of buttons on the left side of the panel are the order options, allowing the player to set the orders of the general. I won’t go in depth with them at this time, but just point out that “Levy” actually indicates “Tax Levying” – essentially a form of pillaging and “Recrt” stands for “Recruitment”.
That’s it for the screenshot.
Work has progressed well for the past week. Right at this moment, I am (hopefully) finalizing elements of the combat system related to the withdrawal before battle. I’m pretty happy with the combat system that I’ve settled with now – although it is a pretty simple auto-resolution system, it actually provides the player with some degree of input and I think could even be made visually attractive, if I had the artists to work on it. There is a clear distinction between battle-line troops, skirmish troops and flanking cavalry and the system will reward balanced armies. In addition, troop experience and leadership skill have a significant impact on the battle outcome. Did I say I am happy with the system?
Once I’ve got this settled, it will (finally) be on to the implementation of the Roman election system. I’ve been giving this serious consideration, and I think I have settled for a final shape of the system that is fairly easy to implement and works for the game. My biggest worry is to get the AI negotiating well, but I think that this idea gives the AI a chance of balancing out the player.
We shall see.