We have included a slightly long winded introduction script at the beginning of the campaign. This introduction gives you a fairly detailed bit of the background to the story and various regions on the map. It can be skipped at any time by pressing 'Esc' key - however the audio may continue for a minute after this.
Trojan War :-
One of the biggest differences between Aristeia and TTW is this time there is an actual trojan war! Each faction starts with armies and a camp in the general region of Troy. There are two assault areas, one on the plain of troy and another further south, both linked by the Minoans under the leadership of Idomeneus who can attack both areas.
The camps do not allow the training or re-training of troops, but merely function as a defensive base. If an army is to be maintained then reinforcements will need to be shipped in from home without leaving the home territories too weak.
No Greek faction is singularly strong enough to take Troy, and the Trojans are not strong enough to defeat the Greeks... at the start of the war anyway. In order to take troy (an objective for all Greek factions) teamwork will be required with allied nations. The alliance will have to be nurtured, military assistance granted when sought, and strategy used to full effect on the campaign map (the areas around troy present plenty of possibilities).
Of course it is not just enough to take troy, you need to be able to hold it, so don't go wasting all of your troops on the assault. Once troy falls alliances will strain. If it is left poorly defended then civil war will likely erupt in Greece. Many factions will ask themselves why they spent so much money and lives on the assault if they gain nothing from it - and so might you if when playing as a Greek faction an ally captures the city first.
One-man hero units :-
At last we have single soldier hero units in both campaign games and custom battles!
Each hero will appear to have six men in his 'bodyguard', but rest assured there is only one man on the field. Each of these 'extra' six should be treated as a relative endurance or health counter for the hero. The lower it gets the less damage he will do and the more likely he will die. These will regenerate over a number of turns on the campaign map.
Hero combat is different to typical Total War combat and a greater degree of control should be exercised over one's hero to prevent him running off and getting killed. It is recommended that the 'defend area' button is pressed for all hero units.
Heroes are the most powerful unit in the game but they do have two weakness. The first, quite obviously, is other heroes, the second is chariots. Even the strongest hero can't withstand being repeatedly run over by chariots and their horses, however heroes are also the strongest weapon to use against chariots and kill them far quicker than any other unit. They can also cause mayhem on the battle line fighting against standard infantry (an excellent way for them to gain experience and traits to make them more powerful) - but they are not indestructible and will die if overwhelmed.
Heroes tend to seek each other out in battle, and can kill each other quite quickly. This is the best way to kill an enemy hero if chariots are not available.
Once a hero dies the morale impact on the battle is huge and an entire army may route unless it consists of the most elite troops or other heroes. Once dead their armour is taken by the enemy and this provides them with a morale bonus. Heroes who accumulate a vast amount of enemy cuirasses will be particularly feared on the battlefield.
There are a large number of new traits and ancillaries which will help shape a heroes abilities. Even the weakest hero can be nurtured to become one of the best. Even the best can fall victim to a lucky blow from an inferior enemy, such must be acts of the Gods.
New Atmospheric Lighting :-
Through a painstaking mixture of relative planning, trial and error I have come up with what I consider as the perfect atmospheric lighting for both the Aristeia campaign map and battle map. The colours are somewhat desaturated; the environment is foggy and bronze. There is a high contrast between bright and dark areas. The shadows help to bring out the details on the new higher poly unit models.
The lighting is just one of the aristeia features which have no other purpose than to create a unique atmosphere for the mod, a 'feel' which suits the myth and a look which is uniquely identifiable as Aristeia.
Higher Poly Units :-
It has greatly lengthened the production process but virtually all units have been hand crafted. The models, and more importantly the textures have all been painted from hand with only a tiny number of exceptions (such as revivals of popular TTW units). I do hope that during play people will stop to take in the detail on the units. The symbols and styles have all been researched, and while there may be a degree of similarity in the units the textures help make each faction's unique.
Regional Recruitment System :-
In Aristeia we have implemented a regional recruitment system which allows all factions to recruit the generic unit types of each region. For each of these units there are unique textures. For example, as the house of Atreus, if I successfully capture Troy I will be able to recruit all of the generic mysian region units. The generic units are as follows:-
Spearmen, swordsmen, slingers, archers, javeliniers.
Each regional variety has its own strengths and weaknesses.
Each faction can however train its native generic types in any region if they build a port of adequate size to ship them in. As well as adding variety to the armies of each faction this feature also introduces a new game-play element. You will not be able to retrain your native soldiers in foreign lands unless a port is available. In land locked areas native troops will never be available - and so re-supplying your forces by capturing settlements with ports will be of great importance. The only other way to resupply will be to manually bring in new troops by sea. This is of particular importance for the coastal camps around troy where no recruitment is possible.
Each faction also has unique 'guard' units. These are dependent on your factions ruling house and can be recruited anywhere if there is a suitable size government building. The downside of relying on these troops however is that they are more expensive and take twice as long to recruit.
In Aristeia there are also regional specific units, such as the myrmidons, Trojan silver spearmen and carian axmen. In order to recruit these troops the required region must be under your control.