Greetings one and all to Development Update #007! As opposed to sporadic and/or spontaneous updates, I plan now instead to do weekly or biweekly updates, on the monday. Thursday also if progress permits.
The last few days I've not had any work, and i've pretty much been bombing the hell out of my Forum Romanum PSD file (basically where the entirety of all the graphics are currently kept). Here is a building-by-building progress report, in chronological order, as of my completion date.
I have come to realise that when I bend the rules a little on when it comes to how accurately I am constructing the buildings, I find myself able to put far more detail into them. And such was the case with the Curia Hostilia.
After I had completed the Curia, I began researching into the Comitium, ready to move on. However, I discovered that what I had previously built was in fact the Curia Julia, which was around 50BCE as opposed to 200BCE.
Further research; boasting 3 hours of digging, 16 tabs of pages and minor brain-strain, I found that there was previous a building called the Curia Hostilia in the location. However, it faced eastward, as opposed to Curia Julia which faces southward - the one I had already created.
I decided to apply my rule-bending here, choosing to keep the Curia Julia as it is. Whilst borne somewhat of laziness, it was also the fact that a side-view of the building would be far less impressive, as opposed to the south-facing view, above.
I use the term impressive lightly.
Meanwhile, the Comitium was not an open courtyard that Senate members could choose to use for their meetings on a sunny day as opposed to the Curia, but a set of stairs formed in a circle, leading downward, seconded as seating. The Rostra that I had previously drawn to the south-west turned out to be the "new" Rostra, built during the Empire, whilst the "old" Rostra was one built, during the Republic (if not before), into the circle, taking up a quarter.
Back on topic; the Curia. The Curia is the senate house, where representatives and political peoples would congress and debate the shenanigans of Rome and beyond. I plan, if possible, to allow players who wish to chase up a career in Politics, to be able to one day apply themselves to the Senate.
The Senate would follow the same political ins-and-outs/selection cycle as it did once upon a time, hopefully keeping the senate members fresh, on their feet, and likely applying intrigue to stay in power.
I think I jizzed. Moving on.
The Senate members, where possible, will be able to influence the Republic itself. Maybe increasing and lowering taxes. This may alleviate and enrich trader players, or squeeze their pennies.
Per example, as possibility, if the increase in taxes may cause some players to go into crime, finding that path is more profittable. Or, sticking to tradesmanship, he may begin to trade in another country. In return, this would - over time - decrease the income to the Purse of Rome. So to speak.
Again, this is if possible.
A system like this would be a huge undertaking, having to apply, edit and program many little things all over the place. In actuality, it may prove too much for the system.
That doesn't mean we won't try, eventually.
Lapis Niger, "Black Stone", was a fun little piece. The shrine itself was easy enough to make, seeing as it's just a block of stone, it even introduced a new palette with itself, considering it is made of darker stone.
I have attempted to, crudely, cross the symbols to the shrine, although some of the text is actually missing from the real-life Lapis Niger.
I have found that I immensely enjoy (Immensely may be a tad too strong) making altars. This one was rather simple.
I have no evidence that there was actually an altar, in fact I found evidence that there was also something called the Vulcanal in the area, which was strongly tied to the Lapis Niger. The Vulcanal is a sanctuary for Vulcan, the God of Fire. However, I could not find a second source to draw out where it was located, or even what it looked like.
In any case, as I said, the Altar may never have even been there. But I wish to strongly tie religion to the Roman player's life, due to it being such a strong part of their culture, hand-in-hand with ancestors.
Ergo, if a player were to take a moment to worship or pay tribute to a deity, things related to that deity may happen indirectly. For example, if you pay tribute to a god of farming, a direct event would be for seeds to magically appear in front of you. An indirect event would be that your farmlands grow quicker.
Throughout history, people believe worshipping and otherwise paying tribute to gods would bring luck, related to that god.
And, rather than following a typical game route of "Do this, get this in return", it is moreso alike to "Do this, and you may notice over time, this will happen, as if by luck".
Currently, I am working on the Comitium. The comitium, as I previously mentioned in my geek rant under Curia Hostilia, is a place that the people of Rome would gather to hear the proclaimations of a speaker atop of the Rostra, usually a man keeping people up to date on the shenanigans of the Roman Republic - I'm not sure what they're actually named, as of yet.
Actually, did I mention that?
Heh, apparently not. Well, there you go. That's pretty much the Comitium.
In actuality, the Comitium is a circular construction, an impression in the ground, stairs leading out of it in each and which direction.
However, due to Project Earth being 2D, I've had to make this square so that players dont look like... well, weird. It really doesn't look like the player is sitting, if he is facing southwards on a south-east-east facing bench.
And The Future?
The remaining constructions are the Basilica Aemilia and the prestigious Atrium Vestae.
I possibly previously mentioned that the Basilica Aemilia was not built as it is today, during or before of 200BCE. From my research I have garnered that it was more alike to a row of stores - or was it warehouses? I'll have to look into this once more.
The Atrium Vestae will be quite a bit of fun. It is in the south-east corner of the map, and is facing northward. Due to its complexity, I will be making an extra area for this location, so that when you step southwards onto the compound, you will be twisted around into a new area, where the Atrium Vestae is facing southward - giving you a full view of its beauty.
This means I'll, in-fact, be making two graphics of the same area.
After these two are completed, I begin work on the paving, road-laying, elevating and beautification of the area.
The only other building on my to-do list which has its own full-graphic, as opposed to relying on tiles, is the Carcer which is to the north-west. The carcer is basically a prison - it is in fact, a direct translation from Carcer to Prison.
Insider: Planned Feature of the Week
Each monday, I'll be letting on onto a planned feature for Project Earth,
declining ever so slowly down my list of said subject.
Feature #01: Character Creation
During Character Creation, there are five steps. Each step you complete will completely effect the possible selections later on during the process, and your character as a person.
Step one will be your gender - nice and simple.
Are you a male, or female?
Step Two will be your Race and Origin. Where are you from? What region?
You begin by selecting a continent (Africa, Asia, Europe, so forth), then a new selection comes up of which country. From there, once selected, you choose specifically which region. When you select a region, an image of that region will appear to the side, allowing you to view if you just selected the north of south of your selected country.
Naturally, many people will be drawn to the hustle, bustle, riches and opportunities of the Capital city, whilst slower-paced gamers may want a simple farmer's life. This will reflect population and business in-game, due to these choices.
Step Three is a Questionnaire about your history of life, leading up to the time you begin playing.
Think Morrowind, or Fallout 3. Remember during the GOAT test, or at the tax office, where you were asked scenarios you may be find yourself in?
Well, it's like that, except they are situations you were in. So, if you previously chose to live in the Capital City, you will be asked Urban questions. "Your mother asked you to run to the market, etc." Meanwhile, if you chose a sleepy fishing village, questions will reflect this, such as "On your first day of fishing with your father..."
Can't be bothered to spend time going through the questionnare? Hit randomize!
If any of you have ever played Alterego, the trés-old game for the Commodre 64, I think it was, the questions are more direct and reflective, alike to Alterego.
It's basically a fast-forward text game of events in your life. These events will directly affect your starting alignment, currency, status, abilities, skills, memories, and so forth. I'll explain these later - in another edition of Insider!
Once you are finished, you can view the choices you chose in a short-story format. Again, another game comparison, is Hitman. When you finished a mission, a newspaper would fly onto the screen and you could read about how the "Assassin" broke into the house, how many people were killed, injured and so forth.
Similar thing, but in a "Bob Smith was born on the 14th October." "When the bullies attempted to take the crate of oranges from his grasp..." so forth, in past-tense.
Step Four is basically an overview of your current situation.
So, how much money does my character own, at this age? What land? What is his status? How strong is he? How fast, smart? So forth.
Don't like it? Retake your history.
Step Five is where you customize your character.
If you chose female, you will have a female portrait apparent to the side, as well as a sprite of how she would appear. Likewise for male.
As you select your hairstyle, hair colour, eye colour and skin colour, changes will be made to your portrait and sprite. Some selection will only really be apparent to the portrait, such as jawline and eye shape.
Now, keep in mind this is a process of what location you came from. So, if you choose to be an italian, chinese-shaped eyes and Black African black skin will not be available. If you wish to be a Black African living in Italia, you will have to travel there once-in game.
Once you are done... Awaken.
This Week's Q&A
So, this is a 2d rpg that uses prerendered buildings?
Just for the Forum Romanum. If I were to do prerendered buildings for the entire game, I'd be working on this for years! The rest of the game will be using tiles, for the most part.
Certain locations will likely have their own unique tiles, however.
Oh, on the subject of land-ownership and NPCs- can we actually found our own empires and go out conquering?
As of the moment, No. I have no plans for players to be able to build up their own nations, considering this is history-based. However, given time and reminding, I will look into the possibility of this, in a far more developed Project Earth.
However, you may be able to form guilds and groups, given the available resources, such as land ownership and NPCs that you can hire to your employment. If you were to expand on this with other players, you could form an internal hierarchy where, as the leader, you could proclaim your title as "King" or "Emperor", and so forth. You could even give subordinate players more power and access to locations and resources that your group owns, than other members of your group, and have them as Vassals, Generals and so forth.