Rise of Nations, for those who’ve been under a rock the past year, is the brainchild of Brian Reynolds – the man behind Civilization 2 and Alpha Centauri. Although Sid Meier’s name was used to promote both games, it was Brian who designed both games.
Now on his own as founder of Big Huge Games, he’s trying to put together a revolutionary idea with Rise of Nations. What might that be? Why, what else but a real-time RTS with a Civilization theme?
Founding a second city
w00t l33t l00t
Fark get me FOOD
Age of Empires pushed boundaries with its multitude of civs to choose, but Rise of Nations does better – much, much better – with 18 historical civilizations from all across the world. Count them: Aztecs, Bantu, British, Chinese, Egyptians, French, Germans, Greeks, Inca, Japanese, Koreans, Maya, Mongols, Nubians, Romans, Russians, Spanish, and the Turks. That’s as many as Age of Kings and its expansion pack had.
So what, it’s got 18 civs…
Of course, the really interesting challenges lie not in designing civilizations, but in bringing them from the stone age into the information age – in about 60 minutes. How a game maintains even a semblance of sanity with the player racing through eight ages is beyond us. It quickly becomes obvious however, that great care was taken to combat any tech-overload problems that players may experience.
Firstly, the major technological advances are all located at one place, the library. Ancillary technologies, such as those that upgrade production or units can be found at their specific buildings. It’s important to note that units don’t need to be upgraded with every new age. A player can ignore his units from the classical age until the enlightenment age, and then it costs only one upgrade to bring them up to speed – rather than having to go through the whole sequence of upgrades. That’s an important distinction and leaves some serious resource management decisions – it may not be worth upgrading units unless you are planning or expecting an attack. Production upgrades on the other hand, must be researched in sequence – one can’t just research the latest and receive the benefits of the previous ones as well.
Cities, once built, can only be captured but not destroyed. To capture a building, the player must bring the city’s hitpoints down to 0 and then send an infantry unit in. Following this, a timer will count down before capture is complete. Capture immediately hands the player all civic buildings in the city radius that belonged to his enemy, but military structures remain independent.