Aggressors Dev Diary 4 – Historical Accuracy

We are all big fans and admirers of the ancient era and we wanted this to be visible throughout the whole game. We want the player to relive the highs and lows of the old times with the ancient nations as if they were really there. All the game concepts of Aggressors were designed with the desire to be as close to historical reality as possible.

 

It started with the historical map and initial setup of course. We spent many weeks studying historical sources, maps and chronicles to set up the map as accurately as we could. It was not always easy – some nations didn’t leave any source of information about what kind of life they led, what were they trying to achieve or conqueror even where they were located exactly. We can find only fragmentary information from other nations writing about their enemies or “unknown barbarians behind their borders”. Sometimes it was a bit of a roll of the dice as the sources were often contradictory and we had to pick one.

After long time tweaking the map, we are pretty happy about the result and we could finally move on to an even more difficult part – historical context. We needed to setup the nations and goals in such a way that would draw the players in and made them identify with the nation they lead.

Historical summaries are full of big dreams, ambitions and grand plans. We let ourselves be inspired by these great visionaries and we decided to create a set of unique short-term and mid-term goals for each nation that reflect the aspirations and hopes of ancient heroes.

This was even more difficult than the map setup because we needed to “guess” the potential goals of each of the nation despite the fact that in history they were wiped out by their enemies before they reached any of those goals! Sometimes we could be led by history itself (like for example in the case of the Roman conquest of Sicily), sometimes by historical sources of what specific countries and conquerors aspired to achieve and sometimes by our own point of view and we had to think about “what if” situations.

We named these goals Objectives and they include territorial expansion, military campaigns, economic, cultural or political development, diplomatic relationships and many more. But nothing comes easy in life and neither do rewards for achieving the Objective’s goal. Players need to put some effort and thinking into these side quests to reap the bonuses waiting at their ends.

 

 

We didn‘t want to create these objectives in a way like many other games do – “conquer this and that and you get precisely this amount of resources as a reward”. This doesn’t feel very realistic and thus the feeling of fulfilling the actual goal of a specific country is forever lost.

In Aggressors the player doesn’t know what exactly he needs to do to reach the goal, neither does he know the scope of the potential rewards. The ancient nations worked hard to turntheir plans into reality but events out of their control could shatter their life-long work. Even if they crowned their effort with success, the benefits were not predictable or known in advance. Actually, fulfilling grandiose plans could even bring more problems than profits.

Let’s demonstrate how the Objectives system works with an example – the goal is to build a strong standing army. As a commander of all armed forces you want to have a reliable and formidable army. You start recruiting men into infantry and cavalry units and perhaps even expand your fleet. But the strength of your army is only measurable in comparison with armies of your opponents and you can be sure that they do not waste time and build their armed forces just as you are trying to do the same. So, it cannot be predicted how many units or what unit types you need to achieve the objective. It simply depends on what kind of opponents you have.

And in the same way you cannot predict the effects such actions will have. It might seem like becoming a military superpower can result in small and weak states offering you political alliances as they hope to gain a strong protector and the happiness of your citizens will increase as they will feel safe in their homes. On the other hand, once you really accumulate such a power, people might slowly realize that they don‘t really need such a power anymore and the potential benefit might be close to nothing. Moreover the majority of young and able men are now serving in your army and there simply isn’t enough men to work the fields. All in all, you cannot see the future until it happens and you can only adapt to its ever-changing flow.

But we realize that the player already gets a lot of adrenalin from all the action in the game and so we have hidden a hint in the description of each objective that should guide the player in the right direction. The information is purely textual like the goals in Ancient times and players must follow this hint till they reach the goal. Apart from that, there is a progress bar showing how far the player has gone in achieving the goal and this can also be taken as an indication if he is going the right way.

The setup of these objectives is not fixed from the beginning. Some objectives unlock other objectives depending on the way the alternative history of the game develops so you will always find a number of interesting side quests to fill your days with.

While working on the Objectives we realized that the ancient leaders were quite creative in using their resources and in creating opportunities. Ruling a large nation was never an easy task and to succeed meant that they always had to find a way out of a difficult situation.

All rulers are eventually confronted with situations that require fast and decisive actions, for example acute lack of resources, crisis or dangerously low army morale. History teaches us that in such moments the ruling elite usually tried to find a quick and effective, even if unusual and risky, remedy which in the game is represented by the so called State decisions. They are solutions that can contain dangerous situations and slow the downfall but their success rate and impact is difficult to predict and you will need to take the leap of faith if you decide to use them.

 

 

Take the examples of food distribution in times of a looming famine, organizing games when unrest was stirring in the population or calling tribal meetings when joint action was required. Such actions were not frequently used, rather the opposite. But when the crisis reached its peak and the ruling class was gripped by desperation, they were willing to turn to risky and often expensive solutions.

Nothing is for free and also the State decisions come at a price while their outcomes are not fully predictable even with the textual estimation of potential outcome. It is the choice of the player to choose if he is ready to pay perhaps a high price to buy himself some time to restore the situation in his country.

The State decisions are available only when concrete conditions are fulfilled and only whilst those conditions last. It is only logical, you probably wouldn’t enforce complete obedience of your soldiers by ordering army decimation unless it is the last and only hope you have left to keep your military units fighting.

I think it is good time to slowly dive into one of the most important aspects of the game – country management. It includes aspects like population happiness, migration, birthrate control and influence of adjacent countries on your cities. But this is a subject for our next dev diary…

Unreal Engine Developers Come Out On Top at E3 2018

The video game industry came together last week in Los Angeles as E3 2018 gave teams of all shapes and sizes a central stage to showcase their work. At the heart of it all were Unreal Engine developers who dominated headlines and demonstrated a vast variety of projects across platforms and genres.

From the bright lights of major press events to the bustling show floor and everywhere in between, Unreal Engine developers came out on top with major titles like Kingdom Hearts III, Jump Force and Gears of War 5 generating plenty of buzz while projects like Planet Alpha, We Happy Few, The Sinking City and Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden gave players plenty to look forward to post-E3.

Here’s a rundown of the Unreal Engine developer happenings at this year’s E3:

UNREAL E3 AWARDS

Prior to E3, we announced a partnership with NVIDIA and Intel on the 2018 Unreal E3 Awards. Featuring five distinct categories, the goal of the awards is to provide developers from around the world with the recognition they deserve along with excellent hardware including an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti and Intel® Core™ i7-8700K Processor for each winning team.

The five 2018 Unreal E3 Award category nominees and winners are listed below:

EYE CANDY

This award is given to the most visually impressive Unreal Engine game at E3 2018 and rewards the use of leading-edge graphics that push the medium of interactive entertainment forward.

NOMINEES:

Kingdom Hearts III (Square Enix, Disney)        

Concrete Genie (Pixelopus, Sony Interactive Entertainment)    

Mutant Year Zero (The Bearded Ladies, Funcom)      

Jump Force (Spike Chunsoft, Bandai Namco)    

Daemon Ex Machina (Marvelous, Nintendo)

Planet Alpha (Planet Alpha ApS, Team17)

AND THE WINNER IS…
 

BIGGEST BUZZ

This award is given to the project that creates the most talked about moment of E3 2018. From a major game reveal to an undeniably impressive demo or a twist that flips the industry on its ear, this award goes to the Unreal Engine team or project that produces the most buzz.

NOMINEES:

Kingdom Hearts 3 (Square Enix, Disney)

Jump Force (Spike Chunsoft, Bandai Namco)

Gears of War 5 (The Coalition, Microsoft Studios)

The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit (DONTNOD, Square Enix)

We Happy Few (Compulsion Games, Microsoft Studios)

AND THE WINNER IS…
 

MOST ENGAGING

This award is given to the experience that we simply can’t put down. Nominees will make players forget about their surroundings and be transported into a truly immersive experience.

NOMINEES:

Mutant Year Zero (The Bearded Ladies, Funcom)            

We Happy Few (Compulsion Games, Microsoft Studios)            

Kingdom Hearts III (Square Enix, Disney)            

The Sinking City (Frogwares)    

AND THE WINNER IS…
 

OUTSTANDING ORIGINAL GAME

This award is given to the project with huge potential as an all-new IP. Nominees will spark interest not only through gameplay, but through original characters, worlds and the potential that is put on full display during E3 2018.

NOMINEES:

The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit (DONTNOD, Square Enix)

Octopath Traveler (Square Enix, Nintendo)

Planet Alpha (Planet Alpha ApS, Team17)

Concrete Genie (Pixelopus, Sony Interactive Entertainment)

Mutant Year Zero (The Bearded Ladies, Funcom)

Daemon Ex Machina (Marvelous, Nintendo)

AND THE WINNER IS…
 

UNREAL UNDERDOG

This award is given to the team that pushes the limits to achieve an amazing showing for their game or experience at E3. Focusing on not just the product, but the people and process behind it, this award acknowledges a team’s perseverance to make a big splash at the big show.

NOMINEES:

Islands of Nyne (Define Human Studios)    

Rend (Frostkeep Studios)    

Planet Alpha (Planet Alpha ApS, Team17)    

The Forgotten City (Modern Storyteller)            

Raji: An Ancient Epic (Nodding Heads Games)

AND THE WINNER IS…
 

 

UNREAL DEVS TAKE CENTER STAGE

 

No matter where you went during E3 2018, Unreal Engine-powered games left a lasting impression. From the bomb-dropping reveals of The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit and Gears of War 5 at the Xbox briefing to highly-anticipated updates on Days Gone and Kingdom Hearts III from the PlayStation team, Unreal developers kicked off the week with loads of headlines. Meanwhile, The Square Enix and Nintendo media events showcased tantalizing Unreal-powered titles like Dragon Quest XI, Octopath Traveler and the newly-announced Daemon Ex Machina by Marvelous.

In addition, the announcement that Microsoft Studios has acquired three of the top independent Unreal Engine shops – Compulsion Games, Ninja Theory and Undead Labs – made a huge splash throughout the industry.

The E3 show floor itself featured plenty of playable projects developed with Unreal Engine, including Bandai Namco Entertainment’s always-busy booth with SoulCalibur VI, Jump Force and Code Vein while PSVR titles Firewall Zero Hour and Evasion gave virtual reality fans lots to be excited about.

We hit the floor to speak with developers about their work. Check out a few interviews below and be sure to visit our E3 2018 playlist for all the latest as new videos are released!
 

 

 

 

 

UNREAL ENGINE COMMUNITY MEETUP

The Unreal Engine team invited the community out to The Palm restaurant during E3 2018 for a cocktail hour featuring drinks, light hors d’oeuvres and the opportunity to connect with Epic and other developers during the big show.

A variety of developers from students to AAA gathered with us for socializing and the chance to win Unreal Engine swag and an NVIDIA GTX 1080 Ti graphics card, courtesy of our partners at NVIDIA.

Many thanks to all who came out to the meetup. If you’re looking to connect with other Unreal Engine developers in your area, be sure to check out our Meetup page for the very latest opportunities to do just that!

 

ALL ABOARD THE BATTLE BUS

Of course, Epic Games had a big presence at E3 2018 with a booth dedicated to Fortnite. The booth, which earned several ‘Best of Show’ awards, invited fans to play the game on all available platforms (including the newly-announced Nintendo Switch version), showcase their smooth moves on the dance floor, see if they can outlast the rideable llama, pick up Fortnite merchandise, scope out an actual Battle Bus and enjoy a seemingly endless stream of fresh-baked cookies.

Yum!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by!

 

THE UNREAL ENGINE GAMES OF E3 2018

Thank you to all of the Unreal Engine developers who made this year’s E3 so great to attend and even view from afar. We at Epic know the challenges, risks and rewards of game development and we tip our hats to the teams that make it to the annual convention in Los Angeles. Below is a list of the Unreal Engine developers who showcased their games at E3 2018. We’re extremely proud of our entire community and can’t wait to see how your projects progress from here.

Appalachian Mining Town, Eastern Kentucky University

ARK, Studio Wildcard

Ashen, Aurora44, Annapurna Interactive

Beat Boxers, Brigham Young

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, Inti Creates, 505 Games

Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition, People Can Fly, Gearbox Publishing

Code Vein, Bandai Namco Entertainment

Concrete Genie, Pixelopus, Sony Interactive Entertainment>

Crackdown 3, Sumo Digital, Microsoft

Creed: Rise to Glory, Survios

Daemon X Machina, Marvelous, Nintendo

Days Gone, Sony Bend, Sony

Dragon Ball FighterZ, Arc System Works, Bandai Namco Entertainment

Dragon Quest XI, Square Enix

Earthfall, Holospark

Evasion, Archiact VR

Firewall Zero Hour, First Contact Entertainment, Sony Interactive Entertainment

Fortnite, Epic Games, Epic Games/Gearbox

Fractured Lands, Unbroken Studios

Gears of War 5, The Coalition, Microsoft Studios

Gears: Tactics, The Coalition, Microsoft Studios

Genesis: Alpha One, Radiation Blue, Team17

Hello Neighbor, Dynamic Pixels, tinyBuild

Hero Academy, BonusXP, Robot Entertainment

Hyper Arena VR, Hyperbook

Insurgency: Sandstorm, New World Interactive

Islands of Nyne, Define Human Studios

Jump Force, Spike Chunsoft, Bandai Namco Entertainment

Kaisuo, University of Southern California

Killing Floor 2, Tripwire Interactiv

Kingdom Hearts 2.5, Square Enix

Kingdom Hearts III, Square Enix

Moss, Polyarc

Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden, The Bearded Ladies, Funcom

Ninjala, Gung Ho Online Entertainment

Octopath Traveler, Square Enix

Planet Alpha, Planet Alpha ApS, Team17

PLAYER UNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS, PUBG Corp., Bluehole

Raji: An Ancient Epic, Nodding Heads Games

Realm Royale, Hi-Rez Studios

Rend, Frostkeep

Rune, Human Head Studios

Sea of Thieves – Buried Sails & Forsaken Shores, Rare Ltd, Microsoft

Session, crea-ture Studios

Shinobi Striker, Soleil Corporation, Bandai Namco Entertainment

Snailiens, 562 Interactive

SoulCalibur VI, Bandai Namco Entertainment

Spyro Reignited Trilogy, Toys for Bob, Activision

The Artful Escape, Beethoven & Dinosaur, Annapurna Interactive

The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, DONTNOD, Square Enix

The Forgotten City, Modern Storytellers

The Sinking City, Frogwares

Trover Saves The Universe, Squanch Games

Vampyr, DONTNOD, Focus Home Interactive

Vigor, Bohemia Interactive

We Happy Few, Compulsion Games, Microsoft Studios

If we missed your Unreal Engine project at E3, please let us know by emailing e32018@unrealengine.com so we can update the list above.

We look forward to seeing everyone at E3 2019!

How is the Panzer Corps Tournament going?

Several months ago the biggest tournament ever for Panzer Corps started. 

It’s a massive event, both in terms of number of players and length. More than 100 wargamers all around the world are taking part, and it is in fact the biggest Slitherine tournament ever.

It’s going to take all of 2018 before a champion emerges… and we’ll know that he’ll be the real, true Panzer Corps master!

 

But let’s take a look at how the tournament is going, shall we?

 

 

71 players have already been eliminated, and the 48 players who are still in mean serious business! Glory and honour to those who have fallen, but our eyes are all on the survivors. Who will be the last man standing?

Want to find out? You can follow the tournament on its official thread!

『AKB48ダイスキャラバン』新機能追加! ユーザーのご希望にお応えして 「お気に入り表示システム」等実装!

AKB48を起用したゲームアプリ『AKB48ダイスキャラバン』(略称:ダイスキ)は、6月20日の定期メンテナンスにおきまして、ユーザーから多数のご要望を頂いておりました「お気に入り表示システム」など様々なアップデートを実施いたしました。

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E3 Games Recap

We’re back from E3 2018! What the heck happened? Here’s a quick-and-dirty recap of all the ID@Xbox games that were announced, and new trailers that were revealed, over the course of E3. We just smacked ’em all down in alphabetical…