Thursday, September 27, 2012

Rome II: Total War promises amazing graphics for future documentaries

Today I had a chance to view a trailer for the upcoming video game "Rome II: Total War" and was simply awestruck by the sense of reality the game delivers.  In fact, I thought at first I was watching a live action clip:


In addition to encouraging a new generation to become interested in Roman history, the first iteration of "Rome: Total War" was used to create some very informative graphics for such documentary series as the History Channel's Decisive Battles and the BBC's Time Commanders The game was so wildly popular that a large "mod" community grew up around it who developed everything from new textures to unit editing and the ability to play previously unplayable factions.  Battle reenactments available in the original game include:


Additional expansion packs like Rome: Total War: Alexander added the ability to assume the role of Alexander the Great and Rome: Total War: Barbarian Invasion provided maps of Europe during the decline of the western Roman Empire and interactions with


Now it looks like the new game will extend Roman reach farther east than the original version.   Furthermore, with the huge strides in computing capabilities that have occurred in the last nine years (game is scheduled for release in 2013),  a new graphics engine that will power the visuals of the game and new unit cameras will allow players to focus on individual soldiers in the battlefield.  Creative Assembly pointed out that they wish to bring out the more human side of the war this way, with soldiers reacting with horror as their comrades get killed around them, and officers inspiring their men with heroic speeches before siege towers hit the walls of the enemy city. This will be realized using facial animations for individual units, adding an unbelievable feel of horror and realism to the battles.  That aspect of the game is what I find most intriguing.

I've always thought it would be culturally insightful to be able to play through sequences in the "down time" of an ancient soldier and sit around a campfire to hear stories from your comrades' lives and emotionally bond with them.  I'd like to attend the pre-battle preparations, speeches and reading of the auspices as well as participate in post-battle mop up and a brilliant triumph.

Game designer Creative Assembly also plans to include a bigger role for ancient navies.  I wonder if the Roman galleys will be equipped with a corvus?  When I read John Stack's novel Master of Rome , I learned that the corvus was actually only used for a few years because it could throw a galley dangerously off balance in stormy conditions.  It would be an interesting addition that a player could choose to use or not based on the impending battle conditions.





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Roman Archaeology Timeline