- Union Update
Union Update: Outlook on the new year!
We are back from our winter break; time to roll up our sleeves and to give you a glimpse of the journey ahead.
Upcoming Union Content
We bet that you are curious about our upcoming content. With last month’s logistics blog as our foundation, we will dive deeper into the economic motor of Anno 1800. With more details about the economy revealed and explained, it will allow us to talk about important parts of that machine like the harbor system and trading routes. Features, which are furthermore important if we want to talk about possible functionality and impact of the train feature.
There are plenty of more features we have not shared many details yet. What are your top 5 Anno 1800 features, where you would love to get more information on?
Furthermore, we will continue to bring you behind the scene DevBlogs; next up we will dive into animations for our previously showcased 3D assets. You will get to learn much more about all the brimming details and stories happening in your metropole.
We know that you are also curious about non-visual features, such as the audio design of Anno 1800. As the possibilities are plenty, share your top three wished for behind the scenes topics in the comments below!
There is also new voting coming up and while we cannot lift the curtain right now, we can tell that we want to funnel your creative energy once again. We all know how settling back into work after the Holidays can take some time, so expect the DevBlogs to be back to their regular cadence next week.
Union Website and community creations
As you already noticed, some improvements to the website were made and we will continue to improve the Union in usability and functionality. However, it is not only about moderator flairs or improvements to the comment section; we want to expand the general content on the website for anything that might not fit into the classic blog format, such as a dedicated space for community creations or a media library to save our Twitch streams.
It is great to see how much creative energy went into our story contest and it shows how much room there is to fill the world of Anno with your narration and other fan creations.
With the deadline hitting on Monday 15th there is still a week’s time left to unleash your creativity. Besides some neat prices to win for the contest, we also think that your works deserve to be appropriately spotlighted on the Anno Union page.
We received some great feedback on our last episode of the Anno Cast and with upcoming episodes, you can look forward to more gameplay content. While we know that many of you would love to see Anno 1800 being presented in a lengthy Let’s Play format, we need to save that idea for later as we just hit our Alpha milestone. One thing is for sure though; we will continue to show you more gameplay elements of the game while we give you insights about its ongoing development.
Anniversary Let’s Plays or other special episodes give us a bit more freedom and possibilities for different styles and formats. If you have ideas for specials or other streaming formats or videos outside the regular Anno Cast, feel free to share them with us!
Since the reveal of Anno 1800, you supported us with thousands of comments on the Union and Anno 1800 forum. Seeing both Anno veterans and new enthusiasts coming together is something truly special for us on the team, and we once again want to thank you all for that. To further this feeling of all coming together at one table, we want to invite you to an Anno Union voice chat session with the Community Team to talk about the Union, the game and its fans. We are sure there will be plenty of questions and ideas, and everyone should feel more than welcome to join our roundtable next week Wednesday, January 17th in a Discord voice chat provided by our Annoverse Community: >Annoverse Discord<
To allow as many of you as possible to participate, we will divide the session into two slots, one in English and one on German. The German session will start at 7.30pm and the English one will follow at 9.00pm CET.
Let’s say a play test is planned for January 23, and I were to be invited. When could I expect to receive an invite, so I would have enough time to check with my boss if I can take the day off? And while we are on the topic, do you have to be a legal adult to be invited?
Basti: We will send the invitations a few weeks in advance, as we also want to have a bit of leeway if we need to find a replacement if someone will not be able to make it. To be of legal age is not a strict requirement but if someone is under age, we will get in contact with the person to discuss the details (regarding the NDA, for example).
Something that would be very helpful in the future would be a basic blog explaining the DNA of the Anno brand, to give us users a better idea of how your decision-making processes work. What makes something Anno, or not? I think having this filter explained for users would allow for discussions that are more meaningful.
Basti: Talking about the brand DNA sounds like a great topic to cover in the Union, I put it on the list and I am sure we can get some really cool background information together. With the Vision Devblog and details we shared in other blogs, we also wanted to give you a chance to learn something about the reality of game development. We usually receive a huge amount of great suggestions and ideas, but they often lack some missing background information why some of these ideas would not work or why they would be too hard or simply not feasible to develop. Designing game features means often a middle ground or taking the quintessential idea and feedback to work with. That is why we want to get a little bit more into details on our decision-making process in future DevBlogs and comments.
I quite liked the entertaining Twitch streams, and look forward to see more of Anno 1800. Perhaps you could show some footage from play tests in the future.
Basti: We will show more gameplay in upcoming episodes of the AnnoCast and over time, it will further allow us to share more gameplay material in the Anno Union in general. Playtests will be the big topic this year, and we will cover some of the playtests and share content from them in the Union.
How big was the island in the stream? Small, medium or a big one? It didn’t seem much larger than main islands in Anno 1404. Will there be enough space to build a metropolis? Or can buildings house more citizens than in the past?
Basti: The Island from the stream is a big one, but not the largest in the game. In fact the Island shown in during the stream has more grids than the large Isle in 1404 and with that, more buildings space available. It is important for us that you will have enough place to create breathtaking cities. Residential houses have the same dimensions as in previous titles but some of the public or production buildings can take up more space. Having a bit more realistic proportions for a steel factory as an example is a great way to bring that extra bit of realism to the series. Again, it is all about the right balance: we want vast cityscapes but also provide a puzzle challenge, as clever planning of the available construction space is also part of the challenge and fun.
Will it be possible to freely rotate the buildings?
Basti: Construction space in Anno is partitioned into a grid-based system (like e checkerboard) and as in previous games, you will be able to rotate and place buildings freely on the grid.
The carts and carriages will be sent by the production facilities, which sounds like a good decision. I assume that required gods will also be picked up if they are not being delivered- and this is where things get a bit unclear for me. Would the coal producer deliver his goods to the steel factory, or would the steel factory send someone to pick up the coal. Or maybe both happens, but how would the game decide that?
Christian: The rule of thumb is that production buildings always send goods to other production facilities. While production facilities cannot request goods from another production building, they can get resources stored in the warehouse if needed. The warehouse itself has no own transport units, so the carts always come from the production building to pick up or deliver goods from the warehouse. The facility decides on its own if it is more effective to wait for the delivery from a different production building or to get the needed resources from a warehouse instead. As travel distance on streets is the deciding factor for that, players can have an impact with clever city planning. With that, it allows you to create optimized economic districts.
Will sea-based trading have an AI to pick the most efficient route based on wind?
Christian: Trading routes will not consider wind (which can also change). You will however be able to create your own routes with manual waypoints to improve its efficiency and to avoid hostile ships.
Hearing that all warehouses will have mirrored storage has me a bit worried. I would prefer if you could manually assign which wares individual warehouses should accept or block. My other question would be whether the mirrored goods affect the overall storage capacity of the warehouses.
In fact, every single Anno title had mirrored storages, so it is a part of the classic as well as newer Anno experience. The return of physical goods will bring some management complexity back into the game. We have experimented with different scenarios, but not mirroring the wares just resulted in an extremely high need to constantly micromanage that dominated gameplay and drew the player’s attention away from other aspects of the game. Things like storage capacity are an ongoing balancing topic and we need to see if it would hurt or benefit the game flow if additional warehouses would also ramp up the storage limit. In the current version of the game, this is only the case with the kontor and the depot.
I really like that you are going back to the physical goods, similar to older games such as Anno 1404.
I have just one question: Will you always need a road connection? Or do some parts also work without road connection? For example, in Anno 2070 upgraded warehouses and depots had a flying unit that could pick up goods without a road connection.
Basti: All buildings will require a road connection. As we stated in our logistics blog, streets will have a bigger impact on your logistics than before and as such planning the ideal street layout will be important when planning your perfect metropolis.