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Pharaoh: A New Era - a remake of 1999 city builder

Vatnik
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Apr 10, 2018
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Insert Title Here Strap Yourselves In
The problem with resolution upscales is it can make things looks way cleaner than the original. It's noticeable here, but the best example is the Starcraft Broodwar remaster where even the zerg units started looking 'clean' which was totally inappropriate.
Also terrans lost some of their grimy, fossil-fuels look.
 
Unwanted

Horvatii

Unwanted
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Dec 15, 2019
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563
I have an interesting thing to report!
At 1:36
https://youtu.be/qD_GPOljd0Q?t=95
wfyqN9C.png

You see a walker with a wheelbarrow clipping through a roadblock!
Thats a bug/idiosyncr. from the opensource Ceasar 3 reimplementation, if my memory is not fucking with me.
 

Guvide

Educated
Joined
Aug 28, 2020
Messages
60
There was no source code available

UI definitely needs fixing though. Pharaohs UI wasn't made for function it was made for visual reasons to sell the look and feel of Egypt. Functionally its flawed though Children of the Niles is far far worse.
What was so bad about it? All the buttons are conveniently placed. The overseers had hotkeys assigned to them, as did most of the info overlays. Right clicking on a thing, gave you info about it, and right clicking any time a pop up window was opened closed it. The only thing that needs fixed were the naval controls to make them less glitchy, and maybe the land unit controls too by adding drag select or something.
 

FeelTheRads

Arcane
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13,716
UI definitely needs fixing though. Pharaohs UI wasn't made for function it was made for visual reasons to sell the look and feel of Egypt.

UI is decent enough. You had everything you needed available in a couple of clicks.
Remember that if these are the people that made Lethis they did a horrendous job there with the UI. And they think they had to change the Pharaoh UI. :lol:

Although these days it's way more likely that they'll just change what simply doesn't need to be changed just so they can say they did something.
So, do not expect a remaster where nothing changes, this is a remake.

Well, totally wasn't expecting change for the sake of change. :roll:
 

BrotherFrank

Nouveau Riche
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Ain't played zeus in ages so might be remembering it with oversized nostalgia glasses for sure. In fact I'm starting to wonder if I wasn't thinking of age of mythology when I said atlanteans played quite a bit differently to greeks...

It streamlined the game considerably. The biggest change was the 'global worker pool' mechanic which meant that industries could be built far away from your housing blocks. It meant that you were more flexible in how you built your city, but at a loss of challenge.

Whilst I agree with most of what you say, especially unsatisfying monuments, global worker pool has actually always been in sierra city builder games: you'd place a single unupgraded dwelling at ore deposits in the middle of the desert miles away from your city and as if by magic any industries you place there will have access to your full workforce. Basically so long as your production buildings were in range of any dwelling, that was all you needed. It seems like all zeus did here was remove the middleman.

The only sierra citybuilder not to work like this to my knowledge is Children of the Nile where every every single citizen was an individual entity.
 
Unwanted

Horvatii

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Look at the temple fail...
EIDuQM7.jpg


Detail
2tW11xi.jpeg


Basically yeah, its is redrawn (which is at least effort), not just upscaled, but its not better looking...

1. I get the feeling that the people got bigger in relation to building, kawaii-fication, pretty sure it is, big heads etc, shit
2. Its cleeeaaan and looks like median filter ran over it, while the original is grainy and noisy, which suggest detail
3. Original uses contrast, saturation and noise better
 

J_C

One Bit Studio
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Project: Eternity Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong
Look at the temple fail...
EIDuQM7.jpg


Detail
2tW11xi.jpeg


Basically yeah, its is redrawn (which is at least effort), not just upscaled, but its not better looking.

1. I get the feeling that the people got bigger in relation to building, kawaii-fication, pretty sure it is, big heads etc, shit
2. Its cleeeaaan and looks like median filter ran over it, while the original is grainy and noisy, which suggest detail
3. Original uses contrast, saturation and noise better
You are ignoring me, so I don't know if you see this, but I just want to tell you, that you are an idiot. The new version looks good, and faithful to the original. By the way, in the original humans were also big relative to the houses.

Pfew, it was good getting this off of my chest.
 

Guvide

Educated
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Messages
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Ain't played zeus in ages so might be remembering it with oversized nostalgia glasses for sure. In fact I'm starting to wonder if I wasn't thinking of age of mythology when I said atlanteans played quite a bit differently to greeks...

It streamlined the game considerably. The biggest change was the 'global worker pool' mechanic which meant that industries could be built far away from your housing blocks. It meant that you were more flexible in how you built your city, but at a loss of challenge.

Whilst I agree with most of what you say, especially unsatisfying monuments, global worker pool has actually always been in sierra city builder games: you'd place a single unupgraded dwelling at ore deposits in the middle of the desert miles away from your city and as if by magic any industries you place there will have access to your full workforce. Basically so long as your production buildings were in range of any dwelling, that was all you needed. It seems like all zeus did here was remove the middleman.

The only sierra citybuilder not to work like this to my knowledge is Children of the Nile where every every single citizen was an individual entity.
You're right, you could certainly place only a few huts near your industries and they would get access to workers, however if you ever had a worker shortage, those buildings with access to the fewest number of housed citizens were the first to become unmanned. You could prevent that by building more huts, but more huts hurt your prosperity rating. At the end of the day, needing to have housing next to industries wasn't that great of an issue, but it was still weird how they did it in Zeus where you could have your housing block in one corner of a gigantic map, and your marble mining industry at the opposite corner.
 

RobotSquirrel

Savant
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I'm hoping that the temples are just placeholder. You're right Horvatii though there is a surprisingly lack of texture going on with some of the sprites. Again I hope its placeholder and that the assets aren't ship ready.
It having opensource Ceasar bugs though is a serious redflag if true. I mean they weren't gonna get my money anyway because I don't give money to AAA publishers and any cent to Activision is a cent going into the bank account of Bobby.

I dunno on one hand I'm excited to see Pharaoh built on. On the other I'm worried this might be a cashgrab now that it seems they are possibly using Caesar 3 OS as a base. If they were just honest about that I wouldn't be worried.
 
Unwanted

Horvatii

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It having opensource Ceasar bugs though is a serious redflag if true. I mean they weren't gonna get my money anyway because I don't give money to AAA publishers and any cent to Activision is a cent going into the bank account of Bobby.
Hey, dont trust me. Its more like a dejavu/false memory with the sprites clipping. Could be from the original from all I know...
Also, Actijewision already got the money for the trademark. Dotemu is paying the bills now. And they are like 7 frogs, 3 frogs from Trisomething, and 5? from Seasomething.
So buy the gaym if the mechanics are not gutter trash.
 
Unwanted

Horvatii

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Mechanics!
These guys need road access in Pharaoh. So a single tile road, a single house, and a single firepost xDDD
IwiAdAi.png


:nice:
Xrszrww.png

They die from time to time to malaria, but thats good - survival of the fittest.
 

FeelTheRads

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They needed road access, but not access to a firepost. Well, the firepost would be for the house, I guess. However, you can get worker access to them in more elegant ways and figuring out ways to avoid huts was part of the fun. Or just build a tiny village around there with a couple of buildings.

But yeah, that's a sign that this most likely has global workforce, either as an option or as default. Unless they just changed some of the buildings to not require worker access. The water pumpers were quite annoying to provide with workers.
 
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Horvatii

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Yeah, I used that 1tile road like once. There is a map at the end of the campaign where there is a lake with fertile land around it and pulling a ditch from 100 tiles away and all around the place looked uggo as hell.
So I tried squeezing in a pump to lift the outer farms to 90 fertility.

And sometimes at the end of an island or somewhere where land narrows down into a corner where you dont have space for a farm but enough space for a lift
you can put down such a construct. I single tile of ditch irrigates in 2 tiles around it I tihnk.
ShtH4KA.png
 

AgentFransis

Arbiter
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Big yawn. More talentless hacks trying to make a buck off the work of their betters.

Be real men and make something original. Plenty of historic civilizations Impressions hasn't covered: Babylon/Sumeria/Persia, Medieval/renaissance Europe (build cathedrals and castles as monuments and god sends locusts to eat your peasants if you don't build enough churches), Aztecs/Mayans/Incas, Japan.
 

Israfael

Arcane
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Sep 21, 2012
Messages
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Mayans and Incas would definitely work, they had unique political systems that would be interesting to explore (Inca's federalized extreme state socialism, Mayan free for all city-state polities), very unconventional agriculture, extended history and vast trade networks. You can even work something around the calendars of Maya and the solar cult of Incas.
 

FeelTheRads

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How do they fail?

Missing details on the walls?

It's quite weird, otherwise the graphics are quite detailed and faithful, saved for the lighting/contrast thing. Well, and the somewhat chibi looking people.
Maybe not all assets were complete when they took those screenshots?
 
Unwanted

Horvatii

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How do they fail?
Blue circles are cutouts from the original game. You have to compare them to the new graphics that are next to them. There are a temple, 2 types of statues, granary, shacks with green roofs.
That specific temple type has the walls scrubbed of detail. I didnt place a Seth temple cause I was lazy.
 
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Horvatii

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YcMzGMe.png
nYKBYxF.png
 

RobotSquirrel

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I will also point out my issues with the UI. The military management needs a lot of work if not to be completely scrapped and redone. As much as I really do enjoy the fact that this is a city builder with combat mechanics the problem is that the military is treated as a building which isn't ideal.
The units themselves are built into the same walker code which is why it has so much trouble pathing onto boats. If I were to improve it I'd try to make it more like Age of Empires where the units can be docked inside of buildings similar to how ships work but then undocked. The way the original game worked the Units were permanently tethered to the building and the moment you ran out of morale the unit would ignore you and occasionally get stuck. I never liked that mechanic it'd make more sense if your units just had a combat debuff for fighting with low morale so that whilst they could fight still you would ideally want to avoid doing that. The routing system was bad because you could have an entire army just sitting around doing nothing whilst the city was raided this loss of control made the game worse. Or in the worst case the unit routs and gets stuck in the city.

On top of that the military manager shouldn't be on the city information screens. It should be a docked panel at the bottom of the screen in similar RTS fashion.

That way you wouldn't have to keep switching between the two screens just to manage military.
I'd even say the religions should be done the same way or at the very least should have an indicator that Ra is angry! Same with Pharaoh's requests. Most of these shouldn't have to be on separate screens. That's what I meant by the UI being flawed. Obviously for the period the impression games came out you had screens of 1024x768 so limited screen real-estate could be justified. A HD remake shouldn't have that problem. I think better use of screen real-estate here is what I'm expecting we can probably do away with full screen UIs. Heck I reckon you could even have most of those panels as undocked windows that can be dragged. If I want to go full stock broker mode and have a screen of windows why stop me? bonus points if they multi-monitor. There's definitely a lot they could be doing.

My evidence is go play the original with the high resolution patch and look at how small the full screen panels are. You could easily fit 6 of them on one monitor. Same with the map screen it is really tiny. You could even put small icons under each city name showing what it trades rather than having to have the player click on each city to find that out.

I mean there's a lot of QoL that can be done here and ideally not offend the purists. The goal should be to fix the annoyances whilst still preserving the feel of the original game.
 

Morpheus Kitami

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May 14, 2020
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Weren't there some minor QoL improvements done in later games in the series? I don't know, I only played this game. If they just took the improvements from whatever the last game in the series was, then that'd be fine. Not this redrawn stuff. At least with the shitty AI-upscaled stuff its using the original assets.
You see a walker with a wheelbarrow clipping through a roadblock!
Thats a bug/idiosyncr. from the opensource Ceasar 3 reimplementation, if my memory is not fucking with me.
Hmm, interesting. Does this mean they built this off that then? That raises some interesting questions, since I don't think that's legal.
 

Guvide

Educated
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Aug 28, 2020
Messages
60
Big yawn. More talentless hacks trying to make a buck off the work of their betters.

Be real men and make something original. Plenty of historic civilizations Impressions hasn't covered: Babylon/Sumeria/Persia, Medieval/renaissance Europe (build cathedrals and castles as monuments and god sends locusts to eat your peasants if you don't build enough churches), Aztecs/Mayans/Incas, Japan.
They already did. It was a game called Lethis, a steampunk Impressions clone, and it was mediocre.
 

Nyx

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Aug 26, 2020
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I always though Zeus: Master of Olympus was the superior game tbqh, I hope this sells well so we get a remake of that too.

What was different about it? I played Caesar, Emperor, and Pharoah, but I'd never even heard about Zeus/Poseidon until seeing it on GOG much more recently.
Goodness gracious, it was a long time since I played them but Franky summed it up well.
Besides having heroes and monsters due to theme, was the first to introduce gods who were physically present (emperor had this too but gods were more impactful in zeus not least because they freely walked around the city without being limited by blockers). Campaign missions were divided into sets of themed linked missions (ex:theseus versus the minotaur or 12 labors) where you build up the main city over several levels whilst occasionaly doing one off colony missions to acquire new rare resources needed by your capital for the next part.

The real series deviation in terms of unique mechanics though is your military came exclusively from your nobility and was a reflection of your city’s prosperity rather then a separate element if that makes sense. In most sierra citybuilders getting troops is just a matter of recruiting peasants and providing them with basic gear but in zeus military was a big upfront investment and you will keenly feel the loss of everyone of your hoplites.

The poseidon expansion was also pretty beefy, the atlanteans played quite a bit differently from the greeks according to my nostalgic memory.
Yes! From memory it was also more polished and elegant in general. The expansion was probably so good because it wasn't outsourced like Cleopatra was but built by the same team that made the main game. Zeus for me was the peak of Impressions Games, felt like they finally fleshed out the formula with a lot of stuff to do and letting you keep what you built in the long term made you grow more attached to it. Emperor was okay, but the Feng Shui system was sooo annoying, how on Earth did China survive for more than one dynasty when efficiency is impossible due to some whimsical backwards beliefs that gets in the way of city planning?

I know this is kinda off-tangent, but have you guys played the latest Anno game? Anno 1404 was the last game that gave me the same vibes that I got playing Zeus, even if they are very different with the Anno series being more about supply chains, but it was nice y'know, very comfy games. I was wondering if 1800 was any good from the perspective of someone who really likes Impressions games.
 

baud

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RPG Wokedex Strap Yourselves In Pathfinder: Kingmaker
There was no source code available
Are they not aware of Open Caesar 3 or something? I mean a HD version of that engine existed already. Could they have not just taken a peak at the code and made their own based off of it?
Its not as if coding a game like this is doing it in the dark and the visuals already held up well in the modern era a simple upscale would suffice.

looking at the open Caesar 3 project, it's licensed under the GNU GPL v3 (a type of license for free, open-source software), which forces any derivative work to be under the same license. So if those dev based that remake on the open Caesar 3 project, that would force them to release their code as open source, so anyone could reuse the code for their own game (as long as they continue to respect the license)

Edit: looking at the comments above that it might be the case, it could mean that either the devs don't give a shit about license or are about to give access to their source code
 
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