Cappuccino and Video Games, thanks – Rome: Total War

The ancient world in 3D
More precisely, we are in 2004. Before Total War: Warhammer (recently entered the second incarnation ) TW was a known brand for its histo


rical environments. The first two video games in the series were Shogun (2000) and Medieval(2002), both major commercial successes but criticized for lack of accessibility. The third generation of Total War shoul


d have obeyed one principle: be mastodontic but accessible, just like the great colossal of the 1960s. It was probably from this inspiration th


at also came the setting: the ancient world. For the occasion, the graphic engine was rebuilt to make it fully polygonal. The result was,


for once, obvious: we will not be here to describe the ambitious success that Rome: Total War has had with critics and audiences. Rather, let’s understand how this video game works so well.

Ever since, Total War has a dual structure: strategic and tactical. In the first one you have to manage your own domains, place the armed forces and administer diplomacy and family; in the second one needs to resolve a conflict between two or mor


e armies. A division soon became an authentic brand, which in 2004 is brought to the far end of Rome. Letting go of the heaviest divisions


in predecessor “regions”, he throws the player into a 3D reproduction of 270 Europe ahead of Europe. Armies are represented by officers with a banner, which can act (movement, attack, construction) as lon


g as they have available Movement Points. City management goes through specific panels (parchments) from which to decide the structures to be built, units to train and to take into account the monetary situation. At each end turn, the computer responds by moving the other factions.

Aside from a tutorial summary, the rest is all in the player’s mouse. A burden of responsibility, however, is not hostile, because of the remarkable accessibility of the whole. Helped by the virtual counselor and the small explanatory cartridg


es of each option, he soon takes care of the empire. They learn to recognize the faults and virtues of the family of the faction, fight the males and combine the weddings of the girls. What was at the time seen as a defect (only three ini


tial factions, all Roman families) reinterprets now as the intention to offer a challenge and an “incentive to exploration”: other factions are unlocked by completing campaigns or defeating them in the role of the Romans. Obviously, the geog


raphical position will have a direct influence on the threats faced: iJulius will go against the Gauls, the Cornelians will face the Carthaginians and finally the Valeri will loot the rule between Macedonia and the Greek city-state. Too simplistic? Jus


t start over the game with any other non-Roman faction to find yourself completely changing tactics and development strategies.


Cappuccino and Video Games, thanks - Rome: Total War
Art of the digital war, literally
Strategic management is not perfect. Diplomacy works only to a certain extent, and even now the AI ​​seems too “extreme”: it hurts wh
en it comes to the advantage and rejects the yield when it is at the ropes. Too many times it forces the player to crush everything militaril
y, perhaps just because “the game is called total war”. Brand apart, however, there is still something simplistic and without much sense.
The latter is almost all acquired by introducing the second supporting column of the game: real-time battles. Once two armies have come into contact on the strategic map, they access this mode, w
here the army is commanded in real time. The program generates a “random map” based on the point of Europe where the forces are located and places the units. We will be deployed to them, command and direct them. The beautiful of theTotal War (
today as it is yesterday) is in their extreme adherence to the warlike art of the times: tactics and maneuvers taken from the military hist
ory volumes apply to the game as a whole . You can also win battles in numerical inferiority, relying on superior troops, or by leveraging territorial conformation. A tactical tactical simulation, but also here is sufficiently accessible thanks t
o a special adviser. And not to say, to support this part of the game there is a graphic overhead engine. If the graphics and the general level of detail now feel the weight of the years, to remain unchanged is the great feeling of epic that the batt
les of Rometransmit. Lush like a coral reef, the engine moves easily thousands of screen units. The zoom function literally lets go down to the soldiers, admiring the unique motions. And it’s not hard to be fascinated by re-enactment. From
the legionary who launches the elephant pilum that rages furious, passing through the phalanxes that are organized and the wrecked chariots, animations made with motion capture keep the scene still today. A graphic engine that is so accurate and powerfu
l that it has made (for times) impossible: overcoming the strategic boundaries. His technology was used for Decisive Battles of the Ancient Wor
ld , a series of History Channel documentarieswhich explained and reconstructed in detail famous war episodes of the ancient world. He also arrived in Italy, with a title that was definitely misleading as ” War Games “.