It's been a long four years working on this project, with many failed attempts of getting it off the ground. However, I've hooked up with my old friend EBrown who I've known and respected for many years, known in the community we both once thrived in, for his programming.
I never gave up on The Ancients - I came close to it a few times, to be honest and indeed a few months ago I was ready to lay it to rest - till EBrown popped up one evening and I thought, what the hell, let's see what he says.
A couple of months later and we're beginning to make headway with a custom built C# engine, with many new, exciting realisations and possibilities that I never thought Ancients would be able to achieve. Here's a few of the new features.
Server Allocation & Huge World
Every tile is 1m^2.
Every chunk has 128^2 tiles.
Every area has 256^2 chunks.
One area is one server.
One theatre supports a variable amount of areas, for Italia is about 31*30 areas.
A theatre is a world location, such as Italia, Britannia, Hispania, etc.
The game is not to scale VS real life, it's about 3:1.
Elliott Brown: One area is 1,073,741,824m^2... Or, 1 Area = 1,073.74km^2
Elliott Brown: Italia is 998,579,896,320 m^2... Or, 998,579.89km^2
Each server is hosted by the player, with many areas hosted officially - so you can jump in on your favourite server with a friend, lock out anybody else or just allow friends into your own version of the world, or play on a different server each day at random.
You have a (selection of) persistent "Heroes" as we call them, in the mythological sense, that carry on with their stats, equipment and anything they can hold as they travel across the world - always able to return home at any point, where it will be waiting in whichever server you left it... if it hasn't been ransacked, destroyed, overtaken or overgrown.
The wildlife in each area will go up and down depending on hunting, births, natural deaths and predator kills.
When you start a settlement, you can set the succession laws, legal laws and punishments. Or live by the ones in another settlement by another player.
NPCs have needs and desires, going about their daily lives fulfilling them. Some may wind up in politics and affect the way a settlement grows, the laws it enacts or the businesses and homes they allow the construction of. A settlement may allow for one single overlord, or a council of many.
Religion is and always will be a strong denominator in Ancients. Omens, Sacrifices, Rituals - all that good stuff. And now, we've made it so that the player can form his own religion. Choose or create gods and goddesses, how many their are, what they expect as worship, etc etc.
Form guilds and choose a major "trade" (Or, reason of being). Then choose a limited amount of "services". From these, missions will be generated and will affect how the guild grows, and what it requires to do so. With that growth comes power, and with power, comes influence over businesses, houses and politics.
Fight over guilds in major battles on the streets, or covertly bring them down from the inside.
The old combat plan is generally the same - duels, minor battles and major battles.
Duels are now intense battles of choosing the right choice at the right time. Hitting the right key in an ever-increasingly quick battle. If they're being too powerful, take them down with a sly or dirty move, or if they're being too withdrawn, coax them out. Hit the wrong key and you're going to be in trouble. Either way, it comes down to an advanced game of Paper Rock Scissors.
Minor Battles are tactical combat situations alike to Chrono Trigger, Vandal Hearts and Final Fantasy Tactics.
Major Battles are numerous minor battles, with one commander behind them all. The commander oversees each field but cannot partake. The commander gives orders that appear as icons and arrows to the allied combatants, giving them direction and advisory actions.
There is so much more to Ancients, but it would take me a long, long time to read it all out. I'd love to see some of the old faces showing up, so please, drop in on our newly set up (and pretty ugly) forum. Hope to see you there!
Oh, and, here's a couple of screenshots of current progress - naturally.