Designed by Rutam Rane
Commandos Imperial Glory Praetorians Eidos Pyro Studios
Developer Diary with Álvaro Vázquez - 6th May 2005
Introduction
Welcome to Imperial Glory's development diary. I'm Álvaro Vázquez, one of the designers, and in this second issue of the diary I'll be talking about gameplay and the different game modes.

There are five game modes in Imperial Glory: Land Battles, Naval Battles, Management Campaign (which also includes the previous two modes), Historic Battles and Multiplayer.
Land Battles
"In war, like in love, to finish it is necessary to see each other up close" - Napoleon Bonaparte

We have tried to make the Real Time Strategy (RTS) part of the game as visually attractive as possible, taking special care with the recreation of the era's warfare. During these times, armies comprised three arms - Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery. Interaction between these was crucial and, as in real life, the player must form his armies with all three types of units.

In the early stages of design, we had to make a choice between making a game with a great number of poorly detailed scenarios, or making fewer maps which were rich in detail and gameplay. After seeing other games with thousands of maps (each one of them the same but for small variations), we opted for 51 scenarios with the maximum level of detail and richness possible.

At the same time, we also had to decide between having thousands of units on-screen (but graphically poor - what we could call "walking polygons"); or having fewer units which were visually very striking. Our choice of 3D environments for the battles and our wish to guarantee control and manoeuvrability of all units moved us to go for the second option. Having thousands of units on-screen would be historically consistent, but the player would have difficulty controlling them.

Once in battle, the player is in command of his troops. First, he must deploy them on the battlefield, mindful of the tactics to be used. Then, he must choose the strategy that the units will follow during combat, depending on the objectives and time for each scenario.

When the battle begins the player will be able, as in any other RTS, to move his troops and order attacks or retreats. However, in Imperial Glory, he will also be able to use advanced group tactics to access a variety of troop formations suitable for different purposes and even occupy buildings and take up positions on the battlefield.

Adapting the units to the characteristics of the terrain is extremely important - e.g., infantry posted at a wall will gain stamina; artillery set on a hill will have increased range; and cavalry crossing muddy terrain will be severely slowed.

In addition, it is important to mention that each unit in the game has different movement, endurance and attack characteristics; and that these values can change depending on its situation on the battlefield.
Naval Battles
"Something must be left to chance; nothing is sure in a sea fight above all" - Admiral Nelson

We feel particularly proud of the Naval Battle mode. Due to schedule reasons, they were very close to being left out of the game. But thanks to the efforts of the development team, we eventually managed to include them. It was always our intention to offer the player the ability to handle all aspects of warfare at the beginning of the XIX century, and Naval Battles just had to be there.

In naval combat, each side can control up to six vessels. We considered allowing more units, but our intention was to let the player manage the actions of each ship, not to confuse him with an excessive number of units on-screen.

Naval warfare has a much slower tempo than land battles, but this should not mean less playability. That is why the player has many more options to control each unit. The user has at his disposal three types of ships, which are historically very recognisable - Sloops, Frigates, and Ships of the Line. Each one of them has its own characteristics in terms of speed, endurance and attack. Players must manoeuvre a vessel within range of the enemy, select the desired ammunition, and open fire. Each ammo type will affect the enemy ships in a different way; destroying their sails, sinking them, or even readying them for boarding.

Overall, Naval Battles are a different "game inside the game," which we think add historical immersion to Imperial Glory and offer another very interesting mode of play.
Commandos Imperial Glory Praetorians Eidos Pyro Studios
Commandos Imperial Glory Praetorians Eidos Pyro Studios
The Campaign
"To triumph it is necessary, above all things, to have some common sense" - Napoleon Bonaparte

The campaign mode is based on classic concepts, such as Risk, but it adds much more depth to the player's decisions. In order to create a broad gameplay base, we have allowed the user to manage various aspects such as Diplomacy, Commerce, Research and even "Quests".

One of our main goals was to create a historically accurate, strategic war scenario. That is why, unlike other games, we preferred not to base our game around a "steamroller tactic" in which the player creates a huge army and uses it to make country after country fall. In Imperial Glory, logistics play a crucial role - for example, food consumption will make it impossible to maintain vast armies. Therefore, the player must plan in advance how to support a large force.

At the same time, we feel proud of the Diplomacy options, as well as the importance of Sympathy between countries. AI-controlled countries are not just dummies waiting to be invaded, but smart governments that will surely ally with each other if they detect that the player has reached a dominant situation over the other nations.

Whenever a conflict breaks out on the management map, the player can resolve it in the battle game. We took special care to ensure that every mode interacts with the others - if for example, you are attacking a fortified territory in the battle mode, you should have prepared an appropriate number of artillery pieces in the management mode. Likewise, if one of your ships sinks in a Naval Battle, any troops that were on board will be lost with it.
Historic Battles
The Historic Battles are recreations of some of the most famous engagements that took place during Napoleonic times. The player can take part in them commanding either side and even change History. We went to great lengths to recreate the conditions under which the armies engaged each other, but we were always mindful of playability. The user has a pre-designated army which corresponds proportionately to the forces which actually took part in that battle.

In addition to the deployment of forces, we have also tried to make the player face the same challenges that the real historical armies had to face. For example, the Austrian/Russian player must take care to prevent his troops from being swallowed up by the frozen lake breaking apart at Austerlitz; and the French army must make good use of the square formation at the Battle of the Pyramids if they do not want to be overrun by the Egyptian Mamelukes.
Multiplayer
Up to four players can also take part in multiplayer Land, Naval and Historic Battles. Even though the game's AI can be difficult to defeat, the truth is that the challenge of facing real human players is more exciting, especially when you face them on the battlefield of Waterloo… and you manage to make Napoleon win!
Commandos Imperial Glory Praetorians Eidos Pyro Studios
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