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Category: UnionUpdate

Union Update: Time to recuperate

Another week has passed, and gamescom 2018 is in the books- and what a gamescom it has been! After countless presentations, interviews and stage shows – not to mention an award (Best PC Game of gc 2018) that we are as you can see very proud of – the Ubisoft Blue Byte team has mostly unscathed returned to the studio to tackle the final 6 months of development before Anno 1800 ships globally on February 26th, 2019.

However, we do need a little bit more time to rest our vocal chords and to read your hundreds of comments on the Union, our forums and social media, so there won’t be any new Union content this week. Starting next week, we will return to our regularly scheduled programming as we start to review gamescom with you, and take a closer look at some of our newly announced features like South America and the expeditions. In the meantime, feel free to share some of the questions you would like us to tackle over the next few weeks in the comments!

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UnionUpdate: One year Anno Union!

It was a hot late summer when we announced the Anno Union at gamescom 2017 in Cologne.  Since then, a project born out of passion from our team slowly developed into the community program we know today. The last 12 month has been an exciting ride, we published over 100 blogs, including over 70k words and hundreds of screenshots of a game which was over a year away from release when we started. With over 10k comments full of valuable feedback, hundreds of amazingly creatively entries and striving fan projects we think it was worth the effort, and the Anno Union is here to stay.

We want to say thank all of you for your passion in sharing countless thoughts, ideas and. Your voice had and will continue to have an impact on many features of the game. The combination of feedback comments, discussions, votes and focus tests has proven incredibly helpful for the development of Anno 1800.

With the release of the game in February 26th 2019, there are still many topics on our checklist and we will not only continue to bring you devblogs, votes and live streams; we will further invite more and more Annoholics to our focus test groups in the weeks and months ahead.

The one-year anniversary of the Union was also the perfect moment for us to launch the new version of our Anno Union website, including many improvements in visuals and usability.
Expect new content on the website to show up in the near future, as we will provide you with fan assets such as wallpapers and will also give fans and fan creations a proper spotlight. But more about that in Union Updates to come!

What is your verdict for Anno Union year one? We put a lot of work and love into the project, which will accompany Anno 1800 up to the launch and beyond.

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Union Update: Anno 1800 gamescom schedule

It’s 7 days until gamescom and today to clearly time to share some more detailed information about Anno 1800’s presence. Nevertheless, we should not forget the teaser for this week’s DevBlog, where we will give you exciting insights in our sound design and how we create believable and atmospheric sounds to carry you away in the world of the 19th century.

As briefly mentioned last week, the game will be playable at our Anno 1800 booth in the Ubisoft area in Hall 6. Your chance to experience the seventh title in the Anno series hands on and we are thirsty for feedback about our gamescom demo.

We have also quite a few things to reveal and to announce in Cologne but rest assured that for everyone who is not able to visit us, we share all the important news the Union. And if playing Anno 1800 is not enough, there is even more during this truly Anno packed gamescom 2018. We will present the game two times a day on the big Ubisoft stage, showing you Anno in all its brimming details and give a glimpse on new features. Furthermore, we bring back our UbiLounge presentations again where we not only demonstrate the game live but also answer your questions.
Based on last years experienced, the UbiLounge presentations are in high demand and the spaces are limited and therefore, we recommend to come at least 15 minutes before the begin of a presentation.  To make it easier for you, here is a calendar with all the timeslots:

We know that you are also curious about goodies but we also love surprises. What we can tell that we there will be free Anno 1800 goodies at the convention for the ones playing the game and visiting our presentations. Try to get your hands on one of them as all items are as long as stock lasts.
During our live streams, many of you mentioned that you really like our Anno 1800 developer shirts, showing iconic characters of the game. We managed to produce a limited quantity of that premium shirt (without the dev tag) for gamescom and you will be able to buy it at the Ubisoft merchandise booth in Hall 5.2.
And if you managed to your hands on one of our goodies or the Anno 1800 shirt, feel free to share your loot with us on our social media channels.

Speaking of which, our Facebook and especially twitter channel will be the easiest way to get  gamescom live coverage. While we will publish several blogs next week with the information about all the announcements, we will provide daily snapshots, news and clips from the convention. After gamescom, we will follow up with Union blogs and a stream covering our Anno 1800 gamescom experience.

For all the LIVE Anno gamescom news, follow our Twitter and Facebook channel (we also might sneak in some raffles). And if you are there and want to share your gamescom Anno experience, don’t forget to use the hashtag #Anno1800 or #AnnoUnion:
Anno 1800 on Twitter: https://twitter.com/anno_en
Our official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/annogame/

On gamescom Thursday, we will also have our Anno Union community dinner. Invitations have been sent out and we got a confirmation from all participants.  We know that many of you were eagier to join us for that event and if you were not able to grab a slot, we would love to say at least hello to you during our Anno presentations in the Ubisoft lounge.

But before we end today’s Union Update, we have one final announcement for you. The big Anno 1404 venture seems to cause sleepless nights for Chris and John, so they decided to stream another episode of the AnnoAfternoon show this Saturday, 5pm CEST at https://www.twitch.tv/ubisoftbluebyte

Perfect timing for a pre-gamescom celebration, eh? 🙂

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Union Update: Questions, Answers and Artificial Intelligence

In today’s Union Update, we will once again give you answers on some of the most burning questions from our communities. You also can look forward to our upcoming DevBlog, in which our programmers Jonas and Johannes will show you how we teach our second party characters how to build a believable metropolis.

But before we dive into our QnA section, we have a small reminder: The Union ship design contest will end next week Monday. We got a few strong designs already and we are looking for the last few submissions entering the race before the beginning of next week.

Without further ado, let’s answer some questions:

DfZug
Will the number of wagons per train depend on your production or is it just a visual feature? Will the trains run faster or slower depending on their weight?
Answer: While the payload will not affect the speed of a train, the number of wagons will be an indicator for you how much oil is currently loaded.

Mr.Beko80
Will you need to construct power plants near to the residential area, which will further have a negative impact on your residential happiness? How will the electrical support work, will you need to power supply lines on your own or can you just upgrade your streets?
Answer: To pander your demanding investors, you will need to support them with electricity from a close by a power plant. However, you will not need to install power lines manually, as power plants have their own influence radii like the marketplace and the fire station. Electrical poles will automatically appear across streets, which are in the influence radius of a power station. When you upgrade your simple farm roads to proper streets, the influence of all buildings will expand which also affects your power supply. Power plants will have an impact on the pollution of your city but are not a real competitor against your smoke covered heavy industry.

Acroz.Gaming
While watching the video, I’ve noticed that they look rather static right now. Will you include more animation and visual feedback in the future?
Answer: Many assets used in the electricity blog are not final yet, so you can look forward to a higher level of detail and more visual feedback. Same goes for the oil harbor, the oils ships and the motor carts, which are currently in a low polygon state or getting overhauled. How about an update on that in a future blog or live-stream?

Sandi.V.
Will the roads cross the railway? Or will the railway line block the construction of road crossing?
Answer: You will be able to cross streets when building railway tracks.

olblf
Are power plants only using oil? I guess it makes sense from a gameplay perspective, but historically and logically, coal would have been the go to fuel. I would have liked if powerplants could use both coal and oil.
Answer: In Anno 1800, coal is finding is an important resource for many production chains and it is especially utilized in your heavy industry. Power plants need a very high amount of fuel in order to operate. If we would just use coal for our power plants, we would completely devalue the resource for other production chains and furthermore, we need to ensure that trains could also access the mines. The new electricity production chain including oil as fuel is an exciting new system, which challenges players but also rewards them with technical progress coming to your metropolis. We choose quality over quantity as making use of two fuel resources (oil and coal) would artificially bloat the system while at the same time, watering down the gameplay as a result.

Anno_2070_
Is he ascension to the next tier bound to the need on available and needed workforce or will it be more like in the past, where only a percentage of your residents was able to ascend, which further guaranteed that you always had enough workforce to run everything?
Answer: Anno 1800 will not have the classic ascension rights. If a residential building has all needs fulfilled to reach the maximum amount of residents it can inhabit, you can upgrade the house to the next tier by investing the needed construction material. There won’t be any limit for the number of residents you can upgrade, which means you can let as many farmers ascend to the working class as you like, even if that will cause a bottleneck for farmhands needed on your rural production buildings. Although, you will be able to downgrade buildings if you need an additional workforce in a lower tier.

nico_Darmstadt
If I start building production lines to create luxury goods, will it cause higher upkeep costs but also generate higher income?
Answer: Luxury goods will make your residents and your treasury happy.

Gxy12
Will it be still possible to deny your residents certain goods (such as fish), like it was possible in Anno 2070 or 1404?
Answer: It will be possible to deny your residents any goods you wish by locking it in the specific residential window for each tier. Seems your poor residents have to run dry if you need the schnapps to hand in that quest at your neighbor’s island.

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Union Update: GC2018 Community Dinner

While some of you hopefully enjoy the weather during this record summer, our team is taking on the road to gamescom 2018. While the preparations for gc2018 keep us busy for the upcoming weeks, we will still bring development insights and updates to the Union. Some other formats, such as our development streams are on hold for now but will come back after the event.
To give you a teaser for this week’s content: industrial revolution enthusiasts will find what their hearts desire, as we will highlight technology, which truly changed life in the 19th century.

Anno Union gc2018 community dinner
We are looking forward to Europe’s biggest gaming event and can tell that gamescom 2018 will be especially exciting for Anno 1800 fans. While we will share the exact details about our presence at the event in another update, we have a special announcement to make for Union members visiting Cologne in August.

With the upcoming one-year anniversary of the Anno Union in mind, we want to invite you to celebrate with us at our Union GC2018 community dinner on August 23rd.

During the meet and greet, we want to reminisce with you about the journey so far, chat about Anno 1800 and share development and community stories alike.

How can I register?
Just use our Anno Union “GC2018 community dinner” form.

When and where will the community dinner happen?
Thursday, 23. August 2018 at 9pm (MESZ)
Restaurant “Em Kölsche Boor”
Eigelstein 121, 50668 Cologne

General information about the event

  • Registration via the form is required – we will send out confirmation mails after the advanced registration period has ended on August 6th.
  • Receiving a confirmation mail is required in order to participate.
  • Keep in mind that we have limited seats available, register as fast as possible.
  • Only register if you are sure that you can participate.
  • Participants have to be 18 or older.
  • As the event will take place outside of the gamescom 2018 venue, receiving an invitation to the dinner will not grant you access to gamescom 2018. On the contrary, you will not need a gamescom 2018 ticket to join the event.
  • While we take care of full boarding during the event, we will not cover travel and accommodation expenses.
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Union Update: Happiness and Community QnA

Before we handle the needs of our residents in this weeks DevBlog: Happiness, we will tackle some community questions in todays Union Update. 

Thaliruth
I have a question coming from how other building games do it. I cannot recall Anno games ever having some kind of maintenance mechanics for buildings, such as that they wear off after a while and have to be repaired. How is it with 1800? Do we need to maintain buildings in order to keep the production going?
Answer: Buildings will not wear themselves out from usage and therefore there is no need to perform any maintenance actions. However, incidents such as fire can damage buildings, which will regenerate over time. Ruins on the other hand, have to be manually refurbed by the player. When it comes to harbor defense, repair cranes serve as a measure to maintain your damaged defense structures. While the idea of a maintenance mechanic for buildings sounds interesting for the early game, it would have an extremely heavy micro-management impact in the mid- and late-game. In Anno, you construct not only hundreds or even thousands of buildings across multiple islands and sessions, you also have to take care of trading routes, your fleets and to manage complex logistical networks.

Jinkha5
What if I spent all my influence on a big fleet of ships and then want to change my strategy to use a ton of items or settle on many different islands?
Answer: That depends on the size of your empire, as the amount of influence points is bound to your population. Even if you spend enough points on one category to benefit from the bigger global buff, you will have still some influence at your disposal to invest in other categories. You can also downsize your fleet to reinvest the points in different categories. The military category will allow building fleets at a size and scope previously unseen in an Anno title but a total focus on military won’t be necessary to build up a strong fleet.

Das_ist_Phil
„Investing in Expansion will allow you to settle on more islands, …..”
Does that mean that we will be restricted from the get go? We won’t be able to settle on an unlimited amount of islands and NEED to invest in the expansion category?
Answer: Players who like to steal islands away from AI or other players as fast as possible will need to invest in the expansion category in order to do so. Most players however won’t even need to spend any influence in the beginning, unless they pursue a rush strategy at the start of the game. This way, during the early game influence is especially relevant for players who want to fully commit to a certain playstyle, such as expanding quickly in all directions or to rush a production pipeline to have a large fleet of battle ships as early as possible. When it comes to the “Expansion”category, there is something you have to keep in mind: additional islands will automatically generate influence alongside your growing population (unless you are just claiming new land without establishing settlements). If you just establish a few production islands, you won’t need to spent much (or even any) influence at all but if you want to prevent other parties from expanding, you will need to invest. Players who want to build huge empires don’t need to worry, as influence has no upper limit and will grow together with your empire and its number of inhabitants.

Hexagon19
Is it correct that gramophones are produced by engineers? It makes sense to a degree, but will investors even provide any form of workforce? I also think that it would make more sense that the artisans create the ornaments for the gramophones, instead of the engineers.
Answer: Not all production chains are final yet, as we are still working on balancing, which is also affected by feedback from our focus test groups. It is also important that we find a good distribution of all workforce, in order to ensure that each residential tier is equally relevant, and remains so even in later stages. If we notice that we ask for too many engineers in one production tier while artisans are being left out, we will sit together to find ways to have the workforce distributed more evenly. Since we started developing the game, we had to re-arrange and sometimes even completely change different production chains. But there is one overarching rule: the workforce from all residential tiers stays relevant throughout the whole game.
Investors are different, as they will not provide a typical workforce for your production chains. However, the amount of investors available will play a role when organizing events that are hosted at the world fair.

Ger_Lunak
Will there be a Beta phase for final polishing and bugfixing?
Answer: In order to improve the game, we will continue to make use of our Union focus test program, but also have larger scale testing phases with a lot more players later on.

Frederic440
I would really like to see that every residential tier would get their own enhanced version of the basic kontor. IN the tradition of Anno 1602, it would be great if the enhanced kontor would be available as a project from your construction menu instead of upgrading automatically.
Answer:  While the kontor will not automatically upgrade with every new residential tier, you will be able to upgrade every kontor as well as you warehouses in several stages.

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Union Update: Contest, Stream and details

With today’s Community Update, we want give you an overview on this week’s content and provide a few additional details regarding our last DevBlog about Influence.

As mentioned last week, we are about to start our next big Anno Union contest later this week. This time we will allow you to create your own ship variant and will provide some general guidelines and information needed for you to put your own unique spin on the Imperial Pride.
There were also many questions wondering if we could also allow to create a second variant for the Iron Dragon, as this flaming terror of the seas lost the vote by the smallest of margins. We love seeing your passion, implementing a second community-edited ship is sadly not possible. However, as previously mentioned, you will be able to get your hands on all of the unedited basic ships from the vote.

Next week, we will continue our feature showcase and show you how you can manage the satisfaction of your residents with another DevBlog. With the Happiness feature, you will have the freedom to exploit or to cultivate your residents without lowering one’s sights on advancing your empire to the highest tiers.

Next AnnoAfternoon on the horizon!
Rest is for the wicked – our community team O5ighter and Seraxia jump on deck once again to continue their journey through Anno 1404’s waters. These fellas does not seem to always have a clue what they are doing but at last, they seem to be unstoppable doing so! Give them some support and tune in this SATURDAY at 5pm CEST at twitch.tv/ubisoftbluebyte
UPDATE: Due to the World Cup Finale, we’re moving the Stream Day from Sunday to Saturday the 14th.

Some additional information to our DevBlog: Influence
Last week’s Devblog about the new Influence system sparked a lively discussions in our communities. As it is a currently worked on feature, our team were eagerly awaiting constructive community feedback and with over 200 comments in the Anno Union alone, we got a lot of material to work with. As our design team currently analyses sentiment from our blog as well as from our focus playtests, we want to share some further insights with your today.

Company Level – Naming conventions and general understanding
Many of you stated that you are not necessarily happy with the word “company”, as it does not feel right given the city-building nature of Anno’s gameplay. As we mentioned before, naming as well as translation is not final at this stage and for us, this kind of feedback can be of equal importance as discussing actual features. Therefore, we will consider using a different name instead of “company level”, which will fit better into the world of Anno 1800.
When it comes to the company level as a gameplay element, which generates your pool of Influence points, we want to provide some additional information on how the system works.

Some of you are concerned that the system hinders you in your ambitions to control and expand over the whole island world. The “company” level is bound to your global population and therefore only limited by size of your empire, which means there is no hard cap applied which will hinder you to conquer everything the way you want to. To put it simply, the more residents living in your empire, the more influence points you will accumulate.
With the progression curve we have in mind, we want you to have enough influence points at the start of a match to push for an agenda while in the late game, your Influence will continuously grow, allowing you to stretch your empire in any direction you want to.

Let’s talk about numbers
We deliberately avoided talking too much about the exact amounts of points and the distribution costs based on category. As a subject to constant balancing, we will continue to change and alter the ratios up until release, and if needed even beyond. For that, we take Anno Union feedback as well as our focus playtests result into consideration. Balancing does not only affect the accumulation your growing pool of influence points but also the amount of free units, the investment costs in each category and even the category gameplay elements as a whole.

Optimisation category and the public buildings confusion
This caused a lot of confusion in our community, as the description of the affected buildings was not clear enough in our blog. The optimization feature only affects the three previously revealed buildings able to slot items: the town hall, harbor office and guild hall. You will be able to construct a set number of each of them for “free” before investing influence points in more of these buildings to boost certain aspects of the game. It will not affect buildings like the church or school and therefore, has no negative impact on the needs of your residents whatsoever.

Work in progress and the expansion category
The idea that vast island expansion is tied to a progression system resulted in some heated discussions and our team is currently going through your feedback. As the feature is still a work in progress, we cannot say how it will affect the whole system, the expansion and other categories right now but we will make sure to give you an update on that topic in a future blog.

 

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Union Update: Ship vote has ended

It was an incredibly close head-to-head race but at the end, the Imperial Pride managed to reach the finish line in a true photo finish just ahead of its closest competitor, the Iron Dragon. But beyond a highly entertaining race to watch, it was also very insightful for us to see how the comments and the actual votes being cast can vary. We knew from the start of the vote that the Imperial Pride would be a strong contender, but given some of the comments about the design, who could have guessed that the Iron Dragon would almost steal the race? On the other hand, the tourist ship did not manage to rally a large enough number of voters, despite being one of the team’s favorites. However, we were all delighted to see that the little tug boat that could was so popular with the Anno Union members.

For the Union members who had high hopes that their personal favorite would make the race, remember that you still will be able to acquire all of the ships via gameplay.

With the closing of the Union Ship vote, we all can look forward to the second stage: the Ship Design Contest, where the Union will be able to hand in their own design ideas for an alternate variant of the Imperial Pride. The exact details for the contest will be shared next week.

When it comes to Union content during the summer, we are not planning to lay back and enjoying the nice weather. Instead, we will bring you exciting DevBlog’s in the weeks to come, among them features highlighting how we encourage player freedom as well as gameplay complexity and customization. The first one will put our new Influence feature into the limelight, a great way to customize and support different gameplay approaches. Gameplay complexity is a theme we mentioned many times since reveal of Anno 1800, but Influence is only one of the many features the game has to offer.

But it is not all just deep systems and mechanics, we will soon tackle one of the most important technological achievements of the industrial age!

Do not forget: English Community Roundtable this evening 7pm CEST
The last weeks German Roundtable session was a blast and today, we are looking forward to have a chat with our international Union community. If you missed the previous roundtables, it is a friendly chat session where our community team and Anno Union members come together to discuss everything Anno 1800 and Anno Union related.
Join our Anno Union community roundtable in our Annoverse Fan Discord at 7pm CEST: https://discordapp.com/invite/V4xhZ8Z

Our communities are important for us: let us know if you run your own fan project or want to share some cool or even crazy ideas how we could highlight projects and content from our Anno communities out there. Just get in contact with us vie the comments, our Anno Ubisoft forum or just hit us on Twitter our official Twitter channel @Anno_EN

We are looking forward to this week’s DevBlog and if you have anything to add, feedback to share or just cool ideas for the Anno Union and our communities out there, let us know in the comments below!

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Union Update: Nine years of Anno 1404

This year marks the 20-year long history of the Anno series and this week, we will jump into our time machine once again, as one of the most influential Anno games has its ninth anniversary. In June 2009, the Anno ship set sail for the fourth time and the prominent feature of the number four fits perfectly for one the most beloved games in the franchise: Anno 1404.

This week, we want to celebrate the ninth anniversary of a true fan favorite. Released on June 23rd in North America as Dawn of Discovery and two days later as Anno 1404 in Europe, the game embraced and expanded many features of its predecessor, Anno 1701.

With its renaissance setting, from gothic architecture to the exotic orient, its complexity and rich feature list, there are many reasons why many Annoholic’s still play Anno 1404 today.
It was the first time we introduced items, expanded on end-game content such as monuments and added a completely new eastern climate zone, to only name a few. The following February, the Venice expansion added even more to the package, with a new neutral Venetian
faction, additional buildings, fresh scenarios and more.

Anno 1404 is one of our main inspiration for the upcoming Anno 1800, as we bring back many of the features fans have asked for while also adding new exciting mechanics and content to the series.

Many of you also might remember the Anno 1404 collector’s edition, coming not only with an art-book and poster but also with truly special items such as a real compass and almond seeds, packed in a nice wooden chest. Who of you proud collectors owns one of these rarities?
If Chris and John managed to get you into the right mood for Anno 1404 entertainment with their AnnoAfternoon Community stream last Sunday, we have more for you! If you missed our last community stream, you can catch up with the VoD here: AnnoAfternoon Episode 2

This Friday, we will host another special anniversary stream here in Mainz. Tune in this Friday 29th at 4.30pm CEST, when the developers of Anno 1800 jump right back into a time of discovery!
Popcorn, anecdotes and backseat gaming allowed: twitch.tv/ubisoftbluebyte

Developer Stories

Burkhard Ratheiser, Executive Producer
Anno 1404’s development was as extensive as the amount of content, which the game had to offer. Even 9 years ago, creating one building from concept to finish took roughly 20 days of work. Still under the name Related Designs back then, we were able to benefit greatly from our experienced gathered from the work on our first Anno game: Anno 1701. That experience and previous big step into the world of 3D should benefit us greatly, Anno 1404 was more detailed and complex as its predecessor and added many fan favorite features to the series. There is a reason why if you ask Annoholics, Anno 1404 is still one of the most beloved Anno titles.     

But the Union is not the first time that we share development details with our communities. Some of you might remember our developer diaries, and Anno 1404 gives me immediate callbacks to the technical progress of that time. Multicore CPU’s started to become a new standard in PC gaming and we wanted to make use of that potential for Anno 1404.

It is crazy how much has changed since the beginning of the Anno series, two decades ago: from pixel cities to the big leap into 3D, from multithreading to multisession. With Anno 1800, we not only want to follow the footsteps of Anno 1404s complexity, we will also enrich the classic Anno formula with new exciting features.
A snapshot from our 1404 release party. Many of the veterans are still working on Anno 1800 today.

Christoph Knauz, Project Manager
I have fond memories of Anno 1404. Back then, I was a new addition to the studio with my position as “Head of Localization & QA” and Anno 1404 was the first game in there series where I was heavily involved into development. Before that, I was part of Sunflowers and worked on Anno 1503 as well as Anno 1701 as a part of their QA team.

Anno 1404 was for my one of the best productions I ever had the pleasure to be a part of. The team was great, the game was promising and the collaboration with the Community was something special, as we to work with our fans intensively. Compared to today, internet was kind of underdeveloped back then, so we had to rely more on personal contact with our fans. If I recall correctly, we had almost a dozen focus test groups, consisting of almost ten Annoholics, to test the game during the “Beta phase” (which means the period shortly after Alpha but before Beta).
These testers had the chance to test the game for almost 6 hours on a Saturday, in order to provide us feedback in the form of questionaires. Following this, we invited them to roundtables where we gathered furtehr feedback. Developers volunteering from almost every department to guide the players during the tests.

If you so will is the Anno Union with our focus tests also following Anno 1404’s tradition.

Volker Sassen, Game Designer
With the introduction of the orient setting, deserts and their non-flat dunes became a topic in development. They kind of contradicted Anno’s premise, in which you can place buildings and create settlements on a flat 2D plane. Our first try was a mix between even construction terrain and uneven dune areas, but that reduced the construction space significantly and also felt unrealistic.

We started to work on texture solutions, so we painted light and shadows on to the actual texture. But that was not providing satisfactory results, as islands had now only good lighting from one specific viewing angle.

One of our coders came up with a solutions and saved the day, or better to say the dunes. With the use of bump maps, we were able to include light and shadows to the texture in a more granular and dynamic way. The system would interpret these texture layers differently, depending on the camera angle, which gave us beautiful and dynamically looking dunes – a simulated 3D terrain on a 2D construction space.
Throwback: Here our small Anno 1404 booth at gamescom 2009. Who of you where there and do you plan to visit us this year?

Community Stories

Nox_29
I used to (and still do sometimes) go over to my friend’s house every weekend to play Anno 1404 multi-player. It is probably one of the games I’ve played most in my entire life, almost every weekend for 6 years. We usually played multi-player with easy or medium AI players (mostly Leif :D) because we were decent, but not the best Anno players out there.

One time we decided to play against two AI players on hard. I think it was Cardinal Lucius and Giovanni di Mercante.

My friend and I made an alliance and as soon as we hit patrician level, we declared war on the AI players. Our plan was simple: wipe out their fleet as soon as possible and control the sea. This way we could slowly start besieging their islands. I sailed out with a huge fleet to control the seas while my friend was creating a massive siege army. We destroyed Giovanni’s fleet quickly and we just left a sea blockade. The Cardinal was a bit harder but we managed to defeat his fleet as well. My friend immediately started the siege of his main island. This siege took several in-game days and we came together for several LAN parties over the course of several months. Eventually we defeated the Cardinal and left Giovanni’s Island suffering from starvation and the plague.

I have been playing Anno for so long now and it never gets old. For some reason, every continuous game I start is somehow different from all the other ones. And this is, why we still play Anno 1404 today.

Drake-1503
My best 1404-Moment was a contest in which i participated, without having played Anno 1404 a lot before. Through the other contestants and discussions with them, i learned a ton about the game and had a lot of fun. That was always, what excited me about the Anno-Community: Experience something with others. I think, that it might not even matter, which Anno-game you do that with, as the specific requirements for such a contest are always focusing on the areas on the edge, that get excluded normally. This creates a “First Time” Feeling.
And you need humans for that, not features.

Thomas4795
One of my favorite Anno Moments was, when my younger brother challenged me, to play against him and i was only allowed to settle one! island. After 4 hours i had enough nobles to build my large warships and after 8 hours his island went up in flames due to my blockades. I thought i was the greatest (i was pretty young back then).

Or when i played Anno 1404 again, many years later, after the Anno 1800 Announcement, just to play a “quick” game only to have my girlfriend tell me the next morning that “it’s 11 AM, you’re going to bed now”. But i just warmed up from playing (in 18 hours).
Despite it’s age, Anno 1404 looks still beautiful today, thanks to it’s incredible details and love which went into it. 

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Union Update: Next vote ahead!

For the first Union Update for the month of June, we want to share some details about upcoming Union content.
During the last episode of our AnnoCast, we were able to present you Anno 1800’s UI design. From design to functionality, many of you shared their feedback and questions and our UI Design team would like to invite you this week to give you exclusive insights into their design and thought process.

Next week will be a little bit different, as we won’t have a classic DevBlog or Union Update. However, we have something exciting up our sleeves: the first stage of our next Union vote!
We don’t want to leave you fully in the dark, of course, so we can tease that it has something to do with ships and will give you some interesting insights about another third party character in Anno 1800.

Beyond that, you can also expect some new anniversary content for one of the most beloved Anno games in June. Can you believe that it has been 9 years already since 1404 set sail for the first time? Let us see what kind of fond memories and old anecdotes we can gather from our team. And as always we want to hear from you!
What are your personal best Anno 1404 moments, anecdotes or funny stories you remember?

With the engineer’s blog, we moved from the early years of the industrial era to the second wave of the revolution. Naturally, we want to highlight some of the wonders of that time, when the old age passed the torch to a new era. Finally, you can expect the reveal of the fifth and last residential tier as well.

Before we head over to today’s community Q&A, we have one more update for you. We plan to bring you the second community roundtable at the end of this month, this time with two different sessions for our International and German community. The roundtable is an event where we invite everyone from our community to an Anno Union voice chat session to talk about the Union, the game and its fans.
We will share the exact details and dates with you soon!

Community Q&A

Nox29
Will you be scattering little easter eggs across 1800 like you did in previous games?
Answer: Some of you folks have a keen eye and were able to spot some easter eggs already.
Our developers love to sneak smaller and bigger details and easter eggs into the game. Fun fact: We do not even know how many of them will be in the game, as our developers themselves keep it secret.

T1MR
Will street networks be realistically simulated, so that pedestrians and carts can cause congestions?
Answer: The distance travelled on your street network will play a role in the transport of goods in Anno 1800. Production buildings will calculate the most effective way to get goods either from another production building or from the warehouse. As goods are physically represented in the game world, transporting carts will need to queue up in front of your warehouse in order to load or unload the materials. This can, if your street and warehouse network is not optimized, lead to traffic jams in front of the loading/unloading areas.
We had our own development blog dedicated to the logistic system, which you can check out here: LINK

Henning00
Will the attractiveness of a city affect the productivity of some buildings like in Anno 2070?
Answer: Attractiveness itself will not affect the productivity of your industry. The new feature will support beauty builders with meaningful gameplay while also adding a new economic layer to the game. However, we do not want to force players, who want to concentrate on their industry, to use the city attractiveness if they don’t want to.

schwubbe1980
Will it be possible to fast forward time like in 1404, so that the visuals and gameplay will run noticeably faster? (Anno 2205’s fast forward was too slow).
Answer: You will be able to fast-forward the gameplay but the exact parameters are not final yet. With Anno, we always have to find a balance between comfort and usability. Especially with all the different gameplay loops of an Anno game, combined in a large game world and economic simulation, forwarding gameplay too fast would lead to issues. Think about all the things you need to keep track such as complex production chains, economic balance, AI behaviour of your opponents or potential city incidents.

Gert8517
What I would love to see in an upcoming blog are some insights about the soundtrack of the game, if this kind of blog isn’t already in the works or even ready to go. The music in Anno games was for me, especially in the older titles, one of the important factors, which pushed the game experience.
Answer: We are aware that you folks love the Anno music and are curious how we design and create sounds for an Anno game. We are currently working on DevBlogs related to audio design and soundtrack but these blogs take some preparation time.

SirKju
Will tourists just come out of nothing or arriving from different islands? Will it be possible to make use of a sea blockade to cut your opponent off from tourist ships?
Answer: Tourist ships will enter the map and then travel around the session, stopping at any visitor harbour on the map and drop visitors based on the specific attractiveness level of a city. There will be ways to affect the tourism of an opponent’s island, keep an eye on the Union for future details.

drizzle64
I would like to raise something based on the previous gameplay tours through the cityscape of the game. The small people, which run around the various places, are comically huge in the farthest zoom level. I mean sure, you want to be able to identify them but it would make more sense and help the atmosphere if the residents would be small.
Answer: The not realistic proportions in Anno are a deliberate choice, as visual feedback units are not only an important part of the atmosphere; they play an important part in the readability of the game. On one side, you want that the game gives you the feeling of creating a lively city, on the other side need players to be able to get important basic game information when observing feedback units.
However, the current ratios are not final yet and we got a lot of feedback from the community. Rest assured that we will modify the proportions to be more in line with the classic Anno appearance you are familiar with.

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