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Tag: Anno1800

DevBlog: Multiplayer

Whether it is teaming up with friends to end Alonso Graves’ reign of terror or taking on three other players to see who will be the last man building- playing Anno 1800 alongside and against your fellow human players can make for tense adventures.

So today, we want to talk about Anno 1800’s multiplayer mode, what options it gives players and also give you some interesting insights into how we make it possible to run an enormous simulation with more than one player.

Multiplayer – conquering the world with friends(?)
In Anno 1800’s multiplayer mode, up to four players can join a match to settle and conquer islands in an alliance or in a race against each other to reach the victory conditions first. Players can freely trade among each other, and with the possibility of trading any goods, they can decide if they want to start a trading conglomerate with specialized production on each side. And should you find yourself short of a full set of human players to stage a naval battle to rival Tsushima Strait, you can always fill any open slots with an AI character of your choice. This choice of how to approach the multiplayer is very important to us, no matter if you want to go for an ultra-competitive race to be the first to construct a battlecruiser squadron, or if you want to play a relaxed Sunday afternoon match with some old friends.

And since this is a question that came up many times in the past: Yes, the multiplayer mode supports the full range of gameplay options in Anno 1800, including the second session in the New World! So will be the first to settle a tropical island?

Starting and victory conditions
There are several game modifier which allows you to set the stage for the game experience.
Alliance with shared victory conditions – You can start the match with an active alliance pact between all players and shared victory conditions. This allows for a truly collaborative effort for players who want to work together as a team.
Alliance without shared victory conditions – This game mode enforces peaceful matches between players while encouraging economic competition thanks to the personal victory conditions.
Free-for-all – A free-for-all, with no shared victory conditions and no active trading or alliance treaties. In this mode, it is solely up to you how the world (and your fellow players) will remember you.

And while it can be fun to build and expand for hours on end, we know that some players prefer a more defined game experienced with a clear goal. That is why we have the same set of victory conditions as in the Sandbox mode, such as being the first to construct a monument, reaching X amount of investors of generating a positive revenue of X. You will also be able to select whether players have to reach one or all of these goals to emerge victorious from your online match.

Custom sessions and the new quick match mode
Anno 1800 will offer two game modes to set up games, either allowing you to invite friends into your custom sessions, or to be paired up with random players via matchmaking.

You can either create or join a custom made multiplayer match, where the creator of the session can take full advantage of all custom settings of the classic sandbox experience. Once you set your various parameters and decided which AI should populate your island space, you can invite up to three players from your friend list to your match. And if there is this one friend of a friend who wants to join you, players who join also have the rights to invite players from their friend list. The game mode supports a maximum amount of 4 players in total, which also includes AI opponents who can fill the ranks of missing players.

Our new Quick Match mode will match you with random players around the world in preset multiplayer sessions. The presets allow you to look either for a match with two, three or four players or alternatively just look with “Random” where a slot is available in any of the three presets. Unlike in custom matches, you won’t have any non-player characters in Quick Match other than NPC traders and every game mode comes with preset victory conditions.

Under the hood – large scale multiplayer simulation
Simulating a vast and complex strategy game like Anno 1800 in a multiplayer match is quite a challenging task. To make it possible, we make use of a “lock-step” mechanism, a system which allows simulating the whole game state on every single PC and as a result of that minimizes the amount of data traffic between the players.

In case the game states of the players will differ at some point in time, the game will detect it (we call it a desync) and immediately provide a simple one-click solution to repair the game state with automatic synchronization of all parties participating in a match.

You will be able to save the state of the game to continue the match with your friends at another time or to switch hosts if the initial creator of the session is not available. This also means that when you are creating a session from a previous multiplayer savegame, players in the lobby can decide which island to control during the game. And if you cannot remember the party of friends from your last session anymore, we will display the players which played with you before.

This large-scale simulation and synchronization process is also the reason why fast-forward is not available in multiplayer sessions. Speeding up the simulation would have a big performance impact on the CPU of each player. However, you will be able to pause a multiplayer game to allow everyone to take a break or get a refill of your favorite beverage.

Build an empire together
While the Anno multiplayer experience always had its vocal fans across the years, we hope that with Anno 1800, more players will team up to experience the game together. We received a lot of valuable feedback during the technical test and Closed beta, giving us ample data we currently use to improve the multiplayer experience for the launch of the game.

And as your feedback is always important to us: While there won’t be a classic Co-Op mode in the game at launch, we will add it as part of our post-launch plans for Anno 1800.
#coopiscoming

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DevBlog: Newspaper

“Breaking News! Breaking News! The despicable tyrant Graves strikes again. While his fleet of buccaneers wears itself out on our superior coastal defenses, the Governor assures all citizens that the attackers constitute no threat to our brave city. Cheer and sing the song of our proud metropolis, while we pity the poor souls getting torn apart by our brave soldiers!”

In the wake of the modern world, information became available for everyone, whether it was in the smoking clubs of the aristocracy or in the crowded working class pubs after a grueling shift in the factory. In the 19th century, the newspaper allowed everyone to get a grasp of what was going on in a time of dwindling empires and rising nations, a powerful tool to bring the truth to the populous- or to twist it in the most convenient way to reach one’s goals.

Hot of the presses – the newspaper in Anno 1800
The newspaper is a new addition to the game, which not only highlights the milestones of your empire but also looming issues in your ever growing city. It’s a flavorful tool which helps newer players to understand what’s going on while Anno veterans have a satisfying stage to showcase their big achievements (or being reminded of their failures). Reading the headline “grand opening of the wondrous World Fair” or the shocking news about an outbreak of war also helps to immerse yourself in Anno 1800’s colorful but often dramatic setting of the 19th century.

The “Anno Chronicles” keeps track of everything noteworthy happening in your city, both good and bad, and will highlight the top three news on the front page of every new issue released. And as your residents are always eager to get the latest rumors, word of a beer shortage in your city can spread like wildfire, affecting the happiness of your entire population. In the same way, news about your newly opened school will have a positive effect on the mood in your city.

With that, news can have either a positive, negative or no effect on your city, depending on the nature of the event. While ravaging fire is naturally makes for a menacing newsflash, the other two articles can also generate positive effects, if there is something positively exciting to report.

The range of possible positive or negative effects of the newspaper on your city includes happiness of your population, consumption of goods, the chance for a riot and taxes gained from your residents.
Once an issue is published, the global buff or debuff on mentioned categories can last up to an hour.

The system tracks all important milestones of your empire, with usually one issue of the Anno Chronicles being published roughly every 30 minutes, reflecting the actual development of your metropolis. But if dramatic incidents happen, such as a sudden declaration of war from your neighbor or your first expansion into the new world, the newspaper won’t miss the chance to publish a special issue to cover the breaking news.

Furthermore, as old news become less interesting for the esteemed reader, ongoing issues will lose priority over time. As an example, the scarcity of bread is surely a matter people care about but they can get used to it, especially if there are more emergent issues on the horizon. That way, the Newspaper always ensures that you get interesting and not overly repetitive news. As you can imagine, a well-developed empire will give your newspaper plenty to work with. And should there ever be a time where nothing noteworthy has happened in your city, your always-reliable editor will back on his stock of humorous anecdotes and filler stories.

In total, we have prepared a total of over 250 possible articles, ensuring that the release of a new issue of the Anno Chronicles always makes for an entertaining diversion. On top of that, all published articles will get archived which allows you to browse through the history of your empire.

PROPAGANDA
The newspaper is interested in the latest rumors and breaking news, which can be rather inopportune to a besieged ruler of a troubled empire. Thankfully, there are ways that you can make your influence work in your favor, persuading the editor to instead publish some alternate, more helpful news- all for the greater good of your island, of course!

Enforcing propaganda allows you to change or erase unloved articles by temporary spending influence points. But backing your editor into a corner will not only let you get rid of the thorn in your side, but also benefit from some of the positive buffs that propaganda can (temporarily) apply to your city.

The different propaganda articles vary in strength, effect and influence cost. There is also a progression curve attached, with more effective articles becoming available as your empire and company level grow.

While standard articles have only a limited amount of effects, we have a total of 9 different positive propaganda buffs which additionally come in three different levels. And with that, taking control of the newspaper can have a high impact on your economy and other game elements.
From simple announcements, which erase negative news articles up to morale boosting propaganda which lowers the riot chance, reducing the consumption of certain needs or improving your tax income.

During an island siege, propaganda can unfold its real power of influencing your residents. Use war speech to make your people less willing to surrender during a siege, mobilize your workers to speed your military production or encourage your soldiers to increase the firing rate of your harbor defenses.

But spending influence is not the only downside, as some propaganda articles might have additional negative effects on your empire or on the standing with other third party characters. Depending on their nature, they might dislike the idea that you manipulate your people; other NPCS, who themselves are not opposed to exploiting their citizens, may however feel attracted by such behavior.

But times have changed and your residents might not be willing to belief every news article you feed them as they might be able expose your web of lies.
The more propaganda you use, the higher the chance that riots occur as residents refuse to accept the manipulative doing of their leader. However, education plays a role in looking through your deception, so higher tiers like the engineers will be more likely to look through your lies than the more humble farmers. In that scenario, it can even happen that a propaganda article you use increases the overall happiness of your islands while the engineers rally on the streets.

A word from the editor
We will leave it at that for today, as many of you will be able to get their hands on the newspaper system themselves as soon as tomorrow, when our Closed Beta begins. Until then, we are of course curious to hear your first thoughts about this new system, which can have a profound impact on many other aspects of the game.

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AnnoCast Specials – Valle & Belannaer

Today we’ll present a short blog with our AnnoCast Specials from this week, where aside from special guests like Valle or Belannaer, we also had an open door policy and many of our developers dropped in and visited us during the stream.

And tomorrow we’ll have another AnnoAfternoon with our Community Team from Newcastle. John and Chris will play Anno 1602 with you, which you can currently get for free through Uplay if you haven’t grabbed it already.

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Union Update: First focus-test has concluded

This week in the Anno Union, we return to the life of your factory workers and explain how your power over their working conditions can not only impact the productivity of your economy, but also the happiness of your residents. More residential tier DevBlog’s are on the way in the future, accompanied by more details about Anno 1800’s feature set as it opens up during your gameplay progress.

The first Anno Union focus-test has concluded
Over the course of the last two weeks, we gave a dozen Union Members the chance to test the development version of Anno 1800. The dedication and effort all of our Union testers put into their reports and detailed observations was astounding, providing dozens of pages with valuable data for our team.
But it’s not only about additional learnings for the game’s improvements; knowing when a feature works as intended and if the gameplay flow feels rewarding and satisfying is easily as important to us as new ideas. In theory, you can develop a game for decades, continuously improving and adding features and as a result, never getting the product ready for the release. For that reason, positive feedback helps us to know if we are on the right track with the game and its existing list of features.

So what is next? The first thing we need to do is to create an aggregated report, combining all the feedback from the playtest, which then needs to get discussed to identify action points to further improve or develop.
The success of the first test demonstrated that the combination of feedback collected via the Union, events and playtests creates an effective synergy of data to work with.
As it was only the beginning, we will continue to leverage the knowledge from our community with future Anno Union focus tests. As always, we will keep you in the loop and updated as soon as we are about to open the second focus test group.

Anno Cast 03 this week Thursday, March 22nd, 4.30pm CET
Anno Cast 03 goes live this week, break a leg! This Thursday, we will discuss some current and past development of the game, how the Union feedback helps us in all stages of development and of course, show you Anno 1800 in action again. As with previous episodes, we will also answer some questions, some of them previously gathered in the comments (so keep asking) and others during the actual show.

As always, we will publish a blog this Thursday to watch the stream live on the Anno Union.

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Anno 1800 announcement

Choose your strategy for victory! Welcome to the next installment in the beloved PC-exclusive strategy city-building franchise.

This is the dawn of the industrial age and the path you choose will define your world. Are you renovator or exploiter? Suppressor or liberator? It’s up to you how the world will remember your name.

In Anno 1800, players will take charge of their own fortune as they navigate the rapidly evolving technological and malicious political landscape of the 19century in their quest to build an empire that will stand the test of time.

Combining beloved features with innovative gameplay in a memorable new setting, Anno 1800 marks the beginning of a new era for the Anno series.

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