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Union Update: Welcome November

After a fairly short week for us, we are back and ready to engage the month of November with new content. A big thanks for all the feedback regarding the anniversary week. As you seem to like the anniversary idea, we decided to do some similar content for the upcoming Anno 2070 birthday. Furthermore, the streams are well received and we will see how we can further improve based on your feedback  to bring you more episodes of the AnnoCast and the Anniversary Let’s Plays, as well as showing you Anno 1800 live and in action as soon as technically possible. But the streaming means also means a lot of additional work for us and for that reason, we won’t be able to bring you requested weekly shows or even expand the streams to two or even three hours. We think that the Union understands – and agrees! – that the development of Anno 1800 is our top priority. We also have to report that Norbert filed a complaint, as he was so far not given the screen time fans asked for. We surely don’t want to get in trouble with our HR department, so we are looking at ways to include him in the future.

Regarding development, we are currently working on our next big development milestone and will share an update about the state of the game with you soon. As previously announced we will give you some interesting details about military this month as well as spotlight the work of a 3D artist. Also, please welcome our Senior Game Designer and stream operator Christian, as he will help me out with today’s Community QnA.

But before we start with todays QnA, here comes the call to action for the Anno Union: Share your Anno 2070 memories, crazy stories or anecdotes for the upcoming Community blog in the Anno 2070 anniversary week!

Community QnA

NK3D
I am happy about the fact that you are planning to have a player testing capable version of the game ready by this year, does that mean we can expect a small stream?

Basti: We currently discussing requirements for our development build in order to show you Anno 1800 gameplay sections during a Developer Stream. While we still want to improve our general stream setup, we know now that it works. We cannot give you an ETA right now but we want to show you Anno 1800 in action as soon as technically possible. I can tell that we will start displaying certain elements of the game including developer talks rather than a let’s play format.

Sir_Obelexxus
One question regarding the selection process for testers. It is clear that not everyone will be able to make it into the first play test. Would it make more sense to create a small application process, where you can ask important questions such as “which way you want to travel to the location? The city of Mainz is over 400km away from some places in Germany, which is a bit much to just “show up” to test Anno 1800. Is there anything like that coming or planned?

Basti: We plan various Anno Union playtests until the release of Anno 1800. We will invite a small focus group for the first test, where the participants will visit us in our studio in Mainz. More tests will happen in larger groups in our studios, at different place or playable from your own home PC. The best-case scenario for us are these latter tests, in which you will be able to participate from the comfort of your home. This allows us to invite a larger numbers of players from all players, and to have the game tested on a wider range of possible hardware configurations, depending on our needs for the specific test. The idea of an application process is interesting and we will see in which form it could make sense for us for future tests.

Julius_A.
How will it work when citizens die in my settlement? Will there be a graveyard or something similar in the game?

Basti: While we will have a church as a basic need, dying citizen won’t be a gameplay element in Anno 1800. Citizens might leave your settlement because of missing fulfillments of basic needs or other elements but adding that layer would overcomplicate things more than actually benefit the Anno game design.

Montanus77
As with the voting with the AI character, it is quite hard to vote for something if you are missing the greater picture or don’t know how it will affect a feature in a larger scale. I would like to ask you to provide more insights about the content of future voting’s and also tell us, what kind of decisions were set in stone about that content before starting the community vote.

Basti: Good Feedback, we will see how we can keep that in mind with future votes in order to provide a little bit more background information about the underlying systems of voted content. While AI characters are a long established feature in the Anno series, the world fair blogs showed us that it was not clear for every Anno Union member, how the event feature actually works in detail. We however also have to consider development timelines, where many things are being work on in parallel; by the time one element may be fully set in stone, it could already be too late to have the community vote on related elements.

Depace
Personally, I would have liked it more to have a bigger production line from the get go, as complexity in the game is a really important part for me. Also, the fishing hut was always the first to go building to kick off the food production, a change to that would have been a great chance to mix things up a bit without having too much of an impact on the games feeling.

Basti: During the concept and development phase, we take a closer look at all game elements to evaluate if it makes sense to perform certain changes to the Anno formula or if that could even damage the overall feeling and balancing of the game. Decisions often being made based on experience and sometimes a certain feeling what could work but with Anno 1800, we want to take advantage of the Anno Union initiative to directly work with your feedback as an additional layer, from allegedly small features like the first tier of the food production chain to crucial larger scale content. Based on that feedback, we made the decision that, with the traditional start in the food supply chain, newer players will have an easier start, veterans a familiar environment while it will not y have a negative impact on the overall complexity of the game.

Lord1anni
I think it would be really cool if the transported goods (in this case on horse-carts) would not just vanish from the roads and instead drive to the actual production building. I would not mind if the crates would just appear just like that on the cart.

Christian: With the current implementation state of the feature, we want that the market carts are visible while unloading their goods. But as the visual representation of the logistic system is not fully implemented yet, a lot of that might be subject to change until we reach Beta state. As you might have heard already, we are currently experimenting with goods being actually moved from one production building to another instead of just being picked up at a warehouse. The main reason is that we want to show how busy the warehouse can get in the game world. If you see that there are too many market carts causing a small traffic jam in front of the warehouse, it might be a good moment to think about building an additional one or upgrading the existing warehouse.

Are you guys interested in getting more details about the logistic system or do you want to rather explore it your own when the game comes out? Let us know in the comments below!

HippoKillar184
I would be interested what kind of goods will be in the game, my favorites are the more complex production chains like wine or candle sticks from 1404.

Christian: The production chains will be a mix between familiar and completely new goods. That means you will see some traditional chains such as bread or fish, while the industrial revolution allows us to implement new ones like steel production. While progressing in the game, goods will become more advanced and as a result, production chains longer, more complex and difficult to handle. We will dive into that topic into greater detail in a future DevBlog.

Swimming-Paul
Do you think you could make an update in the future about ornamentals? Or isn´t that considered important enough?

Basti: Whether it is beauty building, trading and economy or military domination, players have always had their preference for their favorite game approach. Beauty building is a very important aspect of the game and for that reason, we will provide more development insights about ornaments and other beauty building aspects in future. It would be interesting for us to know what beauty builders are hoping for in the game.

Annosofeles FORUM
How will mining resources look in the game? Will it be more like 2070 or 2205, where you have general spots for where you can decide which resource you mine or more like 1404, where each resources has a designated spot for reach resource type. How about the quantity of resources in each node? More like 1404 (limited but you can refill them with money) or like 2205 (unlimited) or even like 2070 (limited and only refillable with items)?

Basti: Mining resources have set spots, which are generated with the isles when you start a new game. The various resources have their designated spots, which means you have to construct your coalmine on a coal node. The amount of coal or any other mining resource will not be limited and as a result, cannot deplete. When we show you more about the production chains in future, we will also tell more about the mineral extraction.

15 Comments

  1. ruuti0 ruuti0

    Thank you again for great information!

    Its been pleasure to read your news!

  2. fredlangva fredlangva

    The idea of having the market carts travel being visible is a great one. The only issue I’ve had with warehouses in the game is the resources being available in all of them instead of the one they were delivered to.

    The graphic in the post really looks fantastic for the mine. I hope the game gets that included.

  3. MadAssassinA MadAssassinA

    Great work guys this gives me 1404 nostalgia

    Show answers to the comment
  4. Swimming-Paul Swimming-Paul

    Great answers Bastian!! I’m very satisfied with the amount of information provided in this post, and very happy to know that beauty builders will be considered during the development. The screenshot of the mine looks STUNNING, I’m impressed. I agree 100% with Mendahor about the importance of a big variety when it comes to ornamentals. I think the way parks and green areas worked in Anno 2205 was revolutionary in the franchise and should definetely be implemented again. I’m talking about the way that parks would merge when placed together, allowing players to create green areas and avenues of almost any shape. Congratulations ubisoft blue byte: this is looking promising and exciting!

  5. Mendahor Mendahor

    * I don’t understand this : “we are currently experimenting with goods being actually moved from one production building to another instead of just being picked up at a warehouse. The main reason is that we want to show how busy the warehouse can get in the game world. If you see that there are too many market carts causing a small traffic jam in front of the warehouse… “.
    When you say “the main reason”, do you mean “the main reason we’re not sure to keep this in the final version” ? If the goods transporters take goods “from one production building to another” one, then they don’t need to go *through* the warehouse, so we can’t see that “small traffic jam in front of” it. Except if you represents the inter-warehouse traffic. Is that what you mean ? Could you please tell us more about this ? Whatever, I would spend hours to watch in details the goods being (un)loaded.

    * “Are you guys interested in getting more details about the logistic system” ? For sure I am 🙂 Logistic is the heart (the core) of Anno games. This is not a question, this is a rhetoric comment call 🙂 Please tell us more, I would say this aspect deserves its own DevBlog.

    * “It would be interesting for us to know what beauty builders are hoping for in the game.” : I’d personally love to have more choices for ornamentals buildings. In each Anno we get too few ornamentals buildings (from my point of view), and when time comes to beautify, I always fell like a lack of choice : you ends up with too many cloned buildings.
    An easy way to adress it would be to let us “scale” buildings. For example you design a 3×2 building, but let us build a downscaled version of it in a 2×1 slot, or a upscaled version of it in a 4×3 slot. To preserve the ratio aspect, you could play with the ground around the building itself (in addition to scale it, or even better, to scale *a part* of it).
    This would allow us to add more variety (instead of having each x by y hole filled with always the same 2 differents buildings). With this “ground play” technique, we could even elegantly fill a square hole (3×3) with a 3×2 building, without having to fill the 3×1 left “hole” with a 3×1 structure, or 3 “1×1” structures, or only trees…
    Maybe you could let us design/share/import our own 3D models ? Or allow modders to do that ? Or regularly add a new “beauty pack DLC” with 5-10 buildings within ? (If you go the DLC way, please avoid 10€ for only 1 or 2 buildings)
    Summary in 3 words : “more choice please” 🙂

  6. Hannover8 Hannover8

    “Are you guys interested in getting more details about the logistic system or do you want to rather explore it your own when the game comes out? Let us know in the comments below!”

    Yes, although extra surprises are always welcomed 😉

  7. timhageman timhageman

    Question, since mines will be infinite, and thus no items are required to refill them (like in 2070), does this mean the whole research part doesn’t make a comeback, or is research (maybe through exhibitions) to obtain rare items going to be in the game (like 2070)?

  8. Olinater Olinater

    I would love to find out more about the logistic system of the game. Or at least some bits of it.
    The picture of the mine is really interesting in that perspective. It seems that it is only connected via a traintrack (and not a road). Does that mean that trains will come and pick it up? Or will it be transported with minecards to a station that is connected to the island wide railroads? From which it will be distributed to wherever it needs to be moved (like to the port, to export the good).

  9. jjalexander jjalexander

    Please don’t allow the AI to cheat as in Anno 2070. I beg of you.

  10. Soulridder Soulridder

    Would be nice to know more about the logistic system of Anno 1800. 😉

    @Basti Well, when I’m building a city and having a Game where I want to build a beautiful city I will usuall (in Anno 2070) go for the Eco’s. [the following answer is based on my opinion only ^^] The next step for me is also to search for a nice coast and start to build my city there while my harbour will be placed on another coast, thus letting the citizens visit the beach and look at the sea at nightfall. Would be cool to have some buildings for the beach and activity there, like tourists. 😉 It’s also important for me to not build streets in straight lines, but instead have a thousand curves within the city. This leads to some places where there is a 1×1 grid or some 3×2 grid etc. where I can’t place any houses. These spots will then be used for decorative items like trees. Normally I would place them all around the city, but as in Anno 2070 the Eco houses also provide a small set of trees I don’t have the need to place as many trees by hand as I normally would have. It also looks better when most trees are within the grid of a house and some trees aren’t.
    Somehow I find it quite nice to have a few wind parks within my city (atleast within Anno).
    For me it’s also important when building such a city to be able to rotate buildings around and to not have the same building all over the place, meaning variation within the buildings is quite important. The covered town center was very important in my design as I don’t really liked the normal design for such a city. I usually also place the streets at the point where the walkway within the town center ends. Sadly this doesn’t aline perfectly with the grid (maybe something which can be fixed in Anno 1800 😉 ).
    The street layout is also always never wider than 1 as without road surface marking it doesn’t look nice in Anno 2070 besides that it’s not required. Thought it looks like when placing a row of trees or bushes in between.
    It’s also always nice to have buildings which can be connected to one another (like park buildings or walls, but I would like to see more of these buildings as those two, especially the walls are quite important for my design, but I always feel something is missing there). For such a project it’s also important to have the buildings somehow connected to the place where you build them and to the faction which you play (wouldn’t make much sense to place a tree in a tycoon city, wouldn’t it?).
    While I’ve know talked about the city, let’s not forget other places of your island, like the habour (nice idea with the containers to be placed there in Anno 2070… thought with some more activity around them it would have looked even better. There was an extra decorative building to add this activity if I recall correctly, but only in form of some rails underground without a possible connection or activity at the containers itself). I bet something like containers already existed at the time of Anno 1800, just in another form. The lighthouse was also a great idea, thought I missed decorative buildings which would match perfectly with places like factories. Maybe even a destroyed transport vehicle to be placed next to a lonely road. Different street types and large buildings (for which some parts of the city had to be rebuild with the layout described above were also quite nice).

    As for my Anno 2070 stories: Well, the best parts were when I fought against Keto. Sadly it wasn’t very interesting when playing as Tycoon. Just colonize as less islands as possible, build a bit of defense and repair cranes on the habour and escort your merchant ships with one or two Colossuses. After that is achieved (pretty easy with some experience) the only thing you need is a nuclear bomb and say good bye to Keto or to have a bit more fun, rush in with all Colossuses at once on her ship after destorying nearly her entire fleet. Without the Colossuses, so playing as Eco for example, it’s more enjoyable as it’s more of a challange, especially when having countless of island to defend and playing against her the first time. ^^

    I also didn’t really liked Thor Strindberg for him beeing a person who hates you while it doesn’t matter what you do but when starting a Game and direclty declaring war at him it makes fun (thought he could have been a bit harder ^^ ). Would be nice to see a person which doesn’t totally hate everything you do all the time while still beeing as hard or even harder to defeat than Thor Strindberg and can be easily provoked into war. Thougt Thor Strindberg feels somehow weird… always blames you for everything that happens and which you do while he always screwes up his entire islands and literally destroys it.

    It was also nice when in my second game or so the people started to protest against me (no clue why anymore), but the best thing about it was when they started to block your buildings, thus starting to proclaim even more as they couldn’t enter the buildings they blocked anymore. ^^

  11. AVALONIAN AVALONIAN

    the cities when building the trains for passenger trains and industry also will the station to be built in city or next item like coal or from the farm to market

  12. BlueBreath BlueBreath

    How about a need for beautification? Is that considered or you don’t want to impose this on all players.

    Show answers to the comment
  13. AmpeImann AmpeImann

    Really excited for the upcoming play tests. I am optimistic that you’ll have a way for us to play from home somewhat soon as traveling to a different continent for a play test isn’t very feasible.

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