Star Citizens and Transparency


One of the biggest complaints of Star Citizens, is the total lack of transparancy, as a backer, I have no clue, not even a single clue at all, about what Cloud Imperium Games have been spending money on.

All am hearing is something about mocap studioes, bizare really, who the hell still uses FMVs in Video Games? Other than EA Los Angeles for Command and Conquer, and that’s only because it’s tradition. It’s in-engine cutscenes these days lads, much cooler to watch, no loading screens either.

For all we know, Star Citizens burned 100 million US$ on Motion Capture equipment, a CryEngine license and big celebrities for some shitty storyline.

That’s it, that’s all we know, other than the laughable “Alpha”, which CIG now problaim is a “substantial” chunch of the promised game, despite the Alpha being limited to 16 people per server, has issues with the frames per second when someone shots at something in the other corner of the solar system and doesn’t have functional aiming.

That’s right, using CryEngine, an engine literally build for First Person Shooting, CIG has somehow managed to break the aim of the guns.

Impressive isn’t it? And due to the total lack of transparency, we have no idea what’s going on, why they relocate studioes, why is Sandi Gardiner, a failed Z-list actress even remotely involved with any of this?

Compared to Frontier, a publically traded company, where we can all just go to the “investor” section, and download a copy of their Financial report, and tada, all the transparency you could ever want.

I can’t imagine this kind of nonsense can carry on for much longer, and not just for StarCitizens, for Kickstarter and Crowd-funding in general.

At some point, some large-scale Crowdfuncing fails completely, and the politicians in Europe notices, and EU politcs have a tendency to be less “Sucking the teat of Wall Street” and more “Wait, we’re fucking Socialists/Populists, FUCK YOU, we need to get reelected”, so Consumer Rights will punch through at some point.

All we need is the failure.

Star Citizens and refunds.

Cloud Imperium Games (Cloud Imperium Games)

Dec 20, 14:32

Hi there,

Thank you very much for your patience with this ticket.

We have reviewed your account status and regret that we are not able to accommodate your request for a refund since it was received outside of the statutory 14 day period.

Your pledge was made as part of the crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for the development of “Star Citizen.” As such you were aware that the funds would be actively applied after receipt for this purpose, not idly maintained in a bank account, and therefore could not be subject to a refund once used. As you may know from the extensive information on our website Robertsspaceindustries.com, Cloud Imperium Games has been working diligently over the past 3 years on the development of the game, and now employs over 260 staff in four studios. 2,538 reports, updates and web shows have been made available during this time, and first modules with limited gameplay were offered as early as in fall of 2013 – by now hundreds of thousands of gameplay hours have been played on our servers. The development of the game is proceeding steadily, and a substantial part of the promised game offering dozens of gameplay hours has been made available to the backers in early release versions (see further detail below).

Pursuant to the terms of your agreement (see Sec. 4 of the Commercial Terms, and Sec. IV.A of the subsequent Terms of Service, as applicable, https://robertsspaceindustries.com/tos), your payment was a deposit to be used for the “Game Cost” (as defined therein), and such deposit has since been “earned by CIG and become non-refundable to the extent that it is used for the Game Cost…” You further agreed to “irrevocably waive any claim for refund of any deposit amount that has been used for the Game Cost and Pledge Item Cost in accordance with the above.” The only exception would be a return of unearned funds remaining in case of an abandonment of the project. If you pledged on Kickstarter, you agreed to these terms when you transferred your pledge account to robertsspaceindustries.com.

These terms are consistent with the specific nature of crowdfunding and the foreseeable use of your pledge – we hope you appreciate that we cannot ask our hard working personnel to return some of their salary nor that it would be appropriate to use current backers’ funds provided for game development as a refund for an earlier and committed pledge.

While a substantive part of the promised gameplay is now available, we acknowledge that delivery of some game elements has been delayed due to expansion of Star Citizen’s scope. This expansion is a result of the community’s declared desire to have the initial release version of the game developed to a much greater depth than contemplated originally upon start of the campaign. It is inherent to the nature of crowdfunding that such an adjustment to the project may occur. Ultimately, this will benefit all backers including yourself, since every backer will be receiving a much greater value for his/her pledge, but it may – as in this case – cause an extension of the delivery dates.

We acknowledge that some individual backers may find the additional wait undesirable. However, as per Sec. VII of the ToS, you did “acknowledge and agree that delivery as of such date is not a promise by RSI since unforeseen events may extend the development and/or production time.”

We’d like to point you to the significant gameplay which is now available; https://robertsspaceindustries.com/feature-list and if you haven’t already, we encourage you to download the installer from this url: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/download and patch up to play the latest version of the game.

Star Citizen is a project for gamers, by gamers. Delays and changes are always unfortunate, but in our case they are also one of the reasons the project is so special. By financing the project using crowd funding, our team is not beholden to a publisher who would insist we ship a game unfinished or broken to meet a particular date. Thanks to continued backing of our community, we have the needed creative freedom over the project, to create a unique game, and we feel the results, such as unparalleled immersion and fidelity, are already speaking for themselves!

We sincerely hope you enjoy the updates both current and future in the Star Citizen ‘Verse.

Thank you.
RSI Customer Service Management

I was wondering when I’d get the copy-paste e-mail, took a fair amount of time to be sure.

Star Citizen and you

Star Citizen, another result of nostalgia, together with that abomination Godus that Peter Molyneux vomited forth upon an unsuspecting world.

Now, I have no clue what the hell Wing Commander is, no earthly clue at all, I didn’t have a PC that could actually run anything as fun as video games back in those days.

The damn graphics card had at best sixteen colours, not entirely sure. It has been many a dark and horrible year since.

Now, do you remember the Ouya, that useless little shit box only the mentally deranged could love? Of course you don’t, it was shut down and its intangible assets were devoured by Razor, who wants to make a go at a mini-console themselves.

The Ouya was a kickstarter success, however, as it managed to rake in millions, promising a “revolution” and that it would “save the games”.

“Beware those who promises revolution, because in their hearts, the seek themselves your exploiter.”

Ouya was a miserable failure, it was released, but the end product was such a pile of garbage, not even Notch wanted to touch it, and that crazy Swede sure does want to touch it all.

Now, another contender is reach peak failure cascade, Star Citizen, the largest crowdfunding success in history, one hundred million US dollars, for a video game, designed and managed by a man, who had massive success with video games.

The last of those, from 1997, to bad it’s 2005, and also to bad that Origin Systems was the company who actually made the damn games, Chris Roberts was the designer, but one man does not make games like that, a company does.
Unless that one man is a complete lunatic genius, which Chris Roberts isn’t.

In between the last Wing Commander, Chris Roberts was the designed on Freelancer, which I actually own, and consider an excellent game, because I picked it up years after it was released, randomly, at some bargin bin, published for reasons unknown by Ubisoft, I think, possible Infogrames, who cares?

I dodged all the hype however, and that’s the important bit, without the hype, the promises and all that insanity, Freelancer’s a pretty good game, definitely a classic, but nothing else.

The storyline was a decent little space opera, nothing spectacular, and it was fun exploring all the cool little corners of the game.

So, what did Roberts do in between? He produced movies, as a producer. Good movies? Not really, Lord of War is pretty awesome, the rest are just ever so much meh.

But he caught the smell of the nostalgia trip we’ve seen in the last few years, ever since the success of Tim Schaefers “LET ME MAKE AN ADVENTURE GAME” campaign.

But Nostalgia is a siren song, just because nostalgia tells you something was cool, doesn’t mean it was, Command & Conquer Red Alert was cool, OpenRA isn’t that much fun to play, is it technically the same game? Yes, yes it is, the same game. Nostalgia just ain’t enough to generate a fun experience.

So, Star Citizen, 100 million US dollars, generated based on Nostalgia, with a man at the helm, who has squandered resources before, when he over-promised Freelancer.

So what is the problem with Star Citizen? Many:

1. Lack of transparency, compared to the only other meaningful point of comparison, Frontier Developments (Elite Dangerous), we know what Frontier spend their money on, who went on inside the company, the whole thing, because Frontier is a publicly traded company, and Cloud Imperium is a personal fiefdom of silence and obscurity.
2. Feature Creep, Chris Roberts recently promised the Star Citizen would contain birds.
3. Cult-like community, you know how bad League of Legends community is? Yeah, Star Citizen’s is waaay worse.
4. Sandi Gardiner.
5. General incompetence, to the point that they can’t do a live-stream properly.
6. Terms of Service fuckery, let’s change the TOS several times! That won’t backfire at all, yayz.
7. The sale of in-game assets to fund development.
8. Broken promises, a lot of broken promises.

So, join me over the next few days, as I go through each point, and mercilessly mock authority!

CHRISROBERTS

Today, I’ll write about art

Amber Coal is obviously a complete lunatic, sadly, that’s absolutely nothing special at all. With the Internet being a giant echo chamber of idiocy, lunatics and maniacs have an awesome time on it. I mean, who’s going to notice yet another mad hatter in an ocean of silly hats.

It’s neither unusual or peculiar.

And doesn’t actually matter, Lunatics often produced some brilliant stuff, the border between genius and madness is pretty often shattered, so no worries!

Let’s just barrel into whatever games Amber has managed to vomit forth upon us all.

IwhatA Game of Cat and Mouse for example, isn’t a game, but is absolutely performance art, interactive performance art, but not a game, it sadly lacks an active objective for the player to actually do, it’s message about entropy isn’t really anything spectacular, if I needed a remind about the terminal heat death of the universe, I’d go watch Nicki Minaj videos.

And burn out my own optical nerves, just to manage the pain you see.

Still, should probably try another one of the creatures deranged games:

UFOHNO, yeah.

UFONO

Yes, we get it, you’re trying to tell us something. But the message “Not everything is what you see” is so old, that I’ve encountered them reading my way through roman graffiti on the walls of Pompeii, it’s old news sweetie, you’re not suprising anyone.

So what if I use a mind control ray to force owls to land on the ground, and then be devoured by violently agreesive rabbits?

Well done, I get the message, it’s all about control and doing crazy shit, well done, now go play Bioshock instead, it tells pretty much the same message, just wrapped in a really good game.

Or play Spec Ops: The Line, which messes around with halucinations to get the same effect, while also being incredibly good.

Or I could look at shitty pixel games with simple messages, choices, choices, so many choices.

Fortunately, they belong to me, not to you.

Maxis has died a disgraceful death.

Maxis is dead.

The old developer behind the SimCity franchise, Spore and the Sims, is no more. It has ceased to be. It has gone and joined Westwood and Bullfrog in Light entertainment heaven.

But, before you let the floods of tears overwhelm your own sanity, to remember just one thing.

Maxis died years ago, all that we wave goodbye to today, was a shallow sad little shell, all the talent and wonder that produced the great games of yesterday, have long gone away.

Will Wirght, creator of Simcity, Simcity 2000, Simcity 3000 and Spore, have gone of to do fuck knows what, nothing game related at least.

The last thing released by Maxis, was Simcity 4, one of the best Citybuilders EVER released, after that, all that Maxis have done is more versions of the Sims, esssentially copying itself every two years or so.

And most of the Sims’s activities was tranfered into another studio entirely years ago, as for Simcity 2013?

Wasn’t made by Maxis, it was made by EA, and their diabolical marketing and financial department. Nothing about Simcity 2013 is worth anything.

So worry not my brothers, Maxis died years ago, today, we simply dump the rotting corpse into a shallow grave, where it should have been dumped years ago.

Luck Cities Skylines looks good, eh?

The Ouya: Still fucking stupid!

So, the Ouya, is it still a useless pile of engored over-marketed shit? Of course it is, the core concept is broken as all fucking hell, a useless consoles to play mobile games, games that are almost universally unplayable and shouldn’t exist outside of Newgrounds.

Another sad tendency, is the fact that flash games, previously something you’d play on Newgrounds when you where bored, are now sold as actual games, genuinly expensive games, a staggering concept to me, games like these aren’t worth anyones time, least of all me.

Now, the Ouya does live on, of a short, it runs on the nightmares of deranged marketing people, the dreams of redditors who flock to anything vaguely rebelious and the money, the money, the fucking money of Venture capitalists, who happily hurl cash at anything that have even the slightest chances, of making them fortunes.

To bad nothing good will ever come from the Ouya, other than more than a few laughs and giggles.

And behold, Amazon’s getting into this too, or are they? Nope, it’s just another little happy TV thing, with the whole console thing added as a little bonus.

TOUCH IT

TOUCH IT

There is no real demand for the Ouya, everything it can do, can be done better or easier with something else, like say, a laptop and a HDMI cable.

But alas, it was marketed as some liberating concept, handed down to us, humble plebs, by the Great and Glorious gods from upon high. Free the games, indeed. I don’t want the games free, Quality control is awesome.

But that’s not to be. But enough of all this, we all know the Ouya’s a stupid pile of crap.

Yves Behar’s design is still fucking stupid, and sweet lady, have you seen the design he made for the One Laptop per Child idea? Why the hell?

Why wouldn’t they just ask Lenovo if they could use the ThinkPad instead, cheap and durable beats overdesign crap anyday.

HATE

Hate.

Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls, in-depth Finacial Audit.

So, Diable 3‘s latest, and probably only, expansion has just been released recently. At a price of 39.99 € for the standard edition. 40 € for an expansion, expensive? Hell yes.

So, let’s split the cost into tiny bits, and laugh at the end result. For your hard-earned fourty Euros worth of game, you get the following: Adventure mode, Act 5 and the Crusader. And that’s it, nothing else, there is no extra content beyond those three elements, everything else is included in the base game.

Let’s start with the biggest sinner, the adventure mode, and just before I start my blitzkrieg attack on this useless waste of time, let’s just cover what I thought it was: Randomly made maps, where you could just murder shit, with random missions.

What it actual is: The storyline maps, with two kinds of missions: Kill guys and kill guy. Same maps, same bosses, same mobs, same everything, nothing new at all, using the same art assets and content.

Total cost: 14€ for something that took about half and hour worth of coding, what it should have cost? Nothing, this shouldn’t have cost anything, anything at all, it’s just watered down story mode crap, using the same assets and a bit of extra voice work.

It should have been included with a patch at some point, for free.

Diable3oo1

Next on the itinerary, the Crusader, an extra character is kinda nice, plenty of extra voicework, lots of crap to do, but otherwise, nothing special. I’d pay 14€ for an extra character to have fun with.

Screenshot000

And for the final nail in the proverbial coffin, Act V. Now, this one’s a real pile of crap, it’s basically just around four to six hours of preditable content and story, and if any of you fuckers bitch about bloody spoilers? I’ll laugh from now ’till the heat death of the goddam universe.

And why? Because the story is stupid and preditable, another BIG BAD guy appears, you kill him, that’s it, that’s all there is to it, no big surprise, no big thing, just you walking through a city, then a few shitholes, then hell, then murder end-boss.

Absolutely no surprises at all, which is a welcome addition to the base game storyline, where the little innocent girl character, turns out to be the daughter of EVIL and get’s possed by Diablo, something even the meanest intelligence, could tell, around Act I, part four, the chase for the magical murder thing.

So yeah, worth 14€? Fuck no, not for that little content.

So in conclusion, Reaper of Souls does fuck all for Diablo 3, the giant patch does EVERYTHING for Diablo 3, the 40€? Is just Activision rearing it’s grotesque head again. Did I buy it? Yes, I have friends, it’s the price you pay, for friendship, which isn’t magical, just expensive.

The OUYA: Bullshit marketing and idiots

The OUYA: Bullshit marketing and idiots.

The OUYA, a magical beast from a time that never should, is a kickstarter funded, andriod-based video game console. It became an overnight success on Kickstarter, because people bought the Virtual Boy, the Philips CD-i, the Ngage and stupidity, and went off and raised over eight million US$. Why? How? Simple comrades, simple. An effective “stick-it-to-the-man” and “rebel-without-a-cause” approach, combined with the incomprehensible growth of libertarianism, add in a dash of idiocy, no sense of quality or control, a lack of knowledge about HDMI cables. And lo and behold! A stupid video game console.

It was sold, in the start, as a sort of “poor-mans” console, 100 US$ for a console? Sold! But consider this, what kind of poverty stricken human being, would waste 100 bucks on a fucking video game console? No, that’s not the right answer, the correct answer is absolutely no one on the surface of the planet. So we return to the first proposal: Idiots, with no knowledge of HDMI cables. HD-TVs are fairly expensive anyway.

It was then sold as a “rebellious” alternative to “the Big Three”; Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo. Who, with their old well-established consoles, surely need an opponent! With a 60.000 strong user-base, who has no clue how HDMI cables work, playing bloody mobile games on their giant HD-TVs, well done. Sony must be shitting bricks, out of sheer existential dread. Again, nonsense. So we’re back to people, who can’t hook up a pc to a TV and who has no earthly clue how HDM*I works.

And then, and then, the argument became: “I want to play Android games on my TV” , because, well, who doesn’t want to play “Angry Birds” on their television. Other than people with a bit of taste, and a laptop, or a PC, or perhaps AppleTV, or a Rasperry PI, or the future SteamBox, or a smartphone, or an Xbox, or a Playstation, someone with a chess set, or perhaps an old fucking Sega.

So, morons, who enjoy simple colourful lights, I mean, mobile games, have no knowledge og PCs and cannot fathom how HDMI cables work.

Then they brought up the open nature of the platform, which sound really good, if you are blessed with a completely lack of common sense and logic, because at the point where this stupid thing get’s close to release, and surprise, “open” means, absolutely no quality control, at all, nothing, nada, zip, zero. so the OUYA shop looks like unregulated Newgrounds, you know, without the quality control that site has.

A 100 bucks to play flash games? And add whatever devestatingly stupid price to “developers” ask for their games, that parts that aren’t “free”. The hell? Just hook up and old laptop or something. It’s bound to be cheaper and much more flexible, than this stupid, barely working, box of cellphone innards. And hey, you don’t have to pay to use Newgrounds and Kongregate, so that’s a Vicory, and very small one, but a Victory is a Victory, no matter its relevance, size or meaningfulness.

And thus, comrades, we return. Back to the unbelievably thick, optimistic, gullible, stupid and weak morons, who fall for anything, even the smallest, most pitiful, hype. Who cannot understand how cheap PCs can be. Who cannot use HDMI cables. Who pays money for flash games. Who rejoices in pointless rebelion against targets, who are not even remotely worth it. And deified Julie Uhrman, a maniac, a former “Junior-Vice-President” of Digital Distribution, sadly not at Valve or Microsoft, but at IGN, so not actually someone who knows anything outside marketing phrases. I’m more of a Video Game Veteran than this bag of empty philosophy, you people will fall for anything, wont you?

Julie-Uhrman-OUYA-Founder
BEHOLD! THE DARK MISTRISS OF TERRIBLE HAIR!

So here we are, the OUYA, you know what? Fuck that name, I’m just going to replace it with random phrases, makes more sense. The OGABO is being released, technically, slowly, and probably not at all anyway. And guess what? To rave reviews! In the deranged mental landscape of its mentally deluded supporters at least, everyone else just thinks it’s rather shit. The Verge thought it was spectacularly rubbish, in one of those “Oh shit, I really don’t want to actually say how shit this is, let’s just fire of meaningly bullshit and give it a low-grade” ways. Joystiq went slightly harder, more honest, to work, and called the UOYA: “The Infinite Garage Sale”, presuming the damn thing ever get’s out to all 60000 users, and not just to the roughly thirty it’s reached so far, You can even get a picture of the Hardware if you check this one out, you will have to scroll, a lot.

And of course, the marketing machine went fucking haywire. And unleashed every single one of their awe-inspiring weapons of sales directed psychology. Or that’s what those maniacs thought they did, for the rest of sanity, this is what they did:

They claimed that reviews shouldn’t be made, until after the OKLHA had been released, because, get this, it wasn’t “ready” for reviews. How the hell does anyone even remotely believe this? Even after Uhrman’s insanity made her claim the damn thing was “finished”, and hey, seeing as no one’s actually getting this stupid thing, I guess she was rightWRONG.

WHY? YOU FUCKING MORONS! WHY? WHY DID YOU DO THIS?

I guess the HOKAH is only really useful, as a very expensive decorative item. A decorative item designed by Yves Béhar, a big fan of boxes, squares and useless overhyped junk. apparently he’s biggest credentials is his involvement with some “Laptops for kids” initiative, not sure what a designer does on a charity project, money’s better spent elsewhere, just go use IBMs old laptop design, cheap, indestructible, perfect.

The OUYA isn’t anything new and shiny, there’s been attempts to make Open platforms before, many attempts at “indie” consoles, all have faded into obscurity, none has ever taken off, this is just another Ngage, CDi and almost a Phantom.

The OUYA was stupid when I saw it on Kickstarter, it’s still fucking stupid, if you think otherwise, then do I have an offer for you! A free Eiffel Tower, only 100 US£, slightly used.

Philip “Ragnarokz” Balfour, is a useless hack, you shouldn’t read this.

Omerta – City of Gangsters deserves concrete shoes

Omerta – City of Gangsters deserves concrete shoes

Omerta – City of Gangsters is a turn based tactical strategy game, blended into a crime simulator, set in prohibition era Atlantic City. Or is it? It isn’t. It’s a shallow crime building simulator, where combat encounters are done via turn based tactical action, similar to XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Or is it? It kinda isn’t. It’s actually a shallow crime building simulator, with a nor terrible impressive turn based combat encounter system bolted to it, and the similarity to XCOM is strictly theoretical.

It’s the latest game from Haemimont Games, known for their remastering of the Tropico franchise, and horribly overpriced German publisher Kalypso Media, known for their outdated habit of demanding preposterous sums for shallow games, small DLC and similar such villanous deeds. Like demanding 30€ and more for this wreck of a game. For fucks sake guys, i loved Tropico 4, stop doing this shit, Dungeons was a pile of useless waste too.

2013-02-05_00004

Now that I’ve mentioned Tropico 4, I can mention it some more! Wait, just kidding, you’re not getting the pleasure of me talking about a good game, I was going to mention who they’re using the same damned engine, thus cutting costs even further, hell, it even reuses several bits and pieces of Tropico’s art assets, even a couple of voice actors get paid again. Should mention that they voice actors are actually very good, and have, duty done.

2013-02-05_00006

Crime Simulators doesn’t pay.

Omerta – City of Gangsters is simple, and due to it’s simplicity, it’s easy as hell to play. The simulation have a theme of duality. Illegal (dirty) and legal (clean) cash, liked and feared ratings, joints and premises. The dirty cash is used for the setup of illegal activities, the clean for construction sites and little else. Liked ratings improve some activities, mostly gambling, and feared makes shit cheaper and pawn shops better. Not that you would ever build more than one speakeasy, boxing ring and similar, seeing as diminishing returns makes yet another ugly appearance here.

The gameplay is nice and simple, you rent joints and premises, and make your money using a limited range of illegal and semi-legal activities, some are logical, like speakeasies and nightclubs needing supplies of beer from breweries and liquor from disteleries, in order to rake in the dough. Other? Less so. Like the pizzaria that makes people fear you? I really don’t recall the part of the Godfather where Don Corleone spread fear through a fucking pizza hut.

Throughout most of the empire-building parts of the game, your opposition is pre-programmed and lacking, little if any AI will present you with any opposition, and the lack of any sort of logically located speed-up function can and will make the game hideous and slow.

2013-02-05_00008

XCOM is weeping for it’s lesser cousin, for it has lost its way.

The turn based combat, oh dear merciful Eris, daughter of Chaos, preserve us all, it’s not very good. I’ll make a presumption, and presume that you have all played the new XCOM:Enemy Unknown, which I know declare the benchmark of turn-based squad gameplay.

Omerta’s connection to the shinning beacon of XCOM, is technical at best, in XCOM, cover was basically everywhere you could see, a tree was cover, a car, a wall. In Omerta? Only where the programmers have determined it to be, can you find cover, so where it’s instinctual in XCOM, it becomes illogically flawed in Omerta.

The complete lack of any serious customization beyond slightly better guns makes the game even shallower. There’s no armour, so when the game ramps up the difficulty, oh boy, does shit ever die. It becomes a matter of luck if you can even manage to drag all your gangsters through a combat mission.

2013-02-05_00007

Should I play this?

No. You really shouldn’t, perhaps with an expansion pack it might become more interesting, and if Steam comes around with a giant sale, you could pick it up, if you are so desperate for a Gangster empire builder.

If you chose to ignore me, you can find it on Steam and on GOG.com.

However, if you want a tough-as-nails crime simulator? I suggest Gangsters: Organized Crime. With the warning, that I suck at it.

I give it 36/100.

City Builders and you: Grand Ages Rome

What I really love about this game, is that your inhabitants mill around, toga-clad patricians head to the temples, children head to school, plebs work in their insulae and slaves are being lead to their bloody brutal deaths in the Arenas. It’s delightful to watch, absolutely nothing like zooming in on your grand forum, and seeing some citizen holding a speech.

Grand Ages Rome is a classical Roman city builder. You build a Roman city, you ensure people have their needs, that temples cover the cities houses, all the good old stuff, we all know and remember, from Impression Games’ Ceasar. You build mines, quarries, logging camps and farm, producing all that the three clases of Roman society need.

Resource management is classical, pun intended, buildings costs cash and some materials. And then has an upkeed in materials, forcing you to upgrade your resource infrastructure, in order to support growth.

The three classes of Roman society are, as any educated person will know, the plebs, the equite and the patricians, in that order.

The Plebs are your lower class, they work in the basic industries and are by far, the most common of people in your fair town. Make them happy, through ensuring they have enough different food, basic entertainment and religious access, and they’ll start producing goods, out of the workshops and small business on the lowest floor of the insulae, used by the upper classes and good for export to the rest of the empire.

Equite are your middle class, their area was the army, so when happy, the produce recruits for your Legions, they also man the more advanced industries, some of the temples and most of the military infrastructure. They also improve some the areas plebs also work in.

And finally, the top of the cities social stratum, the elite, the rich, the Patricians. These guys work in the really advanced public buildings, the senates, the bigger temples. When these upper class twits are happy, they produced Authority, used for an number of special abilities, like getting an emergency batch of slaves.

The military side is straightforward, if the barbarians have two squads, show up with two better squads or obliterate them with massive army of proud Roman legionaries, or let a few auxilia deal with their barbarian brethern. Surpress their barbarian villages to gain a steady stream of resources, or burn it, crush them, to gain a one-time bonus of slaves and money. So if you don’t need the bonus, burn their houses, kill their man and enslaves everything else, including the pigs.

Slaves are technically speaking a fourth class in the game’s Roman society, they just don’t have any houses. Instead of houses, you build slave camps, that provide slaves in an area, you can then use them as a sort of, I-don’t-feel-like-building-a-settlement-over-there, instrument. They can handle basic industries, like logging and quarries.

But, you can also use them in Arenas: “THOSE WHO ARE ABOUT TO DIE, SALUTE YOU!”, which they never actually said, still, a cooler use than anything else.

Now, the multiplayer is sadly utterly extinct, this isn’t a new game, so the multiplayer scene is pretty much gone. As far as I could tell, you build a city or more, and then just duke it out, sending your armies out to destroy your opponents armies, and besige them, I guess it could be really cool.

There’s a second mode, where you just have to reach some goal or milestone instead, like get a certain amount of income or something. The only activity I found was a few Italians using the lobby as a chatroom, wich just confuses the fuck outta me.

Alas, a good game, with good missions, good fun. Worth a look really.

You can get it from Steam. I give it a 88/100.