PDX Firefly

Chieftain
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Welcome to one of our final pre-launch Design Diaries. I am Robert “Xemu” Fermier, co-designer and lead programmer of Millennia. Today I would like to cover an area that is very near and dear to my heart, Achievements!

But before we dive into those, I also wanted to say a few words about the future of the game, specifically in regards to two particular areas: Modding, and Multiplayer.


Modding

At launch, there will not be any direct modding support in the game. We know it is important, so it is something we are intending to add post-launch. While I cannot get into scheduling specifics just yet, expect to see modding support, with Steam Workshop integration, sometime in 2024.

We know that good modding support is key to longevity for both players and mod-creators. Most of our core gameplay systems are very heavily data-driven so I am looking forward to seeing what the community can do once we open those systems up.

(Here’s just a very, very small sample of what one of the Buildings in the game looks like under the hood)
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Multiplayer

We are very excited to support the multiplayer community for Millennia! Many of our core gameplay systems such as Ages, National Spirits and our Army composition system are specifically designed to have interesting counter-play in multiplayer.

There are two different forms of multiplayer available at launch: Local Hotseat and Cloud Hotseat. Both of these modes act very similarly to how playing the single-player game does – each player takes their turn in sequence before passing control to the next player.

For Local Hotseat, all those players are at the same machine (though with modern advances in screen-sharing and remote play, they need not all be in the same location!). To start a Local Hotseat game, just create a game as normal and slot in Human players instead of AI players.

Cloud Hotseat is a more streamlined version of the old “Play By Email” system – each time you take your turn the game state is saved online, and then next player in order can download it and take their turn. Players do not need to be in the same place, or playing at the same time, and you can participate in as many concurrent Cloud Hotseat games as you like.

We also have plans for a third multiplayer format, “Simultaneous”. In this version, players take their turns at the same time while all directly connected to a Host player. As you can imagine, this changes some of the dynamics in the game a fair bit, but also allows for games to be completed in a shorter amount of “clock time”. While the direct gameplay time experienced by the player is about the same as in Hotseat, it is much more concentrated in Simultaneous play.

Simultaneous play will not be available at launch, but it figures prominently into our post-launch plans. Stay tuned for more information about this mode and when it will be available!
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Achievements

Ok, now that we’ve had a look into the future of Millennia, moving on to one of my favorite areas to discuss, Achievements! I am a huge fan of Achievements across all the different platforms they exist on. (Side note: I personally have over 180,000 Gamerscore and nearly 7,000 Steam Achievements).

When it came to creating the Achievements for Millennia, I wanted to make sure we had a good reason for each of the Achievements to exist. The different Achievements break down into several different categories so I thought I would share my reasoning behind why each of them is in the game as well as giving you a look at a few of them.


Age Achievements

First off, we have the largest category, all the Age-specific Achievements. Ages are one of the key features in the game so I knew that they would be a pillar of the Achievement design. Every Variant and Crisis Age has a specific Achievement for being the one to set the Age into the timeline – it is not enough to just follow an AI player into one!
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Each Victory Age also has an Achievement, but to get these you have to actually win via the special gameplay mechanic that Victory Age introduces. Unlike the Age setting Achievements, for these it only matters that you win, not who set the Age. So if the AI takes you into the Age of Conquest, you can turn the tables on them and try to dominate the world yourself!
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There is even one Achievement for experiencing ONLY the default historical Ages all the way up to “current” time (Age 9). This is not an uncommon way for players to first experience the game, before they learn how to manipulate the game more effectively and I wanted to make sure there was something that marked this “vanilla” timeline as well.


Difficulty & “Game Over” Achievements

On the heels of the Age-specific victory Achievements, there are a handful of more general Achievements covering the ways games can end without a Victory Age. There is one for hitting the turn limit (and winning), one for being the last Nation remaining in the game, and even one for losing.

What about difficulty Achievements? There really are only a few, though it does take a fair amount of skill and familiarity with the game to complete all the “difficulty neutral” ones. But I believe that players should engage with the game at a difficulty level they find compelling, not only the hardest difficulty levels.

That said, there is one Achievement specifically granted for winning the game against our “Master” level AI players - that’s one step below the highest level. There is another for winning the game in a fairly low number of turns (though a bit more generous than the 60 turns some players managed to win by in the Demo!). Hopefully these Achievements may cause some players who normally play the game at easier settings to try their hand at something a bit different.


“Bread Crumb” Achievements

Finally, there is a category of Achievements that are primarily there to shine a light on some mechanics in the game that may be easy to miss. There are Achievements for creating a Custom Nation, for starting a Religion, for creating a Faction, and for completing an Expedition. These not only help guide players towards these mechanics to discover them, but they also can provide a few Achievements that are reliably triggered in the middle of a game, helping improve the pacing of Achievements in the first few play sessions.
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I hope everyone who plays Millennia enjoys earning these Achievements and experiencing all the game has to offer. We have put a lot of effort - and even more love - into this game over the past 4 years and there is a wealth of mechanics and content for players to explore and play with.

You will be able experience it all for yourself when the game comes out March 26th! Meanwhile, you can wishlist or pre-order the game on our Steam store page.
 
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@PDX Firefly It's good to see XML being used for game info, making modding of game info pretty easy.

A further modding question is, we know the game is on Unity (from the demo), will the game include a dll mod loader to eliminate the need to use BepInEx, and access to the game code for referencing? As in, official dll mod support?
 
Thanks, I'm especially excited about and interested in modding support, building historic maps, pre-set maps, timelines, adding new nations and the like.
 
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