Future Development

Ashes of Erebus is still undergoing development, although progress isn’t as fast on other mods that might still have dozens or hundreds of developers. I was lucky enough to speak to black_imperator, who’s still adding to AoE on a regular basis having worked with Fall from Heaven since its very beginnings, and is very active over on CivFanatics.

Now is a good time to start following AoE development as black_imperator has started working on developer diaries. This gives some insight into the decisions being made – or that have already been made – by the modding community.

For black_imperator, there are some particular areas of focus, though:

Short term […] finish up the emergent leaders. [Editors note: Emergent leaders are a feature that allow for leader progression; leaders will become stronger and gain traits as goals are completed in-game.]

Long term, between Kael’s lore and the quantity of inspiring ideas that people in the various FFH forums have come up with, especially the RifE [Rise from Erebus] dev team which was very productive in terms of design concepts, I have plenty that I want to revisit.

Magic-wise, I’d like to streamline the magic system by linking all spell effects to a Magical Strength stat, making it easier to distinguish magic users. Culture-wise, I’d love to make culture warfare more interesting by making culture propagate along the trade routes. Making an adaptation of the Revolution system adapted to the fact that the social norms of each Erebusian civ is different would be nice, and so on, and so forth.

Bugfixing, AI and performance optimisation stay the main focus though.

There’s a lot to look forward to, then, if black_imperator maintains his interest. With years already under his belt, I’m optimistic about the future of AoE.

Reflection

Ashes of Erebus is, above and beyond everything else, an immersive, TBS, fantasy experience. (I must give due credit to the base Fall from Heaven 2 mod, though.) It’s better, in my opinion, than any fantasy 4X since, including the likes of Age of Wonders III or even Endless Legend (although the latter comes very close).

Incredible depth has been achieved with the diverse civilisations, beautiful and bustling fantasy world, and responsive game mechanisms like the Armageddon Counter. AoE’s contribution of improved flavour starts, expansion of unique city graphics, improved AI, and expanded alignments (among other additions) go a long way to rounding out what FfH2 started.

But. It’s still lacking polish in some areas. The artwork is spot-on, but the lore – one of the strengths of Fall from Heaven 2 – is becoming patchy. The Civilopedia, while generally informative, has holes. There are text-holders in some in-game pop-ups. The game crashes more frequently than I’d like, and I sometimes have to load a save a few times before it works. Honestly, a lot of this is more noticeable than it might be in a comparable mod because a lot of the other additions are so well done.

When all is said and done, though, I really do feel like I’m at the helm of an immortal race of Romans ready to reconquer Erebus. And that’s what Ashes of Erebus is all about.


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