I can understand that the Maltese civilization reuses so many models for simplicity and to reference the classic campaigns, but I think now that it’s out it’d really be a step up in quality to give it some more unique assets for its buildings.
This is the one that I feel needs it the most. No other Euro civ reuses a church model and I can’t find a single Maltese or Hospitaller church that looks even remotely like the Spanish church, those metal spires especially stick out.
The sandstone churches are really iconic for Malta and there’s a lot of different options that could be used for reference.
The current model I think is fine, but it looks a bit ramshackle and it shares the problem of other Maltese buildings where it uses the same model throughout the game instead of changing appearance on ageup. In Industrial, something more permanent could be better.
Here’s some somewhat smaller buildings that could hopefully be simplified and squeezed into the tiny build box of the Hospital. Readability could maybe suffer but some stretchers or other medical equipment lying out front will convey pretty easily what the building does.
The Fixed Gun
I love the model currently used and it’s really a really classic campaign prop, but I think a nod to the 100 ton artillery piece deployed on Malta by the British Military would be really special as an industrial or imperial model. It’s also important that this thing can be recognized at a glance as the guard or imperial upgrade since going in without that information could get you blasted.
It’s from the 1880s, so a bit late in the time frame but not unheard of.
This one admittedly doesn’t need touching up since it’s just an abstraction of Hospitaller Knight holdings dotted around Europe and it could really look like anything. Stone walls and some religious/chivalric iconography in industrial age would do it some good though.
Let me know what you guys think. Is polishing up the visuals on released civs something the devs should be putting resources into?
Re: the church
I agree here. I don’t like the Age 4 church for the southern Mediterranean architecture set. The metal spires are ugly and not very church-like. Catholic cathedrals never have exposed metal like that. I’d be happy to see a sandstone version of the church added for Malta, or a better version for the entire architecture set.
Re: the Hospital
I actually like the field hospital look. The whole feel of Malta is as a siege-oriented civ, either defending or attacking. In both cases, they’d rely on temporary housing, and especially since the building heals, I prefer it looking like the field hospital.
Re: the Commandery
I’m ok with the current building, but there is a better bit of art already in the game that’s has bigger tents. I actually use a mod to make it look like the TC used in the Ottomon siege historical battle. Again, I like the feeling of an army being mobilized and not working out of a dedicated building, but providing for its own shelter with tents. This would’ve been extremely common for any army on the march. Officers would have bigger, fancier tents of course, since they could afford them, and the conscripts would’ve been expected to provide their own bedrolls and shelters and carry them with them.
As for them having something indicating a stables, I’m not fixated on that because the Tongue cards allow you to also recruit settler wagons (German), cassadors (Portuguese), or longbowmen (British) in addition to cavalry units. Further, it’s function as a Nydus Worm/teleporter also extends it beyond just a stables.
Re: the fixed gun
I don’t see a real need to change it.
I don’t mind it too much in the home city since it’s not such a famous or unique building that it can’t serve as a generic church. The Maltese version has a tan customization option that makes it look more appropriate as well.
We seem to be talking about two different things. I was talking about the in-game model, specifically the Age 4 church that’s used by several civs, the one with the ugly metal spires. I wasn’t referring to the one used in the home cities. It’s pretty well-known that the ES devs reused a lot of assets when making the home cities. Anyone who has ever programmed will respect that choice, or at least the necessity of doing that from time to time.
I’d be happy to see the Euro home cities get a bit of a revamp, but it’s such a low priority request for me. I’m happy with them as they are, since that’s what the original game came with. As far as home cities go, I’d rather see:
the Iroquois/Haud get a proper home city screen, done with the same high level of care that was given to the African and Mexican home cities.
the Sioux/Lakota home city get a bit more polish, clean up the animation of the dogs, improve the fireflies weather setting so you can see them more prominently, provide winter clothing for the winter weather setting, maybe add a few more doodads as customization options, and lastly add some skins for different clothing for the various tribesmen.
The Ottoman would be my third priority, to give it less of a Western European feel
OTOH the Maltese civ is transparently made to be a low-cost pack-in beside Italians and European maps. That’s its reason to exist. New building models may not be on its budget plan at all.
It’s not impossible for more expense to be allocated to Maltese architecture, but I’ve been burnt by the Ethiopian Jesuit Church and Hausa Berber Mosque before. At launch, those two buildings reused Portuguese and Ottoman models, then were updated into bad texture repaints of the US Meeting House and Ottoman Discovery Mosque. The Lesson: poorly budgeted jobs can look worse and more like a mod than no-budget reuses.
That’s why previously in M00Z1LLA’s thread, I only suggested the cheapest solution I could think of, for the purpose of improving UX:
Switch the Maltese church to the more generic Portuguese models (from the extremely unique Spanish models)
Recolor the textures of Commandery, Depot and Fixed Gun to differentiate them from scenario buildings of same models, as has been done to the Hospital
Rewrite the Commandery redeploy ability to be “use tunnels”, and give the button a tunnel icon
They are inspired by Sagrada Familia, and possibly the 1915 spire of Barcelona Cathedral. They are art nouveau, not early modern architecture at all, on top of Ensemble texturing them to resemble metal wireframes more than the actual inspiration.
The tunnel thing makes 0 sense though. The flavor of the Commanderies is that you’re reassigning your troops and sending them to serve in a different one of the knighthood’s holdings. The hospitaller didn’t have a massive secret tunnel network under Europe connecting all their commanderies. Commanderies of the Order of Saint John - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
I don’t even get what logical problem that would fix. Tunnels don’t make you teleport that’s just mechanical shorthand in other rts games. It’s a weird mechanic but it really doesn’t make any less sense than calling up London on your cell phone and having a fully manned battleship deployed to a land locked pond in the new world in the span of 30 seconds.
I think the Commanderies should function kind of like how the Basilica ‘ships’ units. Instead of garrisoning, you’d be sending them back to the home city, and to send them back would require ‘shipping’ them and potentially interfering with the shipment queue.
I was fully aware of the designer’s original thematic intention (Hospitaller Commanderies across Europe). This below is my argument:
“Redeploying troops” is too abstract & clinical a theme for an RTS. “Tunnels” are much more visceral & evocative. And exactly because the civ is so visibly cheap, it needs every ounce of thematic resonance it can wring out of dry game mechanics. Cheap is as cheap does.
In Starcraft, zerg tunnel worms somehow transport units from underneath molten lava seas and outer space platforms. In AoE3, we are already shipping bisons, whales and mines, essentially bringing a piece of Great Plains, Gulf of Mexico or Kentucky “with us” onto any place on earth. It would be no different for the Hospitallers to bring the Maltese tunnel network with them wherever they go. RTSes are cheesy. Embrace the cheese.
…Gotta admit, by my own UX/information delivery-focused logic, the building would then need construction-in-progress models that show a tunnel entrance being dug.
I think the Maltese civ should have a unique church look, and the Hospital building could have a “stationary” look in Age 4. The Hospital building in Age 4 could look like a Barracks building with tents attached to the sides.
Commandery could only get different textures applied to the building model. Textures from the Mediterranean architectural set would be the best fit.
No, I’m sorry for being snarky in my response. I kind of get what you’re saying now in terms of tunnels being more intuitive and painting a more interesting mental picture of what’s going on behind the scenes. I still think it muddles the flavor though. Commanderies don’t really have anything to do with tunnels and even though just “shipping” your units isn’t that interesting in and of itself, I still think it’s cool that it represents this military organization with small bases of operation thinly spread out over a large area that can work together and send each other troops. It kind of encourages a playstyle that fits the history. It isn’t really a Malta thing, but I feel like the intention was to make a civ around the Knights of Saint John with a big focus on Malta. It does use the Knighthood’s flag instead of the flag that Malta would have used at the time after all, and many of the units speak German or French rather than Maltese. IDK the commandery just really ties the whole civ together for me so I’d be disappointed if it got reflavored.
I agree, they went to all the trouble to give Malta’s explorer the accurate portrait, but like, they reuse Spain’s church…that’s kinda unfortunate. Like, if you have the explorer lady in the ghonella, her portrait shows it and it’s even like a chainmail thing under it, it’s totally rad and someone spent effort on that, but then cut and paste Spanish church lol.
Dudo que sea por la referencia histórica en donde malta si fue parte del reino de España y que fue cedida por Carlos V a la orden hospitalaria, y que esta debía ser pagada todos los años con un pago simbólico, el cual era un Halcón Maltes.
Okay, back on this topic because I’ve got a few small details about units as well.
I’m admittedly getting pretty nitpicky here, but I think it’d just be neat if it used a different model than the grenade launcher. this is something that’s pretty small and the repurposed model is understandable but in a perfect world this is much better to me.
Hoop Thrower Vet Model
This is the main thing I’d like addressed really. The age 2 and age 3 versions of the unit are almost entirely indistinguishable. The only real difference is the hat is a slightly different shape and is a bit shinier. In terms of what to do instead, I think the leather pauldrons are a pretty clear space that could be changed to show unit progression. Just changing them from leather to metal would be easy to spot and make intuitive sense as an upgrade.
Hospitaller Upgrade Visuals.
This doesn’t have the same problem as the hoop thrower in that the different upgrades are hard to tell apart, but they aren’t very visually interesting and only change the color pallet. Some simple additions could be a shield strapped across the back, pauldrons, or a cape (depending on how hard something that is to add to an existing model). The faces on the units could physically age and grow facial hair as well to reflect increased experience. Janissaries, skirmishers, and sentinels all have their models change in the same way.