Two of the key differences between Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising and many of the other MMO games on the market is the significant percentage of enemies the player encounters that are human and the fact that they are historically based. Rome and the 'Romans' (originally the Latin tribes, but eventually a melting pot of cultures that had been conquered and incorporated), were constantly surrounded by other cultures and tribes that they regularly clashed with for control of the Italian peninsula. They were all influenced by each other and took from the dominant Hellenistic cultural styles, but had key differences. Differentiating these human enemies within the game required creating a style and visual vocabulary for each of the cultures. The key cultures took their visual elements from aspects of their historical nature and design styles:
The Romans, or Latin tribes, are obviously one of the most clearly defined groups in history. Their most prominent characteristics were incredibly organized military might, exceptional engineering skill, adoption of many aspects of classical Greek architectural style but with the addition of realism and flourish, and their use of ceremonial regalia. The Romans are epic and heroic in appearance, using classic design with flourishes, rich bold colors, well engineered and epic structures and militaristic pageantry. Their structures and clothing use the repetition of perfect circles, even proportioned rectangles or squares and flourishes to accent those.
The Greek design style was based on a combination of their idealistic design sense and bronze-age armor, which actually has a pretty amazing level of stylization and artistry. The Greeks are defined by their high-culture, sense of idealistic and balanced design, and an advanced level of warfare.
The Etruscans were an older tribe that shared the peninsula with the Latin tribes (Romans). Most of their visual vocabulary was based on and derived from their tombs and burial chambers that survive to this day and show their love for elaborate and stylized imagery and use of deep intense colors. Their patterning and imagery were ornate and dominated by almost cartoon-like stylized animal forms and elaborate repetitive patterns. They are defined by ancient magic, mystery and ornate stylized organic designs.
In the next installment, I will cover the other four primary cultures, the Samnites, Gauls, Pirates and Telchines.