Alex Rodberg Interview, part 1

When, where and why

On Friday September 3rd 1999, Alex Rodberg, Brand Manager of Impressions, was in London spreading the word about Pharaoh. Angel Reckless Rodent caught up with him and did a 45 minute interview:

ARR: The preview of Pharaoh over at GameSpot mentioned that there would by 9 types of monument, excluding small, medium and large. However, only 7 of these types were mentioned. Can you say what all 9 are?

Alex: Hmm...I think there might have been some kind of a misunderstanding. There are 19 monuments that you can build in total, including small, medium and large. However, there are currently only 7 types of monuments. Some of these types, the Sun Temple for example, only come in 1 size, as does the Sphinx. By the way, keep an eye out for workers falling off the head of the Sphinx while it is under construction. Other monuments have 3 different sizes, except the pyramids, which have 4 - small, medium, large and Great (like Khufu's).

ARR: How about the Valley of the Kings - can you build your own tomb there?

Alex: No, there are currently no plans to incorporate the Valley of the Kings into the game. However, there are small burial chambers beneath the pyramids which the workers hollow out when you place the structure.

ARR: And can these burial chambers be customised?

Alex: No.

ARR: How are monuments incorporated into the scenarios - are they reflected in the ratings system or something like that?

Alex: The monuments are often the end result - they're the goal of the mission so that, while occasionally you do have to achieve ratings, the monument often serves as a visual indicator of how far along you are. Quite often, being able to build the monument almost assures you that you've fulfilled the ratings, because you need to have a city that's thriving, that's happy, and able to produce both enough food and enough people to work on the monument, so you have to have a population that's relatively happy with you to get to that point.

ARR: Who actually builds the monuments - is it normal people, or are there special workers?

Alex: The labour for farms and monuments comes from work camps, so neither farms nor monuments spawn walkers. The work camps gauge how many people are required to work on the farms and supply them as best they can. If you have any left over, then they go to work on the monuments.

ARR: So the work on the monuments will be linked to the Nile flooding?

Alex: It depends on the size of your population - if you don't have enough people to farm all of the farms that you've laid out along the floodplain or irrigation ditches (the water lifts), then the work on the monuments will cease and every available worker will head to the farms to create food, because that's your number 1 priority. On the other hand, if you've got a surplus of people, the you can do both things simultaneously. The works camps will automatically send workers to both the monument and the farms, providing it has enough workers to perform the tasks.

ARR: And the work camps get labourers in the normal way - send out walkers looking for housing nearby?

Alex: Yes.

ARR: Just keeping with the pyramid theme for the moment, can we configure our own methods of building a pyramid, or is that fixed?

Alex: There are 3 major theories about how the pyramids were built that we looked at. One was the long ramp - very impractical for large pyramids, and definitely not practical in the game. The wooden ramps that circle was definitely the one that worked our for us, both in terms of gameplay and in terms of being able to implement it.

Forward to part 2