Newsletter 2 - 26/8/99

Each morning, we rise with the sun (well, almost) to begin anew our noble task. As Ra's golden boat sails the sky, and sometimes long after it completes its daily journey, our toils continue. Piece by piece, inch by inch, we come closer to achieving our lofty goal. As day turns to evening, we take a step back to survey the day's work. Soon enough, we will complete our most illustrious mission.

Work on Pharaoh has reached a fevered pitch. As we implement more aspects of the game, we can provide more information on new elements that we think you'll enjoy. YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED provides insight into some of these new elements. In EGYPTIAN LIFE, we share a fact or two about ancient Egypt that served as inspiration as we developed the game. Enjoy!

YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED

Chris Beatrice, Impressions Games' Director of Design, emerged from the depths of his office long enough to answer a few of your questions. Expect more of your questions to be answered in the next issue of the Pharaoh Newsletter.

Will players be able to use their armies for conquest?

Well, sort of, but I don't want to reveal too much at this point. Pharaoh is not a game about combat or conquest, and in fact this is even less appropriate given the Egyptian setting than it might have been for the Roman setting. Nevertheless there are a few occasions during which players are given some choices regarding foreign conquest.

Will the pathfinding algorithm (the market ladies) be upgraded?

I won't go into detail about the thirteen or so "improvements" we decided to implement, I'll just touch on the highlights (BTW, in Pharaoh they're called "bazaars"):

Firstly, bazaar traders (not 'bizarre traders'!) use a best path algorithm, as opposed to the old "as the crow flies" routine. This is used by cart-pushers and sled-haulers as well. Secondly, bazaar traders (i.e. market ladies) now accurately report back to their parent bazaar the needs of the houses they administer. If a house doesn't need a supply of a certain good, or would not benefit from a supply of a certain good, none is purchased by the bazaar buyer. Additionally, each bazaar has two different types of buyers: a food buyer and a goods buyer. Buyers can now pick up multiple commodities in a single trip. This, in combination with the two other points above, allows the bazaar to be more adequately and appropriately stocked to serve the needs of its local community. Finally, for those of you who really crave that extra bit of control and precision, we've incorporated a special orders panel for the bazaar, allowing you to order the bazaar to 'buy' or 'don't buy' any items.

Will Pharaoh have multiplayer?

No. Pharaoh is primarily a single player experience. Though we have had a few requests and ideas for multiplayer play, we feel that the best -- in fact the only -- way for us to deliver the kind of game-play and the level of quality that you have a right to expect from our city building series, is to maintain our focus on that single player experience.

What will Impressions' next city-builder be?

A closely guarded secret. But seriously, we have a ton of ideas, and we've received a ton of requests and suggestions that we really haven't begun to narrow the field much yet.

EGYPTIAN LIFE

Ancient Egyptian doctors developed cures for a range of maladies. The gods played an important role, as they did in all other aspects of Egyptian life. Most cures involved special prayers invoking the gods' aid. In addition to prayer, doctors prescribed medicines for ailments. For example, to cure indigestion, a hog's tooth was crushed and placed inside of four sugar cakes. The patient was to eat one of these cakes per day, after which time the indigestion should be cured. A cure for baldness called for a mixture of a rook's vertebra, a burnt donkey's hoof and the lard of a black snake. By the way, we recommend that you DO NOT try these at home.

FROM THE MARKETING WEASEL

The gaming press is abuzz with anticipation for Pharaoh. Seems like nobody can wait for this one to hit the shelves. Read what the press has to say about Pharaoh at: