I have decided to register on those forums after I learnt that they were making a new total. I'm ususally not very found on posting sugestions or advices for games, since devellopers almost never read them, but I found out this wasn't the case on those forum and that CA is pretty much more attuned. Also the community seems great and really enthousiatic when it comes to discussing stuff like game design.
Ok so now to the point: I simply loved the first rome total war, but some stuff disapointed me in the vanilla version : mainly the many historical inaccuracies in the game. It could go from simple details to a whole factions depiction. And about depiction, four factions were particularly affected : The Egyptians, the germans, the Britons AND the GAULS.
Now I saw that a thread about the egyptians was already made in the section, so i'm not going to talk too much about them. I'm not going to talk too much about germans and britons, since I think that the Britons, germans and Gauls are all an unique case and should not be put into the same basket.
Since i've been an exchange students in france during 2 year, I had the occasion to learn a lot about this old culture, and I had access to historical reconstitutions and the latest archeological findings.
In rome total war, the gauls were basically depicted as a generic barbaric culture, and really had that hollywood barbarian style : hordes of unwashed, primitive savage, barely equiped and living in hovels.
This depiction was reflected in every aspect of their design : from their town (who could'nt even have stone walls) who looked like a bunch of hovels and huts put together and linked with dirt roads, to their unit design, who like I said, were the generic barbarians units.
Now evidence, mostly recent, shows that they were in fact a pretty sophisticated civilization, and had a level of advancement comparable to the romans.
Of course, they were indferior in some fields (the most notable one being engineering, the roman being pretty much the best of antiquity in that field), equals on other and even superior in some.
I can list those fields were they equalled and even surpassed the romans :
-philosophy & theology
: the druids weren't only religious leaders. In fact, like many civilizations of that time, the priest and scientist class were the same, look at the egyptians, the persians, the mayans... They were great philosophers, even the greeks and the roman praised the deepness of their thoughs
: the fact that they didn't write doesn't mean they had not complex litterature. In fact their poems, essays and stories were transmitted orally. Even today most people have heard of the bards, which is a testimony to their prowess in this fields. They capable of Literary techniques that would have put sometimes some of todays writer to shame. Their litterature wasn't just instinctive.
: it's one of those fields were they were often (not always) surpassing the romans. Everything ivolving smithing or building objects (made of woods, or other materials). They were by far the finest metal workers in antiquity, smithing being very complex in nature, this is a testimony of their overall level of advancement. They invented the mailcoat (that revolutionized armament ), the plow (that indisputably revolutionized agriculture) and had left a lot of very fine artworks, most of them having only been recently uncovered. They also invented the barell, one of the most ingenious way to transport liquids and other goods.
: yeah, now i know most people are surprise and often don't believe it when they hear this, because it's really the antithesis of today's cliche image of the gauls. But the druids did travel a lot, goign to place like alexiandria, the capital of sience at the time (great library) to discuss and exchange theory with the others sicientist (greek,romans,egyptians sometimes even indians). What we know for sure is that they had the same knowledge of those people. What we don't know yet is if they discovered theorems themselves. Since they did not leave any written notes, it's hard to tell. So I'm going to assume theey didn't had a big impact on mathematical theories and were just educated, just like the romans : the romans didn't really liked abstract thinking themselves, so both gauls and romans are probably equals in those fields.
: it's difficult tho judge art, and I think you can never say one painting is superior to another. You can't judge creativity But, you can judge the level of complexity, the level technique used, and the overall finesse . In those two, the gauls were equals to the romans.They made extremely fine piece piece of art, mainly using metals and wood, while the romans prefered marble and stone. I've many books with lots of pictures about the art of the two civs, and myself i can tell they they are both equals when it comes to the finesse.
: the druids were famous in the whole Mediterranean for their potions and remedies. They knew how to use each plant and were able of feats that nobody could do. They also used this knowledge when crafting.
In the fields of architecture, the romans surpassed the gauls
, like they surpassed everybody anyway.
But that doesn't means the gauls had a primitive architecture. In fact they had a very unique style.
Again contrary to the popular belief, they did build more than just huts and longhouse. Their cities were fully paved, like their roads, their road systhem was one of the most develloped and well kept of those time, with every roads being made of stone or woods. Only the poorer lived in huts, and most of them had big houses, improved from generations to generations, with fine artwork all around the house, low relief, sculptures, and paintings. The cities had big administrative buildings, again with lots of artwork and decorations, large public facilities (even baths, although not as extended as the romans ones), large central places...
If you want to picture one of their largest oppdiums (cities), just imagine any other big cities of that times (carthage, sparta, even rome) just a bit smaller
(there was a bigger rural population) and replace the stone and marble by a wood/stone combo and metal working : you have your gaul oppidium, the same grandeur, the same imposing feeling (or almost, let's not exagerate :P). But DEFINITEVELY NOT a small town with dirt roads, simple house with little to no art or style. So they should NOT be portrayed like they were in rome total war 1.
Bibactre, one of the biggest gallic oppidium, had over 150 000 inhabitants. Which is still kind of big for that time.
I could go on and one, about how the gauls also invented soap (they weren't the only ones, germans, phoenicians, syrians... did), were master Dyers (they had very colorfull cloth and gave a lot of importance to their clothing, more than the romans did) (which also means most of them (at least more than 50%) did not went naked or bare torsed in battle, but actually put some nice cloth)...
So it was a pretty long demonstration, you can check every point in various sources, I even encourage you to do so, not just wikipedia (even if wikipedia pretty much approves what I said, it's just incomplete on some part), but also the works of some historians and some pictures of the gauls art. I also recommend you ''l'univer des formes''
it's a famous french collection on civilizations, and it was translated in english (i think, but anyway it's mostly pictures of artworks no need translations for that :) ).
I wanted to break most of the préjudice and the comon lie that sticks to the gauls image, even today.
So the point was to provide a more accurate overview of this people and get rid of this stereotypical view.
Now how it should reflect in-game compared to the previous rome total war :
-Units shouldn't be generic and shouldn't be the same as the germans.
They should look well equiped (at least for the medium and high tier), and well clothed (for most of them, yet some should be naked or half naked, since SOME gauls did fight that way) and should have that gaulish look.
-Big cities should look neater and more refined
: stone roads, imposing facilities, stone walls, fine architecture, presence of pieces of art, scultpures low relief, big temples.... Basically it should have that ''grandeur'' that the other civs cities are going to have. And and also, it shouldn't be the same cities as the germans : they were both different civilization and should not be put in the same basket.
In the end, in the game, if one look at a gauls cities, he ewon't say : ''Meh, this city looks pale in comparaison to the carthaginian/egyptian/greek... ones'', it should look as develloped and as fine as those cities. It should have this ''magnificient'' look the other will have, or at least at a comparable level, in the same scale.
So yeah, that's about it. My hopes is that a CA employee will see this and that it will help, along with many other things (i'm not pretentious :P), make him consider some more options for the design of the gauls. And anyway, I'm also curious to hear your people think about all this, what's your opinion on how CA should stick to historical accuracy and some design ideas you can come up to. I'm also eager to see the debate that will come out of this thread.
Thanks :), certainly have fun debating :)
PS : I can't edit anything (don't have permission yet), so if there are grammatical errors I won't be able to correct them. Thanks for your comprehension :)