Rome: Total Realism (or RTR) is a complete modification pack for the computer game Rome: Total War, intended to rectify historical inaccuracies in the original game. The mod has been featured in several major gaming sites and magazines, such as PC Gamer (US), PC Gamer (UK), and GameSpot. Rome: Total Realism has had successful popularity as a mod for Rome: Total War v1.0/1.2, with an estimated 80,000 downloads on the first day after version 6.0 was released.[ It was followed by versions 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 and finally 6.0 Gold, a compilation of all the previous patches and additional features. The unofficial "Platinum" Edition is a port of 6.0 Gold for the newer RTW v1.5 / BI v1.6, with some bug-fixes for problems found in 6.0 Gold and some new content (2 new playable factions, 4 turns per year). ]
The RTR team is currently working on Rome: Total Realism VII : Grand Campaign, which uses the newer Barbarian Invasion (expansion to Rome: Total War) engine and further improves historical accuracy, as well as introduces new game-play concepts. Several previews have been releases on the RTR forum.
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Although the original game Rome: Total War was extremely successful and has been used to animate several historical TV programs (including the tactical simulation Time Commanders), numerous gamers expressed disappointment with the historical inaccuracy of the game. These inaccuracies were acknowledged by the game's creators, Creative Assembly, who admitted the inclusion of numerous anachronisms and inaccuracies in order to improve gameplay experience.
The most severe criticism was reserved for the game's depiction of Ancient Egypt. Rome portrays the Egyptian faction more as the Pharaonic Middle-Eastern empire of the tenth century BC than the Ptolemaic successor state to Alexander's empire it actually was in the period of the game (270 BC–AD 14). The developers of Rome stated that a chariot-dominated Egypt that matched their consumers' expectations was considered more fun, and a sounder business strategy, than yet another phalanx-based Hellenistic race to match the four already present in the game (the Greek Cities, Macedon, the Seleucid Empire and Thrace). The RTR developers concluded that the wildly differing starting conditions and other differences between the Ptolemaic Empire and, for instance, Macedon, provided sufficient distinction to provide a unique playing experience without having to resort to adding units from previous millennia. The Egyptian faction has therefore been completely remodeled to better reflect its armies of the time.
The RTR mod also includes hundreds of minor gameplay modifications, altering both the strategic and tactical fields of the game.
Later released was The Iberian Conflict (or T.I.C.), the first in a planned series of "mini-campaigns" that would lead up to the eventual release of RTR VII: Grand Campaign. The Iberian Conflict focuses on Hamilcar Barca's conquest of Iberia. A few months ago the latest release was presented: Fate of Empires (or F.O.E.). It focuses on the western Mediterranean.
- Seventeen playable factions. The original game only offered eleven playable factions, with all but the three Roman families needing to be unlocked by completing the game as a Roman faction. As of version 6.0 gold, the faction roster removes the Britons and Dacia, condenses the four Roman factions into one, and adds Illyria and Bactria. The Mod also renamed several factions to improve historical accuracy, such as giving Spain its classical name, Iberia.
- The majority of the units on the tactical map have been given new skins, and several new units have been created. Two hundred new textures and models have been added in total. "Faction colours" have been removed. In Rome, armies were colour-coded by faction, for ease of playability: all of the Egyptian units wore bright yellow clothing, Julii wore red, mercenaries green, rebels gray, and so forth. In RTR these colours have been abandoned, and most soldiers wear rather similar shades of grey, yellow and brown, the colours of undyed cloth. This reflects their probable historical modes of dress, as at the time, dyes for clothing and ornamentation were extremely expensive.
- The statistics of all units have been adjusted and rebalanced. The effect is to increase the length of battles, by reducing the rate at which soldiers kill enemies, and the effectiveness of most missile units has been decreased. One of the most prominent of these changes is increase in the viability of cavalry, especially when charging. This better reflects cavalry's historic role as an influential member of a classical army due to its mobility and the impact of its charge. It is also modelled with much longer lances than those portrayed in Rome: Total War, which were too short for a realistic charge.
- New "Area of Recruitment" gameplay mechanic. In Rome, there was virtually no restriction on the units a faction could train in a given province: for example, Carthage could train exactly the same units in their capital city of Carthage as they could in their distant colonies in Spain. The exceptions were that Roman First Cohorts could only be recruited in Rome; Spartan hoplites could only be recruited in Sparta or Syracuse; and elephant and camel units could only be recruited in provinces that have those animals as resources. In RTR, the units that can be recruited in a province depend in large part on the province itself. Gallic infantry, for instance, can only be recruited in Gaul, but can be recruited there by any faction which controls it. Still, all factions do have their own typical units that can be recruited in any of their territories once the appropriate buildings have been constructed.
- Redesigned campaign map. The map was extended east towards India. This shows the historical extent of the various eastern powers, such as Parthia and the Seleucids, the borders of which stretched far beyond the edge of Rome's campaign map. In Rome the Parthians' starting position was split in half by the Caspian sea, with no eastern expansion possible; since a very early war with the Seleucid Empire was extremely common, it made Parthia one of the most difficult factions to play. Due to the absence of Persia and modern day Iran, the Seleucids were also extremely restricted by their small Mediterranean, Babylonian and Asia Minor territories, which often led to them being destroyed by Pontus, Egypt and Armenia early in the game.
- New, optional music from two composers, including a version of Ailein duinn used for the credits.
- The RTR website also hosts other mods which stack onto the RTR package; these are also fan-made, but are not officially supported by the RTR designers. The mods make other changes, such as adding factions, changing the game years to four turns/year (rather than two), changing animations and formations, and integrating changes from Barbarian Invasion.
There is only one Roman faction in the game. All four factions from RTW have been condensed into one.
- The Republic of Rome starts out with control of Central Italy. The Romans have many Legionary infantry and supporting auxiliary troops but lack in quality cavalry. They are still the only faction allowed to construct amphitheaters, and have the option to construct highways over paved roads, keeping in mind that the Romans did create those realisitically.
Barbarian factions have both distinct advantages and disadvantages. Unlike civilized factions, they cannot build stone walls, nor roads better than basic ruts, which inhibits their strategic movement. More importantly, their technology is limited to only three city levels, as opposed to five for civilized factions. Thus they tend to research their most advanced units quicker than other factions. Barbarian armies are undisciplined and rely on brute force and numerical superiority. Barbarian infantry have greater attack but lower defence in comparison to infantry of other factions.
- The Gauls start out with a very large territory mainly in modern France and northern Italy. The Gauls have good swordsmen and archers, but little cavalry and even fewer special units, making the Gauls a rather basic barbarian faction.
- The Illyrians are a Greco-Barbarian faction that starts out with control of modern day Albania and the West Balkans. It has many capable skirmishers and Greek-inspired Hoplites with some cavalry choice.
- The Germans begin to the northeast of Gaul and the east of Britannia, in what today would be considered The Netherlands and Germany. German forces include superb but undisciplined infantry, few cavalry choices, and a few different units of axemen.
- The Iberians are a semi-civilized Barbarian nation that begins on the Iberian peninsula, and controls all of modern Spain and Portugal except for the central and southern areas, which are controlled by Rebels and Carthage, respectively. They are a Carthago-Barbarian faction who combine elements of both cultures. Their units include solid fanatical infantry units with some cavalry choices. The Iberians, unlike other Barbarian factions, have the option to build stone walls in minor cities.
- The Thracians rely mainly on heavy infantry, notably the falx-wielding troops available early on in the game. They are located in eastern Europe around modern Romania.
- The Sarmatians are overwhelmingly composed of horse archers. The Sarmatians control an extensive territory but few provinces in Eastern Europe, roughly corresponding to modern Ukraine and the surrounding area.
The Greek factions are located in or near the eastern Mediterranean Sea, mainly on the Balkan peninsula and around Anatolia and also in modern Turkey. Greek armies tend to focus on extremely strong infantry which utilize the superior phalanx formation at the expense of other forms of infantry, cavalry, and archers.
- The Greek Cities surprisingly start out with very little control in Greece. They have a good selection of hoplite infantry, including Spartans (the best infantry in the game), but little cavalry. Their dispersed nature makes the Greek Cities vulnerable to many different enemies, such as the Romans, the Carthaginians, and the Macedonians, thus they rarely have any great success.
- The Kingdom of Macedon's main force focuses largely on the Phalanx pikemen and hoplites with a good selection of cavalry. Macedon begins with territories in the north and east coast of the Aegean Sea.
- The Seleucid Empire's main force is similar to that of Macedon, containing the same powerful hoplites and shock cavalry. However, its armies can also contain Eastern Warriors, war elephants, and cataphracts, giving it the most diverse troop selection in the game. The Seleucid Empire encompasses a strip of territory running from the Aegean coast to India.
- The Kingdom of Bactria is a Greco-Persian faction, with both Greek and Persian troops. They begin the game in modern Afghanistan and West China, and usually expand into India. Their units are made up of war elephants, Greek Phalanx, Eastern units and a wide selection of cavalry.
The Egyptians are a relatively strong faction that have both African and Greek variety.
- The Ptolemaic Empire has a mixed military; its units consist of Greek-influenced Phalanxes and African infantry. It starts out with control of today's Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, northern Libya, southern Turkey, eastern Crete, and Cyprus, as well as Rhodes.
African armies consist of fairly strong cavalry and, notably, elephants, but usually have weak infantry. This is a major disadvantage when facing the The Republic of Rome, as the Roman legions destroy most forms of infantry. Main elephant and cavalry support is required for Carthaginian success.
- The Republic of Carthage has a variety of units which include a good mixture of infantry, high-quality cavalry and powerful elephants, but a poor selection of ranged troops, including a notable lack of archers. It is hurt by the fact that it cannot get infantry that is on par with the Roman legionaries until late in the game. It begins with territory in modern Tunisia and the surrounding area, along with colonies in southern Spain, Sicily, and Sardinia. Carthage is a very rich faction, and can often afford to employ units of mercenaries to bolster its ranks. However, under AI control, Carthage rarely gains much territory and is usually destroyed by the Romans and sometimes the Numidians.
- The Kingdom of Numidia has fast mounted and dismounted skirmisher units, as well as some light spear-armed infantry. Many Numidian units receive advantages when fighting in deserts. The faction can train its own version of the Roman legionaries. Numidia begins the game holding the North African land not possessed by Egypt and Carthage.
The Eastern factions represent the major states of the Middle East not ruled by the Diadochi (Alexander the Great's successors). Their armies tend to rely heavily on high-quality cavalry, and evidence of Greek influence is present due to Alexander the Great's recent conquest of the area just 50 years prior to the starting date of the game.
- The Kingdom of Parthia's specialty is with mounted units, such as Persian cavalry and the horse archer. While its cavalry is extremely powerful, its infantry is weaker than those of other factions, which can make sieges difficult. The Parthians inhabit the land in central Asia east of the Caspian sea, and also have holdings to the north. In a typical game, their borders rarely expand and they are attacked constantly by Armenia, the Seleucid Empire, Bactria, and Pontus. Unlike the other factions, Parthia only receives access to one type of temple: The Temple of Zoroaster.
- The Kingdom of Armenia, like Parthia, has armies which contain strong cavalry. Armenia is the only faction with cataphract archers and Eastern heavy infantry, the latter being comparable to the Macedonian phalanx. They also have their own version of Roman legionaries. The Armenian starting territory is located in the mountainous region of what is today Armenia, Georgia, and eastern Turkey.
- The Kingdom of Pontus is a Greco-Eastern faction, with Greek names and Greek gods. Their troops include fast-moving, javelin-armed cavalry, as well as phalanx troops and chariots. In the game, Pontus starts in northeast Asia Minor, in historical Greek colonies.
The Rebels are a unique faction. Rebels can be informally divided into three groups based on how they operate on the campaign map: Brigands and Pirates (who raid trade routes and attack fleets), Deserters and Freed Slaves (who attack armies of their former faction), or Independent Kingdoms and Rebel Cities (who generally isolate themselves unless they are attacked).
User Created Mods
Rome Total Realism Mod allows mini-mods within the mod itself to enhance the gaming experience. Some of the most popular mini-mods include Ancient Empires, Extended Realism, and Imperator. These mini-mods modify even further the Rome Total Realism to sometimes allow a different type of a gameplay or balance the statistical issues within the mod.
Since the mod's original release, the RTR Team has released several more mods in a series called RTR-VII:
- The first, Rome Total Realism VII: The Iberian Conflict (TiC), focuses on the struggles of Hamilcar Barca to conquer the Iberian Peninsular, setting Carthage against Celtiberia.
- The second release, Rome Total Realism VII: Fate of Empires (FoE), expands upon TiC to include the rest of the Western Mediterranean, including Italy, North Africa, Sicily and Southern Gaul. It starts in 280 BC, when Pyrrhus of Epirus invades Italy to try and bring about the end of Rome. What happens after that is for the player to decide.
- The upcoming release, likely the last of the VII Series, is Rome: Total Realism VII: Grand Campaign (RTR VII: GC). It expands on FoE to include the rest of Gaul, Greece, the Balkan areas, and part of Asia Minor. It aims to max out the capabilities of the RTW Engine.
Mod Website: http://www.rometotalrealism.org/