Jon Shafer's At The Gates


I don’t know if it was ever mentioned, and its just a little thing overall, but I love that Jon’s name is part of the game title. Gives me them Sid Meier guaranteed name on the box goodness flashbacks of old (games prior to Civ 5).


The one that Jon designed.


Well in my defense, I didnt play much of Civ 5. :p

Civ 4 was the last one that had me over 500 hours, a good half of that due to the DUNE mod.


Yeah well, I’m willing to give Jon an unusual amount of benefit of the doubt given the fact that he designed the worst Civ game, especially since it immediately followed the best Civ game. This is mostly because a) he at least tried new things and b) he acknowledged that one unit per tile was a horrendous mistake.


I thought Civ 6 was the worst?😂


You are correct.

I actually did get a lot out of Civ V, and I never really liked the stacks of doom from Civ IV, though I would have enjoyed Civ V and VI more if the AI could play the diplomatic game at all. That’s what really kills it for me with the Civ franchise.


I have individual games of Civ IV that took more time than the total hours I put into Civ V, (especially games using the Fall From Heaven mod, (which is actually how I first heard of Tom)), but I’m ignoring that to allow my internal hype to run out of control for JSATG.

Really looking forward to this.


Civ operates at a scale where stacks (armies) make sense. The only problem with stacks of doom is that the AI gets too many units at the higher levels and is able to place those into armies. One unit per tile was the wrong fix in that it didn’t fix the number of units, and it made AI programming impossible.


One unit per tile while decreasing the amount of tiles and making it harder to pathfind.
Anyway, I’m curious to find out the end result. I don’t think it’s for me from what little I’ve seen, and I’m skeptical from being fairly cold on Civ5, but I’m happy for him after his hardships.


Yea. Traffic-jam-land not fun.



This update is all about the clan system, the addition of which was one of the reasons for lengthy development delays.

It was a long, hard road that basically involved rebuilding the entire core of the game, but it’s paid off. The game is a lot of fun, so much so that even I as the designer still really enjoy each and every game. And that’s not something I can say about any of my previous work.


I came here to post this - I think this could be really, really cool. I’m excited! I wanted to watch some footage, but the only stuff out there is from an old beta. Looks great, but won’t have Clan stuff (at the very least). I’m pretty much picking it up the moment it drops on Steam, but I’d love an updated look at the to tide me over until next month.


The refactoring to clans was -years- ago. Clans have been in every build I played during the beta - any footage you see should have clans in them, and from what he wrote, it has not changed in the last year or so since the last public beta.


That is correct - there has been lots of tweaking but nothing major until the last update.


Hm. That’s strange. He made it sound like a brand new thing? Maybe I just read it wrong. In either case, I still would prefer footage based on the game in it’s finalized version, over a beta that is (over a year?) old. The video I did watch looked great though.

In the initial design your settlement contained only a generic population number that ticked up a bit each turn. Training units required population, but there was no personality, no names, nothing. Just train what you needed and go.

In the end I decided to move away from this model and add a new fundamental system at great cost to the project’s schedule simply because it was necessary for AtG to develop into a fun, replayable game. The original concept involved migration, seasons, and exhaustible resources, but that was about it. There was no greater arc to the game, no real sense of progress. Because you were regularly packing up and moving and leaving no structures or roads or anything behind it just felt like you were continually starting over. It really wasn’t fun.


I think the disconnect is that the game has been in development so long, that getting clans in years ago, was still some time after development began.


That’s probably true. I looked at the game years ago, and maybe even saw Clans as part of the game back then, even. For some reason when I read his blog I thought he meant they were only recently added, causing this last year long delay/hiatus I’d read about.


This. The update linked above is really more a retrospective of the developmental journey he went through to get to release, so it discussed changes that came a while ago.


Das Tactics has this listed as one of the top ten games he is looking forward to.Hopefully Jon will let him preview it.