|Publisher(s)||Sierra Entertainment, Sold-Out Software|
|Release date(s)||October, 1998 (PC)|
Caesar III is a video game developed by Impressions Games and published by Sierra Entertainment; the third installment of the Caesar series, part of Sierra's City Building Series. It was released in October 1998.
Cities in Caesar III try to accurately reflect the life of Roman citizens - the lowest plebeians live in tents and shacks, while the richest patricians live in villas. Staple foods include wheat, fruits, vegetables, and meat, and wine is required for some festivals and houses. Citizens wander the streets in their various garbs and can tell the player their name and how they feel about the city.
Access to services such as market goods, entertainment, hygiene, education, and taxation are represented by "walkers," which are people sent out from their buildings to patrol the streets. Any house that is passed by a walker is considered to have access to the services of the walker's building. All movements of goods and coverage of walkers are accurately reflected by citizens walking the streets: a player can watch a farm's crop progress, and when it's ready a worker will push a full cart from the farm to a nearby warehouse or granary; then return with an empty cart.
Battles are fought by instructing a legion to march to the enemy, then arrange themselves in a particular formation. After this the soldiers take over and fight the battle.
There is no terrain editing, other than permanently removing trees to clear land for building. But there is a separate Map Editor that permits terrain editing, as well as creating new maps from scratch and editing dozens of parameters in a scenario.
Short video clips are played for significant events, such as city milestones or messages from the Roman Emperor. Background music is played which varies according to the situation (gentle themes to begin with, war drums during times of conflict and triumphal music when the player nears the objective). Musical themes are supplemented by crowd noises, the sounds of manufacturing and the clash of weapons at appropriate times.
A manual accompanies Caesar III, though there are minor discrepancies from the game in some editions.
Compared to other strategy games set in Antiquity, Caesar III focuses more on city-building than fighting, though invaders will sometimes attack the player's city. There are two ways to play the game: Mission Mode, which is tantamount to typical "campaign" modes of other strategy games, and City Construction Mode, in which the player plays one scenario from scratch.
In Mission Mode the player starts with a rank of Citizen, and each time the objectives set by the Emperor are reached, the player rises a rank, until finally becoming Emperor and winning the game. After the first two missions, the player chooses between two cities to build: one more focused on military activity and security, or one which requires more prosperity and culture.
|Rank||Peaceful assignment||Military assignment|
Citizen and Clerk provide a gentle introduction to the game and are tutorial in nature. For every mission after Citizen, the emperor will set objectives in five categories: Population, Prosperity, Culture, Peace, and Favor. These increase with each rank, and peaceful missions have higher rating requirements than military missions.
- Population is the number of inhabitants in the city. Immigrants will come to live in the city if there is enough housing and work, the province is secure, the people are in a good mood, and other factors are satisfactory, such as good health, low crime, reasonable taxation and enough entertainment (festivals) etc. High unemployment is one reason the population can be in a poor mood, and citizens will start to leave (or even riot) if unemployment is high for too long. Conversely, prolonged overwork (continual staff shortages), lack of food, absence of festivals, lawlessness, sickness or punitive taxation can also be reasons for poor mood. Destruction of housing by fire, collapse, invasion or insurrection, plague or by entire communities being (deliberately or inadvertently) cut off from the main road network also results in loss of population. The "very hard" difficulty setting should not be used before the population gets to around 500, due to it not being possible to improve the mood of small populations on this setting.
- Prosperity is the hardest criterion to achieve in the game. It reflects the wealth of the citizens and is measured by the quality of their housing, and the city's ability to turn a profit. Poverty or poor mood impacts prosperity because citizens rob the tax collectors of city funds and ransack public buildings.
- Culture measures the level of literacy, entertainment, and temples available to the player's citizens. As many citizens as possible need access to schools, libraries, academies, temples and theaters ... in order for this to rise.
- Peace rises every year there is no damage to the city from enemy soldiers, and no rioting, insurrection or theft.
- Favor is the esteem the Emperor has for the player. By default it falls slightly every year, and will fall considerably when the player is continuously in debt, under-performs, or pays themselves a salary higher than that set for their current rank. The rating rises when the emperor's occasional requests are obeyed (goods or soldiers are dispatched at his command), when he is sent presents bought with the player's personal salary or when his invading army is defeated.
The advisors make suggestions to help achieve these ratings.
When all the objectives have been reached, the gamer is normally given the option to win (and be promoted) immediately or to continue to govern for two or five years. If the player continues to govern, attacks by Caesar's own troops can still be experienced in the first year and those by insurgents can continue until the end. It is still possible to lose the game and it is therefore advisable to have saved the game regularly to enable a return to a point prior to victory. However, it is not necessary to attain the objectives during the post-victory period.
City Construction Mode
In the City Construction Mode (that is, using the game's separate City Construction Kit), there are no specific objectives; the player simply chooses a city and develops it for as long as desired. Some of the cities available include Narbo, Toletum, Corinthus, as well as alternate versions of Mediolanum and Caesarea. In some of them the player will still face invaders, such as the Iberians.
Houses are the buildings in which the citizens live. First the player designates plots for the future houses. If conditions in the city are reasonably desirable, immigrants will move in and pitch a tent on the plot.
When an immigrant pitches his tent, he becomes a plebeian and starts working at places like farms, prefectures, markets, schools, libraries, clinics, etc.
The first service that must be provided to housing is water. Once given water (from a well or fountain), a small tent will evolve to a large tent, which has a higher value. Soon they will ask for food, religion, entertainment, education, pottery, etc., and evolve into higher levels of housing. The grand insulae is the highest level of plebeian housing. If provided with even more goods and services, it will evolve into patrician housing, whose inhabitants don't work (but contribute more than plebes to the city's tax revenue). The final level of housing is a luxury palace, but it is difficult to achieve as it has exacting requirements.
The general progression of housing is as follows:
- Tents - Basic housing, very prone to fires. Large tents need a water supply.
- Shacks - Shacks require food provided from a market.
- Hovels - Hovels require basic temple access.
- Casas - Small casas are 'bread and butter' housing, requiring only food, basic education, fountain access and basic entertainment. Large casas require pottery and bathhouse access.
- Insulae - Medium insulae require furniture, and Large insulae, oil. Large insulae require at least a 2x2 plot of land, and will expand if necessary to do so. Grand Insulae will require access to a library, school, barber, doctor, two food types and 'some access' to entertainment venues (e.g. theatre + amphitheatre + 2 shows + average overall city entertainment coverage). Grand insulae are the most developed form of plebeian housing.
- Villas and Palaces - Small villas require wine and access to temples to two different gods. Large villas will expand to 3x3 plots. Grand Villas will require access to a hospital, academy, and temples to three different gods. Small palaces will require a second source of wine (imported if the city's primary source of wine is local, or vice versa). Large palaces will expand to 4x4 plots. Steadily increasing entertainment values are the main requirement for patrician housing to develop, and those for a Luxury Palace are near-perfect.
Desirability can prevent a house from evolving. In order to evolve, a house also must have a certain desirability in addition to more services. Desirability is calculated from the nearby buildings. For example, a reservoir is an undesirable neighbour while a temple is rather desirable. A house requires more desirability as it evolves.
Prosperity is largely based on the overall quality of houses- a city with a large population of tents and shacks is considered less prosperous than one of equal size with more luxurious housing.
The game focuses more on city-building than military activity, but there will still be some fighting, even in some of the "peaceful" missions.
When the player views the map of the Roman Empire, it will show two crossed swords indicating an enemy army. The player will be informed about enemies closing in and enemies at their door. During those messages, each one states that the enemy armies are burning and pillaging villages along the way, an army loyal to your city has fallen in battle against them, or a distant battle has occurred outside your city. When the enemy arrives in your city, it will show a scene of either the enemy army attacking (depicted as the Carthaginians crossing the alps) or the barbarians attacking (depicted as them making a battle plan on the outskirts of your city).
In Mission Mode, the enemies (from weakest to strongest) are:
- Egyptians - They are fought in Damascus. Their army also consists of archers on the backs of dromedaries.
- Carthaginians - They are fought in Mediolanum and Carthago. The Carthaginians have two soldiers on war elephants.
- Caesar's Army - This army is fought in all scenarios. Caesar will attack if the player angers him by not paying back their loans. The first attack will be two or three legions of legionaries (depending on the level of difficulty) which are very strong. If you defeat them, another attack of between six to eight legions of legionaries will follow. The attacks will keep recurring each year until you are defeated or return to favor. Attacks stop if your favor rises to 35 or more and an invading army is recalled if this happens during an attack.
The unnamed City, Brundisium, Capua, Tarraco and Lugdunum will never be invaded.
Sometimes popular insurrections will occur. The insurgents are easier to kill, but there's no warning before the event happens. When god effects are enabled, Mars can become angry and provoke local people to attack the city. Other non-military uprisings sometimes occur which are described as "local people, fed up with your tyranny" which results in the city getting attacked by the natives.
To defend a city, the player can build walls, ballista towers, and up to six forts, each of which house a Roman legion of sixteen soldiers. To create a legion, the player must first construct a barracks (from which they issue) and can optionally add a military academy (where the soldiers receive their training). Soldiers in a fort can be trained as legionaries, as auxiliaries with javelins, or as cavalry auxiliaries. Legionaries require weapons, which must be imported if they cannot be made locally.
- Mars - God of War.
- Venus - Goddess of Love.
- Mercury - God of Commerce.
- Ceres - Goddess of Agriculture.
- Neptune - God of the Sea.
These gods will be displeased if not enough temples are devoted to them or if they do not receive equal treatment with the other gods. If a particular god is satisfied, the city may receive a blessing:
- Mars will boost your army's morale. He will also send a guardian spirit who will awaken and either kill most of the large invading armies or half of the invading armies.
- Venus will boost your city's morale.
- Mercury can leave extra items in your warehouse.
- Ceres' blessing causes all crops to grow at a faster rate for a short period of time.
- Neptune can increase trade income at sea for a short period of time.
But if they should become displeased, the player should be prepared for a penalty:
- Mars will lower your army's morale to the point when a legion will return to barracks (and is lost). Mars may also incite an attack by civilian insurgents or indigenous people unless you are in a "never invaded" scenario (unnamed City, Brundisium, Capua, Tarraco and Lugdunum).
- Venus will lower your city's morale leading to attacks on the treasury and emigration.
- Mercury can spirit away some of the contents of your warehouses and even set fire to them.
- Ceres' wrath causes all crops to cease growing for a brief period of time and will send locusts to the farms.
- Neptune will cause storms at sea that sinks fishing boats and trading ships.
If most of the gods become displeased, an earthquake will destroy parts of the city and leave a large impassable fissure that cannot be built on or fixed.
However, the player has the option to turn god effects off. With god effects off, the gods do not bless or penalize your town. This can be considered to be good or bad to do, depending on the general favor of the gods.
In addition to benefiting citizens, goods are a valuable source of income and trade routes can be established with neighboring cities either by land or sea. The resources available depend on the location and are wheat, vegetables, fruits, grapes (used for wine only), olives (used for oil only), fish, timber, clay, iron, and marble. Workshops can be built to process grapes into wine, olives into oil, timber into furniture, clay into pottery, and iron into weapons. Selling manufactured products is often more profitable than raw materials (aside from marble), but they take longer to produce, and more laborers are required. Labor is also required to man docks (to service sea trade routes) and to staff warehouses and granaries to store goods and foodstuffs respectively. Importing foodstuffs is less efficient than growing locally as imported food is delivered to warehouses and have to be transferred to granaries before they can be used. Fishing wharfs require boats to be built at a boatyard before fishing can take place.
As the city becomes more prosperous, the citizens will demand entertainment. It can be in the form of theater, amphitheater, colosseum, or hippodrome. Actor colonies, gladiator schools, lion houses, and chariot makers will provide the trained entertainer personnel.
There are several challenges in the game and failing to meet any of these result in delays in attaining the goal of winning the game or even in outright defeat:
- Inefficient infrastructure - One of the main challenges in the game is the design and layout of an effective road network and proper placement of warehouses, granaries, services and industries necessary to support housing and maintain buildings (this problem can be particularly acute on larger maps with an awkward layout of terrain and associated resources). Many of the difficulties result from the semi-random behavior of your citizens, who cannot be directly controlled and are prone to make wrong turns when faced with branches in a road network. In consequence, many players deliberately constrain their road network to arrangements of simple loops and circuits, using gatehouses or gardens to bridge any gaps and permit shortcuts for walkers with more urgent destinations. This aims to force walkers to adhere to a set patrol route and prevents intermittent lapses in services. Regular patrols of prefects and engineers are essential for most buildings and nearly all buildings require road access (a road next to them) to function and nearby housing to provide employees to man them. Workers then use them as a base from which to patrol. Cutting off a community from the original road network (for example, by removing the only bridge across a river) causes all housing stock and population to disappear after a month, so cannot be used as a defensive tactic when under threat. Cities can also be cut off by obstructing all the entry points with walls, buildings or statues. Mines and clay pits can be destroyed by collapses and flooding (respectively) and should be placed as far away from rock faces (mines) and water (clay pits) as the game allows, to minimize these risks. Low bridges prevent trading ships from reaching the docks; the more expensive ship bridges must always be used to span (bodies of water used as) trade routes. Some buildings require support buildings before they can become active; for example, theatres require actors to be trained at actor colonies and fishing wharves require a boatyard to build their boats.
- Failure to balance the budget - A game of Caesar III involves expenditure on the part of the player, to pay the workforce, construct new buildings, pay for breakages and reconstruct damaged buildings, pay for imports, hold festivals to appease gods and mobs alike, and sundry expenses and losses, such as interest on loans, thefts, or flattering the Emperor. Income generally comes from two main sources: Trade receipts, and taxation. Taxation is initially unimportant, but larger settlements with evolved housing (especially from villas and other patrician dwellings) may see the bulk of their income in tax receipts. Paradoxically, housing can potentially pay more than the cost of its own residents' wages in taxation. Trade income, by contrast, is derived from developing industries to export raw or finished goods to other cities within the empire. Trade is essential during the early game to cover outlays and expenses on construction, and remains important throughout play. In the later game, a city will almost certainly require imports of some form or another to support higher prosperity and housing levels. Naturally, finished goods such as pottery, weapons, furniture and oil fetch higher prices than raw materials or bulk commodities such as olives or wheat (marble being the notable exception) so players generally attempt to export goods in their 'finished' form, but import in their 'raw' form, using local industry to complete manufacture. For example, a player might export furniture from local industries at a high price, but import cheaper clay and olives to manufacture pottery and oil for local consumption. Initial funds are specified by scenario, along with 'bailout loans' supplied by Caesar at a slight cost to favor. The player can get into debt (up to 5000 denarii) but remaining in debt for long periods will inevitably incur Caesar's wrath, and is the single easiest way to lose the game. Caesar sends for tribute at the end of each year (calculated per head of population) and this can only be paid if the city is not in debt. Failure to pay tribute loses favor, lessens the impact of sending gifts to Caesar and gives rise to annual invasions of hostile Roman legions advancing along the same road as is used by immigrants. Imported goods can still be purchased after the 5000 denarii limit has been exceeded but all construction must cease. This makes it vital for a gamer to live within their means, as no remedial measures, defenses or festivals can be paid for when they have run out of credit.
- Inability to defend the city - Although some scenarios in Caesar III have little or no conflict, many feature heavy invasions from several directions and require the prudent disposition of walls, towers, forts and trained legions to deal with potential threats. With the exception of Caesar's legions, enemies do not attack from the areas from, and into which, the main road runs. Enemy armies have no interest in appeasement or occupation and raze buildings indiscriminately when given the opportunity to do so. Aqueducts, granaries and warehouses are particularly vulnerable, and their loss can be devastating even if the invasion is repulsed. In practice, allowing enemies to enter the city proper swiftly results in the loss of the game. Defenses must be planned in advance; walls cannot be erected near an oncoming force after an attack commences and neither can repairs be made near to invading troops. Different enemies with diverse troop compositions call for different tactics in the field, and a skilled general can greatly reduce losses through an effective response to a given raiding party. Slow, heavily armed enemies such as the Carthaginians can be decimated by hit and run tactics with javelin auxiliaries, while ranged opponents such as the Numidians can be tied up with cavalry while slower legionnaires close for battle. Cavalry auxiliaries are useful to get to a vulnerable point quickly and buy time but they are the weakest troops in combat. As in real warfare, forcing enemies to advance in narrow columns (whilst concentrating fire from guard towers or javelin auxiliaries on the head of the column), using bridges, forts (which cannot be destroyed by insurgents) or narrow passages through fortifications, can be devastating to the enemy. Protecting javelin auxiliaries behind impenetrable rock (or even wooded) belts where they can pour their fire into the flank of a massed enemy struggling to demolish a thick wall is also highly effective. The invaders are killed or so weakened that even if they break through the defences, they will be easily repelled by the regular troops (legionnaires) waiting for them. Academy trained troops are considerably stronger than untrained troops and only legionnaires trained at a military academy can form (the strongest) defensive squares or attain perfect morale levels. Military academies are expensive but are more of less a necessity when dealing with strong enemies on the harder gaming settings. The morale of defending military units declines slowly the longer they are away from their forts, so they should be returned to their fort as soon as the enemy is repelled. A legion's morale declines quickly during a bad defeat and the soldiers are easier to kill; frightened troops will not follow orders and terrified troops retreat to their fort. Gamers should keep outnumbered troops together and avoid pursuing retreating foes, as their troops are weakest in pursuit mode and can sustain (damaging and) unnecessary losses. Demolishing walls which are preventing beaten enemies from retreating is a quicker path to peace. Winning wars quickly is important as immigrants will not enter the city during times of conflict (traders will still visit but can be slaughtered by insurgents). When playing on the harder difficulty settings, invading forces are noticeably more numerous and invaders sometimes arrive in closely coordinated groups of eight or more, which have a far greater (combat and destructive) capability than loosely organized insurgents. Once again, thick walls, well protected guard towers and javelin auxiliaries protected by massed legionnaires are the best defences against these elite units. Defenders operating on higher ground (above sets of steps) or within the protection of gatehouses also have an advantage when attacked. Troops cannot move across farmland or through trees, rocks, walls, reservoirs, statues or buildings (with the exception of gatehouses and triumphal arches). Troops will not obey orders to move illegally; for example, they must be provided with passageways (roads) through aqueducts, gaps through woodland and gaps or gatehouses in walls. Tower guards, gladiators and even prefectors can act as last ditch defenders if the city's regular troops have all been killed or defeated. Demolishing a bridge to avoid being overwhelmed by superior forces is a desperate (but legitimate) tactic which will only succeed if there is enough credit to do so, there is no-one using the bridge, and there is an alternative route into the city. Certain scenarios (for example, Lutetia, Mediolanum and Tingis) require the dispatch of troops to defend distant cities and the gamer must accurately estimate the quantity and quality of troops to be sent for this purpose (for example, one legion with perfect morale will narrowly defeat a 'small' force). Troops must be dispatched in sufficient time to allow them to march to the threatened city (in the game, one year is sufficient). Success far away means Caesar's gratitude, lifts the city mood and gives it the right to build a Triumphal Arch to commemorate each victory. It also means that the troops return in triumph, whereas failing to send enough troops or troops of sufficient quality will mean defeat, disgrace with Caesar and no troops returning. Of course, sending too many troops will gain the victory but will leave the player's own city vulnerable to an attack whilst troops are away. Sending troops too late is worse than sending no troops at all, as they will all be lost. Troops can be absent for anything up to about five years.
- Inattention to citizen mood - Citizens in the game make many demands on the player, which have to be satisfied to attract immigrants and prevent civil unrest. Low unemployment, clean water from fountains, adequate food supplies, competitive wages (to those paid to workers in Rome), reasonable taxation, well staffed facilities (for education, health and entertainment etc.), regular holidays (festivals) and peace and security improve citizen mood, while the converse can lead to theft, emigration, or, most dangerously, outright rioting. Even in a city which is generally contented, individual 'slum' neighborhoods can become hotbeds of unrest and disobedience if their general standard of living is poor when compared with affluent neighbors. Contented citizens encourage immigrants to settle in the city and allow the player to establish higher levels of taxation without ill effect. Discontented citizens can abandon cities, steal taxes and riot. Gladiators are particularly dangerous when they riot and troops seem to be of very limited use against rioters.
- Incorrect prioritization - The industries receive labor from the workforce according to a prioritization setting set by the player. Usually, this prioritization is dynamic, depending on the problems facing the city at the particular point in time which the player is trying to address. As an example, when Caesar makes an urgent request for oil, it is necessary to halt oil trade and focus the workforce on olive farming and the oil pressing industry, denuding the entertainment industry temporarily if necessary. An incorrectly deployed workforce could result in (for example) fully stocked warehouses but no docks to export the goods (having all collapsed due to an insufficient numbers of engineers). Some basic priorities, like firemen and engineers take priority over everyone else in most scenarios, as a lack of their essential services would result in the whole city falling down in ruins. Cities need about 40% more prefectures than engineering posts, since each prefecture has three prefects (acting as policemen and firefighters), whereas each engineering post has five engineers.
- Wrath of the gods - Although a minor aspect of the game and usually simple to satisfy, failing to appease any of the pantheon of deities the player's people worship can be devastating. Normally, temples, oracles, and festivals in their honor can offset any major divine disaffection. However, it should be noted that blessings from the gods result only when a given deity has been 'displeased' before becoming 'exalted', so some players deliberately cultivate divine wrath in order to 'milk' blessings through a glut of temple-building and festivals. Large temples have a disproportionately beneficial effect on divine sentiments and on desirability ratings but require two units of marble to construct, which (once again) must be imported if they cannot be obtained locally. All the gods are significant except Neptune in inland scenarios (unnamed City, Brundisium, Capua, Mediolanum, Lugdunum, Lutetia, Damascus, Lindum and Sarmizegetusa) and Mars in 'never invaded' scenarios (unnamed City, Brundisium, Capua, Tarraco and Lugdunum), who can then be ignored. The gods react negatively to discrimination (for example, being given fewer temples and festivals in their honor than the other deities). In addition, there is an option to disable 'god-effects' entirely.
- Health concerns - Again, though easily addressed via provision of water fountains, clinics, bath houses and (occasionally) hospitals, poor citizen health can lead to outbreaks of plague that ravage your workforce, eliminate housing and have a debilitating effect on the city's mood. When food stocks are plentiful, the health and education labor force seems to be less affected than other workers when they become short staffed (this seems to be particularly true in scenarios involving natives and missionaries), but health cannot be allowed to fall lower than "below average". Water fountains cover a greater area as desirability increases (which happens when they are surrounded by statues and gardens); this means fewer fountains (and therefore fewer water workers) are required.
- Natives - In the cities of Lugdunum, Carthago, Damascus and Sarmizegetusa, the player will encounter natives. By building mission posts in their villages, they can be convinced to ally with the player and even trade. However, if some of them are still hostile towards the player, building something in their territory will provoke an insurrection. Aqueducts, granaries, and prefectures are particularly vulnerable to attacks from angry natives. Mission posts are not destroyed by angry natives and do not require prefectures or engineers to prevent them from catching fire or collapsing. However, they still require workers and road access, and they can be destroyed by insurgents. Natives who appeared docile can occasionally become hostile again and (other than viewing the native risk overlay), placing a few towers near the native areas can alert the gamer to the situation as these fire on hostile natives. Marching troops into native areas is futile because native huts generate an endless supply of angry natives, who are the only hostiles who are able to destroy forts.
- Wild animals - Some maps have groups of animals living in the wild. They can be sheep, zebras, or wolves. Of these animals, only wolves pose a threat to your city, although sheep and zebras can be a nuisance by getting in the way and delaying construction. Wolf packs may attack citizens or immigrants, reducing the size of the city's population, and in some cases preventing almost all immigrants from settling in the city. Gatehouses do not protect citizens from wolves (as they can move through them), but manned guard towers will shoot at wild animals in the same way as they shoot at hostile insurgents or rioters. A sufficient work force is needed to train and sustain an army of soldiers or wall guards to protect the populace from wolves. Wolves should be walled up until it is time to hunt and kill them using auxiliaries with javelins, as legionnaires are often too slow for the task. Prefects will attempt to kill animals which wander into the city and, when invading armies attack, animals wandering into occupied areas can be killed by either attackers or defenders.
- Earthquake - This occurs at Tarraco, which has a large area of fertile ground on the edge of the map, which experiences a violent earthquake, destroying everything in its path and leaving extensive fissures in the ground, which cannot be bridged. This earthquake makes it much more difficult to produce enough food to feed the citizens, as no foodstuffs can be imported, and the infrastructure must be redesigned to connect what are now two distinct farming areas to the city.
- Failing to win - Some scenarios are difficult to complete, particularly those which require high prosperity levels and/or are played on the higher levels of difficulty. When a player fails to win but continues playing for hundreds of years, requests from Caesar for goods and armies and attacks by insurgents (other than Caesar's own troops) cease. However, the City record also runs out of space and no messages are generated when buildings catch fire or collapse, gods become angry or festivals take place etc. One of the major challenges of the game is that there is no guarantee that you can cross the finish line and it tends to get harder to do so with every passing year. An aging population means that, each year, people retire (leave the labor force), often without being replaced. This means that secondary services such as health, entertainment and education become increasingly understaffed and even the primary services providing water, food and security can become affected. Eventually serious shortages occur which affect ratings, morale and prosperity, and which make it even harder to win and progress to the next assignment. The City's prosperity rating is ultimately dependent on its housing quality. This can be increased by adding more markets but positioning them further away from areas of high quality housing so that rich citizens receive a greater diversity of products, but without desirability being negatively impacted by the market's proximity. Prosperity also increases when markets have access to a greater variety of foodstuffs (because of the variety of farms in the city and when foodstuffs not available locally are imported). A centrally located set of warehouses should include one designated as the 'trade centre' and hidden behind fine buildings, statues and gardens so that they do not impact desirability. Players should be prepared for considerable reconstruction, urban renewal and/or redesign in order to win on the later scenarios, particularly when working on the higher difficulty settings.
- Everything is connected - Many problems in the game have knock-on effects that can greatly magnify their impact if not swiftly addressed. For example, labor shortages can cause lapses in essential services, such as prefect patrols, which cause fires to break out. This destroys housing, which triggers a further labor shortage - a vicious circle best corrected early. If you choose to mothball industries to free up laborers, trade income will suffer, or housing may devolve as needed goods become scarce. If you raise taxes to compensate for reduced trade, your citizens' mood may sour, and riots could destroy a vital aqueduct, but cutting back on expenses may force you to skip festivals, thus incurring the wrath of the gods. Cutting back on imports may leave the city without access to weapons to equip its legions or accommodate requests from Caesar; whereas importing goods is expensive, increases prosperity but reduces the available workforce. Regular reference to the (in-game) 'advisors' and the 'problems' overlay can alert the gamer to the difficulties being faced by the populace, poor mood and/or health, unproductive units etc. The great challenge in the game is that most of the problems encountered will ultimately be of your own devising.
A few weeks after the game was released, Sierra made an Editor available on their website. The editor allows players to produce their own scenarios from over twenty city locations, as well as choosing the identity of invaders (with new inclusions such as the Huns, Seleucids, Macedonians and Jews), the available buildings, and everything that would appear on the map itself. The Caesar III page on Sierra's website is now down, but the Editor is still available for free download from GameSpot and the HeavenGames fan site, and was also distributed with later releases of the game.
The game received mixed to good reception. IGN rated it 8.7/10. GameSpot commented: "Despite the small problems, building a thriving city in Caesar 3 is fun". According to designer David Lester around 2.5M copies were sold worldwide.
- "An Interview with Robert Euvino". HeavenGames. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
- Sierra official website[dead link]
- Caesar III Heaven on the HeavenGames website
- Caesar III on GameFAQs (commercial website)
- CaesarIA(openCaesar3) — open-source clone of Caesar III