I Swore It Worked When I Last Looked At It

I have been remiss with my Blog posts of late but Beta Testing started in Late February and it’s been flat out ever since.

We have an excellent team of testers who have taken the game to the cleaners, held it down and forcibly sloshed water into dark places.

Which is a good thing as the game is slowly starting to shape up and may even pass morning muster.

Whole armies of bugs have met their doom, unwieldy game mechanics have been streamlined and balancing continues apace.

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Beta 4 has just been released and there have been many changes. Here’s a quick rundown.

The game is now more flexible and able to cater for a much wider range of personal tastes.

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The on map information display have been improved. Logistical pipelines now let you know which Truck Columns are serving which Panzergruppe, for example. Airfields are shown on the map as are Baltic Convoy routes. There’s better indication of any Action Point penalties that might exist in a hex.

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Relationship levels with key characters have been integrated into more game mechanics. If you have poor relations with F.M von Rundstedt, for example, Theatre Commander of AGS, then all related Action Cards will cost more. Don’t upset Reichsmarschall Göring if you’re in desperate need of Luftwaffe resupply.

To emphasise the importance of your various relationships there is now a special tab that can be left open at all times, if desired.

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Dynamic tool tips will give you a summary of all current game effects that result from your current relationship level with that character.

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You’ll notice in the picture above that there is a new yellow button with a blue ‘R’. This will enable you to quickly obtain a Status Report on any Division in the game.

The amount of information tracked for each Division has slowly crept up as is now close to thirty separate data points (excluding straight stat’s). When a Division reports back it’ll only show you the ones that are relevant.

new_report_div
You’ll notice from the above that postures have had a makeover. The Soviets are still Offensive, Neutral and Defensive but the Germans have changed to Blitzkrieg, Sustained Offensive and Defence with a different set of modifiers.

Needless to say that leaving Armies or Panzergruppes on an all out Blitzkrieg posture for any length of time will lead to problems.

HQ’s now report their status just like Divisions.

new_report_hq

General Busch, he of the 16th Army, has just had his early morning coffee and is ready to lead his men forward at the start of the campaign. General Busch is in excellent spirits and has promised his children that he’ll be home for Christmas with a piece of the Kremlin.

Colonel General Hoth, no nonsense, hard living, leader of the 3rd Panzergruppe, on the other hand, isn’t thnking about Christmas presents as he has enough to worry about already.

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Tool tips abound to let you know exactly why Colonel General Hoth is reaching for the Schnaps and not the coffee.

Or you could check the new Panzergruppe tab.

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Dynamic tool tips, once again, keep you up to date with all things Panzer.

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The default settings have proven to give a tough game for both sides. Balancing has gone through a number of iterations and this will continue. Still not quite where it should be but closing in.

There are special ‘Helper’ buttons to give you a hand up if you’re stuck. These, as you’d expect, come at a cost and there is an option to turn them off if you’d prefer to play the game standing on your own two feet.

beta4_helpers

Another big change is the way the game handles Difficulty, Scores and Victory Conditions. There is a fairly detailed system in there now that attempts to give both sides a fighting chance of achieving a win, regardless of any advantages one side may have.

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The German player has a range of possible strategies he can select from at the start of the game. Each of these come with their own set of pros and cons. The Soviet player also gets to choose an objective that must be defended at all costs.

How these two opposing goals interact, along with a difficulty adjusted score, determines who takes home the Oscar and what colour it will be.

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You’ll notice that, in the example above, the Player has chosen the ‘Support Hitler’ strategy (it’s the very start of the game) which comes with much assistance from the Führer himself. The downside is that the Führer is a man of whims and you may find your objective changing as a result of a Directive.

beta4_directive_popup

Enough of the Germans.

Let’s talk about the Soviets.

Next blog.

Cheers,
Cameron

Posted in DC3:Engine, Game Design, Upcomming releases | 2 Comments

Case Blue is now for sale at Steam and Matrix!!

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And that with a whopping 50% discount! To get it surf over to Matrix or to Steam. If you already own Case Blue and want to add it to your Steam library remember that Matrix gives free Steam keys to existing owners. Happy panzerdrive towards the Caucasus oilfields and/or inspired patriotic defense of the Motherland!

Posted in DC:Case Blue | Leave a comment

Advanced Tactics Gold directions… what do you think?

Just a quick post about Advanced Tactics development with an extensive poll at the end.

I am building up enough small fixes and unofficial hot fixes to warrant an official beta patch sometime soon. Its crazy in my development agenda, but I like to keep supporting ATG and further develop it.

The last big things I added where tank models and officers. Then I tried to see if I could get the historical unit models (a bit like in DC; think Infantry Division, Pz Regiment, etc..) into ATG. However after spending quite some time on it I am not sure anymore this is a good idea. Allowing the player to create models for units (like: 40 inf, 2 at-guns, 4 horses) and have automated reinforcements being send adds more complexity to the game than I first thought. Mainly in 2 areas: 1. The player will have to have a in-game design window to specify the ideal contents of such models. But its not straight forward as for example if no halftracks are available, would trucks be ok too? or if no infantry is available will infantry ‘IV’ will be ok too? or SMG? or militia?…. 2. The player will either have to receive free of cost auto-reinforcements which would act as a magic transfer (breaking some core gameplay principles with transfers costing transfer capacity points) or an intricate system will have to be build where HQs use their land,train and navy transfer cap pts to send out these auto-reinforcements…

Anyway it is a hell of a lot more work than I expected and my gut-feeling here is that it might not be worth it. Why try to make ATG more like DC? DC already does this stuff well. Since the code base of ATG and DC have split some time ago I would ideally like to see ATG move in its own unique direction and get as much difference between DC and ATG as possible.

But my main goal with any continued ATG development is to support the community. So enough about my thoughts. What would you like to be the direction of Advanced Tactics?

What direction would you like ATG's features to move too? (select up to 3)

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Posted in Advanced Tactics (gold), Game Design | 13 Comments

A first sneak-peak at the DC : Community Project editors

For those of you who missed it DC : Community Project is the planned extra game. Free of cost, but initially only for upcoming DC3:Barbarossa owners. Later it will probably be made available to DC1 and DC2 owners as well. It is to focus completely on making DC easier to mod and design scenario’s with. Its aim is to promote cooperation, re-use and different levels of difficulty to edit in. I hope to have an early BETA ready within a few weeks, or at most a few months.

Here are a few screenshots: (click on them to enlarge)

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Above we see the troop type editor. Where you can create a set of tanks, gun and infantry trooptypes

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Above we see the historical unit editor. Where you can create a set of model units and their TOEs. It uses 1 or more troop type libraries

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Above we see the officer editor. Where you can create a set of officers. It can use 1 or more officer card libraries

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Above we see the map editor. Where you can draw and design a map

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And above here we see the most complicated screen in the Simple Editor: the library overview screen. In the Simple Editor you can actually not design a lot, but you can load other libraries (like troop type libraries, historical unit libraries, event libraries) and then configure them

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Above we see the configuration options available for the player to give instructions to the supply events loaded from the Basic VR Library.

As the name ‘Community Project’ suggests this is only going to work if people are willing to create content for it. The DC engine has proven to work and it has the potential to simulate a heck of a lot of conflicts. With some joint effort I really hope it is possible to kickstart modding and scenario design for DC.

With the new editors in place I hope to give budding and experienced designers the chance to use this engine to create their own unique scenario’s.

VR’s time is best spent on perfecting the new editors and adding more script libraries (to provide more design options to scenario designers), but if you are interested in making your own scenarios, maps, OOBs, TOEs, troop type statistics, etc… and want to be involved early on and help me debug the new setup drop me a line at vic@xs4all.nl with a motivation and what kind of scenarios you would like to create… and I’ll try to get you a beta entry. Either early on or later on. No promises, since I prefer at this stage to only accept people who have some experience with modding/scenario design with ATG/DC1/DC2. Later on when the bugs are out i’ll open up places for newbies as well.

Best wishes,
Vic

Posted in DCX : Community Project, Upcomming releases | 8 Comments