Which older games are influencing Workname Empire?

In this post I would like to share 5 games with you that I really liked as a younger player and that have elements that are still driving my design.

1. Empire Deluxe
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The thing that I am taking from this game is exploration. If you ask me there is something magical in sending out that Destroyer and exploring the coastlines of unknown continents. And then later on follow it up with a cargoship dropping of troops to take hold of the continent and explore its interior.

2. Advance Wars
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The thing that I am trying to take from this game is ease of play while retaining depth. I want Workname Empire to be playable and a pleasure to move units around, do combat or just look around the map.

3. Romance of the Three Kingdoms
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The thing that I like here is that leaders play such an important role. What I am trying to do in Workname Empire is to have real bonding between the player and the leaders he has available. They will have stats and skills and be able to develop as the game continues and they gain more experience. Probably wandering leaders will also be recruitable or will join you from one of your cities.

4. Warlords
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Next to the artwork done by Steve Ford (who also did AT and ATG artwork) I loved the heroes in this game. It really got it right in my opinion. The ability to chose to use them in the frontline or as wandering explorers searching out the treasures of the temples was very cleverly done. Expect to see the same kind of dual use leaders in Workname Empire.

5. The whole wargame tradition
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There is a zillion games in the SSI and Matrix catalogue I played a lot. I group them together here because in a way I love them for the same reasons. I love frontlines, lines of supply, combined arms, concentric attacks, manouvre and lots of tables of modifications. What I am trying to do with Workname Empire is to keep the essential rules of most wargames in, but making them as streamlined and accessible as possible.

Hope you all enjoyed this little flash to the past and will have some more news soon.

Kind regards,
Vic

Posted in Shadow Empire | 6 Comments

September & October development progress report

I am a bit to late with my September report am I not? Well yes I am. Its because it has not been an easy September and October. I had some setbacks with the AI I was coding for Workname Empire. And putting quality above else I had to restart.

As usual i tried to make a to deep AI in the first attempt and it turned out I couldn’t manage to make it work at any reasonable speed. Like just 100 iterations for a small group of maybe 5 units already took like 20 seconds… And if I actually made the AI look into the deeper future (like a round or 3) its speed dropped to completely unacceptable. So I took a big breath and restarted, this time using an approach that will guarantee speed. Where in the previous attempts I used cloned game states of the actual game state I am now using an abstract representation of the game state. Much like the human mind probably ;)

Basically when considering its moves the AI is now in its own little world, a world that is much more simple data-wise than the real game and thus much faster. I think a speed gain of at least up to a 100 times is going to be achieved by this new approach. This will leave room to add some some optional higher AI settings for players who want to wait longer to get better results.

I have made quite some further gameplay improvements to Workname Empire as well. Longer development time has some payoffs. The most interesting thing to share is that the leader model is really starting to get a lot body. The leaders are getting a lot of personality and development opportunities now. There are four classes: Troopers, Technicals, Administrators and Barbarians. Although I am not limiting the player in their character development there is a penalty for learning skills belonging to other classes. The interplay between regular combat units and the leaders is very good and I think it will be one of the strong points of this game. In a sense this game is going where no wargame has gone before. The game will also show the player that larger forces can be overcome by smaller forces if led by able and experienced officers.

Hope to tell you all the AI is working out in my November report. Hoping to have the interface completed by x-mas.

In the meantime Decisive Campaigns 3 is also slowly progressing. I am adding some advanced new reporting functions as we speak as well as the option to take multiple choice decisions when confronted with specific issues. I am working with an as yet secret other developer on this title, if we feel comfortable in opening up to the public we will. So far so good though.

Best wishes,
Vic

Posted in Artificial Intelligence, DC3:Engine, Shadow Empire | 8 Comments

Advanced Tactics for $19.99, only this week!

ATMy publisher Matrix Games is having a special deal. You can buy Advanced Tactics Gold for only $19.99 for the duration of the week. Want to know more? hop over to Matrix Games!
The current version 2.15 includes many additions to the original release like improved AI, map generation and random officers and officer cards.

Posted in Advanced Tactics (gold) | 2 Comments

August development progress report

Hi guys. Well I’ll be able to keep this posting short. I took a few weeks of vacation with my significant other half and there is not so much to report.

There was finally after a long testing period a new gold patch for Advanced Tactics and the Decisive Campaigns series. Among others (a lot of small bug fixes) ATG has improved AI production resulting in more challenging performance and the DC Case Blue AI is now more capable in finishing off encircled units. Also the high command orders for long running games in Case Blue have been much improved and will naturally let the initiative pass from the Germans to the Soviets when the Germans get stuck in the fall/winter of 1942. Also with this patch I am quite confident all Windows7 microsoft graphics upgrade and Windows8 issues have been resolved.

On the workname Empire front I am making progress. Have the first chapter of the campaign running and working on designing the GUI for the first screen (scenario setup). Its quite a challenge to design everything so it will work well and pixel precise on big monitor screens and small tablet screens at the same time and in a diversity of resolutions.

Kind regards,
Vic

Posted in Advanced Tactics (gold), DC:Blitzkrieg, DC:Case Blue, Shadow Empire | 3 Comments