It feels like 2022 is flying by. We thought it worthwhile to share a few examples of what we have been working on since the start of the year.
The intention of this update is to give you all an overview of a range of activities. You can expect additional blog posts to deep dive into some of these items in the future, but we wanted to at least give you an idea of some of the projects underway.
Recently the Civil War battles series was updated to version 4.01. You can read more about that here: Link to Civil War Battles Blog Post
This update fixed a number of bugs and also introduced our new dynamic toolbars. These toolbars reduced and streamlined button selection by just showing the buttons applicable to a range of actions. Below you can see the various bars from Civil War Battles:
This bar was the original version (all images can be clicked for full-size):
And here is what the new bars look like with each option chosen. The top bar includes regularly used actions as well as the sub-menu buttons:
The All button includes all the buttons as per the original toolbar, but with the sub-menu above. All menu bars come in three sizes; small, medium, and large:
The good news is that we have dynamic toolbars working in prototype in the Napoleonic series, Panzer Battles and Panzer Campaigns. We hope to extend implementation into other series if applicable. We expect that the toolbars will be available in the next patch cycle.
Order Migration Project - Member Library and Entitlements
Rich and the support team have nearly finished the order migration project. This project is consolidating all the purchases of our titles from HPS and an early iteration of the John Tiller Software webstore. This has been a huge project, but we expect it will reduce the need to contact support directly as you will be able to see your games, download links and keys once you log into the Wargameds.com site. Please note, we are definitively closing off the ‘upgrade of HPS games’ with new keys. All games purchased via HPS should be in your library as mentioned. We closed the window for providing keys back in June 2020, but still sporadically received requests. We will be directing all requests to check the users account on Wargameds.com. If you want more info on the order migration project, it was included in the Civil War Battles Update linked above.
Play Testing – Naval Campaigns - Kriegsmarine & Panzer Campaigns – Rumyantsev ‘43
As recently announced, our upcoming Naval Campaigns title, Kriegsmarine is entering testing. Details are here: Link to Naval Campaigns - Kriegsmarine Blog Post This is the first title that we are putting through a new testing methodology with web-based reporting. We have felt in the past testing has been too ad-hoc and this is a first attempt to standardize the approach. We expect this to be a learning exercise both for us and the testers but are hopeful it will increase our efficiency overall and more importantly the quality of the games we release. Along with Naval Campaigns – Kriegsmarine, Panzer Campaigns – Rumyantsev ’43 as well as a second unannounced Panzer Campaigns title is entering testing.
All going well, we are planning the next update for the Napoleonic series in May this year. This update will have a range of new and improved features.
Rich Hamilton has recently posted a poll on the Facebook JTS Opponent Group: Link to JTS Opponents Facebook Page to share some of the potential 2D unit counters. To assist here are the choices. Two will be switchable in game and the third will be available but will have to replace one of the two existing sets. The choices are:
Please feel free to vote for your preference.
A lot of the new artwork being incorporated is thanks to Nick Ferry who has been driving the art co-ordination for a number of series. Nick has worked with artist Paul Hill to improve the terrain overall, but the new counters and symbology is all Nick’s work.
In addition to working with Paul, Nick is also working with our resident artist Joe Amoral to redo unit images for several titles. We felt that the unit artwork was lacking, particularly for games that had been released early in a series.
Here are some samples of units and unit boxes being considered for Campaign Waterloo. Please note all is work in progress, but these images will show the direction the team are going in;
As mentioned earlier, the new dynamic toolbars will be included in the next patches for this series. There will be series specific buttons such as ‘Form Square’ for these titles.
Squad Battles Work in Process
Squad Battles was one of three game series (the other two were Naval Campaigns and Modern Air Power) that was not refreshed when WDS opened its own store in November 2021. That work has now begun, and we have chosen Advance of the Reich to be our prototype for the series. Several community Squad Battles veterans have joined the WDS team to both suggest and do the work required to improve the series. There is a range of programming, data and graphical improvements being implemented in the test build. The list is long enough that we will probably do a series of patches over time, but the first upgrade will be substantial.
To give just a flavour of what is changing, a range of bugs have been squashed, including invulnerable vehicles in assaults. Programming to allow better representation of units including dynamic facing is now underway. All the included orders of battle have been reviewed and with many more unit images, a wider selection of representations is available. There is also on counter indications of the type or status of a unit.
Graphically, we have been using the tactical graphics from the pre-20th century titles as a base and adjusting from there. This definitely works for 2D and maybe the choice for 3D where applicable. Here are a few example shots in game of both 2D and 3D. Like any prototype, everything being shown is subject to change.
We have also been experimenting with explosion, fire and other animations and you can watch a video of a range of actions here. Please note that the video is a little longer at just under eleven minutes - do make certain you watch it in full screen and HD if possible:
We are also looking to possibly provide the ability to print out and save order of battles using a tool built by Xerxes77, one of our contributors. You can see some early examples of OOBs in both horizontal and Vertical format below. Please note all vehicular and gun images are yet to be reworked.
A lot has been achieved in the last couple of months, but with sixteen Squad Battles titles, it will take us a while to review and update them all. There are several additional features that we hope can be included in the first patch, but resourcing will be the limiting factor. We plan to release updates as each title is completed, rather than wait until all are ready.
Panzer Campaigns Status
There is a lot going on for Panzer Campaigns. We have already mentioned that Rumyantsev ’43 is just entering testing and as a reminder this is the first of three titles covering the actions from Kursk, through July and August 1943. The second title is also well advanced, with some base work done for the third title. We are planning a fourth title that will link all three titles to create several campaign games. The campaigns will start at various points during the summer of 1943, including Kursk. There is also a range of unannounced projects underway, all are in various stages of completion. We expect at least one of these projects to be ready this year.
There is also some content updates coming. The team who tested the Japan '45 campaign revisions have provided invaluable feedback and all improvements will be included in the next patch. In addition, another mega update for France '40 is nearing completion and we will be dedicating a blog post to what is included soon.
Robert ‘Berto’ Osterlund, the programmer for Civil War Battles, Panzer Battles and now Panzer Campaigns has been busy cleaning up the build environments. There had been different methodologies for each series and Berto is taking the time to tidy it all up. One area is implementing folders within each game to remove clutter. Dynamic toolbars are now being tested in a prototype Panzer Campaigns build and this is another step to aligning our biggest portfolio of titles with the latest improvements. The similarities to the other series tool bars should be apparent:
Panzer Battles Status
Guess what, we have new prototype toolbars for Panzer Battles as well. These are almost identical to Panzer Campaigns, but there are a few differences. Can you see them?
We have shared very little on Panzer Battles Moscow in the last six months. This title has suffered from a very small development team, who have had to support other areas in both the lead-up and after the launching of Wargame Design Studio. The title is inching forward and a number of seasoned scenario designers in Jeff Connor and Rick Bancroft have now stepped up to assist. There is so much great content for this title, it will just be a matter of seeing what can be included and what can be left for the future.
There had never been the intention to have this title take so long, but events have overtaken us.
Two of our programmers, Andy Edmiston and Paul Bruffell have been busy creating new game engines that will spawn new titles and series. This has been a big focus for both programmers and several series leads over the last six plus months. That work is expected to go on for the rest of the year. We have nothing to announce here other than there is a lot of work underway to allow us to create new and interesting titles.
Three months seemed to go by in a blink of an eye. We have been fortunate that so many people have contributed since the launch of Wargame Design Studio last November, yet there is much more to do. This next three months will be focused on consolidating what we have done to date and hopefully get a new title into your hands.
Till next time.