As promised last month, today we bring you the 4.02 release of Campaign Waterloo & The Final Struggle Demo. We consider this a major release which includes both graphical enhancements and significant engine changes. We covered some highlights in our blog post from the beginning of August, but a lot changed over the intervening weeks - so we are going to go in-depth today looking at the details of what is included.
The changes can be broken down into three categories:
- Information Management
- Graphical Enhancements
- Game Controls
As players of the games ourselves, we are always looking for ways to improve how gameplay is handled and to make information more available. Some changes that fall into this category:
Unit Strength Display - Pressing the Tab key will toggle the display on the map of the total strength of units in each hex. If there's a / mark and number, then that represents the total number of artillery pieces present in the hex.
Range Check Tool - this new tool has been added to both the main game engine and the scenario editor. By pressing the Shift key then left-clicking a distant hex the range in hexes from the current hotspot is displayed. Neither hex needs to be occupied to use the tool. Very useful for planning marches or defensive positions for example.
Scheduled Reinforcements - the way these are displayed as been changed. With FOW in effect, instead of (??) being displayed as the probability, a rating will be listed - 'Low' (1-33%), 'Med.' (34-66%) and 'High' (67-100%). In conjunction with this, a routine was added to the Arrival Check for units with less than 100% probability. Now, after each failed check a 1% chance is added to the success probability up to 10%.
Show Organization dialog - Now, when using this tool, you select a command and the map will scroll to where it is and center on the Leader. Additionally, both it and its chain of command are highlighted. The base unit will be highlighted with yellow, this higher chain of command with orange. (These colors are reversed if you select Alternative Highlight Color from the Settings Menu). This same functionality is now present when using the Highlight Organization command (HotKey Q).
Hex Info Display - this has been altered to display the Disorder effects the selected hex will have on various units. In the sample below the selected Village hex will cause Disorder to both Infantry in Line formation as well as Cavalry.
Various other changes have been made to make it easier to interact with the map data or to accommodate those with vision issues:
- Alternative Outline Color - this will use white lines for Hex Outlines when selected.
- Multiple colors (3) and widths (3) have been added to the Map Contours functionality. Turn on from the View menu, then from the Settings menu you can make adjustments to fit your tastes.
- Multiple Highlight commands have been adjusted as well, see the Changelog for details.
This update also has a variety of graphical changes to make gameplay more enjoyable. Our graphics team of Nick, Rolf & Joe have done fine work bringing new features to the plate.
New 3D Units Icons and Bases - A completely new set of 3D Units is included with this round of updates, and we think they are quite impressive! Additionally, the bases have been redone to match the Unit box colors, and like those boxes, the bases "brighten" when the unit is selected. Here's a few screen shots, one for each army. You can click on each image for a full screen view.
New 2D High Res graphics - the "standard" 2D icon set has been completely redone which yields a crisp and clean presentation in all three 2D Views.
3D Leader Ratings - Now in 3D, when you have the Unit Flags option selected, the leader flags and ratings are also displayed. This coincide with the flag colors and letters that are displayed in 2D as well.
- A - Army
- W - Wing
- C - Corps
- D - Division
- B - Brigade
We also wanted to point out the Options we include for you with the game...we are well aware that graphics are very subjective and everyone likes a little something different! So, included in both the \Map and \Info folders are some sub-folders that provide you with options to meet your taste. And you can always modify the files to meet your own personal preferences as well!
** While working in these folders you should have the game Closed.
Within the \Info folder is \Traditional - inside of this are all the original files that shipped with the game... Units.bmp, Leaders, Hex Info Are boxes and so forth.
Within the \Map folder we have quite a bit more:
First off, we included the \Frozen & \Snow folders just for fun...if you want to play around and make some custom winter scenarios you can now do so.
For those who prefer the old style 3D units, you can find those files in the \Traditional Map folder. Just copy them up one level into the \Map folder and overwrite the files you find there. If you want to revert to the new style grab the files out of the \Hi-Res Map folder.
Additionally, there are three different 2D Icon sets included within the game. The first two can be easily toggled between by selecting the "Alternative Unit Symbols" option from the Settings Menu. The third set requires you copy the files from the \Block Symbols folder up into the \Map folder. Below are screen shots of each of the available options:
Traditional, or NATO, type counters:
Alternative unit counters:
Block unit counters:
If things ever get messed up, you can always apply the Update again, or do a clean install, and get back to where you began.
And this brings us to our final category, which will see quite a few things lumped underneath it. We'll cover new ways to issue commands first, then a new optional rule, and finish up with new behavior for various units.
Attack Movement - This new routine allows you to move an entire command at once. There are some caveats... they must be in a single line (flank to flank). The selected unit determines the formation for all being moved. So, if the selected unit is in Line formation, only units also in Line will move. The Leader in the selected hex determines the force being moved. This can be a Brigade, or an entire Army! To conduct the move command press and hold the Shift key, select the desired unit, then right-click the destination hex. This can be an adjacent hex, or one several hexes away. Keep in mind though, units that have less movement points will be left behind, or that become disordered in the move... so in order not to have a disjointed force when done you need to be conservative with your distances.
The sample below has an entire Infantry Corps moving at the same time. Shift Key + a double click on the Corps Commanders hex, then a right-click 3 hexes away and better than 12,000 troops advanced as one... a huge improvement over moving every unit individually!
Travel Movement - the flip side of the Attack Movement is Travel Movement. This routine focuses on moving units over long distances and is ideal for bringing reinforcements on the map, for example. This command has been around a long time, but refinements have been made with this update:
- Prioritize adjacent units on road first before selecting adjacent units on the wayside.
- Will not fail if there is a unit from a different org stacked with valid units, so you can ALT move through own units.
- Will allow movement of multiple units in a hex at once if not on a road.
- Will keep leaders in a stack with other valid units.
- Fix for Campaign Continuation problem where no scenario is assigned to a branch (decisions only).
- Fix for Defender melee casualty calculations.
And, several versions ago the max stacking was reduced from 2000 to 1800... that caused Cavalry regiments over 600 strength to be in an over-stacked condition - and hence would return an error when trying to melee until a squadron was detached. We have gone through all of the scenarios and done this now, so no over-stacked situations should exist. We have also moved units out of un-limbered artillery hexes - as they won't fire from an over-stacked hex either.
So, you are asking, where can I get my hands on all this goodness? From our updates page of course! Both Waterloo and the Demo have been brought up to this level.
**Please** - Use the Update for the Demo, or if you wish download a new installer from your Store account. Do not go through the Store and "order" a new copy...it will issue you a new serial number and essentially waste that...you do not need to do that. :-)
Assuming all goes well with this release - and our testing gives us every reason to believe it will - we plan on issuing updates for the remaining 13 titles in the series before the end of September... so stay tuned!