Today we bring you the leading titles for the 4.03 round of updates to the Civil War Battles series of games. Campaign Antietam & The Demo will be todays focus. This is a hefty update which brings a variety of new features - some previously introduced in the Napoleonic Battles and Musket & Pike games, and some making their appearance for the first time here. Additionally we've squashed some bugs that have been identified since we released 4.02. So join me as we step through some of the details of what todays updates bring to the table.
Veteran players will notice in the above screen shot that the Terrain Box is in a different position - now it is stationary and won't change position based on the number of units occupying the hex.
The Range Tool has been added. To use this click any hex, whether it is occupied or not, then press and hold the Shift key and left-click on any distant hex. The distance between the two hexes will be displayed as long as you hold down the left mouse button. This can be very handy when bringing up supply - to ensure it covers the units you need it to (within a 5 hex range). Or, when you are looking to setup a battery position and you want to check ranges to the enemy line. Or to gauge how long it will take you to move troops from point A to point B.
Another usability enhancement that has been added is the ability to display Reachable Hexes (Hotkey 0). So select a unit and hit the hot key (or select from the View menu) and all the hexes that unit can reach in the current turn given their formation and status will be highlighted. This is dynamic as well, so if you leave the option on and move the unit the possible hexes will be reduced as movement points are expended.
Now, when playing with FOW on and also On Map Results on a Combat Prediction will display when you add units to a Melee. This is a rough estimate, and Not a guarantee of how the melee will pan out... but it will give you an idea of what outcome to expect.
Some further enhancements that fall into the usability category are:
- Adjustment to Highlight Command range. If multiple leaders are selected the highest ranked leader will be used, not necessarily the first in the list. Also, if no Leaders are selected in a hex but this command is active then the highest rank leaders’ range is displayed.
- Double-clicking on a hex that has all units selected will now de-select all of them.
- Adjusted the way Scheduled Reinforcements with FOW are displayed (low/medium/high) instead of a simple (??).
- Added carnage view option.
- Added green to contour color selection.
- Added Highlight routed units.
- Adjustments to Selection Dialog, increased size and “Old by Date” & “Delete” added.
Leaders - we've made several adjustments as it pertains to these important parts of the game. First set of changes is in relation to the points awarded when using the Victory Points for Leader Casualties optional rule:
- Reduced the victory point multiplier for killed leaders to * 1.25 and for captured leaders to * 1.5.
- Adjusted Victory points awarded for replacement leaders or second in command leaders are now halved.
- Adjusted so that Replacement leaders will not receive multipliers for being killed or captured.
We've also adjusted Leader movement. Lone Leaders can’t approach enemy units within 4 hexes and within LOS if they aren't accompanied by friendly units, or if friendly units are closer. This prevents using a secondary leader to expose the remainder of a defensive line, for example, so that this knowledge can be used to organize an attack.
And then a couple of changes to how the engine handles leaders:
- Adjustment so that Leaders will seek out a formed unit to stack with when under AI control.
- Adjusted so that leaders mounting and dismounting will not trigger opportunity fire.
Speaking of engine operations, these further changes were made under the hood, so to speak:
- Adjusted LOS calculation routines. After each movement LOS is recalculated for the moving unit(s). If new units are detected within 3 hexes they will be displayed. If new units are detected within a 4-6 distance a (?) will be displayed. Any unit at night, or if the moving unit is a Supply Wagon or Routed unit then it will only detect up to 3 hexes, and only a (?) will be displayed.
- Adjusted Arrival Check so probability is increased by 1% for each turn a unit does not arrive up to an additional 10% chance.
- Added Medium range for Infantry to ADF. Medium range is max range / 2 + 1 for both types. Medium range will be default for both artillery & infantry. (Added Weapon medium and maximum ranges are also displayed in parameter dialog.)
- Adjusted Minimum range calculation for ADF and trip fire. Min range is fixed at 1 (infantry) and 4 (artillery).
- Adjusted AI Targeting logics so that the unit with the highest fire value is selected within the target hex.
- Adjustment to melee modifiers. If there are defending units that have not fired in the current turn, but the units are able to fire on the attacking units and the defender’s strength is >= the attacker’s strength, then 20% is subtracted from the attacking strength. However, if the defender strength is only >= half the attacker strength then only 10% is subtracted.
- Adjusted melee modifiers so Defenders now suffer a -10% (High Fatigue) and -20% (Max Fatigue) penalty.
- New PDT version possible. If >= 10 then Fatigue values can be defined by PDT entries.
- Adjustment so that fatigue accumulation is 2-6 times the loss of men, which result in less variation in assignment. Previous values were 1-6 times.
- Adjustment for selecting multiple units to fire, now the loudest and not the first unit is triggering the fire sound (artillery > infantry).
- Adjusted so that Breastwork base probability is calculated for max stack/3 working men. It is modified if more/less men are working.
- Adjusted so that Cavalry unit size must exceed 50 to exert a ZOC with cavalry skirmishers option enabled.
- Added new A* path-finding algorithm.
The A* path-finding algorithm may have been listed last, but it's importance can not be over stated. The legacy AI would often get flummoxed when a command was issued to move units over a long distance, that might involve crossing a creek or forested area. It was not uncommon to see it go up to the water line and sit there. Now it is able to determine the correct & best path and follow it. Not making any grandiose claims about the AI performance, but this does provide a significant improvement both for play against the AI and for issuing commands to your own troops to move long distances.
The below image illustrates my point. This Union cavalry command started at the lower right of the screen on the Manassas-Sudley Road. I selected the leader and first unit, pressed and held the Alt key and then right-clicked the hex where my cursor is on the top left of the screen. The legacy path finding routines would have taken a beeline through the woods and across the streams more likely than not, Disrupting the cavalry troops in the process. Here we see the A* routines correctly defined the road and pike path which would not only move the unit the farthest possible distance, but also avoid Disruption. The entire column moved the max possible distance maintaining good order, as it should.
A few more changes to highlight yet...
- Adjusted so that Supply Wagons only have 50% movement points on the turn in which they are captured.
And then several changes relating to Artillery:
- Adjusted so that Artillery can not unlimber within forests or villages unless they have a clear (non-Forest or Village) hex in any direction.
- Adjusted so that Artillery in forests/villages will not benefit form a defensive hex bonus versus ranged attacks if the attack is directed through a clear hex side.
- Adjusted so that Captured gun type and range is displayed.
- Adjustment so that hexes containing Captured artillery units no longer need to be continuously occupied to keep the victory points. Points will be lost if the original owner re-occupies the hex.
The first two changes are to reflect how these units would have been used. Remember, a battery is not only representative of the guns themselves, but gun carriages, caissons, horses, etc. So in an obstructed hex like a Forest or Village the units would deploy along the outskirts so that it could take action, not mixed among the trees.
And finally for changes we look at Routed units:
- Adjustment so that Routed units no longer provide a LOS but will detect enemy units within 3 hexes and mark with a ‘?’.
- Adjustment so that Routed units must increase distance from enemy units unless a friendly Combat capable unit is in between them. This can potentially result in Routed units not being able to move at times. Check is based on LOS.
These changes were made to cut down on the amount of intel that is passed back to the player from units that may have routed behind enemy lines.
As seems to always be the case, we had some bugs that need squashed as well. The items addressed this round are:
- Fix for Bridge melee problem.
- Fix for Supply Wagon capture during movement phase.
- Fix for random crash bug caused by hitting a naval mine.
- Fix for Campaign continuation problem on scenario completion.
- Fix for crash when new game is loaded while Command Range display is active.
- Fix for Column move sound problem.
- Fixed bug when a unit with skirmishers had its firing strength reduced by 100 instead of 50 men.
- Fixed LOS calculation for retreating units after melee.
- Fix for Ships being able to move on to land hexes in certain situations.
- Fix for FOW not being lifted at the completion of a single battle.
We are pretty much continually testing our products in one fashion or another, but nothing compares to getting a new version into the hands of our entire customer base. This is also why we are leading with only two titles today... in the event we have missed something we want to squash it prior to updating the whole series. In the event you do find an issue, or even just have feedback, please send it in to us by either:
Email - Helpdesk@wargameds.com - this is the best method if you need to include an attachment. And if you feel you have found a problem we really do need to see a game file to illustrate the problem. Text and screen shots never give the "full picture" that only a game file can.
Or you can post it to our forums, in the CWB section - https://forum.wargameds.com/viewforum.php?f=4 - this method will allow discussion with your fellow enthusiasts as well and is probably the best avenue if you have more of a question about things as opposed to a problem.
The plan, as of this writing, is to roll out the remainder of this series updates on or around September 1st.
Regarding the Demo ** Remember** you can either apply the Update or download a new updated installer from your Store Account - you do not need to grab a new copy from the Store check out process. Your original serial number will work with this update.
If you have any troubles accessing your Store records just drop us a line at the Help Desk and we'll get you going.