Greetings fellow Wargamers,
We're changing focus this week from WWII back into the 18th & 19th Centuries. We've got so much to share that we'll actually be breaking it into two blog posts...so here's what we have:
- Civil War Battles 4.02 Updates
- Early American Wars 4.01 Updates
- Menu Program 4.03 Update
- Preview of Great Northern War and the 4.01 updates for Musket & Pike
The last item will be handled in it's own post, but let's dive into the other topics now.
A quick note on updates, for those who aren't aware.
When we issue an "update" it is free for existing owners of the game. So, once you purchase a game you can rest assured that the game will continue to run until you wish to stop using it - not because a Windows version changed or the developer abandoned it. We are saying - if we are selling the game on our website that we will keep it running with modern versions of windows as time progresses.
Do you have to update? Of course not...however we will maintain our installers at the most recent patch version. So, if you prefer to run an older version of a game - for whatever reason - please maintain your backups so you can install said version.
And last note on this point - as long as you have a serial number you are set. If a game is not listed in your Store Account, but you were issued a serial number at some point, all you have to do is contact us at the Help Desk and we will get you taken care of.
Today marks the beginning of a new development cycle on the 16 titles of the Civil War Battles series. As a small development house we have limited resources, but we're doing our best to keep things moving forward. We've had some reported issues with the series that we are now addressing, but there's also been some new functionality added in. First, fixes:
- Fix for Supply points not being recorded properly.
- Fix for routing units retreating into hexes they would not normally be able to enter.
- Fix for unit becoming “captured” when moving to bottom of stack with a captured gun.
- Fix for captured guns having a LOS for original owner.
- Fix for Campaign scenarios using the wildcard * not displaying in the editor.
- Fix for LOS bug during battle replays which exposed visible hexes for enemy units.
- Fix for Isolation check across fords and bridges. Bridge strength limitations apply.
- Fix for Objective values not displaying for both sides.
- Fix for defensive fire trigger when an invalid unit is added to a melee.
- Fix so that uncrewed artillery will not display “isolated” status.
- Fix for replaced enemy Leaders display a correct command value in alt hex info.
Most of these items fall under the "annoyance" category, or rarely encountered, but we want to squash problems when they are identified. Others impact scoring, which is of course important for competitive games.
And then we have enhancements that have been rolled out to the series as a whole. Some of this was pushed to the Demo in the Fall, and the version number on the Demo will remain unchanged - but it has also been refreshed so it is at the same level as all the other games. So now to look at the enhancements a bit closer.
- Implemented update to the Dynamic Toolbars, adding in Roaming Mode and A/I speed controls for both in-game play and replay control.
Roaming Mode is a feature that has been in this engine for many years, but if you never delved into the documentation you likely never knew it existed. When activated it allows you to move your mouse around the map and as you hover over a stack of units their information is displayed in the Hex Info Area. So you can skim around and gather details of your forces without having to click on any hexes. Once you do click a hex though you are exited from Roaming Mode. You also have a hot key to toggle this functionality - Ctrl+Space.
A further enhancement to the toolbars is the implementation of GAS - Game Action Speed - specifically the inclusion of buttons to slow, speed up or pause the A/I processing during game turns. This applies to not only the A/I turns, but also battle replays. So, it is now possible to watch a PBEM replay file and pause it if you need to step away for a bit. There are 4 different speed levels to choose from as well, and all the functionality have associated hotkeys.
Then the following items fall in the category of information control. While there is some information you should have access to when playing a game with FOW in effect, there's other items you should not.
- Adjusted spotting so that Routed units can no longer provide spotting, same as Supply Wagons and Uncrewed artillery.
- Adjusted so that enemy Detached status is no longer visible under FOW.
- Adjusted so that strength of obstructed/entrenched enemy unit within 3 or less hexes is partially displayed under FOW.
All of this is part of continual process improvement... making the games a bit closer to reality without sacrificing playability.
- Adjusted so that enemy uncrewed/spiked artillery will no longer show up as possible melee under 'next/previous' stack in melee phase.
- Adjusted so that “capture” popup window will not be displayed each time a hex containing an enemy uncrewed artillery piece is entered.
Both of the above changes help make game play a bit easier... having the popup message each time you moved across a capture gun was certainly a challenge.
Note: All images can be clicked for a Full Size version.
And then we have some enhancements to make Leader management easier.
- Leader command rank letter is now displayed in both 2D and 3D.
- Leader command rank letter is displayed on hex info (yellow if command check failed).
Command is a major function of the games as you know. With these enhancements managing that aspect just got a whole lot easier. You can tell at a glance where your leaders are and easily differentiate the command levels. In 2D you must have the "Leaders On Top" option on for this to be truly effective. The Highest level leader value is always displayed. So, if you have 3 different leaders in a stack, regardless of their position in that stack, the highest will display on top. A Corps commander will take precedence over Division and Brigade commanders, for example. The same priority applies to 3D, but the letters are displayed all the time - as "Leaders On Top" has no bearing on 3D.
And note the yellow "B" for the Colonel in the Hex Info Area in the image below. That denotes that he failed his last command check.
And finally the following enhancements allow you to gain information or locate specific units easier.
Added Tab key functionality, will display total strength in hex.
Adjusted “Show Organization” feature to scroll to Leader and display him in the Hex Info Area and highlight him on the map.
Adjusted so that “Mixed” status is displayed on units if mixed organizations exist in the hex. Artillery will not trigger a Mixed status.
And that's just a taste for what's in store for the series. If you have been following the Napoleonic series over the last couple of years you know a plethora of changes have happened there. Many features from CWB were ported there, and now it's time for some of the other work that has been done to flow back this way, with new features being ported to this series. To get an idea of some of those things you can check out the changelog from one of the Napoleonic titles. Here's is the 4.06 one for Napoleon's Russian Campaign for example - which is the next update that will be released in the not so distant future - NRC changelog.
You can grab all the CWB Updates from this page.
Next up we have the Early American Wars series. These games are moving to the 4.01 version, and while not as robust as what has been applied to the CWB titles, it still brings some nice tweaks - especially for those who may do their own custom scenario design. Especially the enhancements to the map editor which makes map work easier, and gives the ability to represent more varied terrain heights.
2022 saw the release of Little Big Horn for this series as the free demo - and we have been pleased with the reception of that. Interest has been high, so we will definitely be pursing the topic matter for a future game. However, there are certain limitations in the EAW engine that will likely see this topic moved to another engine for further development. Hopefully we'll have more to share on that in '24 once we have been able to do some other work. While you wait though, the LBH demo is free to grab, for any who have not done so already - you can get it here.
You can grab all the EAW Updates from this page.
And the last item for this blog post is the release of the 4.03 update for the free Menu Program. Here's what's included in this release:
You will need to uninstall your previous copy and then download and install the new version. You can get a copy of that here.
We hope you enjoy these updates and be sure to head over and read the 2nd blog post for today, the preview of Musket & Pike: Great Northern War.