Wargame Design Studio is pleased to announce the 4.01 round of updates for the Napoleonic Battles series! Our team has been working hard for the last several months to continue the refinement of this fine game series originally created by John Tiller. We have a variety of things to highlight so sit back and enjoy as you read on.
This round of updates has three primary segments to it:
- Graphics updates
- Documentation updates
Our programmer who is supporting the Napoleonic series, Henrik, has been working overtime with the enhancements. He initially started with us back under the JTS banner and he was responsible for the 1.09 & subsequent 4.00 update cycles. A good portion of what he has done is porting existing features from the Civil War Battles engine into Napoleonic’s. That trend has continued, but he has also introduced a variety of new features.
Optional Melee Resolution – this new feature works with the “Turn” mode so that movement and fire take place during a players turn, and the computer handles defensive (opportunity) fire. However, there is now a sub-phase conducted after all that is done for melee’s exclusively. So really it gives us the best of both worlds. The fluidness of Turns with the tempo controlling aspects of phase play. This routine prevents Blitzkrieg tactics of punching holes in a line and exploiting them within the same turn, while still allowing players to have a single file exchange per turn. This is now the default rule set. There are still 3 other methods of play to choose from, based on the optional rules you select – so nothing has been taken away, just to be clear.
Adjustable Replay Speeds – Now it is possible to control the speed of a replay and even pause it. There are three speeds to choose from and you can even stop watching the replay in the middle if you have seen enough and wish to move on to the game. Keyboard shortcuts to control this are in the documentation and mirror the speed controls for playing against the A/I.
Dynamic Toolbars – Introduced in the CWB series, this new style of toolbars have been rolled out here as well. There are 3 different sizes of the standard buttons to choose from to accommodate various resolution settings and sight issues. There is also the “Static All” set which will display all the buttons at once without the large “filter” bars being included.
File Reorganization – Different file types will now be grouped together in their appropriate folder after applying this update (or doing a new install). So all ongoing game files are now stored in the \Saves folder within the game. All documentation is in the \Manuals folder, and so forth.
We assure you, we do listen to feedback from our customer base (via the HelpDesk, Support Email, Facebook or Forum posts, etc.) and changes have been made to two newer rules as a direct result:
Movement Threat Disorder – no longer a default optional rule, but still very much available. This rule has undergone significant refinement since it’s introduction and we believe it now performs closer to our intended purpose when we originally rolled it out. The idea is to reflect more accurate troop behavior on the battlefield - infantry was hesitant to approach massed cavalry unless in Square. Troops could, and often did, refuse to keep advancing on the battlefield. These types of effects can be more accurately modeled using this rule.
No Detached Melee – cavalry is now exempt from this rule to reflect their normal dispersed operations.
There are several changes that go hand in hand with the information displays within the game, such as:
Command Level is now easily determined at a glance in 2D on the map with new Leader Icons. Additionally, info is displayed on the leader card in relation to this. Results of last command check as well.
Probability for formation change and movement threat values now displayed on the unit’s alt interface.
Alternative Unit Symbols can now be displayed within the game by a menu selection.
There are a variety of other changes as well which you can review in the Changelog for each game. That is included with each update and is linked on the website in a couple of different places. We used Campaign Waterloo for this sample of that file.
Next up are the graphical updates. Our new graphics coordinator for this (and other) series of games is Nick. He’s done an amazing job both creating new graphical elements from scratch, but also coordinating efforts from other artists contributing to the work such as Joe & Paul.
In our sample image here you can see an example of some of the work that has been done. We have a completely new Units.bmp file for Campaign Waterloo. Most of the elements that are presented have been re-worked as well – new Unit Boxes, Name Plates & backgrounds. To the right you see an example of the three 2D symbol sets you now have an option to use.
We wanted to come up with some alternatives to the standard NATO approach and so Nick created the second and third set for you to choose from. The top two sets are “built in” so to speak, and what that means is you can toggle between them from the “Alternative Unit Symbols” option in the Settings menu. The third set is in the folder - \Map\Block Symbols – you would need to copy those files up one level into the \Map folder to be able to access them from within the game.
And while we are speaking of options, you now have 4 different UnitName bars to choose from in the \Info folder. To swap out your active one all you must do is rename the file to UnitName.bmp. Additionally, there are Phasebox options to choose from in the \Screens folder too.
Beyond what has already been mentioned there’s many more changes that have been made – new background boxes for the Hex Info Area for all games, Terrain boxes, navigation elements, etc. Virtually every aspect of the user interface has been given a face lift not only with new cleaner images, but also at a greater color depth.
We realize graphics are very subjective and not everyone likes the same thing. We have included folders inside the \Info, \Map & \Screens folders called “Traditional” if you want to go back with what was originally shipped with the game.
All the core documentation has been updated with all the details from the latest changes, new screen shots and formatting. Additionally, the Main Program manual has been appended to the bottom of the User Manual – so you can access it all from the single file. The separate file still exists and has been updated too.
Every Getting Started document for the whole series has been updated, and in many cases the accompanying scenarios have been updated. Napoleon's Russian Campaign has a completely new scenario to accompany that document.
Another update element that has begun, but not completed is the formatting and standardization for the Scenario descriptions for each game. So far only the Demo, Campaign Waterloo and the two Peninsular titles have been updated for this. The rest will follow when we get the 4.02 round of updates out some time in 2023.
So, where can you get all of this goodness you ask? On our website of course! The central point for updates for the entire series is linked under the Support page, or you can go directly to the series update page here. There are also links under each individual game page if that is your preferred method.
For those of you who like to do a completely new install rather than an update – no problem. Just login to your Store account and you can download the most recent installer for all your games there.
** Important** The Demo (The Final Struggle) has an update too – please download and apply that (or grab the new installer from your Store account) as well. You do not need to go through the order process to get that again – once you have it then it is treated like any other game you have purchased.
We hope you enjoy these updates and we do want you to know we have further work in progress for this series for future release...
As always, we're here to help - if you have any questions or comments feel free to reply to this email or submit a Help Desk ticket using the submission form at the bottom of the Support page.