Welcome Napoleonic enthusiasts!
Today we have a boatload of goodness for you! We are releasing the next round of updates for the entire Napoleonic Battles series of games (15 titles) and also the third installment of the article series we have been running. These will be separated into two blog posts, with this one focusing on the game updates.
This post won't be a huge one, but there are some key things we want to convey - so a separate blog seemed appropriate. As mentioned when Waterloo & the Demo went to 4.07, we do suggest that you finish on going games before you migrate to this new version - or at very least make a backup copy of your game file in the event you have an issue. You *should* be able to continue games in Waterloo that were started in 4.07, but games started in 4.06 or earlier are likely to have problems.
We found just a few bugs in the 4.07 release, but they were enough that they needed squashed, and enough to slightly bump the version number to 4.07.1. We have a couple of new enhancements as well, but again, not enough to increase a whole version number.
Before we get too far into this, be sure to read the original 4.07 blog post to give you details on the many changes that are being implemented in this round. Today we will only be focusing on what makes this ".1" as well as a few operational notes.
We have made an adjustment to how fatigue is assigned to skirmishers engaged in melee. They will still receive reduced casualties when they do not exceed the 1/8 max stacking strength in a hex, but now they will get normal amounts of Fatigue applied, as if they were a regular formed unit.
Then two changes related to Reachable Hexes. We have added a toolbar button for it - but when using the Medium sized buttons, if we added 1 it would bump an entire new row down, for just a single button. So, in the interest of having the toolbar take up the least amount of screen real estate as possible, we removed the Supply Sources button from the Map section of the toolbar - which toggles the display of these on the map. This setting can still be accessed from the View menu and by using the Y hotkey.
The second change relates to selecting a stack of units and then selecting Reachable Hexes. Now the first (top) unit in the stack will be the value displayed, and leaders will be ignored. Leaders have a higher movement range, but generally you are aiming to figure out how far your combat units can travel.
Another enhancement for this round that I forgot to put into the changelogs before mastering (!) but I did get the documentation updated for it, is a refinement to the Highlight Organization command. Now when this is activated all units within the selected organization have their Leader name or Unit name in yellow text. This helps when you have a mixed stack of units, so you can quickly see which ones belong and what doesn't. As you can see from the stack of 2D counters, it's not too easy there.
And the final new change, also not listed in the changelog, is for any custom scenario designers out there. A modification has been made to the Range Tool in the scenario editor where after activation you can release the Shift key, but keep your left mouse button depressed, and then move your cursor around the map. The display will update automatically with each hex it passes over. You can read more about the Range Tool for scenario designing in the 5.3 section of the Scenario Editor Manual.
The dynamic aspect of the Range Tool has been added to the main game exe as well, the difference being use within the main game does not show the path arrows or movement costs - only the distance in hexes.
On the Bug Fixes topic you can see 2 of the 3 were AI play related bug fixes, then the fix for Squares not disordering in obstructed terrain. We have also continued to polish the documentation, so updated versions of the User Manual, Scenario Editor Manual & Summary Info Manual are included as well.
Ok, then we have a couple of other things we want to highlight with you.
First, we want to make sure you know how easy movement has gotten in these games. I've made several posts about Formation Movement (section 5.2.12 of the User Manual) for both units in large columns and units deployed ready for battle. But we haven't really highlighted single unit movements. In times past you had two options to move a single unit. You could move it one hex at a time, right clicking each in order. Or, you could use the drag n' drop method - dropping a unit some ways across the map and then watching it execute the command.
But, to be perfectly honest, the path finding algorithms in the engine were so bad that you could really only trust that style of movement in wide open clear or field spaces. Somewhere you were sure that your unit would not become Disordered.
Now, due to not only new A* pathfinding code - which is infinitely better than what was in place previously, but also the addition of the right-click move, things have gotten a lot easier. See the image below:
This command was executed by 2 mouse clicks. One to select the cavalry unit and then a second one where I right-clicked on the hex underneath the cursor on the top right hand corner of the image. The engine then executed the move, expending all the available movement points it could.
With the legacy path finding you would never dare do that - it would either place your unit in the town hex to the right of where the unit ended up, or quite possibly place you down along the river, not even understanding there was a bridge it could go over.
As a further illustration, I advance the game through till the next French turn. Same cavalry unit in the town, I selected it and I right clicked on the hex where the cursor is, and where the cav unit ended up in the image below.
Again, with the legacy path finding I would never have issued that command using drag n' drop as the system would have tried to plow right through the center of town Disordering the unit in the process. Now you can see that it took the intelligent path to the destination. And it had two options - the Pike, but also the path leading through the town to the right. That *could have* been followed without disorder, but the unit would have paid more movement points to cover less distance.
One caveat with pathfinding as it relates to Cavalry. The code will try to avoid Disorder around obstacles with the exception of Skirmishers. If you have a skirmish screen out front and then tell your cavalry squadrons to move through them - they will - as only the skirmishers are disordered by this action.
The next thing we want to point out also relates to Skirmishers. Some scenarios were built with a Light or Guard unit completely broken down in Skirmish companies at the start of a scenario with the exception of the single "parent" company. This may cause issues when you go to recombine, as the function calls for a complete break down are now different from what they used to be. So you just need to break the "Parent" unit down into a Skirmish company as well, and then all other Skirmish companies will be able to recombine properly when the time comes.
Ok, that concludes this blog post. You can head over to the Napoleonic Battles Support page and download the updates you need, or you can head up to your Store Account and download completely new, up-to-date installers to do a fresh install.
And don't forget to check out the Third Installment in our series on the Napoleonic Battles Games! You can read that here.