Sunday, July 6, 2014

Linear Warfare's Odds and Ends, New and Old

In this blog entry, a good oldie that has defied completion status for years and two newborn speeders that break the speed of playability.

HistWar Napoleon Got Patched

With ... New stuff? Whatever. It is hard to keep track of happenings when the developer is so remarkably cryptic, and insists to keep comms in a godforsaken forum. Only thing I know is that HistWar is the Napoleonic grand/tactical (operational sometimes) gold standard.

As for myself, I have been enjoying the game for quite a while now.

The mesmerizing uniforms and visuals bear most of the blame for my past failures to move forward to fighting in sensible way. 
One thing that I learned this weekend is that is possible to let the AI move two of my Corps in support of each other. This results in better coordination during offensive operations.

Another great thing that I started using is sequential orders. In this case, Mortier's Corps will march forward (green line) and then at 1047 will deploy into an offensive towards the north east.

Whatever happened to adjustable real time

Two interesting American Civil War games have appeared at Steam. Both of them appear to be still under development, which is apparently the new release standard for small studios.

  1. Ultimate General Gettysburg

Ultimate General Gettysburg is a tactical war game that  features very appealing and functional graphics. I was not so convinced when I fired this game up for the first time. But the caricature-like appearances quickly gave way to a game that is very approachable and it is full of tactical treats.
Ultimate General Gettysburg feels and plays like a Sid Meier's Civil War game for the 21st century. The map, which looks like one of those tourist maps sold gift shops, is very effective showing important landmarks and crucial terrain.

  1. Battleplan: American Civil War

Another one from Steam, again about the American Civil War. The scale is grand tactical, with the units (regiment-sized) represented as blocks. The feeling of playing Battleplan is of taking an Osprey book (which BTW is the sponsor for the developers) and making it playable.

One of the advertised selling points of this game is the ability to build pontoon bridges. This feature works within the real of history in the Fredericksburg scenario shown above. But because no explicit engineer units are represented, any formation can force any river if you give them time.
Neither of the games above has an explicit chain of command (just get whatever general within range and receive a morale bonus). Battleplan has a system of couriers and orders transmission similar to HistWar, though.

Both games have unlockable scenarios, just because the latest marketing data suggests that you are twelve years old. :) No, seriously. What's up with this madness of hiding content from the user?

And last but not least, both games are played in continuous time at an incredibly fast pace. So fast that you will need to press the pause button and issue orders every ten or twenty seconds. Both games come dangerously close to become pure kinesthetic experiences (i.e. a click-fest where the only challenge is how fast you can click).



Chris said...

JC you convinced me to patch my Les Grognards version and give it a try again. However, I've read too much frustration from fans in JMM's forum about the new Napoleon version to purchase it. And the demo for it is no longer available for download.

JC said...

Hi Chris,

Th website is a mess too. Good luck figuring out. I literally downloaded the patch and applied and waited to see what happens. Fortunately for me, it worked.


Chris said...

I patched last night and played some of the battle of Sorauren in Spain. I enjoyed it more than I remembered.

JC said...

Good to hear, Chris.

I don't have that battle in my menu. Are you talking HistWarN or HistWarLG?



Chris said...

Histwar LG I believe. Napoleon is the new title correct? This is the older title (they have a new patch for it from this year)

Doug Miller said...

I'm trying to decide if I should pull the trigger on HistWarN - which graphically is looking quite nice, but I'm not sure if the bugs are really hammered out - or waiting for the Scourge of War engine to release their Napoleonic game.

Meanwhile, Frank Hunter is about to release an upgrade to Campaigns on the Danube. That should really make this gem playable again. Fantastic Napoleonic campaign game.

I'm starting to enjoy Ultimate General. The latest patch fixes a number of my gritches with it. I do find myself pausing it still, though not as frequently as I was.

I'm really glad Battleplan was cheap. It's interesting, but seeing the entirety of First Bull Run rush by in less than five minutes seems broken. I get that they want a quick and easy game, but the current state of the game means I'm likely to not bother with it much.

JC said...

Hi Chris,

Thanks for the heads up. I have not patched my copy of HistWar LG in a long while. I'm tempted to get into LG again.

Hi Doug,

I don't know how it will work for you. I don't see any major breakthrough update coming up immediately, so why holding up? But I understand your desire of not wasting time into something you may consider unfinished.

Interestingly, many people speak about the game not being finished or having major bugs ... But I rarely see people posting about what specific problem they are referring to (?).

The other two games, I still don't know what to make of them. There are interesting designs and features in both. But the pace is too fast.


Doug Miller said...

Agreed JC - I'm not sure what people are really referring to. Most of the video I've seen of the game looks pretty finished. As you observed, the poor website makes it hard to figure out what's going on.

Certainly I've bought other games with less careful consideration than I've spent on this!

Anonymous said...

Hi JC quick question: Does Histwar Napoleon Now have a 1 to 1 scale for troops?

JC said...

Hi Doug,

One of the most overlooked things about the HistWar series is that it includes a lot of abstractions. Showing the 3d troops in such detail and the losses in translation certainly do not help to overcome a sense that everything is modeled in a high fidelity environment. :)

Hi Anonymous,
In HistWar Napoleon, the minimum ratio is 1 virtual soldier representing two actual simulated soldiers.



Unknown said...


Really sorry for the poor information about the game...
Team is very small and it is difficult to talk about the game before releasing a next version with all features finished...
I prefer to spend my time on the game, not on the marketing.. and I know it is not the best for the game.

That said...
a) Internal engine begins to run very well after several months for fixing the major bugs.
b) we are working on the new GUI, new 3D models, improved AI (Great Tactical, level Division/Brigade for a better control...)
c) graphic engine for supporting the new 3D models, new animations...
d) new building
e) new shell for launching the game (probably release before the end of this week.. just a problem with XP)

No really time for talking about the game. Again, I know it is not the best in this world... but I am no sure we can find another game with these features... which are beginning to run very fine.

Scale 1/1 will be operational on a next version. We are to redefine the buildings to get the good density of houses for each scale level.

HistWar : LG... a new patch is ready. I have to verify all files are within the "installer"... this patch will be for all versions from the initial one (1a)... and a lot of files have been modified/adjusted...

Sorry for my English.. I hope it is clear.

Thank you for your support...

HistWar Designer

PS: "Interestingly, many people speak about the game not being finished or having major bugs ... But I rarely see people posting about what specific problem they are referring to (?)." it is my problem... that said, the beta test team thinks it is the better release built since the first HW version...

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.