I Was Killed Near Rzhev – A Developer’s Diary

The battles around Rzhev are easily among the toughest and bloodiest of the entire World War II. They are also not very well known in the west, especially given how the Red Army suffered a quarter of a million dead there in early 1942 alone.

When designing this scenario for Moscow 41, we really wanted to do these momentous events justice. The mechanics and the scenario design were carefully adapted to the period. As a result, the “Rzhev meat grinder” plays very differently from anything you’ve seen in Unity of Command II before.

Our intention is that playing as the Soviets feels authentic with respect to history. The adjustments to play style that this requires can be difficult, but we feel it’s well worth it because it gives an entirely new perspective on this period of the war. 

With that in mind, we’ll be taking an in-depth look at a smaller section of the Rzhev Offensive around the Volga crossing. This should highlight some of the new tactical skills and ideas that you’ll be needing when playing as a Soviet commander.

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Developer Diary 29 – The Tutorial Update

We are releasing the companion update to the Barbarossa DLC (Update 15) today, one day ahead of the DLC release itself. The main attraction here is the completely overhauled tutorial, but there are a few other features and bug fixes too.

First, a quick recap for the Barbarossa DLC: the release date is April 21, and the price is $9.99. You command Axis forces, from the initial invasion all the way to the Battle for Moscow in late 1941.

Key features:

  • 23-scenario historical campaign, with battles from the lakes of Karelia in the north to the Black Sea beaches in the south
  • Limited, but still difficult to achieve, alternative historical outcomes, such as capturing Moscow in late 1941
  • Detailed, zoomed-in maps for the hard-fought sieges of Odessa and Sevastopol
  • 20+ new unit types including those from Italy, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Finland, and Spain
  • Beautiful new vehicle models including BT-7 and T-26 tanks, and the iconic ZIS-5 truck
  • New German cards: Blitzkrieg (reloads HQ command points) and Luftflotte
  • New terrain type: bog, used to model the impenetrable, swampy terrain facing Army Group North and the Finns
  • New original music: 4 brand new tracks by Bruno Babić, composed specifically for Barbarossa DLC
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Developer Diary 28: Maps and Musings

It’s been a while, but we are officially back and aaaalmost ready with some new content! This time things will get hot before they get very very cold. The good old Eastern Front makes a triumphant return in our upcoming DLC Barbarossa!

Introductions out of the way: I’m Daniel, and I’ve been one of the developers at 2×2 Games for many years by now. My official title is “Games Designer”, but I prefer “Multitasking-monkey”. Has more of a ring to it!

In today’s dev diary I’m gonna be talking about how our unfathomably big map is made and also offer my small input to the ever ongoing “realism debate” within wargames in general. I see no can of worms here, do you?

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Developer Diary 27 – The Blitzkrieg DLC Update

Ze Germans have arrived! Blitzkrieg DLC for Unity of Command II releases next Thursday, November 5th. The campaign has 25 scenarios (13 in the historical line) and comes with a chunky free update with many UI improvements and fixes.

The 1939-41 Axis campaign is a wargaming classic, and we were super happy to dig into it, but there were a bunch of challenges too. The sheer number of nationalities and unit types took a lot of time to research and model — and after that most of them will only be good for a scenario or two 😢. I really hope modders make good use of the models, it would be such a waste otherwise.

Blitzkrieg is also the first German campaign we are doing for UoC II, so all of their specific mechanics had to be developed and tested at this time. Sometimes this meant going back deep into the game’s internals, and then extra care was needed to, you know… not break existing things that work just fine.

TL;DR it’s a big update. Fingers crossed it all works out without major disasters.

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Coming Soon: Blitzkrieg DLC

I just set the Steam page to “Coming Soon” which means that the countdown begins to the release of our first Axis DLC. The 1939-41 Axis campaign is a wargaming staple, so it should not come as a surprise that we chose to start the DLC series there. The punchy feeling of “massed armored spearheads and close air support” at your fingertips – we have one campaign’s worth of that coming up, thank you!

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V-E Day Update

The V-E Day update is here, and it’s loaded! There are 13 new scenarios (all what-ifs), a shorter and punchier Second Front campaign, numerous rule and balancing tweaks, and a bunch of technical improvements, including full UI scaling among other things.

I also, ekhm… only now realize that Update 11 somehow slipped in without a post on this blog, with just a quick note on Steam🤦‍♂️ Let’s just attribute that to coronavirus-induced panic and move on.

In general, the whole work-from-home thing seems to be working for our team. We are able to stay productive and keep ourselves safe, which is basically all you can ask for at this point. I wish the same, or at least close enough, to all readers of this blog and fans of our games. Continue reading

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Developer Diary 26 – Updates and Roadmap

We are back! Unity of Command II got released in November, to a good amount of press coverage, glowing reviews, and (predominantly) satisfied players clocking up good hours with the game. We, on the other hand, ended up totally busted from the pre-release crunch.

We are now well rested and all that, but the whole thing made me appreciate my friend Fernando’s militant views on crunch that much more. I’m not sure if another Christmas without a released game would be great either, but the crunch definitely had us bruised. Continue reading

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Developer Diary 25 – The Power of Supply II

Unity of Command II releases next Tuesday, November 12th. You heard it here first, PR be damned! 😀 To celebrate the occasion, please have this sequel to The Power of Supply – the most popular post this blog has ever had.

This isn’t just a trip down memory lane, mind you (but hey, 8 years!). Supply is our signature mechanic, and it has been revamped with an eye to all of the theaters of WWII that we plan to visit this time around.

Granted, you won’t be seeing that much of a supply pinch with the Allies in the base campaign. They usually have generous supply, and only really see supply issues immediately following a naval landing. By the time we reach Russia though (in DLC), I suspect the words “supply disruption” will ring with some dread. You are welcome! Continue reading

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Developer Diary 24 – Beta Test Announced

We’re starting the beta test for UoC II in ten days or so. If you don’t mind spoilers and have a high tolerance for bugs, please apply and help us make it an awesome wargame.

The beta application is open to everybody. We will ask a few questions, and invite a select group of testers based on the replies. Don’t be sad if you’re not invited – the application form is there to weed out the obvious trolls, and apart from that we mostly pick people at random.

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Developer Diary 23 – A Seaborne Invasion

In recent weeks, we put a lot of effort into making sure that seaborne invasions play well in the game. This is important because these air/naval operations were such a feature of the Allied campaign. Counting just the historical ones, there’s six: Torch, Husky, Salerno, Anzio, Normandy, and Dragoon.

Granted, we have decided to start the campaign at Wadi Akarit, after the Torch landings, but that still leaves us with five so… invasions aplenty. Speaking of Torch, the period between it and the allied link-up in Tunisia will now feature in the tutorial, not the main campaign. Sadly this leaves Kasserine Pass outside the campaign, but we’ll try to make it up with a standalone scenario.

We’ve been working on the campaign quite a lot, and since campaign play revolves around HQ upgrades, I feel that it’s time to do a proper Headquarters deep dive. In fact, the bulk of this post will be about HQs and the campaign, but let’s quickly talk about invasions first because there is a screenshot, and it is a-mazing. Continue reading

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