Anniversary Post

Still early days

Still early days

Unity of Command is now 3 years old.

The years went by rather quickly. I remember pushing the button to go live at precisely midnight three years ago. Well, not precisely as we ended up being a few minutes late while some people were already banging on the doors (as documented for posterity on the release day thread on our forum).

Then, a little later, I remember getting the “we’d love to offer your game on Steam” email on a Saturday morning and thinking if it’s April Fools already. This was back in the bad old days when just getting on Steam was a big deal for indies. Turns out they weren’t kidding, someone there was actually sending out these emails on what was a Friday night in Seattle, bless them!

I get an enormous buzz that thousands of people really dig this game. Whether it’s a post I find in some forum, or if I bump into some players in real life, it never gets old. That’s why, after Black Turn, we just turned around and started working on a new one. It was never in question.

Emotional Progress Report

We’ve been working on our new game for quite some time now, and while I’m not ready to do a proper media announcement just yet, I can blog about our progress for anyone who’s sufficiently interested to drop by.

Don’t get too invested in the graphic to your right. I put it there so you know this thing is not entirely vaporware. There will be quite a few of these progress report posts before you can get your hands on anything playable though.

We are adding significantly to the game’s repertoire of mechanics, while hopefully not overcooking it. This will enable us to represent things like amphibious landings, para drops, intelligence effects, some naval action etc. The new system should be more versatile, so we could represent much more of WWII in it, and not just the maneuver-rich campaigns on the Eastern Front.

The campaign system is very much in flux right now. It’s possibly the weakest part of the original game, so I feel like we need to offer something awesome this time around. There’s no shortage of ideas, it’s more of a question of “which concept is right” for the game. I’ll be sure to post about campaign/metagame issues a lot in these progress updates.

Currently my main focus is on making the graphics engine work. We’re not doing ourselves any favors by writing the engine from scratch in OpenGL/SDL2/python, but that’s how we did it the last time around so why change now. Note that this means progress reports might be heavy on graphics programming lingo for some time. Consider yourself warned/invited as appropriate.

I’ll try to post at least monthly. Feel free to yell at me if I’m being lazy.

Thanks again for all of your support so far. Cheers!

 

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14 Responses to Anniversary Post

  1. Gregg says:

    It’s nice to hear that things are going well and moving forward. You guys have put together a really nice game; looking forward to the next step. ~

  2. Daniel says:

    Time does fly! I still enjoy UoC – something VERY few games can boast three years down the line. I’m sure I’ve clocked 500 hrs and probably in excess of 1.000 if I add fiddling with scenarios. Happy anniversary!

  3. Jeff says:

    You really put together a great game system and looking forward to purchasing more of “Unity Of Command” games. Best,Jeff

  4. tom says:

    Thanks for the kudos and the good wishes folks. Cheers!

  5. Richard says:

    Congrats on your 3rd year!

    I like what I see with the photo above… anything in that vein will be nice, so that the terrain will be more visually obvious. The next challenge will be to have the terrain or objects within the Hex still visible despite/when units are inside said Hex. Well then again, maybe having avatars with markings or objects beside them to indicate their specializations might be more important?

    Keep up the good work.

  6. Patrick says:

    Hi,
    I’d like to congratulate you on your 3rd anniversary. UoC is a great game and I’m a big fan. Of, course I hope to see more stuff from you in the future and the news of you guys already working on a new game is quite exciting.
    I’m also a bit worried, though, when looking at the picture you posted above. I understand that it is just a glimpse at a very early stage, but, and I’m very sorry to have to say this, I’m not quite sure if it is really going into the direction I hope it will.
    A big part of what makes UoC that great a game is – besides being accessible and yet complex at the same time – the minimalist and stylish feel of its isometric graphics. This is certainly not a weakpoint that needs to be improved or even removed altogether but in fact an important asset that gives the game its unique character and distinguishes it from many other far more graphically overloaded games out there.
    Honestly, I would be quite satisfied if you just made the campaigns a bit more flexible (i.e. being able to play multiple campaigns at the same time; maybe being able to replay past missions without losing your later progress in other campaign branches, etc.), introduced other theaters of the war (maybe the Western Front or Africa?), added some new units and factions and maybe polished up the existing graphics some more while – and this is key – preserving the game’s original look and feel. But I don’t really think that there is any need for vamping up the game by introducing flashy 3D graphics. Maybe I’m a bit too conservative here and maybe I also read too much into the screenshot above. If this is the case, then please excuse my unfounded criticism. But I just felt I should share these thoughts with you here.
    To close on a more positive note, however, I’d like to add that I’m really excited about your plans of introducing naval warfare and paratroopers etc. This really sounds very promising and I’m quite sure, that it would be a great addition to the game.
    So thanks for all your good work and keep it up! I’m really looking forward to more news from your new project.

    Best regards,
    Patrick

  7. Alex says:

    Congrats and all the best, gents! I deeply wish for a continuous campaign, where the results of one scenario inform the start of the next and the challenge of having to be concerned with my own losses. Make me care about my pixeltroopen, please 🙂

  8. tom says:

    Thanks again for the support and good wishes.

    re: 3D, it’s a natural progression from where we are now. I don’t think we should be afraid of trying new things. Again, you really shouldn’t read too much into that particular graphic other than “hey, this is actually a thing”.

    Cheers!

  9. spillblood says:

    Looking forward to the next game. I think 3D is a good choice if you do it detailed enough and keep the style of the previous game, because it will probably remove the serious problems with scaling and different screen resolutions that could occur in the original game (because fullscreen was locked to the desktop resolution, and scaling could only be controlled by complicated fiddling with configuration files).

  10. Sourdust says:

    Oh no, another great 2D game goes to awful 3D! Kidding a bit, but I really have to agree with Patrick that a clear and minimalist visual style was for me one of the great draws of UoC.

    In my opinion, 3D usually doesn’t work well for strategic wargames, either functionally or from an immersion viewpoint. UoC felt like you were playing on a map such a general might have sprawled out before him in a command centre. A modern overdone 3D map really removes that and gets in the way of immersion.

    When Civilization went from nice 2D in Civ II to 3D in Civ III, I stopped playing it, and I never even purchased Civ IV or V.

    When Europa Universalis went from stunning 2D in EU2 to visual diarrhea in EU3 and 4, I still play … but it’s far less immersive.

    Another great game series is Shenandoah Studio’s Crisis in Command series, which has absolutely fantastic and very crisp and informative 2D maps.

    Seriously, don’t scrap one of your games’ greatest strengths just because you think 3D is somehow a “natural” progression, or because everybody else is doing it, or just to try something new for its own sake!

    OK, enough ranting. I think I’ll go play some Black Turn…

  11. Mike H says:

    Tom,

    I think your UoC game has introduced many to wargaming, and you have done the hobby a great favor.

    I have played these sorts of games since the SSI days on my Apple II, but UoC has a very special place in my mind. The elegance of the design, with the focus on opening and maintaining supply, is what has set this apart for me.

    My suggestion would be NOT to add too many new features, but work on a campaign system, maybe with unit carryover, and keep the relatively simply mechanics.

    Thanks for keep us entertained.

  12. Conrad S says:

    The only two simulations that I play (indulge according to my wife) are Civ and UOC. It would be great if UOC gave you the Civ option of intelligence and home front production choices.

  13. CC1 says:

    I agree with the comments above suggesting that going 3D would not add anything significant. In fact, it would, in my opinion, be a step backward and would certainly not appeal to me.

    The game, with the exception of the bobble head sprites, is a brilliantly crafted breath of fresh air when it comes to an innovative 2D look, and for this reason, appeals to a very broad range of wargamers including old school grognards looking for something new.

    If you want to change the look of the game, then please change the bobble head sprites to a group of soldiers (like in CEAW, or other similar games). The tank sprites are great so no need to change those.

    Any plans to do a West front version? That would be particularly awesome!!!

  14. Melvin says:

    How’s it going with the game?

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