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.

The invasion force in the screenshot below is typical for Allied operations of this kind. It has battleships providing naval defensive fire, LCVP landing craft ferrying the units involved in the naval assault, and a plane carrying paratroopers. It should really be a C-47 but we don’t have them in the game yet (can you tell which plane we’re using instead? Also, which bb?)

Mechanically, naval assaults and para drops basically do “what it says on the tin”. Assuming an assault goes well, the unit lands with no MPs and no AP, or with its AP locked if the landing was unopposed. This is consistent with other game mechanics, such as river crossings.

On the following enemy turn, the battleships will be providing naval defensive fire, covering the landing beach hexes. This works out to a -3 artillery (-like) shift against any enemy units attacking our units on the beach.

HQ Command Points

We already mentioned HQs in earlier diaries, and described how they are used for various command and support actions. The actions include everything from bridge repairs to unit reorganization, and performing each one costs some number of command points (CPs).

The number of command points available per turn represents overall commander and staff proficiency of an HQ – there are only so many things an organization can do at once. While coordinating a set piece attack at the front, the HQ can’t also be building fortifications or doing emergency supply runs.

As the campaign game progresses, the number of CPs per turn can be increased. This represents an improvement in HQ staff skill, and happens at times when its units have earned enough xp to merit an upgrade. At that point, the player may choose to increase the number of CPs per turn (overall skill) or to reduce the CP cost of one specific action (specialize).

HQ Branches

HQs are divided into five branches: Force Pool, Intel, Operations, Logistics, and Engineering. Every action belongs to some branch: for example, bridge repair to engineering. Branches are further divided into three levels, not all of which are always unlocked.

In the screenshot, the US II Corps HQ has Level-1 Force Pool, meaning only deploy and reorg actions are available. The higher levels of this branch are locked, and so transfer step and security unit actions are not available to the player.

The player can unlock higher branch levels at conferences, which are breaks in the campaign game that happen once every six months or so. At a conference the player can, among other things, spend prestige to unlock higher levels of HQ branches.

HQ Movement and Range

In the screenshot, you can see that HQ range for the US II Corps equals 10 movement points (MPs) or 3 trucks. The trucks represent transport assets, which are also used in the supply system. Upgrading to add more trucks is possible, but it increases the MPs less and less (5 – 8 – 10 – 11 – 12). This is because increasing HQ range needs to cover an ever larger area.

When an HQ moves, it generally uses the same number of MPs as its range (10 in this case). It then gets 3 more MPs if it moves via uninterrupted rail movement. This is the case for all the HQs we’re actually using in this campaign, but we’ve built some additional flexibility into the system.

Just to give you a taste: one of the possibilities left open for future development is a “mobile” HQ that has a fixed, smaller range, but whose movement is fully upgradeable. This is something we would want to use for a German panzer corps for example, or maybe a late-war Soviet cavalry mechanized group.

In Other News

We released another mini-trailer last week. You can find it on our Steam page: Death from Above – AI and Airpower Trailer. We are doing a lot of work on localization, testing with a small group of languages to make sure the translations don’t break UI layouts etc. There’s a lot of tweaking ongoing (tweakage?), many fixes and generally the game starting to look like the real thing.

The work continues!

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19 Responses to Developer Diary 23 – A Seaborne Invasion

  1. aren berberian says:

    Any particular reason you used HMS Warspite as the image for the navy?

  2. Daniel Mellbin says:

    @Aren

    Battleships are cool. Warspite is the coolest battleship. 😉

    Jokes aside – we decided pretty early on to not go down the boring road of “generic ship model”. This in turn hit us with the task of picking both a model and class of ship.

    We ended up with agreeing on battleships and pretty quickly narrowed in on HMS Warspite since it is arguably the most iconic battleship that took part in the European theater of operations. And it also fired it’s guns in anger in almost all the operations where we use naval support.

    We hope that there will be time for a specific model for the US as well – the current plan is USS Texas. If not it will definetely be added later.

  3. Adam says:

    Plane is B-26 Marauder 🙂 Keep up the good work guys!

  4. Jack says:

    Will the airborne and naval landing functions be available to either side? Obviously the Germans didnt conduct naval invasions on the same scale the Allies did, but will the option still be there when creating scenarios?

  5. Happy Daze says:

    Obviously the manual will require considerable study and thought in order to play well. This does not look like a game one can jump into cold and expect success right away. This is no bad thing IMO. Looking forward eagerly.

    Happy

  6. Nick says:

    Apologies if this question has been answered in other posts; will UoC2 be available for Mac at release?

  7. tom says:

    @Adam, Happy: cheers! 🙂

    @Jack: currently this is not available to the Germans, mostly because we don’t have the graphical assets. We will have to add those later – the Germans invaded Norway and Crete in this way, though as you mention these were smaller scale operations.

    @Nick: You can expect mac support, but possibly not at launch date. We’ll do our best.

  8. MM says:

    any chance of Pacific Theater?

  9. heythere says:

    is it right that that there will be some campaign economy mechanics? judging by the screenshots. some upgrades, sort of tech progress?

    panzer general had, from the first release on, this interesting unit progress system, where you not only could upgrade your units — but more importantly, you were able to get “prototypes” of newest units, if you played perfectly before. of course, this broke the game a bit because the better you played, the more unbalanced the game was after a few battles, but i wonder if you could … spend some $ on unit research, in some way, so that you then get, say, the tiger 1 or sherman earlier than expected? even as a prototype. but in turn you lose something else for it.

    you probably see my point.

  10. tom says:

    @heythere: the idea to give you certain specialists ahead of time was discussed, but is one of those “left on the table”. We keep a list of those on our internal wiki, so maybe its time will come in one of the DLCs.

    For now your campaign game is about keeping your units in shape, evolving your HQs and acquiring certain support options (e.g. air supply). This is where you spend your prestige.

  11. Billy Bob Joe says:

    Will Naval/Airdrops be available by the time the game releases? Could we also get units for the neutral nations? For the editor ofc.

  12. Carter Copeland says:

    And how far south does the map extend? Does it include, per say, Libya and Egypt?

  13. tom says:

    Naval assaults and airdrops are already in the game, and available to use in the scenario editor.

    Neutral nations are not in yet, but it’s possible to create any units you want (as a mod). The easiest way to do it without 3D modeling would be to copy an existing 3D model (e.g. US infantry) and change it to a different uniform color in Photoshop.

    The map does include Libya and Egypt, but those areas are not filled in yet – there is just the coastline and rivers. We will be updating the map as we go along, and also release the map editor (but later! The map editor is quite complex).

    Cheers!

  14. Billy Bob Joe says:

    Sorry, I meant will they be available for Germany by the time of release? That was my question.

  15. tom says:

    Naval/Airdrop mechanics for the Germans? In principle they are available, but there are no 3D models for battleships, infantry landing craft (what would those even be?), or para-carrying planes.

    I suppose you could add these 3D models as a mod. For example, you could add a 3D model of a Ju 52 to drop your Fallschirmjäger. The infantry landing part is highly questionable for the Germans IMO – I don’t recall them ever having anything like the allied LCI or LCVP. Battleships are possible, naturally, take your pick.

    Cheers!

  16. Joseph says:

    Hi I am new to UoC2, my cousin introduced me to it a couple days ago, will you need a bunch of strategy experience to play this game well or are you able to learn as time goes on without needed to buy other games

  17. tom says:

    @Joseph: we are always trying to make the game more accessible. It’s not trivial, and you may need to skim the manual now and then, but generally it should be learn-as-you-go.

    Cheers!

  18. General Brooks says:

    Hi, the release date is announced on Q3 2019, so very little time left (45 days) 🙂
    Will you make it within this time limit or will it be postponed to 4Q?

  19. tom says:

    We’re still good for going into beta in Q3.

    The beta should be short and to the point (like it was for UoC1) so even if we spill over into Q4 it won’t be by a lot. We will announce the dates when we’re more certain of the schedule.

    Cheers!

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