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 ๐Ÿ˜ข. 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.

Quality of Life

We started development on this update by fixing a potentially huge balancing issue. Turns out, at some point we introduced an error into the code, that effectively clamps the “combat odds number” at 6 (should be 9). In practice, this means that a lot of high odds kill values were clamped at 3 KIA – which is just wrong even if you go as far back as UoC1.

Interestingly, no one noticed! ๐Ÿ˜‚ Partly this must be due to the enemy (germans) having reasonably strong units, so very high odds were bound to be rare anyway. And then, even in attrition-type situations, the defender is more likely to retreat in UoC II, because of the new “cumulative retreat” shift rule.

Either way, we replayed “Victory in the West” extensively upon making the change. To me personally, it feels marginally easier and a bit more fun. Other people on the team agreed, so no special changes were made to the campaign in the end.

On to quality of life changes! In the left (see above, click for full size image) you can see that we’ve added designer notes (1) and army insignia (2) for each of the campaign HQs, and that we now show you a list of HQs (3) when you select a scenario in the campaign screen. Note that all quality of life changes described in this post also apply to base game content.

In the middle, you can see that tooltips appear to the side (4) of menus and sheets. This does not work equally well for all tooltips though, so I enabled it only where I felt it makes sense. You can also see command points on attack icons (5) and HQ selector (6) buttons. That’s a nice little change that will spare you many glances to the HQ sheet down in the lower right.

On the right, you can see that now there are tooltips with full unit stats for enroute units (7). They sure look sweet! I find EXP warnings on deployment (8) even more useful in a practical sense though — if you’re reinforcing your units, they warn you if the next deployment is going to lower ther experience level.

DLC Mechanics and Features

Fixed Fortifications are found in places like the Maginot Line, Eben Emael, Brest etc. They provide a -1/-3 combat shift to defender, depending on whether they are destroyed or intact, respectively. This shift is cumulative (adds up) to the entrenchment shift, so units fortified in fixed fortifications are really hard to flush out.

Army Group and Panzer Group HQs (1): armies are slow moving infantry formations, and you can upgrade their command range during the campaign, but they never go very fast. Panzer groups, on the other hand, have a fixed small range, but they can be upgraded to full 12MP (+3 if on rail) of movement. You want to keep your panzer generals close to the front.

Long-range Transfer (2): German HQs can transfer steps and specialists anywhere within their command range, not only between adjacent units. This changes everything.

Kampfgruppe (3): when sufficiently upgraded, German HQs can deploy security units (kampfgrupen) that also reorg any stragglers found in the deployment hex. Reorgโ€™d straggler steps become active immediately.

Level-3 Force Pool (4): if a German HQ has its force pool upgraded to level-3, it does not spend command points when reorganizing stragglers at the start of the turn. This is a kind of a “technical” update — we decided to represent German HQs at army group-level and not army-level, so there is simply more stragglers around per HQ than what the Allied HQs had. Upgrade at your earliest convenience!

Oversupply (5): provides a unit with additional (mobile) supplies, and is totally super useful if you are planning to thrust recklessly into the enemy rear with half a dozen panzer divisions on a logistical shoestring. Which, you know… you’d never do, right?

Ju 87 Precision Bombing (6): this theater asset will let you blow a bridge, or destroy two trucks in an enemy supply hub. It’s a lot like “sabotage” except you get 3 hits in one scenario, so lord have mercy on your enemies.

Flying Artillery (7): simulates a heavy air attack by massed close air support aircraft (yes, Stukas again). Flying artillery generates high suppression results on the targeted unit and, even more importantly, has a whopping 50% chance of destroying fixed fortifications.

Release When

The update itself (without the new content) is already live in the Testing Branch on Steam. Feel free to hop in, try it out, and be sure to report any errors or crashes.

The beta for the new content starts tomorrow. It will be a quick, closed affair, as we don’t think there’s that much need for testing other than a shakeout and some minor balancing. If you are press and/or a streamer, and we somehow didn’t contact you already, be sure to hit us up: media at unityofcommand dot net.

The release itself is next Thursday (Nov 5) and, as usual, things are a little crazy at 2×2 HQ right now. Encouragement in the comments in encouraged, and questions are welcome as usual. See you all in a week for the release! ๐Ÿ˜Ž

This entry was posted in News. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Developer Diary 27 – The Blitzkrieg DLC Update

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *