Developer Diary 22 – Halted at Metz

September 1944. Hitler’s armies are retreating in disorder after their defeat in the Normandy hedgerows. The Allies keep up the chase across France, but General George Patton’s 3rd US Army is beset by supply difficulties. The Germans finally manage to re-establish a defensive line around the heavily fortified medieval city of Metz. According to orders issued by Hitler, fortress commanders are to hold this position at all costs…

Encouraged by good feedback from our previous post, we decided to start on a series of short trailers about our game mechanics, old and new. The story starts with the 3rd Army actions following the long and bloody stalemate at Metz. It is through a series of coincidences that we are again going on about stragglers (sorry!) but I hope the trailer is worth it for everybody. There is also a lengthy development update at the end of the post, as usual. Continue reading

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Developer Diary 21 – En Route to Rouen

August 1944: after months of hard fighting, the Allies are finally out of Normandy. In front of them, the Wehrmacht has all but disintegrated, having stood its ground up until breaking point. Supply is now the biggest concern for the Allies. Taking the large port of Antwerp will allow them to freely operate their vast armies and air forces in the months to come.

Now that the game has been officially announced, I’ve decided to change the post format for this diary a little. Previously, I focused heavily on what we were doing internally. I was giving a lot of technical info, and even airing our own doubts if the project was going to get completed at all. Big thanks to all who’ve had the patience to bear with these “developer confessions”. The new format should be much more player oriented. We will be going through concrete examples of play, the historical context, and how the game mechanics tie everything together. I hope you enjoy it!

If you’ve been reading our previous developer diaries, you’re likely already familiar with some of the key new features in Unity of Command II, like fog of war, HQ intel, and stragglers. Today we’ll show how these new features tie together to form a tight little gameplay loop, that gives an entirely new dimension to the game. Continue reading

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Developer Diary 20 – Unity of Command II Announced

Better believe it! The announcement will go through “proper” PR channels as well, but here goes the blog version. The game is scheduled for release later this year (Q3 2019) and all of the rest you basically already know if you’ve been reading this blog.

The Steam page is currently up [LINK], so go check it out for an actual trailer and a bunch of new screenshots. Because we’re nice indies though, there are no preorders, the only thing you can really do right now is wishlist the game.

So, um… do wishlist the game (hard!), and also tell all your friends. And that’s it, that will do actually. While we’re here though, I’ll do a short development update, so here goes… Continue reading

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Developer Diary 19 – Details, Details

By now, a lot of the people following this diary must be thinking “so anyway, this game is practically done, right?”

I guess it depends on your definition of “practically”. It is certainly playable, there are very few features that are outright missing, and the scenario count is up to around 20-ish. On the other hand, we’re trying to make a game that’s better than merely playable, so expect more diaries from me until we’re judged release-ready.

As an example, the deformed Union Jack (on the left) is not an attempt at cheeky political commentary, it’s actually what we need to do to make the flag readable in its wavy shape. I was not even aware of this process until Goran, our lead artist, showed me how we do this for almost every flag in the game.

It’s a good illustration, I think, of the type of detailing work that we’re doing right now. We take the game to be mechanically solid, and we’re making rule changes only exceptionally. Our current focus is on the (many!) details that make up the flow and feeling of the game. Eventually, the plan is for the final round of scenario and balancing work to be done on a near-finalized, comfortably playable version of the game. Continue reading

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Developer Diary 18 – Trick or Treat

There’s a growing feeling within the team that the game is shaping up into something really special. The mood, as they say, is boisterous (yeah I’m channeling Lieutenant George).

On the other hand, let me quickly also tell you that these special things can be kinda painful, and they sure take a long time to make. It’s a mixed bag tbh.

For this post, I’ve lined up a bunch of updates, but without any sort of a big theme to tie them together. So let’s just, uh… call it a Halloween update, and I hope it’s a treat for you.

History Mode

The history mode (from UoC1) got a bit more involved now that we have Fog of War. As you’d know, FoW restricts your visibility of enemy units and actions while you’re playing. However, once a scenario is finished, you can replay it in history mode and see through the FoW to check out what precisely happened.

This is called the “God Mode” for the moment, though I’m actively looking for a better name (call me).

Another new history mode option is perspective, which can be own, enemy, or changing. Again, this is possible for finished games only. A changing perspective will switch FoW visibility between turns, so that the replay is always viewed from the standpoint of the active player. Combining this with “God Mode” is a blast for hotseat game replays. Continue reading

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Developer Diary 17 – The Double Header

Hi there! Here’s a new post, finally, with two screenshots to make up for the lack of updates over the summer. The game is starting to resemble the real thing more and more, so there is a lot to talk about, even if everything is not 100% done yet.

The first thing that jumps out of the screenshots should be the readability update. I picked a busy situation from the Normandy Breakout scenario (after the jump) to showcase this: note how it now reads better even though we’ve actually increased the clutter by adding city names to the map.

Continue reading

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Developer Diary 16 – Scenarios

We’ve now been able to play full length scenarios for some time. The first batch we’ve created includes Husky, Dragoon, and a tiny Colmar Pocket scenario. The amphibious landings are not yet modeled, but otherwise these battles play well enough. Today I also received an initial version of 1st Monte Cassino from Daniel. Interesting times 🙂

We’re still deep within a break it – fix it cycle, though. Editor tools are there, all the visual game elements are there, and the core loop of the game does work. But every time we add say, a new mechanic, one thing or the other breaks. The shakedown of gameplay code continues, so to speak.

Continue reading

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Developer Diary 15 – Game On!

You can tell from the big screenshot below that all the game elements are in. That means it’s game on… finally.

If you’ve been following this blog thinking “is this thing ever going to happen?” well, perhaps you were not alone. Moving the game to our own 3D engine (written in python!) was difficult and, at times, scary. We’ve completed it though, and I’m happy with the results.

I understand there will be people who take issue with 3D presentation as such. Feel free to unload in the comments 🙂 though obviously we’re way beyond the point of no return now.


Continue reading

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Developer Diary 14 – Fog of War

Playing a full game turn is now within our sights, save for the plus-sized hurdle that has to be dealt with first: enemy unit visibility. The game now features Fog of War, so all the game rules need to be re-checked for visibility. Moves and attacks will obviously change FoW, but there are also new mechanics like air reconnaissance, and HQ abilities play an important role as well.

But even before that, there’s the basic question of who actually sees what.

For example, in the screenshot below, I’m playing as the Allies, and any Axis units in FoW are hidden from me. Once the game ends though, I can watch the replay (history mode) and, in the replay, I do want to see what the opponent was doing behind FoW. So, the FoW overlay is still turned ON in replay, but the enemy units are not hidden any more. Continue reading

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Dev Diary 13 – Front Lines

We’re in that happy place where you put together a bunch of existing, but previously disconnected pieces and they all start working together seamlessly.

We have a front line now. Graphically, this is nothing new, as the front line renders in much the same way as the movement boundary. However, previously, we did not know where the front line was, as we were still working on the game state. So it took us maybe two hours between realization that hey, we can now add this, and seeing it live in the game. I could get used to days like that…

We’ve improved on hills, which were the least readable type of terrain in UoC, and not much better in the new game either. The new version is a big improvement but I’d still bet this is not the last we hear of hills. We’ve also added rail, as the new game makes a distinction between rail, and paved and unpaved roads. Rail is always touchy graphically, as sleepers create an aliasing effect when zoomed out. I think we’re doing a good job but feel free to weigh in. Continue reading

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