Waterloo 3D Game Dev Feedback

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#1
Hi Everyone!

I'm trying to get feedback from the people that know wargaming the most (you!). We are building a PC game based on the Battle of Waterloo and are seeking feedback on what you would want to see in the game. We have already incorporated authentic Napoleonic tactics and uniforms in addition to having all four battles of 1815.

What features would be important to you?

Check out this first look:

Thanks!

Rebecca
 

Marshal Lannes

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#2
alex1.jpg

( The Duchess of Rrichmond's ball - 15th June 1815 ).........



I would like a " big bowl of mouldy pigs vomit "; or to be exact....an enhanced version of the above game. Better graphic quality. A huge Campaign map and individual battle maps. Losses/casualties from the 16th June - the battles of Quatre-Bras and Ligny to carry over to the 18th June - the battles of Waterloo and Wavre.
Courier battle orders not necessary. Accurate battalion/ regiment unit designations. All Army generals from Corps/Division/ Brigade....for all sides named and present. Good sound of musketry and artillery....marching sounds.....drums........bugles......order shouts/ horses etc. Realistic foliage/trees / different ground types. Blue sky with moving white clouds.....night sky.....17th June grey clouds/rain noise, limited visibility etc. Smoke rendering. Fatige system/ morale system /ammunition resupply system.

Basically - Scourge of War - Waterloo game with the graphics and polish of Creative Assembly's Napoleon/ Total War. That is what I would do....and you would have a huge best-seller with huge profits.

The secret of any game is to have some edge over other games. The Scourge of war game looks terrible but is huge in scale to make up for it.........I know you will not do it.............but take my word....the majority of Napoleonic war-gamers are waiting for Scourge with better graphics..................if you had 1:1 unit scaling........you would have the definitive Napoleonic wargame.

Creative Assembly started off with crappy graphics...more because of the computer capabilities of the time....and created a market by being edgy with cute interface and atmospheric definition............they are now a huge company..............but are stuck in the visual graphic enhancement/ sound model to the detriment of actual war-gaming. You eventually get bored of playing their eye candy and start to wish for more historical play and greater scale pure emphasis on historical battles.....

To defeat Creative Assembly in the Battle of Waterloo - you have to have the edge - which is an enhanced Scourge of War/purist /historical treatment of the Waterloo Campaign. IMHO...................

P.S. You want to avoid cliche copy-writing....

P.P.S. Wellington was a bad general ; he used to hide his armies behind hills and ridges........not sporting or gentlemanly behaviour for the time period.

A Votre servis ..........Marshal Lannes.........:)..........
 
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#3
Monsieur Marechal Lannes !

Thank you so much for your time and input. This is Fred, the chief designer for Waterloo 3D. Evidently you know your Napoleonics. I will post some nitty gritty about the game. And yes, we are aiming for a killer graphics quality + hardcore realism. There will be an RTS option for newbies. We don't want to scare potential Napoleonic gamers away :) But in the "Grognard" mode the game respects period tactics and penalises players that rely on click-fests and swarm tactics.

Lemme post some excerpts from my design notes.
 
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#4
Let me first start with the genesis of Waterloo 3D.
I have been an avid wargamer and a voracious reader. My favourite Napoleonic campaign is the Hundred Days Campaign. So many what-ifs!
Throughout the past 15 years I have played very many Napoleonic wargames and have come away with an ashen taste in my mouth.
i won't name any games in specific but when Chasseurs a Cheval bring down a farmhouse solely with the fire of their pop gun carbines, I knew I had had enough.
My technical background is in mathematical modelling and design of complex systems. I have a fair bit of background in programming and hardware design. I took the plunge and Plus Infinity Studios was born about a year and half ago.
We have a team of 20 programmers, artists, animators, designers and translators working on Waterloo 3D.
From the outset, I have set the following goals for Waterloo 3D:
*Authentic Napoleonic game tactics. The game will reward players who use proper Napoleonic style tactics. I will write a detailed post on this later.
*A solid repertoire of authentic Napoleonic formations : line, column left in front, column right in front, open column, attack column, skirmish line and square.
*Varying difficulty settings so that newbie gamers are not scared away. At the same time no mickey-mouse RTS game mechanics. The AI will never cheat.
*No hex tiles. Gosh, no! A fully 3D camera and a terrain modelled from satellite data of the battlefield (Yes, we removed the Lion Mound in the game.)
*A game that is rendered on a modern AAA quality 3D engine to exhibit the pomp and pageantry of the colourful Napoleonic uniforms. We are using Unreal's UE4 engine with lots of our own custom code.
Unreal's stock engine code is not capable of animating more than a few hundreds of animated skeletal meshes at a time. We developed a custom module called HISC ( Hardware Instanced Skeletal Mesh Code) to animate and move more than thirty thousand units at the same time and still get a decent frame rate after all the graphics settings are maximised.
 
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#5
A bit on the unit classes in this post:
****************************************
We have decided to go with 4 unit classes: Militia, Trained, Veteran and Elite.
Militia are the units that have the bare minimum training.
Trained units have been drilled thoroughly but haven't "seen the elephant yet". Meaning, they have never participated in any field campaign. Some British battalions that have been extensively drilled but not yet blooded belong to this category.
*Veteran units have seen at least 1 campaign and of course could handle formation changes while under fire. Several of the British units and most of the French units will belong to this category.
*Elite units are the truly crack units of the army. The Old Guard, 95th Rifles, 13th Legere etc belong to this category. I am debating whether to include all of Wellington's Peninsular veterans in this category, especially the infantry.
An attack using militia battalions in the teeth of enemy musketry and artillery fire will probably fail miserably. They are best suited for defence, preferably in a sheltered position until the enemy is close by.
Trained units could be used to some extent in set-piece attack if the enemy has been softened previously using artillery fire.
The proper way to break the enemy line is to use either veteran or elite units. All units benefit by good support from artillery.
 
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#6
In the following series of posts I will introduce the basics of combat mechanics for all arms, i.e., infantry, cavalry and artillery. Then I will delve a bit deeper into individual arms in later posts.
*The four vital variables for a unit are morale, stress, fatigue and cohesion.
*If the unit stress exceeds the unit morale at any instant, the unit simply routs.
*Simply put, stress is accumulated by what the enemy is doing to us and morale is increased by what we are doing to support our own unit.
*Units start out with zero stress. Although this could vary in special circumstances. If the unit had lost its leader or a flag or standard in the previous day's battle, it would start out with a non-zero starting stress.
*Units start out with a good bit of starting morale. Naturally, the elite units have the highest starting morale. Veteran units have lower starting morale. Trained units will have lesser starting morale and militia have the lowest starting morale of the four.
*Morale for an unit could be enhanced by several factors : proximity of a high ranking leader, artillery support, good cover for the flanks.
*There is one another way of increasing the morale to fever pitch. That is letting one of the legendary leaders lead from the front. The three legendary leaders are Napoleon, Wellington and Blucher. If they are leading from the front, there is a small but non-zero chance that they could be killed by the enemy. If that happens the battle instantly stops and the whole army routs. That's the chance you take while leading with the legendary leaders.
But Napoleon, Wellington and Blucher all seemed to live a charmed life on the battlefield and as someone said "the hand of Providence was upon them" even when shot and shell were flying thick. Thus the game reflects this.
*Now, coming to the unit stress, this is classified into two categories :
Type A : Proximity stress
Type B : Stress due to casualty pulses.
A) First the proximity stress: The very act of closing with the enemy induces a stress in our unit. This proximity stress gets higher as the range to the enemy keeps shrinking. This models the innate fear factor and reluctance of humans to get in harm's way. Of course elite units will experience lesser proximity stress for a given range compared to say a militia unit, but the proximity stress is there nonetheless.
B) When a unit incurs casualties either due to enemy musketry or cannon fire or melee with an enemy, this casualty impulses within a given quantum of time result in stress impulses that add to the base proximity stress.
Thus total stress = proximity stress + sum( stress spikes due to casualty impulses).
 
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#7
More about infantry combat modes in the game:
*Infantry can adopt four different fighting techniques (both for attack and defence).
1*The first one is pretty obvious. Player battalion engages the enemy with continuous volley fire.
When attacking one can command the player battalion to halt at a predetermined range, say 70 yards, and start volley firing. Or an order for immediate volley firing can also be given.
When defending one can command the player battalion to start firing continuous volleys when the enemy crosses a given threshold range, say 95 yards. Alternatively when defending we could order our bn to start volley firing immediately regardless of the range.
Either way, this could at times be time consuming and might not produce a decisive result. Your ammunition could get exhausted and after much loss of life, the enemy though fatigued, might still be holding his ground because the stress that you have inflicted on him might not be enough to overcome his morale.
2* The second combat mode is more decisive. This is called as SINGLE VOLLEY & CHARGE combat mode.
This is modelled after the famous British tactic of firing a single devastating volley at close range and immediately charging with the bayonet.
This could be used both in attack and defence. It succeeds well when that single volley is delivered at very close range, say at 30 yards.
This technique cannot be used by all the units all the time. There are some checks and balances to prevent all the units using this tactic all the time.
It is called "unordered firing".
I will explain the concept of unordered fire and the probability of unordered fire in the next post.