We’re finishing up the Proof of Concept Demo and we wanted to post some screen shots.
We have been going back and forth on the question of: should General Staff have a 2D or 3D battlefield? Arguments can be made on both sides. The key points for 3D are:
- we already are storing all the necessary data (we know the height of every square meter on the battlefield)
- we have topographical maps that we can use for the 3D texture
- being in 3D may increase General Staff‘s popularity
So, after going back and forth on this issue for many months, we finally did some tests (thanks Ed Isenberg!). And here is what the same topographical map looks like utilizing our stored elevation data:
Well, it’s definitely 3D. But, it appears to me, that we’ve lost more than we have gained. The user hasn’t acquired any new information; hills, rivers, ridges and valleys were all quite apparent in the 2D map. We’ve also lost that wonderful historical Kriegsspiel feel of Victoriana typography and cartography. Our 3D display looks like a wrinkled pigskin and not a map that was used by the General Staffs of the great armies of the world. Also, not being in 3D will facilitate porting General Staff to smartphones.
We certainly would like to hear your opinion. But, as things stand now, General Staff will be moving forward in 2D.
The above is a screen capture of the Select Scenario screen from General Staff. We anticipate shipping with about 20-30 scenarios and this is the first. This first scenario is an – obviously – fantasy match-up between Napoleon commanding portions of the Young Guard and U. S. Grant commanding the famous Iron brigade supplemented with an extra artillery battery and two regiments of cavalry.
We anticipate producing three or more scenarios for every map that we create. Most of the maps will be of historical battles from the 19th century and before. Are there particular battles that you would like to see in General Staff? Please drop us a line.
This first scenario was created to test the AI (crossing rivers and defending bridges), taking advantage of hills and the road net.
We are very pleased to show the first actual screen shot from the development of General Staff. This will give you a good idea of what it looks like and how it works. Currently, General Staff is in 2D. We’ve always planned to have it in 3D but, frankly, this looks so great as it is we’re thinking that maybe we’ll just have a 3D view option. Either way, as you can see the elevation display in the lower left hand corner, we have a complete 3D map of the battlefield ‘underneath’ the gorgeous topographical map made by Ed Isenberg. We will use this data for calculating line of sight and movement.
This is what the invisible 3D height map for the same battlefield looks like:
Other interesting gameplay features that are visible in the screenshot: there are certain areas of each battlefield that are worth ‘victory points’. This will help establish the goals for the battle. The most important ‘victory points’, however, are the Red and Blue retreat routes.
We anticipate shipping with about 20 different battles from ancient history to the 19th century.