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Online Asid

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Armored Brigade Is Officially Announced!
« on: February 25, 2017, 12:23:32 AM »
Armored Brigade Is Officially Announced!

Innovation in wargames is a hard thing to achieve. New ideas are rare and it’s even rarer to find new development studios willing to bring these ideas to life. Nevertheless, once in a while, someone comes along with an innovative concept, a different approach.

Armored Brigade is one of these rare projects that are the best candidates to evolve an entire market.

“Wargaming is one of the longest running genres out there”, says Iain McNeil, Development Director of Matrix Games. “We have been in this market for so long that we know how hard it is to capture a new idea, a new concept and bring it to life. Armored Brigade is definitely a title that aims to keep itself true to the complexities of a traditional wargame, but also tries to enhance the experience with new gameplay ideas. We are very proud to be working with Veitikka Studios on this project and we are looking forwards to helping make this game the success it deserves to be”.

The game uses a real-time engine and focuses on maximising the realism of mechanised warfare during a possible escalation of conflict between NATO and the WARSAW pact countries during the cold war.

Large maps, modelled upon real terrain make each battle a true test of wits. Weather and visibility all play a role and with several munition types, including air to air combat and artillery, no battle will be the same. Exciting and challenging tank warfare only adds to the level of realism.

There are a variety of different nationalities within the game including US, USSR, West and East Germany, UK, Finland and Poland. Everything is modelled to a high level of detail to achieve a truly original game.

But this is just the beginning!

Get more information about Armored Brigade from its official Product Page: http://www.matrixgames.com/products/product.asp?gid=685


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Armored Brigade Developer Interview
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2017, 02:01:45 PM »

Armored Brigade Developer Interview



Juha Kellokoski is the main programmer and game designer of Armored Brigade. Together with his three fellow comrades Sam, Nikola and Dmitriy, they form the team developing the game.
We met Juha and we had the chance to ask him some questions about its latest work.

First off, thank you for answering these questions about upcoming game, Armored Brigade


Matrix. Would you like to tell us what has been the driving force behind its design?

Juha Kellokoski. The starting point was to make a game I like to play. I've combined elements from games that I have enjoyed, including wargames and simulations, and even flavors from outside these genres. I've been an avid gamer since the mid-80's. The original Steel Panthers is perhaps the greatest inspiration, if I had to name just one, but I'm sure that the players of many other PC wargame classics will feel like home when they try Armored Brigade. Also, especially in the earlier days, I did a lot of research about what the players think is missing from other games, and did my best to make sure Armored Brigade won't be lacking in those respects.

M. When it was available for free, Armored Brigade got a strong reputation among wargamers. What is the story behind this incredible project?

J.K. Armored Brigade was actually my first game project. The initial steps were taken as early as 2004 when I decided to do something else than just modding the games of others. I considered different ideas, including a “Roguelike” game concept, but with real graphics. A bit later it evolved into making a Steel Panthers clone, with turn-based gameplay. I think the current real-time concept matured in late 2005, and later the '87 equipment became the data set. Since then it's been expanding and expanding in all directions. Basically, everything has been redone several times, and even now we're ditching old stuff we know can be done better. The first freeware version was made public in March 2008. It was a very sincere effort, like “Hey, I made a game, do you want to try it?” I was fairly ignorant about the “grognard scene” and all that. I started receiving emails from the grognards, (ex-)servicemen and established publishers, saying very positive things about the game, even in its early, crude form. Unfortunately, I wasn't very responsive those days, and even left some of the emails unanswered. Hopefully I've improved from that. Around the same time the discussion forum was opened, and I got feedback and help from the players, and kept developing the game. All of the current team members were “recruited” from the forum. I'm still the only programmer and the project leader. Sam is mainly responsible for the textures, Dmitriy makes the maps and additional artwork and Nikola is building the database. In 2016 I decided to work on this project full-time, to give it all the polish and chrome it deserves. For that purpose, I established my company, Veitikka Studios, and signed a contract with Matrix Games. That's where we're now.

M. How is Armored Brigade different from other Real Time Tactical Wargames?

J.k. I think the uniqueness comes from the combination of detailed combat, and from being able to zoom in and see the tank commanders scanning around and the individual men and casualties, and then zoom out and witness the tactical map that has enough space to cover a full 122mm artillery range. The game is very flexible and supports multiple ways of playing it; in pausable real-time or in custom-length “rounds”. All that comes with a dynamic AI opponent and unlimited replayability. There are features rarely seen in wargames, such as asymmetrically placed objectives (different for both sides), identifying enemy units as hostile before engaging, fake “neutral” units etc. It's a very unique package, never before seen in computer wargaming.

M. I’ve seen some maps and they look fantastic! How have you created them? Are you using real topographical and geographic settings?

J.K. Not many strategy games can boast of their realistic maps (and the number of RTS games with such maps is even smaller), so realistic that you can easily compare the real map and the map in the game. I have not seen such maps of this size yet. These maps are based on real terrain, real elevation and real details, and also, on original military maps of the era: in the game, you'll see roads that are not there today, and learn that some of today's roads did not exist in the 80's. Abandoned factories and railways are in their correct places.
Map creation is done in stages and with the help of several tools: geo-programs, graphic editors and even in-game developer tools. The process of using these tools together is rather difficult, but we hope that in the future we can develop a full-fledged and self-sufficient map creation tool for newcomers.
Our goal was not only to make the units and their behavior as realistic as possible, but also to create terrain as realistic as possible. Forest has different types and densities, there are different types of roads, rivers and lakes, bridges, houses, factories, warehouses, even churches, all with real elevation data, and with support for all seasons of year! Of course, creating maps of such size and detail is extremely resource intensive and requires a lot of effort, but we're doing our best and feel confident about meeting our ambitious goals.

M. The “Cold War turning Hot” situation has always been an intriguing setting. What fascinates you the most about this fictional confrontation?

J.K. Personally, I admit that the main attractiveness of the era, especially the 80's, may come from its nostalgic feeling. Tom Clancy stuff, MicroProse games and so on, especially flight simulations such as Gunship and Stealth Fighter play their role here. I spent countless of hours loading the missions from the Commodore 64 cassettes! One of the aspects I want to simulate in Armored Brigade is the gradual (or sudden) destruction of environment into debris, with burnt forest for miles around. You can turn the map into a “post-nuclear” battlefield by changing a few scenario parameters. I think this important feature has always been missing from “Cold War turned hot” simulations. After all, it's perhaps one of the first things that come up in WW3 nightmares.

M. If you could list three game’s unique and main features, what will you include?

J.K. Even if they perhaps cannot be fully considered as never-before-seen features in wargames, if taken out of the context, I think the combination of huge selection of units and equipment, combined with the ability to pick tactical maps from large master maps, and the dynamic AI opponent make Armored Brigade a unique “sandbox” wargame. That's how I like my wargames, and that was the starting point when the system was designed, even if now the game has much more to offer than just generated skirmishes.

M. Another important element of this game is the AI ‘s responsiveness and adaptability. Could you give us more details on it?

J.K. The AI is fully dynamic, meaning that you can throw in any combination of map, forces and scenario parameters, and the AI is able to handle it. No scenario plays the same way twice. One very interesting feature in the game is the so-called “dummy objectives”, which is a very rare feature in wargames. Just like in the real world, the opposing forces don't always have the same goals. In most wargames, both parties are trying to control the same piece of ground or hexes. So, in Armored Brigade you can have a “dummy objective”, which both sides see in a different location. That makes the AI behavior less predictable. On top of that, such objectives don't even affect scoring. That should make you think twice (or more) before stacking your units to defend one single objective. The AI opponent may not even be coming that way! Overall, the AI is certainly above the average wargame AI level. It can be aggressive and knows how to synchronize the land, air and artillery assets.

M. Most Cold War wargames are set in central Europe for obvious reasons, and Armored Brigade is no exception. Will we see other scenarios?

J.K. One of the master maps and branching campaigns will be set in South-East Finland, which can be seen as a fairly exotic Cold War location by the majority of players. There's at least one desert map planned, but it probably won't feature campaigns. We haven't really reached the phase where we will focus on producing scenarios, so there are still open questions in the air. Nothing prevents the community from making and sharing additional maps and scenarios, because they have a very open and easily editable format. Armored Brigade features a full-blown in-game data editor, making it easy to modify and add factions, units, weapons etc.

M. I guess that designing a wargame like this hasn’t been simple, with so many elements to consider. What has been the most challenge so far? And what, on the contrary, pleased you the most?

J.K. I think from the game design perspective the AI is probably the most challenging aspect. Making it realistic, unpredictable and challenging is a challenge indeed. Unlike in many other wargames, which have a scripted AI, the Armored Brigade AI is fully dynamic, and that brings in its own nuances. For example, I can say that it's almost impossible to make the AI conduct a river crossing in a “realistic, unpredictable and challenging” manner. The game should take into account all the complexities, planning and synchronization at the tactical level that we have in the game, without making it a turkey shoot for the human player. So, because we want the AI to be very good, we need to consider it in other elements that we incorporate into the game. As a basic rule, if the game has a piece of equipment then the AI must know how to use it properly. I don't want it to be like in some other wargames, where you may perhaps have all the equipment in the world, but all the AI can do is to drive them straight into a minefield, without any coordination with other forces.
I think the most pleasing thing has been to see how it all comes together. The game is more than the sum of its parts and has massive depth under the relatively simple user interface. We're working on the branching campaign system, the top-level layer that merges it all into an epic wargaming experience.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2017, 02:47:24 PM by Asid »

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Re: Armored Brigade Is Officially Announced!
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2017, 02:03:09 PM »
Armored Brigade Developer Interview : HERE

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Re: Armored Brigade Is Officially Announced!
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2017, 05:07:27 PM »
Armored Brigade Screenshots


Hello everyone!

It's been a while since we last talked about Armored Brigade, but today we finally have some news about it!

The development is proceeding pretty well, and we're really happy to see that the developers are proud of their game.
This is why today we're here to show you a bunch of screenshots from the game!

Although these screenshots are from an early-development stage of the game and do not represent the finished product, they do show how interesting this game will be when it comes out nonetheless.
We hope you like them and that now you're waiting for Armored Brigade even more!

These new Alpha version screenshots show off elements of the new UI design and the new Finland map


















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Offline Beef

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Re: Armored Brigade Is Officially Announced!
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2017, 06:05:01 PM »
This looks extremely interesting. I will be paying attention to future updates from here on with great interest.

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Re: Armored Brigade Is Officially Announced!
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2017, 07:07:36 PM »
I remember playing this when it was free  :thumbsup

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Re: Armored Brigade Is Officially Announced!
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2017, 12:25:58 AM »
Keeping an eye on this as well.

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Re: Armored Brigade Is Officially Announced!
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2017, 04:55:23 AM »
This game looks pretty good to me. I can't wait to see how it develops. Thanks for the updates!

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Re: Armored Brigade Is Officially Announced!
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2018, 02:11:23 PM »



Hello, my name is Dmitriy Maksimov and I am creating maps and an interface for the game Armored Brigade.
For the past 10 years I have professionally practiced graphic design, illustrations and visualizations in quite a variety of ways, but mostly in the digital sphere.
The task for drawing maps seemed to me extremely interesting and curious, because it affects a huge layer of information design, which is very important and interesting in a wargame.



The genre of strategy has always been a complex genre, but the wargames, I think, bring this genre to the highest level of uniqueness and exactingness.
Their unusualness lies in almost every detail of the game. Fans, and even just wargame-lovers, as a rule are very demanding people - they know many historical nuances, details and subtleties and are able to operate them.
Such a nuance makes huge demands on the game, but at the same time it sets a certain challenge for creating a really interesting product.

READ THE FULL ENTRY HERE


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Re: Armored Brigade Is Officially Announced!
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2018, 03:56:48 PM »
Armored Brigade Screenshots Update



As the development of Armored Brigade is proceeding pretty fast, we would like to publish new screenshots coming from the Alpha version.

A selection of these screenshots has been shown during the War Room Media event we had in Milan a couple of weeks ago, but this is the complete package.

We hope you like them!

















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Re: Armored Brigade Is Officially Announced!
« Reply #11 on: Yesterday at 05:23:08 PM »
Armored Brigade Dev Diary #1 - Artificial Intelligence




The Armored Brigade artificial intelligence (AI) is fully dynamic, which means that it can handle any scenario within the game parameters, without a need for any scripting from the scenario designer. This approach has been the basic foundation of the game. I've always found the procedurally generated game content fascinating, and that can be seen in the design philosophy of Armored Brigade. In Armored Brigade, there's an undefined number of maps, units, environmental conditions, and so on. The system must build a readable representation, process the input and then produce output that creates a credible impression of intelligence that behaves in a realistic, unpredictable and challenging manner. That's quite a challenge indeed. A "chess AI", where you have a finite number of possible states, is out of the question. Even if warfare of this era can be considered symmetric, the highly lethal long range weapon systems and the great variety of units in the game can make the battles very erratic. The general rule is "if you can see it, you can kill it". There are no "front lines", and in the game it's common that a unit can hit another unit from the other side of the map.



In Armored Brigade, there are three mission types: advance, defend and meeting engagement. From the AI perspective, the advance and meeting engagement missions share the same basic characteristics, as the AI is trying to occupy objective locations it doesn't own in the beginning of the scenario. In a meeting engagement the player has the same goal, and both sides are maneuvering their formations, whereas when one side is defending the situation is usually more static. To make the battles less predictable, Armored Brigade features "dummy objectives", that can appear in different locations for both sides. There's never a guarantee that the opposing side will be heading to that exact spot on the map. This way the player is less tempted to stack his units on a single objective, and the AI plan becomes more a mystery.



Obviously, computer software doesn't "see" or process information like we humans do. What we still have is 0 and 1 binaries. Armored Brigade uses a common technique called "influence mapping" to help the AI to construct a representation of the situation. The basic idea is quite close to img processing, and is easy to mimic in img editors. For example, we may have a game map and we want to know which areas are dangerous. We know locations of a few enemy units, and consider them to be dangerous, so we want to keep distance to them. If it was an img, we could mark the area around each enemy with the red color. When we combine the dangerous areas in a 2D grid we get an easy-to-read input data for the AI to use. If in one location we have several enemies and their zones of influence overlap, we can see that this area is especially dangerous and should be avoided. The pathfinding algorithm can find the safest route around them, because we know (or think we know) which areas are perfectly safe, which ones are somewhat dangerous and which ones are the most dangerous areas. This is just a simple example, but this method allows us to combine a large amount of varied data. In Armored Brigade, if we want the AI to find a valley with closed terrain, e.g. forest, then we read the terrain elevation data and combine it with the terrain cover and concealment data. We can identify high trafficability zones, open or closed terrain, forward or reverse slopes etc. The AI finds the best approaches to the objectives and the spots where it can ambush the player.

When the AI is advancing, it organizes most of its units into "main efforts". They are sort of task forces that consist of different types of platoons, companies and sections. For example, such a group could have a mechanized infantry platoon, tank platoon, HQ, anti-air section and mortar section. The AI tries to distribute its assets evenly between the groups. One important element is the scenario "force type" setting. The available options are 'armored', 'mechanized' and 'infantry'. These function as behavior templates for the AI. If the force type is 'infantry' then infantry units usually lead and tanks follow, supporting the advance. The infantry advances dismounted, even if they have transports available. This is very important for the scenario designer to consider. The infantry force favors closed and covered terrain. The other force types, 'armored' and 'mechanized', favor open terrain. Low elevation is generally considered good when advancing towards the objectives, even if it's common for water obstacles to be located in depressions. The main efforts advance in an organized and synchronized manner. When they meet bottlenecks, such as water and bridges, the AI knows to change the formation shape so it's easier to pass them.



Most of the assets that are not included in the main efforts are assigned to "supporting efforts". They operate in a more autonomous way and flank or distract the player. They may be able to draw the player's attention from where the main efforts are coming. After capturing an objective, the AI may assign a formation to guard it against counterattacks. All units don't move even when the AI is advancing; for example the static anti-air and mortar units. This must be considered so that they're not easily detected by the player. Such units may be placed to a distance from the player, behind hills or hidden in covered terrain.

When defending, the AI conducts defence in depth. Terrain elevation plays an important role. The AI uses influence mapping to determine forward slopes and reverse slopes. Reverse slope defence is a common and very effective tactic, because when you cross a hill you may be spotted from far away, and if you try to go around the hill then you expose your weaker side armor. The AI recognizes closed terrain and open terrain and estimates which spots suit the different units best. It can be the best to place anti-tank units in closed terrain. The AI can conduct ambushes by letting the player come close and then opening fire simultaneously with all units in the formation. Recon, tank, anti-air and other units can benefit from having plenty of open space around them. When the player captures an objective, the AI may counterattack.



The AI can use mechanized recon units to scout the player rear areas. Even when defending, the AI conducts counter-recon to harass the player's recon units and forward detachments, and to locate hidden units as targets for artillery and close air support aircraft.

The AI synchronizes artillery smoke with the main efforts. In addition to using vehicle smoke generators to cover the advance, the artillery is used to create smoke screens. At night the AI uses illumination flares, and can concentrate them where muzzle flashes are detected. The flashes are easy to detect in low light conditions and can be seen from long distances. In some cases the AI can try to disturb obstacle breaching with artillery strikes and even to close the breach with artillery mines.

There's a 'developer mode' available for the scenario designers who want to test how the dynamic AI behaves. When the mode is enabled the designer can see all the AI units and main effort paths. An Armored Brigade scenario never plays the same twice, and this may be a challenge for the designer.


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