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Sim/Strategy/War => Games Discussion => Topic started by: Asid on May 01, 2017, 05:52:28 PM

Title: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on May 01, 2017, 05:52:28 PM
(http://www.grandtactician.com/index_htm_files/298.png)
(http://www.grandtactician.com/index_htm_files/528.jpg)



Grand Tactician is a strategy game series about 17-19th century line warfare, with focus on the operational art of war, or “Grand Tactics”, as described by Jomini. Prepare your nation for war, plan cunning maneuvers, defeat your enemies in the field of battle, and become one of the greatest Grand Tacticians in history!

This is from the folks behind  "The Seven Years War". (http://thesevenyearswar.com/)

A new custom built engine will be used


Website: HERE (http://www.grandtactician.com/index.htm)
Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on May 01, 2017, 06:35:29 PM
This is the first place to release the news  :thumbsup
Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Raied on May 01, 2017, 06:44:52 PM
Thanks Asid, will definitely keep an eye on this.
Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on July 02, 2017, 03:33:46 PM
Grand Tactician News
Here's the latest news about The Seven Years War successor, Grand Tactician. We'll keep TSYW players informed this way until Grand Tactician has its own forums! Feel free to comment and have conversation about the successor here.

June 6th 2017:
Oliver, in latest developer's blog entry, talks about the change in engines, from Blitz3D in TSYW to Unity. This will allow better stability and visual quality, as well as DX11 and 12 support, with proper support as the engine is also developed. Also check out the first screenshots, and make a quick comparison with TSYW...
http://www.grandtactician.com/blog2.htm

July 1st 2017:
Introducing Peter Lebek, Grand Tactician team artist. He is working hard to create the visual look for the user interface. Check out the latest developer's blog at:
http://www.grandtactician.com/blog3.htm
Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on October 05, 2017, 01:53:00 AM
First Grand Tactician features revealed
1 OCTOBER   - ZIPULI

(http://downloads.thesevenyearswar.com/Images/Logo_2b.png)

Work on the Successor to The Seven Years War (1756-1763), Grand Tactician, has progressed far enough to let us start revealing some of the features the game will offer. We have been focusing on the battle layer for now, improving on the design of The Seven Years War's battles in many ways.

Although all these features are universal for 17th - 19th century battle simulation, we are also getting closer to revealing the historical setting of the first title. Grand Tactician will feature, among other things:

- hundreds of units per battle, forming up armies of historical size and composition
- possibility for duration of multiple days per battle
- pre-battle deployment phase as well as redeploying and resupplying after each day, according to dynamically calculated deployment zones
- seasons and dynamic weather that can now change even during a battle
- reinforcements and supplies that move in to the battle via entry points, that can be captured
- battlefield engineering: not only barricades, but also buildable trenches, abattis, pontoon bridges...
- buildings that can be captured to provide cover to your infantry, but also destroyed
- automatic cover placement system for units: units will find and use available cover like walls, fences, creeks, road banks, etc. as well as hilltops

(http://downloads.thesevenyearswar.com/Images/IMG3.png)
A pontoon bridge built by engineers

(http://downloads.thesevenyearswar.com/Images/IMG1.png)
The buildings can be occupied, but also destroyed

(http://downloads.thesevenyearswar.com/Images/IMG2.png)
Units automatically recognize and use cover, like the fence here

Also with the change in game engines, we are able to create better visual look for the new game when compared to The Seven Years War (as can be seen in the above pre-alpha screenshots), along with better stability and compatibility.

More information and features can be found at Grand Tactician homepage, at the developer's blog we have been updating on a monthly basis:
http://www.grandtactician.com/devblog.htm

Follow Grand Tactician on Facebook or Twitter:
https://www.facebook.com/GrandTactician/
https://twitter.com/Grand_Tactician

Sincerely,

Oliver Keppelmüller and Ilja Varha
Grand Tactician -team

Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on October 14, 2017, 08:51:23 PM
Developer’s blog
”Why Are They Not Moving?” 15th October 2017 by Ilja Varha


(http://www.grandtactician.com/index_htm_files/861.jpg)
Image: A French Chasseur playing bugle, late 19th century.

Getting an army of tens of thousands of men moving was not a small feat, but to coordinate the movement in battle was even harder. When artillery fire booms and lines of troops unload their muskets in massed volleys, shouts of the commanders disappear in the noise. Distance also created a problem, as large armies deployed to battle, not all troops could be observed by the commander.

Back then, the most important communication systems were musical instruments and couriers, riding in the midst of the battle, delivering messages. Getting the troops moving could involve very long delays, from the commander giving the order, to the troops to start marching. And when they do move out, situation could have changed already! In Grand Tactician, the player will need to consider these problems, as he commands his troops in the field of battle



Read on (http://www.grandtactician.com/blog6.htm)
Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on February 08, 2018, 04:55:58 PM
First Annual Report 25th November 2017 by Oliver Keppelmüller

A year has passed since this project went from an idea to reality. Reading a bookshelf of historical data and research on the subject has been transformed, so far, into roughly 20,000 lines of code, and into game play features and development tools. While our core team of three is working on the main game play topics, a group of talented artists and history enthusiasts are helping us bring the era to life.



FIRST YEAR OF THE CAMPAIGN

A year has passed since we took the first steps in our new project, "Grand Tactician". During many sleepless nights and days, where the left hand was babysitting while the right one was coding, we managed to finish approximately 2/3rds of the battle engine, including some of most time consuming topics of the game, such as: Terrain generation, formations, moving functions with pathfinding, the sound engine and first unit animations. Not forgetting historical research that goes with all of this. Also a few really nice "additional features" have been added, with some more are on the to-do -list. But more on that later!

Currently we are very busy creating the UI for battles before moving on to the last battle topics: unit interactions, fog of war, AI and statistics. And in the background, we are also creating the battlefields to fight on. So far our aim has been a very high level of historical accuracy and behavior, while also taking care that the game play will not be boring - as can easily happen with a deep, complex strategy title. Speaking of historical accuracy, have you ever seen the weight of powder charge play an actual role in a strategy game?

We plan to finish the battle part no later than Q3 2018, after which we are already keen on implementing the first campaign related concepts. So while battle related functions and topics have been discussed in these developer’s blogs, the campaign layer will be the main focus in our game, and that’s where we think we will make the game shine.

In addition to the core team of three working on the game play and functions, with Peter now officially part of the main line, we are happy to be working together with a talented lineup of artists and history enthusiasts. Their work includes historically researched art all the way from fonts to fifes and map graphics to battlefield signals, not forgetting 3D models or historically inspired soundtrack - recorded live!

So the project is advancing nicely, and if all goes well, we will be able to introduce the historical era of the first game of our series during Q1-2 next year.

The Grand Tactician team wants to thank you for your support so far and wishes you pleasant holidays! We will keep on working through December, and will return with more news from the front in January 2018. Stay tuned!

Oliver


(http://www.grandtactician.com/index_htm_files/956.jpg)
Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on February 08, 2018, 05:01:46 PM
A Battlefield is Born 27th January 2018 by Ilja Varha

In Grand Tactician, you will be fighting your enemy in large, historical battlefields, up to some 13 x 13 kilometers in size. The battles can rage for multiple days, with fortunes changing as objectives are taken or lost and reinforcements rushed in. Same historical battle maps will also be used in the campaign game. Here’s a quick story of how the battlefields are created, and what features they will have.


ROAD TO A BATTLEFIELD

With the game’s battlefield features finalized, and editor tools ready, work on the battlefield maps has begun. While Oliver is busy finalizing the battle UI and coding core battle elements like morale-system, and Peter giving the final touches to unit sprites, I am producing the battlefields. The work begins with research. Sounds easy enough, but can be challenging.

First of all, there are the historical maps used by the commanding generals or drawn right after the battle. These usually highlight the important features of the battlefield, but are not very accurate. The scale varies, and there is no measured topography to speak of. And sometimes they are missing features the drawers did not know about at the time.

(http://www.grandtactician.com/index_htm_files/1067.jpg)  (http://www.grandtactician.com/index_htm_files/1066.jpg)

Maps portray important information for the commander. While the left map could be sufficient for ordering large bodies of troops (or not), its topography and scale are rarely even satisfactory. The right map could be more accurate, but spans less than 50% of the battlefield in question.

Modern day maps are openly available online, but most of the historical battle locations have changed dramatically over time: forests have been cut, cities expand, rivers are diverted, terraforming in general. And many old roads, used by the troops in the battle, have ceased to exist long ago. So the battlefields have changed. Some battlefields have been thoroughly researched, some not so. Though there are some gold mines like maps from early 20th century, where topographic measurement was already quite accurate, and countryside had not yet changed dramatically.

From all these sources I create a reference map, draw a height map, and then so called alpha map, that I use for drawing the terrain itself on the 3D terrain.

(http://www.grandtactician.com/index_htm_files/1068.jpg)  (http://www.grandtactician.com/index_htm_files/1069.jpg)

Drawing the contours to produce a heightmap, from which the battlefield’s 3D terrain is created from. After importing, it will be further refined by hand where needed.   

When the detailed alpha map is laid on the 3D terrain, the terrain types can be painted over it. Terrain types contain values like slowing down troop movement or cover provided. The terrain is then populated with trees, brush, bushes… These will change appearance according to season. Water is added, and by default cannot be crossed. For this purpose bridges and fords are added, and in-game also pontoon bridges can be built on suitable locations.

After the terrain is painted, roads, smaller streams, fences, are added. These elements contain information like cover values, and navigation costs for pathfinding, and most of them can be used for automatic placement of troops during game. Troops will follow roads in march columns for best speed and for example stone walls provide obstacle for artillery.

(http://www.grandtactician.com/index_htm_files/1070.jpg)  (http://www.grandtactician.com/index_htm_files/1071.jpg)

Painting the terrain types in 3D editor, using an alpha map (left), and then drawing the active battlefield elements, like the small stream here. The stream will slow troops down, but will also provide some natural cover if defensive line is placed there.

When the elements are placed, the map will start to look like a web - or a maze which will provide realistic challenges and opportunities for the opposing armies. Taking advantage of the terrain can provide crucial, as for example sunken roads are like natural trenches for a defender to anchor his line in, and narrow terrain will channel movement of even a numerically superior force.

Last thing is to add entry points and objectives on the map. Entry points allow reinforcements joining the battlefield according to maneuvres on campaign layer of the game, but can also be blocked by opposing troops. Objectives are placed on commanding features of the map, and these will be fought over by the opposing armies in order to control the field. In historical battles, the maps will also feature fixed entrenchments. But in campaign game these need to be planned and built by the armies.

(http://www.grandtactician.com/index_htm_files/1072.jpg)

And after that, the map is ready to be added in the game! Some balancing needs to be made later on, especially in the amount of trees and undergrowth, so the battlefield will not be a memory hoarder.

…but now back to drawing, as there’s a bunch of maps that need to be done!

Ilja
Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on February 13, 2018, 02:51:33 PM
Getting Organized 13th February 2018 by Ilja Varha

Military organization structure and hierarchy play as big a role in Grand Tactician as it does in real battles. We are building the user interface and available orders so, that the player can utilize some of the same tools that were available for historical grand tacticians.


THERE MUST BE ORDER

Maneuvering huge armies in the battlefield in an orderly fashion requires military organization and hierarchy. Grand Tactician armies are not just a collection of units, but they are built into organization structure, forming an order of battle. If you are familiar with Oliver’s previous game The Seven Years War (1756-1763), you know the drill, but there are a number of improvements.

The order of battle is built so, that it can be used in any conflict of the period, covering command levels from company/battery up to an army. These levels can then be utilized as needed, or later locked from use or added to be opened via a technology in the campaign layer. Unlike in 7YW, the organization is not set in stone and number of units in each command level is not restricted.

In the GUI we’ve been working on, we’ve added tools to visualize, browse and quickly navigate the order of battle.

NOTE: all images in this blog are pre-alpha containing placeholder art, and as such are subject to change

Image:
In the bottom orders panel you can open the order of battle (OOB) window, and here you see the whole organization available for the battle. The units and command levels are shown using NATO symbols.

For this blog, I mustered a tiny French (why French? No reason…) army for myself, consisting of 2 divisions with their own units, and one artillery battalion directly under my command.

In game, if I want to order the artillery battalion, the orders come from the army HQ. The artillery battery on the other hand gets its orders from the commander of 2nd division.

(http://www.grandtactician.com/index_htm_files/1187.jpg)

This hierarchy is used when giving orders. So if a player selects the army commander, the order given applies to all (attached) units under him. The order must first flow through the command structure, from commander to commander, with the appropriate order delay. For quicker movement, player can use historical formations where each unit has its pre-defined position, so amount of needed orders remains minimal.

(http://www.grandtactician.com/index_htm_files/1188.jpg)

Image: Here my tiny French army is selected. With command/control -information shown, you can see the HQs with NATO symbols, and the blue lines connecting my HQ to the 2 division HQs and the artillery battalion on the left. Here I am about to order the army, currently in single line formation, to refuse a flank. This will automatically curve the flank to prevent it from being easily turned.

NOTE: all images in this blog are pre-alpha containing placeholder art, such as the sprites. Peter is soon ready with the proper ones.

During a battle player can manipulate the order of battle by detaching, attaching and coordinating. Detached units work independently from their parent organization. So a detached brigade will not move, when the parent division is ordered forward. Detaching can be useful at times, but the organizations function better when held together, thanks to morale system and order delays. For example if a commander orders division of 5 brigades forward, the order will be followed faster, than if the division commander gives 5 separate orders to each brigade to move out: it takes time to write the orders, or play the signals. If a unit is outside the commander’s reach (command radius), it is automatically considered detached - and in this case couriers will need some time to find the unit to deliver messages, meaning yet more delay.

Attaching orders a unit or a command level to be put under command of different officer than organically. This flexibility comes with a price, as the commanders in question will not be completely familiar with each other. The attached unit will receive its orders from the new commander.

Unlike attaching, coordination does not change the command structure. Coordination can be used to tell commanders to place their command according to position of another unit. For example player can order a division to follow another division, or move on its right - after that the commander in question will move accordingly without extra orders. Coordinating big units is challenging though, and can end up in loss of cohesion, like was the case many times in reality.

(http://www.grandtactician.com/index_htm_files/1189.jpg)

(http://www.grandtactician.com/index_htm_files/1190.jpg)

Image: an example of coordination. I order 1st Brigade to detach skirmishers. By default, the skirmish line will coordinate with the parent brigade, shown with the “link” line. If the brigade moves, the skirmishers will maintain their position in front without any commands from the player. With the skirmishers selected, moving cursor over 1st Brigade gives option to break this “link” quickly by right-click.

NOTE: all images in this blog are pre-alpha containing placeholder art, and as such are subject to change.

The organization system we have implemented is aimed to make things realistic, in combination with the order delays. Larger the unit, the longer it takes for orders to travel to all units within. Smaller organizations are more dynamic, but of course lack the punch of larger ones. And then the player will face the problem with commanders: maybe there are not enough experienced commanders available, who could run these organizations effectively? We will discuss commanders in more detail in a future devblog!

Ilja
Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Zipuli on May 04, 2018, 03:37:12 PM
Hi Dogs of War!

Thank you for sharing information about our game project, Grand Tactician. This time I beat Asid in speed 😉

We are happy to announce that the first Grand Tactician -title will be called The Civil War (1861-1865)! We got a small announcement trailer up at youtube: https://youtu.be/lFjOn1R1Vk8
...and also reworked our website at: www.grandtactician.com

With the announcement also a new devblog platform was opened, along with a new blog about commanders: http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/blog/articles/the-grand-tacticians

Hope you like it!

Cheers,
Zip
Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on May 04, 2018, 04:00:14 PM


This time I beat Asid in speed 😉

 :sifone

This is great news and I look forward to the project release.

Thanks for posting Zipuli  :thumbsup
Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Rinix on May 04, 2018, 04:35:55 PM
It looks interesting, thanks for posting. :)
Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on May 04, 2018, 10:06:32 PM
(https://steamuserimages-a.akamaihd.net/ugc/936063905741260714/F920B40A19077C4A0DFEA6C0220A50B6BEAB51EA/)

(https://steamuserimages-a.akamaihd.net/ugc/936063905741213027/52CF476294C253581E26AC0E4069FC0E236BCECC/)

(https://steamuserimages-a.akamaihd.net/ugc/936063905741232095/340660A369CF0FD6CAEAB39D7CFF4CB7325C7261/)

(https://steamuserimages-a.akamaihd.net/ugc/936063905741242549/A74A268C69475B0BDA154B25ED44BE3952B22054/)

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/blog/images/5.jpg)
Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on June 16, 2018, 03:13:59 PM
(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/contentimg/juliste.png)



(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/contentimg/Grand_Telegraph_Company.png)

Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on July 22, 2018, 12:29:53 PM
Pre-Alpha Game Play: Bull Run


https://youtu.be/FeT-TYziqn8



Published on Jul 21, 2018

The 1st game play video of Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865), showing the battle interface and how to command troops in the game's battle fields. Playing the (1st) Battle of Bull Run as the Union.

A pre-alpha development build is used, and everything shown in the video is subject to changes and improvements.
Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on July 27, 2018, 05:03:00 PM
Steam page live


(https://steamcdn-a.akamaihd.net/steam/apps/654890/header.jpg?t=1532499008)

The American Civil War has erupted! On both sides, Grand Tacticians needed to take command of the opposing armies and to lead them to victory. Prepare your nation for war, plan cunning maneuvers, defeat your enemies in the field of battle, and become one of the greatest Grand Tacticians in history!


Homepage: Here (http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/)
Official forum: Here (https://steamcommunity.com/app/654890/discussions/)
Steam: Here (https://store.steampowered.com/app/654890/Grand_Tactician_The_Civil_War_18611865/)
YouTube: Here (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCInZ2dBg25tUrRYFuBWNODg)


Single-player


Announcement Trailer


https://youtu.be/lFjOn1R1Vk8

Published on May 3, 2018



About

Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865) is a real time strategy game combining a strategic campaign with tactical battle game play. Run your nation, muster, manage and support great armies, and maneuver them to defeat the enemy. Once the opposing armies meet, command your troops to victory in battles fought on historical battlefields.


Features:

•   Choose your side in the American Civil War: Real-time campaign, spanning from Secession to the end of the war, with historical objectives for both sides.
•   Change history: What if European superpowers intervened to end the war, or Lincoln lost the presidential election of 1864?
•   Scott’s Great Snake: Lay siege, raid and blockade your enemy on land and sea or use blockade runners to keep the life-lines to Europe open.
•   From Fort Sumter to Appomattox: Watch closely the morale of your citizens and troops. As the war drags on, fervor turns to fatigue, the treasury threatens to run dry, and measures like drafting will cause unrest.
•   Keep the armies marching: Build and manage the flow of supplies to your armies. Utilize and expand railroad lines to supply and move armies for the first time in history!
•   Pivotal battles: Fight battles lasting multiple days on historical battlefields. Use engineers to build pontoons and dig trenches, see reinforcements change the tide and commit your reserves to defeat the enemy.
•   Grant vs. Lee: Manage hundreds of historical commanders with personal attributes and specialization. Famous commanders inspire soldiers and citizens alike and loss of reputation can be irreparable.
•   Command Great Armies: Huge armies of infantry, cavalry and artillery, with realistic command structures and historical Order of Battle.
•   Bring the Civil War to life: Amazing Civil War re-enactment and combat footage from LionHeart FilmWorks, and an original soundtrack of old time music and drum and fife band.


(https://steamcdn-a.akamaihd.net/steam/apps/654890/ss_b98dd93233fe7c3775a8dc43e139d2340169da48.1920x1080.jpg?t=1532499008)

(https://steamcdn-a.akamaihd.net/steam/apps/654890/ss_f07970d4d6a21c389708370d6e75453abb246506.1920x1080.jpg?t=1532499008)

(https://steamcdn-a.akamaihd.net/steam/apps/654890/ss_43dcec7e3d0e5b2fe235bd867eaa210f77076ca9.1920x1080.jpg?t=1532499008)

(https://steamcdn-a.akamaihd.net/steam/apps/654890/ss_5532655ccbecd0c1d928170487c59a9161536e89.1920x1080.jpg?t=1532499008)

(https://steamcdn-a.akamaihd.net/steam/apps/654890/ss_2eeb44ed783b83d809410380f6fcbe3398624a46.1920x1080.jpg?t=1532499008)

(https://steamcdn-a.akamaihd.net/steam/apps/654890/ss_a26c6d142682e85a59735c9524f047aad4277a39.1920x1080.jpg?t=1532499008)
Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on July 27, 2018, 05:04:42 PM
Making of Grand Tactician: The Bugle


https://youtu.be/8z0Ds_id1ro

Published on Jul 27, 2018



In the first Making of Grand Tactician -video, Alan Tolbert, a musician and reenactment infantry bugler talks about how the authentic bugle signals were recorded to the game, and the role of bugle in the Civil War. More videos taking a look behind the scenes of the game's development will be released later.
Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on August 02, 2018, 10:19:37 PM
Updates 02/08/18


Organizations can be placed under AI command giving the said commander a stance. After this, the commander will use his units accordingly, while following your movement orders.
(https://scontent.flhr4-1.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/38232017_1829455010478718_1247264945209344000_n.jpg?_nc_cat=0&oh=095f0d640f1a3a4eb7382db1a502ac9a&oe=5C00264A)


To reduce micromanagement (without placing commanders under full AI command) "Manage details" -order will instruct your commander to use his own initiative to react to encountered threats.
(https://scontent.flhr4-1.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/38270372_1829454463812106_5807104330347577344_n.jpg?_nc_cat=0&oh=f0ac647d1bbc48ae49a27a282c29547e&oe=5C018DD5)
Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on August 23, 2018, 08:49:46 PM
The next devblog is just around the corner, and in it we'll take a look at the General's paper work.

Also, the scouts are reporting the sound and dust cloud of an incoming game play video, some weeks away.



The headquarters will keep your reports up to date.

(https://scontent.flhr4-1.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/39933115_1865412313549654_4948358626336047104_n.jpg?_nc_cat=0&oh=231aecaaa6950f6f72f08fa381b697a7&oe=5C058EE1)



Back then, officers had a lot prettier handwriting too.

(https://scontent.flhr4-1.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/39959103_1865412326882986_1010139186616860672_n.jpg?_nc_cat=0&oh=d054e25333241d70c2829d974a2d455a&oe=5BF65D5D)
Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on September 20, 2018, 08:08:49 PM
Chickamauga


https://youtu.be/aOTl8AYveU4


Published on Sep 20, 2018
A Pre-Alpha* battle game play trailer, showing some of the features in the game's battles.

*Everything seen or heard is subject to improvement and change during the development.
Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Zipuli on October 20, 2018, 07:57:19 AM
Hi guys!

We just released October's devblog, discussing the battle AI in the game:

http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/blog/articles/battle-ai
Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on October 20, 2018, 02:36:12 PM
Thank you Zipuli :thumbsup


Battle AI

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/blog/images/13.jpg)



Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on October 30, 2018, 02:24:31 PM
Scale?

Answered by the dev:

Hi,

The scale is brigade level, with artillery mainly organized into battalions (multiple batteries). The brigades are not sub-divided into regiments that you can detach and move around, though you can detach skirmishers from the brigades and smaller detachments to capture enemy guns. These are game design choices to keep the huge battles manageable and performance acceptable - the engine calculates a lot more under the hood than most games do, and the more active elements, the heavier it gets. But the engine itself is scalable, so for example a smaller battle like 1st Bull Run etc. can be created in regiment scale.

Armies and number of controllable units are not limited in battles. Single units have a maximum number of men when recruiting during campaign. But during campaign, like happened in reality, unit sizes will vary due to number of recruits, desertion, sickness, casualties...

Weapons use different ranges across the board. So yes, a rifle-musket will have longer range than a carbine, a smooth-bore musket, or a shotgun. Ammunition is partially combined within lethality value, so your unit armed with muskets show ammunition X (not divided between buck and ball), but this is taken into account in calculations. Artillery has more ammunition types.

Campaign map will be revealed later (we are working on it as we speak), but thinking Total War, but real time, is not totally inaccurate description. The map will unsurprisingly focus on United States. Battle maps will be mostly historical ones. These details are not yet 100% locked, though, so I won't go too deeply into them at this point.
Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on October 31, 2018, 04:04:19 PM
The developers reached out and sent me an invite to join the test team....I said yes  :thumbsup
Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Skoop on October 31, 2018, 07:48:31 PM
Nice, the game looks great.  Can't wait to see how it unfolds.
Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on October 31, 2018, 10:48:16 PM
I will update this post here when I can.
Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: zakblood on November 02, 2018, 11:22:10 AM
such a shame its a RTS and not turn based, pause able RTS, but still RTS all the same :howdy
Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on November 13, 2018, 04:41:12 PM
Visual Presentation
Posted Nov 13

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/blog/images/14.jpg)

Gen’l,

To-day’s Engineers Corps Log is all about visual presentation. We´ll take a look at where we are now, and what to expect in the future.

The Troops Look Thin, sir.

When we talk about graphics in Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865), we need to take a look at the game concepts and techniques first.

One of our main goals in the game is to show this conflict in the biggest possible scale. For the battles, this means hundreds of brigades with many thousands of single soldiers and hundreds of cannons. All at the same time, all connected in an AI matrix – and all in real-time!

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/contentimg/blog_2018-11/battlefield1.PNG)

Our original idea was to present this all in 3D and use low polygon models for the soldiers, horses, and artillery. Unfortunately, the first engine tests showed us the limitations. But because we still want to keep the epic scale, we decided to change our initial concept and replace the low poly models for soldiers and horses with sprites.

For this task, I created high polygon models for men and horse, with additional equipment and bone rigs for animations. Out of this, I created ~ 47 animations /stances for Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery and Others (Commanders, wounded, captured, &c.) split into three sprite sheets layers (Inf, Cav, Others). And because we wanted to have a fluid unit rotation, we “shot” every frame from 12 directions (12 cameras). This all limited the sprites to not more than 65 frames on one layer, meaning every animation or stance has limited amount of frames. On top of it, we split every sprite into 3 parts: jacket and hat/cape, trousers and all the rest. Why so? Because this allows us to color the different parts separately via code.

After all this work, the first results were rather disappointing: Blurred, low detailed and strange moving soldiers occupied our battlefields. But our daily work with the Unity engine taught us how to solve most of these issues and to-day we are quite happy with the results – not only because of the improved looks, but also due to the low impact in performance, compared to other techniques.

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/contentimg/blog_2018-11/battlefield2.PNG)

However, the balance between graphics and performance will always be a thine red line, and subject to improvements along the way. For those who get lost in this confusing technical part, the above title image shows a picture of all work steps and two different colored brigades.

Furthermore, we spend some time on performance optimization. This allowed us to improve the terrain as well, while improving the FPS. More objects, better LODs (level of detail), detail distance, light, camera, and more.Together with sound and smoke, we could create an intensive battlefield atmosphere, even with our very low resources.

And as always… work in progress! Testing, bug fixing and improving is ongoing all the time.

Ship Ahoy!

In the last months, we´ve implemented all our battlefield features and we move now with full steam ahead with the campaign map. Ilja writes the campaign concepts and Oliver integrates the basic terrain and first features, like troop movement on land, rail and water, as well as telegraph lines, as you are reading this. One of my first tasks here are the naval and land units.

Please keep in mind this is a very early phase of the campaign development and we have not yet finalized the final details.

However, the campaign game-play will have naval movement for troops, overseas trade, blockades, and naval engagements. You will command paddle-wheel steamers, battleships and ironclads, traders and blockade runners, as well as troop transports on open sea and major rivers like Mississippi.
(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/contentimg/blog_2018-11/shipsteaser.png)

Most of the units will have a unique model for each side, like the USS Monitor or Cairo for the Union
(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/contentimg/blog_2018-11/USSCairoPreview.png)

or the CSS Virginia for the Confederates.
(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/contentimg/blog_2018-11/CSS_Virginia.png)

All models will have smoke particles for engines and guns firing, plus other small nice features.

Even without a separate naval battle game-play layer (like in latest Total War -games), we´ll try to create a very exciting and important role for Naval Units and fleets. But we’ll discuss this in more detail in one of our future Engineers Corps Log!

Most Respy,

Gen’l. Peter Lebek,
Chief War Artist.

Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: zakblood on November 15, 2018, 03:58:23 PM
must admit after playing Armored Brigade as that's also a RTS, i'm thinking i may now also enjoy this one as well lol

with the developer also replying on steam with it's slower and not normal RTS type pace, i'm more looking forward to this as well now, as lets be honest, the war certainly could do with a good new engine one now as well, as it's been a while since i've done the time and period and now wish to get back at it sooner rather than later, so good look everyone, look forward to seeing and hearing more :thumbsup

Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on November 15, 2018, 04:10:28 PM
Hi Zak

It is NOT a click-fest. The developers are very approachable and want to make a great game for wargamers and strategists to enjoy  :thumbsup
Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: zakblood on November 15, 2018, 07:37:59 PM
yes they already said as much to me in steam, which after i enjoyed another RTS, albeit a slower pausable one mentioned above, i've now changed my mind somewhat on RTS, so there back on the board for me regarding testing and buying / playing etc.

so wish listed it on steam and will keep reading here as always and see what happens and what direction and progress is made and look forward to the release thanks
Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on January 18, 2019, 02:20:33 PM
Pre-Alpha Battle Game Play: Perryville, Part I

https://youtu.be/qZItdgeX5tU


Published on 17 Jan 2019
The 2nd game play video of Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865), showing battle mechanics including pre-battle deployment, entrenchments, weather, AI, and more. Part I of II.

Playing as the Confederate Army of the Mississippi in Perryville. A pre-alpha development build is used, and everything shown in the video is subject to changes and improvements.
Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on January 24, 2019, 12:04:40 AM
Full Steam Ahead - Navies in Campaign.

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/blog/images/15.jpg)



Gen’l,

When planning your strategy in Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865) grand campaign, armies are not your only military tools. Fleets, from the brown-water navy to blockading squadrons to transport fleets, will play an important role during the war. The Civil War saw great changes in naval technology and warfare, from sailing ships to mainly steam-powered warships, from wooden design to ironclads. Will Scott’s Great Snake be able to strangle the South, or will you see rebel ironclads crawl up the Potomac to bombard the Union capital?

Fleets and Admirals.

In Grand Tactician, you can utilize the naval power of your nation by building ships and assembling them into fleets. There are actually four kinds of fleets in the game:
- Navy Fleets, with large ocean going warships
- Brown-Water Navy, or the River Fleets, with gunboats and paddle-steamers
- Transport Fleets, that carry troops
- Trading Fleets, that can trade with foreign powers as well

Navy and river fleets are assembled under a navy officer, and will be moved on the campaign map just like armies. The river fleets can operate along major water-ways like Mississippi -river, but cannot move to open sea. Navy fleets navigate the salt-waters, but if small enough ships, especially double-enders are available, they too can go up a major river. The fleets can engage other fleets, bombard armies and fortifications, and take part in sieges. This allows joint operations, like those that took place in the West or maybe a naval maneuver like Peninsula campaign. Navy fleets can also be used to blockade enemy ports.

Transport fleets are maintained to move your armies over, or along water. Depending on the size of the transport fleet, troop concentrations can be conducted faster. Transport fleets also take care of supplying your armies over sea. When boarding the transport ships, troops reserve capacity from the transport fleet, and if out of capacity, movement becomes very slow, due to need of many back&forth voyages by the transports. When boarding the transports, the army on campaign map will be replaced with a ship, that is moved on water. The armies can land to siege enemy forts and to raid valuable targets deep in the enemy territory, but getting attacked by an enemy fleet could be disastrous.

Trading fleets operate from the ports, number of ships depending on the size of the ports. This is all automated, so player does not have to worry about it. Unless blockaded by the enemy, of course! As fleets blockade a port to intercept trade, the port trading capacity will go down, and prices up. This will hit the economy – a major target for either side. To counter this, player can try to attack the blockading fleets, or try to run the blockade. If player purchases blockade runners, more of the trade gets past the blockading fleet, but number of the blockade runners will be captured over time.

Regarding blockades, it’s not only an economy issue. It’s also political. In Europe, there’s big demand for cotton in the textile mills. But also the European superpowers use blockading as a strategy, and to keep this weapon in use, they also need to consider blockades, especially very strong ones, legit, which could prevent them from taking action, if otherwise seen appropriate?

From Timber to Iron Plating.

When the war started, the U.S. Navy was not very large, as was not the regular army. Technology in ship design had taken big leaps, and the wooden colossi of the high seas, ships-of-the-line, were already being rendered all but useless, in the face of steam powered ship that didn’t need the wind to maneuver, and the iron plating that could render a thundering broadside into base of percussion at best. But while these monsters are available, the player could try to utilize them to more than receiving new recruits in the ports?

In the game we have a broad range of ship types available. From the humble schooners to sloops and frigates, and of course the legendary paddle-steamers moving up and down the rivers. Over time, with the needed technology and industry in place, the ships can be upgraded, and new ones built, into steamers and various kinds of ironclads, from the case-mate rams to turreted Monitors.

While building the ships requires a level of industrialization and material, keeping the fleets going will also require something to burn: from coal to foodstuffs and ammunition. The fleets do not have infinite days at sea, but require ports to replenish and repair. In case the industrial potential is not there, maybe a bale of dollars could procure a state-of-the-art warship from the European friends? Or maybe someone is crazy enough to line a ship with cotton-bales for even some additional protection? And how about a ship that moves under water unseen?

Damn the Torpedoes.

In Grand Tactician, naval combat is resolved on the campaign map. In the battles the number, type and size of ships and guns is taken into account, as is the armor plating and close-up ramming. In the end, ships can change ownership multiple times during the campaign, and sometimes it’s better to scuttle a valuable ship than let it fall into enemy hands.

And then there’s chance. A lucky hit in the steam engine could end in a catastrophe, and while armor plating could withstand a seemingly endless amount of punishment, a lucky shot could disable a turret in a Monitor, rendering it next to useless in the battle.

And even if you as the north could dominate the southern fleets, if the big players from Europe feel the urge to intervene, they would most likely bring up the big guns with them!

Most Respy,

Gen’l. Ilja Varha,
Chief Designer, &c.
Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on February 19, 2019, 05:05:39 PM
What's in a Campaign Map?

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/blog/images/16.png)



Gen’l,

Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865) has been developed from the start with a real-time strategic campaign in mind. The aim of the game is not only to fight battles or to win the war as either side, but the tell the story of the Civil War. And in the heart of the campaign is of course the campaign map. The campaign map spans from Rio Grande to Maine and Dakota Territory to the Bahamas, so there’s plenty of room to plan and execute maneuvers with your armies and fleets. But there’s more to the map than meets the eye.

The Campaign Map.

The campaign map is designed to include all the most important theaters of the American Civil War, and to allow utilizing historical strategies, like Scott’s Great Snake, to win the war. The campaign will be dynamic, and will not force the player to follow any certain path to victory, so there is enough space to devise your own plan as well.

The map itself is an open 3D terrain, just like the battle maps. Same tools as in the battle layer are used to make the armies and fleets interact with the map and terrain. This means that dense forests, swamps, mountain ranges and wide rivers will have a real effect on troop movements. The road network is more scarce in the west, with distances being longer in general there, limiting campaigning with large armies considerably – as the armies will need to be supplied. While on one hand the great rivers will be an obstacle, on the other hand they will provide movement options, if steamers and gunboats are available, and if the enemy fortifications along the waterways can be captured.

To get the campaign map right, we’ve used real elevation data in making the heightmap. On this terrain, we have built and incorporated data such as climate map, forest map, maps of rail-lines and road networks and most important infrastructure like cities, towns, ports, bridges, ferries, etc. – with the scale of the map taken into account. For the states and cities we use historical population data from the censuses. All in all, the map will include a wealth of researched information, and this will allow us to bring the map alive later in the development, with production, dynamic economy, trade, and more.

In addition to the 3D map itself, be sure that our map-specialist, Wasel, is working on a hand-drawn, period-inspired paper map, like the ones you’ve seen in the battles.

Borders. States. Border States. Fronts.

Before, and during, the Civil War the political map of The United States changed numerous times. Territories were re-drawn and eventually incorporated as new states and the 19th century saw mass movement of immigrants to the west, seeking better fortunes – and gold. While the white man moved west, the native tribes were pushed aside, eliminated or confined. By 1850s the area depicted in the campaign map had seen the forced relocations of native tribes, the Trail of Tears, to west of the Mississippi, to modern day Oklahoma. While most changes were in the mid-west and west, the war saw also changes in the east, the biggest being the partition of Virginia.

For this reason we incorporated a border system in the game, where the political map of the Civil War can change during the campaign. While the changes will be historically driven, like admission of Kansas from a territory to a state, it will not be set in stone, whether the people of the brand new state will follow the call of the Union.

Ownership of the states will not be a either-or. Especially the border states can have much (or little) sympathy to both sides of the conflict, and the actual “front line” will not strictly follow the state borders. A state can therefore provide recruits to both sides, depending on the local support. And the support of the states could well change during the campaign. And of course there will be tools to prop (or lose) the support in the states. For example, appointing local political figures to lead your armies in the field may ensure state loyalty in the short run. But can they provide the leadership required, without personal clashes with others? High casualties among troops recruited from the state, drafting and raiding, among other things, can demoralize the population and even force them to abandon the cause.

And while the native Americans have been pushed aside for decades, the new strife could see both sides trying to win their support.

The campaign map will not cover the whole North America, let alone the World, but the map is not isolated from the rest of the world. Both sides of the war can interact (via politics) and trade (via trade nodes) with other nations. And trails, like the Oregon Trail lead west, where there is much to trade. And of course, this trade, or prevention of it, could be a key element in your campaign strategy.

Weather & Weather Fronts.

One of the quite unique features in The Civil War (1861-1865) campaign map, and campaign itself, is the weather. While in battles weather plays a role,  as explained in the previous game-play video, (https://youtu.be/qZItdgeX5tU) on the campaign map weather may well ruin your otherwise brilliantly planned military campaign, or save you from a disaster. The weather of course cannot be planned, and even forecasting is very difficult. The end result could easily be another mud march, with the movement snail-paced, the men being miserable, and increasing amount of troops falling sick or deserting.

To achieve a realistic weather simulation, we incorporated information such as annual averages for temperatures, humidity, chance of rain and snow coverage on the campaign map. Then our coder, Oliver, taught himself a thing or two about meteorology. The end result is fully dynamic weather system across the whole campaign map, where weather fronts are created and move according to real-world data. There will not be any kind of universal weather, or pre-defined weather zones. Instead, the rain and thunder storms gather, move around and scatter dynamically during the campaign, adding to the excitement, as you will never know what to expect. Except if you know a thing or two about meteorology, then you can make educated guesses. And it’s not all about rain and misery either, temperature plays a role as well, including the chance of snow during winter time.

So, in the end, when moving your armies and fleets around the map, you may hit a weather front that makes life miserable, and when engaging in a field-battle, the information is carried over to the battle weather system. In the above image you see the dynamic weather system in action: the rain and thunder storm clouds are shown over the landscape. Also drawn are the political borders – but from what year (and could this be a hint of some sort)?

The Focus is in the Campaign.

So far we have discussed mostly the battles in the game, and mentioned the campaign mostly in sidenotes. Many followers have approached us, asking, whether the campaign will be simply a continuation of battles according to outcomes, or a rigid system that runs as the history did. Can the player recruit troops and appoint commanders as he wants? Hopefully the above description sheds some light on this topic.

As I am writing, the basic map functions, discussed above, have been implemented and we are populating the map with terrain features like rivers, forests and swamps, and game objects like cities, towns, and infrastructure. Next steps will be to make the campaign game-play come to life, by adding the UI, economic model, politics, and so on. We will visit these topics in later dev blogs!

Most Respy,

Gen’l. Ilja Varha,
Chief Designer, &c.

Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on April 27, 2019, 11:36:09 AM
Keeping Armies Supplied - Economy: Part I
Posted Mar 28

Author iv


(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/blog/images/18.png)


Gen’l,

When telling the story of the American Civil War, one cannot ignore economy. From Scott’s Great Snake to King Cotton, and from making Georgia howl to burning down the Shenandoah Valley, the war saw the importance of economy as a weapon of war, and as a target. In the end, the northern armies were victorious, but not before the southern economy had collapsed, making it impossible to resist.

In Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865) we are building a complex economy model that will work in the background of the game. The idea is to allow player utilizing the industrial power of his/her nation, and targeting the enemy economy. For example railroads allow fast movement of troops and supplies across the states. This means destroying the enemy’s rail network will hamper his mobility and flexibility in troop concentration. Rail lines can of course be repaired, so maybe it’s more important, in the long run, to make it impossible to maintain the rail network? When the gears of economy stall, it will become impossible to keep up momentum in the military operations as well.

Lessons Learned.

Here we take into account the feedback from players of Oliver’s previous strategy game The Seven Years War (1756-1763). In the title, the economy model works well, but it’s not very intuitive for most players. Many players felt that the model needed too much micromanagement from the player, making the campaign game play burdensome, especially to players who wished to run military matters only.

For this reason, the economy model has been redesigned and made more automatic, working in the background, even without much input from the player. The Grand Tactician can therefore concentrate more in the military matters at hand, thinking about the big picture, instead of worrying about lack of available building materials being delivered to a new building site in time, for example…

To make things work smoothly, we let the markets run the show, allowing the player to influence the system with more macro-level controls. For example, you have your domestic production, trade and import/export. While supply and demand determine what is being produced, and where it is being sold to, the player can manipulate the system by government sponsoring and trade policies. As a historical example, playing as the south, cotton is the main source of income and the exports can cover costs of importing other goods needed to run the nation. But what if you’re blockaded and cannot produce the weapons and ammunition needed?

In the end, instead of TSYW-like interaction with economy, production and markets, things should feel a lot different, even if the mechanics working in the background are somewhat similar. Instead of player building up industries, managing upgrades and workforce, prices and minimum stock level, this time around an industry will expand, upgrade, hire or even shut down depending on markets, available workforce amount & type, and of course profitability.

Another change is the way goods are moved around. In TSYW, state sponsored traders move the goods, “item” at a time from A to B. The amount of traders is limited by market size in the province in question. Depending on prices, supply and demand, and player’s priorities, certain goods are moved first, while the others wait for available traders. This often results in high-profit goods, that maybe are irrelevant to player’s ongoing war effort, being prioritized, and local shortages being created. Player is able to manipulate and optimize the system, but it required understanding and micromanagement, like setting up minimum supply levels and manual prioritization – and this per province. Sometimes adding too many building projects could stall any development for a time. And do I need to mention Prussian loam to any TSYW-veteran? This is where many players became frustrated.

We sacked the traders to give the economy more flow – literally! So, instead, a flow of supplies is created from point of supply to point of demand. The flow utilizes the road, rail and river networks, along with sea trade. So goods will always be moved where needed, but the amount (goods per time unit) depends on infrastructure, distance and demand. The flow happens via hubs we call important infrastructure points, or IIPs, like cities, towns, ports, ferries, crossroads, and so on. Think of it a bit like in The Settlers 1 or 2, the IIPs being the flags, but the goods moving without a worker carrying one at a time from IIP to IIP…

But you’re more interested about the link to war, from the military commander’s point of view?

Economy Concept Example – Supplying an Army.

In the above concept image, let’s have a look at what it takes to keep an army supplied. In the game, armies are supplied from supply depots. The supplies carried in the armies’ supply trains won’t last forever. Lack of supplies will lead to regulation, which will lead to increased sickness and desertion, and foraging the countryside, which will affect the population’s support and readiness of the armies, and so on… In short, you want to keep the armies well supplied (and enemy’s not so). When setting up a camp or entrenching, the army will be replenished from the appointed depot. Range to base of supplies is of importance, and this will mean that sending armies deep into enemy territory like in many other strategy games, without proper means of supplying them, will end up in a disaster.

An army needs a wide range of supplies. Arms, ammunition, horses, food for men and the beast alike, uniforms. These need to be produced or imported, and here economy and industries will play a key role. For example, to produce the needed artillery in an iron works, you need iron, wrought iron or bronze, that are produced in a foundry, that need the raw materials from mines, and so on. In the concept image, you see some of the industry types in the game.

If you’re familiar with Civil War history, you know that the south had many shortages in available goods, and the north tried to further increase the effect by attacking the production. Salt is a good example. It was mined, or produced in saltworks, and was important for food preservation and curing leather. Virginian saltworks in Saltville were attacked by Union in 1st and 2nd Battles of Saltville. Sherman is noted saying “salt is eminently contraband”. In Grand Tactician, targeting production capability, like salt, works like it did during the war: if the nation runs out of salt, prices skyrocket, and soon there will be severe hiccups in food and leather production. This will affect the armies, and their capability to maintain effective operations, as provisions are no longer available. To fix the situation, the targeted nation will need to divert funds to restore salt production or to import salt. Funds, that would be direly needed to pay the troops or repair the raided rail network, etc.

So the production facilities and trading infrastructure are important targets to military actions, such as raiding and blockades. But the transportation network, in form of IIPs and railroads, can also be targeted, in any point of the shown chart (the arrows). If attacking the supply depot itself is out of the question, cutting the supply route carries the same effect. Pushing into enemy territory, for example capturing choke-points in the road network, means the flow of goods will stop, or need to be diverted. And taking this a step further, you can see how the historic strategies, such as controlling the Mississippi to cut the Confederacy in half, along with strong blockade, can be implemented in Grand Tactician to achieve the goals of Scott’s Great Snake.

Money Isn’t Everything, but Everything Needs Money.

“I went into the army worth a million and a half dollars, and came out a beggar.”

Before the Civil War, Confederate Lieutenant General Nathan Bedford Forrest made a fortune as a slave trader, a planter, and by investing in real estate. Forrest spent his own money to help his men acquire supplies.
– 501 Civil War Quotes And Notes.

Our plan is to make the economy an important tool in the Grand Tactician’s toolbox of strategies. But at the same time we want to keep economy in the background, without the player needing a degree in economics, or forcing him/her to micromanage the details – especially when the player most likely will like to concentrate on matters of sword instead of the plough. When executed military operations produce believable and foreseeable effects in the enemy’s system, including economy, we believe we can better grasp the essence of the American Civil War.

Most Respy,

Gen’l. Ilja Varha,
Chief Designer, &c.
Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on May 01, 2019, 12:58:50 PM
Drawing the Maps.
Posted Apr 17, 02:37 pm

Author iv

Gen’l,

The beautiful maps have drawn a lot of attention from followers of the project. To-day we discuss shortly the steps that are required in creating one of these maps, from research to drawing table, all the way to the game. We also take a quick look at how the map has evolved from a concept to what it is to-day.

In Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865) we want to immerse the player in the Civil War, and one of the ways of doing so is audio-visual style. When designing the game, one of the ideas for battles was not to use a mini-map for situational awareness, like many other games do. Instead, we created what we now call the “Paper Map”: zoom out in-game far enough, and the 3D terrain is changed into a map, that is drawn using 19th century drawing style and technique. On this map we show the battle (and later campaign) situation in a quite unique and informative way – and style.

From Concept to Reality.

The concept for the Paper Map was created very early in the project. At first the idea was to add a full, drawn image to be used as a map. Soon we realized that this would not be sufficient, as any minor change in the map would require re-drawing also the Paper Map. At this point Oliver came up with the idea to include Paper Map graphics for each of the map 3D elements, such as roads, buildings, fences, and so on. This basically allowed editing the map as much as we wanted later on, with the Paper Map also being updated accordingly.

(http://This is how the initial concept looked like in a very early development build of the game:)

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/blog/images/21.png)

This was basically Ilja’s handy-work, and the style was just a test. But the idea is already visible: the map should be functional and should show enough terrain information to allow the player to give commands to his/her units, just like in the 3D terrain.

Later, when artist Wasel joined the project, we started refining the map style. Wasel’s hobbies include historic maps and drawing styles, so we decided to try a more historic approach by applying similar drawing styles and visualization of map information, as the real Civil War maps had.

Base-Work.

There are quite a few steps required to create a Paper Map. It starts from historical research. Ilja’s job is to gather the information about the battle-field, and turn it into a reference map. The reference map is used by the artists to create the needed elements (layers) that eventually make up the Paper Map:

- The topography for the map is compiled from old topographical maps. Though ready heightmaps would be available from the battle locations, the problem with these is the fact that from mid-20th century, the topography has changed a lot in most battle locations. The topography is turned into a heightmap, drawing by hand, and the heightmap is used for both reference for drawing the elevation on the Paper Map, as well as creating the 3D terrain mesh.
- The landscape, including the infrastructure, is drawn according to historic maps, battle descriptions and available research. Here one must admit, that the level of research differs depending on battle-field. While Gettysburg and Antietam are well researched (see Bradley M. Gottfried’s books), some others require a lot more compiling of information from multiple sources, and in the end also educated guesswork. The landscape reference map is used to draw the terrain types on the Paper Map, as well as drawing the infrastructure, such as roads, creeks, buildings, fences, &c., on the 3D map.

The Art of Mapmaking.

After the reference maps are drawn, Ilja continues with the 3D terrain creation, while Wasel works on the actual Paper Map. Let the man himself explain the steps required:

“To start with I had to make a lot of design choices how to produce these maps. By far the most tedious part would be elevation and terrain textures. To be able to maintain production schedules I tried out many different automated methods of producing the various terrain types including Illustrator, CorelDraw, Photoshop, even Macromedia Freehand and various scripting and programming methods, with a lot of filters and effects on top. None of them were very convincing.

To create convincing battle maps I ended up producing them the same way they were made during the civil war—drawing by hand. As nice as it would be to draw the maps the way they used to be done, to accommodate production schedules I decided to use a digital drawing pad instead so everything would not only appear to be hand-drawn—they actually are—though digitally. Every detail was meticulously studied and compared to originals. To speed up working on various terrain types, I created hand drawn textures that were layered to avoid repeating patterns. While elevation nowadays is indicated with contours, during the Civil War it was less exact. It would be the engineers drawing the map according to what they see when surveying the terrain. They didn’t have heightmaps, so elevation data was also more relative than accurate. Instead of elevation contours, the more common style of today’s maps, hachures (i.e. line haching) were used to highlight elevations.

I start a map with the most tedious part: drawing the hachures. I begin by studying the black&white heightmap and comparing it to various historical battle maps of the area to decide what tactical elevations to highlight and what to leave out while keeping the end result geographically correct. Maintaining the look of original maps is a tedious job, since period maps were not very detailed and they were drawn by many different people in a multitude of styles and accuracy.

Next step is to draw the terrain types: water, forests, swamps, fields and orchards, that dotted the countryside. In the historical maps these were often colored to stand out, and I decided to do so. I went with a greenish light blue for water, and green for forest vegetation taking according to period examples which vary across different maps as much as any other detail.

For the infrastructure I created a set of hand-drawn icons and patterns researched and modeled according to historical sources, to be placed in-game. When zooming out on the 3D map, the 3D objects are changed into these icons on the Paper Map. For example, the road pattern is repeated and curved to follow the exact path of the 3D road mesh, which ensures that all elements are placed 100% correctly in both the 3D map as well as the Paper Map.

In addition to the actual graphics, an important part of any map is typography. To depict the hand drawn texts I painstakingly designed fonts replicating hand written examples in extant Civil War maps. The font was also distressed and various exchangeable letter-forms were designed to to achieve a hand written look.

Since the finished map is to contain a multitude of moving icons and other in-game elements depending on game progress, the completed map is constructed in-game from various layers containing paper texture, elevation, terrain patterns, text and various grime layers to make it look like a battle worn item.

Here you can see the work-steps so far, in a single image, from left to right:

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/blog/images/19.jpg)

– On topmost layer you see the scale grid.
– On the extreme left, you can see the topographical map used for elevation reference. Moving right, you can next see the black & white heightmap, which I use to visualize and mark all the most important formations and then draw the actual hachures.
– After the hachures are finished, I use the terrain reference map, in this case drawn according to Gottfried’s book The Maps of Gettysburg, to place the terrain patterns accordingly.
– After the terrain is ready, I create a new layer for the map texts, where I use custom-made fonts that match the ones used in the historical examples.”

From Layers to Complete Map.

The rest happens within the game engine. After the 3D terrain is drawn, the Paper Map is automatically assembled from Wasel’s paper background, adding the terrain map (elevation, terrain types). On top of this, the engine automatically draws the roads, creeks, etc. from the hand-drawn icons. Then the map text is added on top. This allows overlapping elements on multiple layers, making it appear like it’s drawn as one. Placed on top of this base, the unit symbols move according to their positioning in the 3D terrain. To finalize the look of the map, we use a “dirt-layer”, drawn by Wasel, which makes the map look slightly worn and vivid – just like one would look, after folding it open on the wooden table of the commander-in-chief.

Here you can see the end result from all this work:

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/blog/images/20.jpg)


Most Respy,

Gen’l. Ilja Varha
Chief Designer, Chief Topographer, &c.

Gen’l Wasel Arar
Chief Cartographer, &c.
Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on June 20, 2019, 03:11:38 PM
Managing Your Armies.
Posted May 13, 04:47 pm

Author iv

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/blog/images/22.png)

Gen’l,

One of the most important things the player will be doing, is army management: from recruiting troops to appointing commanders to lead them, and to organizing the troops into units and effective armies. Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865) also allows a number of ways for the player to customize the units he commands.

Volunteers Needed!

War! War! War! The beginning of the Civil War saw both sides mustering volunteers to fight for their cause. When the war was said to last ninety days tops, there was no lack of men willing to join the ranks. The initial recruitment system was not designed for a long war. As the war dragged on and number of casualties kept rising, the fervor died with the brave volunteer soldiers. Soon both sides would struggle to fill their ranks.

During the campaign of Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865), player will need to manage the armies carefully to keep on fighting. Here, support and morale play a key role. Each state is tracked for support for both sides of the war, and the morale of the population. With high morale, or war fervor, you will find volunteers to fight for the side they support, especially if the contract time is short. Some states will end up supplying troops for both sides. But as the war drags on and list of casualties within the state grows longer, the willingness to join up will diminish. While volunteers could be difficult to lead at times, especially when the end of the contract period is near, drafting could cause opposition among the public and increased rate in desertion.

This means, population is the key. And there are ways to influence the population, from policies to economy and to immigration, to having armies foraging up all the food in the countryside or even raiding and burning the crops to deny support for the other side. With mismanagement of the population, you could end up with no-one left willing to join the ranks, and many of the service men reported being away without leave.

Getting Organized.

In addition to recruiting new units, infantry, cavalry and artillery, player has the tools to manage the organization of the armies. Single brigades can be formed into divisions and corps, and placed under armies, or garrisoned in fortifications. This is done in the army management view (as seen in the image above), by dragging and dropping units inside the order of battle. While changes within an army will happen fast, transferring unit to another theater will take time.

Whenever a new unit is created, player has the ability to appoint the commander he wishes. Managing the commanders is important, and here too player has some options. There are three types of commanders available: professional soldiers (mostly Westpointers), volunteers and high ranking political figures, and each type has its own characteristics. The professionals are trained for warfare, and come with a special experience in one of the four main “branches” in the U.S. military of the time: infantry, cavalry, artillery or engineer. Even though most are captains, as the U.S. army is merely 16,000 men prior to the Civil War, they can be trusted with command responsibility wherever needed. The volunteers are from the recruiting state, and usually have no experience of military matters. They too can rise in rank, but require combat experience. A political strongman, assigned in high command within your army, could bring in the support of his state, but could also create personal issues within the leadership, and be hard to get rid of without a political backlash.

In commander management, the personalities matter, as will seniority and fame, and political influence. Not always you can put the best man in command of the largest armies. And in case of defeat, even the best commander could lose the trust of his men and the population, and needs to be replaced to avoid a drop in support.

Unit Customization.

When recruiting, player has the first opportunity to customize the new unit (though this is not necessary, if the player does not want to). The color of the uniform can be changed for the unit to stand out, or the main weapon changed. In case of weapons, most important weapon types of the Civil War will be available, but being able to use them requires money, industry, or import. A mix of obsolete weapons like flintlock muskets for infantry or shotguns for troopers will always be available, and the more standardized weapon types will cost a lot less money and time to produce in numbers. So, while equipping all of your army with repeating rifles or breech-loaders could sound tempting, it won’t be possible for your armories to produce the more complex weapon types fast enough in required numbers.

When the volunteer (or forced via conscription) greenhorns are formed into brigades and ordered to join an army, they are not much of soldiers. Drilling them will do some good, but only with combat experience, “seeing the elephant”, will they become an effective fighting force, especially if well led by a competent officer.

When a unit gains experience and stands out from the rest, it’s possible that they get specialized training (a ka an attribute, a perk), that makes them more effective in certain way of fighting, or allows them to carry out feats others cannot. The unit could become known for its fearsome charge (“Texans always move them!”) or sheer discipline (“They must be made of iron!”), or it could have specially trained sharpshooters for effective long range engagements, or engineers to build pontoon bridges. The number of these perks will be limited, making the specialized units really stand out. With enough experience, or a heroic feat in a battle, they will get better in their trait, and even become an elite unit, in which case player can rename the unit (yes, it does make a difference whether a unit is called “1st Brigade” or “Iron Brigade”, doesn’t it?) and give them a unique flag they will carry proudly in battle. Armies and fleets can also receive custom attributes to make them more effective: a balloon corps would help in intelligence gathering while rigorous forced marches could earn fame as a “foot cavalry”. To mention a few…

The unit customization options are historical, and hopefully will make you care more about your units and the fate of the men serving in them. They will not make super-soldiers out of your troops, but the public will love great stories about the famous units, and in a desperate fight, the arrival of an elite unit could rally wavering men to stand their ground instead of turning and running.

Most Respy,
Gen’l. Ilja Varha
Chief Designer, &c.
Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on July 26, 2019, 12:14:18 AM
Summer Campaign In Motion.
Posted Jul 25, 12:42 pm

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/blog/images/23.jpg)



Gen’l,

While news have been scarce during the summer, the Grand Tactician -team has been pushing full steam ahead on multiple fronts.

Fleets are Being Constructed.

Construction of ships and creating fleets under naval officers is possible. Depending on capacity in your ports, you can build ship types depending on available technology and resources. With certain policies, you could also import new ship types from Europe. Assembling a fleet is as easy as managing the armies: simply drag and drop ships from ports (“pool”) to the fleets. You can even do this if the ships are not yet finished. They will join the fleet once ready. Moving single ships between ports and fleets has a delay depending on travel speed and distance to cover.

There are 26 different ship types available to build, from simple gunboat steamers (mainly civilian ships with some armament) to ocean going ironclads. Each one has different attributes, for example the number of days they can spend at sea. As these numbers will be different within a fleet, to reduce micromanagement, we have added automatic ship rotation within fleets. This means the fleet itself will always be where you ordered it to be, for example blockading enemy ports or patrolling, but single ships will autonomously return to port for supplies, repairs, and upgrades, then return to the fleet. If you add a monitor class ironclad to a fleet with sailing sloops-of-war, it means the sloops can stay out a lot longer, and the monitor will need to resupply about every 20 days…

Campaign Map Gets Populated.

Work on an epic campaign map has been ongoing from producing the tools to populating the map with cities, towns, roads, railroads, and so on. This includes a ton of historical research, and sites like bridgehunter.com have become real useful in finding out which bridges and ferries have existed at what time, and when they were built. As we allow expanding the railroad network during the game, we will also have the correct railroads ready and available depending on campaign starting date: years before the war the rail network started expanding rapidly, and work continued throughout the war.

With an infrastructure network concept implemented, the map, including economy and logistics, will interact with the armies. Armies will be able to block trade and supply flows through towns, bridges, mountain passes, rivers, canals, etc. This allows real nice maneuvering to cut enemy supply lines by taking choke-points or raiding railroads. Taking hold of Mississippi river alone, for example, will be possible without the need to control whole states in south.

This will take some time, though, as the map is huge. Once ready, the map looks will be improved by the artists, and this will include also the beautiful paper map as seen in previous blogs.

Bolstering the Armies.

By adding customizable attributes to armies and fleets player can make his experienced units more effective. For example an army could become more effective in intelligence gathering in multiple ways. Using a balloon is slow, but with experience, the aeronauts could maybe direct artillery fire, making the army slightly more effective in sieges? Or an intelligence bureau would improve accuracy of information about unseen enemy movements and the information delay? Or maybe organize hand picked cavalry scouts to work behind enemy lines, like Wade Hampton’s iron scouts? The amount of attributes for armies will be limited in numbers, so you better choose wisely. And yes, here too we aim for historical accuracy instead of gamey superpowers.

We also added a little feature called “history” for commanders and units. This means the game will track what your armies and officers are doing during the game – listing dates of promotions, battles fought, and such. Additional information about, for example, pre-campaign history can be added manually. This allows the player to better keep track on who’s who in his military.

Armies and fleets already roam the campaign map, and the campaign-to-battle-to-campaign -link is established. Though a lot of work is still ahead on this side, including combat models for sieges, naval battle and so on, it’s encouraging to see the main ideas behind the game come to life.

Bolstering the Story.

As you can see, a lot has happened in Grand Tactician during the summer. We also are finalizing the original soundtrack recordings, and starting the work on the campaign videos, using LionHeart FilmWorks’ beautiful footage, with a professional TV producer. All this will allow better immersion into the Civil War world of Grand Tactician!

Have a great summer! Most Respy,

Gen’l. Ilja Varha,
Chief Designer, &c.


Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on September 01, 2019, 03:53:53 PM
Operations.
Posted Aug 31, 10:39 pm


(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/blog/images/25.png)

Gen’l,

The Grand Tactician is an operational level strategy game. This means the main thing the player is supposed to do, is to muster, supply and command his/her armies and fleets in order to meet the strategic goals of the nation. While we have discussed and shown in videos how commanding armies functions in battles, this time let’s take a quick look at what’s in store on the campaign side.

Your Orders, Sir?

Like on battles, we use order delays on campaign as well. Here, too, the delays depend on initiative of commanders and distance between units within an army. But when commanding the armies themselves, you are able to utilize telegraph infrastructure. Telegraph stations within range of one another are considered in contact, which allows a chain from the capital city to the armies. When on campaign, the player can use the army to construct new telegraph stations. But these stations can be captured or burned down by the enemy, which will mean the loss of communications and much slower delivery of orders. Other military infrastructure the player’s armies can erect in the game are supply depots and forts. But we’ll cover those later!

Like in battles, the movement order can be given as timed orders. This will better allow coordinating movements of multiple corps within an army, for example, to make sure they can support one another during the movement too. You can also direct the army to use, or not to use transportation via railroads, rivers, or sea. Depending on the route, and available transportation equipment, the army will then take the quickest route and transportation combination to ordered destination. This will allow amphibious movement and river expeditions. If a forced march is ordered, the unit will move faster, but rate of attrition will go up, and condition of men down, while also readiness suffers.

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/contentimg/2019-8/DELAY2.png)

Armies can be ordered to take offensive or defensive stance. When offensive, the units will engage enemy units, siege enemy forts and reinforce battles that take place within their range, or the range of their parent army, if they are within range of the army commander. Offensive units will encamp when movement is finished, but will not start to dig in to allow quick reaction to further movement orders. When encamped, units will be resupplied, and the men can rest. If encamped during the winter, the army will go to winter quarters, which will protect them from the cold, but will increase order delays. Defensive units will not engage enemies within range, but will instead stop and dig in. If two opposing defensive units meet, they will both entrench and the end result could be Petersburg kind of trench warfare stalemate situation. Offensive and defensive orders will allow you to block terrain and enemy movements, create reserves, and so on, with ease.

Cavalry during the Civil War was a versatile branch of arms, with the effects taking place also outside field battles. For this reason player can order the way he wants his cavalry to act within his armies. During the early war, guarding was the most usual task. The cavalry would patrol the close proximity of the armies, secure lines of communications and be deployed as a screen behind the main line to stop stragglers and deserters. In this role the cavalry units will not fight in the battles, but on campaign game-play, the readiness and security of the army is improved, and desertion lower. When raiding, the cavalry will attack enemy infrastructure, skirmish with enemy units, and forage the countryside. This allows burning down the Shenandoah Valley, and similar operations, which will also hurt the support of the civilian population. The third special order for cavalry is to scout. Scouting cavalry will improve readiness and intelligence gathering of the army immensely, will skirmish with enemies within range, but will not appear in battles, except in case of a cavalry corps. If on a scouting mission, a cavalry corps will join field battles, but could arrive a bit late due to the need to concentrate beforehand. Think Stuart at Gettysburg. With no special orders, the cavalry will fight in field battles with the rest of the army.

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/contentimg/2019-8/RAID2.png)


Any Signs of the Enemy, Sir?

While the above orders allow flexibility in your use of the armies and planning of operations, one problem you have is the information about your enemy. Many times during the Civil War, the information about enemy movements was quite vague. While it probably was known if an enemy army was on the move, the exact location and status was not. And this made operations tricky.

To simulate this effect, we have created a different kind of fog-of-war mechanic for our campaign map – we call it the intelligence map. In battles, you basically see the enemy units when your units spot them in the terrain. On the campaign map the same is true, but information about unspotted enemies will also be available. This information is gathered via spies, scouts, local loyal population and from the local news – even those of the enemy. The less sources of information you have from an area, the less accurate the intelligence from there will be.

We simulate this intelligence by showing approximate information about the enemy, hidden in the fog-of-war: for example you may learn that Jackson’s Corps was sighted near a town three days ago. Most likely the corps has since then moved on… but where to? When intelligence about the same unit pops up from elsewhere, you are able to track the approximate movement of the enemy. But there are a couple of twists there: depending on the cunning of the commander in question, the intel delay is further increased. Also the number of men within the army will be just an estimate. And depending on your commanders, they may interpret and assess the received intelligence with errors. So, with this mechanic, it will be possible that the 500,000 rebels reported by McClellan being dug in around Richmond could actually be quite a lot less in numbers, and maybe attacking the right flank as we speak!

To help the player to understand what kind of intelligence to expect and from where, we’ve added an information layer on the campaign map. With this layer we can easily visualize on the map the intelligence coverage. With the same system we are able to show a lot of other information later on, like the dynamic front lines (depending on positions of armies, ownership of towns, etc.), population density, support, and so on.

Most Respy,

Gen’l. Ilja Varha,
Chief Designer, &c.



Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on September 28, 2019, 01:37:16 PM
Sinews of War - Economy: Part II
Posted Sep 28

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/blog/images/26.jpg)



Gen’l,

Today we take a look at the economy of Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865). Although there were many hints from the community to not overdo the economic part of the game we thought that this was an important factor of this war. Therefore we are currently adding all the nice features to the game, but taking care of not forcing the player to micromanage too much.

Most of the economy in Grand Tactician is run by the AI, for example companies are established automatically near towns depending on the available workforce, connected infrastructure, corporate tax and the local availability of pre-goods and demand for the finished product. These companies produce more than 30 goods which are circulating through the trade system, all produced to feed and arm your economy, population, military units and fleets. Supply depots are building up stocks in weapons, ammunition and provisions to supply nearby armies. Although supply depots can be captured or constructed by the player, you will always need to take care about your supply lines as trade and supply routes can be cut off to reduce the condition and morale of the affected units. If a unit operates far from its supply base the supply trains take longer to reach it, resulting in lower supply rates. If you overstretch your supply lines you may use means like Sherman on his march through Georgia in 1864: raiding and foraging. But who knows the outcome of such operations? The economy in the affected region would suffer, people would starve and maybe more men are rushing into the enemy ranks.


Land of the Free, but Not for All.

A very controversial and sensitive topic for us was the representation of slavery in our game. As slavery was the main cause of the war we decided not to abandon it to play safe, sanitizing the evils of men – as that would desecrate the integrity of the historical story we’re attempting to portray. From an economic perspective the use of slaves on the southern farms led to a plunge in production costs of agricultural products, thus leading to a huge competitive advantage. A southern farmer could have returns of 20% on his investment, much more than the average return on industrial investments. In reality the northern states had nearly 10 times the industrial output than the southern states while 84% of the southern economy was related to agriculture – especially “King Cotton”. These effects are accurately simulated in our game. But we will also add a pre-war campaign scenario, which allows the player to push the economic development into another direction by using certain political means. So maybe in 1861 the South has industrial dominance and blocks northern harbors while the North needs to buy blockade runners from Britain?

Looking back into history, the US pre-war economy was closely linked to Europe. Especially Great Britain and France were depending on “colonial goods” like cotton and tobacco. The player will need to negotiate trade treaties and secure his export routes, while there will also be option to import products from Europe, weapons or modern battleships for example. The latter was mostly an option used by the Confederacy as money was better available than production sites. Although we allow European nations to intervene in the war, Britain or France will weight what to gain and what to loose: so blocking southern harbors to push up cotton prices may not force Britain to react if the country is more depending on Union wheat deliveries, which was an important topic as well, due to the higher demand since the Crimean War. But maybe the Confederate player increases the pain further by adopting an export ban on cotton? As the Old World superpowers used blockade as a legal means for their own warfare, a blockade tight enough may prevent intervention as well.


Military Focus Maintained.

A further aspect of the war was the change of the means of transports. Canals and later railroads not only affected troop movements but also trade routes. The railroad network can be expanded to further strengthen infrastructure. This will be an important issue especially in pre-war scenarios. Trade flows much faster along major rivers like Mississippi, the many canals leading west, and railroads, making them priority targets for military operations. Especially raiding tactics could disturb or even cut trade and supply routes, resulting in lower production, more expensive supplies and less corporate development. This is directly connected to the morale of the public, which is the key factor that allows waging the war to a decisive conclusion.

As you can see the economy works very detailed in the background, but grand tacticians don’t need to be afraid: the player will only need to take a few major decisions to influence the economic state of his nation, either by using certain policies or determining the economic framework on a macro scale. Also the economic system is not as vulnerable as in my previous game The Seven Years War (1756-1763), where each industry building could produce only one type of goods. Now, a single iron works can produce rifles, artillery pieces and ammunition depending on demand and expertise. So there would not be a total lack needed goods, but as the production suffers, prices will skyrocket and this will hurt the whole nation.

Your Most Obedient Servant,

Gen’l. Oliver Keppelmüller,
Chief of Engineers, &c.


Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Skoop on October 09, 2019, 06:39:43 AM
The game looks like it's coming along nicely.  Any word if they need more testers ?  I got some time available for alpha testing.
Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on November 08, 2019, 09:57:46 PM
The Final Winter Quarters
Posted Nov 8
Author iv


(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/blog/images/27.jpg)





Gen’l,

As 2019 draws close to end, it’s time to take a look at where the Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865) stands. While a lot has been achieved so far – and it would be possible to march the game as an inexperienced greenhorn to the field – we have decided to continue drilling in winter quarters to make sure the game is ready to face the odds. While the delay to summer 2020 may come as a disappointment to the troops in the field, there will be plenty to do while preparing for the decisive summer campaign. And this time, let’s have a look at some of the remaining features in the game, and the time line to finish them – this will also answer some of the questions raised by the community recently.

From Economy to Politics.

The economic concept of the game has been described already in recent blogs Economy – Part I and Part II. Currently we are finalizing the economy with government funding controls, with 19th century references. The economy was very different back then, with most of the U.S. Government funding to cover administration costs and military upkeep coming from tariffs, excise taxes, loans and land sales. In 1860, the annual budget was a bit over $60 million. Mustering the great armies and fleets of the Civil War, more money was needed, with U.S. defence spending alone hitting its peak of nearly $1,200 million in 1865. This of course requires new ways of government funding. Here politics come in.

In the game, player can steer the direction of his nation with policies. The policies will be divided into different categories, one being the economic branch. Here player can choose to push for new means of collecting revenue, like the revenue act of 1862, introducing the first federal income tax. With this policy in place, player has access to income tax control to increase the amount of tax. While more money is collected, this will affect the wealth of the population – which they use to set up new industries and to buy goods. While the collected taxes and tariffs will not be sufficient to cover the cost of a prolonged war, issuing bonds and borrowing money will allow keeping the wheels of war turning. With problems to cover the interests, credit rating will slowly plummet and prices rise, so a strong economy is needed to fight on. Player can also step back and let the AI auto-manage the economy.

Policies are also used to drive military innovations and reforms, as well as expansion and diplomacy. By issuing government funding in form of subsidies (from the collected revenue), player can influence the policy makers. Player can for example expand the pool of recruits by introducing conscription, inspire western expansion, or improve relations with the European powers, allowing weapon imports and even purchase of modern warships.

Freedom of Action.

In Grand Tactician campaign you are free to choose your strategy and design your own operations. As the AI enemy will be doing to the same, it’s highly unlikely Your Civil War will follow the War’s historic path. This is of course a problem for me, the game and map designer, as at the same time we want historically accurate, detailed battlefields and on the other hand the battles could happen where in reality they did not.

Creating the historical battlefields and maps has already been discussed in our previous log entry. These maps will be used in the campaign. We’ve added on our campaign map, with a ton of other information, so called “battlefield markers” that control where the battlefields are located. So, if two armies clash near Manassas, then the battle will take place on this historic battlefield. The maneuvering of the units according to campaign map disposition is taken into account, so reinforcements and troop movement directions are assigned accordingly.

We’ve also added “random map markers” as well. These markers manage a number of sets of non-historic battlefields. These battlefields will also be manually created to allow the same level of detail as the historic maps. The sets are compiled according to terrain in different parts of the United States, so you would not get same randomly chosen map in Texas and Vermont. There is also an upside to not having procedural random maps: the level of detail in the maps and the game-play aspect. Even maps generated randomly for simple hex based terrain engines (Steel Panthers is a prime example) tend to produce quite good maps, but also very bad ones. And while getting your campaign randomly produce you an impossible terrain to fight in would be fairly realistic, it would certainly kill some of the fun – especially if this was the battle that would decide the fate of your nation.

And while the initial release will see a certain number of battle maps available, with the described mechanic in place, we can later on expand the number of maps and the size of the randomly picked map sets. Basically any later created map can be very easily integrated in the main campaign map, expanding the game as post-release development goes on.

The Time Line.

We are driving on, as planned previously, to include all the main features by the end of the year. With these implemented, we will have an alpha version in our hands, and will start proper testing of the game engine(s) to fix bugs and balance the game play. While alpha testing is ongoing, we will have time to polish the game, including adding campaign cut scenes using LionHeart FilmWorks’ epic footage directed by professional producer and director Matti Veekamo. A beta version should be available around March, and from there we would march on to summer 2020 release.

But before the end of the year, we are planning on releasing more info and footage from the campaign game play. So stay close to nearest telegraph station to hear the news as they appear!

Your Most Obedient Servant,

Gen’l. Ilja Varha
Chief Designer, &c.

Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on January 19, 2020, 02:19:25 AM
Grand Strategy, Part I
Posted Dec 31
Author iv

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/blog/images/28.jpg)


Gen’l,

The War was not over by Christmas, like some of the more optimistic Engineer Corps officers made you believe earlier. But as the last full development year of the game draws to an end, it’s time to take a quick peek at the campaign side of the game. Sometimes a few images tell more than a wall of text, so let’s jump right into it!

In Command of the Armies.

In the campaign, player takes a role in the high command of his chosen side’s leadership. In the above image you can see the power balance between North and South – this balance is what you are trying to tip over to your favor! Here, playing as the Union, good ‘ole Honest Abe is running the show, with good, though a lot older All-American was hero Scott in command of the northern armies. Most important thing is to keep the morale of the citizen and support high. Only this way can the Union rely on volunteers to fill the ranks, and the citizen to keep carrying the weight of the war. The listed numbers control this balance, so winning battles is just one part of the puzzle, that the population is trying to figure out from the news.

As it’s 1861, the means for funding the war are quite different from to-day:

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/contentimg/blog_2019-12/Finances.jpg)

Your government is funded by land sales and taxes, and by loans and bonds when needed. As the player, you can influence how funds are collected and then distributed – or you can leave this to the all-so-trustworthy politicians (automanage). After the fixed costs of military upkeep, the surplus can be diverted as government subsidies to support the kind of policies you choose to follow. More about the policies later. You can also compare the economic success with that of the foe.

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/contentimg/blog_2019-12/VirginiaCoast.jpg)

The Theaters of War.

In the game, the campaign takes place on an epic campaign map, spanning from Maine to Texas, from Florida to Dakota territory. The map is created from period surveys, and most important routes can be seen dotting the countryside, along with hundreds of towns, ports, ferries… The rail lines can be expanded during the game, too, as can be seen in this comparison picture (also from editor) from 1850 to 1865:

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/contentimg/blog_2019-12/Railroads.jpg)

And below is the campaign map in action. You see the roads and rail lines, along with canals, mountain passes and ferries – and the dynamic weather system creating different weather on different parts of the map.

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/contentimg/blog_2019-12/OverviewMap.jpg)

On this fine July day, the General, whose name is on every lips right now, and in a good way for now, does not need to worry about rain and muddy roads. Though he may be worried more about the untrained troops he is going to lead into battle soon, in the scorching heat.

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/contentimg/blog_2019-12/Frontlines.jpg)

When zooming out from the terrain, you, again, can use the paper map to see the big picture. When zooming all the way out, you have also tools to visualize how the campaign map lives behind the scenes. While you can see the state lines running neatly in the map, this is not the military reality. To see who is in command of what areas, player can choose to view the dynamic front lines, as they move. Here you can, for example see, how controlling forts in Virginia places parts of that state and North Carolina under Union control – a true thorn in the side. When the armies move and cities are conquered, the front lines move as well. Area and infrastructure under your control is blocked from the enemy to use freely – this includes and allows cutting supply lines!

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/contentimg/blog_2019-12/HarperFerry.jpg)

Here Patterson, who still is one of the top Generals in Union Army, has his troops camped on the northern entry to Shenandoah Valley, over watching Harper’s Ferry. As the town is under Union command, northern supplies and trade flow there freely. In case it would be blocked by the Confederates of Johnston, the flow of supplies would cease, and the transport capacity in this area would suffer. This means raiding will be an important tactic, which will not only deny the enemy important routes for the time being, but will also effect the area for a longer time, as replacing equipment, roads, railroads, etc. are needed. A well placed raid deep into enemy territory could have severe consequences, not only in cutting supply lines, but also affecting the morale and support of the population in the longer term!

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/contentimg/blog_2019-12/Intelligence.jpg)

Here, on the map, Union Army intelligence gathering is shown in a heat-map. Though McDowell rates his intelligence as excellent, he has no idea what is happening beyond the Confederate armies, and even the information about those armies is sketchy. Also seen are the combat and command radii of the army. Within the combat radius (inner circle), enemy units are engaged if the unit stance is set to offensive – if defensive, the unit will stop and start digging in. Within the command radius (outer ring) other armies can reinforce this army, in case it goes to battle. Though, the further away the other armies are, the longer it takes for them to reach the battlefield. In this position it’s even possible that Johnston’s Army would reach Manassas quicker than Patterson? Patterson could move in and hold Johnston in place (both on defensive stance and close together will fortify positions and are considered “locked” to one another), but if he’s cunning, he could slip away regardless?

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/contentimg/blog_2019-12/Fleet.jpg)

In the Chesapeake Bay, Union has a fleet ready to sail out to meet the Confederate Navy, or to support land operations by bombarding forts or escorting transports to, say, the Peninsula? But who would go on that God-forbidden swampy wasteland? At least any time soon…

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/contentimg/blog_2019-12/Recruit1.jpg)

Army Management Made Easy.

Keeping the armies in shape for fighting is vital. This means also recruitment and management. Here McDowell’s ranks are bolstered with a new Brigade. Volunteers are available where support is high, and population is available. States can, and will, provide troops for both sides of the war if the population’s support is divided. At least in Maine the rebel cause has not won many hearts, so the recruits will be heading to D.C. in blue uniform. But only for 3 months for now, as that’s what Abe said it would take to quell this pesky rebellion – and that’s how long the contract is.

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/contentimg/blog_2019-12/Recruit2.jpg)

Once the required regiments are mustered, the shiny new brigade will march to join McDowell’s 4th Division under Runyon. Depending on distance, the time can be from days to weeks. Commanders can also transfer units within the army, or between armies, by simply dragging and dropping, and off they march:

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/contentimg/blog_2019-12/TransferUnit.jpg)

And in case you’re not happy with the weapons the unit is carrying, upgrading is possible. But bear in mind, you will need functioning weapon industry or good relations with European superpowers willing to export their weapons. Standardization plays a role, so throwing expensive repeating rifles at every unit is – in addition to complete waste of ammunition – handled within the economy.

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/contentimg/blog_2019-12/UpgradeWeapon.jpg)

OK, that’s it for this year, General! More campaigning will be coming your way soon! Have a Happy New Year!

Most Respy,

Gen’l. Ilja Varha,
Chief Designer, &c.

Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on February 21, 2020, 12:07:41 AM
Campaign Game-Play
Thu, 20 February 2020

(https://steamcdn-a.akamaihd.net/steamcommunity/public/images/clans/33276817/80a1fbe5899c847215ce6a658fcd0713449c7c4f.png)

A pre-alpha campaign game-play video of Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)

A pre-alpha campaign game-play video of Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865), showcasing some of the campaign features in the game. Everything in this video is still work in progress, and subject to change during the development.

https://youtu.be/ZRdRLmPcBZw

Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on March 16, 2020, 01:02:04 AM
Pre-Alpha Trailer
Mar 8, 2020

https://youtu.be/Gu3dx_jN_tE


A trailer showing pre-alpha game-play from campaign and battle.

Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on April 16, 2020, 01:18:09 AM
Alpha Reached.
Wed, 15 April 2020

Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865) development is advancing as planned and we have reached Alpha-stage.

(https://steamcdn-a.akamaihd.net/steamcommunity/public/images/clans/33276817/82718dd9afe36ed918cda283f5c0030d7266203a.png)


Special dispatch, April 15, 2020.

Gen'l,

We're glad to report, that Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865) development is advancing as planned and we have reached Alpha-stage. This means that the game has now all the main features implemented. The final leg of the march towards Summer 2020 is now underway. Huzzah!

During the coming months we will be adding the final assets in the game and will be busy hunting and squashing bugs, improving the code, optimizing, and adding the playable content. We will also be sharing more information in our development blog, as well as releasing some new images and footage from the game - so stay tuned.

Recently we have released two new videos, which You can find below. They show the last pre-alpha -footage of the game, in form of a trailer, as well as a campaign story video, where you can see the epic re-enactment footage from Richmond, Virginia based LionHeart FilmWorks - be sure to also check out their YouTube channel, which is full of great historical videos from the Civil War to modern times! These campaign videos will be used to tell the story of the Civil War, as it unfolds.

We thank You for the continuous support! Onwards to Summer!

I am, sir, Your very ob't se'v't,

O. KEPPELMÜLLER, Gen'l. Engineer Corps.

PS. A lot of followers have asked about the historical fonts we're using in the game UI. For some, 19th-Century cursive is difficult to read, so we've lately added an option to switch to an easier to read font, if one wishes to. We'll keep on tracking the feedback and taking it into account the best we can!

Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on April 27, 2020, 02:16:07 AM
Grand Strategy, Part II
Apr 26, 09:49 pm

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/blog/images/29.jpg)


Gen’l,

The American Civil War officially ended in May 1865, four long and bloody years after the rebellion turned into armed confrontation. Though it was quite clear from the onset that the Confederacy had no real chance for victory, it took four years and hundreds of thousands of casualties to finish the war of the rebellion. But, at many points, the war could have taken a very different turn – and that’s what Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865) is all about.


Chapters & Objectives.

In our previous blog we discussed the story of the game, showing one of the  chapter videos. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNkczAky9dE&feature=youtu.be) The War, our main character, is divided into four chapters. Some followers of the blog were concerned we would use these chapters to steer the War along the historical lines, from 1st Manassas to Vicksburg to Petersburg, &c. But fear not! The chapters are there to carry the story, not the decisions made by the player.

Like revealed previously, each chapter will have some objectives to complete and to keep alive the war effort of your nation. Instead of directing the player to move certain direction, the objectives can be achieved in multiple ways. The main objective is to crush the enemy’s morale. Once the other side breaks, the game will end. This could happen early on in the game, or later than historically. It all depends on the campaign events, orchestrated by the player and the opposing AI.

Chapter I is the time before open hostilities, but the game cannot be won there. What’s the point of a Civil War game, if there is no Civil War? There are certain historical facts we are following to make sure the Civil War will erupt. For example, the southern player cannot simply choose to abolish slavery before secession – as then there most probably would not have been a secession in the first place? There will be a chance to do this later, though, but even then it’s not a simple thing to do, nor without drawbacks.

In Chapter II, as described in previous blog, there will be objectives to direct how the war will evolve. For example, winning the first major battle in the war will be an objective for both sides, and this battle will have more weight than any later battles in what comes to morale of the citizen. In general, the morale will continue to go down on both sides, the speed being dependent on campaign events like victories, losses, casualties… Some objectives will boost morale, for example by winning multiple consecutive battles, or taking the fight to the enemy’s territory.

Then there are historical objectives that player can try to achieve to gain the upper hand, like for Confederacy to capture border states and make them secede and officially join the Confederacy. In Chapters II and III there are also objectives to influence the Union elections. During the War there were two main elections: the House of Representatives election of 1862 and the presidential election of 1864. In either case, if Republicans, Mr. Lincoln’s party, would have lost, there would have been a chance of turmoil in Union policy making. If the Union support can be lowered enough, the elections will not play out as they did historically, and the nation would be further divided, driving the Union towards peace with Confederacy – which is one way for the south to win the game.

If events follow the historical lines, in the end, the war will end in exhaustion, with one side breaking first. And for the Confederacy, the underdog in the game, there is for example an objective to cause great enough casualties to make the northern spirits waver – even if own casualties would also be high.


Policies.

Many readers of the Engineer Log have been asking about how we will implement research or politics in the game. Regarding the latter you see some hints above. But in the big picture we will not handle internal or partisan policies any further. This is something that happens in the background. Instead, we have a game mechanic called “policies”, where player can set the guidelines for his nation to follow.

The policies are linked to finances. Player, whose actions are government funded, will need money for the war effort. With the collected funds player will recruit and pay military upkeep, but there is more. With government subsidies player can influence the economy of the nation, trade, diplomatic relations with the European superpowers, recruiting, public order and policy making. From these, let’s take a closer look at the policies.

Both sides have a policy tree available, with some twenty policies and similar amount of acts in them. Policies provide certain bonuses to the nation, but only a limited number of them can be chosen at a time. This forces the player to prioritize, as he cannot have it all. Funding -branch of policies allows new means of collecting government funds, military policies allow new means of recruitment, and so on. With industrial focus player can unlock new weapon types to produce, and with diplomacy policies new imported weapon types become available. Each policy “branch” has multiple levels in it, and these levels are unlocked when moving to next Chapters. Player can change the policies to follow, but this will take some time, which simulates the political debate needed. Diverting money to policy making shortens the delays and allows more policies simultaneously.

Acts on the other hand are one time political decisions that player will need to live with for the rest of the game. You can see a number of Union Acts in the bottom row of the image above. Acts are not limited in number, but they can be accessed only via certain policy, act, or a combination. Each act will bring a benefit, but also some drawbacks, so choose wisely. For with Militia Acts, player can introduce longer contracts to volunteer service to make his armies more effective in the long run, but this will reduce the amount of men willing to volunteer. And when out of volunteers, there’s the possibility to introduce recruitment bounties, with more volunteers available for money, but also introducing disciplinary issues in the ranks. Or maybe one wishes to introduce conscription, allowing drafting…

The policies and acts also allow changing the course of history. The north could end up with great relations with the natives or Europeans, while the south could try to industrialize and, at a later stage, even moderate or abolish slavery, with the possibility to recruit Confederate States Colored Troops. But, like said, all this will come with a price, and could also cause the player’s side to lose the game in the long run!


Grand Tacticians Against Micromanagement.

Like described, player has a manageable amount of tools available to change the course of history without the need to micromanage minor details. But, if the player feels even this is too much responsibility to bear, both the finances and policies can be given to the AI to handle.

Most Respy,

Gen’l. Ilja Varha,
Chief Designer, &c.


Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Skoop on April 27, 2020, 05:42:19 PM
This game looks great, can’t wait to try it.
Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on April 27, 2020, 11:48:01 PM
This game looks great, can’t wait to try it.

I have been lucky to be able to access the game while it is being developed. The devs have put in a lot of effort and it is coming along nicely :thumbsup

Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on May 29, 2020, 02:54:36 AM
Guest Blog: Philippe Thibaut.
Posted May 19

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/blog/images/30.jpg)

Gen’l,

In this devblog we have a very special guest writer. So far we have not shown the game to outsiders of the development team, except in the official updates like these dev blogs. But when a renown strategy game designer Philippe Thibaut asks to have a look at the game… Well, you show the game! You may know Philippe as the author and designer of the original board-game and PC-title Europe Universalis, or the founder and lead designer of AGEOD, including titles like Birth of America, Civil War, and the gigantic Civil War II, the most comprehensive strategy game of the American Civil War to date!

So, let Philippe himself describe his first impressions after having a look at Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865) alpha-version, the campaign and battle game-play, behind the scenes.

– Ilja Varha, Designer, The Grand Tactician -Team.


(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/contentimg/blog_2020_05/LeeQuote.png)

Meylan, France, May 12, 2020, 9 p.m.

Tonight, I was very lucky and had the honor to have a personal presentation of the brand-new game Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865) directly by its lead designer and author Ilja Varha.

First impression? Well, I am missing words…may be “Woahh…!!” is looking most appropriate.

I have been in video games for the last 22 years, worked on Europa Universalis and all the AGEOD titles, and many more other games, like the one I am doing now with my new venture Avalon Digital. I have played many monster games, including the Total War saga… but I must say that I am baffled!

This is, in my opinion and based on what I just saw, probably the best grand strategy game I have seen so far.

It has everything you can desire and dream of in such a venture. The level of details and the clarity and precision of the content is stunning. I thought we had done a lot in AGEOD’s American Civil War, but these guys did better… the content is impressive. No wonder it took so much time to design and produce, this is a treasure chest for any Civil War historian.

But even better, the game is exactly what a grand strategy game should be: you are not controlling everything, far from it, but you find yourself playing with two main levels of personification.

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/contentimg/blog_2020_05/Policies.jpg)
Player can steer his nation via different policies and Acts, like introducing conscription or, like here, investing in industrialization.

First, at the grand strategic level, you are a key member of your nation’s War Cabinet. You intervene on a lot of fields, from domestic politics and trade acts to foreign diplomacy or industrial conduct of the war effort. You are immersed in the huge task of creating your army from scratch (I saw the early 1862 Union side). And you also decide where to conscript, which units to raise, which commanders to appoint – The game has an encyclopedic list of over 1,300 commanders to assign to the various commands, both on land and at sea.

Fortunately, for the non-micromanagement fans (like me), a lot can be delegated to the AI (like running the economy) and that’s better like this. Speaking of economy, remember we are in the land of free enterprise, so the show is run by private businesses and it’s both realistic and ideal (no burden of choosing which little stupid building to build here or there)…

Second, you also get in command on the operational and semi-tactical levels: you have a wide range of realistic options and orders at your disposal as the Army’s High Command, and you shall have to decide on many issues and choices such as training troops, choosing deployments postures or trans-theater transfers. Preparing to battle is almost as important (if not more) as running the fight itself. Knowing (well, actually learning, like most commanders of the time) how to dispose and disperse your corps and divisions, how to make sure they can march to the sound of guns in good order, how to dispatch your orders so that they can be reached – and executed – in time, etc… the list is as long as a real Civil War general agenda… all beautifully displayed in a great art style.

And last, but not least, even for a grand-strategy only amateur like me, the part where you jump into the fray, finding yourself on the battlefield is even better thought. You enjoy – if I could say so – the torment of General Meade trying to guess where the Rebs are on this day of July 1863, and more generally trying to sort out reports in the midst of a very well rendered fog of war, weather constraints, fatigue and disorganization… you really feel you are there, and it is almost disturbingly real.

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/contentimg/blog_2020_05/Battle_Philippe.jpg)
We also took a staff ride around one of the historic battles.

We spent 3 hours on this game, I had the impression it lasted 10 minutes so big was my astonishment and marvel at such a vast game. I would even dare say a masterpiece.

I even wonder if I should take the risk of playing that game… it would capture my mind and soul and I could not leave it. I wish I had the means, knowledge and tools to have done something like that before (but my game was 13 years ago, an eternity…)

Bravo guys, keep up the good work, you just did immensely great and I expect a huge success for your game.

Chapeau Bas Messieurs!

Philippe Thibaut

CEO, Avalon Digital,
Head of Development and Lead Designer, SGS,
AGEOD : Founder and lead designer,
Europa Universalis: Game Author and Designer, &c.

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/contentimg/blog_2020_05/DavisQuote.png)


Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on June 02, 2020, 03:00:53 AM
European Intervention!
Posted May 31

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/blog/images/31.jpg)


Gen’l,

During the mid-19th Century, the United States was a world power, challenging the status of the more traditional European empires of the time. According to the Monroe Doctrine (1823), the United States would oppose any European interference in the Americas. But things have changed, with the Union dissolved, and a Civil War raging between the North and South.

European Empires.

In Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865) there are three European Empires, that could play a role in the Civil War. While Spain has lost many colonies in the early 19th Century, they still hold Cuba (or do they with 100% certainty?), and have the mindset of an Empire. The more prominent British and French empires are stronger, but exhausted by the Crimean War fought between 1853-1856 against the Russian Empire. In that war, where the Americans sent their own observers like one Captain George B. McClellan, warfare saw the emergence of iron plated ships and rifled muskets. The war also revealed some real problems with the traditional European military organization and tactics, usually associated with the Charge of the Light Brigade in the Battle of Balaclava.

The British, the former colonial masters and opponents in the War of 1812 still hold the Province of Canada north of the Great Lakes. During the Crimean War the regular troops from Canada were shipped to Europe, and have not returned. Instead, the province’s defenses rely on militia, with numbers and training being questionable at best. When the Civil War erupted, the British military took a neutral stance, observing the situation as it developed. This neutral stance took a sharp turn with the Trent Affair, where, in November 1861, a U.S. ship stopped and boarded British vessel Trent, taking Confederate diplomats into custody. This caused a great diplomatic uproar and the British started making plans for a possible intervention in North America, strengthening the forces in Canada and preparing an Expeditionary Force in Europe. While the British had some sympathy for the Southern cause, they remained neutral throughout the War. The existence of slavery in the South was seen as a moral issue, but cotton was direly needed in the British textile mills – a fact the Confederacy could try to take advantage of.

The French under Emperor Napoleon III had their own continental issues with Prussia, which made their intervention unlikely. While more sympathetic to the Confederacy, the French did not either officially recognize the Confederacy. But with the Civil War creating a power vacuum in North America, the French, along with British and Spanish see their opportunity to intervene in Middle American affairs. Mexico, still recovering from the stinging defeat in the war against United States between 1846-48, where they lost large part of their land, owes money to the Europeans. With the United States unable to intervene, a European expeditionary force is sent to Mexico to force President Juárez to pay. While the intervention begins as a joint European effort, it soon becomes clear that the French have far larger ambitions. The British and Spanish forces eventually withdraw, with the French pushing inland to conquer Mexico.

The French operation in Mexico is a large one, with troops numbers exceeding 30 000, almost one fifth of the French Army at the time. If the French are successful, it could be that the Confederacy would have a sympathetic southern neighbor, with interest to become the leading European cotton importer via Texas. And what if the Confederacy would be in position to directly support the French operation, allowing a stunning victory, and freeing up the French Expeditionary Force to other operations?

Diplomacy.

In the game it’s possible to try to influence the foreign relations with Europe. This is done by investing dollars in diplomacy, and also following policies that are appealing to the European nations. At that time, as Europe was exhausted by the Crimean War, feeding the citizen was a problem. The United States with their vast farmlands expanding to mid-West was a solution, and the Northern player could make the Union a true breadbasket of the world. Who would bite the feeding hand?

The Confederacy also holds an advantage, which is the majority of the world’s cotton production – at least for the time being. With industrial revolution, the textile mills in Europe need to be fed with cotton from the South. It is widely believed in Southern States that the King Cotton would be the decisive force, preventing a war with the North and bringing the Europeans to their aid if needed.

As the player you must weight the different political possibilities carefully, as you cannot be strong in all areas. During the game the possibility of an European intervention will change. And in case the Europeans are convinced that the Confederacy has a fighting chance, maybe a sympathetic nation would see their opportunity to grow their influence in North America, by siding with the South? The British position in Canada is not strong, but that direction offers a possibility to strike the Union’s heartlands from behind. A movement via Mexico would also be possible for the French, if the Mexican resistance is crushed.

The forces we use for the Europeans are such as they could have been during the Civil War. The capability to move huge armies to North America was limited, and the Europeans really understood the value of converting their fleets to ironclad ships after observing the Civil War naval operations. But they will not be a pushover, as the soldiers will be experienced and well drilled. In the image above you see some of the historical European commanders, operating in the American Theater at the time of the Civil War. If you play your cards right, you could see some of them on your side. And in the worst case, you may see some of them joining forces with the enemy! How many of them do you recognize?

Most Respy,

Gen’l. Ilja Varha,
Chief Designer, &c.

P.S. After a request from a follower, we made the interventions optional. In options menu you may choose to have the Europeans remain neutral no matter what.
Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on July 05, 2020, 01:12:05 AM
Who Are the Grand Tacticians?
Jul 2 2020

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/blog/images/34.jpg)

Gen’l,

As Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865) release is getting close, it’s time to take a look behind the scenes of the game’s development, and to introduce the core team of people behind the project. It’s safe to say, that the development of this game has been very different compared to the game dev industry norm. And it will continue to be so.

From Eager Amateurs to Determined Veterans.

In 2016, two men in Austria were thinking to themselves, that the strategy game niche was missing a game. The American Civil War is a very interesting topic to read about, and to learn about, but no-one had made a comprehensive game about the whole war. Of course there are the great titles like Sid Meier’s Gettysburg, AGEOD’s Civil War II, and more recent Ultimate General, and so on. But one title to grasp the story and the operational level of the conflict was still missing. There and then a decision was made to create one.

Oliver Keppelmüller, a 40 years old treasury banker from Austria, had already tried his wings in game development. He created a strategy game called The Seven Years War (1756-1763), alone, from scratch, releasing in late 2015. This game received 2 DLCs during 2016, expanding the battle game-play and adding a Swedish themed campaign of the Pomeranian War.

TSYW, as it’s called among friends, already included the elements that would be the cornerstones of Grand Tactician: strategic campaign layer with simulation of economy and military management, and a tactical battle layer where battles are fought when armies meet on the campaign map. The game also includes historic battles from the war, and a custom battle generator. Though, the dream was always to make a game about the American Civil War. (“I tried to create a Civil War strategy game since the mid 90’s in different coding languages and engines, but never finished… until NOW.”)

Ilja Varha, now a 36 years old Finnish Army officer and a military history buff, ran into Oliver’s game while working for a gaming magazine as a freelance writer. While the game was rough around the edges, it was very intriguing, as it did many things right, that other games usually ignored. Ilja, with a history of modding, wargaming and simulators, both entertainment and military use, got involved in Oliver’s project and designed the Pomeranian War DLC. It was after the release of this DLC that the seed for Grand Tactician was planted.

Peter Lebek, a 41 years old Control Room Operator in the Chemical Industry in Germany, joined the team in 2017 plugging a gaping hole in the team’s line. Now we had a full-time artist to improve the game’s visuals, especially the UI. Peter was previously involved in the Europa Barbarorum II mod for Total War, creating units and coding.

There was but one problem: none of us was a professional game developer within the industry, making a living developing games. This was, and still is, a caveat in a way: making the game would not make a living, so the development would need to take place during spare time, after the workdays and while supporting the families – Oliver and Ilja both had their first child right after the development started, who are now 3 years old, while Peter’s son is a few years older. Also during the development Ilja was accepted to General Staff studies in the Finnish Defence University, spending 2 years studying the art of war while developing the game… Even if this means time for development is always limited – and believe us when we say the boundaries have been pushed on many occasions – it also gave a freedom which professional game developers do not always have: as the game was not the livelihood, we were free to do whatever and however we wanted, without any outside pressure to make things one way or another, or by a certain date.

While inexperience made certain things difficult at first, during the years we’ve learned more than a few things while creating the game. But the most important lesson is that with the freedom we’ve enjoyed, we’ve been able to develop the game our way. And from the feedback we’ve received from the followers of the project and the game’s volunteer testing team, we’ve managed to do emphasize the things we wanted in the game design, from the historic looks and atmosphere to the realistic mechanisms that run under the hood.

The Underdogs with Future Plans.

The release of Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865) is approaching fast. But the release of the game is not meant to set the game in stone, only to be patched later on with a DLC or two released later. Instead, as the project is a true fruit of passion for us, we are determined to keep it alive, and improving it along the way.

For a gigantic project like this with the limited development time, and basically without any resources, it’s clear, that every feature we planned in 2016 is not yet included or polished. We plan on finalizing our vision by supporting the game for years to come, adding the missing features in the upgrades and patches – for free – while improving the game. At the same time we’ll keep expanding the existing content, like the number of battle-fields players can encounter in the campaign.

Post-release, the players will also have their say in the direction the project will steer from thereon. While Grand Tactician is planned to become a series of strategy games, we’re not in a hurry to go onwards with a new title, even if a few interesting ones are already discussed. Hopefully after the release we can also make the game more moddable, so fans can adjust it to their liking.

And we’re not in this alone. The Volunteers, from freelance artists to history buffs helping in research, have helped us immensely, increasing the game’s quality and atmosphere from the soundtrack recorded just for this game to the video cut-scenes and historical map drawing styles – none of this was planned in 2016. We’re humbled by the talent and morale of the volunteers, as well as the impact their work have had had on our small, but ambitious project!

So, as you can see, Grand Tactician is a true underdog in the game development industry. With full freedom of maneuver we are going to keep the project alive, improving it along the way, as we believe it could be the American Civil War strategy game for years to come.

Most Respy,

Author iv

The Grand Tactician -Team:

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/contentimg/blog_2020_07/TEAM_PNG_2.png)

The Grand Tactician -Team

Oliver Keppelmüller, 40, Austria, treasury banker.
“I think in 0s and 1s, hardly sleep and the 100k lines of code chase me in my dreams.”

Ilja Varha, 36, Finland, officer, FDF.
“Still got some great ideas to improve the game, though Oliver said he would die of old age before finishing my list…”

Peter Lebek, 41, Germany, Control Room Operator.
“Years ago: do you know a way how to adjust 50 black & white commander photos in one shape? Last week: we have now 1400 commanders in the database and some 1000 will have a colored portrait…”


Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on July 05, 2020, 01:26:06 AM
Starts with B and has an ETA.
Sat, 4 July 2020

(https://steamcdn-a.akamaihd.net/steam/apps/654890/ss_1f78ea64c5c2c1177d4ec72b3c89605fe0ed33c7.1920x1080.jpg?t=1593526397)

Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865) reaches BETA
A Very Special Dispatch, July 4, 2020.


Gen'l,

Sir, news from the development front of Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)! We're happy to announce to all our followers, that the game has reached Beta-stage during June. To celebrate this, we've released a new game play video on our YouTube channel, showing the historic battle feature in the game. See the video:

Beta Battle Game Play: Gettysburg
https://youtu.be/8dslT5bE-Bo


The 1st beta version game play video of Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865), showing one of the historic stand-alone battles in the game, the Battle of Gettysburg. Playing as George G.


We have also released a wealth of behind the scenes information about the game in our developer's blog (See above post.)


The forced march towards release has started, but the morale is still holding. During the coming weeks we will be sharing information about the game's initial release!

We thank You for the continuous support! Fix Bayonets - and Happy 4th of July!

I am, sir, Your very ob't se'v't,

O. KEPPELMÜLLER, Gen'l. Engineer Corps.


Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on July 08, 2020, 12:17:05 AM
LionHeart FilmWorks publishes a Grand Tactician back-story video
07 June 2020

https://youtu.be/jQnWmEUVg6E


This is one of the in-game videos, carrying the story of the American Civil War. This particular one highlights very briefly the United States before the Civil War broke out. The game has 4 chapter videos like this one plus 4 different endings, depending on events.


Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on July 21, 2020, 11:41:35 PM
Grand Tactician Releases in Early Access on the 21st of August.
Tue, July 21, 2020

(https://steamcdn-a.akamaihd.net/steamcommunity/public/images/clans/33276817/79eb0ab611f457445c19510a420eebfd1207accc.jpg)

Grand Tactician Releases in Early Access on the 21st of August.

A Very Special Dispatch, July 21, 2020.

Gen'l,

Sir, we know you have patiently waited for the order to attack. Now it's the time to make the preparations, as the attack is imminent!

On the 21st of August Grand Tactician: The Civil War 1861-1865 will be released on Steam, in Early Access, at the price of 39,99 (EUR/USD), some 10% less than the final release price (44,90 EUR/USD).

This version of the game will include three different campaign starting points (1861, 1862, and 1863), plus eleven (11) stand-alone battles.

 CLICK TO ENTER GRAND TACTICIAN STEAM PAGE (http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/index.html)


Why Early Access?

Though the game is playable, we are still hard at work to make the players' experience the best it can be. Specifically, due to the complexity of the game, bugs are still there, and the campaign game-play is not yet balanced well enough for us to be completely happy with it. A save option during battles is also one of the main improvements that the team aims at introducing as soon as possible.

For players waiting for a more refined and complete game play experience, waiting for the final release is recommended.

The game will be in Early Access for approximately the rest of the year - until we are happy with it. The time will be used for bug-fixing, balancing, adding more battle maps, and an 1864 campaign scenario.

Finally, during the early access period, players' feedback will be carefully monitored to improve the game-play experience.

After the final release, a post-release roadmap will be published, including additional features, maps, and playable content – which will be free to all owners of the game.

(https://steamcdn-a.akamaihd.net/steamcommunity/public/images/clans/33276817/261c680696dc6d6ebe355f35253a12c9a26f3fa8.png)

The soundtrack of Grand Tactician is a feature we are particularly proud of. Including only thematic songs of the period and performed by Wasel and the Weasels, the soundtrack will also be sold separately and in a special bundle with the game. This will allow listening to the songs also outside of the game, and supporting the talented volunteer musicians.

In case you want to know more about the development of Grand Tactician, don't hesitate to contact the team.

I am, sir, Your very ob't se'v't,

O. KEPPELMÜLLER, Gen'l. Engineer Corps.

Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on August 05, 2020, 02:04:30 PM
This is a great developer. The small team really is passionate about creating something deep, realistic and fun.

I have been very lucky. I was given early alpha before...well anyone outside the devs that I know of. I can't really say much due to the NDA  :RTFM

In that time I have watched this title grow. It still needs some work but it is an impressive accomplishment for such a small team  :winner

You will not have long to wait as it is in early access on 21st August this year.

Give it a try  :thumbsup

Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on August 21, 2020, 02:15:34 PM
Grand Tactician is Out Today in Early Access!
Fri, 21 August 2020

https://youtu.be/n2fg_ZEVKDA


A Very Special Dispatch, August 21, 2020.

Gen'l,

The highly anticipated real-time strategy game Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865) is now released in Early Access on Steam, at the price of 39,99 (EUR/USD), some 10% less than the final release price (44,90 EUR/USD). Also the game's Soundtrack by Wasel and the Weasels is available on Steam - and you may purchase the game and the soundtrack as a bundle for discounted price.

Early Access means the game is not yet in its final, intended form. Instead, we want to improve it further before calling it “ready”. By purchasing the Early Access version (for a discounted price), the player can already play the game, but for a more complete and polished experience, it is recommended to wait for the full release. If you’re marching with us with the Early Access release, the going will not be smooth and there will be many hardships along the way. But, instead of turning back when facing adversity, the march will continue until the final victory – the full release of the game – is achieved!


First Impressions:

"Grand Tactician: The Civil War is shaping up to be the definitive American Civil War strategy game."
 - Wargamer.com (https://www.wargamer.com/articles/grand-tactician-the-civil-war-early-access/)

"Grand Tactician: The Civil War threatens to make all previous ACW wargames redundant."
 - Rock Paper Shotgun (https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2020/07/24/the-flare-path-a2z-20/)

"Grand Tactician: The Civil War combines real-time tactical battles with a huge strategic and political layer, putting it in a league of its own in the historical strategy games genre."
 - PCGamesN (https://www.pcgamesn.com/grand-tactician/early-access-launch)

(https://cdn.cloudflare.steamstatic.com/steamcommunity/public/images/clans/33276817/9c4f3e1860272a9c78c15ffdcad7a3e4287dc1fc.jpg)


The Road Map.
The Early Access road map is shown above. It shows the major milestones from Early Access release to full release.

What is constantly ongoing in the background are bug fixes, optimization, battle AI fixes, and so on. The road map includes the larger additions to game content, that are currently still missing from the Early Access version.

For further information about the road map content, please see the latest developer's blog here:


THE EARLY ACCESS ROAD MAP (http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/blog/articles/the-early-access-road-map)

(https://cdn.cloudflare.steamstatic.com/steamcommunity/public/images/clans/33276817/fb4213d6c22efb28b146864ccc7feb1248e8933f.png)

In case you want to know more about the development of Grand Tactician, join the conversation at the game's Steam Discussion forum.

I am, sir, Your very ob't se'v't,

O. KEPPELMÜLLER, Gen'l. Engineer Corps.


Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on August 22, 2020, 03:04:04 PM
Next patch 0.72xx
21 Aug 2020


ETA ~2-3 days:

Battles:
- AI brigades now use fallbacks if outflanked (not only if morale is low)
- increased melee losses
- reworked retreat mechanism away from the enemy
- broken groups are now not taking offensive actions any more
- fixed problems with military experience leading to sudden defeats in battle right at the start (morale and fighting spirit of troops broken)

Campaign:
- fixed too high attrition due to rainfall
- fixed non-disappearing empty units, when moving between hierarchies the moved unit remained - in its old group in the background
- opening a main panel now pauses the game
- fixed: fort engagements with annihilated troops led to disappearing UI panels
- removed fow fleet variation in positioning which led to weird historic paths
- fixed: reverse campaign outcome if enemy morale breaks (victory/defeat)
- improved retreat paths for fleets to not re-trigger new naval engagements as destination port is within range of the enemy. note: in rare cases fleets may move across land (still checking this issue)
- fixed: newly created fleets are not saved
- fixed: subsidies are automatically changed after certain policies are chosen, even if automanage finances is off

Others:
- UI adjustment to fit widescreen resolutions

Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on August 26, 2020, 12:58:24 AM
Latest patch 0.7204 + hotfix 0.7205
Uploaded Aug 23, 2020:


Battles:
- AI brigades now use fallbacks if outflanked (not only if morale is low)
- increased melee losses
- reworked retreat mechanism away from the enemy
- broken groups are now not taking offensive actions any more
- fixed problems with military experience leading to sudden defeats in battle right at the start (morale and fighting spirit of troops broken)
- updated Shiloh map: removed Savannah Landing

Campaign:
- fixed too high attrition due to rainfall
- fixed non-disappearing empty units, when moving between hierarchies the moved unit remained - in its old group in the background
- opening a main panel now pauses the game
- fixed: fort engagements with annihilated troops led to disappearing UI panels
- removed fow fleet variation in positioning which led to weird historic paths
- fixed: reverse campaign outcome if enemy morale breaks (victory/defeat)
- improved retreat paths for fleets to not re-trigger new naval engagements as destination port is within range of the enemy. note: in rare cases fleets may move across land (still checking this issue)
- fixed: newly created fleets are not saved
- fixed: subsidies are automatically changed after certain policies are chosen, even if automanage finances is off
- units that face much stronger enemies now automatically withdraw, same for small groups engaging
- fort sieges cannot be manually played (assaulted) now
- fixed recruiting panel issues: stuck buttons led to frozen menus (recruiting single units and creating armies, fleets, ships)
- fixed: when reloading campaign after war in 1861 no recruiting in border states is possible
- fixed: no recruitment in California possible although Go-West policy was chosen
- fixed: commander ranks for startup units sometimes not fitting to their command
- fixed: playing 1862 as CSA shows union morale broken in strategy panel
- fixed: subordinate corps do not accept moving order if army has already the order to move
- fixed: deploy to defend now shows siege panel

Others:
- UI adjustment to fit widescreen resolutions

Issues we are still working on with high priority:
- disappearing UI elements, to help us identify this issue please take a look at this post: https://steamcommunity.com/app/654890/discussions/2/4625714282753672705/
- supply and attrition in campaign
- and dozens of other improvements

Hotfix 0.7205:
- moved automanage finances checkbox back into finances panel
- preventing fort vs fort engagements


Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on August 27, 2020, 12:55:37 PM
Latest patch 0.7211
Uploaded Aug 26, 2020:

Campaign:

- fixed: UI - policies text & automanage have shifted
- fixed: recruitment pool goes negative when disbanding units
- fixed: looping battle(s) (messages) - note: maybe further issues influences this
- fixed: frozen loads related to removed units that were still shown as spotting marks on map
- fixed: errors related to raiding and reloading campaign
- fixed: frozen loads related to zero unit strength, probably also the cause for disappearing financial figures
- fixed: wrong jacket/trouser colors for Union native units
- fixed: errors related to messages when retreating in campaign
- fixed: unread message number jumping around
- fixed: corps not moving if parent army has been given order to move while order delay was running
- fixed broken units related to clicking on wrong state in unit recruiting list (out of list etc.)
- rebalanced bad weather effects on morale and therefore attrition
- siege combats are starting always with defensive stances now, no assaults
- rebalanced casualties and duration of siege combats
- fort sieges now do not end by garrison withdrawing
- fixed: reverse battle outcome if fort garrison surrenders, note: could still happen with other units envolved
- rebalanced: sudden morale drop and mass-routing in battles
- retreating units are now not taken into account any more for battle reinforcements

Others:
- taking over desktop resolution at start, could help with blurry visuals before adjusting game resolution; NOTE: prefs in options are resetted

Other high prio topics still under observation:

- disappearing UI elements: player's observations show disable steam overlay improves
- rearranging & supplying fleets


Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on August 28, 2020, 02:48:47 AM
Latest hotfix 0.7220
28 Aug 2020

As there were a lot of reports stating crashes during the game and hints that disabling steam overlay helped we have decided to launch a quick hotfix where all steam related dll's were removed to check if this leads to improved stability.

Campaign:
- fixed non working cancel button for deleting units and ships, now updating ship pool list after deleting
- adding condition of forts to name + tooltip
- fixed: after reload the basic garrison units are shown
- fixed: policies become immediately available once clicked at

Battles:
- single brigades reform now better for range combat

Others:
- removed all steam related .dll’s to improve stability

Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on September 04, 2020, 12:54:47 AM
Latest patch 0.7307 & Hotfix 0.7312


Hotfix 0.7312, uploaded Sept 2, 2020:

- fixed 1861 trigger of war event policy
- fixed WV seceding already at start
- when removing brigades from corps and no brigade is existent below the army hierarchy both groups are removed (before: only corps, at second attempt: army)
- fixed: range radius still shown when units are removed

Patch 0.7307, uploaded Sept 1, 2020:

Campaign:
- fixed: multiple waypoints can make units teleport
- list of ships in fleet info panel now shows up correctly and is scrollable
- ships return now to harbor if condition is too bad and get repaired, condition is improved
- fixed: ship resupply not working
- when constructing ships the condition now shows the construction progress
- fixed: return to port button stuck
- fixed wrong 1862 fleet setups, could have also impacted garrisons
- fixed: resources cost for ship construction not shown
- fixed: if only one opponent sees the other through fow (higher intelligence) the other unit is stuck in retreat
- fixed: when reloading campaign (or coming back from campaign) the demand for trade nodes was exponentially increased which may have led to disappearing finances after a while
- rebalanced recruiting: now less separate groups are raised but newly raised units are added to existing groups
- fixed: not taking over battle orders & results from manually played battles (retreat etc.) due to subordinate groups not taking part in battle
- fixed: some garrisons jumping to top left position of the map when reloading campaign
- fixed: setting or canceling army waypoints also cancels independently operating corps
- fixed: running autoresolve combats are doubled when reloading game
- fixed: returning no battle result if battle resulted out of a fort siege
- fixed: units do not retreat if manual battle was initiated through fort assault
- empty fleets are now automatically removed when closing management panel (like group units)
- campaign is now paused when started/reloaded
- fixed: wrong policy research progress after reload
- removed: morale zero for all units that retreated out of battle
- changed: automatic withdrawal before battles is now checked taking the strength relation of the initial units, excluding reinforcements

Battles:
- fixed non moveable units related to switch of month and start at night

Others:
- added hints to loading screen (battles + campaigns), including hotkeys, UI hints
- Linking units now needs hotkey ALT to be pressed, this to prevent accidentally linking
- Workaround for disappearing UI

Note: prefs files are replaced, therefore update of resolution is needed.

Further topics are in work, we will post a preview asap!

Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on September 10, 2020, 04:14:08 PM
Latest Patch 0.7407
Sep 10, 2020


Campaign:
- fixed “offshore militia” bug, a unit that was created when closing military panel while recruiting
- startup armies with only brigades attached can now recruit one subordinate group level
- reworked war trigger: Militia Act I or Fort Sumter event
- reworked 1861 startup armies: appearance of Missouri units now depending on support, not secession
- enemy newspaper messages now contain correct prosa
- fixed: missouri secedes event does not change state ownership
- retreating units can now not capture towns or infrastructure
- fixed: wrong starting ownership for forts in 62+63 scenarios
- Player has now the option to decide about engagement for every strength relation
- rebalanced influence of battles on national morale, taking enemy towns now reduces enemy morale
- fixed: casualties of the nation not accumulating after battles
- Strategy overview: tonnage now includes ships in pools, European relations are added
- rebalanced AI recruitment
- added new campaign scenario: July 1861
- fixed: commanders stats are not taken over from battles/saves
- fixed: commander filters & assignments not working properly
- promotions for commanders (esp. navy) are shown already in management panel before closing the panel
- fixed: blockades not working
- transport capacity now increases exponentially with port levels
- policy “civilian ships” now also shows reduced construction materials
- fixed: wrong transport capacity usage calculation
- fixed: if <Old Dominion> policy is not active capital is nevertheless moved to Richmond
- contract length is now linked to the nation instead of the state (prevents problematic with border states from which both sides are recruiting)
- retreating units now show a red blinking flag
- fixed: “Kansas a Slave State”: effects only shown partially
- fixed: moving corps below armies in OOB may result in multiple OOB entries
- rout of units is removed on campaign layer
- unavailable commanders now excluded from officer selection
- now more than one newspaper message can be shown per day
- fixed: stuck date after year has changed

Battles:
- removed button for ceasefire for now
- optimized (esp. artillery) targeting which took a long time when wiped units were near
- fixed: reinforcements sometimes withdraw immediately (eg. Army of the Mississippi and Reserve Corps)
- fixed: invincible small artillery detachments

Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on September 23, 2020, 12:58:05 PM
Latest Patch 0.7505
Sept 23, 2020


Campaign:
- fixed: dummy commanders always start with attribute values zero
- fixed: commanders do not take over status and attributes from battle back to campaign
- fixed: suitable commanders not shown for replacements
- fixed: Go-West policy increases support in Arkansas instead of Arizona
- reworked campaign finish
- pause button now suspended when renaming units
- fixed: ships without tech constructable when deactivating checkmark “tech available”
- fixed: forts that are set to be removed at a certain date are removed when reloading a saved game after this date
- stopping armies in campaign now does not stop subordinates
- fixed: perk selection sometimes selected wrongly (if a different perk was selected before)
- fixed: ship to construct is added to fleet instead of pool if a ship was created for a fleet before
- added further commander pictures
- added further soldier images
- fixed: “2nd battle crash”
- fixed newspaper messages popping up for policies that are not active
- fixed: repeating policy newspaper messages after battles
- double assigning of commanders is not possible any more
- non-arrived units cannot be merged any more
- navy commanders can now not be commander in chief any more
- filter prefs are now saved
- retreating units cannot be stopped any more
- shorter retreat distances
- game stays paused if leaving menus/newspaper (if it was paused by player before)
- fixed: trade agreements are not recognized
- surrendered units now disappear from campaign map

Battles:
- added new 3D models for maps
- sunrise now in the east
- retreating units cannot be stopped any more
- fixed: no music is being played if battle is won

Other:
- improved scene loading speed
- added new commander pictures

Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on October 02, 2020, 03:16:15 AM
Latest Patch 0.7609
October 1, 2020


Campaign:

- no camps for deactivated armies
- no movement during nighttime
- fixed: corps with brigades directly attached are transformed to divisions not appearing on map any more after reload
- fixed: no CSA president picture is shown when resuming campaigns and Union is selected
- improved building ground textures
- music is now permanently played in the background
- fixed loading freeze related to bounty policies

Battles:

- measures to reduce blobbing: AI forms now larger groups
- marching to the sound of guns now excludes routed units so that AI groups are relieved faster for new operations
- less broken lines and melees: AI groups now move on to next objective only if fighting has ceased
- improved: errors related to moving long paths
- commanders can now be directly moved by pressing <ALT>
- separate visualization (symbols) of commanding units in battles
- improved linking of groups: groups are now not stuttering any more when linked
- changed: no sudden end of battles: AI now falls back and retreats, timer added
- resized buildings
- fixed: parapets and breastworks are not finished during deployment mode although engineering points are available
- commanders are now marching at the end of the column
- sole AI artillery units now retreating when enemy approaches
- improved: wrong facing when holding SHIFT while giving movement orders

Other:

- added 40 new commander pictures
- fixed flickering explosion animations

Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on October 08, 2020, 02:24:25 AM
Changes to new patches
05 Oct 2020

From the devs:

Hey Guys!

After the first stabilization period where we tried to fix severe bugs, crashes and memory leaks as fast as we could, we have now decided to improve the quality of upcoming patches.

Beside of informing you about the topics we work on, we will not add an ETA any more but rather publish the current state of the next patch so that we have enough time to test and to be prepared for extraordinary issues arising.

Furthermore we would like to give you the opportunity to participate live in the development of the upcoming patch by having added a <development> branch for this game. If you right-click on the game in the steam library and open prefs, you should see a <BETA> tab where you can select the <development> branch. This way you can help us testing the new patch before we go live. There will be frequent development updates every few days and we are glad for every help!

Development patches are now live!

For participation or further information about upcoming patches, please us the forum <Development Patches> :
https://steamcommunity.com/app/654890/discussions/4/

Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on October 15, 2020, 02:56:35 AM
Latest Patch 0.7707
(Uploaded October 13, 2020)


Topics (selection) that are WIP and should be included in next patch (0.78+):
•   Order delay timer info is blurry
•   morale balancing in campaign
•   performance
•   multiple campaign saves

Campaign:
•   demand and production values are now shown both per annum
•   fixed: pre-goods are sometimes not taken into account if more than one pre-good can be used
•   higher consumption (eg. when building ships) is now affecting larger IIP areas and reduce overall stock of the alliance
•   faster price-finding (slight performance win)
•   added dynamic rating system: debt load now needs to be lower in the early years of the war
•   so that player (or AI) needs to take care of the finances permanently
•   reduced starting stock of goods by 40%
•   fixed: import/exports in trade panel not shown correctly
•   fixed wrongly shown corporate/sales tax values in IIP/industry panels
•   improved calculation of standardization of weapons, depending on construction date, production capacity and available imports
•   weapon upgrades now depend on weapon standardization (and therefore production capacity) and already equipped troops
•   added monthly economic summary as message
•   fixed non-working bond issuance message
•   IIP’s that were occupied through change of frontlines now have reduced transport capacity (recovering after a while) and therefore leads to lower supply levels during offensive operations
•   low availability of supply goods now leads to lower supply ratios
•   changed functionality of supply depots: armies may now access supply depots directly if in commander’s range and therefore improves supply ratio. supply depots now add supply goods at no matter what price
•   fixed: disabling sound disables background music (0.7703)
•   fixed: policies not visible in policy overview (0.7703)
•   overhauled supply efficiency and visibility (0.7703)
•   fixed: canceling commander assignments not possible as commander button is stuck (after assigning commander) (0.7704)
•   fixed: AI always recruits volunteers (0.7704)
•   reduced speed of AI ship construction (0.7704)
•   AI now keeps a small reserve of recruits to prevent permanent recruiting of cavalry and artillery if recruits pool is low (0.7704)
•   smoke animation for buildings in campaign is stopping after a few hours not in combat/raid (0.7704)
•   non active commanders are now automatically replaced for all factions (0.7704)
•   fixed: no ammo consumption in campaign battles & no taking over of ammo states from manually played battles (0.7704)
•   reworked weapon standardization so that a few more weapons become available (0.7705)
•   fixed jumping to front unit when units are moved within OOB (0.7705)
•   reinforcements that have not arrived yet are now not retreating after a lost battle but stopped (0.7705)
•   added “consumption” of locomotives and transport ships when moving troops by rail/ship (0.7705)
•   added extraordinary demand of units, ship repairs and construction to goods info (0.7705)
•   campaign background music not overlapping with loading music (0.7705)
•   fixed: some commanders used for units pre-war although home state did not secede (0.7706)
•   fixed: ships that are constructed directly for a fleet do not increase condition during construction process (0.7706)
•   rebalanced: recruiting now happens more for existing groups, no spamming of groups in same areas (0.7706)
•   fixed: double unit counting in campaign statistics (0.7706)
•   added order delay info on large unit panel (0.7707)
•   when engagement panel opens there is no auto-scroll any more, but player can press button to move to location (0.7707)
•   fixed issues with filters (“ALL”), leading to wrong selections in OOB after recruiting/moving units (0.7707)
•   fixed non visible ship information in CSA 1861 campaign when constructing new ships and no fleets are available (0.7707)
•   fixed: freeze when engagement panel opens and certain battlefields are loaded (0.7707)
added production complexity to standardization of weapons (0.7707)

Battles:
•   fixed: stuttering units when single units establish contact to enemy while in marching column
•   fixed auto fallback for groups under stance while order delay is running and enemy is close (0.7704)
•   stuck in melee bug: “resetting” of melee status if opponent is out of range (0.7704)
•   updated historical AI for Chancellorsville (0.7704)
•   added order delay icon on large unit panel (0.7707)
•   rebalanced fatigue system (0.7707)

Others:
•   added 40 new commander pictures (0.7706)

Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on October 26, 2020, 02:18:01 AM
Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865) - Major Patch 0.7807
Sun, 25 October 2020

(https://cdn.cloudflare.steamstatic.com/steam/apps/654890/ss_1f78ea64c5c2c1177d4ec72b3c89605fe0ed33c7.1920x1080.jpg)

Adding unlimited save games per campaign scenario, new objective system and additional maps.

(https://cdn.cloudflare.steamstatic.com/steamcommunity/public/images/clans/33276817/70093e531e78efac192934ca2354e76abfa92ce7.png)

Since the Early Access release of Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865) the game has been patched regularly, improving the game play experience. In addition to bug fixes, AI and performance improvements, new campaign scenarios and battle maps have been added.

The players have also had their say. The latest patch released includes a highly requested feature, allowing unlimited save games per campaign scenario. Also included is a new historic battle of Olustee. Work on further maps, tutorial videos and mid-battle saves is already underway.

As Wargamer.com put it, the game is shaping up to be the definitive American Civil War strategy game!


Latest Patch 0.7807
(Uploaded October 25, 2020)

Campaign:
•   rebalanced morale improvement
•   fixed: stuttering and blurry text in order delay info
•   fixed exponential construction of buildings within longer sessions
•   fixed: unread messages counter permanently changing figures
•   performance improvements
•   fixed problems with finding manual construction locations
•   2nd fix retreating units still influence frontlines and occupation
•   if zero strength units are engaged in battles as first units (eg HQ’s) the first reinforcing unit is arriving immediately to prevent ghost battles
•   increased speed steps up to 50x
•   increased AI value for capitals, probably needs further balancing
•   fixed: morale and ammo level not taken over from manual battles
•   reduced construction resources for ships
•   higher increase of military experience through battles
•   fixed resetting construction time for ships when reloading
•   fixed: replaced commander (because of WIA/KIA) not showing unit stats and wrong rank
•   fixed broken brigade panel (weapons, recruiting) in army management, related to 1863 policies
•   fixed one time subsidy costs sometimes happening, needs further testing
•   first rebalancing of AI campaign objectives and repositioning
•   fixed: raiding immediately sets support to 100%

Battles:
•   removed objectives and entry points from deployment zone calculation at the end of day
•   complete overhaul of battle objective system: occupying objectives now takes time, depending on unit strength in area, every objective continuously adds victory points to the occupying side per time (the more points, the faster [can be deactivated in options menu])
•   fixed: end of day freeze when battle starts in December
•   removed cohesion deplacement for march columns
•   enemy routed units now not taken into account any more for flanking detection
•   casualties (wounded) from prior campaign battles are now not taken into account in stats and not influencing strategy decisions any more
•   fixed: sometimes national morale drop is zero after battles
•   added historical Battle of Olustee
•   lowering carbines lethality
•   fixed units sometimes not firing when playing multiple battles in one session
•   fixed: AI units are moving towards center after reforming for attack, less blobbing

Other:
•   replaced OOB font

Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on November 21, 2020, 03:48:00 AM
Latest Patch 0.8006
November 20, 2020


Campaign:
•   state support is now capped with 100%
•   states may now secede also after war broke out
•   high battle casualties now reduce support in affected states
•   fixed issue that resulted in too many AI zones that probably slowed down AI from moving to important locations
•   update to AI offensive movements: AI acts more aggressively
•   recruiting now happens more in front-states
•   added different recruitment times for each branch of arms
•   added Mine-Creek battlefield for campaigns
•   fixed: unit to fort transfer button missing for newly constructed forts
•   fixed: non working move-on-time command
•   fixed: units that are moving on rails show railroad model although even when turning off “move by railroad”
•   added tooltip infos to top bar, enhanced by rating info
•   rebalanced debt/deficit to rating ratios
•   no recruiting and constructing ships possible any more if rating is too weak
•   reversed y chart scale for rating graph

Battles:
•   roads are now not taken into account for unit alignment any more
•   fixed stuck overview report in Battle of Chickamauga
•   fixed: loading stuck at 99% when returning to campaign, caused by buildings under construction or wrong states of AI recruited units
•   added save option for historical battles
•   added save option for campaign battles
•   fixed non working barricades in Pea Ridge
•   fixed “too colorful” uniforms in some battles
•   added autosave function for battles
•   fixed: units are suffering fatigue during change of day

Others:
•   added colored images of 33 further commanders
•   fixed 2 non loaded songs
•   added to commander tooltip info: home state and current command

Please use the forum "Bug Reports" if any issues arise:
https://steamcommunity.com/app/654890/discussions/2/

Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on November 29, 2020, 04:00:41 AM
Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865) - Major Patch 0.8103
Sat, 28 November 2020

(https://steamcdn-a.akamaihd.net/steam/apps/654890/ss_1f78ea64c5c2c1177d4ec72b3c89605fe0ed33c7.1920x1080.jpg?t=1606505392)

Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865) - Early Access and Player Requests.

(https://steamcdn-a.akamaihd.net/steamcommunity/public/images/clans/33276817/db5d4445f61a0b3fdf34c703c6c65e621c0560cf.jpg)

Since we started the Early Access in August, we have been releasing new patches in a steady flow. While following the Early Access Road-Map, we have also listened to player feedback, adding and reworking features, improving the game play experience.

The first mile-stone from the Road-Map has been reached, and the game now allows mid-battle saving during both the historic battles and campaign battles. Thanks to players' reports we've been able to quickly fix related bugs as well, and keep doing so as we move forward.

The next steps have also been under development simultaneously. Map Pack #1, introducing 10 new historical battle-fields, has already been partially implemented during patching, with maps of Winchester, Olustee, Mine Creek, Cumberland Gap, Honey Springs and Honey Hill already added in the game, available for campaign battles. After three more historical maps, the next step is to start adding the randomly chosen non-historical battle-fields to increase campaign battle diversity.

And while adding maps, new historic battles have also been added: Shiloh (1862), Olustee (1864), and Wilderness (1864) are now available as stand-alone scenarios. A few more historic battles are also coming with the 1864 campaign.

Also on the Road-Map are the tutorial videos. We're proud to announce that we have teamed up with the one and only History Guy Gaming, who has already produced the first tutorial video about the game's Information and Options, and continues to produce new ones as we speak.

https://youtu.be/rqeYjpKcieE


One of the most requested features by Early Access players along with AI improvements has been the weapon upgrades. First we added a standardization feature, which limited number of available weapons, but this alone was not sufficient, as hinted by the players. In the latest patch we've reworked the standardization feature completely, and now newer and more advanced weapons will be available in smaller quantity at start, and will slowly become more common when equipping more units with them, increasing standardization. Re-arming the whole Army of the Potomac with repeating rifles is no longer possible, and as the Confederate player you may be stuck with heaps of obsolete weapons only available to your troops for some time - making capturing of Union weapons from the battle-fields after victories more important. At the same go we added improved tooltips for weapons and perks, which should help players when choosing weapons and specialization for their units.

And while the economic model has been improved in the background, we've added further information for player about the state of their economy. Credit rating is now shown on the main campaign view, and if the rating drops too low, further recruitment is no longer possible before taking steps to improve the rating via policies, taxation, government spending and so on. Also the economic hit of military operations such as blockading and raiding has been added to the strategy panel, along with information about weapon production efficiency.

Next steps will include, in addition to the items on the Road-Map, improved information about the policies and their effects, as well as possibility to choose the reinforcing units in campaign battles - both requested by the community.

The march continues. Thanks to our dedicated community, who are helping immensely with reports, suggestions and feedback, the work on the Early Access version has been progressing well. The work is not finished, but with each patch the game is getting more and more enjoyable. Public patches are to be expected, like before, approximately weekly or bi-weekly. We have also allowed Early Access players to opt for developer patches, which arrive at even steadier flow. Using the Steam betas, players can see the latest features and give feedback about them, before the public patches come out.

We are, sir, Your very ob't se'v'ts,

The Grand Tactician Team.
Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on December 23, 2020, 02:28:37 PM
Latest Patch 0.8211
13 Dec 2020


Uploaded December 13, 2020:

Campaign:
•   added campaign battle map: New Market
•   states may only change alliances once
•   fixed: AI recruiting from foreign nations
•   fixed: railroads unlocked through policies disappear after reloading
•   fixed: economic report is only shown once
•   construction of forts, telegraph lines and supply depots now only progresses if friendly unit is close
•   fixed: forts changing ownership if constructed on enemy terrain, now forts are only constructed if friendly units are close
•   added detailed info about national morale moves in strategy panel
•   fixed: objective “Invade the Confederacy” not triggering
•   unit contracts now starting from the first day of service, without recruitment delay
•   recruitment delay is now adding correct unit type to queue
•   added filter for wia/kia/pow commanders in officers panel
•   added probability of wia/pow commanders returning to command
•   added reduced attributes of returned commanders
•   added detailed tooltip information about supply in unit panel
•   some adjustments in content of messages: eg fleet arrivals, issuance of bonds
•   port blocked status now shows up if blockade ratio is >=10%
•   newly created fleets & armies now selected
•   fleets with no present ships cannot move anymore
•   fixed: river fleet can only build sea ships
•   fixed: commanders get younger after reloading
•   stuck buttons workaround
•   ai bonus now also used to adjust number of volunteers
•   changed wording of aggressiveness to prosa
•   removed too short non-spotted AI moving marks
•   fixed newspaper message: “Yankees whipped Yankees”
•   fixed: retreat paths sometimes lead towards enemy towns
•   units now also retreating during nighttime
•   construction timer now shows days left
•   added additional uniforms (cav+arty)
•   spotting marks now disappearing if enemy is revealed
•   fixed morale and ammo not taken over from manual battles
•   reworked spotting marks paths
•   fixed subsidy slider moves due to certain policy conditions
•   reversed y axe of cost charts in finances panel
•   added text label for y axe in rating chart/finances panel
•   fixed production panel charts not updating
•   policy “letters of marque” now only affect ports, not all IIPs
•   fixed: message icons unresponsive if game was reloaded
•   fixed: stuck state color in recruiting list when reopening recruitment panel
•   fleets: switching from showing minimum provisions/coal/days at sea to average as ships are permanently rotating to resupply
•   drafting now only possible if at least one town in a state is occupied
•   fixed: move on time
•   fixed: multiple newspaper messages only to be able to close when moving mouse away from paper
•   forts under siege are now not supplied any more
•   fixed: left/right unit arrow switches units into same direction
•   refix: end of day supply button only clickable if mouse was moved away first
•   campaign morale is now capped by fighting spirit too to not have differences to battle layer
•   added additional morale influence information for unit panel
•   fixed weapons being newly assigned when reloading saved campaign game
•   rebalanced: national morale drops from policies/objectives/battles slightly lowered
•   rebalanced: recruitment rebalanced a bit (smaller corps are being created: 3 corps per army, 3 divisions, 4 brigades)
•   reworked AI-zones to better rebalance AI recruiting and movement

Battles:
•   fixed sprite numbers sometimes getting much bigger when reloading, depending on the battlefield
•   AI bonus now also used for inflicting casualties on player/higher accuracy
•   creeks are now shown on papermap
•   reworked end of battles if no active units are on the field any more
•   fixed: artillery counterbattery fire does not target artillery, artillery switches towards closest unit if enemy is at canister range
•   fixed: some statistic values in battle statistics show >100 values due to FOW
•   fixed: forced march does not accelerate movement for whole groups
•   no unit overlapping (slow downs) anymore if HQ units are envolved
•   rebalanced: perk exp growths
•   preventing end of day process and retreating process to overlap
•   fixed wrong intelligence and fighting spirit averages in battle stats
•   fixed non-updating retreat timer

Others:
•   added historical font option for message log
•   added 35 more colored commander pictures
•   added new tutorial video #2
•   rebalancing: movement speeds on both layers

Please use the forum "Bug Reports" if any issues arise:
https://steamcommunity.com/app/654890/discussions/2/

Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on December 24, 2020, 03:13:24 AM
Map Pack #1 Maps.
Wed, 02 December

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/blog/images/38.jpg)

Gen’l,

To-day we will reveal to you the contents of Map Pack #1, a collection of 10 new historical battle maps that have been created during the Early Access period. The maps will appear, when fighting at the appropriate locations on the campaign map. Some of them have already been included for some time, as we’ve been adding them when ready. The Map Pack is one of the six mile stones on our Early Access Road Map.

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/contentimg/mappack1/CumberlandGap3.png)

Cumberland Gap, Kentucky.

The first map is that of Cumberland Gap, a strategically important mountain pass allowing movement from Virginia and Tennessee to Kentucky. During the Civil War this Gap was first captured by the Confederates. In 1862 7th Division, under G.W. Morgan attacked through the gap, and this map is part of his return route along the Kentucky State Road during his attack from Kentucky to Tennessee.

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/contentimg/mappack1/HoneySprings2.png)

Honey Springs, Indian Territory.

Located in modern day Oklahoma, Honey Springs was a Confederate depot in the Indian Territory, along the Texas Road running from Texas to Kansas. In July 17, 1863, the largest scale battle in Indian Territory was fought here between mainly Native American troops of the CSA, and USCT troops of the Union. In this battle the Union Army of the Frontier under J.G. Blunt, with some 3,000 men, defeated the approximately 6,000 Confederates under D.H. Cooper and captured their depot.

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/contentimg/mappack1/Olustee5.png)

Olustee, Florida.

In February 20, 1864, the largest battle of the Civil War in Florida was fought here between Confederate general Joseph Finegan and Union general Truman Seymour. In the battle Finegan defeated Seymour’s army and forced it to withdraw. Seymour was attacking on his own initiative from Jacksonville towards Tallahassee along the Florida, Atlantic & Gulf Central Railroad. Finegan placed his defences along Seymour’s axis of attack at Olustee Station, a natural choke point with Ocean Pond covering his left and a large swamp his right flank. The Historic Battle of Olustee is already available in Grand Tactician!

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/contentimg/mappack1/Carnifex1.png)

Carnifex Ferry, West Virginia.

This map saw two battles in fall of 1861: The Battle of Kessler’s Cross Lanes on August 26, and that of Carnifex Ferry on September 10. The fighting was part of the early West Virginia campaigns. At Kessler’s Cross Lanes Confederate general John B. Floyd defeated Erastus Tyler’s 7th Ohio Infantry Regiment in a surprise attack. After the battle Floyd moved south to Carnifex Ferry, where, just north of the ferry site, he dug a defensive line, from which he fought against general Rosecrans’ three brigades. After initial success and inflicting higher casualties on the Federals, Rosecrans’ artillery proved problematic, and Floyd withdrew across the Gauley River towards Lewisburg. The image shows the ferry site, and Floyd’s defensive position just north of it on the plateau.

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/contentimg/mappack1/HoneyHill.png)

Honey Hill, South Carolina.

Honey Hill is a small high ground along the Grahamville Road. On November 30, 1864, during Sherman’s March to the Sea, Coastal Division under John P. Hatch fought a small battle here against G.W. Smith’s Georgia militia. In the battle the entrenched Confederates inflicted heavy losses on the Federals, forcing them to withdraw. Hatch’s movement to Grahamville to cut the nearby railroad failed.

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/contentimg/mappack1/ChampionHill.png)

Champion Hill, Mississippi.

On May 16, 1863, Union general U.S. Grant was moving south along the Mississippi river to take Vicksburg. In a cunning and brilliant move he bypassed the fortified city and emerged south of it to first attack and drive away general Johnston’s small force at Jackson, then turning west to engage John C. Pemberton’s army of some 22,000 strong with his own force of some 32,000 men. Grant’s Army of the Tennessee attacked along the three roads, Raymond Road, Middle Road and Clinton Road in three columns, and the main fighting took place on a high ground called Champion’s Hill, shown in the image, looking from the Champion House. Grant defeated Pemberton and continued to Vicksburg to eventually capture it in what would be one of the main turning points in the war, paving way to his promotion and the eventual Union victory.

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/contentimg/mappack1/Winchester4.png)

Winchester, Virginia.

Located in the northern mouth of Shenandoah Valley, Winchester and the surrounding area saw a number of battles during the war, including 1st – 3rd Battles of Winchester and 1st and 2nd Kernstown. Winchester was of strategic importance, as it was positioned along the Shenandoah Valley Turnpike, the macadamized road running through the valley, and also the ending point of Winchester & Potomac Railroad. In the 1st Battle of Winchester “Stonewall” Jackson defeated Banks, while in the 3rd Battle Phil Sheridan defeated Jubal Early’s Army of the Valley after they had withdrawn from the gates of Washington D.C…

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/contentimg/mappack1/FortStevens2.png)

Fort Stevens, District of Columbia.

Talking of Early nearly taking Washington, D.C., here is the map where he was stopped. The Union capital was the most fortified city in the world during the Civil War. But when the fortifications were tested in July, 1864, they were manned by green troops. Early moved down the Shenandoah Valley, defeated the Union defenders in the Battle of Monocacy, and then marched down towards Washington D.C. along the 7th Street Turnpike. Along this pike was Fort Stevens, and its entrenched defensive line. On July 11 Early was facing only a hodge-podge Emergency Division, but Grant’s reinforcements, the VI Corps and a detachment from the XIX Corps arrived on time to engage the overstretched and exhausted Confederates. Even President Lincoln was observing the battle at Fort Stevens.

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/contentimg/mappack1/NewMarket.jpg)

New Market, Virginia.

Probably the most requested map, New Market is located in the Shenandoah Valley, south of Winchester along the Valley Turnpike. A sleepy small town, but made famous due to the Battle of New Market on May 15, 1864. In that battle, Franz Sigel’s army moved up the Valley to Staunton to take the important supply hub and to threaten Lee’s flank in concert with Grant’s Overland Campaign. Confederate general Breckinridge moved in to meet Sigel, and the engagement took place at New Market, where the approximately 5,500 Confederates forced Sigel’s 10,000 men to turn and withdraw. In this battle, the Virginia Militia Institute Cadet Corps was Breckinridge’s reserve, and he committed the young boys to attack Federal positions at Bushong Farm. The rest is stuff of legend.

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/contentimg/mappack1/MineCreek3.png)

Mine Creek, Kansas.

August 1864, general Sterling Price launched his raid from southern Arkansas to Missouri. His force wreaked havoc during September and most of October. When moving south from Kansas City he was pursued by Union cavalry from general Samuel R. Curtis’ army. A battle took place at Mine Creek, Kansas, where Marmaduke’s cavalry fought against Benteen’s. Union emerged victorious and Confederacy lost approximately 1,200 men versus Union’s 100. The battle was one of the largest ones between two opposing mounted forces.

Most Respy,

Gen’l. Ilja Varha,
Chief Topographer, &c.,
The Grand Tactician -Team

Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on December 30, 2020, 02:12:59 AM
Merry Christmas Billy Yank & Johnny Reb!
Wed, 23 December

December 24, and all quiet on the Potomac tonight.

(https://steamcdn-a.akamaihd.net/steamcommunity/public/images/clans/33276817/a0f0bee8dfec502eaebab5ad48425a9ac59e379d.png)


Gen'l,

December 24, and all quiet on the Potomac tonight. With the cessation of fighting, troops retire to their winter quarters. Unofficial cease-fires are agreed on, and along the picket lines the Billy Yanks and Johnny Rebs approach one another to trade coffee, tobacco, stories... and news. While still enemies, there are many things that the soldiers in blue and gray agree about:

...that the generals on both sides are getting the enlisted men killed in futile assaults against enemy works, that the newest weapons seem take too long to reach the frontline regiments, that there's never enough information about what is going on, that the food is not that great...

...and that while the Grand Tactician's Christmas patch 0.8307 does not yet bring the end to the war, it brings a lot of fixes, improvements and requested features on the table, that will keep the men fighting.

These include, among others:

•  Map Pack #1 is finished, with 10 new historical battle maps added and available during the campaign
•  Raiding option to fleets to launch surprise attacks against blockading fleets
•  More aggressive battle AI, if it has the numerical superiority
•  Rebalanced numbers of volunteers and drafts, with drafts being used to fill up volunteer units and draft units reducing support in recruiting state
•  Fixed morale loss and gain for losing or capturing cities during the campaign
•  Poor training and low support slowing down movement of armies
•  Armies no longer besieging enemy forts on the opposite bank of a river
•  Option to withdraw instead of retreating, with rear guard action and only pulling away from the immediate danger
•  New rolling text information about campaign events, like autoresolved battles including rear guard action and naval battles
•  Improved naming convention for new armies


And a lot more...

Read the full patch notes here:

Latest Patch 0.8307
Uploaded December 23, 2020:

Campaign:
•   draft acts now also increase volunteers pool slightly
•   replacements of volunteer units can now also include drafts
•   draft acts now increases replacement speed
•   drafted units now lower state support of home state
•   fixed: stuck units caused by reloading auto resolved battles
•   refixed production charts / showing multiple chart lines
•   retreat destinations now also take into account infrastructure points
•   commander attributes initially now affected by commander experience and thus military experience
•   fixed: impressment act increases draft potential
•   added initial stock for supply depots at scenario start
•   fixed: town/state references due to change of borders, eg. resulted in CSA being able to draft in Kansas 63
•   fixed: naval - fort bombardments cancelled after reloading
•   not showing newspaper & results for naval engagements with few ships only
•   added new fleet order: “Raid” against fleets operating in blockade mode
•   fixed: production panel shows corporate tax values although no corporate tax is available
•   reversed sort rank for commanders, starting with best attributes
•   fixed wrong number of guns in army management panel
•   fixed commanders being promoted when reloading & getting unavailable at the historic date during campaign
•   tooltip now shows research duration for policies
•   policy research duration now depending on number of activated policies and average state support
•   fixed newly recruited units requiring too many goods for being equipped
•   forts now show correct number of guns
•   fixed strategy panel/tradeware slider not working
•   adding rearguard actions (skirmishing) when withdrawing or retreating from battle
•   fixed: supply and reinforcement info shows wrong values
•   added campaign battle map “Champion’s Hill”
•   fixed: commanders are not being promoted if assigned to a higher unit
•   fixed wrong dispatch message about sunken ships
•   fixed: national morale effects when capturing towns not working
•   improved: message spamming for same events
•   now using pre-determined army names for newly created armies
•   added campaign battle map “Fort Stevens / Washington DC”
•   army management: fixed wrongly selected commander when a group was created after a brigade was raised
•   adding on-map rolling text info about certain events: battles, movement speed, rearguard actions
•   improved supply of “offshore” forts via sea routes
•   combat range is now restricted by rivers
•   improved: position finding when units have arrived
•   added campaign battle map “Carnifax Ferry”
•   now showing fleet orders icon “none” if no order is selected in bottom panel
•   fixed: too high perk experience gain through sieges
•   fixed: naval battles may continue although ships are returning to harbor due to ammo or supply shortages

Battles:
•   AI does not detach men to man left guns while already leaving battlefield
•   added “assault move”: AI now acts more aggressively against outgunned enemies instead of guarding objectives
•   defensive battles: if group has set defensive stance in campaign, objectives are placed around the defender
•   fixed: paths getting lost when reloading save
•   fixed: perks of detachments carrying over to parent units

Others:
•   fixed wrong number shown for move on time symbol
•   fixed: commander’s suffering reduction in attributes due to degrading multiple times
•   replaced slider graphics
•   added 36 more colored commander pictures

Please use the forum "Bug Reports" if any issues arise:
https://steamcommunity.com/app/654890/discussions/2/



We, the Grand Tactician Team would like to wish you all a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Also we'd like to thank all the Early Access players, who have supported us in making of this game, from providing feedback, to playtesting & bughunting, to the many friendly words of encouragement we have received while working hard to improve the game and finalizing it for the full release.

Cheers - and onwards!

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Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on January 08, 2021, 03:37:34 AM
Early Access Situation Report #2.
Jan 7, 09:17 pm

Author iv

(http://www.grandtactician.com/thecivilwar/blog/images/41.jpg)

Gen’l,

It’s 2021, happy New Year everyone! It has been some time since the last look into the latest new features in Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865), so here’s a quick summary of what has happened during the holidays and what is currently being worked on.

More Information.

While under the hood, there has always been a lot happening, the cause and effect -chains have not been always clear to the player. For example, why is national morale dropping, why are the units moving so slowly, or what is happening during naval engagements? Here we have introduced a lot of new information for the player in a few different ways:
-Improved tooltips. On strategy panel the tooltip now shows, for example, all effects on national morale. Perk tooltips explain the effects more accurately, including what needs to be done to level up the perk. Army supplies are now explained with more detail in the unit panel.
-Rolling texts. These texts appear on the campaign map to inform player of certain events and effects. For example, there’s information given about automatically resolved battles, sieges, troop movements including rear guard action and pursuit after battle, inflicting further casualties. While all the described effects have been there, now hopefully the player will also have the information in a timely fashion.

Re-enforcements Arriving!

One of the often requested feature has been control over reinforcements in campaign battles. Previously the system worked so, that offensive armies were to automatically reinforce, while defensive would not march to the sound of guns. We have now improved the engagement interface with further information about the engaging armies and the available reinforcements — and we now allow the player to choose which available units he would like to order to join the battle, regardless of their stance.

Navy has also received improved functionality in the form of raiding-order. Under these orders, the fleet in question will launch surprise raids against blockading fleets, engaging only a small part of the fleet. This allows numerically inferior fleets to engage and possibly sink a few ships, and then to disengage. With successful raiding the CSA can try to wage a war of attrition along the coast against the much larger Union blockading squadrons.

Currently we are working on improved retreating mechanism on the campaign map, including better retreat path-finding, retreating to forts, and disintegration of units that have no-where safe to retreat to. This is in addition to already implemented much shorter retreat routes, more orderly withdrawal, and additional capital city defensive moves by the AI.

Oh, that's what's taking all the time!
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Balancing.

A constantly ongoing work has been the game balance, including AI improvements, in both campaigns and battles. This line of operation, so to say, contains working on the already implemented features to make the game play experience smoother, more challenging and fun. Here are just a few examples from this work:

Battles:
-Fatigue and morale effects balancing,
-AI now acts more directly and aggressively, if it encounters a force with considerable numerical inferiority,
-Couriers now move faster, reducing order delays a bit, while unit movement speeds have also been readjusted,
-Reworked objective placement in historic battles,
-Defensive battles are being improved to allow the defender larger deployment area and objectives that are already held.

Campaigns:
-Policies: implementation times have been adjusted, and researching multiple policies or acts will make the progress slower,
-Recruitment numbers have been revised, so that acts will have bigger effect on available recruits, recruitment subsidies will have bigger effect, over longer period of time, and drafts can be used to reinforce depleted volunteer units. This happens without support loss, unlike recruiting full draft units,
-Commanders getting wounded or captured may return during the campaign, but their attributes are affected,
-Commander attributes are now correctly affected by their experience, and experience will drop accordingly when appointed to higher command. Also if within range from the higher HQ, the commander will influence his subordinates’ attributes. For example an aggressive commander will feed aggression in his subordinates, and vice versa,
-Intervention armies are more of a threat now, at least that’s what the troops of V Corps, told me when visited by the Army of Canada.

More than just Fremantle this time, eh...
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The Next Steps.

Work continues as planned, with focus now on finalizing added features, bug-fixing and general improvements. New content is being worked on, with the 1864 campaign database being implemented, and already adding the historic battle of New Market. Our map guru Wasel is working on the generic “random” maps, Peter has been adding commander portraits and improving the visuals here and there, and our friend History Guy Gaming is producing more Tutorial Videos as we speak — you may check out the ready ones from our  YouTube playlist, here (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLvb8TdHNKYv6LagkqjaXqk4DuB0IV5uxD)


All in all the start of the year 2021 looks busy, but also the full release is slowly getting closer and closer.

Most Respy,

Gen’l. Ilja Varha,
Chief Designer.

Title: Re: Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865)
Post by: Asid on January 15, 2021, 03:01:06 AM
Updates for the Campaign map!
Jan 13 2021


Norfolk and Hampton Roads allow now ships movement and Gosport is protected by new forts. Also coastal fortifications added in Texas.

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