Welcome and Q&A

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The sequel to a real classic: Panzer Corps is back!

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Rudankort
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Welcome and Q&A

Post by Rudankort » Wed Mar 15, 2017 11:36 am

Hello All!

Now that the dust has settled down a bit after Panzer Corps 2 announcement, I would like to thank everyone for the overwhelming response. For all of us involved in making the new game, this is a great motivation to push forward at an even faster pace. Some comments may seem negative on the first glance, but in my opinion, they show that people actually care about the series and it's future, and to me personally this is very encouraging. Thanks guys, and welcome to our new shiny Panzer Corps 2 forum. I still fondly remember our heated discussions of Panzer Corps gameplay on this very board several years ago. I think, fan community played an important part in how Panzer Corps shaped. Together, we were an awesome team. Let's do it again. :)

In this post I'm going to answer some initial questions and address certain concerns sparkled by the initial announcement. Most likely, this will not persuade the sceptics, but at least some of our decisions will be more clear.

Let's start.


Why doesn't the trailer show any in-game art or gameplay?

I understand that some people strongly dislike such trailers. The reason why we made it is simple. We wanted to announce the game early, so that we could openly discuss it with fan community before it was too late to change things and implement suggestions. We wanted the players to tell us what they wanted and affect our decisions how to develop the sequel. We felt that without such feedback the game would not be as good as it could be.

It is important to note that Panzer Corps style gameplay requires to freeze things early. Unlike other genres, like 4X, here we have big campaigns which take lots of time to design and balance. Changing gameplay late in development cycle may break the campaigns and require to start balancing from scratch. This is why it's so important to start the discussions as early as possible.

So, we needed to announce the game. But, at this point we still don't have any artwork which we are ready to show to the world. Not because there is very little done (quite the contrary!), but we still expect a lot of changes in how the game looks. Basically, we had only two options:
1. Make the trailer without game footage, as it stands now.
2. Announce with text only.

But the latter option is not perfect. Many people don't like to read walls of text, and videos have their own channels of distribution, where text is just not possible. Just look at the number of views on Slitherine's official YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atlCCw1HDsw. So we decided to go with option 1. But personally, I can't wait to show what we are up to, and sure hope that some artwork will be released soon.


Why 3D?

Here is a quote from my DevBlog:
What to expect from the new game?

First of all, an improved modern-looking 3D graphics powered by a state-of-the-art game engine.Like Panzer General 20 years ago, we want the game to be a gateway into the wonderful world of wargaming for more casual audiences. If you compare Panzer Corps gameplay to games like Civilization, Heroes of Might and Magic Heroes and XCOM, you can’t help thinking that Panzer Corps is no more complex and no less addictive. Millions of players are enjoying these games. They should be able to enjoy Panzer Corps too. But for younger players out there, moden graphics seems to be a prerequisite. So, we are going to make sure the game looks good enough for any player potentially interested in playing it.

But 3D looks ugly!

This used to be true when 3D technology was still new, and in its day Panzer General series probably tried to go 3D too early. But those times are long gone. Nowadays, both 2D and 3D titles can look great or crappy, and it has nothing to do with technology. If anything, great graphics requires vision, lots of talent and skill and (ideally) money. :)

But as a tool, modern 3D technologies are much more powerful and flexible than 2D, which did not really develop in the last 20 years. There is a reason why most developers migrate to 3D these days. It's not only limited to big guys like Firaxis, Paradox or Ubisoft, or medium-sized developers, like Stardock and Amplitude. Most significant titles from Slitherine are also 3D: Battle Academy and all games based on the same angine, Order of Battle, Pandora, Space Program Manager and many others. Other small studios are also looking in this direction, for example the sequel to Unity of Command will be 3D. It's not like we are probing some new ground here. On the contrary, Panzer Corps series seems to be the last to jump this wagon. :) Progress cannot be stopped, all we can do is follow it.


But 3D games do not remain actual as long!

Once again, it used to be true when 3D technology developed so fast, games from last year already looked obsolete. But now, 3D technology is mature, and things do not change so fast any more. For example, many people (myself included) still consider Civilization 5 a beautiful game, 7 years after its initial release.


But gameplay is more important than graphics!

I can certainly agree that without good gameplay, any effort spent on graphics will be wasted. You cannot fool the players. They will not play your game because of looks if gameplay is crap. But the opposite is also true. Without good graphics, lots of people will never try the game and appreciate its gameplay, no matter how good it is.

To rephrase Anton Chekhov here, games should be beautiful in every way—in their gameplay, graphics, AI, UX and all the other aspects. :)


I'm concerned about performance.

We'll do our best to profile and optimize the game, and expect that it will perform well on actual systems (it's not exactly a complex game like Star Wars Battlefront :) ). But the original Panzer Corps will likely remain better in this regard. After all, 2D technology worked well 20 years ago, so nowadays it can run on virtually anything.


What about the modding? Isn't it more difficult to mod 3D?

We'll have to wait and see how it turns out. We understand the importance of modding, and totally admire our modding community which has created so many great projects for Panzer Corps.

Compared to Panzer Corps, modding options in Panzer Corps 2 will be different. Some things might actually be easier, because Panzer Corps certainly had its share of unmoddable and hard-coded things. Some other things will probably be harder to mod. For example, adding new units to the game will require some 3D modeling. But then again, in a large and vibrant modding community people who posses necessary skills can create the models, while the others will reuse them in their projects. Some 3D turn-based strategies were also great modding platforms (once again Civilization comes to mind), so 3D technology is not a problem in itself here.


OK, you wanted to go 3D, but why Unreal? Isn't it an engine for shooters?

First of all, in this day, only big companies can afford to create 3D engine from scratch, tailored to their specific needs. Small developers are much better off using an existing engine and spending time and money on their specific games. Modern 3D engines provide a lot of features, cross-platform development, editors and tools, marketplace with various assets created by third parties, and big communitiy which creates tutorials, answers questions on the forums and otherwise helps new developers to learn the technology. Source code of the engine is also usually available. Such huge benefits just cannot be ignored.

The choice of Unreal over other engines (like Unity) is a more complex question. In part, it's a question of taste (for example, our team believes in C++ which gives better options to optimize calculation-intensive code, like AI). In part, it's a question of strategy (the choice was made not just for Panzer Corps 2, but also with our future games in mind). In any event, Unreal is widely recognized as 3D engine with state-of-the-art image quality and performance. And it's use has now gone way beyond FPS genre. XCOM and Heroes of Might and Magic are famous examples of turn based strategies based on this technology. Slitherine now also have a few games based on Unreal in their pipeline.


Will there be any new game mechanics? I would not like just a graphics upgrade.

Absolutely. To quote my DevBlog again:
Then, of course there is the gameplay. For me personally, this will always remain a top priority. When Panzer Corps originally came out, it was widely praised by the press and players alike, but some people felt that the game did not bring enough innovation to the table. This time, it is going to be different. Our promise to the fans of the series is that there won’t be lack of innovation in the sequel. We are not going to try and sell the same game with updated looks one more time. Panzer Corps has certainly got a lot of content. Total number of scenarios across all expansions and DLCs approaches a whopping 400. Many fans of the series still have not finished playing through all campaigns available. I think, in Panzer Corps 2 the players will expect a new experience, not just more content. And this is what we are going to deliver.

Will there be prestige soft cap?

NO.


Is this the end of Panzer Corps?

Absolutely not! While we don't have any plans to release more "official" content for Panzer Corps (I'm sure the modders can fill this gap), we still have a lot of other plans. In fact, some news in this regard might be coming very soon. Stay tuned. :)


When will Panzer Corps 2 be released?

We will not rush the game out, and will only release it when we are happy with it. Since this is still rather far away, and lots of unpredictable things can happen, any day or even month we give now will likely be wrong. We are reasonably confident that we'll be ready next year, so this is what the announcement has stated.

To give you some perspective, the game was playable several months ago, which includes some game mechanics, map and units, controls and AI. So, it's not like we are on an early stage. But it's a huge project, and we still have a lot of work to do.


I've never heard about Flashback Games. Where does it come from?

As the sole game designer and programmer of the series, I was involved in Panzer Corps from the very beginning. In fact, this game grew from an earlier project of mine. But my development studio, Flashback Games, was founded only after the initial release of Panzer Corps, and many people are still not aware of it. It's no big deal, as far as I'm concerned. Important thing here is that the sequel will be designed by the same person, so there won't be any drastic change of course.

You can learn more about Flashback Games and its origins here:
http://flashback.games/about-us/

goose_2
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Re: Welcome and Q&A

Post by goose_2 » Wed Mar 15, 2017 1:12 pm

After thoroughly reading your very thorough response, I only have one thing I can think to say.

God Bless you. :mrgreen:
goose_2
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TSPC37730
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Re: Welcome and Q&A

Post by TSPC37730 » Wed Mar 15, 2017 1:48 pm

Rudankort - thanks for the long & detailed post. There's been some light shed on the team's thinking.

To me, the original Panzer General was a classic, yet also something of a niche game. Panzer Corps did a great job of remaking the game yet adding new content. Replicating that kind of success in Panzer Corps 2 would be a fantastic achievement.

What I've noted in your post and in other areas is a desire to reach out to new gamers. I understand this from a business perspective. I hope this desire does not consume the focus of the team however. The Madden series have been great games. Civilization has also been a great series. So have a variety of FPS games. But, for all of their greatness, none of these games are for everyone. As PC is a niche sort of game, making too many changes in an effort to appease the masses can easily backfire and ruin PC2.

I recall reading an interview with Sid Meier (I have no idea where, it was some time ago). He explained that in his success with keeping the Civilization series going, he tried use the following "formula" when creating a new version of the game. One third the same, one third improved, and one third new. I think a similar plan would be good for PC 2, although perhaps a little less on the "new" side.

So, in my opinion, the keys to success for the team will be to identify what makes PC great in the players' eyes, and to identify areas for improvements. I hope you and the team will use the collective input of this forum as a source to help you figure out both what made PC great and what areas can be improved. I would suggest looking into repeated themes, ideas & problem areas.

I'm looking forward to the new game. But, again, take your time and do it right. You and the team have earned the benefit of the doubt with PC. Please keep us posted on your progress.

hs1611
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Re: Welcome and Q&A

Post by hs1611 » Wed Mar 15, 2017 3:58 pm

Since this is a Q&A topic I will post no comments or suggestions here, only questions.

1 - You said
Rudankort wrote:It is important to note that Panzer Corps style gameplay requires to freeze things early.
Does this mean that any suggestions we make now will not be considered for the initial release of PzC 2, but only for following updates?

2 - The beauty of PzC is its simplicity, easy to learn hard to master style. No overcomplication (is that a word?) or micromanagement.
Will PzC 2 be the same?

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Re: Welcome and Q&A

Post by Yrfin » Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:51 pm

What features of PzC WON'T be included in PzC II?
Shoot first. Ask questions later.

Rudankort
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Re: Welcome and Q&A

Post by Rudankort » Wed Mar 15, 2017 5:25 pm

Does this mean that any suggestions we make now will not be considered for the initial release of PzC 2, but only for following updates?

No! Announcement was timed exactly so that we can still adjust our gameplay plans based on suggestions from the community.


The beauty of PzC is its simplicity, easy to learn hard to master style. No overcomplication (is that a word?) or micromanagement. Will PzC 2 be the same?

Yes. I think that simplicity is one of the most important, defining traits of Panzer Corps. If we drop it, this will be a different game.


What features of PzC WON'T be included in PzC II?

Right out of my head, I can't think of any such features. Many game mechanics will be transformed in various ways, but we are going to keep them all, one way or another.

goose_2
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Re: Welcome and Q&A

Post by goose_2 » Wed Mar 15, 2017 5:40 pm

not soft cap you will be removing that

I appreciate the intention of this restriction, just think it should be able to turn on or off or even to be adjustable to increase/decrease difficulty

I may be alone in thinking this, but I do not mind the restrictions that a soft cap brings.

So I would say getting rid of it is not necessary, just needs to be adjustable and have the ability to remove it.
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Rudankort
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Re: Welcome and Q&A

Post by Rudankort » Wed Mar 15, 2017 5:57 pm

You got me on soft cap, although it is difficult to call it a "feature", just a small peculiarity in prestige awarding formula. It has so many problems, I don't think it should be in the game even as an option. There will be enough ways to challenge yourself in Panzer Corps 2, many of which will be new.

goose_2
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Re: Welcome and Q&A

Post by goose_2 » Wed Mar 15, 2017 6:00 pm

Rudankort wrote:You got me on soft cap, although it is difficult to call it a "feature", just a small peculiarity in prestige awarding formula. It has so many problems, I don't think it should be in the game even as an option. There will be enough ways to challenge yourself in Panzer Corps 2, many of which will be new.

Great, love to hear it.

I will hold you to that. ;)
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Yrfin
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Re: Welcome and Q&A

Post by Yrfin » Wed Mar 15, 2017 6:36 pm

Whether the ScenarioEditor II will be included in a package together with PzC II?
Shoot first. Ask questions later.

Rudankort
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Re: Welcome and Q&A

Post by Rudankort » Wed Mar 15, 2017 6:39 pm

Yrfin wrote:Whether the ScenarioEditor II will be included in a package together with PzC II?
Yes of course. Without this, it would be hard to talk about any meaningful modding.

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Re: Welcome and Q&A

Post by asuser » Wed Mar 15, 2017 8:04 pm

Thank you for the little "in deep" look to your future and further doing. The right comrade for that work!

Future / Refresh of the original PC: Is there a chance to see further .exe patches after the nice hot fix for attacksub... like updates for movement types, abilities and other things?

hs1611
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Re: Welcome and Q&A

Post by hs1611 » Wed Mar 15, 2017 8:45 pm

3 - Could we have a "Suggestions" subforum?
That way each individual suggestion could be discussed on its own topic, instead of the mess it is now.

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Re: Welcome and Q&A

Post by Kerensky » Wed Mar 15, 2017 9:20 pm

A word on 3D.

I remember Panzer General 3D Assault and how people pretty much blamed it for killing the franchise because it was so bad. I don't really remember the graphics that much, but what I DO distinctly remember is the gameplay was a monumental step backwards from Panzer General and Panzer General 2. That's what I remember killing my interesting in the Panzer General franchise, at least until Panzer Corps came along. ;)

So 2D or 3D graphics, I'm not gonna prejudge the decision. I absolutely adored the original X Com Enemy Unknown when I was younger, and I think the new X-Com and X-Com 2 are a billion times better than Xenonaughts, which I see as refusing to innovate and just ending up being an massively mutated nostalgia trip on steroids. And some people really liked Xenonaughts, but X-Com 2 clearly reached a wider audience and was more popular, though I'm sure some of that can be attributed to their developers being a AAA company.

Lastly. You know what modern X-Com has that is super cool? The rapid fire animation sequences you get from overwatch ambushes.. actually let me add that to the suggestion thread instead of rambling offtopic here.

EDIT: Oh god I'm naked, stripped of my rank and title. Such shame!

EDIT 2: No longer naked. w00t

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Re: Welcome and Q&A

Post by SERGBOX1 » Thu Mar 16, 2017 10:51 am

Very good news. as a suggestion - when unit gets cross, display it on the icon at the bottom. nice to see that heroic unit.

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Re: Welcome and Q&A

Post by TSPC37730 » Thu Mar 16, 2017 1:47 pm

Any plans for changing the way SE units are handled? I'd like to see other classes besides infantry & armor - or fighters as in US Corps.

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Re: Welcome and Q&A

Post by grouser » Mon Mar 20, 2017 3:27 am

After playing SSI's Panzer General in all of it's glorious incarnations and spending an embarrassing amount of time playing Panzer Corps, I can unequivocally state that I luv this game design. If it's at all possible, I would like to ask for two "improvements" . . . ..
1. Could you overlay a set of supply rules/map? I think it would help long term game play if you could /toggle supply rules on or off. The same way you can turn "Fog of War" on or off.
2. Could you flesh out or provide more depth to personalized units. I really enjoyed obtaining the special units and I thought it would be neat if there was a mechanism (spending prestige) to tune them how I want. I'd like to see units rewarded for reaching certain plateaus. (every 100 kills, every 20 scenarios, max damage, etc). I'd like to pick the heroes attributes (it would cost something, loose a turn in the next scenario, late deployment, bad scenario placement, etc). I would really like to see the reward for finishing a scenario early scale with the number of turns left.

Thank for continuing the Panzer Corps lineage.

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Re: Welcome and Q&A

Post by Akkula » Mon Mar 20, 2017 4:08 am

Although I am happy about PzC 2, this announcements confirm that my days as modder are counted.
With the 3D, no chance for new units or total conversions.
Eastern Front: Soviet Storm (v1.96): http://www.slitherine.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=147&t=50342
Modern Conflicts (v1.1): http://www.slitherine.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=147&t=72062

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Re: Welcome and Q&A

Post by IainMcNeil » Mon Mar 20, 2017 3:01 pm

Akkula wrote:Although I am happy about PzC 2, this announcements confirm that my days as modder are counted.
With the 3D, no chance for new units or total conversions.
Not necessarily. You may find you need help with the 3D models if you want units models that don't exist but the textures are just images you can paint over if you wanted to add a Hungarian PzIV or whatever, and the editor deals with maps. So there is a lot you can do without 3D.

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Re: Welcome and Q&A

Post by nikivdd » Mon Mar 20, 2017 4:34 pm

IainMcNeil wrote:
Akkula wrote:Although I am happy about PzC 2, this announcements confirm that my days as modder are counted.
With the 3D, no chance for new units or total conversions.
Not necessarily. You may find you need help with the 3D models if you want units models that don't exist but the textures are just images you can paint over if you wanted to add a Hungarian PzIV or whatever, and the editor deals with maps. So there is a lot you can do without 3D.
German equipment in service of Axis minors could be included straight away in the vanilla version. Graphic unsavvy people like myself would be grateful.
https://www.facebook.com/NikivddPanzerCorps/
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