Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #3

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AlbertoC
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Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #3

Post by AlbertoC » Wed Aug 29, 2018 12:56 pm

Welcome to the third Dev Diary of Panzer Corps 2! This time we'll focus on aspects which were left out in the previous two diaries. As previously, though, we'll treat them in a rather generalistic way, but from the next dev diary onwards you can expect more indepth information about specific areas of the game.


Graphics

Despite a significant change in underlying technology (3D and Unreal Engine), we have tried to preserve the same general approach to graphics which always worked so well in past games. Terrain is clean and unobtrusive, and units are big, crystal-clear and stand out well from the map. This is important when the game has hundreds of different units, and the player must be able to distinguish them all at a glance. That’s why we never considered showing several smaller models for a single unit, which might look more “real”, but ultimately is not usable in this kind of a game.

As for terrain, we have drawn a lot of inspiration from Panzer General 2, which was widely considered the most beautiful in the old Panzer General series. At the same time, our maps are not hand drawn or otherwise constructed from small atomic elements, and so they are much quicker to create.




UI

The UI in Panzer Corps 2 is a huge step forward in terms of functionality and usability when compared to its predecessor. It can scale to any monitor size (all assets are done in 4K and scale to the required size), adapt to any screen ratio, and allows scaling of certain elements (like the unit list and the minimap) to make the best use of screen space on any monitor, from square to super-wide or multiple monitor configuration.

We are making sure that all information about unit stats, traits, game rules etc. is available directly on screen or in the tooltips and is easy to find. All commands will also be available on the screen and easily discoverable, without relying on hot keys and other obscure means to invoke a function. We can’t wait to show the new UI in action.


Image

Panzer Corps did not require the player to do a lot of routine micromanagement, but in the sequel we have tried to reduce it even further. For example, the player no longer needs to use “Supply” button manually. All units will receive their supply (fuel and ammo) automatically, as long as supply is possible.


AI

The AI in Panzer Corps 2 is a complete rewrite, it does not reuse any code from Panzer Corps, and it uses some more advanced approaches. This means that the sequel will feature a new, completely different AI opponent.

The new AI is designed and implemented with random maps and random campaigns in mind. This means that it cannot rely on AI scripting at all. It must be able to figure out the structure of any map on its own, achieve any kind of scenario objective and try to prevent the opponent from doing the same. It can also purchase and deploy its whole army in case there are no preconfigured units in a given scenario.

On the other hand, AI scripting options in Panzer Corps 2 are also richer than in its predecessor. This means that it is possible to fine-tune the AI to exact desired behavior, which can be useful in a historical setting.


Editor and modding

Modding community of Panzer Corps was always strong and vibrant, and we are fully committed to making Panzer Corps 2 a modder-friendly game as well. Panzer Corps 2 will include the editor from day one, and this editor will be even easier to use than the editor in Panzer Corps. Although the new map engine is 3D, scenario designer still only needs to specify terrain type for each hex, and the rest of the map will be generated by the engine automatically. Other useful features not found in its predecessor are full support of Undo/Redo, group operations on hexes and units and much more streamlined interface for scripting and AI. At the same time, the designer can bypass all UI and write scripts directly in Lua language which requires a certain skill but gives immense flexibility and power in return.

Just like in Panzer Corps, gameplay data tables will remain in open text format and can be easily edited. People familiar with Unreal Engine can download Unreal Editor and create much deeper mods, which includes adding new units, new terrain types, changing map generation rules etc.

Also, we are working on a proper mod manager which was sorely missing in Panzer Corps.


The main point we were trying to make in these three introductionary dev diaries is that Panzer Corps 2 is far from a mere facelift. While staying true to traditions of the series, our goal is to improve playing experience across the board, and every single aspect of the new game receives a lot of thought and attention. It’s a huge and very ambitious project for our small team, and we really want to make it right, so it is taking a lot of time. In fact, much more time than originally expected. In hindsight, we were a bit too optimistic with our estimations and should have probably delayed the announcement. So, please bear with us, and we sure hope that once the game is released, it will be worth the wait.

See you in the next dev diary!

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #3

Post by Resolute » Fri Aug 31, 2018 6:31 pm

I really do like the models, think they look great. Do non-infantry units now also get entrenchment and how does that work? The screenshot says 60/70, how does that affect their defensive stats? Does it move to 70 after one round of not moving?

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #3

Post by Rudankort » Fri Aug 31, 2018 9:56 pm

Resolute wrote:
Fri Aug 31, 2018 6:31 pm
I really do like the models, think they look great. Do non-infantry units now also get entrenchment and how does that work? The screenshot says 60/70, how does that affect their defensive stats? Does it move to 70 after one round of not moving?
Sorry, this data field is not properly connected to real game data yet. :oops: Entrenchment levels will be similar to Panzer Corps, although there will be slightly more of them (about 1.5x times more). The fastest to entrench will be infantry and towed guns. Other units will gain base entrenchment from terrain too, but beyond that will increase it very slowly.

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #3

Post by Delta66 » Sat Sep 01, 2018 12:29 pm

The screenshot doesn't bode well.
The problem with highly detailled graphics, is that it is ver y obvious that the units scale doesn't match at all with the background terrain. It really destroys the immersion for me. Units facing in every direction make the situation harder to read. This is how 3D gfx ruins the experience.
The abstarction and simplification in PzC I was better and cleaner gameplay wise.

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #3

Post by Rudankort » Sat Sep 01, 2018 2:04 pm

Delta66 wrote:
Sat Sep 01, 2018 12:29 pm
The screenshot doesn't bode well.
The problem with highly detailled graphics, is that it is ver y obvious that the units scale doesn't match at all with the background terrain. It really destroys the immersion for me. Units facing in every direction make the situation harder to read. This is how 3D gfx ruins the experience.
The abstarction and simplification in PzC I was better and cleaner gameplay wise.
I'm not aware of any fundamental reason why human brain can accept scale differences in 2D, but not in 3D. If you've seen any research which can explain it, by all means share it, it would be interesting to read. We could speculate that the difference in view angle (top-down view on the map vs. profile view on the units) has something to do with it, but in Panzer General 2 these angles were identical and it did not bother people all that much. And yes, PG2 used more than 2 unit orientations as well. This is a design decision, it does not depend on underlying tech (2D vs. 3D).

Image

It's interesting to note that Panzer Corps used rendered 3D for all its units and some of its terrain. If we were making a 2D modern sequel to Panzer General 2, we might end up with picture very similar to what you see on Panzer Corps 2 screenshots now.

Personally, I believe that this is simply a matter of habit. I remember very similar feelings when shift to 3D occurred in mainstream gaming. For example, I argued that graphics of Heroes 3 was superior to 3D graphics of Heroes 5. I could give many reasons for this, like 3D was not as crisp, clean and clear, but ultimately it just looked "different" and "not right" to me. Eventually I got used to it, and now I can enjoy both 2D and 3D games equally, as long as they are made well.

Which reminds me. I've seen reaction of some younger people to the old golden classics which used 320x200 VGA resolution. Needless to say, their reaction was not positive at all. But back in early nineties we got used to this super-low resolution and could play and enjoy the games using it. In fact, we even found pixel art quite "charming" and could claim that "more realistic" higher res SVGA graphics did not have as much "charm" and "soul" in it. :)

More than anything else, our habits affect our preferences. Which is of course fine. All I'm saying is, when Panzer Corps 2 comes out, I suggest to give it a chance. Maybe it will not be as bad as the first impressions would imply.

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #3

Post by Razz1 » Tue Sep 04, 2018 11:50 pm

Looking better.
Love the Editor option.

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #3

Post by carramba66 » Wed Sep 05, 2018 9:25 pm

And what about historical customization? Famous German panzer leaders, historical units, its insignia, names. Will there will we be able to fight with Panzer Lehr with its commander, symbol, equipment? Photo of leading general, maybe some bonus, medals...

We all are playing on soldiers, you know.

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #3

Post by jeffoot77 » Thu Sep 06, 2018 1:49 pm

"Units facing in every direction make the situation harder to read."

--> why units don't naturally face the closest enemy unit?

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #3

Post by Asap » Fri Sep 07, 2018 9:42 pm

Panzer Corps 2 looks great, I really like what I have seen and read about this game and I would like to try it out!
There is one question I have. Do wheels or the tracks of tanks move? :)
"The sun is new each day" Heraclitus

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #3

Post by johnbuz9 » Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:03 pm

Is there going to be an option to show the map in 2D? Sorry, I'm not a fan of the 3D graphics. I dont like graphics that try to pretend each combat unit is an individual tank or squad.

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #3

Post by jad43 » Sat Sep 08, 2018 2:09 pm

In the classic version of PC, units could only see the hex next to it. This is not quite so realistic. I would like it if the units had a certain field of view, a tank should be able to see further than infantry unit and have greater range of fire than an infantry unit. If an infantry unit can only see the hex next to it then a tank should be able to see at least 2 hexes away and fire. I am sure you get my point.

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #3

Post by Mark50 » Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:16 pm

I just want to say that I`ve played all the games in the PG franchise and, from what can be seen in the presentations, I think you`ve currently got the best graphics so far. I see no step back, side-wise or whatever and I`m particularly impressed by what you`ve achieved with the terrain graphics. They`re both complicated/detailed enough and also sufficiently non-intrusive.

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #3

Post by robertcomposer » Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:05 am

Delta66 wrote:
Sat Sep 01, 2018 12:29 pm
The screenshot doesn't bode well.
The problem with highly detailled graphics, is that it is ver y obvious that the units scale doesn't match at all with the background terrain. It really destroys the immersion for me. Units facing in every direction make the situation harder to read. This is how 3D gfx ruins the experience.
The abstarction and simplification in PzC I was better and cleaner gameplay wise.
I was the director of user interface for several very high level web areas - you would know the names. Looks great - but listen to these comments - they are spot on.

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #3

Post by Rudankort » Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:23 am

carramba66 wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 9:25 pm
And what about historical customization? Famous German panzer leaders, historical units, its insignia, names. Will there will we be able to fight with Panzer Lehr with its commander, symbol, equipment? Photo of leading general, maybe some bonus, medals...
New game will provide customization options to cover most of this, but we don't plan to apply this level of detail to our own content, because in a Panzer Corps game the player writes his own history and builds his own core force, which is not necessarily historic.
jeffoot77 wrote:
Thu Sep 06, 2018 1:49 pm
--> why units don't naturally face the closest enemy unit?
This would not work all that well in many cases (for example, when "closest" enemy unit is actually quite far away, or when there are several enemy units nearby etc.). Time-proven way in this kind of a game is that the unit keeps facing used in its last action (move or attack).
Asap wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 9:42 pm
There is one question I have. Do wheels or the tracks of tanks move? :)
Well nothing like World of Tanks standard :) but we do model all wheels separately from the bodies, and yes they can rotate.
johnbuz9 wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:03 pm
Is there going to be an option to show the map in 2D? Sorry, I'm not a fan of the 3D graphics. I dont like graphics that try to pretend each combat unit is an individual tank or squad.
We don't exclude a 2D option, but we'll try to make 3D view work for everyone first. Once the beta starts, we'll see where to go from there.
jad43 wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 2:09 pm
In the classic version of PC, units could only see the hex next to it. This is not quite so realistic. I would like it if the units had a certain field of view, a tank should be able to see further than infantry unit and have greater range of fire than an infantry unit. If an infantry unit can only see the hex next to it then a tank should be able to see at least 2 hexes away and fire. I am sure you get my point.
In PzC units had different spotting range, and in Panzer Corps 2 it will be the same. As for firing range, it depends on map scale. On operational scale which most scenarios in Panzer Corps have, it is only realistic to have zero-range units, because the hexes are too big (e. g. 10-20 km long). However, the game does represent the differences in firing range via unit's initiative stat.
Mark50 wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:16 pm
I just want to say that I`ve played all the games in the PG franchise and, from what can be seen in the presentations, I think you`ve currently got the best graphics so far. I see no step back, side-wise or whatever and I`m particularly impressed by what you`ve achieved with the terrain graphics. They`re both complicated/detailed enough and also sufficiently non-intrusive.
Thanks for this comment. It's great to know that our approach to graphics has its supporters, although, as other comments show, not all people are fans of it. :)
robertcomposer wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:05 am
I was the director of user interface for several very high level web areas - you would know the names. Looks great - but listen to these comments - they are spot on.
Hi Robert. So, if you were designing this game, how would you solve these problems?

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #3

Post by Mark50 » Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:38 pm

Rudankort wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:23 am
Thanks for this comment. It's great to know that our approach to graphics has its supporters, although, as other comments show, not all people are fans of it. :)
I still remember fondly the graphics of PG 2, but when I first installed it - having played the original PG series - I did think that it doesn`t "feel right". :D

I`m not sure how you could have done it better, to be honest. Video graphics in this sort of games are just artistic representations. There are functionality issues to consider, but one way or the other you depend alot on what people are willing to see.

EDIT: btw, has there been any tentative estimation of what specs will be needed to run this game?

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #3

Post by Rudankort » Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:19 am

Mark50 wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:38 pm
EDIT: btw, has there been any tentative estimation of what specs will be needed to run this game?
I've answered a similar question recently:
http://slitherine.com/forum/viewtopic.p ... 28#p740628

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #3

Post by rajatgupta124 » Tue Sep 11, 2018 1:24 pm

The tank models look good. is the transition from 2d to 3d making the game release getting delayed ? Though they look good, i'm concerned about effect on minimum specs

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #3

Post by Mark50 » Tue Sep 11, 2018 2:19 pm

Rudankort wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 3:19 am
I've answered a similar question recently:
Ok, but could you say what CPU you have on your seven years old PC so I can, indirectly, make some sort of an idea? :D I`m not asking just to be indiscreet. I`m in the need to build a new machine in the near future and since resource hungry games aren`t really my thing anymore I`m not looking to buy something powerful. At the same time I`d hate it to not be able to play this particular game at a good detail level.

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #3

Post by Rudankort » Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:18 pm

Mark50 wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 2:19 pm
Ok, but could you say what CPU you have on your seven years old PC so I can, indirectly, make some sort of an idea? :D I`m not asking just to be indiscreet. I`m in the need to build a new machine in the near future and since resource hungry games aren`t really my thing anymore I`m not looking to buy something powerful. At the same time I`d hate it to not be able to play this particular game at a good detail level.
My processor is 2600K, but I don't think processor is going to be a bottle neck. The number of cores especially will affect AI performance, but should not affect your gameplay experience otherwise.

On the other hand, progress in processors these days is slow, so if I were upgrading now, I would get something top of the line. Otherwise, I may not notice much difference with my 2600K. :)

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #3

Post by Rudankort » Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:22 pm

rajatgupta124 wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 1:24 pm
The tank models look good. is the transition from 2d to 3d making the game release getting delayed ? Though they look good, i'm concerned about effect on minimum specs
3d is just one of the reasons. The thing is, new project is much larger and more complex than Panzer Corps ever was. If you look at Panzer Corps 1.0, it was quite bare bones, and a lot of functionality was added over the years via patches. In Panzer Corps 2 we don't only bring the same functionality, but also adding a lot of features on top.

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