Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #9

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AlbertoC
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Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #9

Post by AlbertoC » Wed Mar 06, 2019 2:18 pm

Hello All! Today we wanted to revisit the topic of random scenarios and talk about missions which you can play on various random maps we have shown before.


Attack and Defense

These are classic mission types familiar from Panzer Corps and other similar games. The attacker starts from a limited bridgehead (maybe more than one) and needs to conquer the rest of the map in the given time. It is possible to play such missions on random maps as well, both as the attacker and the defender. Such missions will also play a central role in random campaigns.


Image

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Free for All

This is another all-time classic mission type, both for single player and multiplayer. Up to 8 players can play a Free for All mission, and they all start in an exactly the same situation, with a single capital city under their control, while the rest of the map is neutral and needs to be conquered. The goal of the mission is to eliminate all opponents from the map. There is a time limit as well, but it is quite generous and there is no need to rush. It is a perfectly valid tactic to sit and wait while the other players battle it out and weaken each other. But you need to make sure none of your opponents becomes too strong as the result. Each city under control increases player’s income, so a player controlling a large part of the map is getting stronger every turn.

Image


Survival

This mission type is intended specifically for players who think that other missions are too easy in single player mode against the AI. In a survival mission, human player is placed in the middle of the map, while all the opponents are in alliance and do not fight each other. The number of opponents can range from 2 to 7, and seven enemies attacking from all directions can be hard to survive indeed.

Image


Team missions

All four mission types described above can be played in single player or multiplayer mode. For example, it is possible to have 2 humans and up to 6 AIs struggling for map control in a Free for All mission. However, each mission type also has a “team” variant, where 2 humans play coop against up to three other teams. For example, it is possible to try and hold ground in a Survival mission together with your friend against up to 6 computer players.


Other options

In addition to mission types, there are several other parameters worth mentioning.

- Shroud. In addition to standard fog of war, it is also possible to cover the whole map or some part of it with shroud, which hides not only units, but flags and terrain as well. On such maps recon becomes much more important. Shroud is a standard option in some genres (like 4x), but in Panzer Corps series it appears for the first time.
- Neutral player. Normally, neutral cities on a Free for All or Survival map are empty and can be captured by any unit easily. However, it is possible to turn on neutral player which will slowly build up defenses in neutral cities every turn. With this option, planning capture of neutral cities becomes more complex. At the same time, your units can get some initial experience before engaging your primary opponents, which is especially useful in a Survival mission.
- Free deployment. By default, the game places random starting units for all players automatically. But it is possible to skip this step and have a proper deployment phase instead, where you will purchase and deploy your whole army, within the given prestige and slot limits.

Combined with different map types, all these options provide a lot of variety in random scenarios. This new playing mode is getting a lot of attention, and we sure hope that our players will enjoy it. However, the classic campaign mode is not forgotten either, and we are right now working on a massive new campaign for Panzer Corps 2. In one of the next dev diaries we are going to tell and show more of it. Stay tuned.

PS. In the past dev diaries many people asked why we are showing screenshots without hex grid. The answer is simple: this is how we play the game internally. However, in today’s post we have turned the grid on to show how the game looks in this mode.

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #9

Post by Molve » Wed Mar 06, 2019 2:49 pm

Thank you :)

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #9

Post by PeteMitchell_2 » Wed Mar 06, 2019 2:58 pm

AlbertoC wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 2:18 pm
Team missions

All four mission types described above can be played in single player or multiplayer mode. For example, it is possible to have 2 humans and up to 6 AIs struggling for map control in a Free for All mission. However, each mission type also has a “team” variant, where 2 humans play coop against up to three other teams. For example, it is possible to try and hold ground in a Survival mission together with your friend against up to 6 computer players.
Thanks, this looks interesting!

Please allow one question regarding the available equipment, will this be alliance and/or nation specific, e.g. Axis vs. Allies, i.e. Germany/Italy/Hungary/Romania/Japan/etc. vs. Soviet Union/US/UK/France/etc. OR will everyone just have the same equipment?

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #9

Post by Rudankort » Wed Mar 06, 2019 3:29 pm

PeteMitchell_2 wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 2:58 pm
Please allow one question regarding the available equipment, will this be alliance and/or nation specific, e.g. Axis vs. Allies, i.e. Germany/Italy/Hungary/Romania/Japan/etc. vs. Soviet Union/US/UK/France/etc. OR will everyone just have the same equipment?
By default, random generator assigns a single nation to each player. This means that in a team mission, up to two different nations can exist in each team.

If you want any other configuration, you can generate a random map inside the editor, and then adjust any parameters you want, for example give any combination of nations to every player on the map.

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #9

Post by proline » Wed Mar 06, 2019 5:58 pm

AlbertoC wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 2:18 pm
PS. In the past dev diaries many people asked why we are showing screenshots without hex grid. The answer is simple: this is how we play the game internally. However, in today’s post we have turned the grid on to show how the game looks in this mode.
Thank you. The hex grid is definitely required. As these screenshots show us, air units are depicted over one hex, while their shadows fall over various other hexes while they actually occupy yet another hex. Just figuring out where a plane is requires the hex grid. It is interesting to know how you play internally. I guess if you're just messing around testing stuff but not too worried about winning then it doesn't matter so much.

Interestingly planes cast no shadows over the ocean and it looks waaaay better and less confusing too.

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #9

Post by PeteMitchell_2 » Wed Mar 06, 2019 6:09 pm

proline wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 5:58 pm
Interestingly planes cast no shadows over the ocean and it looks waaaay better and less confusing too.
I agree, maybe just skip the plane shadows altogether... less is sometimes more! ;)

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #9

Post by koopanique » Wed Mar 06, 2019 7:22 pm

I absolutely love the fact that random map against the AI are given such attention. It will be a very refreshing change from the usual "historical" scenarios/campaigns.

I also agree with posters above about shadows:
Since the beginning of the dev diairies, I found shadows to be a problem, they just don't fit well and crowd the map too much. It's a bit better now that the shadows have been "blurried", but shadows of planes are still very distracting. I would disable all shadows or at least make an option to remove them (that would also make the game run better performance-wise, I wagger :D)

Speaking of which, one of my only worries (apart from the actual AI) is related to performance. I hope the game will run well on all kinds of toasters. I do not want to have to buy a high-end PC to play PzC2 :P

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #9

Post by Rudankort » Wed Mar 06, 2019 9:41 pm

ESPADATXI wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 5:10 pm
i would request that I would like to make is to include the "minor countries" historically involved in World War II, even if it has a small intervention, the existence of its units (and countries) facilitates the development of additional scenarios and campaigns, in I would like to request that the sides and units of the Spanish Civil War be included.
Yes, this is all in the plans.
proline wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 5:58 pm
Interestingly planes cast no shadows over the ocean and it looks waaaay better and less confusing too.
PeteMitchell_2 wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 6:09 pm
I agree, maybe just skip the plane shadows altogether... less is sometimes more! ;)
koopanique wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 7:22 pm
Since the beginning of the dev diairies, I found shadows to be a problem, they just don't fit well and crowd the map too much. It's a bit better now that the shadows have been "blurried", but shadows of planes are still very distracting. I would disable all shadows or at least make an option to remove them (that would also make the game run better performance-wise, I wagger :D)
I hear you guys. I don't know where we will end up with shadows, but the option to turn them off will be included in any case. And yes, currently shadows from aircraft are broken and will be fixed.
koopanique wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 7:22 pm
Speaking of which, one of my only worries (apart from the actual AI) is related to performance. I hope the game will run well on all kinds of toasters. I do not want to have to buy a high-end PC to play PzC2 :P
Well, PzC2 is not going to match PzC1 in terms of performance on toasters. :) But we take this issue seriously. The look of the game has stabilized, and one of the devs has spent a whole month lately on performance optimizations and distributing the load between several cores (if available). I'm going to sit together with him next week and see what else can be done, after that even more optimizations will be coming.

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #9

Post by negan16 » Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:04 pm

Thanks a lot for sharing this, I really like it, it's interesting

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #9

Post by Kerensky » Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:31 pm

While interesting, I am highly skeptical to the play-ability of random content. The last screenshot for example

Image

The northern French enemy is outrageously close to the player's central position. Not only do they have so little territory I think they will have a really hard time deploying their forces, but given their proximity to the player... it sort of looks like you can just overrun their positions on your first turn and instantly remove one enemy team member from the game.

Perhaps these sorts of situations can be improved with refinement of the randomization protocols though.

That said, it still could be cool to see such procedurally created content for the new flavor it would provide. Personally, though, none of these scenarios look particularly interesting to play. Perhaps it's the lack of context random battles bring... but then I would like to see if I can make some random content myself. I'd definitely prefer a hand crafted map but with random elements. The random terrain creates all kinds of really annoying issues for smooth gameplay such as nonsensical roadworks, chokepoints and bottlenecks galore, serious spacing and distance issues relative to unit speed, and so on.

A really nice hand crafted map of a historical or purpose built location to start. For example, why have your central starting location be random terrain? Imagine if you started in a fortress, (Alamo anyone) with several rings of defensive works forming layers of perimeters around it. Then throw in the random elements (choose your faction instead of always play whatever is scenario defined and also choose or randomize your attacking enemies) and you have a solid foundation to add layers of randomness to, instead of rolling a crap shoot of a map that, at least from these samples, really raises my eyebrows as to how functional playing on them will actually be.

I actually build that fortress defense battle scenario in one of our past games, but it was limited for many reasons. I look forward to revisiting the idea in Panzer Corps II with apparently a lot more interesting tools to work with to help facilitate those designs.

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #9

Post by Kerensky » Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:45 pm

I also have a concern that isn't being addressed with these continuing updates.

Okay so we got the hex grind... what about city and location names? I'm guessing we won't have text right on the map because that's not a Panzer Corps tradition, but I'm starting to wonder how it's going to work, because I don't see any room in the UI as its been. Will it be some sidebar that is just not showing in these images, and as you mouse over the map you get hex coordinates and terrain text showing there?

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #9

Post by maguro » Thu Mar 07, 2019 3:00 am

All great additions to me. I especially like the neutral player option and had been wishing it were available in PzC for a while now.

Visually, relative to the rest of terrain changes (improvements IMO), the marshland terrain type is such a huge improvement.

Thanks for the update!

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #9

Post by proline » Thu Mar 07, 2019 4:27 am

Kerensky wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:45 pm
I also have a concern that isn't being addressed with these continuing updates.

Okay so we got the hex grind... what about city and location names? I'm guessing we won't have text right on the map because that's not a Panzer Corps tradition, but I'm starting to wonder how it's going to work, because I don't see any room in the UI as its been. Will it be some sidebar that is just not showing in these images, and as you mouse over the map you get hex coordinates and terrain text showing there?
There are some campaigns that were carefully made and even the lakes and rivers are named. Others maps less so. I notice the difference and appreciate that kind of thing. Minding the details is important.

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #9

Post by Retributarr » Thu Mar 07, 2019 5:26 am

proline wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 4:27 am
Kerensky wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:45 pm
I also have a concern that isn't being addressed with these continuing updates.
Okay so we got the hex grind... what about city and location names? "I don't see any room in the UI as its been."
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
proline wrote:
There are some campaigns that were carefully made and even the lakes and rivers are named. Others maps less so. I notice the difference and appreciate that kind of thing. Minding the details is important.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Maybe I'm lost and haven't understood this discussion as I would need tool.
I'm not acquainted with programing and other such related matter's. 'How-ever', just for a 'shot in the dark',... could something else be temporarily turned off when the player is on the game-screen, that isn't required for main game screen use,...in order to re-capture those required resources that could then be used/re-directed to then be able to display city and location names?.

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #9

Post by funat » Thu Mar 07, 2019 7:25 am

Random map and resources gain through controlling more cities? You mean Civilization without economy, diplomacy, culture, religion, etc..? Why introduce scope creep instead of focusing on the game mechanics, scenarios and AI? This looks like a Civ 6 syndrom - going wide trying to address a broader market without clear vision and focus. This has nothing to do with Panzer Corps. This is never gonna be finished.

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #9

Post by WarHomer » Thu Mar 07, 2019 12:14 pm

Not for me. I exclusively play historical campaign.

I generally like the graphics, but aren´t the unit counters a bit large and obtrusive?

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #9

Post by PeteMitchell_2 » Thu Mar 07, 2019 1:46 pm

Kerensky wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:31 pm
The northern French enemy is outrageously close to the player's central position. Not only do they have so little territory I think they will have a really hard time deploying their forces, but given their proximity to the player... it sort of looks like you can just overrun their positions on your first turn and instantly remove one enemy team member from the game.

Perhaps these sorts of situations can be improved with refinement of the randomization protocols though.
I think the map is just too small for so many players, i.e. with an estimated 30x20 hexes at the moment, well it depends on the number of units of course but there needs to be a sound ratio I guess.

Will the game be able to support big maps as well, e.g. as with the current Battlefield Europe mod there are 175x113 hexes while Northern Scandinavia and Kola Peninsula with Murmansk (as well as parts of the Persian Corridor) are not even on the map yet... so let's say can the new PzC2 game support maps with around 200x150 hexes (and how many units max)? :mrgreen:

Also, will there be some sort of turn limit for randomized MP maps, e.g. what happens in case you run into a stalemate... greetings from Verdun 1916? :shock:

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #9

Post by proline » Thu Mar 07, 2019 2:27 pm

Kerensky wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:31 pm
While interesting, I am highly skeptical to the play-ability of random content.
I'm happy they are exploring this are but it's hard to see random content being as fun as a well crafted history inspired scenario. Being attacked from 5 directions at once, for example, would likely play a lot like the two Berlin East scenarios. Those are long, dull, scenarios where you spend the first 20 turns sitting in a defensive perimeter waiting for your enemies to die, then you race across an empty map taking all the objectives.

Similarly, a FFA with human players would involve spending a lot of time waiting for other people to move, while a FFA with AI players would depend on the quality of decisions the AI makes, which are not good.

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #9

Post by NiMa » Thu Mar 07, 2019 4:54 pm

Wow thanks, that looks exciting!

I have a question and I will appreciate if you can shed a light on it:
Can we expect to see a grand (strategic) DLC similar to the Battlefield Europe mod in PzC2?

Quite obviously It goes beyond saying numerous people including me have actually been wondering and looking forward to seeing something like this in coming in PzC2 :)

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Re: Panzer Corps 2 - Dev Diary #9

Post by Rudankort » Thu Mar 07, 2019 6:27 pm

Kerensky wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:31 pm
The northern French enemy is outrageously close to the player's central position. Not only do they have so little territory I think they will have a really hard time deploying their forces, but given their proximity to the player... it sort of looks like you can just overrun their positions on your first turn and instantly remove one enemy team member from the game.

Perhaps these sorts of situations can be improved with refinement of the randomization protocols though.
I will readily acknowledge that the random generator is not perfect yet and can be improved further. However, in this particular case, the problem is also related to the fact that I wanted to show a typical Survival scenario on a map which would fit in a screenshot, so I used an absolutely minimal size for this number of players (it's Medium in game's terms). You could easily create a similar map for five players which would be 5 times larger. In this case it will be much harder to blitzkrieg any of your opponents.
Kerensky wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:45 pm
I also have a concern that isn't being addressed with these continuing updates.

Okay so we got the hex grind... what about city and location names? I'm guessing we won't have text right on the map because that's not a Panzer Corps tradition, but I'm starting to wonder how it's going to work, because I don't see any room in the UI as its been. Will it be some sidebar that is just not showing in these images, and as you mouse over the map you get hex coordinates and terrain text showing there?
The plan is to use a hybrid system. As in Panzer Corps, map names will appear in UI in terrain panel, which will appear in the same place where unit panels appear, and there will be additional information in this panel too (terrain type, bonus for capturing, terrain traits, movement table). This naming method will be used for large objects like rivers, seas, lakes, mountain ranges etc.

However, for really special objects (like capitals and major cities) we are going to allow showing the name directly on the map.
WarHomer wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 12:14 pm
I generally like the graphics, but aren´t the unit counters a bit large and obtrusive?
Indeed they are at this zoom level, but you will rarely play at this kind of a zoom without using strategic mode.
PeteMitchell_2 wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 1:46 pm
Will the game be able to support big maps as well, e.g. as with the current Battlefield Europe mod there are 175x113 hexes while Northern Scandinavia and Kola Peninsula with Murmansk (as well as parts of the Persian Corridor) are not even on the map yet... so let's say can the new PzC2 game support maps with around 200x150 hexes (and how many units max)? :mrgreen:
We use converted map from Battlefield Europe as one of our stress tests. I must admit that right now performance with this map is not stellar, and it uses lots of memory. :) We may need to break the map into pieces, unload/reload them on demand etc. At some point in development I hope to revisit this problem.
PeteMitchell_2 wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 1:46 pm
Also, will there be some sort of turn limit for randomized MP maps, e.g. what happens in case you run into a stalemate... greetings from Verdun 1916? :shock:
To use time limit or not is entirely up to you, but I guess that most people will use it.
NiMa wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 4:54 pm
I have a question and I will appreciate if you can shed a light on it:
Can we expect to see a grand (strategic) DLC similar to the Battlefield Europe mod in PzC2?
I cannot promise it at this point, but personally I think it would be a great idea.

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