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Next Ultimate General Game, What would you like to see?

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I feel I should mention that in a recent "Rock, Paper, Shotgun" article, Nick confirmed that the next game would be Ultimate General: Antietam.



Which is awesome by the way. 

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ACW Campaign game of the Eastern Theater.

The map would only need to be 150 miles X 80 miles.

At this scale it would be possible to include the road & rail network and topographical features.

Movement over the map would be based on the road/railroad network & Union sea-transport.

The smallest unit of movement would be the brigade.

The largest unit of movement would be the Army.

The current system of UGG circle-drag-and-drop or player-defined combined units (e.g., Corps) would be used to move troops.

The UGG team develops the Campaign Map and a tactical battlefield map editor.

Tactical battles would only be possible at points where battlefield maps existed (e.g., Gettysburg and Antietam initially).

The Community would use the tactical battlefield map editor to produce additional battlefield maps and submit these to the UGG team for approval.

Once approved the maps would be included in the Campaign Game library of battlefield maps.

Each tactical map would add an additional tactical point-of-battle to the campaign map.

The UGG engine could be used to resolve the tactical battles.

This way the design team could leverage the community proactively by distributing some of the work outlined by Lincolns Mullet to the community.

As the number and quality of the tactical battlefield maps improves over time the UGG team can pull higher quality maps into their Campaign Map points-of-conflict library.

The community will naturally focus on the major battlefields - providing a point-to-point campaign game initially (as described by Lincolns Mullet above).

Over time the community could "fill in" the areas of the map where battles could have occurred - but didn't.

Specifically areas like the "Pipe Creek Circular" etc...

The end result would be a high-level campaign map with point-to-point battlefields that would be increasingly more robust over time.

The key is the software architecture and vision at the start of the campaign game design.

Abstracting the movement on the Campaign Map would be drag-and-click (similar to the current tactical method in UGG).

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Campaign Map Implementation Thoughts:

The commands on the Campaign Map would be based on the types of troops the player selected to move (cavalry, infantry, artillery, supply/support) and their mission (raid, screen, recon, or battle formation for cavalry; road column, movement battle formation, or forage for infantry; artillery would be attached to either cavalry or infantry. Artillery formations moving as an independent force would move in road column.

The goal for the South would be destroying the Northern army or winning public opinion as stated above by Koro.

Public opinion is influenced by battlefield results and control of key cities.

To keep the game dynamic don't assign/disclose hard VP numbers to cities.

You need to take a place to understand the impact on public opinion (e.g., Baltimore captured early in the war, when casualties are still low, results in Maryland joining the South).

The key to game balance would be the requirement for the Union to protect critical Northern cities/territories (e.g., Harrisburg, Baltimore, D.C., Harper's Ferry and the Valley).

The goal for the North would be subduing the South by capturing key cities (e.g., Frederiscksburg, Norfolk and Richmond) or destroying the Southern army.

Both sides would be subject to fog-of-war that would make actual troop strengths difficult to determine. Fog-of-war would be decreased for armies operating in friendly territory. Additionally, inside their own territory each side could influence where they allocate their fog-of-war capabilities (ala Magruder in the Peninsular Campaign).

The CSA would have the ability to deploy slaves to construct earthworks and prepare defenses.

Abstractions would include straggling, civilian guides, spies, scouts, and traitors. These factors would influence the accuracy/flow of information to penetrate the fog-of-war and bring the war to a successful conclusion.

The game would be a combination of strategy, bluffing, and a few factors beyond control.

Playing each side would have unique challenges, and each game would be different.

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David, I like where you're going with this.  It's not an easy undertaking if the devs wanted go this route.  There are two key issues that would be a major factor in the development of this "campaign" game.  And I highly stress the word key here:  the level of detail the game will simulate and provide for player input/choices, and the creation of a map editor for players to make their own maps/scenarios.

 

I've never mentioned it, but I love the map in UGG.  They did a great job with that and I'm sure it's not easy to recreate, to a realistic scale, the entire topography and layout of the entire battle.  It'd be interesting to hear how they made the map in UGG.

 

My short-lived career in game design for a professional company was the result of making homemade scenarios using a proprietary map editor for a little game called Empire Earth.  They saw what I did, liked it, and hired me to work on two follow up games making scenarios.  I can't stress enough how important this tool is to the longevity of a game.  And if created, the UGG team will basically conscript a small platoon of amateur map editors to create battlefields that anyone can download and use in the campaign game or multiplayer.  These battles wouldn't necessarily have to be "approved" by the dev team.  The community can decide what is useful and what isn't.

 

When there were homemade scenarios uploaded for Empire Earth, people could rate and review them.  The # of downloads was also a testament to the popularity of a scenario.  So there could, eventually, be "community approved" scenarios that are generally accepted as being as close to the historical battle/map as possible.  Having the devs' stamp of a approval would be great too, of course, and maybe all they would need to do is review someone's final product and suggest changes to make it "approved by the devs".  This alone would alleviate much of the work in creating new battles by the dev team.

 

If they build a scenario editor that can create maps, drop down trees, fences, buildings, etc, and allow for basic scripting (if this VP location taken, send Stannard division in from this location on the map) then the devs would basically allow for years of amateur development using this game engine.  Imagine if you will, that over ten years time, dozens of Civil War battles have been meticulously created, both small and large engagements.  They can even add the ability to graphically mod unit types.  I know they said that would kill performance, but PC players who *can* take advantage of having Zouaves and black hats on the Iron brigade can choose to do so.

 

But, I'm getting ahead of myself. lol.

 

The other key factor is level of detail in terms of the overall campaign.  What are the core elements we want the player to focus on?  Maneuvering armies?  Do we want to make the player responsible for rebuilding decimated brigades after a battle? Do they control research and development?  Building fortifications?  How many different unit types will be represented?  How are these units created, trained, joined into divisions?  Who leads them?  How are officers handled?  Can they be killed, sacked, replaced?  Are naval units represented and how are they built and moved around?  The list is quite endless.

 

Blizzard has been very successful at what they do because they create and test a simple game element to see if its fun, and expand on it.  Is clicking on a monster, killing it, and getting a shiny new weapon fun?  Yes.  Let's work with this.

 

The core element of the grand campaign needs to be awesome.  That is, the "thing" you're going to be doing the most of when playing the campaign.  Is it maneuvering of the grand army?  Managing your "side" by balancing several factors?  (Morale, Money, Army Strength)

 

Let's say the grand campaign focuses on 3 core aspects:  National Morale, Finances, Army Strength (Ie, building/maintaining the army, fighting battles, etc).  This would mean the grand campaign is about balancing your ability to build, maintain, and fight with your army.  That's it.  The North, as you mention David, may have the finances backing their military but their national morale is fragile.  Lose too many battles, or lose key battles, and the war may end early. As the South, your finances are tight but your national morale is high.  You can afford to lose battles, but you can't afford to keep replacing men and arms.

 

This kind of "core" game design (not saying my above example is it) would need to follow in UGG's footsteps and provide a seamless, easy to learn but difficult to master game that doesn't bog the player down in minutiae.  Otherwise, if you go down that path where you start adding more and more detail, you start competing with grand strategy Civil War games that already exist and did a great job at creating a deep campaign experience.  Of course, the big difference with this game would be the ability to actually play out those battles.  But still, its a slippery slope to go down when you start deciding what "detail" needs to be in a grand campaign game and what doesn't.  As you mention David, a lot of elements can be abstracted or simulated in the "background" but still factoring into the actual gameplay significantly.

 

This is fun to talk about, that's for sure.  And we're probably wayyyy ahead of ourselves here but I think we all hope Nick finds enough success with these games to keep going bigger and better, and maybe one day be able to do something like this!

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Lincolns M,

Personally I hate to see another static VP-based point campaign game.

In my mind you want players to be actively campaigning with maneuver/play - rather than sit in static positions. Static games are REALLY boring - and don't attract an audience for very long.

Given that the war was about gaining/preventing international recognition/intervention, negotiating an end to the war politically, and keeping the armies fed I'd prefer the game to focus on both the political metrics and resources preservation/accumulation. This would force the CSA to have the motivation to move & stay North while protecting their rail lines to the South.

Need to run - but I'll add some thoughts later.

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I agree with you. In a way though, by putting emphasis on certain cities you create a defacto VP system without actually calling it that. But as you said, by adding a political layer to battlefield victories and where/how far each army advances into enemy territory (and its effects on logistics) you create a more realistic campaign that keeps the focus on manuevering and successful battles. Looking forward to hearing more from you!

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LM,

I wasn't thinking so much about cities as VP's - but more for their impact on the political situation and ability to draw recruits. Rather than VP's I think of this in the context of momentum. Taking an individual city might have a minimal impact if the casualties to achieve the result were too costly. Taking and holding Harrisburg & Baltimore early in the war, while threatening Philadelphia would definitely swing the momentum in favor of the CSA for example.

Thus rather than VP's I'm thinking more of a "momentum algorithm" that factors in events including casualties, areas under control, and the ability to take and hold cities. The algorithm doesn't need to be complex - but it should be comprehensible so that players can predict the results of their actions.

On the logistics side the farming areas were critical for supply. The ANV was able to scratch out enough food to sustain the army as long as they held the Shenandoah Valley. When this vital resource area was picked clean Lee was forced to go North, starve in Virginia, or retreat South with some or all of his army to balance food supply with demand.

To a large extent the Gettysburg Campaign was a massive raid that ended in a battle. The meat ration in the ANV required butchering 300 head of cattle per day. During the course of the Campaign the ANV appropriated more than 26,000 head of cattle, 22,000 sheep, and about 30,000 hogs. These rations on the hoof were herded back to Virginia during the Campaign. CSA commissary estimates stated this was enough meat to feed the ANV and CSA troops in the Richmond area for at least six months - sustaining northern Virginia through the end of 1863.

In the aftermath of Gettysburg John Sedwick caught up with one of the Northern herds headed South on July 26: "We captured twelve thousand head of cattle and eight thousand head of sheep that the enemy had driven from Pennsylvania."

During the Campaign horses seemed to be classified as "contraband of war" and were taken by the thousands. Jenkins cavalry brigade was particularly active in this role as his irregular cavalry brigade was of little combat utility and questionable reconnaissance/screening value as their ability to accurately estimate enemy forces they had encountered was so inaccurate as to be taken with a grain of salt.

I'd suspect that the mechanics would not be very difficult to define given the vast amount of detailed information we have on the quality of the road network, distances between locations, predictable distances covered, etc...

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I would love a game that takes battle simulation to a next level of reality.

Picture this: you are Lee at the battle of Gettysburg. Not some god-like creature with satelite overview of the whole battle, but Lee incarnate. Mounting a horse, looking for some vantage point to overlook the battlefield, knowing only what reports/scouts/officers manage to send your way in dispatches, having some maps to look into, but not always accurate, getting a feel of the battle, but not at all being sure if what you've ordered is actually happening!

 

Meeting your staff, listening to their advice, sending messengers, sending reinforcements, setting things in place and then hoping they will play out as you hoped they would. Just like in real life, with all inherit problems of command: some of your underlings will be too slow to act on your orders, some unwilling to comply, some will not have it in them to be another Stonewall etc. You will suffer uncertainty, stress, feel elation, take huge risks based on limited information and try to come to terms with hundreds of wounded and dead soldiers you will see all around knowing you sent them to their doom, just like in real battle.

 

All of this with first person type graphics, take your judgements from what you can see with your binoculars and what you hear from reports/messages.

To make it more interesting you can than alternate your role. For example you can jump from Lee to some brigade commander on the field. You will only have a limited vision/scope for orders in regards to whole battle, but you can still have some decisive influence over one particular element of it. From a first person/staff orders perspective you might be the one leading succesfull charge that will break the line on cementary ridge or alternatively witness it's utter failure.

 

Than you can go a step further and alternate from commander to your avarage private. No care in the world for strategy and tactics. You have your weapon and enemy in front of you. Try to brave through Picket charge and see how far you get. If you get shredded by a carnister on the way, well then, game over. Try again! If you try and are lucky enough to sharpshoot Mead's head off his shoulders in the process, you might have just won a whole battle!

 

Such is my ultimate game of all games. Anyone else would want to try such thing?

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Rather than 100 days, i would love to see the devs produce a game about the battle of Austerlitz. Let me explain: the disproportion of force and the apparently bizarre strategy choices of Napoleon would make for very intense first scenarios, where the french right flank will have to hold against much heavier forces. it would create many interessting fictional scenarios: what if the right hadn't held? What if Napoleon had commited the guard to help on the right, etc, etc... 

 

I think a battle which is even today remembered as the greatest example of military genius in history deserves the treatment of such a game. 

 

that was my two cents, 

 

cheers

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All of these Napoleonic requests are too much.  There are many other wars during the age of line battles other than the Napoleonic wars.  Why not a game set during the Nine Years War, War of the Spanish Succession, Great Northern War, Scanian War (going further back it would be necessary to bring in Pike units), or any other war other than the American Civil War or Napoleonic wars?  If you consider yourself  a fan of history and a wargamer, you need to expand your horizons.

 

Also the market has MANY games already dealing with the Napoleonic era.  Histwar Grognards, it without doubt the best in this field. 
 

Along with going to different wars, Ultimate General DESPERATELY needs a campaign.  Fighting the same scripted battle over and over again will get boring and being veterans of the Total War series, I think the developers for Ultimate General want open ended campaigns as well. 

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Well it's happened, a thread i started has become hot on the Ultimate General Gettysburg Forums, and personally only 85(or less if you've replied more than once) have put in suggestions, but over 9000 views, which means it is an interesting topic, i'd like to thank you guys as this is my first thread that has become really popular, and now that i've play more than a hundred hours of ultimate general, i've got one big complaint, and there is probably a thread for this, but the UNION MORALE IS SO SHITTY I CAN'T HOLD THE FUCKING POINTS on the first battle of day one, ah but i hope this will be solved, or at least make the union a little bit more powerful, anyways back to the thread. I wish more of you 9000 viewers would reply as darth probably does look at this, and it may help him out with your suggestions, and if you see something already posted that you were going to post, post your whatever anyways, as it shows that the community would like the next game to be during this battle or era or whatever. thanks and i'll reply whenever i get on... probably after fallout 4

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All of these Napoleonic requests are too much.  There are many other wars during the age of line battles other than the Napoleonic wars.  Why not a game set during the Nine Years War, War of the Spanish Succession, Great Northern War, Scanian War (going further back it would be necessary to bring in Pike units), or any other war other than the American Civil War or Napoleonic wars?  If you consider yourself  a fan of history and a wargamer, you need to expand your horizons.
 
Also the market has MANY games already dealing with the Napoleonic era.  Histwar Grognards, it without doubt the best in this field. 

 

 

I absolutely agree. Why these people seem to be convinced the world needs another fucking game about Waterloo or Austerlitz is beyond me. There are so many extremely interesting battles from so many interesting eras out there. Why some people seem intent on having the shit be further beat out of the exact same dead horse, I will never be able to understand or respect.

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but the UNION MORALE IS SO SHITTY I CAN'T HOLD THE FUCKING POINTS on the first battle of day one, ah but i hope this will be solved, or at least make the union a little bit more powerful, anyways back to the thread.

Are you talking about singleplayer or multiplayer?  Just wondering as I've been able to hold all the VP's in the first battle of day 1 as Union even against boosted AI.

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I haven't read the entire thread, but I think many are taking the wrong approach here.  I love the idea of adding a strategy map element to the game (like Total War has, but please do it better than those idiots), but even then, I'd hate to be locked into a single campaign...

 

A better alternative would be to let modders create the content.  Give users the tools needed to make a CUSTOM strategy game and user-created battle scenarios.  This series can easily compete with the Total War series if you go the opposite direction that those idiots have: empower your modding community and focus on gameplay instead of just "better graphics" and new historical settings.  No DRM is of course another major selling point.  Total War has control of the market for the "best graphics" (who cares) but they epically fail on modding and strategy & tactics.

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Well it's happened, a thread i started has become hot on the Ultimate General Gettysburg Forums, and personally only 85(or less if you've replied more than once) have put in suggestions, but over 9000 views, which means it is an interesting topic, i'd like to thank you guys as this is my first thread that has become really popular, and now that i've play more than a hundred hours of ultimate general, i've got one big complaint, and there is probably a thread for this, but the UNION MORALE IS SO SHITTY I CAN'T HOLD THE FUCKING POINTS on the first battle of day one, ah but i hope this will be solved, or at least make the union a little bit more powerful, anyways back to the thread. I wish more of you 9000 viewers would reply as darth probably does look at this, and it may help him out with your suggestions, and if you see something already posted that you were going to post, post your whatever anyways, as it shows that the community would like the next game to be during this battle or era or whatever. thanks and i'll reply whenever i get on... probably after fallout 4

I don't know what you're talking about. I've managed to hold the Confederates even with the A.I being Determined AND having it boosted. They keep charging straight into my cannons and volleys and fall back with horrendous casualties. I find the first scenario rather easy while being the Union simply because you have a couple of Veteran Brigades with the largest Union Elite Brigade, along with plenty of Cannons and the best Union General. 

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Hello.

 

What would I like to see. My suggestions are:

 

1. Battle of Gravelotte - the most important battle of the Franco-Prussian war was Gravelotte, not Sedan. It is a perfect setting for a new game - an important battle and one that gives the player control over two distinct sides - French with excellent small arms but worse artillery and Prussians with excellent artillery but not so good infantry. What would happen if the PRussians did not attack but waited for a French attack? What would happen if Bazaine counterattacked the Prussians instead of withdrawing? 

 

2. First battle of Marne during WW1.

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Instead of a fish even the most tasty , I'd prefer engine and tools - can venture a new distribution system, that would allow you to sell the scenarios created by users. I believe that you created a brilliant tool to reflect conflicts from the period 1700-1900.

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Well Darth you know Total War almost better than anyone. So I hope you'd see the fun in adding a strategic map as well, I certainly would. 

 

A UG game encompassing the Civil War as a whole, with randomly generated battle maps and a good strategic mode... now that is something I'd pay $70 for gladly. Pretty ambitious though. But it'd be worth it if it turned out good. And a damned good rival to Total War series as well.

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