Windows 10 Crash in Weekly Build

Just a quick note that the current weekly build crashes consistently on Windows 10 right upon starting a new game – I’ve figured out the problem though and the next weekly build, with updates and new features, should work fine on Windows 10. I should post the new weekly build on the 3rd March after I do some additional work on the AI and some playtesting.

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New Weekly Build

A new weekly build is available from the usual download location. The biggest change from last week is the addition of machine guns and Firepower attacks. These will not (yet) harm an armoured target, but are effective against infantry. Infantry are also armed with anti-tank rifles which have a small but significant chance of penetrating your tank. Each individual crewman or personnel within a unit now has his own morale value, the average of which is used to calculate an overall morale rating for the unit. When non-armoured units are hit by FP attacks, they may be forced to test against their morale to avoid being Pinned. Additional possible effects, including Breaking and Reduction, are planned.

A number of minor bugs and crashes have also been fixed, but there’s still much to be done. The result display for resolving FP attacks on a target in particular is not yet very clear in how it presents the information.

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New Start and a New Weekly Build

At the beginning of this year I took a hard look at the state of Armoured Commander II and decided to start fresh. I wasn’t happy with how the game was developing and I had learned a lot over the previous few months that would be difficult to implement in an established code base. So I started with a new, empty Python file and copied over each element of the game piece by piece, making changes and improvements along the way. Today I’m posting the first weekly in-progress build in a long time because I’m pretty pleased with how it is now coming along. The current game is still very limited but the core elements are in place. Many of the features I was working on late last year haven’t yet been re-added, but they are on their way.

More than anything else with this re-start I wanted to re-integrate your tank’s crew into the game, so I devoted a good chunk of the screen to them, and I went back to a modified crew action system similar to that in ArmCom1. This brings the focus of the game back to the men in the tank, including yourself as the commander, which I think was one of the strengths of ArmCom1. You can see details about your crew in the F3 menu; only the perception stat is used for now, others will be important later on.

The weekly build is available at the usual location. I’ve used a different packager this time from previously (PyInstaller) so if it doesn’t run on your machine please email me and let me know. I will continue to work with the packager options to try to produce a cleaner and more compatible build. If you don’t run Windows you can always download the source from GitHub.

EDIT: I’ve just uploaded a hotfix that should prevent crashes when displaying crew names with non-ascii characters.

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Late-October Update

Two recent developments in ArmCom2: I’ve re-done the spotting system, changing it from a deterministic system (units are always spotted given a set of conditions) to a roll-based one with a couple automatic cases. Each crewman has a chance to spot unknown enemy units in his line of sight, which depends on his position in the tank and his hatch status. The roll is based on the crewman’s Perception stat plus modifiers such as range, intervening terrain, etc. This means that all units in the game will need fully modeled crew so that eventually all units will use the same system. In addition, there’s a couple situations in which units are always automatically revealed, such as moving in the open, or firing within close range of an enemy unit.

I’ve also added a new pop-up message window system, initially for use with spotting messages. I think it’s a big improvement on the pop-ups in ArmCom 1, since the window only appears in one of two positions (top half or bottom half of map viewport) rather than popping up anywhere on the map view. My plan is to use this for most messages during scenarios, with additional details logged to the message log.

I need to do a bit more work first but I should be able to compile a new Windows build soon for players to try out.

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Polish Player Forces

Just got Polish forces working as a player option, with randomly generated German enemy units. It took a little doing because of the non-ASCII characters in Polish names. For now I have to normalize them to the nearest ASCII equivalents, but in the future I’ll extend the font and map the special characters so they are displayed properly.

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Slow Progress

My apologies for not posting anything recently and for not releasing weekly builds, but I have become well stuck-in to my new job, and my available development time has dwindled down to next to nothing. I have done a little bit of work, however, including planning out the crew system in detail.

Right now the player tank will have a crew randomly generated for it, but my plan is to allow the player to choose from a roster of possible crew members, each with slightly different starting stats. The total stats of all potential crewmembers will be equal, so it’s up to the player to choose either a balanced team or one that emphasizes one particular area. I’m going to try to focus on the player tank and crew from here on, and put allied units aside for the moment so that this core element is (hopefully) done right.

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Character Name Menu

I’ve fixed a few elements of the battlegroup building menu, and have also added a small interface to input the player character’s name. This function will also be used to change crew names as well.

Next step is crew selection.

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Unit Selection Menu Implemented

No unit type description yet, since it hasn’t been added to the data anyway, but it’s now possible to select from a list of unit types. Next step is actually adding them to the battlegroup list and making sure that it stays organized.

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Unit Selection Menu

This is a mockup in REXPaint of the unit selection menu, with German units from September 1939 shown. I decided to separate the battlegroup building menu and the unit selection menu, both because it made more sense from a design standpoint, and so that this menu could be used in other contexts elsewhere in the game. This list includes all the vehicle units that will be available to German battlegroups in Sept. 1939. Operation Point (OP) costs are tentative and will be changed for balance in the future.

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Battlegroup Menu

It doesn’t look like much, but I’ve started to add the battlegroup building menu into the game, working from my initial REXPaint mock-up. Progress has been slower than I had expected because when I got to this stage I realized that the way in which I was storing data about units and unit types was very inefficient and would have caused problems further down the road. So I took some time and converted my clunky XML -> variables and dictionary system into a pure JSON and dictionary system. This makes it much easier to add stats to units later on and to access and organize information about unit types as is needed in this menu.

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