After some reflection prompted by a brief mention of ArmCom2 in The Flare Path, as well as reading the excellent discussions of early computer gaming in The Digital Antiquarian, I’ve decided to return ArmCom2 to its roots, abandoning my static-map, platoon-based plans. The strengths of ArmCom1, such as they were, stemmed from the game experience of commanding a single tank and having to meet challenges with the crew and weapons available to you. I’ve re-worked the main map display in ArmCom2 so that the player tank is always in the center, and the game map moves and rotates around you. The crew is also back, as is a detailed description of your tank’s main gun and current status. This means that the ANSI depiction of your tank has had to be removed from the player tank console, but I did incorporate these unit portraits into the attack resolution window.
So what’s going to change from ArmCom1? My hope is that I can build on its strengths and make up for at least some of its shortcomings. In brief:
- I will continue working on early war German and Polish units to start, with the aim of including all major units and theatres of the war, 1937-1945
- The campaign day map and encounter map of ArmCom1 will be combined into a single map through which the player travels with their allied units, and on which battles also take place.
- This map will be less abstract than the ArmCom1 map, with each map hex representing a 160 metre wide area. The position of units relative to your own will be more clear.
- The player will be able to order allied units but won’t direct control their actions. Using these allies, which can include reconnaissance, tank-destroyer, infantry, etc. units, will be key to survival
- Your tank will also have 2-4 allied tanks in its squadron. These tanks will follow your lead, and will try to support your attacks as best they can
- For the most part the player won’t have to issue individual orders to tank crewmen; you can choose your tank’s actions and your crew will do the actions needed. If you do want a crewman to do something out of the ordinary, attempt a repair for example, then you can do that at the start of your turn, but this will restrict possible actions later on if, for example, your driver is occupied and can’t drive the tank.
Those are the core gameplay changes that I have in mind to start; hopefully I can get this working and there will be a lot more to come in the future. Next major goal is to complete a playable Proof of Concept version with the revised map and gameplay.