Monday, February 15, 2010

Just starting work on a Napoleonic video game...

Howdy all!

As some of you may or may not know (well, I guess if the options are may or may not, EVERYONE qualifies) I have done some work on video games in the past… I helped make Napoleonic Total War and American Total War, worked on a little dungeoncrawl type of game, and recently wrapped up my first XBOX 360 project.

So one of my buddies and I are now starting our next project; a very, very basic, single player squad combat game set in the Napoleonic period… basically a chance to build up a little group of soldiers and play out Sharpe's sort of scenarios.

Right now we are just starting to put code together and futz around... at the top you can see the results of basically the first day of work:) I think it will be similar to Sharpe's Practice (although I've never read the rules) in that your "squad" will have a few characters, each of whom will lead some "regular" troops… characters will have a command radius that can be increased, and troops within that radius will benefit from special bonuses, and the troops and characters both can advance with experience…

Right now we are VERY much in the planning stage, so I wanted to ask… what sorts of features would people like to see in a fun Napoleonic squad based game? The game is really being made with the idea of being able to make it flexible enough for any era with a little tweaking, and will likely form a part of a larger project down the road, but I thought I would ask to see if folks have any interesting ideas!

Right now I envision the two rosters being something like… (names are just the basics right now)

French line
Old Guard
Dragoon (cav who can dismount and shoot)
Artillery of some sort
Cav of some sort which cannot dismount, like cuirassiers

British line
some sort of Spanish guerrilla
Haven't through through the British cav yet, although might go with the basics.

Then, on top of that, you would have the characters who lead each unit, each of whom would be named and have certain abilities… for example, you might have a guy who is a "combat leader" which gives all squad members within his command radius a +1 in close combat, or a guy who has the "booming voice" trait, which increases his command radius by a bit, and so on and so forth. Which skills each character would have access to would be partially random, partially determined by nationality, and partially determined by their "base" class… for example, a character based on a British rifleman might have a better chance of getting the "marksman" skill, whereas a character based on a highlander might have a better chance of getting access to the "combat leader" skill.

I envision that, at the end of each fight, your men get experience, which can be traded in for increases in stats or even special abilities. Regular troops would have a ceiling, although I would like to do something where they can eventually become NCOs or something… like a step between regular soldier and character. Also I think there should be some sort of pillage of the battlefield at the end, and you can divvy gear up.

I want to do away with hitpoints, and indeed make the damage system "invisible." Basically you would get "results" from combat like "You missed!" or "The guy is slightly wounded" or something similar. Characters would simply have a MUCH higher chance of getting results like misses or "It is just a scratch," but they CAN still be killed. I want to avoid a straight up, mathematical system because I feel like that takes away a little of the romance. Indeed, I want to avoid visible numbers all together, if possible!



Gunfreak said...

I wonder what would happen if you and your fiends got a million bucks to develop av napoleoinc game,

You should realy think about making a FPS Napoleoinc game, those old OFP mods with ACW and Napoleoinc units were great, what if you did the same to ARMA or AMRA 2

Author said...


I have to admit two things about FPS...

First, I cannot imagine one in the era of linear warfare... I think it would HAVE to be very, very boring.

Also, I think the tech there is beyond us... while my friend is, by day, a well-respected games developer on maybe the biggest video game of all time, the graphics largely fall to me, and between my inability, and the fact that he is building the code for this from scratch, a FPS is a bit beyond us right now:)

Gunfreak said...

I understand,

But the FPS Napoleincs are great, OFP is an old game and the graphics are bad by modern standard.

But it was great fun, you could play a sharpe type game, with 12 soldiers fighting their way thought some evil frechies, or you could make a kinda big battle(half a battalion vs half a battalion) mabye 250 soldiers on each side, pluss sevral guns.

I made a waterloo battle(the game has an easy to use map/mission editor) It had 500 soldies and 50 cannon, I tell you when 50 cannon open up it's quite a sight, the "explotion" effects were very simular to the effects in the waterloo movie, so you get this retro effect that is very cool, and you even had canister, I tell you chargeing a battery fireing canister at you is heart pownding.

And there you are, sevral 100 french comming at you and you fire of a round(and misses 50% of the time) then have to stand there 20 seconds to reload not beeing able to move, while you hear musketballs wissing by your head or a cannon blast going of next to you and killing 2 of your fellow soldiers get hit, that action.

Or when I made a La Haie sainte battle and you duck from behind a wall fire a round at some cannon only to have to duck back as canister riddeles the wall.

Man that was fun

Allan and Carmen said...

Any chance we can see it being released onto Apple Mac OS?