Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865) was released on Sep 24, 2021, after a year in Early Access. Even before the full release, we had a post-release road-map, describing the development steps we were committed to take to further improve the game, for free. These were ideas and concepts that were not part of the original game design, but what we nevertheless wanted to add to our game. Let’s take a look at the progress, and the next steps.
Currently, we have released six (6) major patches to the game, each one bringing new features, in addition to the obvious bug fixes. All of the added topics in these patches were not part of the post-release road-map, but for example highly requested features from the players:
*Patch 1.01 was mainly for bug fixing, but it also added campaign and battle tutorials and commander promotions.
*Patch 1.02 added a battle information panel for autoresolved battles, rebalanced the battles, and included a list of improvements for the battle AI.
*Patch 1.03, the first major patch, changed the game’s 2D unit sprites into 3D models, with other visual improvements. At the same time the game’s saving & loading system was updated to allow management of the whole save library, instead of scenario specific management, and two new historical battles (Stones River, Champion Hill) were added.
*Patch 1.04 introduced a long list of AI improvements, main focus being on the campaign AI, including naval invasions.
*Patch 1.05 was another mainly AI focused patch, but also introduced a number of new military management options, like prioritizing reinforcements and unit replenishment or detaching a new independent corps from an existing army.
*Patch 1.06, the biggest patch so far, overhauled the game’s economy completely, from the way how subsidies work, to introducing new projects-system, weapon production system, and new building options.
*During the patching process, a few new random maps have been added, and further ones will be added along the way.
Like you can see in the map image above, the development did not follow the operational plan step by step. After the release, we quickly re-prioritized the steps according to players’ requests and feedback. Now, here are how the next development steps look like, and how the post-release road-map will be finalized:
The next patch is again heavily focused on the battle AI. The campaign AI works quite well most of the time, even though it’s of course far from perfect, but this is undermined a bit by the battle AI. If the AI loses most of the battles against a human opponent, this of course has a huge impact on the campaign as well.
While version 1.06 added the projects-feature, reworked weapon production and added four (4) new rare weapon types, in this patch we will also add three more weapons, finalizing the rare weapons -step. The new weapons are the Gatling gun, the Coffee Mill (or Agar) gun for the Union, and the 1-pounder Williams gun for the CSA. These new, rapid-fire weapons come with their own projects. The Union “machineguns” will not tip the balance on the battlefields, even if they can be quite useful in certain situations. The Williams gun is small and cheap to produce, but not that lethal. There is a reason the said weapon types did not see wider use during the war.
A few more projects will also be added, focusing on the early war organization reforms. Both artillery and cavalry units will be available only in smaller unit size, until organization reforms, that will introduce the more effective artillery battalions and cavalry brigades. Further cavalry reform will unlock the ability to recruit horse-artillery. The organization reform -project, introducing corps organization, will now also make logistics more efficient in general, reducing the number of needed military supplies in the newly organized armies.
Version 1.07 will also include a modding tool (Excel format), that allows editing and creating some of the game’s data files.
One of the highly requested features has been the ability create a custom commander in the game. Version 1.08 will introduce tools to do just that. The player may create a custom (army) commander, that is added to the list of commanders in the game. After that, the commander is handled just like any other officer. Will the avatar die in the first battle, leading a brigade in a desperate charge? Or will the avatar one day become the commanding general of the armies?
While finalizing the above features, we are also looking forward to future content in the game. But more about this later!
Gen’l. Ilja Varha,
Chief Designer, &c.,
The Grand Tactician -Team
Will there be an opportunity to add more than one custom commander?
iv (Author) #
We’re looking into it. Could be this can be made possible, but no promises yet, at this point.
Will morale loss rate in battles due to casualties inflicted by infantry rifle fire be made casualty dependent? Currently light losses don’t trigger the (heavy) casualties flag, and brigades can be “nibbled away” by slow steady losses untiil their resilience threshold is reached and they rout off map. The morale doesn’t drop and so no retreating or falling back occurs early enough to avoid taking more losses.
So how does Avatar differ from simply adding a commander?
Will there be ability to create a scenario at a different date and add/remove forts?
iv (Author) #
Avatar will allow to place a user created photo for the commander. Currently by modding player can add commanders, but without photographs.
With 1.07 we are planning on releasing some modding tools, which will allow creation of a new campaign scenario file, if one wants so. But the forts that will appear on the map are date dependent, and controlled via the map file (unmoddable).
iv (Author) #
The trigger is casualties per time dependent. So slow attrition will not cause a morale shock the same way a big number of casualties suffered in a short period of time.
Follow up. Would it be possible to add a tool to import pictures for extra commanders?
Would it be possible to change how the buildings assigned to the map based on range of dates rather than one specific? For example, I want to change the Summer scenario to start on June 1 instead. Would it be possible to have the forts appearing for a range say June 1-July 15, 1861?
Love the game so far. Have you folks considered adding a feature to manage the officer corps? Right now its rather ponderous, with auto-selection for new units and no way to set aside unwanted officers. Could also be an interesting opportunity to add things like staffs.
iv (Author) #
The “avatar” update will allow just that: to create new commanders with custom images. We are still ironing out the details, but should be no biggie.
The buildings on the map are assigned with dates to appear, dates to upgrade, dates to disappear. So, yes, the possibility is there to do exactly like you describe, but this is via the campaign map, which cannot be accessed using any of the modding tools.
iv (Author) #
Any commander can be changed. When creating new HQs or units, the auto-assigned commanders are proposed for the positions, this is indicated with the [brackets] on his rank. He will be assigned and promoted only after you close the management panel. If you replace the auto-assigned commander right away, the proposed one does not receive promotion. Though, there is no tool to make certain commanders “unwanted”, i.e. removed from being auto-assigned in every situation.
Enjoy the game thoroughly and it’s easily my favorite game. Definitely looking forward to this new update as I have with all of them. I don’t know the feasibility of it, and I know you said it won’t be on the regimental level and I understand the reasoning, but could it be regimental on the campaign map so we can better use our abundance of officers to greater effect and have brigades of combined States as we saw historically? Naturally the total numbers regimentally would be combined into the brigade for battles and the battles would be fought on the brigade level still. That would also allow us to furlough pieces of brigades for replenishment instead of brigades as a whole. Even if that is impracticable, it is still a great and immensely fun game.
iv (Author) #
The regimental layer is something that would be technically very difficult to add at this point. The idea is very cool, but unfortunately not doable — for now.
Hello, do you plan on adding anymore historic commanders? If so, I would like to suggest Colonel James Wellborn Starnes of the 4th Tennessee Cavalry, CSA, (promoted to brig. gen. of Forrest’s former brigade). His brief bio:
James Starnes was the son of Dr. Samuel Scott and Nancy Matilda Wellborn Starnes. He was a prominent physician and planter. He graduated from the Jefferson Seminary Medical School (later University of Louisville). During the Mexican War he served as asst. surgeon of the 1st Tennessee Infantry. He married Mary Christina Rudder on April 19, 1849 and they had five children. When the Civil War broke out he raised a company of cavalry in Williamson County, Tennessee. He was later promoted to Colonel of the 4th Tennessee Cavalry, CSA. By 1863 Dr. Starnes was the commander of a brigade of Forrest’s Cavalry and led it in action in Forrest’s Brentwood Raid, in the fights around Franklin and the successful pursuit of Streight’s raiders in Alabama. During the Tullahoma Campaign, on June 28, 1863, he was mortally wounded by a sharpshooter at Bobo’s Crossroads, located between Tullahoma and Manchester. He was taken to the home of A. Y. Smith in Tullahoma where he died.
High res portrait: https://tennessee-scv.org/starnes.htm
I understand and can imagine that would be quite difficult to implement, and the game is still wonderful even without it (you don’t put almost 750hrs in a game if it isn’t). I won’t push for it, but I’ll maintain hope for the possibility in the distant future due to your “for now.” Thank you for taking the time to respond sir.
Just Pepe #
Thank you for this amazing game and all the hard work that went into it. I have only had opportunity to go through a few play throughs and only in the newest (1.06) update, but… when playing as the CSA, the campaign AI seems to go on tilt and become suicidal. Currently, I have 4 armies between Pittsburgh and Sharpsburg, and repelling attacks over and over at both places. The AI seems to be replenishing losses (in the thousands) and assaulting at such a pace, no sane society would tolerate. Not only that, but I have only brief moments in between contacts to try to manage anything else that needs my attention (if I can even remember what task I was trying to complete next). It seems like what is happening is when an army is repelled from one location it will retreat close to the other location and almost within days is back up to full strength and assaulting again… could this be a bug? How could these armies be getting resupplied and reinforced so quickly while being cut off by road or rail? Such as it is, it feels like trapping enemy armies is something to be avoided! Lol. Anyway, I am going to try starting a new campaign, not because of this situation specifically, but because I’m still learning new things I could have done better but I guess I’m just asking for clarity on if there is some way to get the AI to surrender an army or atleast abandon attempted assaults if so many assaults have failed recently and move on to a new objective?
iv (Author) #
One reason for the quite fast replenishment could be transferring units from other armies. Replenishing units with many casualties takes weeks-months in the game, so it should not be about that.
We are working on the campaign AI all the time, so hopefully you will see some improvements in the defensive moves the AI makes in version 1.07!
Andrew Young #
Absolutely love this game – it has replaced Total War for me and is my go to. Played through on numerous occasions. Couple of queries, though.
1) I love the fact that available policies have expanded to 12…is there any way to expand it further to enable us to explore all the features in one game (up to level 2 or 3 where the pre-game choices kick-in)? I find it a little frustrating that I am sat in 1863 with max’ed out main policies and all the secondaries that I want to pursue, but have to start afresh in a new game to explore all the other options.
2) Will you add a custom battle option? I’d love to play around with all the different weapon types etc outside of the main game.
iv (Author) #
1. The policies are capped to force choosing one branch over the other, if you want to go deeper there. But within the game files (campaignprefs.txt) you may change the max policies to try out.
2. We’re not sure about custom battles at this point. Though, with the modding tool that comes with 1.07, you may try to create battles yourself. A custom battles -feature would basically be the same, but with in-game visual UI.
I first wanted to say, great job by the development team! Really appreciate the level of detail with everything put forward in the game thus far. So, I have two questions. The first has to do with optimizations made to the game and if more are in the pipeline. Because right now as it stands the game struggles in larger battles even with my 2080 ti graphics card. The second question has to do with further implementation of regimental control rather than brigades. Under the battles tab we do have one option for the battle of Manassas at regimental level. Is there going to be any further development?
iv (Author) #
Thank you for the kind words!
Regarding optimization, there sure is more to be done in this department. The game is very calculation heavy, so having a super fast GFX card does not always help alone.
Regimental level is not going to be added to the main campaign, due to certain engine limitations that would require re-coding much of the game. But the OOB system is flexible, so any battle can have 4 command levels: units + HQ + HQ + HQ. In some battles, like Wilson’s Creek, we have used regiment – brigade – division – army, instead of the grand campaign’s default brigade – division – corps – army.
Love this game. Top 5 for me and I have a pretty extensive library. Thank you all for putting so much time and effort into it! My question has to do with buildings. I enjoy delving down into the economic/supply details and building up the war economy for both Union and CSA campaigns. However, I’ve also won campaigns as early as Fall of 1863 without building a single building throughout the entire campaign. I know 1.6 was economy focused but can we expect more economic and logistical balancing in future patches?
Again, thanks to everyone for this incredible game!
This game is representing the future of tactical war video games, keep up with good work.
Did you consider to add more nations that you can play as such as British Canada, Mexico or Spain for example?
Just Pepe #
The Fayetteville Rifle says in description that it comes with a sword bayonet, however, in the weapons tab it is shown with a standard bayonet and the tooltip says it’s a standard bayonet when you mouse over it.
iv (Author) #
Thanks for the observation, this will be fixed in the next update!
vincent bivona #
is it possible to move the whole division with a mouse click in deployment phase or is deployment phase only implemented in certain battles or campaigns cannot find this topic in the manuel . thanks!
iv (Author) #
Deployment is only in campaign battles, not in historical battles. You can move a whole division by selecting the division HQ and then moving it.