With patch 1.03, Grand Tactician will introduce a number of visual improvements, including 3D troops.
While we originally planned to have 3D troops in our game, during the early development phase the experiments with 3D models were unsuccessful. At that point, years ago, we decided to switch to 2D sprites, which allowed improved performance, and a working solution for the time being. After the game’s release in September, we ran another round of experiments with 3D troops, as we had planned to do post-release. This time we succeeded, and with patch 1.03 the sprite troops will finally rest in peace, as our civil war soldiers enter the third dimension.
Smoother, and Better Looking.
The sprites did have many limitations. As we kept the number of different animations quite high, the number of frames per animation was limited. Also, customization options were limited, as each large sprite sheet reserved a chunk of VRAM. We did try to overcome the lack of customization by allowing custom coloring of the uniforms, but when creating variation within a single unit using color variation, the end result was not optimal. While functional, the sprite engine also had some side effects, like certain abrupt movements, which was quite apparent especially with courier movements.
Our artist has been working hard on the 3D models and animations since the release of the game. With the new 3D troop engine, the game’s visuals take a leap forward. Animations are much smoother in general, and the 3D soldiers allowed us some more variety in the soldiers’ looks. Now we can have different uniforms and equipment even within a single unit, with little to no negative effect in performance.
The 3D troop engine also allows further improvements in the future. The changes in patch 1.03 are the first step, more improvements will follow.
Other Visual Improvements.
While the main focus in the visual improvements was in the troops, the battle field has also received some other visual improvements. With the 3D troops being less sensitive to certain camera angles, the improved camera controls allow more varied visuals. Updates in the particle effects department and fog rendering also have made the battle field a bit more pleasing to watch, especially in combination with the weather effects. As the 3D troops are no longer “detached” from the environment, like the sprites were, the end result is a much more coherent look.
While patch 1.03 was mainly focused on the introduction of the 3D troops, there are also some other nice, and highly requested changes:
- The game’s full save library can now be accessed, managed and filtered, using a single panel. This update also allows custom naming of saves.
- Realism options are moved from game options to scenario start up screens, and are saved.
- There are a few more game options available, for example the ability to lock screen rotation in battles as well.
- During a campaign, capturing all cities in a state makes the state “occupied”, which allows movement within the state even if readiness is low. The state will not switch sides, though, if support is insufficient.
We’re excited about the recent changes, as the game not only looks nicer, but also feels smoother. While Peter will continue his work with the 3D models and animations, the focus of the next patch 1.04 will be in bug fixing and AI improvements.
Gen’l. Ilja Varha,
Chief Designer, &c.,
The Grand Tactician -Team
Wow superb news
Any idea on release dates yet for this update? Regardless the 3D sprites were a surprise to me and a welcome one, I did have one question though I’ve been having trouble renaming armies as ive been having to delete the entire name of the unit to edit the first letters will we be able to edit the units names easier in the future? Or is it an issue on my end
iv (Author) #
We got our aim on mid-December release for the patch. So a couple of weeks for beta testing and finalization.
Renaming is not an issue on your end, it works like you describe currently. Let’s see if we’ll change it at some point. It’s on our list, but with a lower priority.
Tony Spero #
Will you be adding the option to unload or destroy a Depot before you move or lose it to the enemy?
Would it be possible to also fight the Fort battles?
I love this game and have played hundreds or hours so far.
James Crofutt #
Dose this game have trench warfare? A way for your troops to dig trenches and fight out of them?
Nice surprise and very exciting. Please, please, please add some UI sound.
B.C. Milligan #
Looking forward to the new graphics! This game keeps getting better and better, and I know this will continue.
JL Buckingham #
Thank you for all your hard work on this. I bought it pre-release, but have been otherwise occupied. I plan to play after 1.03 is released.
Love the changes! Any plans to add the regiment level organisation to campaign?
iv (Author) #
Regiment level organization is not planned. This would increase the number of units approx. 5x from the current number, which is already performance intensive. With regiment level we would not be able to portray grand battles like Gettysburg.
I understand it and agree, but i think that having it as a feature in the campaign would allow for much more flexibility, both on the battlefield, and in army organisation. It would also make sense historically, as brigades often had regiments from more then one state. But thats true, that performance would be a big issue.
For starters i want to congratulate you on the game its great. I was wondering if you will be doing prisoner exchange in the future? You could also have prison camps to that you can also attack to release your troops and officers. The more scouting you did the more intel you get on what offers and troops are there. Then you will have to move troops to protect the camps just a idea and i love to see the seven year war covered with grand tactician outlay.
Stuart Bryant #
Have to say, the new models look really lovely and have a really complimentary style with the landscape. Excellent work.
A couple of gripes. Might it be possible to have a lock function on the filter in the Army builder and is it really necessary to see every unsuitable officer in red alongside the ones you can actually appoint?
Love the game! I’d say this is possibly the best Civil War game out there. Super excited to see what the future holds! (Any chance someone can reply with a link to the most recent development roadmap? The ones I found seem out of date)
iv (Author) #
The most recent road map is this:
…though we took some liberties in the order of advance, striking visual improvements first.