Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Data Design Team Diary

A while back, I joined one of the Airborne Assault data design teams. More specifically, I joined the West Front data design team. That means I'm working on the upcoming Battles From the Bulge (BFTB) title, producing scenarios, editing force lists, researching battles, and sometimes working on maps. None of which is happening very quickly, because I'm a full time something else in the world of work, and a father of two young'uns at home.

But, I'm in all the way and hoping to learn something about developing a game. And, if you read this blog at all (I know updates haven't been happening in some time) you'll be able to learn a little too. I'm going to journal my experiences on the team and share some information about the development of the game.

None of the information is going to be a big scoop for anyone, so don't get your hopes up about me leaking game features and any other juicy tidbits. It's going to be a little more work-a-day scenario design stuff - not screaming tabloid headlines about new features. But I hope you'll get a look at what goes into the game and how the quality of the work makes the in-game experience worthwhile and enjoyable.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

It's a Mod Mod Mod Mod World

You can now get your map on with a handful of excellent terrain mods available at the COTA downloads page.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

1st COTA Mod

0800: Breakfast is served!
Introducing a new terrain file by captskillet - the first player-made modification to COTA. He cooked it up using the existing terrain files from the game, in combination with previous terrain files modified by Data Design Team honcho Bil H.



Mmmm. Nice rich brown colors - like an good cup of coffee. You can get this mod by shooting captskillet a PM on the Matrix forums. Read the post here.

Friday, June 16, 2006

co-TA! co-TA! co-TA! co-TA! co-TA!

It's out and it's awesome. Conquest of the Aegean (COTA) is available for download.

The improvements to the game engine are very cool indeed. My favorite is the new supply system, which adds a great deal of suspense to the game. Sometimes it works in your favor - you'll get artillery ammo a little more often. Other times, you'll struggle to keep your supply lines open - you can no longer take them for granted.

Another great feature is mixed-mode movement. Many units that have previously enjoyed the benefit of easy movement through many types of terrain will now feel the pain of poor and non-existent roads. In the image below, I'm thrusting Italian troops into the Pindus mountains to hopefully breakthrough and capture Greece before she can muster her entire army. But the mountains are killing my one chance of lightning breaktrhough. The armor unit, highlighted in a white box, is in terrain that let's it move at 2% of its normal speed. Ugh!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Data Design Teams

Currently, there are four DDTs (Data Design Teams) working on future releases of the Airborne Assault game engine for World War II: West Front, East Front, North Africa, and Pacific Theatre. And there is one “modern” team – though it isn’t clear yet what period of modern warfare they will begin with.

That pretty much gives you a look at where this game is heading – and it looks quite awesome. If you read this post, it gets even better.

Here are some future battles that are being talked about:

West Front:
Battles From the Bulge

East Front:
Chir River Battles

North Africa:
Graziani's Offensive
Rommel's first offensive
Battleaxe and


Monday, April 03, 2006

New Scenarios for HTTR

As spring turns to summer, I’m waiting impatiently for Conquest of the Aegean to ship. I’m sure you are too.

To help pass the time, you can play THREE excellent new scenarios for HTTR with new maps and units.

EPSOM and EPSOM Phase 4 by Pieter – you can get EPSOM at Elsavior's Site. For EPSOM Phase 4, you need to contact tukker per this thread at the Matrix forums.

These are an excellent pair of Normandy-based scenarios that focus on the battle between the British and the Germans west of Caen.

The maps are very well done, and the scenarios provide an enjoyable challenge – especially EPSOM Phase 4, which presents a “what if” the Germans hadn’t been reinforced by II Panzer in time to stop the inland thrusts of the Brits.

Here’s an excerpt from the “designer notes” which is an excellent piece of historical research and writing in and of itself:

Another unique feature of the division was the inclusion of an 8cm ‘Reihenwerfer’ (rocket launchers) battery in each of its Panzergrenadier Regiments. These Werfer were mounted on captured French tracked vehicles. I’ve substituted them with Nebelwerfer.

NAVARONI by Multetears -
Another fun to play Scenario is “The Guns of Navarone” scenario by Muletears, which recreates the daring operation portrayed in the 1961 movie.

You’ll have a hard time matching the daring feats of Anthony Quinn and David Niven, but please go ahead and try.

From the Movie:
Mallory: Are you sure it will work?
Corporal Miller: There's no guarantee, but the theory's perfectly feasible.