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First patch upcoming and a new gameplay video in the meanwhile.

Thanks to our first players for joining!

It’s a real pleasure to see you fight for the domination of the very first planet of Win That War! and to read your comments. They are already helping us improve the game.

Everything is not perfect yet, we know that, but the team is working on fixing the issues that has been reporting to us and the first patch will be out this Friday. This should fix the major problematic crashes, among other things.

If you haven’t joined the Galmactic Conquest yet, today is the last day to enjoy the -25% discount. Quick, grab your copy.

In the meanwhile, you can watch our new online campaign gameplay video, with the new GUI this time!

Win That War! Early Access opens today!

Hello everyone.

 

Win That War! Early Access will be released today, 7th April at 5 P.M UTC
Visit the Steam page here: http://steamcommunity.com/app/599040

The whole team has been impatiently waiting for this moment. Ever since we laid the first bricks of our engine, three years ago, the team has grown, the gamedesign and visual aspect of the game have been entirely reworked, and the MMO campaign, the core of Win That War!, has come to life.

Today, all of this will become a reality. We’re all looking forward to you playing Win That War!

To help you get the hang of the game, we created two documents, which are hosted online on Steam, but seem a bit hard to find.

To make things easier for you, here are:

We are waiting for all of you. And may the best strategists win!

Win That War title

The conquest system in the MMO campaign

The MMO campaign in Win That War! consists in acquiring new planets on behalf of your mega-corporation. How does it work?

A planet is divided into several hundreds of territories, all randomly generated. Each of these territories can host up to 9 players – 3 from each mega-corporation – simultaneously.

GUI-ONLINE3

At the start of the game, the planet is entirely virgin, since it has just been discovered. The domination is made territory after territory.

The conquest of a territory is based on the score of the established mega-corporations. This score is calculated, among other things, according to the value of the buildings in the bases of its players. To claim a territory, a mega-corporation must achieve a minimum score. Thanks to a system of relay antennas, which limits the expansion of a player’s bases, it is very difficult to acquire a territory alone, so cooperation between players is highly recommended.

GUI-ONLINE3sans-epingle

When a territory is dominated by a mega-corporation, it takes its color in the planetary view. But it is still “contestable”.

When a territory dominated by a mega-corporation is entirely surrounded by other territories dominated by the same mega-corporation, it becomes a “locked” territory, and only the players belonging to that mega-corporation can access it. To collect resources, for example.

GUI-ONLINE3A

Finally, newly discovered planets will be exploitable for a limited time only. At the end of the allocated time, the Galactic Board, the highest body in Win That War!, will announce the victory of the mega-corporation owning the most territories on the planet.

Dynamical sound-design: the Artillery

For Win That War! we chose to work with the Wwise audio engine, which offers a greater autonomy to the sound designer.

Freed from technical constraints thanks to a tool such as Wwise, which brings a real flexibility of use and very intuitive tools for sound integration, all that remains is to be creative: recover the events of the game to play the sounds of the objects, of the atmosphere, the feedback, the music… and work the sound in its entirety to create a cohesion between all these sounds.

For this first article about Sound Design, we chose to talk about one unit in particular: the Artillery.
This is the 2nd part of the article about the Artillery animation, you can read it here.

artillery win that war

The Artillery is a vehicle which, in the game, plays several animations. To achieve the sound of the vehicle and stick to its animations, we divided it into five parts:

  1. Movement
  2. Artillery landing
  3. Cannon deployment
  4. Artillery shooting
  5. Artillery “take off”

 

Movement :

 

An engine sound is played when the vehicle is moving, two events allow the sound to start and stop.

These events are common to all of the vehicles of the game, they are linked to a switch in which the sounds of vehicles are located.

  • StartEngine
  • StopEngine

Wwise events

startenginemarque

The “StartEngine” event plays the “EngineSounds” switch. The “EngineSounds” Switch contains all the sounds of all the vehicles. These sounds are named exactly the same both in the switch and in the code of the game, playing the sound corresponding to the right vehicle.

stopenginemarque

The “StopEngine” event mutes the sound of the vehicle played in the “EngineSounds” switch. The selected line (dark gray) corresponds to the action performed by Wwise on the selected object.

Wwise sequence

artilleryloop-sequencewwisemarque

The “EngineSounds” switch on the main tab (and not the event tab) contains the vehicle movement sounds. By selecting the sequence of the Artillery, we enter the settings window.

 

Artillery landing:

At the very moment the vehicle sets into position on the ground, a sequence of sounds is played, triggered by a “code” event, which plays the sounds in Wwise.

This sequence consists in several sounds which are played one after the other, or overlap one another.

  • ArtilleryLand
  • ArtlleryLandRotation
  • ArtilleryDeploymentTurret

Wwise event

artillerylandmarque

The « ArtilleryLand » event plays the Artillery landing sequence.

Wwise sequence

artilleryland-sequencewwisemarque

This “Container sequence” contains the different sounds constituting the landing action of the vehicle. The playlist, at the bottom right, allows you to decide in which order the sounds of the sequence are played

 

 

Cannon deployment: 

 

Following the landing of the Artillery, the cannon deploys. This sequence is launched by an event:

  • AtilleryDeploymentCanon

Wwise event

artillerydeploymentmarque

The “ArtilleryDeployement” event plays the sound of the cannon deployment. When the order of deployment of the gun is launched, an order to stop the landing sequence “ArtlleryLand” is sent from the same event, at the same time.

Wwise sequence

artillerydeployment-sequencewwisemarque

 

 

Artillery shooting:

 

Then, the time has come to fire…

 

Always driven by an event, a sequence mixes the shooting sound with a “metallic” recoil sound, and another for ammo reloading.

  • ArtilleryShoot
  • ArtilleryShootCanon
  • ArtilleryRecharge

Wwise event

artilleryshootmarque

Wwise sequence

artilleryshoot-sequencewwisemarque

 

Artillery “Take Off”:

 

Once the target has been destroyed, or by order of the player, the vehicle must be moved. A sound is played when it leaves its state of siege.

  • ArtilleryTakeOff

Wwise event

artillerytakeoffmarque

Wwise sequence

artillerytakeoff-sequencewwisemarque

 

Each sound is created ahead, with an “audio sequencer” software, in which an animation video of the vehicle enables to tune the sounds to the image and to proceed to the editing of the recorded or collected sounds, as well as the processing. This creates a harmonious and credible mix (eq, filters, pitch, compression, reverb…)

Everythin is made as one piece, then cut to create several sounds. Then, these sounds are exported to Wwise and played in sequences as explained above.

In game, the different parts that make the final sound of the Artillery are played accordingly to the actions of the unit.

And this is how it looks and sounds in game, when you are playing:

 

Win That War! is on Steam Greenlight.

The Greenlight is now officially launched, and is only waiting for your votes!

We’re counting on you, not only to show your interest by offering us some green thumbs, but also to spread  the word of the Greenlight on your Steam community. Having Win That War! available on Steam is up to you now.

Unit balancing methodology

Game Designer saying: “when someone tells you that there is a problem in your design, 90% of the time he’s right. When he points out what you need to change to fix it, 90% of the time he’s wrong.”

In this first blog post about Game Design, we have chosen to focus on units balancing, a fundamental condition in real-time strategy game viability.
Balancing requires to identify with precision the cause and solution to a problem detected during a test session. Keep in mind that neither the cause nor the solution to a given problem are obvious, and the important thing is to always keep an overall view of the balance of the game when making an adjustment.

In order not to bring a disaster and make the game unplayable for a time, it’s important to keep some essential points in mind. Of course, since the following examples are directly taken from Win That War!, you’ll have to make some adjustments.

logo win that war

Balancing rules

  1. Always read the specs (specifications) of the units that are directly or indirectly related to a change. Remember the role of this unit in the strategic and economic balance of the game.
  2. There is always two sides to a deficiency or an excess in a stat (a parameter). Either the stats of this unit is too high, or the stat (of this unit or its opposite) which counterbalances it is too low. It’s essential to consider which side of the issue needs to be improved, all the while preserving the original intent of the gameplay dynamic and, above all, minimizing the imbalance caused on the game economy. Most of the time, this means picking the solution that would have the least possible impact on the rest of the system.
  3. Preserving the rewarding aspect of the use of an unit: its specificity, its imbalance in some particular situations (regulated and counterbalanced by other local imbalances in the other units’ stats and mechanics), its role in the economy and the possible strategy of a player, or rather the possible strategies.
  4. Finally, keeping an eye on the possible upcoming upgrades that would affect this unit: don’t nullify or OP-ify (Over-Power-ify. Don’t make it too strong) an upgrade when you affect a stat that might be subject to possible improvements for one of the factions. Some units are bound to be much more useful in a build of a particular faction. This is normal and advisable.

 

Case study – Units balancing in a RTS

Example: We find out that Bombers are way too weak compared to the AirKnocker, which devalues the use of surprise air-ground tactics and late game air-rush.

 

The question is: how to make this unit less efficient in this specific case, without going against the concept of use of this very unit, or any other one?

Here are some of the possible choices, as well as their impact on the game:

  • Changes such as improving the attack stats of the Bomber against the armor of the AirKnocker, making the Bomber harder to target or increasing the range of its bombs seem to be the best options at first sight, but would have a destabilizing impact on all air-ground fighting situations. These three options are then excluded.
  • Nerfing (reducing) the armor of the AirKnocker makes it more vulnerable to all ground units, which would be very frustrating since this unit is quite expensive and takes time to be produced. Moreover, this change would only take effect when the attacking player has a compo allowing him to reach AirKnockers through more powerful lines of units, which is the usual function of this unit. This means that the effective impact on the problem will be lower than the imbalance felt by the player as he watches his units get destroyed in one shot. That’s not a good idea, so this option is also excluded.
  • Increasing the price of the AirKnocker (as well as its required production time) to justify its power by its cost would make it a powerful and high-value unit to the player, which counterbalances its light armor and its visual appearance. Moreover, being the only anti-air specialized unit, it needs to be accessible, as beginner players would otherwise feel helpless when faced with air tactics. Well, we’ll exclude this one too.
  • Reducing the range or the fighting stats of the AirKnocker could be the solution, while keeping in mind the preservation of its specific role, its tactical viability and its difference compared with the use of anti-air turrets. A small change in several stats can subtly remove the problem by giving the unit a slightly awkward feeling. A medium or low cost unit shouldn’t have an “ace”, capable of anything kind of feeling, and making it less reactive while preserving its specialty is a very good option.

screenshot001

In most cases, (after a number of iterations), the existing balance of the stats of a given unit is correct and matches its role, and simultaneously scaling several stats by a small factor is enough to fix a defect or an excess of power.
As a general tip: Do not cancel what makes the unit special and fun, but rather work on related factors that reinforce its strengths and weaknesses while remaining consistent. Eg. making it easier or harder to use a feature.

In the case of the AirKnocker, the range, the acceleration and the tracking speed were the three main factors we had to tweak to solve its relation problem with the Bomber, while maintaining the overall balance.

Since we don’t want you to get bored with Game Design, we’ll keep the topic of economic balance for another blog post.

New gameplay mechanics.

If you subscribed to our mailing list or if you were at Stunfest 2016, you might have tested our 0.3.4 pre-alpha demo in which you’ve seen new gameplay mechanics. How about a quick rundown?

3 command units

When starting a game, you now have to choose one out of three different command units that will influence your early-game strategy. Their typical use in a team game is highly complementary and allows for smart choices and specialization.

 

Excavator - Sentinel - OUtpost      
Excavator – Sentinel – Outpost

 

The Sentinel is a powerful battle station with a deadly laser turret and heavy armor. Its firepower is sufficient to hold off a small army and defend its base. However, it moves slowly and has a smaller control zone compared to other command centers.

 

The Excavator has advanced mining capabilities: it is able to forage for Sharp Crystal hidden deep underground. Using an Excavator enables production and base development right from the start of a game, even in sectors that lack sufficient resource supply.

 

The Outpost allows for the most versatile base development tactics. It can move faster and has a much larger control zone than other command units. Additionally, its base energy production is much higher, allowing for fast base development. Its wide radar detection range also allows for efficient enemy and resource detection.

Relay antennas

screen_relayantenna

 

Buildings now need to be inside your command zone in order to function. The command zone can be expanded by placing one or several relay antennas on the map. Every player is allowed a limited number of relay antennas.

Actual ballistics in RTS gameplay and why they matter.

Following the « What you see is what you get » principle, Win That War! Relies on accurate physical simulation, rather than precalculated damage and approximations.

Thus, for example:

  • Damage is applied at the moment of a projectile’s impact (not at launch time)
  • Accidental friendly fire is possible
  • Any object that comes between a unit and its target may intercept a projectile.

All units and weapons have their own characteristics. Here are a few gameplay situations that may occur, as a consequence of realistic ballistics.

Ground attacks

Bombers and artilleries have in common the ability to aim at a position on the ground instead of a unit. They aren’t much good at hitting a fast-moving target. Especially effective against buildings, they can also perform barrage shots to deny access to a zone or prevent enemy passage through a bottleneck.

artillery

bomber

Since projectiles take time to reach their target, it may occur that the damage gets dealt after the attacking unit has been destroyed, possibly resulting in mutual kills.

Seeking projectiles

Seeker missiles are able to circumvent obstacles in order to reach a hidden target. This characteristics, in addition to splash damage, makes them very effective in mountains, where they can ambush their targets and deny passage through tight canyons.

missile launcher

On the other hand, seeking projectiles have their limits. Very fast units such as buggies can easily dodge them by moving in unpredictable patterns.

buggy

Lasers

Laser shots are almost instantaneous. This is why a Sentinel unit and its fast-tracking laser turret will easily decimate an army of flimsy buggies.

sentinel

Lasers can be obstructed by terrain obstacles. This is why, given the order to attack, the AI will try to place its laser-wielding units individually to give them an optimal shooting angle without being blocked by friendly units.

It is possible to give a group of units the order to position themselves for an attack on a specific position using the « Aim » command (ctrl+right click).

→ This update, and more on our Kickstarter page.

3 mega-corporations: pick your side!

MEGA_corpo_logos

When taking part in the online campaign in Win That War! you will have a choice to join one of three mega-corporations that confront each other in a perpetual economical and tactical conflict.
You will choose your side according to your own affinity towards a faction’s style, ideals, or preferred strategies. Each faction has a specific upgrade tree, and a story of its own.

ATLAS CORP

illu-cartel-ATLAS

By choosing to run with Atlas, you choose the firepower and expertise in offensive tactics that have proven their worth over many generations. Atlas made the pledge to bring security to all, in a world where, they claim, dissuasive armament is the one way to maintain an ideal state of orderly peace.
Having a background doing business in the paramilitary weapons market, Atlas Corp. naturally has unlimited access to the latest technologies in all things combat-ready. No one would risk an attack on an Atlas base without a carefully elaborated plan, lest they be silenced instantly.

 

N.A.S.C.A

illu-cartel-NASCOM

NASCA’s researchers and engineers are widely known in 43 major solar systems for being part of the highest-operating humanist activists in these parts of the galaxy. By joining NASCA’s ranks, you take a pledge to dedicate your life’s work to creating better worlds for the future generations. Specialized in infrastructural engineering and environment reforming, they claim to strive for the emergence of a “sane and pure version of our world, one that would not include or comprehend conflicts and criminality”.
Note that if the use of military pressure and economical subjugation proves necessary on the way to making the universe prosperous and worry-free, they are resolved to do it out of devotion, so that the people do not have to.

 

JONN GALT CONSORTIUM

illu-cartel-JONN-GALT

As long as men can remember, the Jonn Galt Consortium has always been around. People would probably fail to be surprised if told that Jonn Galt had preceded the universe. Joining the ranks of the consortium means to become a pioneer, and, as the brochure says, to secure a life of prosperity for your own, that would not be thinkable by working for any other private institution.
The rugged workers and experienced industry men that run the JGC have inherited an empire of federated corporations, that excels in the production of lucrative raw materials, thriving thanks to their near-monopoly in ownership of the most fruitful mining facilities, and their exclusive patents on the most advanced extraction hardware.

 

This article (and much more info) is also available on our Kickstarter page.

Step by Step #1 the Engineer

Moving on with our new blog sections, this time we decided to tease you with some new eye-candy. Down to the real talk, we’re taking you step by step through the process of implementing an asset, from conception to in-game integration.
To inaugurate this section, Michel the engineer bot is going to be our guinea pig.
A few months ago, this is how Michel used to look:

Miche Insane Unity Win That War RTS

Since Nico has recently joined the team, Michel got a little face lift. We kept the same feel but made him a little more bulky for some additional #galacticswag  (please, be sure to use this hashtag in strict moderation and keep it away from children).
If you’re in the process of creating game assets yourself, feel free to share and compare your own workflow down there in the comments. Here is our usual pipeline:

Research.

michel-recherche

Concept.

michel-concept

Model sheet.

michel-model-sheet

3D model.

MICHEL_TURNABLE_FINAL

Well, now we’ll just have to put it in the game, and the good old Michel won’t exist anymore. Don’t be sad, on the inside, he’s still the same!

 

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