Tuesday, June 23, 2020

WWXI Weapons/Tanks by BistroD

WWIII is going to punt us all the way back to the stone age so that when WWXI rolls around we will be fighting as if it was WWI.

Monday, June 22, 2020

War of the Worlds: The New Wave Game Redux

War of the Worlds: The New Wave Game

A two-player asymmetric game set in the years after H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds where humans defend against invading aliens.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Iron Whale Swims Ocean Bottom Like Fish

"The Iron Whale" (1933) - a monster child of pre-war German engineer Herr Schiff. This "Star Wars" kind of sea monster even comes equipped with electric eyes in front and a flexible tail.

Iron Whale Swims Ocean Bottom Like Fish

Denizens in the ocean depths may soon find prowling among their haunts a huge iron monster swimming with fishlike motions and bearing a close resemblance to themselves. This strange monster is to be built from plans devised by Herr Schiff, a German engineer, who has already constructed a workable model for his astounding brainchild, which is shown in accompanying photos. The curious undersea craft is equipped with two fins and a tail which operate in the same manner as do these elements of a live fish. Intended chiefly for the exploration of the ocean bottom, the ship is said to be capable of maneuvering with all the flexibility of its fleshy prototype. Two electric eyes placed in the head for observation purposes make the resemblance to a sea serpent more complete. The craft was designed and constructed after an extensive study of the swimming motions of many types of fish, particularly the larger sharks and whales.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Iron Harvest - Official Trailer

The community’s response to our call for questions has been phenomenal. The Iron Doctor, our community manager, has been swamped. But it’s great to see what you’re interested in as we move forward. We’ve had to split the answers into two parts. Here’s the 1st, and the 2nd will be in January’s DevBlog.

When will you send out the request for the in-game picture of the backers? - Kaada (Discord)
We’re going to start sending our requests for your likeness to help us create the in-game portraits of you over the holiday period. If you haven’t heard from us by January 15th, please contact us.

When can we expect all the backer’s special extras to be shipped to early supporters? - Polarwrath (Discord)
The plan is to send out all rewards together with the game. Our goal is you having everything in your hand at launch day.

When will Iron Harvest launch? - German Marine (Discord) 
1st of September 2020 to Steam and GOG on PC as well as Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

I pre-ordered/supported in the early stages, how will I get my key? - Kaos (Discord)
Thank you, if you’re an Alpha or Beta backer you can access the PC Alpha already by logging in from the top right of our webpage and claim your Steam key. When we release the game in full, everybody gets a new key for the platform of your choosing. The Alpha/Beta Steam key will no longer work.

Are you going to sell the artbook separately?- Night Owl (Discord)
We haven't decided yet. The artbook is primarily for our early supporters. But if there is interest, perhaps we could offer it later over our shop as well.

Any ideas on the number of maps available at release? - 2Sk3tChy (Discord)
Yes. :-) What we can confirm so far: There will be 21 campaign maps, 7 for each campaign. There will also be a good number of multiplayer and challenge maps as well as new maps after release.

Will Iron Harvest be physically released? - Cody Martinka (Facebook)
Yes! The plan is to release it physically in all major markets. Our publisher Deep Silver (Koch Media) is one of the biggest distributors for boxed games in the world. We’ll also lobby for at least one Collector’s Edition.

Any chance of Iron Harvest running under Steam on Linux? - Fonant (Twitter)
All our previous games had native Linux support. The only reason we didn’t want to promise anything for Iron Harvest is the fact that it is so much more complex than anything we’ve done so far (including multiplayer and coop features). We’ll look into Linux and try to make it as easy as possible for Linux fans to get the game running. We have some Linux fans in the company, so you have a lobby here ;-)

Will there be a Mac version? - Mike Lewis (Facebook)
As with Linux (see above), we can’t promise anything yet, but we’ll look into it down the line. One additional problem on Mac is that many Mac systems, especially older MacBooks, have notorious bad graphic chips. So even if we would be able to release a Mac version, it would most likely be limited to higher-end systems. Look out for news mid-2020.

Are you able to sell/open access to Alpha or Beta before release, or has the opportunity been missed? - many people (everywhere)
It’s great that a lot of people want to get into Iron Harvest ASAP. However, Alpha will remain closed as it was always a special thing for our early supporters and Kickstarter backers. We are currently discussing internally, how open/closed the Beta will be. There are a surprisingly number of pros and cons to consider here, but we will defiantly let you know as soon as we have decided.

What are you plans for pre-release? I’d love an old school Demo - David West (Facebook)
 We’re going to do the backer-Beta early 2020 and most likely some sort of performance/stability test, maybe a “Beta 2”, an Open Beta or sort of demo, close to release.

How much do you think the game will cost at release? - LokenTheAtom (Reddit) 
There will be most likely different versions (we’re thinking about a “Collector’s Edition”, for example). The game will be a “full price game” which means different things in different territories and on different platforms. You can take games like Total War: Three Kingdoms or Dawn of War 3 as examples.

Would you like to release a Nintendo Switch version of Iron Harvest? - Chris Sharples (Facebook)
YES! We would love to. But it’s not going to happen. At least not without some sort of game streaming solution on the Switch or a hardware upgrade. Iron Harvest is relatively demanding when it comes to CPU power (AI, pathfinding, many animations for many units at the same time and so on) and the Switch has a pretty weak CPU. We love the Switch, but there is no way we can make it happen.

Are you going to release it on next gen consoles too, as its being released during that period? - Ryan Hale (Facebook)
We don’t know yet. We’re talking with Unity; our engine provider and Deep Silver is in close contact with Sony and Microsoft. So, we’ll investigate it but it’s too early to say.

Plans for Google Stadia? - Sascha Seewald (Facebook)
As with the next gen consoles, we’ll investigate it. In general, we think it makes sense to give players many different options to play a game. We don’t like exclusives, but we DO like choice.

What is the strategy and roadmap to keep the game alive? - Kaos (Discord)
There will be announcements regarding our plans next year. All we can confirm up to this point are the things we have already promised: There will be a mini-campaign as DLC (Kickstarter stretch goal; free for backers), there will be new maps and game modes. We’ll also try to provide an editor so fans can create their own maps. We’ve put a lot of effort into a player progression system that works for both multiplayer AND single player fans. More about that next year. We believe in Iron Harvest and want to support the game long-term. So, we are actively working with Deep Silver on ideas how to make that possible.

How often will there be tournaments and what will the prizes be like? - Kaos (Discord)
We will likely do another tournament after Beta release. Once we’ve launched, these will continue every now and then depending on the demand from the community. We’ll try to support these with suitable and themed prizes from us.

When can we expect the 3rd faction (Rusviets) to be playable? - PASHA (Discord)
Rusviets will definitely be playable and will most likely enter the battlefield later in Beta.

How much interaction will there be with the environment? - Somencarl (Instagram)
A lot. Buildings and many other things on the maps are destructible. Big mechs can walk through most structures, infantry can jump over fences, low walls and so on. Expect maps to look a whole lot different at the end than they did at the beginning of a match.

Will mechs be able to suffer partial damage? - Somencarl (Instagram) 
No. We have a system where most units receive more damage when hit from behind. But you won’t be able to focus fire on individual parts of a mech. Visually, though, mechs receive damage where they get hit.

Will you change/balance the “infantry can swap to any type” system to make it more realistic in future? - Everett Van Horne (Facebook)
It’s not realistic, for sure, but we think it works well and makes the game better. Balancing is, of course, one of the biggest tasks on our list for the next months. In general, gameplay is more important for us than realism. We are talking about a world with giant mechs after all ;-)

Will Polania have winged hussars like calvary? - Joshua Robinson (Facebook)
They will have cavalry and we plan to bring these into the game during Beta. No wings, though. Could be a cool idea for a skin!

What will the production system be like in making units?? Will it be cheap and easy, or will it cost a lot and make it feel like every life matter? - Jason Wood (Facebook)
One of our design goals was to make each unit/squad feel important. Your units become veterans and ultimately elite units, so you want to keep them alive for as long as possible. That’s one reason why we implemented a “retreat” functionality, engineers, medics, medic tents and so on. They all help to keep your units alive. Units will be relatively costly, and you want to think about how to use each one efficiently.

How will the three factions vary in terms of play style and how will you keep this balanced? - Solensia (Reddit)
Each of our faction has a unique theme: Polania are the guerilla rebels, Rusviet are a military powerhouse and Saxony are the industrial elitists. Their playstyles derive not only from one facet of their theme but from many of them. Keeping this balanced means while the factions are not equal, they stay equally viable. We ensure this by providing each faction with all the tools they need in a way that matches their themes.

How many vs. A.I. challenges are planned for the game? - EthosImmortal (Discord)
We will have a couple of “Challenge maps” in the game, which are maps with special goals designed for you to play them multiple times and get better and better over time. But you can also play all multiplayer maps against the AI in any configuration (so for example you and an A.I. teammate against two A.Is.). We don’t know yet exactly how many maps will be in the game at release or how many more we’re going to release after release.

What distinguishes Iron Harvest from Company of Heroes and stops it feeling like a CoH mod? - STRONTJESBERG (Discord)
You will see that while CoH has been a big inspiration for us, Iron Harvest plays different. Many of our units are slower but offer more flexibility and utility. Depending on which hero you chose for a match, you have very different ways to put pressure on the opponent. Very experienced CoH players are usually positively surprised how much they must adapt and come up with new tactics. We also invested a lot of time in streamlining the U.I. and controls. We believe in complex and deep games, but we also think it is our job to make it easier for new players to get into a game. We think our U.I. is more consistent and less redundant than some U.Is. in the past. There is a whole player progression system we haven’t talked about yet; our campaign is comparatively HUGE and of course we have a very different setting. Did we mention the mechs?

Will there be something to stop mechs passing certain locations? - Vipasyn (Discord)
I presume you refer to permanent features. Mechs must already navigate around trenches, some buildings and map features such as rivers and narrow bridges. You can also lay minefields. Mechs will want to avoid bottlenecks and dominate open terrain.

Will there be other types of cover than the ones we currently have? - Jnc3 (Discord)
Visually there will be many different types of cover. Gameplay-wise we only have three fundamental types: Low cover which infantry can use to shoot over while being somewhat save from many attacks, high cover which is to high to shoot over and something we call implicit cover which is, for example, a mech between the attacker and you, or a cliff that prevents you hitting the enemy. Many covers can be destroyed. These covers have an armor type and hit points, so for example a wooden fence can be easily destroyed by bullets, a heavy cover can’t. Some cover, like for example trenches or objects like rocks, can’t be destroyed at all.

Are you planning on giving purchasable abilities for individual squads?- Mike6411 (Reddit)
Units can become veteran and eventually elite. Many units get at least one new ability when they level up, but you can’t choose between different abilities for standard units. Heroes, however, have different skills that you can level up individually during the campaigns.

Do you want this game to be competitive for a longer period and have frequent balance updates? - Kaos (Discord)
Absolutely. As mentioned above, we’ll talk more about the player progression system and our ongoing efforts next year. We’ll do more than “just” frequent balance updates.

Do you value multiplayer over single player? - Kaos (Discord)
We don’t see Iron Harvest as favoring one or another and nor would we want to limit ourselves by choosing only one of these. Iron Harvest aims to have a great single player campaign for those times when you want to immerse yourself and take it easy, while also having a well-grounded multiplayer experience for when you want to get competitive and try out new tactics. Thanks to all our Kickstarter supporters and our publisher Deep Silver, we have the resources to do both. And we’ll support both after launch.

Currently, when using a weapon system (AT cannon, MG station), the unit that’s assigned to the weapon system is the unit that gets the experience. Will this change in the future? - 2Sk3tChy (Discord)
That is working as intended. As you know, you can give squads new equipment, effectively making them a new unit type. Nonetheless they keep their XP/rank. The same is true for weapon systems. The weapon systems are just “tools” manned by soldiers and the soldiers are the ones that get the XP.

Estimated playtime for the campaign? - 2Sk3tChy (Discord)
Depends on how often you must restart a mission, of course. We think most players will take about 20 hours. Most missions are around 40-50 minutes, but there are some much shorter (20-25 minutes) and some much longer as well (up to 90 minutes). And there will be good 60 minutes of cinematic cutscenes between the missions.

What's the max unit count of a fully upgraded base? - PJ O’Neill and Christian Franco (Facebook)
This depends on the game settings players choose. We think the game feels best with no more than 15 units/squads under your control but if players what to control more units, they can obviously choose to do so (you can set the max and the rate of resource income in the multiplayer & skirmish settings). In most of the campaign missions you will have less than a dozen units/squads most of the time, but there are also some very open missions with a much higher ceiling.

Did you draw any inspiration from the Red Alert series? - Michal Durian (Facebook)
We looked at all games in the “RTS Hall of Fame” but I’m not sure we used something explicitly from a Red Alert game. I know we talked about the option to increase the size of maps during missions but ultimately, we chose fixed sizes. Now I think about it: There is one mission that was definitely inspired by classic Tanya missions.

Your mechs seem super slow and lack a real punch. Is it just my impression or a conscious design decision? - Dmytro Soloviov (Facebook)
Them being slow is a design decision (though we’re still working on them, so speeds might change). Lacking punch is something we have on our list. This has mainly to do with animations, effects and missing “juice”. Or are you talking about gameplay/stats? We think most mechs already have good punch there, depending on how you use them (not every mech is good against each type of enemy).

Will there be any other types of production buildings? - Jnc3 (Discord)
No. We wanted to keep production kind of simple: One building for infantry, exo-skeletons and weapon systems, one for mechs, both upgradable.

Are there going to be any infantry squads with more or less than 5 men?- Jnc3 (Discord)
Infantry is defined by always having 5 squad members. But there is another unit class called exo-skeletons. They usually have three squad members. Making larger than 5-man squads is something we are also investigating. It comes with new technical challenges, but it might well happen in the future.

Will there be a territory system? - Jnc3 (Discord)
You are talking about the CoH system where you only get resources from areas connected to your base? No. We thought about that, but our maps are usually on the smaller side (because units are slower) and it felt weird to force the necessary number of sectors into them.

Which RTS games did you look to for inspiration? - James Bevis (Facebook)
All of them. Well. Most of them. We looked at many classics plus basically everything that came out in the last 5 years. The biggest inspiration when it comes to gameplay and feel is Company of Heroes 1. The campaign structure and the hero system are more like Warcraft 3. StarCraft 2 was an inspiration for some player progression system stuff and U.I. elements. Sometimes, when we were unsure about something, we literally let a game designer investigate half a dozen or more games and analyze what worked and why. But it is not only RTS that are helpful. We play a lot of games here and good ideas can come from everywhere. And of course, it cannot be ruled out we ourselves had a good idea or two. After all, we've been doing this for 20 years ;-)

What surprises or interesting things did you learn from the players so far? - Solensia (Reddit)
 Very early on we did a survey and the fact that A LOT of people really care about the campaigns in RTS was something we saw in ourselves but didn’t know was so widespread. Something else that is surprising is how different players play. We get feedback from player A that some unit is completely broken and useless, while player B thinks the units is awesome, maybe slightly over-powered. Sometimes, as a developer, you think in terms of “the players” or maybe player types/groups but in reality, all players and play-styles are unique and you need to figure out how to enable as many as possible to have a good time.

What was the biggest challenge while developing the game? - Heinsen (Reddit)
The complexity. There are a lot of moving parts (literally) and so many systems that are all interconnected. On the one hand that is what you want: You want everything in the game to influence everything else because it makes for a deep gameplay experience. But at the same time, it is really, really hard to make it fun, balanced and not exploitable.
We’ve been making games for 20 years, but this is the first time we've often left meetings with more questions than we had when we went in. Everything is more complicated and more complex than you would expect. It became a running joke: Nothing is ever easy when you want to make an RTS that can be up there with the greats.

Are you working on pathfinding currently and how high of the priority list is it currently? - Uliysess (Discord)
The new path-finding system will be in the Beta. It is currently in our internal QA. The new system is very cool. Faster than the old system, more powerful and much more flexible. It’s probably one of the most advanced systems in any RTS, the scientific papers it is based on are fresh off the press ;-)
The big challenge we have with Iron Harvest is that many different units need to find many different paths in an ultra-dynamic environment. For example: A big mech can go through sandbag barriers and even houses, but it can’t use a narrow bridge over a river. A light mech can go through a wooden fence or a chicken house and it can use the narrow bridge, but it can’t go through a house. Infantry can’t go through a wooden fence, but they can leap over it, if its not too high. They can also jump into and out of trenches, which is something mechs and weapon systems can’t do. When a wreck of a mech blocks a bridge, some units can destroy the wreck and make a way for themselves, others can’t.
Now imagine this with a couple of hundred units sending thousands of path requests on a map that changes 8 times per second and you get an idea why it took Thomas, our Technical Director, a couple of months to rework the system ;-)

Are you working on pathfinding currently and how high of the priority list is it currently? - Uliysess (Discord)
The new path-finding system will be in the Beta. It is currently in our internal QA. The new system is very cool. Faster than the old system, more powerful and much more flexible. It’s probably one of the most advanced systems in any RTS, the scientific papers it is based on are fresh off the press ;-)
The big challenge we have with Iron Harvest is that many different units need to find many different paths in an ultra-dynamic environment. For example: A big mech can go through sandbag barriers and even houses, but it can’t use a narrow bridge over a river. A light mech can go through a wooden fence or a chicken house and it can use the narrow bridge, but it can’t go through a house. Infantry can’t go through a wooden fence, but they can leap over it, if its not too high. They can also jump into and out of trenches, which is something mechs and weapon systems can’t do. When a wreck of a mech blocks a bridge, some units can destroy the wreck and make a way for themselves, others can’t.
Now imagine this with a couple of hundred units sending thousands of path requests on a map that changes 8 times per second and you get an idea why it took Thomas, our Technical Director, a couple of months to rework the system ;-)

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Tripods & Triplanes, The War of the Worlds in Wings of Glory


Tripods & Triplanes Tripod Packs

Tripods & Triplanes is the result of the creative effort of many different talents.
  • Andrea Angiolino, Marco Maggi, Francesco Nepitello- Tripods & Triplanes Game Designers 
  • Andrea Angiolino and Pier Giorgio Paglia - Designers of the original Wings of Glory system
  • Bob Naismith - Sculptor
  • David Szilagyi - Main Art
  • Dario Calì - Additional Game Art
  • Gareth Hanrahan - Creative Writing
  • Fabio Maiorana - Art Direction
  • Laura Neri - Graphic Design
  • Roberto Di Meglio - Publisher & Producer
We must also give our special thanks to the video production team. I Licaoni, and to our voice talent, Laurence O'Brien.

The Martians Have Landed! Wings of Glory Tripods and Triplanes Kick Starter Preview!

By Rick Martin

Tripods and Triplanes Wings of Glory Expansion Game Preview. Publisher: Ares Games Designer: Andrea Angiolino, Marco Maggi and Francesco Nepitello
Rick Martin

Ares Games brings 2017 to a triumphant end with yet more Wings of Glory goodness! This time the Earth is uniting against an alien threat! Tripods and Triplanes has hit Kick Starter!

From Ares Games’ own description – 
“March 18th, 1918: the nearest approach of planet Mars to Earth. The First World War suddenly changes into a War of the Worlds, when what appears as a meteor shower falls over a wood in Alsace. A few hours later, just after dawn, an army of giant alien fighting machines appear out of the trees and starts burning villages and houses with their lethal heat-rays, leaving pestilential trails of black smoke behind them.

A truce is hurriedly signed between the warring nations and, against the advancing Martian tripods, the best war machines of Earth are dispatched, manned by the most gallant and skilled warriors of our planet!

In Wings of Glory – Tripods & Triplanes, the knights of the air of WW1 battle against colossal fighting machines sent by the Martians to invade Earth. Take control of an awesome Martian Tripod, set upon bringing death and destruction on our planet… or fly on the most advanced flying machines created by Mankind during World War One, and try to use them to win the War of the Worlds.

Tripods and Triplanes is a new, stand-alone game, but it is fully compatible with the WW1 Wings of Glory collection.”

The Martian miniatures are stunningly designed; they look like an alien steam punk fusion. Currently there are four different types of Martian tripods. Each tripod is rated for its weapon systems – heat rays of various types plus black smoke projectors, movement speed and maneuverability, hull points, energy points and force field locations.

The Tripods use a movement system which is the same as the World War I Wings of Glory aircrafts. For each movement the player lays out a card. The tripods don’t fly as much as walk and run over the ground. For each three card sequence, the tripods must either stand for one card or run for one card. If they don’t, they tumble to the ground and must get up during the next sequence. The player controlling the Martian tripod has another interesting aspect to manage while fighting off those pesky human biplanes, he or she must manage the energy usage of the tripod. Every weapon action requires energy as does picking up items and other actions such as swinging the tripod around. Lucky for the tripods, they can perform actions to regain their energy. If their energy ever completely runs out, out go the force fields and down goes the tripod! For the Martians, learning energy usage and conservation is a must!

For the combined Earth Air Forces, attacking the tripods is tricky. Each type of tripod has different shield configuration. Getting your bullets or rockets past their shields are the key to winning the war. But, let’s say your shots hit the shields, you still have a chance to cause damage to the deadly aliens. Your shots have the chance of draining the energy of the tripod even if they penetrate the shields – certain shield hits cause the Martian pilots to reallocate power to keeping the shields up which drains their all important power supply.

The game includes new A damage cards which add critical hits to the tripods as well as retaining the biplane critical hits. Also damage cards are included for the heat rays and black smoke clouds.
The rules are still evolving but are very fun to read and logically organized. Multiple scenarios are provided and a solo system has been promised. There still needs to be some refinements but game is still evolving. A World War 2 expansion has also been talked about so I guess, even if you defeated the tripods, like most good villains, they’ll be back!

Visit the Tripods and Triplanes Kickstarter for more information:


NOTE: For purposes of my demo play of this game, I used Axis and Allies maps.
About the Author

A college film instructor and small business owner, Richard Martin has also worked in the legal and real estate professions, is involved in video production, film criticism, sports shooting and is an avid World War I and II gamer who can remember war games which came in plastic bags and cost $2.99 (he’s really that old)!


Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Book: War of the Worlds: Retaliation


1898: Martian tripods lay waste to Earth’s cities. The world’s armies are unable to stem the tide of destruction. When all hope appears lost, common bacteria kills the alien invaders. From the ashes, the human race uses the technology left behind by the Martians to build new, advanced weapons. 1924: Armed with their own spaceships, tripods, and jet fighters, the nations of the world are ready to take the fight to Mars. George Patton, Erwin Rommel, Charles de Gaulle, and Georgy Zhukov lead their troops in battle across the red planet to end the alien menace once and for all. But the Martians have one last, desperate plan to try, and if successful, it could mean the end for all humanity.

I am very dubious when I am reading a book that is set in the storyverse of a famous author. They often fall short of the original. This, I am happy to say, is the exception.

I will avoid giving out too much information and spoiling the story. It is set decades after the original, and deals with man kinds response to the original invasion. It features real characters from history, and the occasional villain. The historical people behave and speak as you imagine them. It also incorporates a few modern conspiracy theories. How our technology is based on captured alien spacecraft. All of this is woven into a compelling story line. I loved it, and I am a fan of the original War of the Worlds.

Well researched. Well planned. Well executed. My one suggestion to the Authors is; hurry and get your next book out. I can't wait to read it.

Book: The Last Days of the Fighting Machine: The Martian Apocalypse of Victorian Britain


The Martians were on the rampage all across Queen Victoria's Britain. Nothing man possessed could stop them. But then the huge fighting machines began to slow down and lumber to a halt. One by one, the Martians inside the giant machines began to die. Soon there were just scattered and failing remnants of the once-mighty tripods wandering here and there among the derelict monuments. Even the red weed was dying as Mother Earth began to reclaim her own. The human survivors became emboldened and they emerged from the hiding places intent on fighting back.


C. A. Powell was born February 1961 in the district of Bow, London. Today, he lives and works in the Fenland of Eastern England. He is a father and grandfather to many wonderful offspring. His interests are; Writing, Reading, watching Football, Rugby, Motor Racing. Also photography and cruising holidays.