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Rob Zacny

Episode 268: Pickett's Charge

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Rob, Julian, and Troy "Stonewall" Goodfellow get together to talk about Ultimate General: Gettysburg. Is this the bargain we've been waiting for? The next great Gettysburg game? The game that finally introduces the importance of Lollazapoola Hill?

 

Listen here.

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I'm glad it was mentioned how you kind of want a large screen for this one. When I heard about how movement orders were given by drawing lines I figured I would wait for the iPad version, and in many ways it still sounds ideal, but perhaps that screen space makes PC the better platform here.

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I heard about this podcast on the UG:G Steam forum. I am glad to hear you guys like this game as much as I do.

 

A couple things I wanted to add to what you said.

 

To better judge terrain hit 'M'.  It brings up a terrain elevation overlay, I use it at all times.

 

You can wheel units by holding down the middle mouse button and moving left or right.

 

The act of reloading alone will lower condition, even more so with lower experienced troops .  Infantry and artillery.

 

I agree with whoever said that the beauty of UG:G is the fact that morale, and to a lesser degree condition, is abstract.  As it should be.  In SMG you could tell the exact moment a unit would rout.  This is not the way UG:G is.  As a commander in UG:G you have to take a lot of factors into account on your own and that is what makes it great.

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I hate you guys.

Making me break my principle to not buy 'Early Access' games; but do I really have a choice, after this (highly entertaining) episode? And on top, an unfinished game, that is getting so much praise, made with help by a loudmouthed DarthMod, whom I only know, but despise, from his mean, bloated Total War mod notes: ("Total War ... as the game should have been ... from the beginning" - "the arcade feeling of the official game is removed" - "the mod's main scope is to destroy the 'weak' arcade factors and replace them with realistic features" - "really real..." - etc, etc, etc...)

 

And yet, here you are, claiming this game is great and you obviously all have great fun with it. So, I will join your fight.

 

PS: You all seem to enjoy the "UI-less" screen. Dare I say, I often play Total War campaign real-time battles by clicking "K" and all UI is gone. Positioning and routing and morale does play also a role in TW games, as you all know. Play Total War without UI and in slow motion speed and the influence is there to be seen, beyond General DarthMod's claim to have re-invented TW?

 

 

PPS: Btw, Sid Meier's Gettysburg still runs on modern Windows OS systems. There is a XP/Windows2000 patch update, which lets me play it on Windows 8.1 64-bit.

Appendix:

Small German/Preussian Dictionary for Generals:

 

"LINKS!" = left

"RECHTS!" = right

"VORWÄRTS!" = forward

"ATTACKE!" = attack

"RÜCKZUG!" = retreat

"Ich kapituliere!" = I surrender

... if ever a wargame is going to apply voice commands.

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Thanks for the podcast on UG:G. I'd read about it on RPS and been quite interested as it's a fascinating battle and I missed out on the Sid Meier take on it, but hearing your enthusiasm and learning it was on Steam at the price of a pint and bit of beer (UK prices, other countries may differ) got me hitting the buy button. And as one of your panel said I feel like I've robbed the bank, I've played a couple of Gettysburgs with no obvious bugs bar the odd unit not being sure how to align itself in the face of the enemy (which you can change yourself obviously) and no crashes. Often early access means bugs galore and large chunks of gameplay still to be supplied but there have been AAA titles that have shipped with bigger problems.

And most importantly it plays well. I gave up on TW after Empire as the strategic AI was just a joke and the tactical level not much better. The AI in UG:G can actually give you a fight, although I've won so far by playing very defensively and relying on Union numbers to prevail the slightest inattention can have the battleline collapsing in no time as the AI seems pretty good at spotting weak points. And unlike TW where you could march units around for a flank attack without the AI reacting sensibly (or at all sometimes) it reacts intelligently to attacks or counter-attacks by the player. I don't know what's on the developer's roadmap but what I'd like to see, purely to make it more challenging, would be:

Corps commanders on the player's side being more independent and meaningful. Right now a corps HQ unit just seems to be something you move around to enhance morale and I have to admit I haven't memorised the OOB for Gettysburg and, as there doesn't appear to be any way of seeing what units belong to what HQ/General, I've probably had an HQ babysitting units that didn't belong to it and I just move units around the map as seems convenient without worrying if I'm splitting up a grouping that would fight better together. Would be nice if keeping command groups together was something that enhanced their performance as this would steer you into deploying more realistically. And, as the AI seems quite capable, it would make the gameplay less predictable if a subordinate corps commander could order an advance/retreat on his own initiative rather than each unit just waiting to be ordered about by the big boss in the sky.

The other thing I'd like is order delay. It would be difficult if not impossible to make a viable game where you're view of events was restricted to that of an actual general of the era so the surveillance drone has to stay up there but taking away the satellite phones from the generals should be doable. You could make it so that units only reacted to any movement order after a suitable delay or maybe go a bit turn based and have it that every 15 minutes of game time the battle pauses and you can only issue movement orders at that point. As it is it's way too easy to have units running around from one hotspot to another in a way that would create utter chaos if you tried to issue such a continuous stream of orders via messengers on foot or horse in real life. The drawback of instant commands is most obvious in the scenario where Sickles has planted himself in the Peach Orchard. If you decide not to support him you can just have all his units safely back with the main force long before the Confederates are close enough to even fire on him, let alone wreck his corps.

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Total War ... as the game should have been ... from the beginning" - "the arcade feeling of the official game is removed" - "the mod's main scope is to destroy the 'weak' arcade factors and replace them with realistic features" - "really real..." - etc, etc, etc...

 

And every single damn word he said was completely and utterly correct.

I'm sorry for your sake that he hurt your fanboyism bad enough for you to use this thread as an excuse to bitch.

 

 

You could make it so that units only reacted to any movement order after a suitable delay or maybe go a bit turn based and have it that every 15 minutes of game time the battle pauses and you can only issue movement orders at that point.

God, no.

 

 

 

Also - Yes, Ultimate General is absolutely amazing.

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God, no.

 

Yeah, I'd love a game with an AI parser that procedurally misinterpreted and extrapolated my orders, but most attempts to recreate the fog of war by limiting number of interactions get boiled down to overcomplicated versions of card games.

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