The first beta build of update 18 is now ready for action. You can sign up at http://tflig.ht/1jQw9Bb
The beta testing process will work like this:
- You’ll need a TestFlight account. Sign up using the recruitment link above. This will register your device and install the TestFlight web shortcut.
- Once I’ve approved and your added device ID to the app certificate, you’ll be able to install the beta directly from TestFlight.
- Installing “Samurai Beta” app will replace the “Samurai Wars” app, and vice versa. You can have one or the other installed at any single time, but you can switch between the beta and the real app by reinstalling from App Store / TestFlight.
- There beta will connect to the GameCenter Sandbox and you’ll need to register a sandbox account. Although you can use the same AppleID and GameCenter nickname, it’s important to note that sandbox accounts are separate from the real GameCenter accounts. It’s a bit confusing that the same AppleID can have two game center accounts, but when logging in it will tell you if you are in sandbox mode. You can logout in Settings > Game Center if you need to reset or switch accounts.
- You’ll get notified when new builds are available. The version and build number is displayed in the lower left corner of the screen. The build number is using the format “<year><month><day>.<build>”, e.g. “131129.1”.
What’s new in this version:
- It’s now possible to play with up to four players.
- Complete rewrite of the networking code to improve how the simulation model is synchronized between devices. This means smoother unit movement and more reliable combat results.
Some known issues:
- Turn-based mode is disabled (still some work to do there).
- Practice AI is disabled.
- Leaderboard reporting is currently disabled.
- The player status bar at the top of the screen only shows two players, even in 3 or 4 player matches.
- When a player disconnects, the game will freeze. Need to implement graceful handling of dropped connections and network failures.
Archers and matchlocks are back!
Note: It’s seems possible to play with version 15 against version 16. So if you encounter stealth archer units, make sure you update to version 16.
The version mismatch problem should now be fixed. Units should now be what they appear to be.
The new update has some minor fixes and five new maps, so there are now eight playable maps in total.
Update 14 is now live. It’s a maintainance release that fixes two crashes, one that occurred infrequently during gameplay when tracking movement paths, and another one when ending offline real-time games.
If you find any further crashes or bugs, please report here (or mail me at email@example.com).
The update version 13 has now been submitted to the app store approval queue, and it contains a few unit command gesture improvements. Movement arrows are visualized more clearly. And there’s now a unit facing indicator, a small triangle, that shows you which way a unit is facing. Just tap and drag it to rotate the unit to face another direction. For missile units within range of enemy units, the indicator changes to a timer that indicates that a unit is reloading/aiming. Once again, tap and drag this indicator if you want to target a specific enemy unit. It’s even possible to have the unit hold fire – just tap and drag from the indicator to the unit itself.
The map making process has been a real pain, using an awkward combination of Photoshop and not-so-user-friendly GIS tools. I know many of you are asking for more maps, but it’s simply not possible to do without the right kind of tools. So I’ve decided that it’s about time to do something about this. It’s time to do a proper editor.
The map/scenario editor is available on GitHub, as part of the openwar platform that is the underlying engine for Samurai Wars. It’s in the early pre-alpha stage, and you need a Mac with Xcode in order to run it. But I hope that it will evolve into something useful in the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned…
Version 12 is now available in the App Store (I’m dropping the 1.0 prefix, it just feels kind of silly). The chat is now operational. In case you encounter further stability problems or bugs, please report them here.
I’ve been working on a map editor and scenario scripting support. It will be available as an open source project that runs on Mac/Windows. So if you’re interested in making your own scenarios, let me know.
Although I’ve been rather busy with other projects lately, there will be a new update coming out within the next weeks. It should address some of the stability problems that have been reported. In addition, the new feature in this update is a simple form of chat lobby. The online real-time seems very little used, despite there being several players online most of the time. It’s probably just because of the catch-22 reason that it’s very little used. Hopefully the chat will fix this.
While there’s no changes to the game play in this update, there has been some work with restructuring the game engine in order to make it more open and easier to incorporate suggestions and contributions. More on that later.
Although there’s a lot to be said about tactics, and while difficult to master in the heat of battle, the basic concepts are quite easy to grasp. From a simplified viewpoint, medieval battles are just more advanced versions of the rock-paper-scisssors game. Each unit can beat enemy units of a certain kind, but get beaten by others, and the objective is to engage the right combination units.
In Samurai Wars there’s a number of unit attributes that the simulation uses to calculate combat.
Cavalry move much faster than infantry. Light (missile) units move slightly faster than heavy (melee). This means that it is the faster unit that has the choice to decide if and when to engage in combat.
Missile units kill at a far distance. Melee units must be in contact with the enemy in order to kill. There’s however a big difference between Katana, Naginata, and Yari units due to the distance between the soldier and the blade of the weapon.
- Katana units hold the blade close and can easily attack in any direction. But as the Katana soldier must move in closer than the Yari, he’s more exposed to the enemy kill zone.
- Yari units hold the blade at a distance, and properly applied can attack the enemy with lesser exposure. This relies on having a well organized spear wall to fend off the enemy. The disadvantage is vulnerability to flanking.
- Naginata is somewhere between the Katana and Yari.
Samurai units are more competent. Ashigaru are less competent and route more easily.
Some tactical rules of thumb:
- Use missile units to attack melee units (kill at a safe distance)
- Use infantry missile units to defend against cavalry missile units (infantry has better kill power)
- Attack the flanks or rear of a unit, especially true for Yari units.
Another important tactical concept is the concentration of force. That is, if you for example have two units and the enemy has two, it’s better to pick them off one by one than to attack them one-on-one. Two units should easily defeat just enemy one unit, and can then move on to the next one.
Finally there’s the concept of combined arms. This means combining units of different type to achieve something that’s better than just the sum of it parts, much like chess pieces protecting each other on the chess board. For example, engaging the enemy with a yari unit and locking him in combat while flanking with your cavalry. Or protecting your archers against cavalry with a naginata unit.
There’s much more to say about tactics but these are some starting points.