Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Another Gratuitous Tank Battles patch!

So… I’ve released version 1.014 of GTB. It has some under-the-hood changes nobody will notice (yet) but also this:

1) Added hint to make divisions if you have lots of units and have not created any yet.
2) Changed the way unit icons are created so they make more sense for long-barrelled guns.
3) Added new option to allow the game to auto-manage and update divisions for each type of unit.
4) Fixed bug where if you didn't restart the game, you kept unlocking the same unit.
5) Added support for colorblind mode.

The big change there is 3). I wish I’d thought of this originally, but like all my games, they evolve and improve in response to player feedback. The game will now automanage and keep up-to-date a separate division for infantry, vehicles, buildings and support structures/vehicles, and you can swap between them as before using tab or alt+tab.

because I’ve added this *now*, it’s not the default, and you need to go into the division manager and turn it on. if I was more organised, I’d be tracking that as a stat. The trouble is,  you get a lot of people buying games cheap in a sale who play 2 levels, then never return, which is bad for all kinds of reasons (it encourages designing purely for the casual gamer, for one), so ideally I’d be tracking people who play 10+ missions, and then analyzing what percentage of them even use divisions, and how many of them enable auto-management. My stats tracking sucks, yet again. I’ll get it right in my 99th game, I promise!

4) was also an embarrasing bug that I wanted to fix, and is the main reason I suddenly rushed this update out without much fanfare.

In other news, I’ve been working on some future stuff (early days yet) and also re-uploading a bunch of ‘signed’ exes to keep the paranoid gremlins at Norton Internet Security happy (god knows why).

The steam sale was pretty good, but not wallet-burstingly so. We do live in strange times. As a game designer, I’d prefer less, high-margin sales than a whole slew of people grabbing GTB for cheap and hardly playing it. I’m definitely from the hardcore gaming school, rather than the ‘angry-birds’ school of gaming, and I hate to see gaming change to the point where everyone owns hundreds of games, but has played hardly any of them. That’s not a market working properly, it’s like a weird mind game.

It’s amazingly sunny right now in the UK. I know because my solar power readout tells me. Obviously I’ve never gone outdoors. That would be mad.

8 thoughts on Another Gratuitous Tank Battles patch!

  1. I hope you don’t take this as offensive, but the games you produce are not hard core just yet. You have hardcore themes and graphics, but the gameplay is severely lacking. Hardcore gamers like interactivity, GSB and GTB are casual games by definition because of the lack of unit control and how the game ‘plays the game for you’

    The games you have produced thus far are the equivalent of having bots play for you in Quake 3 and all you’re allowed to do is pick what characters and their stats each bot has.

    That’s not hardcore gameplay. I think you are misperceiving the world their just a tad.

    I’m not sure if it’s because direct control of units is beyond you skills or it’s just too expensive to build such games but the kinds of games you produce are casual games with hardcore style art, nothing more.

    Hardcore games tend to be serious undertakings that require serious manpower and money that few indies have or are willing to risk and hence you get small games because of the laws of the universe basically require more effort/manpower to make a hardcore game in which players have control of units and the units actually interact in interesting ways.

  2. Stew,

    I think you are confused about what hardcore gaming is. It has nothing to do with twitch mechanics or serious manpower and undertakings. It has nothing to do with graphics.

    If anything a hardcore game is a game that has a lot of depth to it that the player can obsess over. A hardcore game lets the player keep playing and learning new things (tactics, strategies, etc) with each play. It lets the player discover new things. Often things the designer didn’t even plan.

    Try a game like Europa Universalis 3. Very sparse graphics. Very little direct control over units. Yet extremely in depth game play that requires a lot of time to learn. You can take dozens of approaches to victory and building your empire.

    Dwarf Fortress is as hardcore as it gets and the graphics are simple and its made by one guy.

    GSB is very hardcore.

  3. JD you are not a hardcore gamer, if we took a mathematical poll at any serious hardcore gaming forum cliffs game would be rated a casual game by a landslide. It’s ‘not all subjective’, if you know anything about the latest neuroscience at all. Science has discovered new things since the enlightenment’s false idea of dividing the world into ‘objective and subjective’. Of course you’d have to be sufficiently educated to be able to form any cogent opinion at at all. You’re simply not in a position to judge. A poll would easily indicate that most hardcore gamers consider cliffs games casual by a landslide. In this case their perception is reality because they are the audience.

  4. Well, I have been an ultra hardcore gamer for 30 (!) years (started with hex map and counter wargames) and quite frankly I can’t wait for the Mac version of GTB to come out because it seems to have a load of elements I love in hardcore games.

    In my view many hardcore games are defined by large planning/strategy/preparation/mindstorming phases followed by fairly quick resolution – whether it’s turn by turn or GSB style. Call it “anal retentive” at the most extreme end. RTS games, how ever well designed, annoy me because while furiously clicking all over the place you usually don’t have the mental space to implement the most devious tactics and design the best units and end up favouring gamers who spend hours and hours practicing clicking everywhere at lightspeed and learning keyboard shortcuts (think Starcraft) rather than real strategists.

    So keep up this style of game – please !

    BTW, er… when is the Mac version of GTB coming out ? I know a few Mac gamers who can’t wait to blow some of their hard-earned cash on this one…

    I’m already suffering exteme anguish because of the lack of a Mac Demo ;-)

  5. 3) Added new option to allow the game to auto-manage and update divisions for each type of unit.

    Hi Cliffski,

    I was just trying this out, and it’s a great feature. One thing I noticed right away though: It’d be better if the Ambulance was in the Infantry division instead of the Tank division. Also, it’d be good to have the Repair and Command trucks in both the Tank division and the Mech division. Currently they’re only in the Tank division. This is from the attack side of things.

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